After months of editing and polishing, I've put aside work on my finished manuscript, DISAPPEARING ACT, to focus on a new manuscript for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This is my first time participating in NaNoWriMo and putting 50,000 words to paper during the month of November seems a lofty goal, but I'm sure going to try! Though I'm a Pantster by nature, I've done some sketchy outlining, a few character bios and a whole lot of mulling. And, now that I've started pecking away, it has occured to me that a HUGE story component is missing.
I need an animal. Might be a cat, might be a dog. Might even be a bird or a well-trained squirrel or chipmunk. The point is, Jen, the main character in DISAPPEARING ACT had two cats. Not only did introducing a beloved animals into a story reveal character through Jen's interactions with the animals, it was fun writing about them. For example, Jen had a large black cat named Piwacket. So when I stepped away from the keyboard to hold my own black cat, and pet her, and play with her, I wasn't goofing off, it was research!
So, now, I've got an animal-less main character and, with her nomadic lifestyle, I'm not sure what sort of pet to introduce into her world. But I think it's the right idea. Not only will bringing an animal into various scenes give opportunities for the main character to interact and show who she really is, there's also all that great 'research' I get to do!