Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Convenient Dog

To convey the sense of a character's inner self at work, dramatists have given us the soliloquy. Many novelists and short story writers have modified this means of conveying inner feelings into the device of interior monologue.

With two or more characters on stage or page, the author has recourse to a wide, creative spectrum of action-related options. With one character on stage or page alone, the options narrow. The author is forced into the head of the character, where the verbs turn from action based into those driven by thought.

Writers, forced by contractual observations to be more observant of deadlines than technique, or seduced by their own sense of cleverness, will on occasion resort to giving a solitary character some pet with whom to have the sort of conversation that does not strike the reader as entirely gratuitous.

You can--and do--say with the authority of emphasis that story is action. It often contains thought, but the story more often than not begins with some action to demonstrate plans to cope with disaster, ambition, and loyalty to a cause.

Characters who discuss their stake in the parameters of the story or, indeed, in comparisons of the animal and human conditions run the risk of being seen as cute.

Dogs and cats appear most often as convenience buddies, beings whose presence in the story has no other purpose than providing a lazy writer with a way out of a dilemma.

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