There’s a maxim that fiction authors are wise to follow: Make even the most unlikable bad guy just a little bit likable. Give him or her at least one redeeming quality. Real live people are rarely all good or all evil, so the characters who populate the author’s head and eventually live in the pages of a novel shouldn’t be either. A scene showing that one redeeming characteristic is called a “pet the dog” scene, and most editors will suggest at least one such scene. Even Darth Vader wasn’t all bad, as we see at the end of the movie.
And so, I introduce to you the dog I pet every day, and who sometimes sits on the recliner in my office, admonishing me to sit myself down and “just write, even if it’s bad.” She reminds me that I can always edit the bad out later.
Her name is Hoka, and she’s definitely smarter than me…
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