The girl next door is a classical feature of the romance genre. Usually the hero ignores the pesky girl who lives next to him until one day he realizes she has grown into a beautiful creature who is just the woman for him. In other romances, the girl next door plays a role similar to a red herring in a mystery. She is a good childhood friend, who makes life interesting. She distracts him from the real heroine who the author will eventually throw into the hero’s arms.
My next door neighbor has four dogs, but Theodore is the charmer. Theodore greets everyone with friendly woofs and wags his tail so vigorously that his rump moves more than his tail. He’s my buddy.
Some time ago, my muse whispered in my ear that Theodore needs to be a character in one of my stories. At the time, I had just finished writing the second book of my Richard Tracy Series. This is a series of novelas available as e-books about a retired detective and a retired chef. They live in a community and a house that could easily be mistaken for mine, but of course is not. My muse told me to start on book 3, but at that time had not come up with a suitable plot. I went out into my garden and found Theodore busy digging a tunnel under the fence into my yard.
Some dogs are diggers and some are not. Theodore is an excellent digger, and once dug up a sapling that my neighbor had just planted in her yard. He also likes to dig under the fence into my yard. My muse tapped me on the side of my head and asked, “What do you see?” Of course, what I saw was a dog digging. Next she asked, “What do dogs usually dig for?”
Before long I was started on a novela, Dem Bones Shall Rise Again. A dog names Theodore lives next to Richard Tracy, and frequently digs into Richard’s yard. Richard begins to dig a trench next to his fence for one of his gardening projects. What would I expect Theodore to do? Dig under the fence and then help Richard by digging in the trench. No harm done until Theodore digs up a bone and proudly shows his treasure to Richard.
Richard has seen that kind of bone before during his career as a detective when he and his crew dug up shallow graves of murder victims. Oh my, such excitement and confusion. The body is found on Richard’s property. Could he be the murder?\
Theodore started everything by exhuming a human bone. I think he is a little sorry for getting his buddy, Richard into trouble. Is there some way that Theodore can help catch the real killer? My muse is nodding her head.
Unfortunately other demands on my time have delayed the manuscript. I expect to finish it this month, and perhaps have book 3 of the Richard Tracy Series, Dem Bones Shall Rise Again, out by the end of the summer.
I have written about dogs before, but those are manuscripts that did not get published. I think most authors do not give enough attention to dogs in their stories. Dogs have personalities and conflicts just like humans. Why not make them important characters in your story. The only problem is that animals do not communicate the way humans do. This makes it challenging to write dialog, but are you up to it?
Reynold writes fiction as his retirement career. For more information about him and his books, go to www.ReynoldConger.com.