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Animals that, as a writer, you avoid:

So I'm working on this thing involving anthropomorphs, and came to the realization that there are just some animals that I think are too gimmicky (as in, they appear way too often in fiction and would feel utterly cliche) to ever use in my writing. Is this just me, or do other writers out there have aversions for certain species - even if you have a world populated by nothing but animals and beastmen?

Also, if you do have a particular animal that you hate to see in fiction, what animal is it and why?

The two animals that will never appear in my stories are Pandas and Dragons. I'm just so sick of seeing dragons in every dang story ever, and pandas are just stupid-looking to me (and are also in the media way too often to be interesting).
 
 2 USAF713, Wed, 30th Nov '11 7:51:24 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
We need... well, no, we don't really need more stories about anthropomorphic animals, unless they're going to stop wanking over the furry aspect and have good plotting and characterization and generally not be irritating.

However, I'd like to see more anthropomorphized non-cute animals. Specifically, insects. The example I'm thinking of is James and the Giant Peach, which I loved as a kid and which did an awesome job of making the insect characters likeable and sympathetic. I mean, come on, we almost never see anthro insects, because "ew, creepy."

Bullshit, I say.

Another thing is, let's try a variety of biospheres. Anthro seems to come in three varieties: the jungle animals, cute forest animals, or sea animals.

Why can't we have a setting, say, in the desert, with lizards and scorpions and shit? Or, hell, look at Chicken Run. That was a great movie (I think, anyhow), and it only had chickens (well... and two dogs).

Basically, what I would say is, if you start out with a furry plot and go "oh, yeah, I loved it when X and Y and Z did this!", scrap it, start over, and keep doing that until you get something where you honestly can't think of more than one example of it being done before. Because really, furry fiction seems to have an abnormal rate of recycled setting/premise going on, compared to other fiction. The only thing I can think of where the genre has the same level of non-originality is Humongous Mecha anime...
I am now known as Flyboy.
 3 Dec, Wed, 30th Nov '11 8:00:45 PM from The Dance Floor
Stayin' Alive
Honestly, not really. I feel a bit weary of really common animals like cats and dogs, because their personalities so often get anthropomorphized for no good reason, but that's just an incentive to do them more realistically.

If I ever make a webcomic, though...

Well, let me put it this way — when making a comic for school, I avoided drawing horses by having everyone ride giant rabbits. I called them Beauxnées.

edited 30th Nov '11 8:16:43 PM by Dec

Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit
Deviantart.
[up][up]I'm not trying to do a "furrie" thing though, its more like the world is based off of Chinese folk-tales. It does include crickets and praying mantises, though, so you might appreciate it!

[up]At first I laughed at the pun...but then I cried because I had Dark Crystal flashbacks:

edited 30th Nov '11 8:10:25 PM by MyGodItsFullofStars

 
 5 nrjxll, Wed, 30th Nov '11 8:16:37 PM Relationship Status: Not war
This is a weird topic, but okay...

I have basically no interest in writing anthropomorphic animals. The closest I'll ever get is having aliens and/or fantasy "races" that are based off of animals to a certain degree (though not too much, as the Intelligent Gerbil is a rather stupid trope), and the uplifted chimpanzees that play a minor role in my comics. So that's really besides the point.

However, there are certain points I do follow. I tend to have a lot of reptilian races, simply because I want to avert Reptiles Are Abhorrent. I also use intelligent insectoids, but I will never, ever write a Giant Spider (intelligent or otherwise): I am terrified of spiders, and in the spectacularly unlikely event that any of my works are ever made into some kind of movie, I want to be able to watch it, which would not be the case if it featured a giant spider.

Also: should I ever write a catgirl, may God strike me dead.

Rabid Fujoshi
[up][up]WTF is that? Its like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind puppet style.

Anyway, anthropomorphic animals? I don't really have them but I have read a lot of urban fantasies with wereanimals and written a fanfic or two on them, so...I'll share my thoughts there.

Wolves and big cats are kind of ridiculously overused. And there aren't actually that many of them and they don't have all that many coat colors so when you want every character to look different you have to start going into the more obscure types and species and then you start sounding like you're trying to make such a character "uber-special". It's kind of annoying, really. But when it comes down to it, if I said 'this person is a were-capybara' most people wouldn't know what I was talking about so you're really kind of stuck, struggling to keep a balance between animals that are familiar and ones that haven't already been used to death. And as I said the thing with novelty is looking like you're singling them out as special. I think in a setting where they were all animals it wouldn't be as bad, but still.

edited 30th Nov '11 8:28:25 PM by NoirGrimoir

SPATULA, Supporters of Page Altering To Urgently Lead to Amelioration (supports not going through TRS for tweaks and minor improvements.)
[up][up]I hate spiders too, but that's probably why I try to include them in my stories. It's like how Bat Man hates bats, but wants to tame his fears so he embraces the motiff.

Yes, I just compared myself to bats. Deal with it.

[up]Dark Crystal, brother (or is it sister?). Scared the crap out of me when I was younger. My mom let me watch it because it was Jim Henson and she didn't pay much attention beyond who made it and that it involved puppets. I had her watch the show years later, and she apologized to me for being such a neglectful mother.

I love it though, even if it is the scariest "kids" movie ever made. They are making a sequel too, cannot wait!

The best part? Those landstrider things are the most benign creatures in the entire movie. Check out the antagonists:

edited 30th Nov '11 8:32:12 PM by MyGodItsFullofStars

 
 8 Dec, Wed, 30th Nov '11 8:36:54 PM from The Dance Floor
Stayin' Alive
^^^^ Oh God, I completely forgot about those things! I haven't seen that movie in forever. I really need to rent it or something.

Now, animals as inspiration for fantasy races… I imagine I won't be doing cat people or bird people anytime soon. The former because Cat Girls and the negative connotations that has already, and the latter because the dynamics of them flying would drive me literally insane.
Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit
Deviantart.
[up]Heh, one more to help you sleep at night. Here's fizzgig, kids!:

And yes, that is basically supposed to be a pomeranian.
 
 10 Noir Grimoir, Wed, 30th Nov '11 8:52:38 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
[up][up]That scene was weirdly familiar, but I don't remember anything about this movie whatsoever. Maybe I saw it once and repressed the experience entirely.

(And yes, I'm a girl)
SPATULA, Supporters of Page Altering To Urgently Lead to Amelioration (supports not going through TRS for tweaks and minor improvements.)
 11 Vorpy, Wed, 30th Nov '11 9:10:26 PM from from from from from from
Unstoppable Sex Goddess
Chimera Hybrids. Man Lion Goat Serpents.
If the amount of rape that is acceptable to you is not zero, and you are not Pyramid Head, you need to seriously rethink your life.
 12 Yuri Strike, Wed, 30th Nov '11 9:16:39 PM from I'm telling nobody!
熊熊熊熊!
I'd love to see settings featuring Devonian seas. The age of fish has always fascinated me.

Sadly, there are none.

And speaking of fish, why are sharks seen as the only predatorious ones? Again, thanks to stupid Hollywood biology for causing such misunderstandings.

Chinese Sturgeon? European Sturgeon? Pirarucu? Hydrocynus Goliath? Northem Sheatfish? Irritate them and you'll be snapped in half.
╮(╯_╰)╭
[up]It's not just sharks, there's also piranha and sharktopus.

I once had an idea for a sci-fi story involving humans from the not-too-distant future discovering a wormhole on the Moon that led to an alternate Earth in the Devonian era. They turned it into a beach resort. It was a fun World Building exercise, but it had Aquaman's Dilemna - there wasn't much of a reason for the humans to brave the seas on a regular basis except to fish (which they typically did on large ships more than capable of defending themselves against the placoderms), so they avoided the nastier of the devonian fishes and sea scorpions.

It's one of those stories that I keep "in the files", in case I ever decide to revisit it, but I probably won't because people would claim I'm just doing a Sea Quest + Terra Nova rip off. Oh well.

 
 14 annebeeche, Wed, 30th Nov '11 9:43:48 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
Screw you pandas are awesome.

As for the actual topic at hand I can't think of any animals that I actively avoid writing about, and I don't see why it should matter unless you're placing an animal ridiculously out of habitat or something like a camel in Sweden.
Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
 15 nrjxll, Wed, 30th Nov '11 9:48:19 PM Relationship Status: Not war
I imagine I won't be doing cat people or bird people anytime soon. The former because Cat Girls and the negative connotations that has already, and the latter because the dynamics of them flying would drive me literally insane.

Personally, I had relatively little trouble with the avian aliens in my comics, since 1) this wasn't fantasy, so I didn't have to have them come from an Earthlike world (giant flyers are much easier to do with low gravity), 2) I didn't bog myself down by trying to make them "humanoid" in any meaningful sense, and 3) the art style meant that I could have most of the real physical stuff take a back seat anyway.

 16 Yuri Strike, Wed, 30th Nov '11 9:49:04 PM from I'm telling nobody!
熊熊熊熊!
Sounds like beach tycoon, albeit more dangerous. Do the fishes evolve in an alternate route?

Maybe you can work on it later...When people have forgotten about Terra Nova.

And you know what? I hate pandas.
╮(╯_╰)╭
 17 nrjxll, Wed, 30th Nov '11 9:52:41 PM Relationship Status: Not war
 18 Yuri Strike, Wed, 30th Nov '11 9:53:23 PM from I'm telling nobody!
熊熊熊熊!
Personally, I think the zora from the Legend of Zelda series are the best humanoid fish around.

Not to mention their cute, tadpole-like babies!
╮(╯_╰)╭
[up][up][up]It actually turns out to be somewhat similar to what happened to our own planet - overfishing causes a mass extinction at the very end of the Devonian. There's also some implication that the tests scientists did to determine if it was our own past or an alternate universe might have been wrong (they assumed that it was an alternate universe because they tested isotopes from the planet and found that their half-life didn't match up with the ones from our Earth, but they failed to take into account that the expansion of the universe could have effected half-life of radioactive materials), so it may be a stable time loop in which the late Devonian extinction (still unexplained; we think it was an asteroid, not positive though) was actually caused by humans messing with the timeline.
 
 20 Yuri Strike, Wed, 30th Nov '11 11:10:57 PM from I'm telling nobody!
熊熊熊熊!
Then I would like to see the humans get their ass kicked (probably snapped apart) by the end of the story.

What makes a green aesope even better? Nature's wrath!
╮(╯_╰)╭
Ecce Homo Superior
I don't tend to have an awful lot of animals in my writing (except the occasional pet cat or dog, city girl that I am) and they play no big role in the story, so I can't really answer the question.

But I'm absolutely sick of dragons. Some writers have done cool things with them (Tolkien comes to mind), but I'm positive I'll never write a story with a dragon in it.
(it's David Bowie)
Polite smartass.
I don't have any aversion to the furry/talking animal/Petting Zoo People phenomenon, but I do try to avoid wolves in my stories because they're so popular and heavily romanticized these days. Dragons are another one that's very, very hard to pull off, just because so many authors feel the need to stuff them into any fantasy story they can get their mitts on. I'm not saying that it's impossible to write a good story with any of these animals, just that it would be very difficult to stand out from the crowd with wolves or dragons alone as your hook.

My favorites are hyenas and any of the non-cute invertebrates. It's a shame we have so many stories about mundane cats and dogs, but virtually none about animals that can carry ten times their weight or live 17 years without food.

edited 1st Dec '11 6:18:49 AM by Takwin

I've returned from the depths to continue politely irritating the good people of TV Tropes.(◕‿◕✿)
read
I don't write any animals. At all.

A character has two pets, and they show up occasionally, but they are largely accessories.
oddly
 24 nekomoon 14, Thu, 1st Dec '11 2:34:42 PM from Oakland, CA
I avoid having bears, canines, foxes and felines as primary characters. I feature mollusks and arthropods, birds (not raptors), and fish more than mammals, reptiles or amphibians.

I also have plant people and other humanoid elementals.

And I NEVER use stereotypes to depict them. I do a lot of research about animal behaviors so I can make them more animal than humanoid.
Winter is coming.
The Darkest Timeline
Amoebas, unless you consider them protists rather than animals. That's not from personal experience, just a general thought. Another thought would be that if you have multiple species, make all of the characters intentionally stereotypical except one who acts so out of character that (s)he makes readers angry.

Some ideas:

Generous pig

Hippie dragon

Neglectful Mother Bear

Bee queen with only 1 child

Bee people who hate their queen

Superintelligent goldfish

Totally Radical sloth

Stoner dolphin

Blissfully ignorant cat vs. Stoic dog

Depressed/disinterested monkey

edited 1st Dec '11 2:51:18 PM by Jergling

Total posts: 56
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