Using anthropomorphic characters, good or bad?
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  1. #1
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    Using anthropomorphic characters, good or bad?

    I have been creating a story for quite some time now, the world building aspect being something I started about 4 years ago after watching a small youtube series (its name escapes me at the moment.) While creating the world's cultures and people within it, I rediscovered the book series redwall, and was immediately inspired by its artwork to have anthropomorphic characters added in. I had already been thinking about it, as I grew up watching Disney movies, reading Aesop's fables as well as books such as Narnia.
    I know that done poorly it is pretty cringy, and the furries have seemed to give readers negative preconceived notions as to what to expect when picking up a book with said characters.

    I guess my question is as follows:
    Are using these style of characters good or bad?
    Or, I guess a better question is, what are their pros and cons?

  2. #2
    Member Moonbeast32's Avatar
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    anthropomorphism means to add human traits and qualities to non human objects. it doesn't just apply to animals. Sometimes anthropomorphic characters are functionally indistinguishable from human characters, and other times, their non-human likeness is acknowledged as a character attribute. Take for example Disney's Robin Hood vs Disney's Zootopia. Zootopia was required to acknowledge that everyone was animals, because the character's species identity was important to the plot. Robin Hood on the other hand had a cast of animals for little more than an art style choice.

    So it depends on how important it is to the plot of your story, if you use anthropomorphic animals or not.

    So you're worried about it being "cringey?" You're self conscious about its relationship with furrys? I'll be honest, I take a little bit of issue with that. Right now, I feel like the Internet is way too carried away with identifying everything as either appropriate, or cringey. As a storyteller, you will do well to ignore what the conceited "cringe culture" has to say. I declare that we, as writers, ought to be above that nonsense, because we are the trendsetters. We are the ones that decide what makes for an appropriate story. If you write a story, does it have the potential to look or feel "furry?" yes. But if it is written well enough, I promise you, no one will care.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonbeast32 View Post
    anthropomorphism means to add human traits and qualities to non human objects. it doesn't just apply to animals. Sometimes anthropomorphic characters are functionally indistinguishable from human characters, and other times, their non-human likeness is acknowledged as a character attribute. Take for example Disney's Robin Hood vs Disney's Zootopia. Zootopia was required to acknowledge that everyone was animals, because the character's species identity was important to the plot. Robin Hood on the other hand had a cast of animals for little more than an art style choice.

    So it depends on how important it is to the plot of your story, if you use anthropomorphic animals or not.
    I guess my story would fit between both style choice with it giving more substance during different scenes in the book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonbeast32 View Post
    So you're worried about it being "cringey?" You're self conscious about its relationship with furrys? I'll be honest, I take a little bit of issue with that. Right now, I feel like the Internet is way too carried away with identifying everything as either appropriate, or cringey. As a storyteller, you will do well to ignore what the conceited "cringe culture" has to say. I declare that we, as writers, ought to be above that nonsense, because we are the trendsetters. We are the ones that decide what makes for an appropriate story. If you write a story, does it have the potential to look or feel "furry?" yes. But if it is written well enough, I promise you, no one will care.
    This is probably the one major weakness I have: A fear of writing something 'cringy', I guess it comes down to a fear of implementing the ideas erroneously leading to something that just doesnt read well at all.

  4. #4
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MjRearden View Post
    I have been creating a story for quite some time now, the world building aspect being something I started about 4 years ago after watching a small youtube series (its name escapes me at the moment.) While creating the world's cultures and people within it, I rediscovered the book series redwall, and was immediately inspired by its artwork to have anthropomorphic characters added in. I had already been thinking about it, as I grew up watching Disney movies, reading Aesop's fables as well as books such as Narnia.
    I know that done poorly it is pretty cringy, and the furries have seemed to give readers negative preconceived notions as to what to expect when picking up a book with said characters.

    I guess my question is as follows:
    Are using these style of characters good or bad?
    Or, I guess a better question is, what are their pros and cons?
    Some of my favourite anthropomorphic characters are:
    Pantalaimon, Iorek Byrnisson, Stelmaria, the Golden Monkey, oh gosh every daemon from His Dark Materials (and latterly The Book of Dust) by Philip Pullman
    Nighteyes from The Farseer Trilogy
    Butterfly from The Last Unicorn

    These rank among some of my favourite characters in lit and film so it's not so much a case of "are they good or bad" as it is "how well can you write them?". Pros - you can get a truly unique, different voice from such a character. Cons - the easy option is to default to cute. George Lucas, Oy the billy-bumbler, I'm looking at you. I suppose anthropomorphism is a broad spectrum. Furries may occupy one small point on that spectrum; daemons another; and so on; and none of these never need intersect. It's a pretty big palette.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moonbeast32 View Post

    So you're worried about it being "cringey?" You're self conscious about its relationship with furrys? I'll be honest, I take a little bit of issue with that. Right now, I feel like the Internet is way too carried away with identifying everything as either appropriate, or cringey. As a storyteller, you will do well to ignore what the conceited "cringe culture" has to say. I declare that we, as writers, ought to be above that nonsense, because we are the trendsetters. We are the ones that decide what makes for an appropriate story. If you write a story, does it have the potential to look or feel "furry?" yes. But if it is written well enough, I promise you, no one will care.
    And if it's done badly ... cringe!




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  5. #5
    Global Moderator H.Brown's Avatar
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    If done well this can be a great charter and plot device, and many famous writers have done just this. terry Pratchett uses anthopomorphic chacters, such as the Hogfather that is about the creation of anthropomorphic characters to tel a funny story. You can enter different elements into the plot by introducing a new character if that helps move the plot along. You would have to think out the characters and what they would represent, also explain how these beings came to be.

    I would suggest reading the Hogfather and other such books that use this technique. I hope that this helps.
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  6. #6
    There is no good or bad. There's only less or more effective, in terms of story. Ask, say, Richard Adams. Or Cordwainer Smith.





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  7. #7
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    Thanks guys! I decided to roll with it, should have the opening posted up here in a bit for critique

  8. #8
    In the world of writing, whatever works...works.
    If Rowling can make the world wanna live in Hogwarts, then talking animals should be an easy sell.
    Just be sure to develop them as much as you do your human characters.
    Make them real, make them fascinating, make them fun.

  9. #9
    Well, you're using the right word :

    an·thro·po·mor·phism /anTHrp môrfizm/ noun the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.
    I see you've already decided to keep going. That's good!

    No matter what we write, it can be good or bad. It's rarely a bad idea or concept. The problem generally lies in the execution, which is usually able to be corrected.

    My advice on feedback.

    1.) Finish the work first.
    Once you have it done you're more likely to make corrections than abandon the project.

    2.) Get to know your advisors.

    3.) Remember that you are the final authority on your own work.

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