Writing about Dinosaurs as Animals Rather than Psychopaths

Lost_World_1925_Still_01Back in August I hinted that I was writing a science fiction book and I thought that I might spend this blog discussing it. I have had a series of interruptions to my writing recently but before that happened I did manage to get a first draft of this new novel written. As with all my other projects the first draft is where I bash out the main ideas, create some of the main characters, and see if the ideas has the legs to run the distance to completion. I am glad to say that this one appears to tick all the boxes.

I have wanted to write about dinosaurs for some time but I lacked the proper context to put them in. A friend suggested an idea that I originally interpreted as a kind of series of field trips to study dinosaurs in their natural habitat. It would have probably been very interesting to me as a project but, I fear, that it would not have appealed to a mass audience. I thought about it some more and slowly several ideas came together. I seemed to have found a logical and exciting reason for why dinosaurs and humans might mix in a kind of technological adventure.

As someone with wide interest in many subjects I found it very easy to look at themes concerning the continuing degradation of the ecology and how this might lead to a mass extinction event that would impact humanity despite our collective arrogance. Climate change is real phenomenon although it is not reliant purely upon human activity as some would represent it. The Earth has been in a state of constant change since it was formed some 5 billion years ago. The environment of the three geological periods that constitute the Mesozoic Era, the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Cretaceous, were all different to each other and each were characterized with an extinction event. Tectonic plate activity had a massive impact on the changing environment during this period as the land mass changed from the super-continent Pangea at the beginning of the Triassic into something close to what we see today at the end of the Cretaceous.

One aspect of the book that I have been pretty rigid about is depicting the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals as realistically as possible. Although I enjoy Jurassic Park I always have this nagging voice in my head repeating ‘that’s not right’ every time I read the book or watch the movies. Michael Crichton was quite honest about his use of artistic licence when it came to cutting scientific corners of course. He even acknowledged that it led him into making some pretty big mistakes, the visual acuity of the T-Rex for example. I do not want to make any of those errors. The dinosaurs in my book are animals not monsters. They do not have a psychopathic obsession with feasting on the skinny bodies of puny humans. They do kill off some my characters, that is true but they do it within the boundaries of their natural behaviour and not due to some Frankenstein’s Monster complex. As so often happens in the real world it is people making mistakes that leads to them getting killed by animals.

I have mentioned previously that time is my most precious resource and I seem to have so little of it when it comes to writing. Of all the books I have written so far this one seems to be the most commercial so maybe, if it is successful, I might find that I can afford to spend more time writing in the future. Well, what is life without a dream or two?

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About petercwhitaker

I am an author and lover of life!
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