I’m a natural scowler. I scowl when I’m thinking, I scowl when I’m bored, I scowl when I’m daydreaming, and yes, I’ve even scowled occasionally when I’m actually upset.
However, one thing that can make me laugh is a cute animal.
Animals are also GREAT to add to stories, especially for a dose of humor. And remembering that stories are a balance of disaster and hope, dropping in an animal friend or even the odd encounter with some kind of creature is a fantastic way to add a bit of lightness, especially if your characters aren’t especially light (or the situation is serious).
There is also a place for Cujo and other animals of doom, but that is another, far-less-humorous blog post.
In a more positive light, animals in stories can:
- Bring out different sides of characters
- Be an adorable catalyst for stuff to happen
- Be a source of comfort and support
- Give an opportunity to show a character as good (‘save the cat’ moment)
- Soften or add depth to a villain
- …be something to kill off if you need to add tragedy and can’t stomach killing a character (although be careful, because readers get attached to animals too)
So on this Monday of Mondays (all Mondays tend to be very Mondayish), I challenge any fellow writers to add a cute/friendly/otherwise semi-helpful animal to their story.
For those of you who have cute/friendly/otherwise semi-helpful animals as a part of your story, please feel free to share!
And for more photos, check out my Cute and Crazy Pinterest board, dedicated to “awww!” moments and goofy pets.
And if you’re into making up your own critters? The awesome Kat Heckenbach wrote an great intro blog post on Crafting Creatures at the Realm Makers blog. I also found this tutorial on 10 Steps to Creating Realistic Fantasy Animals.