The last few weeks have been pretty much and ongoing series of sitting around while watching contractors for nights on end. With that being said there is quite a bit that I am doing. As of late, I’ve been pouring a chunk of my creative time in expanding and working on the background story for my gaming community, The BlackSky. After that I spent time working on the racial profile for the Faeru from Land of the Stars; and to be honest I’m realizing that I need some sort of outlet.
ENTER THE CAT NAME DEBATE
Warning this an utterly chaotic discussion of what I do when I am bored.
Pets and more Pets
I have a pug named, Bookem. A strange little creature who spends about seventy-five percent of his time snuggled on a blanket somewhere in the world and sleeping. He snores like a motor bike, and he snorgles (basically a snort and a weird gurgling sound when he wants attention. A bit like a pig). I wonder sometimes if this poor creature has any wolf in him, then I realize that pugs are the evolutionary end route for dogs once all the lupus is gone from the canis.
Now I am bringing up my pet and future pets in this blog, because I wanted to discuss something that influences my writing and that is the animals I create to be companions to my characters. My family has a dog, named Napoleon, a small brown forty pound reservation mutt my sister saved a few years ago. He has the snout of a blue healer, the body of a lunging terrier, and a set of weird little goat legs. Essentially, he’s the mister potato-head-dog, and he is Bookem’s best friend ever. Seriously, I’ve seen the pug run off after the other dog just to bite at his heels for fun (the only form of fetch Bookem ever places, ever). So when I worked on Arrow Child, and my grand mother said that the family should have a dog. Enter Hermes, the faithful Amazonian Mastiff who as a puppy is known simply as fluff ball.
Animals are emotional connections
Many of us have a cat (if you are on the internet and a geek you likely have a cat), and or a dog. Or perhaps a fish or a lizard (I know some people have ferrets, pigs etc). We feel connections to these animals, so I guess in some ways I found it strange that when my grand mother suggested the Alkaiels get a dog I was curious why I had not thought about it. I mean in movies who do we usually root for to not be hurt? The Dog right? I mean, in Independence Day when the dog rushes out of the fire toward I always cheer on the dog. My sister, still cannot to do this day watch the death of the dog in I am Legend for the simple fact the dog dies.
Humans are empathically connect to our pets. So it makes sense then that we root for the small furry animals that live in our lives (except for Furbies, they are the spawn of evil). Strange enough I spent a week research dog breeds when I invented the Amazonian Mastiff (seriously I did), and even when I created pets for the Fae in Altear, I made up things people still now gravitate to. Altear has weird pets like the large tamed feline Pards, or the small elemental fox-like Cadno. Both of which are quite evident in the story especially since a Cadno can dream-walk into your head to demand food.
In Loakz’ala there are Dholes (a real life small dog) which people have tamed, and the weird little Glider felines (stupidly named Gliders) which people keep as pets. No matter what society I create, there is eventally some kind of animal companion that jumps around with it.
Companions are Totemic
Sometimes the animals in a group are totemic in nature. The Dire Wolves of House Stark are quite evident not only in how the Stark Children all have Dire Wolves, but also in the name given to forces (the Wolves) of Rob Stark’s army (The Young Wolf was his nickname). Not only are animals are companions they are our symbols and our ideologies. America has its bald eagles, and Canada has the Beaver (go beavers)! We see a sense of pride in these animals and their deaths are often considered sacrilege, and of serious note.
So when it comes time to design the non-Sapient species of the Land in the Stars, I will probably spend a while thinking about the animals that dwell on the various planets. Some are likely to be simple like a horse ish creature, where others will be complex. These animals and their appearance will then very likely translate into terminology and emblems used by the people of their planets. Finally, I will need to consider how this things are named, and how they interact with their universe. Finally, why then did these animals get chosen as the heraldry of various political or bloodline based factions in the world.