Monday, January 25, 2010

...the one with the waggly tail....

Do you have animals in your stories?

I do. I can't help it. My real life consists of the comic relief of my pets and their crazy personalities, so why shouldn't my characters have the same? It makes them real and believable and readers relate to pets, I think. I do at least.

This is Ruby, my rat terrier. And this is how she spends much of her time. Her backyard is her kingdom, and she'll just stand there, halfway through the doggie door, surveying it before she commits to her hourly fence check. She can do this for some time. Her backyard...and again I say HER important to her. We feed birds and squirrels, and she's learned to tolerate that, but they'd better stay on the feeders. Don't let those little feet hit HER grass.

She used to chase cats out, but now she just does this little rushing "psych" thing that makes them run off, I guess because she's getting old and it's just not worth the pain!

We can even leave the back gate wide open on accident, and she may go sniff at the opening, but never leaves. She knows where her bread is buttered. She's got the life!!

So I have a great dane named Roxy in my first book that was inspired by my best friend's dog that is just hysterical. Roxy is a character in her own right. My second book has a big black Labrador named Bojangles. I'm seeing that I tend to go with the big dogs...maybe because they can be clumsy and goofier. I'm not a cat person, so I don't see myself creating a cat character, but who knows...stranger things have happened.

It won't be a rat or a snake. This much, I can guarantee.

Stephanie has a hamster (ick) named Rex in Janet Evanovich's "Plum" novels. Cannie has a rat terrier ( :) ) named Nifkin in Jennifer Weiner's novel Good in Bed. In "Must Love Dogs"...well, obviously, there are dogs.

So tell me about your critters....real and written....and how do you use them in your writing?


Janna Qualman said...

Our dog lucy is part rat terrier! (And part beagle, we think.) Ruby is funny! Love that.

Interesting! Your post made me realize the book I'm almost finished with doesn't have any animals, but something like a talking bird would be perfect. I think I'll have to work one in!

In the WIP I just started, a pug adds a lot. I love writing about him.

Fran said...

Because of my current living arrangement, I can only have two cats...and I adore them, but long for more critters. So in my books I must have more animals.

In my third novel, I've gone for broke, with 6 chickens (my heroine knits little sweaters for them), a labrador, 3 kittens and their mom, and a sheep called Marilyn. I haven't finished the book yet, either!

Sharla said...

Fran! Wow! That is so funny! I love that image of the chickens running around with sweaters...and a sheep named Marilyn! Love it!!! the name Lucy! And you can add so much comedy with pets. I can just see it. A talking bird named Ralph with a head twitch...LOL...I say that because one of my cockatiels has a head twitch.

On FB after this posted, my best friend read it, and sent me a pic of Roxy "smiling" for the camera. She's such a star.

Stef said...

You know, strangely enough, I don't have animals in my story. I say strangely because I'm a big animal nut (not PETA standards, but I love them). Maybe I should think about adding some animals to my stories...

In other news, head on over to my blog! I've given you an award! :)

Absolutely love your blog.

Melissa Marsh said...

I think having animals in stories makes them much more real (the stories, not the animals!). I am a big animal lover, so they usually appear in my novels in a big way.

I only have a cat at the moment, but she has become such a big part of my life. She was very skittish when we first brought her home from the shelter, but now she curls right next to me on the couch. Just love it!

I still miss my beloved dog, Charlie. Some day I will get another dog, but the time (and the living arrangements) are just not right yet.

Guinevere said...

I love the use of pets in stories, but I think sometimes it gets out of hand (i.e. Dean Koontz, as much as I love him, putting a dog in every single novel).

Personally, I have always had cats and/or dogs. Right now we only have one cat of our own, Buffy the Cricket Slayer, but we also foster for the SPCA, so we have a parade of other pets waiting for their forever home. That's something I'd like to write about someday!