How to Write A Story With Animals As Characters

We all recognize a great animal character when we see one (Simba, Scooby Doo, the Cheshire Cat, Patrick Star, and many others), but what makes them so entertaining and, at times, relatable? It is entirely dependent on how they were written. Great animal characters are great because they, like human characters, have engaging personalities, unique quirks, and genuine motivations! We will show you how to create an animal character for your story with all these characteristics. To get started, follow the steps below!

Consider gender. Knowing what genre your book belongs to, whether sci-fi, mystery, drama, or something else, is essential when creating an animal character for your story. While the characters do not have to fit the exact mold of this genre, it may feel out of place or odd if, for example, your pet is a space fish.

  • Consider your character's unique traits, depending on gender. For example, if your story contains many fight scenes, your pet should have legs to hold its weapon. As a result, a snake is not a good choice, but a dog or a cat could work well.
  • You might even want to research the types of animals that were popular or present at the time if you're writing historical fiction. For example, a dinosaur might make sense if you're writing about the Jurassic period, but if your story is set in the future, T-Rex seems out of place unless you have a time-traveling dinosaur!

Understand your audience. It is equally important to understand your audience as it is to consider the genre of your story. What works for one audience, say, adults, may not work for another, say, children.

  • Your target audience should be involved in selecting potential designs and details. Please keep it simple enough for the kids to understand. Unless you're targeting an adult audience, you don't need to include a highly nuanced character.

Read other stories featuring animal characters. While you should never copy or plagiarize other people's work, it can be beneficial to read other people's work and try to figure out whether or not that character works. This will ultimately aid you in the creation of your character.

  • Try The Jungle Book, Watership Down, Charlotte's Web, The Tale of Despereaux, The Chronicles of Narnia series, Bunnicula, or another animal story.
  • As you read the story, consider whether this character works. Do they appear genuine to me? What is your reasoning?

Determine your character's role. It is critical to determine whether your animal character is your story's hero or sidekick. This will allow you to better define and shape the animal in the future.

  • Consider the characteristics that define an animal in that role. Then, consider how their personality will be shaped if they are the sidekicks but still save the day for the hero.
  • Consider whether your animal character will live with other animals (such as Warrior Cats) or work alongside humans (think Black Beauty). If your character, for example, lives independently of humans, they may be able to walk, talk, and exhibit other human-like characteristics. However, if they existed in a human world, their role would be very different because they would still have animal characteristics and would be unable to speak or wear clothes unless they were Stuart Little!

Consider the personality of the character. Consider how the character's personality would be affected by their role. Is your protagonist's personality larger than life because she is the hero? Are they the quiet but courageous sidekicks?

  • Write words that describe the personality of your character. This will be useful when introducing them to your audience, but it could also be included in their name.
  • Choose personality traits that are commonly associated with this animal type. For example, you can make your cat character aloof and independent because cats are typically aloof and independent.

Could you give them a story? A character, like their goals and dreams, must have a past. It helps define who they are today and provides the audience with something to empathize/sympathize with.

  • You are not required to dwell on the character's past. Bambi is an excellent example. Finally, his tragic past shaped him into the confident and courageous leader he is today. Her past, however, was not necessarily the opening theme.
  • Above all, the fictional characters you create should appear to readers as accurate, living beings.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.

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