The Writing Style of Warriors by Owlflight

Oowlflight takes an in-depth look at how Warriors was written that makes it a good series.

Official art from the official Warrior Cats site (Illustrator: Wayne McLoughlin)

This is kind of a follow up to my previous article “Unpopular Opinions in Warriors by Owlflight,” in which I explain some reasons behind my madness. Also, I am not a normal warriors reader. I’m not in there to cringe at the sometimes terrible romantic subplots or cry my eyes out when characters have to do heartbreaking things (I’m looking at you, book 3 ending where [THIS SECTION HAS BEEN REMOVED DO TO SPOILERS.]) Instead I’m there to learn how to write better.
So here’s what you should and shouldn’t learn from the writing of warriors. Attention: While I am an experienced writer, I am not in any way professional. The closest thing I am to that is a beta reader on fanfiction.net. But I have gone through special classes, written almost every day, and read as much as possible for about four years now, and there are some things I have learned, and this series is one of those that has some of the best examples for both really good moments and bad moments.
Warriors tends to be the first book series I think of when I think of books to be honest. Not because it’s my favorite, but because it’s massive and left a bigger impression on me than really any book I have ever read before. Even the bad books or series still have their moments, and the good ones just have this great energy I’ve really only seen in two other children’s series. It’s also strange that all three of these border adult series or outright become adult series too. Warriors is gritty, dark, violent, and handles serious themes, all the while having (usually) relatable and understandable characters that make you want them to win. Wings of Fire has about the most complex, enjoyable, yet flawed characters I’ve ever read in a book series, and also has really dark moments, making it my favorite series. By the end of Harry Potter it feels like Rowling is trying to write adult books, and is doing it very well, with long, action-packed books and a more harsh and blunt world than Harry originally thought it to be in book 1. All of these series have something very valuable in their writing style that many other books lack, so without further ado let’s see what the warriors spark is.
Warriors right off the bat has a wonderful tone that seems like it can’t get old. It seems mysterious yet oddly familiar, and if you had a runaway pet or something, it makes the narrative more driving. The tone of a weird sense of false security, mysterious occurrences, and the bleak yet emotional world they live in, and their Forest becomes a place with seemingly infinite stories to tell (it does not, however.) The StarClan watching over but not hugely effecting the world is a nice addition.
The motivations (especially in the first series) are also well written. The politics of the warrior code and Clans seems to work, at least for the time being (but if real life is any reflection, you may not want to keep the code like that for much longer.) There’s just this wondrous yet dangerous, real, and flawed world that the Erins created, and they did a good job. What to learn from this is the atmosphere, where the world is set up perfectly by having it’s issues, it’s mysteries, and also the fact that the legends that the kittypets were told weren’t true. I felt like that was a nice touch. While I don’t think I can perfectly describe what to learn, I think the way they set up the world of the forest with all of the factions and organization, the mystical prophecies but the general lack of involvement on the magic front (until Power of Three, or The New Prophecy if you consider Midnight, or Leafpool and Squirrelflight,)
Another thing that Warriors did VERY well is that the characters are extremely real, or at least until the third series. Most of the characters have good motivations, and when they don’t they usually make a good villain. Usually the love between characters is complex and has issues (that being said, the Erins need to stop with forbidden romance as the problem, because at this point we already KNOW that forbidden romance makes it’s own problems. That being said 2, I do think LionXHeather is cute in the early power of three books when they’re meeting in the caves. Then it loses it’s appeal and the two characters kind of lost their character when they broke apart, however) and the reasons for the battles seem legitimate. They also have an unwavering belief in StarClan which proves to be a mistake in the later books, and then it’s not a mistake again? While it is a bit confusing, what I’m getting at is that the cats are blinded by their belief in StarClan which allows things like Hawkfrost to happen. And yet it’s very realistic, although I’m not going to include a word for word metaphor how. Also warriors lets it’s characters die, and that’s something it needs to add to the tension each book seems to build on.
The final admirable thing I’m going to mention is that it’s aged extremely well. Some people who’ve been reading since like 2003 and are now adults still read. The series is interesting and compelling for both children and adults alike. Also, it’s hard to believe the first book came out in 2003 because there’s really no references or anything that dates it, and the only way this will really become dated is if the forests are destroyed all over the world or cats go extinct either in the wild or outside of captivity period. Or maybe if habitat destruction becomes less of an issue. Nevertheless, it’s a series that even 15 years later captivates readers and keeps up it’s reputation.
Now here’s some not- so desirable side effects of having such a widespread series. For one thing, they have what we call “seasonal rot” in the television world because it gets worse as it progresses. The series start to lose their original charm (and this book series had a lot of that because it was basically the pioneer in animal centric books like Foxcraft and Wolves of the Beyond) and it starts to make a lot less sense. Also they make a lot of their own stereotypes early on, and then they just become the groundworks for the rest of the characters, so we only get the occasional original character like Ivypool or Alderheart, and these original characters tend to be annoying in their own way! It also sometimes doesn’t have plot points for way too long, instead inserting some throwaway side story that can take entire books (Tribe. Of. Rushing. Water. In. Power. Of. Three. And. Omen. Of. The. Stars) and making the actual relevant plot points very spread out. Like, we didn’t even get much of anything contributing to the main plot in the first, or dare I say first two power of three books, only establishing some powers, establishing Lionpaw has no character, and establishing that Jayfeather is annoying. The series got very long, and while it’s still enjoyable, it can be really boring at times and feel like nothing is happening. I remember not having much fun with Omen of the Stars just because it seemed like nothing was really happening. What you learn to do in these instances is make sure the character interactions make sense, you don’t overuse tropes, and make sure there’s actually stuff happening in your grand plot. Also don’t write six books in a three or four book series. The End.
I’m now going to be submitting an article every Friday! It’s May Fourth for me right now so that’s the start date. When you find this article it will be the start of an article revolution! (I’m joking, but still…)

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Moondapple
Moondapple
October 9, 2018 9:39 pm

This is very interesting! I do love Warriors, though it sometimes gets repetitive and boring, and sometimes I feel like some events are just filler for scenes in the books.
Great Article!


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