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Talking animals

Yaron P

What do you know about talking animal , like if I am writing a book with a talking beast like a Fenrir how do I make it look normal?
It's all about the reactions of the characters around it. If a character considers something normal, then so will the reader. Watership Down is a tale of talking rabbits. The characters (which are all rabbits) find this completely normal. As such, the reader just goes along with it.

Also, introduce it more towards the beginning of the book. If a talking Fenrir suddenly shows up at the story's climax and fixes everything, then the reader will feel surprised and cheated. However, at the start of a book the reader is still discovering your world. If there they learn that Fenrir talk, then they'll just assume it's part of your world.

Ned Marcus

In many stories, mine included, only certain people can speak to animals or a particular animal. The other way is like in Narnia where all animals can talk to everybody. Depends what you want to do.


What do you know about talking animal , like if I am writing a book with a talking beast like a Fenrir how do I make it look normal?
Readers accept demons in fiction as normal.

You make it normal by not treating it as something special. If characters accept it as normal, so will the readers.


I once had the experience in a run-down neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, of seeing a pack of feral dogs (escaped or abandoned pets) trotting down the middle of the street, completely oblivious to the humans there. As I watched, I realized that a complex conversation was going on between them, composed of subtle shifts of attitude and posture, eye contact, precise movements of tail and so forth. The leader, a large mongrel of indeterminate breed made a precise jerk of his muzzle whereupon the whole pack turned left and disappeared down an alley.

You might try looking at wildlife films to see this for yourself. Trying to imagine how animals might actually communicate is an interesting challenge.

Here's the opening of a story I did a couple of years back:

The pack trotted confidently along a narrow alleyway. There were eight of them, large dogs of indeterminate breed, and this was their territory, an area of connecting streets and parkland they had claimed for their own. None of the solitary predators, the tigers and mountain lions which had begun to invade the cities, would have dared cross the invisible scent barriers that they had left at its borders.

The leader was a big male whose stiff ruff proclaimed his wolf ancestry and whose face bore the scars of a difficult early life. By his side trotted the alpha female, lean and no less savage and behind them in loose formation came the rest of the pack.

The alley gave out onto a broad thoroughfare where all eight stopped short at the sight of two motionless figures standing in the middle of the street away to the left. Hackles were raised and low growl came from the youngest member whose duty it was to warn of intruders. An impatient motion from the leader silenced him and all tested the air for scent. One of the figures was a dog even larger than the leader while the other...only the leader was old enough to remember the smell of the upright creature which stood there. His lip raised in an involuntary snarl of hate and the pack around him tensed, waiting for the signal to attack. But the leader's memories were of pain and hunger and a deadly fear beaten into him in early puppy-hood and after a moment he gave a dismissive jerk of his muzzle and led the pack away to the right.