Wednesday Writing — Adding Animals

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 

Update/Note:  I wasn’t expecting this post to turn into a birthday party, but everyone is making me smile.  Thank you all for your good wishes.  Hugs on the wing!

Egyptian Mau, Wikipedia (altered image)
Egyptian Mau, Wikipedia (altered image)

Welcome to my sanctuary.  This post has gone to the… cats.  It seems the felines have gotten inside. If you’re a cat hater, then you might as well leave right now.  

It’s really hard for me to not share about my novel in progress — particularly since that is what encourages me most. Maybe that’s why I’m so far behind on it.  It’s summer, and I hoped to be finished with the writing by now.  Instead I’m barely half finished.  So, I’m compromising with myself, by talking about adding animals to stories. 

Why Use Animals?

I really can’t say why, but I’ve almost always included animals in my stories. I didn’t even think about it.  Then one day I was reading something and it occurred to me that the world of that story seemed “sterile.”  There were plenty of scenes set outside, but nothing of nature was mentioned.  Adding an animal, even if it’s just part of the scenery, helps make a story more alive.  Animals can also help with a number of things in the storytelling process.

A Device for the Narrator.  It could be any animal.  When I started my novel in progress, I gave an important character a cat. That cat didn’t have much of a part.  She served the purpose of letting that character express her thoughts by talking to the cat.  That kitty is the Egyptian Mau in the image above.  (Sorry, but it was made clear to me that I can’t even share their names.)

two brown tabby cats lay on wood planks
Nathalie Jolie, Unsplash

Add Comic Relief.   I didn’t plan any other animal for the story, certainly not another cat… “Maybe a goat or a squirrel,” I thought. “Or someone walking their dog.”  However, along the way, a secondary character became a lot more important to the plot. That character is an odd guy. He needed a mysterious sidekick who was equally off-kilter. In came the second cat.

Segue with Mystery.  Long about that time, an image came into my mind that gave me the right prologue/opening for the novel, but the scene needed a very agile animal.  A goat is agile, but the picture in my head needed something that was also graceful.  (If you get the impression that I tried hard to add a goat to this story, you’re right.)  I used the second cat for that, and suddenly he became more important. 

I wasted my morning making a special image for that kitty… Then I realized I’d be sharing way too much.  The second feline is represented by the image of the two tabbies above.  Sorry, you two — you are not part of this novel.

Turkish Van kitten by Argelia Aguilar at Pixabay
Turkish Van kitten by Argelia Aguilar at Pixabay

Tie Threads Together.  You’ve probably guessed where I’m going.  It became clear that the cats were part of one plot thread (there are a few threads).  As you’ll recall, I had to “name the kitten” because a kitten unexpectedly wandered in for my heroine.  I know… you’d think I would have been expecting it by then, but I wasn’t.  The kitten fit with that feline-related thread. (Cats do like to play with strings.) He’ll also help reveal a mystery.

The way this story keeps morphing, who knows what other critters might sneak into it.

Wishing you an easy coast down the other side of this midweek hump.  Be well, be happy my friends.  Hugs on the wing!




This post is made possible in spite of (not because of) the deplorable lack of Internet service from TDS Telecom.  They are even worse than the government about claiming no problem exists in the face of  failure.  Every I make a complaint or request a service call, TDS Telecom tells me they find no problem. Their technicians come to my home and refuse to do any work or replace equipment, even when their offsite managers have instructed them to do so. They brought equipment that they openly state does not work properly. My letters, emails, and tweets go unanswered.  Dear readers, please do not comment here in response to this paragraph. Just be aware of my awful experience with this so called provider.

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2019— and 2020 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

76 thoughts on “Wednesday Writing — Adding Animals

  1. My cats are always wandering into my novels. Lucky was the first, wandering in the goblin caverns. Then Khana, my big fluffy tortoiseshell climbed a rope onto an airship with pirates. Of course she picked the one person who hated cats to befriend and she’s still with him in the sequel. It will be interesting to see which of them slips into my next one and how he/she deals with the dragons.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m often wary if there’s an animal in a story because I always dread the moment something will happen to them, it often seems an easy way to wring emotion out of a story – though I have to say I’ve never felt any of that kind of foreboding in your stories Teagan, your animals just feel like characters in the story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Andrea. I know the feeling too well myself. I rarely kill off a human character, and never an animal. It might offend hundreds of writers for me to say it, but 99.9% of the time, to me, killing a developed animal character is nothing more than a cheap trick.
      Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cats (and other animals) add emotional cues to a story. Almost every person has had a special pet in their lives and can connect with a character who cares about one, too.
    Smart writing, Teagan. I’m looking forward to reading this when it’s done 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love writing animals into books, though mine aren’t magical like yours. Lol. Great points about how animals can serve a function instead of just filling space. Great post, Teagan, and happy writing! Take care as this virus goes crazy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Diana. LOL, well, *some* of mine are not magical. Cheesy as it sounds, they all have a certain magic to me. Ugh… I can’t believe I said that. o_O
      Yeah, I think I’ll stay isolated until two months after a vaccine had been invented and made freely available… Take good care of you. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, Valentina. Yes! I opened a bottle of my preferred brand of Prosecco. I had bought it last summer when I published “Brother Love — a Crossroad” but I never opened it. It was delicious. 🙂 Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So many of us have memories both good and bad of an animal or animals. It’s easy to relate to them in a book and makes a story feel real. It gives a look into the human character too by the way they treat and react to animals. Hope your birthday was peaceful, Teagan.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. If curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back, I hope it doesn’t do harm to a curious Pat. We await in a fog of little cat feet for you to finish this gem
    Inspirational hugs fluttering your way.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sending Happy Birthday wishes from all of us here, Teagan! I am sorry the telecom company is a problem. We ditched or last provider when the service became too unreliable. They were good until they grew too big, and went country-wide. The present one has its own issues, but is workable. All these telecom giants have problems. I feel sorry for those employees working in such environments and attempting to do good work and make a difference. It has to be frustrating for them.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Happy Birthday Teagan!!! 🎉🙌 You have such an interesting and creative approach to writing. I’m not a big cat fan, but I agree that animals and nature add more dimension to a story. I look forward to seeing what creative cat adventures you stir up! Big Hugs!! 💞

    Liked by 2 people

  9. First of all, Happy Birthday my dear!! I hope your day is going well. I agree, adding an animal or two livens up the story. I loved the pink duck in Fiona Finch & the Pink Valentine! My character, Amanda, loves animals so I make sure there is an animal in every adventure. Ali Baba the camel, in Amanda in Arabia, has been very popular as has Rupert the Main Coon bookshop cat, in Amanda in England. Sending birthday hugs your way, from Amanda and me!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Aw, thanks, John. I had no idea this post would turn into a birthday party. I didn’t even mention it. But then with all the lovely wishes, I revised the opening. Whew… now I’m winded from blowing out all those candles on that nice cake you brought. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, Teagan! Happy, Happy Birthday! I love animals in stories. They can add so much depth. I love it when a hard-assed character rescues a kitten or a mean old spinster falls in love with a dog. 🙂 They can help add another dimension to the characters. I love these pictures!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Happy birthday! Sorry about your Internet problems. And good luck with the WIP. Nothing wrong with a slowed down summer pace. And I adore the cat pics. Looking forward to hearing all about your novel (when you’re ready).

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I am sure this posting was all over influenced by mistress Crystal. Lol After her painting adventure in the house, she needs to clarify the importance of cats. 😉 I love your way introducing felines, Teagan. Be well, stay save and enjoy th sun. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, Libre! It surely does make a subtle — or depending on the animal, clear indication about the character when the animal is a pet. LOL. Actually in the first story I wrote after becoming serious about writing a novel, my heroine had a pygmy goat! Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing!


    1. Haha. GP, at one point people have me so much cat stuff, that my house looked like it belonged to a truly crazy cat lady. It was funny because as much as I love animals, I was never a real “cat nut.” But now, I’m always hesitant to use a cat in a story because of all that — I think people are going to expect it to be full of cats. I really fought with myself about the Lilith character in the Atonement, TN stories, because I didn’t want to use a cat (it might be expected). And now, here I go with a veritable litter of them! Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I love the way you have added animals to your previous stories. As I think of them, I recall their scenes quite well. I can only imagine a story taken over by cats will be a good one.

    I hope you are having a good week and a wonderful birthday 🎂 or 🍷or both 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That feedback means a lot to me, Dan. Thanks.
      I appreciate the kind wishes. I have a bottle of Prosecco that I bought when Brother Love published — and I never opened it. So I plan to definitely open that today! Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Happy Birthday! Yes, I know animals wander into your books (I love your cats, and have a soft spot for your pigs and… well, I’m sure I’ll fall in love with whichever other creatures decide to visit) and bring a lot of wonder as well. You’re doing a great job of intriguing us, Teagan. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. My lovely Teagan, at first; Happy and happy birthday. You are doing so well to take part the animals in your wonderful stories, I think they are as important as we human; sometimes more 😉,
    in any case, we can learn a lot from them; they are so mysterious😊.
    Have a great, leisure and safe time and enjoy your day with your loved ones 💖💖🥰😍😘

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, dear Magician. Haha… I had no idea this post would become a birthday party. I do believe you have started it for me, so thank you for all the kindness and fun.
      You are so right about animals too. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

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