Animal Main Characters

by Tikaani

Question: I have been working on a five series for awhile, and have been wondering is it too cheesy to have the main characters be dogs (huskies). It sometimes switches to a human character, but basically the story starts and is being told from a dog's point of view. So would this be cheesy? Should I give the point of view to the humans?

Answer: Whether it's cheesy or not depends a lot on the genre and what you do with it. There are many books written from the point of view of an animal. The Incredible Journey is just one example that comes to mind. However, most animal books are written for children.

If that's not your audience, you have to ask yourself whose story, whose dilemma interests you most and why.

If the dog's unique perspective is the most interesting and if the dog's ultimate decision is what determines the outcome of the story, you could make it work.

However, animal stories, especially pet stories, are tricky if you are writing for adults. It's easy to write with dog lovers in mind. The challenge, I think, is to write a story so interesting that even people who hate dogs will be intrigued by your animal's story and perspective.

It's probably more common to have an animal be the impact character than the main character. In other words, to have a story about how an animal impacted a person's life, seen through the eyes of the person. In such stories, the animal influences the main character to make a change in their life.

I suspect the reason is that most adults feel they can relate better to a human being's perspective, and that an animal's perspective is too limited. Real animals, so far as we know, don't worry about philosophical questions or ponder the meaning of their lives. That only happens in children's stories.

Comments for Animal Main Characters

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Jun 29, 2012
animal pov
by: Jesse

You might do well to check out a couple of books by Shirley Rouseau Murphy (Joe Grey mysteries) and Rita Mae Brown (Mrs Murphy mysteries).
Yes these are cat mysteries but they strongly use animal voices.
They may give you an idea on how to use your dog voices.
It is not cheesy to use animal voice, but you may limit your audience to died-in-the-wool animal lovers.
Hope this helps.
I think Carol Nelson Douglas did some midnight louie ones. Could be wrong about author.

Mar 23, 2013
Books to look up
by: Jehrum

"White Fang" and "Call of the Wild" by Jack London are very good books to check out if you are writing a story from the pov of a dog, as Jack London does this very well in these books. They are also not strictly children books, which can give you some good insight if that's not your target audience.

Apr 12, 2014
by: Ananymous

i personally love these type of stories, like the Warriors series. I would be in depth, descriptive, stuff of that sort, and not all animal books are for kids.

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