By: Diane Carlisle
I asked Tim to recall all the fictional novels he's read (or movies watched) where animals played a part. I did this because I was curious to know what other readers would come up with, not just me. He named the novels (movies) and I noticed there were, to me, different motivations for animals appearing as characters, even the walk-ons. These are the ones I found.
Please Like My Protagonist
At most conferences I've attended and online writing classes I've taken, the speakers have discussed this thing referred to as "pet the dog" which simply means get the reader to instantly like your protagonist. Whenever any character shows affection toward an animal, it will create this connection with your reader. How about an Orangutan? Remember Clyde in Every Which Way But Loose and its sequel? Best sidekick EVER!
Here's a quick example. When a cop picks up that cute puppy in an alley while searching for some bad guy, notice he gives it a quick snuggle before tucking it safely behind some dumpster? Now, back to the bad guy and doing the much needed deed, moving the plot along. It's not realistic, but it works. The cop has a soft spot, even while in the middle of a very dangerous chase. This cute scenario doesn't really belong in the story, but it serves one of two purposes for supplying elements which seem out of place. It adds to character development. The other would be to further the plot, which it does not.
Creating Conflicting Emotions
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