Listen to ME-OW

Saturday, July 14, 2018
Angela (a fellow WOW writer) commented on a post, saying, "There can't be too many cat posts," and that got me thinking about the cats in my life... and my writing.

Cats and dogs are so different. Dogs are loyal to a fault. It's the reason why there are so many abused dogs. If they're in an awful home, in spite of being horribly treated, dogs keep coming back--hoping this time, they'll get the love they want and need.

Cats? Cats won't put up with anything. If they're mistreated, they find ways to get revenge. A peed-on coat that's been draped across a couch. (Do you know how distinctive of an odor feline urine is and how difficult it is to get rid of?) Clawed-up drapes. Cats hold a grudge and they don't ever forget.

I read an article about how cats and novels are alike, and again, I was lost in thought. (I know. Sioux using her brain twice in the span of a couple of minutes? The chick is twisted.) Colleen M. Story (what an incredible name for a writer) claims that cats and novels are alike in three ways... and I can think of a fourth. Here they are:

1. Cats don't need us... and neither does a fleshed-out character. If we're doing our work well, our characters stand on their own. They're interacting with each other, and they don't need our meddling. We're a conduit. Like the Ides of March song goes:

I'm your vehicle, baby
I'll take you anywhere you want to go.

If we've done a good job of creating our characters, we're just the vehicle. The characters dictate to us where they're headed... and usually cats dictate to us when they want affection. Otherwise, stay away.

2. Cats go 90-miles-an-hour crazy sometimes... and so does our writing. When I got married, my parents cat-sat for us. My father was never much of a cat person. Unfortunately, our then-cat was still a kitten, and kittens think they are flying squirrels. That crazy kitty would tear around our apartment, and then take a flying leap and land on my father's shoulder.

Sometimes our writing flows out at lightning speed. We can't explain why, but it sure is nice when it happens.

3. Cats are extremely particular... and so is our writing.  While writing a novel, sometimes we try to cram something ill-fitting into our story. A plot event that we think is necessary, but seems out of place once we read it a second time. A well-crafted story with fleshed-out characters have finicky tastes... just like our cats that turn their nose up when some cheap tuna is being offered.

4. Cats can be comforting... and writing a novel is, too.  When I had Elmo and Maya and Buttons, I loved cuddling with them. Curling up with a warm kitty--there's nothing like it. Writing can be a source of comfort and satisfaction, too. When we're able to tell a story that needs to be told (memoir or historical fiction), when we're able to craft a novel that keeps the reader engaged and entertained--that brings us a warm feeling... just like a purring cat.

Can you think of another way cats and novel-writing are like? Please share. And Angela, here's one more glimpse of a kitty. 


Since it's the summer, Sioux Roslawski is reading and vegging out, when she's not working on her WIP.  From mid-August to the end of June, her days are spent teaching (along with spoiling her granddaughter and rescuing golden retrievers). If you'd like to read more of Sioux's stuff, check out her blog.


Margo Dill said...

Well, I'm a dog lover, so... :) But you are so correct about the attitude of dogs vs cats, and I think that comparing working on a novel to a cat is perfect--if we compared it to a dog, it would be so easy to write a novel (or anything) everyone would be doing it.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Yay, cats! I agree, curling up with a kitty is the best. They love snuggling. :)

Oooh (raises hand), I have some ways cats and novel-writing are alike:

My cat Jazzy is super demanding, needs constant attention, and knows her feeding schedule down to the minute. Similarly, our manuscripts demand attention and appreciate a writing schedule.

Jazzy loves to play and get creative (she does these amazing MMA somersault flips out of the blue); and I think it's important to play with your plot, take it in different directions and try new things, so you can figure out the best storyline.

Cats need to sharpen their claws like we need to sharpen our writing skills, and our pencils. LOL. Okay, now I'm reaching...

Awww, those pics are adorable!

Thanks for this post, Sioux! It's purrrfect. ;)

Linda Strader said...

Yes! Cats are also quite intuitive...they know just when to interrupt your train of thought, LOL.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--You are SO right. Dogs are easy. Novel-writing? Not so much.

Angela--I'd love to see Jazzy doing her MMA somersault flips. Too bad they're not predictable, otherwise you could film them.

Linda--Yes, they do. They also can determine which piece of paper is most crucial--and THAT is the piece of paper they plop their butt down on. (At least my cats would do that.) By the way, I checked out your watercolors. You're an incredible artist!

Mary Horner said...

My cat is like a muse that comes and goes without warning! She's never around when I need her, but shows up randomly when it's the most inconvenient.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--Yes, that is what cats are. Unpredictable, unreliable but also irresistible.

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