January 24th, 2013

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Writing Excuses 8.3: Pets

Writing Excuses 8.3: Pets

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2013/01/21/writing-excuses-8-3-pets/

Key Points: Animals in your fiction should be more than just distractions. They should be characters, even if they are non-sentient. They need personalities! Beware cliche, stereotype animals. Make them a sounding board, a foil. Be careful of jargon. What is the role in society of the animals? All animals are not pets! Beast of burden. Raise the stakes by putting the pet in jeopardy. Early warning system. Horses are not bicycles or motorcycles. Give them names and personalities. Beware anthropomorphizing.
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[Howard] Okay. Your writing prompt. Give us an alien who has some sort of a companion animal that is very, very important to the alien's lifestyle. Maybe it's a beast of burden, maybe it's as I suggested a poison detector, food taster, whatever. Have a human interacting with the alien, talking about, or wondering why this animal is so important.

[Brandon] All right.
[Mary] I know we just gave the writing prompt, but... I should have brought this up sooner. Don't... Be careful about anthropomorphizing.
[Brandon] Yeah. We should've talked about that. Don't make them too human.
[Howard] The thing that I would say about anthropomorphizing is it's okay to have the character anthropomorphize, but don't you, the author, anthropomorphize.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
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