My books contain many talking animals, but how do I go about making this phenomenon sound and feel natural within the story?
Animals in our real world do not, of course, speak like we humans do. Instead each species communicates through a series of basic sounds and body language which are unique to that species. These sounds and gestures mainly cover the basic needs of the particular species ( mating calls, warnings of danger etc ) and are generally all that is needed for survival.
But in the world of Endovaar, where magic is prevalent, many creatures have the use of a higher form of communication. And so I have divided these animals and creatures into “intelligence groups”… In other words a sort of pecking order for speech.
Starting at the top we have the great Imperial dragons, who, when they hatch, are blessed with the memories of their ancestors already implanted in their minds. These great drakes are on a par with humans when it comes to speech and intelligence.
Next we have the creatures of the wild, which includes bears, wolves, cougars etc. Although these animals do not actually speak the human tongue, I have given them a proper vocabulary. This allows them to make proper decisions and converse in a like manner to humans, although here i start to make their dialogue a lot simpler, and intersperse their natural body language within their speech. This also allows the shape changer, Priff, to speak with them in their own tongue whenever the need arises.
Then we have those creatures who have been given a proper human voice through the use of magic. The main example of this is Scorb, a giant eagle, who is given the gift of human speech to allow him to communicate with the magic users. Scorb’s voice, however, is rough and because of his natural bad temper he often sounds moody or angry.
Other creatures, like sprites etc, are small and wild. Most of them have grasped the human language, although their grammar usually leaves a lot to be desired. But again this is intentional, as they mainly treat humans with contempt.
And so, within the fantasy world of Endovaar, we once again find that the word “impossible” is never used… instead we replace that with the words “It’s probable”
Happy reaing everyone.