Come in and make yourself at home. Excuse me I need to switch on the lights and dust away the virtual blog cobwebs. It’s been over a year since I have been here. I haven’t had a chance to buy in some virtual milk or tea bags so I can’t make you a virtual cuppa.
Well, here I am. Back home on my blog. During 2022 I was lucky enough to work with a fabuloius literary agent. A book I wrote in 2021, Missing You, went on submission in 2022 and whilst it received lots of positive feedback it didn’t find a forever home. I knew the chances of a first book selling were low so I banked the valuable experience I had gained.
I will be swan diving back into the querying pool in 2023 which is exciting.
I won’t give up on my dream to be published. I know I can do this. Just got to keep writing!
For those of you who don’t know what I write – I create funny romances with real life characters who try to navigate their way through the minefield of dating as well as juggling parenthood, dysfunctional families, wayward pets, social media and dead-end jobs. I send my characters on wild journeys of self-discovery and I like to add a little bit of romantic chaos.
I missed my blog in 2022. It’s my little creative home. A year long blogging break was good though and it’s made me appreciate my corner of the world wide web.
What else did I do in 2022 apart from experiencing the submission process:
I started a TikTok account (@lucymitchauth) which was an experience. I do like TikTok but it’s not my creative home. My blog is my home and TikTok is like a second holiday home.
I wrote 2 new full length first draft novels.
I am on the 3rd draft of a 3rd novel I also wrote last year. This is the one I am going to swan dive into the querying trenches with.
Sticking parts of myself back together after each rejection. I am out of sticky tape so if anyone has any please send my way 🙂
I alternated between letting out dreamy sighs at my characters and a few hours later hissing with intense malice at them.
I drank a lot of coffee and I bought a passive aggressive coffee machine. Seriously this machine has issues. It starts it’s automatic descaling process during very stressful times and we are gasping for a coffee. We then have to wait an agonising hour. It spits, gurgles and splutters if we complain about it . The thing knows we are moaning about it and does it’s best to delay our coffee.
I have been collecting funny things people say about writing. Here are some of my favs:
You’re not a real writer if you don’t have an existential crisis about how you’re not a real writer on a regular basis.
Sherry’s World tumblr
The hardest thing about being a writer is convincing your partner that lying on the sofa is work.
Select-All + Delete is an equivalent to crumpling the page and tossing it into a fireplace
I am going to be here every Monday from now on. Join me in my journey towards one day getting traditionally published.
Due to the success of my post about the things to consider when writing second chance romance I thought i would cover a new trope today – fake romance.
As a romance book blogger I LOVE reading this trope. I love how the fake relationship starts out of convenience; pretending to be together for a social commitment, pretending to be in love for a competition or needing to show the world that a secret love interest does exist, but soon the fake relationship starts to change into somethinge else. I get so excited when the chemistry between the characters gets to work and things get awkward. There’s so much potential for good comedy and hilarity.
Most of the time fake romance stories focus on reputation or pride.
Here are the things I think we need to consider when writing this wonderful trope.
Both characters need to be unlikely candidates for a relationship at the start. Fake relationships work best if the characters really dislike each other or are very different. I think the best fake romances blossom from a place of dislike, as healthy relationships sometimes do. Under normal circumstances they would never ever consider dating each other. Also remember both parties must benefit from the fake romance.
Both chartacters need to be aware of the arrangement and the detail. Things can get tricky if you have one character being unaware of the plan to fake a romance. Fake romances usually mean a few fibs and some acting so its essential they do some planning in advance. Make sure they set their PDA limits. For instance will they just hold hands, give quick pecks on the cheek and never sit too close together? They have to agree pet names for each other. You also need to include some great lines of fake romance dialogue like – ‘can you at least pretend I’m funny?‘ or ‘just so you know, I don’t like you.’
It must be easy and enjoyable at the start. Even though they dislike each other they don’t find it too much of a struggle to fake a romance. This is where they become ingrained in each other’s life. It’s an enjoyable stage for the reader because whilst they are busy faking a romance they are also noticing little cute things about the other like their style of wit, their dirty laugh and the way they touch their hair. However there still must be a question in the reader’s mind about whether it will turn into a romance. We all know there’s a risk with fake dating. So make sure they keep reminding each other that it is just an act.
Let them get carried away with faking a relationship. These two are putting on such a good romantic show everyone is convinced they are an item. It is essential during this stage they start to chuck common sense and their ‘fake romance rule book’ out of the window. You can include some great dialogue like ‘everyone’s gone, why are you still kissing me?’ or ‘shall we practice kissing lying down on a sofa? Yeah? Great, let’s get practicing.’
Things must get tough as they both start experiencing new feelings. This is my favourite part of this trope. It is great to read a fake romance where one person’s feelings start to turn real. Suddenly the simple act of touching hands becomes charged with electricity. Bring on the lingering touches, breathless moments, intense eye moments…over some balls of wool in the case of the couple below. So much good dialogue can be added here. Things like, ‘I’m starting to think you don’t hate me as you say you do,’ or ‘I never thought I’d see this new side to you.’
The big reveal. When they are at their most vulnerable one of the characters will have to take the biggest risk of revealing the truth. They will have been struggling with their strong feelings, missing the other before they leave, on cloud nine everytime they are next to them and replaying all their conversations in their head. After all this time hiding, they must find the courage to speak from the heart. This is a great time to add something like – ‘be real with me – how much of this was fake?‘ Will the other feel the same way?
Enjoy writing your fake romances, writers. They are such fun to read.
This blog post is going to help my writer brain focus on one of my current projects. I do hope someone else out there writing a second chance romance finds it useful.
Second chance romance is one of my favourite romance tropes. I could read these stories all day.
One of my current projects focuses on a second chance romance so I could really do with going back to basics with the trope in order to revise my story.
Below I have come up with a list of all the things to consider when writing a second chance romance.
As I am madly in love with this particular artwork on Canva I am going to use it to pose the questions which I need to answer when writing this trope.
How did they initially connect? Were they childhood sweethearts? Maybe they met at work? The secret here is readers need to see and feel how good that connection was between these two beautiful characters. This breathtaking romance has to be unforgettable for both readers and the characters.
Why did they split up? What made them walk away from each other? Were they too young? Was it a case of bad timing or did one hurt the other? What broke them? Readers need to understand what made these characters go blubber into a box of Kleenex, wedge chocolate into their mouth and go for long solitary walks in the rain.
What personal growth have they experienced? What has life taught them in the years they were apart? What did other relationships teach them? Have they thought about why they have never connected with anyone on the same romantic level as they did with each other?
What made them want to give their relationship another chance? Why can’t they disentangle from each other’s lives? What has made them come together again? Why salvage a broken relationship? The reader must understand and agree with these decisions. There must also be that old connection and the chemistry.
What stuff have they overcome? Have they resolved the old conflict? Readers need to see how these two characters might have had different priorities that caused their breakup. But now that those priorities have changed, so, maybe there is still a chance for them to work it out. It could also be a case of these two characters making mistakes and generally causing an emotional mess. The reader needs to believe these two have changed for the better.
I feel better now.
Do you have any things I should add to my list of considerations?
I am thrilled to bring you a super guest blog post from a romance author who I think is brilliant – Élodie Garroway. I am a fan of her romance stories and I am excited she’s here today on my blog putting a unique twist on Imposter Syndrome.
Please welcome Élodie Garroway.
If you’ve ever tried to create something, you’ve heard the term “Imposter Syndrome.” Imposter Syndrome is feeling like your skills and talents are in doubt, not by others but by you.
I’ve been having a not-so-secret affair with imposter syndrome since I was seventeen.
I had secured an audition for a school of music I wanted to attend. It wasn’t a perfect audition but I got in. I was proud until I realized I was one of two trombone players. I got in because of what I played, not what I could do– quantity over quality.
And that is how I met my unsupportive Ex, Imposter Syndrome. It didn’t matter if everything it said was lies. I believed it. It ate at my confidence. It invaded my speech, my actions. In spite of it, I graduated top five.
I made it. Right? That ish was over?
This Ex invaded every aspect of my life and I unknowingly made it room, questioning how I was raising my son, teaching my students, and yes, my writing.
And I am not its only relationship, maybe you know it too?
So how do we do ensure we never get back together, even though they keep coming back?
Keep telling yourself you are amazing until you believe it.
There is nothing more powerful than positive self-talk. Remember it’s you. You feed the syndrome and let it pay rent in your mind. Naturally only you can keep it at bay. You have to decide to not feed it anymore. Just like you tell that ex that you aren’t getting back together, you have to tell yourself, “I’ve got this. I can write. My words are worth reading.”
Surround yourself with positive people.
It’s hard to make headway if the inner voice doesn’t match the out voices. Maybe those who love you can’t get on board with your “hobby.” That’s okay because we exist. Who’s we? Why the writing community of course! Trust me, if you have a genre, there is a group for you. Just find us. We want to meet you and support you!
Prove yourself wrong over and over again.
The Ex won’t stop calling with nasty comments? Fine. Prove it wrong. Do you doubt your world-building abilities? Take a class or ask a fellow writer for help, find a way to learn and improve. Then what can the voice say? Challenge that voice and make its argument worthless.
Do what scares you.
Don’t be the one holding you back. It is scary to put yourself out there. I put it off for years. I didn’t hit the top of anything the first time I published solo. Heck, I still haven’t. That doesn’t mean I should give up. What I should do is put myself out there again.
You should too. Even if you get a negative response. Then go back to number three and now prove them wrong. Keep doing what scares you, it’s the only way to move forward.
And break up with Imposter Syndrome. It never did anything for you anyway.
Élodie’s first taste of reality came from her Southern upbringing. She climbed majestic Dogwoods, chased fireflies, and ran from mosquitoes and no-see-ems. This idyllic world helped her see beauty, love and magic all come with a cost. That never stopped her from dreaming big!
Life continued to reinforce its duality – she overcame personal trials that would threaten her life and her vision. Dreams don’t die easily, so she pushed through and found a way to share the love stories that kept her on the lighter side of life.
She also managed to find her brooding prince and against all odds, have the most wonderful son with an imagination that rivals hers. Proving once again, the price of love is always worth it!
Grab a mason jar of lemonade and let Elodie Garroway show you the ups and downs of real love, so you can Capture the Feeling.
If you follow me on twitter you will know of my pinned tweet. It is about how I got through to the final round of the Penguin Michael Joseph Christmas Love Story Competition and my strong urges to cartwheel with joy on zoom calls at work.
According to the competition FAQs last week was when the winner was going to be notified. At the start of last week I knew of just 4 other writers who, like me, had got through to the next round. I wasn’t looking forward to a tense, nail biting and lonely week which would mostly be spent watching my email with hawk-like eyes, jumping everytime my phone rang, eating far too many penquin biscuits and overthinking every possible competition outcome.
Well, my week did include all of the above (especially the penguin biscuit binge) but it wasn’t a lonely week and it did change my writing world in unexpected ways.
I think it was Audrey Niven, on Twitter who kickstarted things at the start of the week. She tweeted about wishing all the Penquin finalists lots of luck. Then the magic started. Fellow finalists joined in by liking her tweet and by the end of Monday there was a small gang of us on Twitter all sharing writer love and support with each other. By Tuesday our gang had grown some more as a few more finalists had found us. We all started tweeting funny snippets from our days and what we were doing to distract ourselves from the competition waiting game. By Wednesday we had grown from a small gang to a collective and this was when ideas were shared on what we could call ouselves. Bettina Hunt suggested the Penguin Collective and a Twitter list was created by Amy Gaffney. Everytime another finalist made their way onto Twitter and found us we’d all welcome them in.
It was a very different writing competition experience for me. We all tweeted and laughed our way through the week talking about the anxious wait, how we felt like we were in the Big Brother House (Lily Joseph), how some of us had turned to playing Europe’s pop classic, The Final Countdown (Jake G Godfrey) to get through, how some of us were busy ordering Penguin biscuits (Sarah Shard) how we were all looking forward to cracking open the wine on Friday at 6pm and how lucky we were to find each other. There were so many funny tweets over the course of the week, from Jenny Bromham’s thought provoking GIF ‘one more dawn’, Donna Dobbs’s hiring of a geeky IT student, Joanna Knowles Author’s tweet about how she was starting to waddle like a penguin, Rebecca Duval’s obsessive email refreshes, Hayley-Jenifer’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s GIF and Jackie Morrison’s caravan holiday which was spent checking for a phone signal. As you can imagine when Sarah Louise Robinson started a Facebook group for us we all flapped our penguin wings and waddled over there too. It wasn’t just laughter, there were also ideas from Kimberly Adams, Sarah Shard and Amy Gaffney on how we could work together in the future.
There were other finalists still joining the Pengin Collective on Friday; A Novel, tweet by tweet, Writtenbymisshm, Tallie Samuels, Helen Hawkins, Katy George.
The end of the story is that no one we knew about heard from Penguin Michael Joseph on Friday. Someone probaby has heard and we wish them the best of luck. I also hope they come on my blog and talk about their new book in the future.
For me, that’s okay. I got WAY more from this writing competition than I ever imagined; a story idea validated by Penguin Michael Joseph (which is now at 23k), new romance writer friends in the Penguin Collective group and a lot of happy twitter memories from last week.
As Breea Keenan said, ‘this chat has made my week’ and I couldn’t agree more.
Writing competitions which give you so much more than you expected are priceless.
A few creative moons ago I read, Without a Hitch, by a romance author called Bettina Hunt. From the start of the book I loved her humour, her relatable characters and her take on romantic comedy. I went onto read one of her other novels; A Tempting Trio, and laughed so much at her hilarious book I nearly fell off my chair. Since then I have become a bit of a Bettina Hunt author superfan. She still hasn’t managed to shake me off – lol.
In real life she’s one of the funniest people I know and always makes me smile. Now that her fabulous new book, High Heels on the Beach, is out I have persuaded her to come on my blog.
I thought it would be fun to do an author interview so you can all find out more about Bettina Hunt.
Please welcome one of my favourite romantic comedy & women’s fiction authors, Bettina Hunt.
Hello, thanks for having me on your blog, it’s such an honour!
Bettina – can you tell us about yourself?
Such a difficult first question, Lucy!
I’m a forty something writer of romcoms and women’s fiction. I have two young boys and I can tell you that homeschooling them during Covid was certainly not an easy thing as one thing I’ve never wanted to be is a teacher, huge respect to those who are!
I used to work in product management however, at one time I was thinking of becoming a lawyer… that attention to detail that I learnt during my law degree has held me in good stead 😉
As a gemini I have so many interests, I can be known to be indecisive but the one thing I knew was that I always wanted to write in some capacity. I started writing a blog about beauty and afternoon tea when I was at home with my eldest boy and then added a Friday Column so that I could share my poetry and short stories. My first book – A Tempting Trio – was originally a short story on my blog.
I’ve published four books and partially written another five. My ultimate dream is to have at least one of my books made into a film. I would also love to be part of a comedy writing team, writing either comedy sketches or a sitcom (i’m not fussy!) Sharon Horgan is one of my favourite writers and she’s written two of my favourite TV Shows – Catastrophe and Motherland. Most recently I’ve become obsessed with the BBC ONE series This Is My House. It’s a brilliant concept, so entertaining and funny.
Just before lockdown I also discovered Schitt’s Creek which is the ultimate heartwarming, feelgood comedy series. With perfectly written characters that evolve beautifully as the series plays out I laughed and cried. It’s the best series ever.
Tell us about your new book?
High Heels on the Beach is a heartwarming contemporary romantic comedy set in both London and the fictional seaside town of Sunny Bay. It tells the story of Becca who’s used to letting her bestie make decisions for her in a twist on the Choose Your Own Story books that they used to read. When her world comes crumbling down, Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny. Her planned voyage of self-discovery is thwarted by the need for her to return to the one place she’s been avoiding, home. In Sunny Bay she’s forced to take on the running of the family’s B&B, bringing her face to face with old flames and adversaries and meeting a host of colourful residents at the B&B. The story follows Becca’s emotional journey and her struggle between the pull of her old corporate life and a new life in Sunny Bay.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I actually got the idea when I was on holiday in Spain. I was looking around at the people by the pool and wondered how many of them were not looking forward to getting back to their jobs and the idea spiralled from there. I had planned to start writing it during NanoWrimo in November, however I felt compelled to write as soon as I got home and wrote 30,000 words during the Summer Holidays.
When you are not writing books what do you like doing?
Most of this hasn’t been possible since COVID struck but … I love going out for afternoon tea, eating out and enjoying cocktails. I love going on mini breaks. I love the theatre, the west end shows. I love watching comedy shows on TV to lift my spirits. And I LOVE to sing 🙂 just for me mostly although I do lip syncs on Instagram too.
Best piece of writing advice you have ever been given?
You have to turn on the tap to let the water flow AND you can’t edit an empty page.
How long have you been writing books?
I wrote my first full book in 2015 but i’ve always had ideas bouncing around in my head. Still do. Every day in fact. Especially when I’m doing the washing up or in bed, trying to sleep.
What book are you reading at the moment.
I’m reading a romcom (not much of a surprise there!) called The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent. It’s made me laugh out loud so that’s a good sign.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
I love Lucy Vine for making me laugh out loud. Milly Johnson’s books are like a cuddle, warm and funny with fantastic characters. John Grisham for page turning suspense – My favourite book of his was The Runaway Jury. More recently I’ve discovered JP Delaney for thrillers. But honestly I read so many wonderful books that I wish I could give them all a shout out.
9.Favourite social media channel?
Twitter I think – I love how instant it is and I love to talk and chat, connect with people 🙂
Favourite romance film?
How can I choose! I love romantic films and even better if they make me laugh… But if I really, really, had to choose – Okay I have 3 films in mind.
Some Kind of Wonderful made me cry buckets and has some fantastic lines in it. My two favourite romcoms are Sweet Home Alabama and You’ve Got Mail. I could happily watch all three over and over again.
Decision shy Becca is used to her best friend making decisions for her, but after a disastrous 30th birthday, London living Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny.
With her life plans in tatters, she’s forced to return home to the quiet seaside town of Sunny Bay and the family’s B&B, where the bedrooms are covered in chintz and her mother is still serving up culinary delights from the 1970s. Adamant that she’s not staying, Becca embarks on a soul-searching trip to Europe.
She’s barely stepped foot abroad before a family crisis sees her back in Sunny Bay and in charge of the B&B. Coming face to face with old flames and adversaries, Becca’s reminded why she left and is determined to get back to her old life in London.
But when the mysterious Madame DoTell, fortune teller to the stars, insists that home is where the heart is, Becca begins to wonder if she should listen…
If home is where the heart is, where is home?
High Heels on the Beach is a light-hearted and fun packed Summer tale perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk.
I have been threatening to do a newsletter for sometime but haven’t felt like I know enough about the subject to whip one up. So, you can imagine my excitement when historical romance author Emily Royal told me she had a guest blog post for me on the subject of newsletters. Now, I am on Emily’s newsletter distribution list and I love them. They’re filled with photos, info on her new books and a lot of Emily Royal book vibes.
This blog post is packed full of Emily’s top 10 tips for newsletters and I am so grateful she’s here today.
Right I know you are keen to read on. Please give a warm welcome to Emily Royal:
Many authors have a newsletter, and you might be wondering whether it’s worth the effort—or even what it involves. A newsletter is basically an e:mail which is sent to a list of people who have signed up to hear from you, and could be anything between a couple of paragraphs, to something a bit longer with images and links. The benefit of having a newsletter is the direct contact with readers—you’re not advertising through Facebook or Amazon, or using a service which sends details of your book out to its own list (such a bookbub)—you’re contacting your own readers, so you have total control over what they read, and when they get it. To me, a certified control freak, that sounds ideal.
I am super excited because the author of heart-warming and funny romantic comedies Anna Bell has come to take over my blog today. She’s going to share with us her tips on writing comedy and I am hoping she will also tell us about her book which I can’t wait to read as it sounds fab.
Please give a warm welcome to Anna Bell:
Here are my top 5 tips for writing comedy:
1 – Belief One of the hardest things about writing comedy is believing in yourself. Jokes are subjective, and they’re also personal. Sometimes writing comedy and exposing what you think is funny can make you feel vulnerable. But chances are if you find it funny then someone else will too. I don’t think there is anything nicer, both in real life or in your writing, than making someone laugh.
2– First Drafts don’t have to be funny It’s very easy to get hung-up on making everything you write sound witty, but you have to remember that your readers are there just as much for the story as they are for the laughs. It’s almost easier to add humour on the next draft when you can spot if you’ve got clusters or deserts of funny scenes. On the second draft, when you know your characters better, you’re more likely to understand what pushes their buttons and how they’d react in any situation, making it easier for you to imagine the humorous situations they could find themselves in.
3– There is a fine line between funny and cringey This is one of the hardest things to get right when writing comedy. It’s also a line that changes from reader to reader too. One person’s threshold for rolling on the floor in hysterics is another’s basis for a one-star review. One of the ways to avoid it being too cringey is to try and build reader empathy with the character, so that if the reader cringes, they cringe with the character, not at him or her.
4 – Make scenarios relatable Watching stand-up comedians with live audiences is a great way to see what people find funny. Quite often it’s the most mundane things that people find the funniest, the jokes about extended family or ordinary situations that everyone finds themselves in. It’s often easier to relate to humour if you can imagine it could happen to you. It’s worth remembering this when writing. Scenes that are too over the top or unbelievable can seem like they’re trying too hard to get laughs.
5 – Outside the Room Watching sit-coms can also help you learn how to write comedy. Shows like Frasier give excellent lessons in comic timing and build-up. There is nearly always a final big comedic scene that the whole episode builds up to, but to get the laughs you need to understand what has driven each character to react in the particular way they do. When you are writing a big scene with an ensemble cast, it’s worth bearing that in mind. What has happened to each of your characters prior to this scene? What is their mood? What has led them to the point they’re at? If the audience are in on the joke and understand why the character is reacting in the way they are, it makes it funnier. But you don’t always have to signpost the events that happen outside the room either. If you’ve got a big ensemble scene having someone other than the main characters arrive in the aftermath of an argument, or guarding a secret, can add to the humour and tension too. Usually that storyline would play alongside the big main event that’s happening to the protagonist, and the poor protagonist is left trying to put out fires from all sides, ramping up the humour.
Follow Anna on Twitter: AnnaBell_writes Instagram: anna_bell_writes Anna’s latest novel is The Man I Didn’t Marry and it’s out now.
Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years . . . including their relationship. Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find her Max again – he has to be in there somewhere, right?
As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?
Sometimes, the best part about writing is that my dog is always snoring nearby, offering sleepy moral support as I sit at my desk, agonizing over my latest fictional romance.
Lots of well known writers have had pet sidekicks; Charles Dickens’ cherished animal companion was a raven named Grip, Edgar Allan Poe was a cat-person and his pet feline was named Catterina, John Steinbeck had a dog named Charley and Virginia Woolf had a dog who was called Pinka.
So, I have been thinking about what sort of qualities are needed for a writer’s pet. Here’s how I think a job description for a writer’s pet might look…
Vacancy For A Writer’s Pet.
About The Role:
Animal / bird / fish / reptile needed to provide long-term emotional and creative support to a writer.
Can vary each week. Dependent upon a number of factors:
The writer’s feelings towards their writing. The writer’s procrastination levels. The amount of emotional support a writer gets from a human loved one. If they don’t get enough emotional support from a loved one, their pet, will have to step in and do overtime.
This is a live in role with the writer.
Key Duties / Responsibilities:
Must be able to look alert at the start and at the end of the writer’s 678th recital of their first chapter.
Must be able to sense the writer is strugging with chapter twenty-two of their draft novel and allow the writer to sob hysterically into their fur or up against their cage / fishbowl.
Must be able to silently listen and not give judgment on the dodgy mid section of their writer’s new draft novel which is as saggy as their pet bed.
Must be able to break wind at key moments and distract the writer from their frantic typo search.
Must be able to look ‘cute’ at short notice and willing to star in Instagram pics when the writer is busy procrastinating.
Must be skilled at snoring gently while the writer is writing into the early hours.
Must be willing to be named after one of the literary greats or one of the writer’s characters. If it’s the latter, they must accept that their pet name could be changed at the drop of a hat should the writer decide they hate their story.
Must be willing to accept the writer will be constantly creating imaginary and elaborate lives for them. These imaginary lives can vary with each writer and will be dependent upon the writer’s preferred genre. The pet might find they spent many years travelling across magical lands, fought in a great battle and were a stowaway on a famous voyage before they came to live with the writer. It’s important the pet just plays along with this.
Must be willing to sit and listen to the writer’s literary woes.
Must be able to keep the writer’s keyboard warm when they are away from their desk.
Must be willing to bark, mieow or hiss at the mention of the writer’s book title.
Must be willing to feature in their writer’s stories and novels.
Must get the urge to chew up the writer’s paper manuscript or walk muddy paws over it whilst the writer’s back is turned.
Must be willing to perform amusing animal stunts or tricks for inclusion within the writer’s tweets, blog posts and author newsletters.
Must accept that the writer will regularly ask them questions like, “what do you think about that chapter…my reviewers thought the start was a little weak…your thoughts?” and “what do you think about my foreshadowing?” and “do you think I will ever be an international best-selling author?”
You will be a loyal and patient animal / bird / fish / reptile.
At times you will understand your writer owner better than their loved one.
You will have known from a young age that you were destined for the literary world.
Just like your writer you will also go wild around the kitchen and lose control of your bladder at the news of your writer’s unexpected literary success.
This role is paid in love, nibbles, cuddles, pet biscuits and a leading animal star role in one of your writer’s many stories.
If the writer becomes famous you will be known as their pet. This may result in you getting your own blog, Instagram or Facebook following.
You will get to hear the writer’s work before anyone else. You LUCKY animal!
Thanks for reading,
Have a great day.
If you want to read more about writers and their pets check out this article.
I am the owner of a small gang of unruly cats and an over excited dog. As an enthusiastic pet owner I often project human traits onto my animals. I am always talking to my cats and dog. They all have elaborate fictional histories and we often speak to one of my cats about his time as a stowaway on an old sailing boat in the eighteenth century.
Giving a character a pet side kick was something I thought writers did when they had an overwhelming urge to write about a particular animal or to leave a legacy for their beloved pet by adding them into their best-selling novel. I have come to realise there is so much more to fictional pets.
One of my favourite authors, Nicola May, adds brilliant pet characters to her romantic comedies. They all have their own personality and leave you with great book memories. I still chuckle about the hilarious African Grey parrot, Lady P and her foul mouth in, Love Me Tinder.
Before I talk about the benefits I think it is important to explain what I believe are the golden rules with fictional pets.
I don’t think you should add your real life pet into a story because you will end up assuming the reader will automatically relate to your pet in the same way you do. They won’t. It is a bit like adding your loved one into a romance story and expecting everyone to fall in love with their strange ways. You are the only one who can relate to your pet (and loved one).
Pet characters need to have annoying or frustrating traits, as well as loveable ones to be relatable. Most of the time my animals disobey everything I say to them, make a mess of my house, vomit at the wrong times and leave me tearing my hair out. In your books you cannot create angelic household pets who are always alert and on the look out for life saving opportunities. This does not happen in real life. My pets tend to be either squabbling, sleeping or digging holes in the garden.
Here are the hidden benefits of giving your fictional character a pet side kick:
A fictional pet can bring two characters together who are trying to avoid each other. In my novel; Instructions For Falling In Love Again, used Maria the bulldog to get my characters in close contact. Maria loves showering people, wary of dogs, with her affections. She makes a beeline in the park for Mikey, dragging Pippa with her, after he displayed a look of fear.
A fictional pet can bring some light relief to a gloomy tale. In real life pets can bring a much-needed smile to your face during dark times and this can apply to fictional characters and their pets. They can also add some fun into the writing process and boy do we need this!
Animal / owner relationships don’t have to follow the norm to be endearing to the reader. I love Caitlin Moran’s description of her pet in her book, How To Be A Woman. ‘The stupid new dog is under my bed. She has got pregnant by the small dog, Oscar, who lives over the road. None of us can quite work out how this has happened, as Oscar is one of those small, yappy types of dogs, only slightly bigger than a family-sized tin of baked beans, and the stupid new dog is a fully grown German Shepherd… I look into the dog’s eyes. She is as stupid as a barrel of toes. Galaxies of nothing are going on in her eyes. I’m going to talk to Mum,’ I explain. The dog remains under my bed, looking, as always, deeply nervous about being a dog. The phrase ‘stupid as a barrel of toes’ and coupled with the dog ‘being deeply nervous about bring a dog’ conjure up a comedy picture of the dog.
A fictional pet can assist character development, they can help illustrate an important characteristic of one of the main characters. This could be in shown in how the character speaks to the pet or cares for the pet. Useful for characters who live alone and have limited human contact.
Unusual petsare brilliant for showing bringing out a character quirk. Giving your hero or heroine an unconventional pet to love can add an unexpected dimension to their personality.
A fictional pet can help cause conflict and present their character owner with numerous obstacles. This is where those annoying and frustrating animal traits come into play
Fictional pets are great ways to bring your characters and stories to life.
A big shout out to all fictional pets – we love you guys!