Cleo on the lookout, and yes, we let our beastie family members up on furniture--even place furniture for their enjoyment!
As I posted earlier, Cleo passed away. The past couple of weeks, I've been on the search for a new dog family member. This is partly for myself and partly for the cat--who is missing having a dog sibling.
Bax grooming Cleo, now the cat insists on grooming my hair!
So the search is on--and over the past couple of weeks I've learned a lot about a different breed, rat terriers or ratties or feist dogs. I have friends who have ratties and I adore those particular dogs so I read up on the breed and fell in love with a new type of dog. Why? Because the breed is different in a way I believe will add a lot to my life (and I can add a lot to theirs because of who I am). Rat terriers are healthy, curious and active dogs, who adore their people. In the last three ways they are like my previous dogs, basenjis. But they are different in that they are very social, and adore being in the midst of it all, are not overbred so not prone to many diseases and are a terrier--so trainable and love to "do stuff with others." Me too. It gets lonely sitting in a room by myself, writing.
Cleo, under the clean towels on the bed, wondering what all this has to do with writing.
Well, Cleo, I got to thinking about how, basically, all dogs have much the same character in many ways, because they are pack, i.e. social animals. Overall, they get along and need to be with other pack members. This is part of their secret of success with humans, who are also social beings. The huge majority of dogs are friendly, love being with people, etc., no matter what the breed. (I've known a pit bull that knew he was just a big lap dog.) That having being said, I thought about how the dogs I've known personally have all had very distinct personalities one from another. And while a particular dog might be "of the breed," basenjis for example love to eat paper products, each dog will have their own unique twist. Cleo liked to eat paper-like weeds:
Cleo going in for the kill.
If dogs have these many unique differences, how about sentient, supposedly more evolved, people? It doesn't matter if my book is set in a small town where most people are middle class and staid and...would seem indistinct one from another. But then one goes and eats a weed.
So now, as I'm building characters for my new novel, I question: How is this character like other people? How is this character different--and why the differences? Why does this character eat weeds? How does that work with the plot/the other characters/the entire book? (In real life there may not be a reason, but there needs to be in fiction.)
Dear readers how do you build a character? Or do they come to you fully formed? Or?