naomi_jay: (Black dog?)
[personal profile] naomi_jay
Strictly speaking, I'm not a fan of wacky sidekicks. They're usually intended to be comic relief, but they rarely work that way for me. I loathed the talking dog in The Accidental Demon Slayer and the wise-cracking demon/cat in Redheaded Stepchild. I don't know what it is, but a comedy sidekick character is usually a kiss of death in a book for me.

Which brings me to Ethan's sidekick, Mutt. Yeah, I know! But Mutt isn't a comedy sidekick. He doesn't talk or have supercanine powers. He's just a dog that happens to love Ethan because Ethan gave him a candy bar that one time. I've been very careful not to humanise Mutt. I don't want him to be anything other than a dog. Ethan might treat him as more-than-animal clever, but I don't want to turn Mutt into something he's not. 

Anyway! That aside, Mutt is a big part of the Ethan novellas since he's the closest Ethan has to a friend, and for that reason alone I spent a lot of time today looking at pictures of Labrador mixes online trying to find one that looked like Mutt. And I did!



Look at that face! He's not quite the right colour (Mutt is more grey-black) but expression-wise, this is how I always picture Mutt looking at Ethan. Like, "you're the bestest human I know and I'm sorry there's bird poop on the carpet! Let's do something fun!" And Ethan's all, "here's a chewy bone, you adorable bastard."

So as I'm working on Undertow now, having finished the gothic romance short story, Mutt and Ethan have plenty of adventures ahead. I think Ethan needs a happy dog to help balance out the angry demon. And Mutt is like the happiest dog because his daddy takes him on adventures all the time. Like this one:

Me and Mutt wandered down the quiet halls, passing lecture rooms full of boringly attentive students. Walters' office was on the second floor and I got lost a couple of times finding my way there. The bonus was that we passed a vending machine and somebody had left a bunch of change in there, so I treated me and Mutt to a candy bar each. Mutt pretty much inhaled his. I was still eating mine when I stumbled upon Walters' office.

on 2011-11-16 07:56 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] spiderling.livejournal.com
LOL! I know what you mean about crappy talking animal sidekicks (or crappy talking human sidekicks) and INTENDED comic relief is usually more grating than anything.

on 2011-11-16 08:02 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
That was exactly my problem with Redheaded Stepchild. The light moments felt so forced. And yay for the Pomeranian! *high five*

on 2011-11-16 08:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] spiderling.livejournal.com
Poms rule!! They are my favorite dogs!

Writers need to learn you can't force comedy. Chances are everyone will laugh at a different point in your book, you can't MAKE things funny unless you are AWESOME. And every comedian will tell you comedy is the hardest thing ever.

on 2011-11-16 07:57 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] spiderling.livejournal.com
Oh! And I gave the witches in Tea Times Three a Pomeranian who is JUST a Pomeranian. No talking, and no comic relief.

on 2011-11-16 08:02 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] wtfbrain.livejournal.com
\o/ PUPPY! I love that he's all 8P. I love Mutt, he's fabulous in the story, and I really hope he and Ethan get to go on ALL THE ADVENTURES.

on 2011-11-16 08:03 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
There will be walkies on the beach in Undertow. I'm convinced that's as happy as dogs can physically be.

on 2011-11-16 08:02 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] faeriegirl.livejournal.com
Awww how cute!!

I've never even attempted to write sidekick characters, because I'm not a fan of them either. But how could you not love Mutt???

(Btw, before he died, my uncle had a lab mix that looked very similar to this pic--just minus the white--he was all black!)

on 2011-11-16 08:03 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
Aw, sounds cute! :)

on 2011-11-16 09:27 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] out-totheblack.livejournal.com
Yay Mutt and adventures!

on 2011-11-16 09:36 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
^_^ He's going to have many adventures!

on 2011-11-17 12:00 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] intothenyght.livejournal.com
Aww! That picture is so adorable! And yes, I agree to all of the above...it's nice to read about an animal just being an animal for once!

on 2011-11-17 09:45 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
Yes! I'm always a bit wary when I see animals anthropomorphised in fiction. They're so much fun when they're just animals, why do it?!

on 2011-11-17 11:17 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] intothenyght.livejournal.com
I agree with you completely. :)

on 2011-11-17 09:41 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] dwg.livejournal.com
PUPPY! omg his face. ♥ With a dog like this, Ethan has no need for human friends!

on 2011-11-17 09:44 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] naomi-jay.livejournal.com
Which is just as well...

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