If your story is plodding along and you’re struggling in that saggy middle quagmire, think about adding interesting elements through animals.

Animals add a richness to our lives and provide some great material for stories. With some creative thinking, they can add unlimited conflict for your characters to deal with. The death of a beloved pet. The bequeath of granny’s pet anaconda. The personality of a cranky, old cat.

As I sat in the vet’s office one morning, an elderly couple came in with an obnoxious solid black mutt. He barked at my dogs, with a face that was full of disgust. The elderly gentleman took him outside. The lady explained that their dear neighbor had died and had left this dog to them in her will. Sometimes great stories just land in your lap from out of nowhere.

We have a ranch with dogs, barn cats, Registered Angus cows, wild turkey, antelope, deer—you name it. There are issues that happen every week just involving the livestock and wildlife. If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know that they exhibit quirky personalities and habits that keep life interesting.

Last Saturday, I toured Dove Creek Ranch and Equine Rescue. They do amazing work. I was reminded that animals have fascinating life journeys and stories much like people. Some of these horses have experienced mental issues, grief, abuse and pain. Horses go through traumatic events and have to experience a healing process much like humans. Sometimes it’s not a happy ending. Other times horses and humans can heal together, and there is new found joy and a fresh beginning. Talk about a place full of story ideas!

Dig deeper and rethink the dynamics of your story. Would an animal add a unique dimension to your character arc or story line?

Always onward WS6 writers!


  1. Natalie, I love using animals in my stories. Although I don’t own any at the present, I have in the past and know what they go through and the challenges they often present. Dove Creek Ranch was an amazing place. I’d love to go back and visit with Joe and some of the other horses. It’s strange the way I felt such love coming through my fingertips and palms when I petted Joe and also the other horse that I can’t remember the name. I know animals can show amazing love.

    I think you’ve added animals to every one of your fictional stories and they do add another level, more depth to a story. Loved your mules in that one! Great blog!

    • Linda, I agree with you about Dove Creek Ranch. Horses have such a calming spirit. Thanks for your comments and for following WordsmithSix!

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