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  1. bananafish

    bananafish Member

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    Is this too weird?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by bananafish, Sep 8, 2017.

    So I'm back with more strangeness. This is my same kids fantasy with falling stars that I asked about a few days ago. Much of this book is inspired by the incredibly complex but more than slightly weird fantasy worlds my younger siblings and I invented as kids. So we had these imaginary creatures known as the "Nuhs." They were short, round, furry gray creatures that walked on two legs and had trunks. The trunks grew as they aged. The babies just had little nubs while the elderly had trunks that dragged the ground. The best way I can describe this is like the Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street only much smaller, gray, and walked on two legs. They have their own language that mostly consists of a chanting sound like "Nuh," in varying syllables. They chant a lot and can be heard in the villages far away. They have a name for themselves, but no one else knows it and no one else can communicate with them, so they're known as the "Nuhs" to the outside world. Also they all have N names. Like, the chief of the society is Elder Neller. They live in caves that they've turned into little apartment complexes and are actually a peaceful, loving society but since no one can communicate with them, the other people find them a little creepy. But in the story my main character has to end up sleeping a night with them after he's on the run in the wilderness and he sees what they're really like.

    So my only question is if something that came out of my 5-year-old brother's brain is frankly too weird to everyone else. I mean I think it's awesome but that's because it's my personal memory of something I used to play. I've even toned it down a little. We had a national anthem for them and everything but I have trimmed that out.
     
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  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Naw, that's fucking great... go for it!
     
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  3. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    It seems like a really good idea! I think it will help to make your world very interesting. :)
     
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  4. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I think it depends on your target audience’s age group. It certainly sounds child-like, so if this is for children’s books it would be fine. For teens and over, I think the issue would not be that it’s too weird, but that it’s too childish.
     
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  5. Mayarra

    Mayarra Banned

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    It is a very nice and interesting idea :D
    You could work out the language a bit more, maybe add a meaning to various non-verbal cues that can change the meaning of the words. 'Nuh!' when shaking the trunk from left to right is hello, and 'Nuh!' while moving the trunk up and down is goodbye for example. That could make for a whole playful character.
     
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  6. chery

    chery New Member

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    I see your idea is so great !!!
     
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  7. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    look, children have some of the most original ideas, and usually really awesome, fun ideas. Yours sound like one of those. Use it. Weird is good - means no one else has had the idea before! Your Nuhs sound cute :) Go for it!
     
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  8. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman Extradinor Contributor

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    Very Interesting, I can assume they are herbivores, since hunting would be difficult.

    Also I suggest dropping the "N" and names, just have them make their "NuH" sound and somehow they can communicate with each other, I am assuming these are an oddity for the MC to discover or learn about.
     
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  9. Twist

    Twist Member

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    Definitely not too weird. They sound adorable.

    In my personal opinion, I have a hard time thinking of anything as "too weird". Think of some of the super weird, super successful things in the world, like the society of tiny blue people all named after their one personality trait, or the dog that is a novelist and a World War 1 pilot (and more), or the story of the old man who used balloons to fly his house to South America and met talking dogs. Fiction's the place for weird stuff.
     
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  10. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    So I clicked on this thread, and saw this. :)

    [​IMG]

    As for the question, I think execution can make it work. The big question is if we'll be seeing these people through an outsider and learning along with them, or if we'll be "within" their world, where it's all taken as natural and unremarkable.
     
  11. Sclavus

    Sclavus Active Member

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    It's a thorough concept with a Dr. Seuss-like flair, I think. I say go for it.
     
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  12. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    It's not too weird, but I would caution you in how you use them. If the whole world is full of these weird and wonderful creatures then no problems, but if not then I almost worry that they will pull focus if the main character is just passing through. It's a genuine problem to having those kinds of creatures around that are cool in and of themselves but who aren't really that important to the book but which make the reader go "Wow, I wish we could see what was going on with these guys!". So you do need to be careful, especially when you maybe drop hints that they have this complex society with other stuff but that the main character can't see and makes the reader want to know their deal, and then you just leave them behind and forget them.

    To put it in a modern context; imagine that you are writing a book set in the modern world. And when the characters go to New York, they fly there on dragons. And that instantly makes the reader focus on that, because it's an element that's clearly interesting and there must be a story to that, but the rest of the story is going somewhere else and the dragons aren't a part of that. No matter how good the rest of the book is, the reader wants to know what is going on here and the rest of the plot feels a bit of a let down now; they now want something from the book that the book isn't giving them. Obviously that's a bit exaggerated, but hopefully you take the point. Cool and interesting elements are good to have but you need to make sure they fit the theme and the world well enough that they don't make the reader want to hear about them more than the story you were telling them.
     
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  13. bananafish

    bananafish Member

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    I also have wolfdragons, housedragons, shrugcats, nighthags, trolls that teach at universities, and ghosts. Believe it or not they serve a purpose. All these creatures/humans have problems with each other and the story deals with that.
     
  14. bananafish

    bananafish Member

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    I am DYING! :superlaugh:

    And no, we'll be seeing these nuhs from an outsider.
     
  15. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    In which case you are fine then. If there's loads of weird stuff everywhere then having one that's maybe a bit weirder isn't a problem at all.

    FYI; maybe don't use the name "House[noun]". Maybe it's just me but it immediately makes me think of, well, a word that even I hesitate to drop into an otherwise fun thread. A word with a certain servile connotation relating to people of a certain race becoming domestic rather than outdoor slaves, you know? I can appreciate that it's probably more along the line of house cat, domestic scale dragons perhaps, but just reading that made me make a face and go "Danger, danger Will Robinson." (presumably while flailing my hooks).
     
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  16. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    The only danger with this scenario is targeting it to the readership you want.

    If you are writing a children's story for children, then you can stay in your 5-year-old mindset, and have tons of fun, same as you did then. It won't matter to a child if everything hangs together in terms of plausiblity. They'll just have fun with the idea. It might even scare them a bit, but it will be a child's type of fright.

    If you're writing for an older person, though, you'll need to come up with a 'world' in which this scenario would be possible. It will probably be slightly darker than your original conception. Nuhs will probably not all be the same, nor will they all be good or bad. There will be nuances in their behaviour, or they could even form a hive mind. I presume your human character will get to understand them to a certain extent. But maybe not totally? Maybe there will come a point where he will want to become one of them, and get a trunk? Or maybe he'll want to leave and they won't let him?

    In other words, don't try to tell a children's story to adults.
     
  17. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Comparativist Contributor

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    Nothing is too weird. It can be well-written weirdness or poorly-written weirdness, but that's a separate issue.
     
  18. bananafish

    bananafish Member

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    By "house" I meant a little dragon that lives in a house....it actually doesn't help them or work for them, it wreaks havoc...but I'll definitely keep that in mind.
     
  19. Pyra Sunny

    Pyra Sunny New Member

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    I agree with jannert on this. They sound all cute and happy, most likely because they came from the mind of a toddler. If it's a kid's book, don't worry about it. If it's an adult/teen book, they can be comic relief if necessary or a moment of peace among chaos.
     
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