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View Full Version : Anyway around this tough situation regarding an ending?



Kinzel
07-22-2016, 11:04 PM
This is my third thread regarding a story I am writing. Long story short, an African Wild Dog is searching for his family. His mate has been poached, and his pups have been sold into the illegal exotic pet trade

I originally decided that the end point would be South Africa, but I have since changed it to Kenya, and I plan on having Alema (protagonist) meet his four pups there, but I don't want it to seem forced, especially considering with how the pet trade works, it is highly unlikely he would meet all of them at the same place. I still want a satisfying ending though, and I don't want him to find all his pups over a lengthy period of time. At most I would want a two chapter difference between when he finds, for example, one pup, to when he finds the last. Anyway I can get around this problem?

If you know anything about Africa and the illegal pet trade that can help, that would be great!

BDSEmpire
07-23-2016, 12:24 AM
At most I would want a two chapter difference between when he finds, for example, one pup, to when he finds the last. Anyway I can get around this problem?

Isn't that the heart of your story? How you get around the problem of how your main character finds his pups.

Are you asking whether it's plausible or just wanting to brainstorm some ideas on how to get them back together again?

Why not write up a way you think things could happen, run it by your beta readers, if you have any, and then see how that works. Heck, just make something up. You're already using an anthropomorphic character as the MC, having lots of happy luck help him along the way wouldn't be too outrageous.

frimble3
07-23-2016, 12:54 AM
I don't mean to shower negativity on your project, but I think you need to tighten up your time-line (in another thread you talked about the journey taking a year or two) and the distance. The pups would have been taken when they were old enough to be forcibly weaned (when their mother is shot) without needing too much care and hand-feeding, but not so old ('teenage' pups) that they won't domesticate. (With feral domestic cats, if you don't get the kittens away from their mothers before they're moving around on their own, it's really hard to get them to accept people.) I suspect that tranquillizer darts are less likely than just experienced men with heavy gloves grabbing them as they mill around, or reaching gloved arms into the den. If you get the dosage wrong, the tranquillizers kill the pups, and you've wasted the tranquillizer.

The poachers are going to sell the pups along to the next guy ASAP, before they die or stop being cute. The next guy - same thing. The pups will get minimal care because why waste the money?
I don't know about wild dogs, but tropical bird smugglers seem to expect a huge die-off in transit. Does that stop them? No, they just grab more birds. Puppy mills - same thing, those animals live in filth, because the end-purchaser will never see, and, again, why waste the money.
Unless an end-purchaser wants and can afford a pair of pups, I cannot believe they'd be anywhere near each other at the end of a year. The 'cute' would have worn off by then.

Then, your MC finds the surviving pups - they may be devoted family animals, but the pups are now adolescents, who have been on their own longer than they were in their family. If they were sold quickly, they may have bonded with their new homes. At the very least, how much of a memory of this creature, who claims to be their father, would they have?

I would suggest you narrow the epic scope of your story. Even a few months would be a long time and a hard search for a lonely wild dog.

Kinzel
07-23-2016, 02:48 AM
I would suggest you narrow the epic scope of your story. Even a few months would be a long time and a hard search for a lonely wild dog.
Thank you so much! That's very helpful! I'm up for any type of criticism since I am at the planning stages of my project.

Siri Kirpal
07-23-2016, 03:31 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

South Africa might still be a good end point. I'm not sure many Kenyans would want animals that aren't that exotic (for them). Exotics go elsewhere, which doesn't help your plot.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Pseudonymous
07-23-2016, 05:20 AM
It might be hard to explain how a wild animal like Alema was able to understand where his pups were taken, and track them over a long distance. He wouldn't have any prior experience with cities or road-based travel.

Perhaps you could write that he was taken as well - for example, to enter in dog fights. If they were only separated when they reached their destination, he could plausibly escape or be released, and come across a familiar scent or something that led him to one/all of his pups.

Watch out for similarities to other canine stories (101 Dalmatians, Milo & Otis, White Fang, Lady and the Tramp)!

frimble3
07-23-2016, 08:18 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

South Africa might still be a good end point. I'm not sure many Kenyans would want animals that aren't that exotic (for them). Exotics go elsewhere, which doesn't help your plot.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

True, the bolded part. Here, in N.A., idiots want lions and tigers, not the native mountain lions and bears.
Wild dogs are probably more likely to be sold, through dealers, to Europeans and Asians. (Another reason for limiting the scope of the story - the sooner he finds the pups, the likelier that they'll still be 'findable'.)

frimble3
07-23-2016, 08:26 AM
Watch out for similarities to other canine stories (101 Dalmations, Milo & Otis, White Fang, Lady and the Tramp)!
Kinzel might also look at the novel, 'The Incredible Journey' by Sheila Burnford - not a rescue mission, but a journey over hundreds of miles in the Canadian wilderness by 2 dogs and a cat, trying to get back to their home, through many obstacles.

And, 'The Marvellous Mongolian' by James Aldridge, about a Przewalski's horse, determined to get back to his home in Mongolia, from Wales. (Not told from animal's POV, but for adults.)

Kinzel
07-23-2016, 06:53 PM
South Africa might still be a good end point. I'm not sure many Kenyans would want animals that aren't that exotic (for them). Exotics go elsewhere, which doesn't help your plot.
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That's a very good point! Thanks

SageChild
07-30-2016, 04:40 PM
Honestly, illegal pet trade is the least of our problems. So you might want to put some emotion into whoever is facilitating this because most officials in Africa are not that keen on solving every pet. To be realistic, funds and most worries, would be placed everywhere.