|Drama: January 13, 2021 Issue [#10563]|
This week: Be Kind To Your Fictional Pets Edited by: Kittiara
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Who is your favourite fictional animal? What do you like about them? Animals can be excellent characters. Just remember, the inclusion of an animal companion can further a storyline without requiring a shock factor.
This week's Drama Newsletter is all about the furry, the feathery, the finny and the scaly.
When I was a little girl, I stereotypically went through a period of time when I loved horses. My room was covered in posters of horses and ponies and I read horse-related fiction like there was no tomorrow. Most of those stories were quite dramatic, but there was always a happy ending for both the rider and the horse, which was a must for me.
There is a connection between humans and other animals, and this connection can be used to great effect in the drama genre. Who hasn't watched Bambi, or The Lion King, or How to Train Your Dragon? In The Hunger Games, a scruffy cat is a constant throughout the trilogy and eventually triggers the healing process of the main character. In Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series, a wolf, a horse and a lion feature in some of the most touching, tear-inducing scenes, and they are crucial to the development of both character and story.
I love animals. I love a good book and a good movie. In the last few years, though, I have avoided live-action movies with animals like the plague. When I see such a movie advertised, I think "Oh, the cat/dog/horse/other species is going to suffer and/or die", because it's become all too predictable. The film industry counts on that emotional connection and thinks that the shock factor makes for a good story. It's something I'd rather not watch.
Not that it's a new thing. Bambi does not have an easy time of it, after all. I remember watching Ben - a story about a boy and a rat - when I was younger and I could not stop crying for a good while afterwards. It's just that I don't particularly enjoy the suffering, and that I can relate all too well to the loss, plus I think that for a story with animals to be effective, there is no need for either.
A dog can still win over a kid in need of a friend, and faithfully assist in character development without having to be sacrificed. The purr of a cat can soothe even the saddest character.
There are many clever ways in which an animal can be used to enhance a story. The animal in question does not need to be a dog or a cat or one of those classically seen as a companion, either. There are so many species who can be used with a bit of creativity. How about bees, or stick insects, or mice, or puffer fish? Thinking about those creatures immediately puts to mind some uses in the drama genre.
For example, stick insects are great at blending in. It can be difficult to spot them. That is something a shy, withdrawn person might want to emulate, even if that doesn't necessarily do them any favours. Puffer fish are fish who are not that great at swimming - a bit of a setback when you have to live in water - but they have a great defense mechanism and they are poisonous to most predators. They can be an inspiration for someone who does not fit into their natural environment that well. Someone who has been hurt, and might wish to take revenge...All it takes for the effective use of animals in fiction is to learn about the species in question, and ideas will pop up.
I have had a peek at a couple of animated movies. They aren't always safe, as mentioned, but they are more likely to have a happy ending. Just don't fall for the word 'happy' in the title. Happy Feet definitely did not make me happy. I have enjoyed Zootopia, however, and The Secret Life of Pets was pretty cute. Not all is lost, fortunately.
I wish you lots of inspiration, possibly of the furry/feathery/scaly/finny type.
Some contests to inspire you:
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Wishing you a week filled with inspiration,
The Drama Newsletter Team
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