Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rescuing Dogs & WIPs

The bay behind our house can be trecherous

I'm pulling out a oldie-but-a-goodie (I think) blog...because it's still relevant. I'm putting the finishing touches on the new WIP today and then its off to the agent...hopefully to be contracted very soon. I love this book, but there have been several hiccups along the way. And I'm so glad that I'm finally getting it right. Anywho, on with the blog!

I love that where we live wildlife is all around us. Birds of all sorts, chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, egrets, swans, canada geese, regular geese, ducks of all sorts...you get the picture. Imagine my surprise when I looked out the back window to the bay behind the in-laws house to see a cocker spaniel swimming after a family of geese.

We watched for a little while before it dawned on us --that dog has no way out. We have docking areas for small boats, but the water level is low this year so standing on the side and reaching down to pick up the pup wasn't an option. Which also meant him getting out on his own wasn't an option, either. As we realize that we saw that the pup was getting really tired. His front paws weren't reaching out of the water any longer, his back and butt were completely submerged. The poor thing was going to drown.

He made his way to the other side of the bay and began to dog paddle down one side, looking for a way out. I realized he's making his way to a neighbor's dock and that neighbor has jet-ski launches we can get down on. We hopped in the car and headed over there because in the middle of the day who is home?

Across the bay we made our way through a side yard and down to the dock. The neighbor arrived home so explained why we're in his side yard and the three of us hurried to the dock. Between the three of us, we make enough encouraging noise that the pup swam over and we got him out. He collapsed, couldn't even stand he was so tired. A car stopped out from and a woman says, "Have you seen a dog?" Turns out she's been looking for him for close to an hour (freaking stupid owner) and never bothered to get out of her car and LOOK IN THE WATER, a dog's favorite place to be. She'd been out on the island (an area all the neighbor kids play with a treehouse and swings and a fun, clean beach) and didn't notice he was gone. God save me from stupid pet owners. But that is another blog.

So, what does the rescue have to do with my wip? I realized a couple hours later that my characters weren't drowning. And they needed to be.

The romance can't be that easy or there is no book. No character-defining moments, no angst, no story. In real life, falling easily into love happens (at least it did with me). In books, the falling in love part has to be more difficult.

I knew in my head that that there was something intrinsically off about it. I'm not sure why I didn't realize that my characters weren't drowning in their fight to stave off love, but for some reason I didn't. It took a pup in danger to make me realize that I had forgotten one of the tenets I usually have down: our characters need obstacles. Otherwise, they're just puppets acting out a play.

How about you? Do you ever forget supposedly so ingrained in your writer's memory?