A terrific guest post by Jaq D Hawkins on anthropomorphizing non-human characters. Hop over to the The Story Reading Ape and read the full article ~ very detailed and enlightening 🙂
Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror writers have a few things in common, but I want to address just one: Non-human characters. Whether your character is an elf, an alien or the creature from the black lagoon, we, as humans, have a tendency to anthropomorphise these non-humans and that can rob them of their unique attributes that make them interesting characters for your story.
To make an interesting non-human, the writer has to break away from assumptions and values that would be applied to human characters. Aspects of a non-human character’s behaviour would be determined by environment, back story and level of development.
For example, in the movie Enemy Mine with Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett, Jr., the alien creature has distinctive eating habits and survival mechanisms that differ from the human character, including reproducing asexually. Another, more diverse example is the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien. The…
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