Never Work with Animals…

ParrotI love to add animals to my stories. I have a great affection for them. But they’re not easy to work with.

How does that saying go!? Well, I’ve managed to pick a story that starts with children and then proceeds to involve a few animals here and there. But they’re proving a bit of a pain in the proverbial, if you ask me. I mean, who asked them to have sassy attitudes? Little divas.

Anyway.

It turns out that my dead-not-dead character from the boat has a bit of a history with animals. He tends to collect them, in fact. Or rather, they adopt him. And when the murder happens, well…

Thing is, this wasn’t meant to be a comedy!

I have rewritten one scene over and over again, and it just turns out the same – like some slapstick sketch. I can’t get around it.

I hate to say it.

But I think I have to kill off my critter.

Ultimately it’s either that or try to rewrite around the murder. Which can’t happen as it’s sort of the lynchpin of the whole plot. Instead, I think, I may have to move my protagonist back a step in the proceedings. Rather than have him stumble over the body, why not have a perfect stranger stumble over it? I wrote a short story a while back about a drunk wandering home and coming across a body, and it’s been playing in the back of my mind for a while. I had thought about going back to the story and giving it a bit of an edit to see what happens, but I wonder what would happen if I put my drunk in this scene instead. I always like the sinister aspect of a perfectly innocent scenario – wandering home after a night with friends in the pub – turning suddenly and sickeningly horrifying.

On that rather macabre note – I think I’m settling in to my horror-writing stride!

Unfortunately, whether it’s a cat or a drunk that finds my poor murdered person, this is one scene that isn’t easy to write.

Have you ever written animals into your story and did they behave themselves?

How do you handle death in your stories?

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