Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Reality, Meet Fiction: Humans and Animals


People place different values on various animals in different cultures. For example, Hindus hold cows as sacred. Other groups, such as Jews and Muslims, believe that pigs and certain other animals are "unclean" and should not be touched or consumed.

Some cultures consume horses, guinea pigs, or dogs, but people in other cultures that have these animals as pets might find this odd or even offensive.

Even the idea of pets and working animals varies between cultures. Some people rely heavily on animals for working fields, herding other animals, or other duties, while others might see the same animal as a source of company.

Lady, my first dog. She's gotten a bit more gray and she's
half blind, but she still knows where the treats are!


The fictional opportunities presented by this topic are nearly limitless. Do you have "normal" animals in your world? Or are there different creatures than what exist on Earth?

What do different cultures use these animals for? Food? Fiber? Work? Milk? Companionship? Each character will attach different values/uses to individual animals or whole species. How can you use these different values to bring conflict to the story?

What dangers does having/not having an animal pose? How can an animal's skills be used to benefit your characters?

What laws are associated with animals? Are there quarantine rules? Are only certain social classes permitted to own certain types of animals? Could coming into contact with other animals lower your character's social status?

How do animals relate to one another? Predator/prey? If so, are there conflicts between animals?

What are thoughts on keeping animals in captivity? Do you have zoos? Do people object to zoos on a moral basis?

How intelligent are your fictional animals? Do they have certain powers or abilities that make them useful? What makes an animal socially acceptable? Are some revered for abilities they have?

As always, I hope that provided you with some good food for thought. Do you have any pets or favorite animals?

Starting tomorrow, I will be taking a much needed vacation, so I will be slow to respond to comments and emails. Posting will continue as normal and I would still love to hear from you!


  1. This is really good. I hadn't thought too much about animals with respect to my story world, but they are a really important detail to include. Thank you for sharing! :) Also, your dog is really cute. *nods*

    1. I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for the comment! (Sorry for the slow response).


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