Thoughts on writing infants and animals

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I've got a conundrum in a story I'm writing. The setting is very weird, a bunch of bird people nesting during their mating season (no humans). It is the start of the story, so it is vital for the reader to quickly be given enough information to understand what is happening. However the adults are reduced to a bestial state during this time, so the only possible point of view characters that are identifiably sentient are the hatchlings themselves. They do not possess much by way of language skills yet. This places reader comprehension largely in opposition to believable characterizations. On top of that, there is no one to give characters names yet so they must be differentiated entirely by description.

Without using a fully omniscient narrator and a ton of exposition, veering heavily into 'tell not show', it is proving a difficult scenario to handle. How would others approach this?


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I would focus on one chick, and have him (and through him, the reader) learn things through trial and error. Additionally, I think that he/she/it should refer to his fellow hatchlings with physical attributes. E.i: one of them has red on them.

What was Red doing? Well, he'd better not die!

I think in books like this it's important to balance out the semi advanced vocabulary with immature thoughts and phrases, such as things that would be considered socially insensitive, to show the reader that they're young and unlearned. That way, they don't think about the character as 'advanced'.


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