Here are 10 character writing prompts focused on furry, fun and talkative animals. One of the first books my mother ever read to me as a child was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which included many different talking animal characters. Many other childhood books I read included talking hippos, bears, birds and other animals with human characteristics. While it's easy to simply transpose a human character into animal form (giving you 990 choices aside from this section in this book alone), I thought that I would give you a few choices that tickled my fancy as far as animal characters were concerned. Combining a certain species with specific characteristics can work well thematically no matter what genre you're working on.
1. He was a rat through and through. Not only was he mean, spiteful and a slimy character, but he actually had the tail, ears and everything! He had a tough existence, trying to scavenge whatever trash he could find and bring it back to his family, but the fact that he was willing to lie and cheat to get it from the hands of others made him a bad egg to hang around with. Will this rat ever be able to reform his personality?
2. When Survivor wrote the song, "Eye of the Tiger," he took it literally. After all, his orange and black fur seemed to fit with what they were talking about, all he needed was a goal. The Jungle Heavyweight Championship fit the bill and he began cutting out of school early to train. He knew he'd be fighting bears and gorilla out there, but he figured by listening to the song all day, he'd have an advantage. What happens in the upcoming boxing tournament?
3. She loved flying through the air, which made it rough on her when her wing was damaged by a tree branch. She knew that she was an American symbol as an eagle, but only if she could fly majestically. She took up Eastern forms of healing like acupuncture with hopes of healing. She didn't believe in such nonsense, of course, but she was desperate to return to the skies. Will she learn something from her grounding?
4. She was extremely loving until you got on her bad side. Her brown fur kept her and her children warm when they huddled together during the winter, but if any of them ended up in trouble she was more than willing to bear down with her claws and teeth. The one she was angriest at was her husband, who had left them to fend for themselves years ago. Describe a situation in which she had to defend her cubs against the dangers of the outside world.
5. It can be a tough life sometimes when everyone views you as a disgusting, slimy bug. It turned out that this roach in particular had something of an identity crisis and was trying to distance himself from his brethren. He hoped that by making as many non-roach friends as possible, he might be able to move up in the world from one of the lowest of the low. What happens to him during his quest?
6. Living a life out in the middle of the ocean was a bit lonely sometimes, but there wasn't much choice out there for a cargo whale, now was there? He carried messages across the seas in his mouth from one coast to the other. He wondered silently why people didn't just send e-mail instead of keeping him away from his real passion, directing movies. Will he ever get out of his coast to coast shipping job and will he realize his dream?
7. In a world ruled by men, she was a bonobo chimpanzee, and ladies ruled the roost. Of all the fun-loving primates, she was the fairest of them all and enjoyed a life of luxury filled with gifts and simple pleasures. She had never known any sort of lack and as a result, she was a bit of a stuck up princess. Will her reign continue uninterrupted and what will happen when she loses some of her loving charm?
8. This green, prickly beast was completely indignant because she had been left off of Noah's Ark. She knew this must be some kind of mistake, because even though she had an appearance that was hardly appealing, she had many skills and knew she could make an impact in the new world. She knew her only chance to was to stow away onto the ark with her boyfriend. Is she successful in her journey and what are some of these special skills?
9. He loved eating more than anything else and one of the best sources for food he ever found was garbage. While people looked at him as the goat of his small village (after all, he was a goat), he was full of optimism about being able to make anything into a meal. While other villagers didn't want to be around him when he ate his strange concoctions, they loved his positivity when telling stories of his favorite meals. What was his favorite meal and what did he do with his time between eating sessions?
10. She was deadly; she was tropical; she was colorful; and she loved eating bugs with her long, sticky tongue. She and her family had been living in the rainforest for generations and had been feared from the beginning due to their poisonous exterior. Not only was her skin lethal, but she was also able to lure men into her traps using her figuratively poison tongue. What are some ways in which she's used her multiple survival techniques in the jungle?
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.