1--what pets do you have and how, if at all, do they impact or influence or relate to or distract from or whatever your writing?
2--do you ever use pets (not "super-animals" or magical animals, necessarily, just regular animals) as characters in your stories, as "sidekicks" of sorts for your other characters? (I can think of a few stories with horses as characters in the stories, but what about other, smaller animals as "pets?")
To help start this off, I have no pets right now. And when I did, the cats would sometimes curl up on my lap while I was typing.
edited to add: not both cats at the same time, however
For the second question, in my WotF finalist story, I used a white cockatiel; and in my first sale to Marion Zimmer Bradley, I used a mongoose. (Neither of which I have had as a pet, though I think I would like having a mongoose.)
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited July 21, 2008).]
I have a black cat under my feet as I type this. Her favorite place to curl up these days. I often have a white cat keeping me company from the couch a few feet away.
Cats often work their way into my stories, it's one of the ways I seek to humanize the somewhat sterile space environments I put my characters in. I also believe that if any animal were to adapt to changing gravity conditions, it would be cats since they already seem to defy gravity on a regular basis. There's no other explanation for how my almost 20-lb monster of a white cat is able to catapult himself onto the ledge of the pedestal sink in the powder room to catch drips from the faucet.
Sidenote: my kids and I have recently finished listening to the Golden Compass on CD (I highly recommend - it's performed by a whole cast rather than read by one voice talent, which was great for holding their attention and I liked it a lot.) The kids decided that the white cat is my daemon, seeing as how wherever in the house I go, the white cat follows. Apparently I'm a witch, though, because I can traverse long distances away from my daemon without being in pain, LOL.
[This message has been edited by KayTi (edited July 21, 2008).]
We have four cats right now, and one that's been hanging around a lot lately. All of them are strays that I rescued at some point.
I write with a laptop, and mostly they get very jealous of it. As soon as I sit down they rush to take their place on my lap before the laptop ends up there. Sometimes they try to walk all over the keyboard or will try to take hold of my hands. Eventually they'll settle for sitting by my side.
The keyboard on my previous computer kept jamming, and when I cleaned it I uncovered all this cat hair. Yuck!
I don't use pets necessarily, but animals play a role in almost all my stories. One woman loves birds, one male MC is driven to do things by his pet cats.
I have no pets and while I had some childhood pets, and one cat who I lost custody of when splitting with an ex. I would not really consider myself a pet type of person but I do tend to name my horses (or pegasi) and try to give them personalities, though I realised at one point I was just bending too many things for my pegasi to keep turning up.
During my foray into modern (non-spec) fiction I gave my main characters (siblings) cats who they projected human traits on (like thinking the cat was impressed with their wardrobe choice, or disliked the woman next door) but really didn't humanise the actual cats in reality.
Then again making dragons (of all sizes, including parrot sized) characters is common for me. And once a giant spider who wore a pink bow.
[This message has been edited by Grant John (edited July 21, 2008).]
My wife and I have two cats, Katie and Niya--or maybe they have us. We used to have two parakeets, Bean and Petra, but they died of unknown causes. Our cats are more a distraction from writing than anything else. If I write in a separate room, they stand outside the door and meow. If let them in, they get in front of the monitor and try to catch the cursor. Since I've had a laptop, I sit in the recliner and type. Most of the time they ignore me now.
I've only one piece that features a cat, a 2000-words "literary/mainstream" story that I sent to a local publication's writing contest. I made it to the final round of judging. Didn't win.
[This message has been edited by ChrisOwens (edited July 21, 2008).]
I have a cat...or two...or eight, but they aren't allowed in the basement. I have a couple chewers, and computer cables aren't cheep.
I haven't really included any animals in my stories yet. I think it is more trying to make my humans believable first. I do have some ideas of a story that would have a race of animals as well, but it is still in the rough idea stage.
I have two dogs that I adopted from the Charlottesville VA chapter of the SPCA.
Loki joined my family just a few months ago. He always seems to know when I should step away from my PC to realign my thoughts, and has a large collection of balls and sticks for me to throw to him in the back yard.
Black Labradors are not normally known as guard dogs, but Athena has joyfully taken that role. Nearly every time I sit down to write, she plops herself down on the floor near my feet, ready to protect me from the distractions of my own kids.
As far as animals being primary players in my story...I did write a dog's POV story many years ago, and I currently have a deer story in the hands of a magazine. I should consider writing more animal stories.
We have one dog, Shadow (whom I've blogged about, his name was more accurately descriptive: the abominable doofus), which is a German Blockhead Rotweiller, Black Lab and Chow mix. He's big, lovebale, but can't get out of his own way. Yes, he's a weapon of mass destruction--but mostly accidentally. We have three; Two, make that One (murderous) white parakeet, Snowball the Slayer. A half dosen fish (my daughter prophetically name a black goldfidh Life, and he's the only survivor of the first two batches). We've had (accumulatively) 3 pigs, 2 goats, thirty chickens (and boy they were good), 4 rabbits, 10 cats, three dogs, 10 goldfish, 2 horses, 2 snakes and a father-in-law (I use this loosely, as we feed, clean, amuse and walk him).
As far as writing animals...seldom. My problem is that every time I try, it seems to come out like someone else's animal character.
[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited July 22, 2008).]
I have two golden retrievers and a mutt. They are wonderful company when I'm writing, plus the make me get up and stretch once in a while to feed them, let them in and out, that kind of thing. And of course they bark hysterically whenever the Fedex man comes knocking.
Speaking of pets, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a great book. It's from a dog's POV.
I don't have any pets now, but I often think about getting a dog. I'm allergic to cats otherwise we'd have some. Everyone tells me that getting a puppy is just like having a baby and I already have one of those. So I think we'll get a dog when I'm done with babies.
I've never had any animals in my stories. I've never really considered it.
In my house we have two house rabbits, two kittens, two hamsters, a gerbil and assorted fish.
My cats are constantly turning on the printer, walking between me and the laptop on my desk as I'm trying to write, or laying on the keyboard, pressing all sorts of keys and doing things to my desktop that I never though could be done, which leaves me with half an hours work trying to figure out how to undo what they did.
While down at floor level, if one of the rabbits isn't licking my feet, the other one is biting my ankles, and that's just the good days!
As for pet influence in writing, I did once write a short story about a harrassed mother that accidently made stew out of the pet rabbit (written in the name of fun, of course ) and a lot of my charatcers have cats.
Currently have 2 horses, 2 cats, 1 dog, and a lot of fish that winter inside but summer in the watergarden out back.
As far as pets in stories. I have a vampiress who has a giant spider for pet/mount, named "Deeohg" thats D-O-G. The story has yet to be told. My other pets have morphed their personalities into dragons and horses that my MC's can't live without. But no true lap cats like the ones that fight over my lap while I write, although in my current novel, one of the characters does have a snow-leopard who comes close, and like my cats only cuddles on those hot miserable humid days, go figure.
Two dogs - an abused black lab/wolf mix that wandered on to our property 7 years ago - she's fine as long as [i] you [/b] don't try to pat her. If you do, you might lose a hand. She's called Blue Eyes because, well, she has ice blue eyes. The other knuckle head is a 6 month old "puppy" that's nearly as big as the lab. He's a boxer/pit bull/ great dane mix. Lots of energy but NO brain.
Four cats - Aristophanes ("Toffee" because the vet techs couldn't say the real name, Benedic - our scared cat - rescued from drowning - only one of his litter to survive it, Mystery Kitty (wandered onto the property to die 3 years ago and failed (after a grand in vet bills), and Poppy (the only girl, a diffuse calico).
Two Horses - Appy/QH mixes - Taffy and her son, Pips.
The total animal load is somewhat less than IB's but I can't say we've had pigs, goats or chickens. We just visit our neighbors farm animals.
Taffy is Tessa in the Falcon stories. Blue and our Malamute that died of a stroke last December is in the vampire story I play with every once and a while. The cats are, in part, a model for cat behavior in a WIP. Although that cat isn't a "side kick" he's a MC.
[This message has been edited by kings_falcon (edited July 22, 2008).]
I've always had pets. At the moment I'm down to a single cat, but that's unusual and not likely to last. My history of pets includes (well, I don't consider my horses to have been pets though) a rabbit, rats, mice, gerbils, cats, and dogs. I enjoy them all but for some reason they don't seem to find their way into my stories. Maybe because my stories usually involve fighting, being pursued or pursuing someone else and various and sundry killing--not a good place for a pet.
The horses not being pets thing--I'm hard put to define the difference. But in my mind, they're different.
I'm "cat people," though some dogs have crossed my path over the years. None at the present time. (To great extent, I keep them out of my current abode---I've still got bloodstains on the upper edges of my Arthur C. Clarke books where my first cat (male, unfixed, lived ten years) used to take naps.)
Oddly enough, my latest story involves a pet dog, in a way, but I usually don't have animals of any kind in the story. (A lotta plant life, not many animals besides human beings.) But the idea emerged, practically full-fledged, and I've got to run with it.
satate, I've heard that sometimes an allergy to cats is actually an allergy to their dander, which is a result of them bathing themselves. Supposedly, if people with that kind of allergy can train a cat to let them bathe it (in water--yeah, right!), they have no problem with keeping cats as pets.
I'd be interested to know if anyone has actually succeeded in getting a pet cat to let them bathe it.
Mainly horses are in my stories, either in robotic form or in the form that everyone knows.
But I do have a cat who likes to sleep against the computer tower when I am writing late at night and sometimes in the early evening she will meow her way to where I am and rub against my leg and go to the tower, rub against it and then lay down next to it and sleep.
But I never have put my pets personally into my stories.
Oh wow. I always knew it was because of the cat dander from the cats licking themselves. I never thought of bathing them though. Maybe it would work if you started it when the cat was a kitten. My husband loves cats and would be so thrilled if we could have a cat. I wouldn't mind bathing the cat every other week. That would be fun. Oh you are making me have hope.
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I have a cat we bathe and don't get gored in the process. He was a rescue cat and was so little he didn't learn how to groom himself. So, everyday, I had to dump him in the sink. Now that he's an old man of 14, I only have to do that when he's gone to the vet. The stress of being in the cat carrier makes him do evil things.
But then, I also had a cat who walked on a leash and played fetch.
Mike/ Satate, there's also a product you can get at the pet store that are dander wipes to help with the allergies. Like baby wipes but for cats. It will keep you from needing the full bath as often.
That's good to know. I'll go look for those pet wipes.
Our cat also plays fetch. She'll do it for hours, as long as it is a mousie and it is orange.
We rescued our kitten and she didn't even know how to do her business. She would sit up on her hind legs, leaning against the back of the litter box with a grimace of intense concentration on her face. Of course, she'd smear her hind end in the process. That's when I started washing her, as she wasn't washing herself well enough.
She is the most good-natured cat I have ever seen and loves to ride around the house on my shoulders.
I have a small dog with a huge heart. She's part chihuahua and part terrier, and she has these crazy tufts of fur that sprout out in all directions. She was a featured character in the story I sent to WOTF for this quarter. Her name is actually Sassy, but to keep her from being mobbed by adoring fans, I used the nom de plume Tess for the story.
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8 cats: Baby (named by my wife before we met), Fizzgig, Pyewacket, Mrs. Brisbee (because she looks like a mouse), Nicodemus (because he looks like he knows...everything), Kyree (because he looks like the Mercedes Lackey race so named), Fidget (because he, well, fidgets all the time), and Steve.
Recently had to say farewell to my oldest cat, Griffon.
They all help me write by pressing keys for me. A number of them have made it into various WIPs. Baby, a chocolate-point Himalayan with a surly face, was renamed "Worf" and is the MC's cat in my main WIP.
A former cat of mine, Gateway (thus yclept because of his black-and-white cow spots) was renamed Gatwyck and was the pet of a character in a novel that's done and has been roundly rejected by all representatives of the industry who've seen it. Griffon was embodied in a tavern-cat in that story as well.
Nicodemus and Kyree figure into another of my current WIPs; Nico rather more centrally.
So, yes, my kitties get into my writing quite a bit.
I have a flame-point Siamese named Jake who either keeps my feet warm or leaps into my arms, then leans against my shoulder and watches the screen as I ATTEMPT to type around him, LOL! He has made it into a story (with the name "Trouble" which would work for him just as well as "Jake"!). I keep a second chair next to my desk chair so Jake can supervise from there when he wants to. My horse supplied the "personality" for a Pegasus in my second novel. We have other cats, another horse, a dog, and we've had pet goats as well. None of them have appeared in any of my writing yet, but they may in the future - oh I forgot, I did use my husband's black cat, Cricket, in a story I started and abandoned a while back. I got stuck and couldn't finish it. I suspect after some time has passed, I'll get past that rough patch and finish it. I wrote a children's story years ago about my daughter and her pet goat, which also included her horse, dog and cat.
My last novel had two dogs, Indigo and River, that were "sidekicks" to one of the main characters. When Indigo died, it took me about 2 pages worth of handwritten drama to tell it. When the main character died, it was mentioend off-hand in a single sentance later on.
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The only bee-related injury you're likely to get is anaphylactic shock, if you're unfortunate enough to be allergic to stings. I don't see any hive product affecting that, it needs an insulin injection fast.
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