Keeping in line with April's Comedy inspired theme, this month's inspirational post will be about something that manages to make a lot of people smile. I am talking of course about our furry family members, more commonly referred to as pets!
Everyday, thousands of pictures, videos, jokes and “memes” are uploaded to the web about domestic animals, either doing hilarious things or captioned with funny comments. Family pets are often good for a laugh, popular examples would be the Grumpy Cat or Doge, which everyone with an internet connection has surely heard about by now.
Pets play a big role in people's lives, and the same can be said in litterature. Domestic animals have made their appearance in various forms, playing different roles in stories of all genres. Here are a few examples.
Main Characters. In some stories, animals have proven to be so charismatic, versatile and intelligent, that they occupy the main role. In these tales (har har!), the animals usually progress the story by interacting with the setting or secondary characters, in order to achieve a goal. Popular examples are Lassie, the Littlest Hobo, the Black Stallion, Flipper the dolphin or Skippy the kangaroo.
Companions: Just like real life, animals in literature can play the role of loyal companion. In these cases, they are often used as a plot device to help the progression of the story, either by performing an action the main character cannot, pointing out an important element to the story that is otherwise unseen by the protagonist, or simply being a friendly ear to which a character can talk to. Popular examples are Tintin and Snowy, Harry Potter and Hedwig, Dorothy and Toto, or the Lone Ranger and his horse Silver.
Anthropomorphic: These characters have animal abilities and\or characteristics. They can be either animals with human traits or humans with animal traits. Their animalistic features usually help accentuate their roles in one way or another. Examples are Scooby Doo, Salem from Sabrina, Babe the pig, Captain Carrot and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Symbolic: Any character whose very existence represents an aspect of society or humanity. They may also embody the theme, moral or idea of the story. Good examples are the cowardly Lion, the Tortoise and the Hare, Garfield, King Kong and the big bad Wolf.
Now on to the visual reference part of my inspiration post. I will be using my own furry family member, my dog Dimitri, in order to better demonstrate how animals can be an inspiration when writing.
First we will take a look at how expressive animals can be. Even though Dimitri can’t talk, he does a fine job of getting his point across, using his big boston terrier eyes.
The ever popular head tilt.
Sleeping in the most uncomfortable places...
… or sitting in awkward positions.
You wouldn’t like me when I’m Hangry!
Domestic animals are like children, and like children, they love to play. Watching an animal entertain themselves can be both amusing and funny as hell. Not to mention playing with your pets can be a great stress reliever, and the welcomed distraction can help with writer's block.
Rearranging the bed.
Playing fetch in the lake.
I haz a hoop!
No work, rest now.
Personification is the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman. Pet owners do this all the time, dressing up their animals in costumes or sharing pictures of their pets doing “human-like” things. The results are sometimes cute, often hilarious.
Can I eat candy cane?!!!
Dog in the hood.
It’s not what it looks like!
Some people say that dog owners often make connections that don’t exist, such as claiming their pets look like them. Though I don't believe their is actual scientific proof behind those claims, one can’t help but wonder…
That is all for this month's Inspiration post. I hope you enjoyed it and managed to learn something in the process. In closing, I would like to thank each of you for dropping by, it is truly appreciated.
Until next time.
***All pictures are ©Patrick Osborne 2016***