Have you ever fallen hopelessly in love with a literary pet and wished they were yours? I have! Countless times!
Why? Because, I’ve always loved animals, of all kinds. Cats top the list for me though. Yes, I am the crazy cat-lady! I have 4 cats – Harry, Nymeria Nymphadora, Brave and Oreo. The first two have names from books I’ve loved. Can you guess which? Oreo and Brave… well, let’s just say, that’s what happens when you let the kids name your pets. We also have a dog called Yoda. Again, I blame the kids…
Now, where was I? Ah, yes…
Nearly all of my favourite books have had a pet of some form or another and in many ways they’ve been an important addition to the story. During the process of plotting the fantasy series I’m working on, I’ve had to research and imagine which literary “pets” and creatures I want in my novel. I may have enjoyed this process a little too much, as I currently have enough ideas for creatures to populate my story several times over! It’s an issue.
Being new to this writing game, I’ve also been wondering how exactly I should “write” my creature characters. Without the possibility of some snappy dialogue, how do I best go about giving my newest pals the personality they deserve? Here’s where being a pet-mamma comes in handy I guess. In order to make them feel “real” I plan to use what I know about regular animals – their habits, their likes and dislikes, their quirks and peculiarities – and then tweak it with some imaginative fantasy flare.
Again, why? Because, as writers, our job is to evoke emotions and images within the minds of our readers. To do that we must appeal to all their senses and make our pets and creatures come alive on the page. A well written pet or creature of some kind, can add a great deal to a story. Maybe you need some comedic relief to lighten the tension or perhaps you need to show the softer side of your main character. Whatever the reason, having a pet of some kind wandering through the pages of your story, may just provide it with that little bit of spice it was missing.
I know I’ll be having fun adding some furry, scaly, be-winged and toothy friends to my story. They may not be the main characters, but they’ll definitely be some of my favourites.