Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart.

Writing Excuses 8.3: Pets

We called it “Pets” because it’s pithy, but what we’re really talking about here is how to give your story’s animals — horses, dogs, cats — a personality. Why is this important? Why might it be useful? What are the tropes and the common pitfalls? What is the difference between tortoise-shell, calico, and piebald?

(We don’t actually answer that last one.)

Whether you’re using animals as a sounding board, for raising the stakes, or as an early-warning system (or as all three) you’ll want to give this a listen.

Homework: Write a human interacting with an alien, and the alien has a conspicuous companion animal who is critically important to the alien’s life.

Thing of the week: Making Money, by Terry Pratchett narrated by Stephen Briggs.

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