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Description from an animals Perspective

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Old 11-18-2009, 02:55 PM
Tobias (Offline)
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Default Description from an animals Perspective


So I was writing another fantasy story a while back, and tried out an interesting technique. I described a man with two shining swords, but from the perspective of a monkey:

" A cacophony of panicked noises echoed throughout the jungle, triggering the hurried scuttling of unknown creatures hidden within the undergrowth. The animals all watched, either for prey or for predators. The monkeys spotted a particularly fearsome predator an alien looking invader on two feet carrying two shiny sticks. With their natural agility, they swung through the vines and creepers in the opposite direction of the predator in an orgy of screaming and screeching."

What do you guys think of that specific technique? do you think it sounds ridiculous, or is it effective? I personally like it but some that I've asked don't.

Any other notes, lines, paragraphs etc along the same subject (from the perspective of an animal / insect / non-human).

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Old 11-18-2009, 03:05 PM
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It's an interesting idea, and you made me want to try to write a whole story from an animal's perspective. Thanks, dude.

Your description is good, but I would have wanted it longer. You barely started to describe the swords, and not the man. It's kinda like describing a Ferrari as "It's shiny, blood red in color and have nice wheels."
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Old 11-18-2009, 03:11 PM
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Haha np.

That's the point though! the monkeys see the swords as nothing other than "shiny sticks". They can't compare it to anything else - it's simplified. Albeit that is a part of that specific story, and I do go on a bit more but that's the description from the monkeys view. Later in the story though I do describe the warrior from a omniscient narrator's point of view.
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Old 11-18-2009, 03:24 PM
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I understand what you mean, and I love the idea. But why stop with the swords? Why not describe the man, the armor and things like that too? If the monkey had never seen a man before, how would it describe what it saw?
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Old 11-18-2009, 03:28 PM
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He doesn't necessarily have armor on at the moment. The monkeys just see a moving, large creature and feel threatened by it - I thought short and sweet was good :P
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Old 11-18-2009, 03:30 PM
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If I may ask, how big is the monkey? If it's a small monkey the size of your arm, pretty much anything is "large". The thing it saw can be anything from a human to elephant. If it was a gorilla on the other hand, a human would be small.
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Old 11-18-2009, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ChickenViking View Post
If I may ask, how big is the monkey? If it's a small monkey the size of your arm, pretty much anything is "large". The thing it saw can be anything from a human to elephant. If it was a gorilla on the other hand, a human would be small.
Just a bunch of small monkeys :P
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Old 11-19-2009, 01:08 AM
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So how do they react to a huge creature like a human? Maybe it's just me, but I would be interested in reading that.
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Old 11-19-2009, 01:12 AM
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I think that short description works well, actually. That's what they see--at first. Seems like they're some distance away from the approaching man. As they near him (swinging through the trees), more description could be dropped in, simplified description, like you have with the "two shiny sticks."

Not a whole lot needs to be put in to create a picture in the reader's mind, just the right words in the right amounts--key words, if you will. In the description you have, the word "alien" and the phrase "on two feet" are strong hints to the reader that a) the monkeys haven't ever seen this type of what they assume is a predator and, b) it's human (for the reader's benefit).

So, sure, I think it works. But adding in more bits, in the same amount as your present description as the story goes along, will enhance it. And don't forget, animals have stronger other senses than we humans have. Smell. Taste. Hearing. Many of them don't rely on sight as heavily as we do, so adding in other sensory descriptions will help to "seat" the reader into the monkeys' brains.

Eww. Monkey brains.
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:22 AM
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Don't care for the use of the word cacaphony. It feels out of place with the rest of your short piece. Maybe that's just me. Did like the idea and tone.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:23 PM
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I think you need to write more....
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:21 PM
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I love the concept!

I don't know, but I feel like the word choice wasn't always the best. Even though you wrote just a snippet, it was jammed packed with stuff. I wish you would have explored the man more. Perhaps his clothes, or physical appearance..

Also I think it would be better if you used the mentality of the monkeys. At first glance it could be anything observing the man. (Anthing that's never seen a man before that is.) I feel like it would be more effective if you had the monkeys play on the similarities between humans and monkeys. Perhaps they thought he was a mutant monkey?

Monkeys seem curious. Have them make conclusions about what they see based on what you would believe a monkey's description would be. The monkeys noticed the sword, but would that really be the first thing they notice? We know it's a weapon and something to be feared, but would they?

I think if you wrote more, it would be more easier to comment on.
I would like to write something from an insects P.O.V.
All I can think about is The Metamorphosis :P
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