91,857 words, and all animals are dogs. Really?

Wolf AsleepI sat down to write only four hundred words yesterday, knowing I had a huge day today and had to prepare for the visit. Turns out that time pressure is a fantastic way to get writing out, because instead of four hundred words in the hour I spat out over a thousand, and pretty much topped off the chapter. Succulent wordy goodness.

In other news, apparently it’s a pretty common thing to make animals in fiction act like dogs, even if they’re horses or elephants. Well, here in the real world, my dog doesn’t even act like a dog all the time. He usually acts more like a Wolf (if you weren’t aware that there’s a difference, I suggest house-sitting a sleigh-dog for a week). I am thinking that this probably happens because almost all of us can relate to dogs, and it’s a hell of a lot easier to write what you know (I mean, who hasn’t slept all day only to get up and beg for chicken nuggets? What, noone?) .

Now I don’t want to fall into this trap of having only dog-like lovable animals to support my characters, but I’ve got a problem: I don’t have a clue how most animals really act (thank you, city living!), and then even less of an idea how to make them into something a reader can sympathise with. Cats are maybe the only one where I can see it working without giving them either human or dog behaviour.

My horse character is going to be wilful, and greedy, and finicky, but also brave. Guess I need to do more research than that though (they dig sugar-lumps, right?)

Do you know any writers that can do different animals justice? No, scrap that: what’s your favourite animal character in anything ever?

For me it’s Mouse from Jim Butcher’s the Dresden Files. That dog is a boss.

Best regards,


About D.R.Sylvester

A Clinical Research Associate by day (google it), writer by night, D.R.Sylvester lives in Sydney, Australia with his patissiere wife and Siberian Wolf. His interests include travel, music (predominantly Metal), reading, & archery.
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7 Responses to 91,857 words, and all animals are dogs. Really?

  1. gpeynon says:

    Has to Ratty from Wind in the Willows. Which also get me thinking: rats are city dwellers. Do you know much about them?

    • Hmm, not really. If there ever were any in my neighbourhood I think my Wolf must have eaten them…
      My friend used to have a rat. It was seriously cute. Pink eyes and everything. I guess if I were writing about Australian animals I’d be fine, because possums and brush turkeys and magpies and kookaburras are circling me chanting for blood as we speak.
      PS – excellent choice. I think I’ll be needing to brush up on my Wind in the Willows soon, for the purposes of educating my soon-to-exist daughter in books and the world of the imagination

      • gpeynon says:

        Ah, well congratulations on that. I went to read my daughters that book, but the language turned out to be a little ‘old’ shall we say, and so I had to wait a year or two. Got there in the end though.

      • Persistence! Haha good work 🙂 I am reading Tolkein to the bump, so hopefully that will help with her attention span…

  2. george-b says:

    i miss Dresden files! ntflx removed it from stream!
    thanks for visiting euzicasa! Mind if I follow? 😉

    • Oh yeah Dresden Files was a TV show for a while right? I still need to check that out. There’s a graphic novel of some Dresden Files stories too that I need to borrow from a friend. No worries, I am quite new to wordpress (and blogging) so I am just browsing around looking at anything interesting! By all means, please follow if you like 🙂 I mostly write about writing, but sometimes books, archery, beer or live music. Cheers!

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