(This post should have come through yesterday but I had 'issues' with Blogger. Normally, I'd just skip my turn but I did want to test it to see if the 'issues' are on-going.)
Squeak, or, as she's also known, Bitty, Bitamo, Bittles or Squeak. She's my first grandchild...sort of :D Bitty is my daughter's cat, a 9 pound piece of sleek black fur and enormous yellow-green eyes. She's a small, delicate cat full of feline grace and temper. Right now, she's highly incensed to be at 'grandma's' house. In her opinion, she is the Queen and belongs in her own castle. A castle free of other feline sorts. Yes, Squeak is arrogant when it comes to her own kind. She's the best of the best and all others are, well, not even as good as dogs :D
So why am I talking about Squeak? Other than the fact she's adorable? It's simple, really. I've used her, in a very small fashion, as a walk-in character in my book Altered Destiny. In AD, as I call it, she provides the hero, Devyn, the opportunity to show his gentler side as well as his protective side. And because of Squeak, when I was writing my current wip, Rider, I used facets of her personality and facets of my Wookie's personality to create the character of Zie, the heroine's life long and dearest companion.
Zie isn't a cat, she's an alien life form. So as I was creating her, I tried to imbue her with her own wants and needs and personality. If you've ever lived with a cat, you know these are furry little aliens in imperious bodies. That sort of personality is what I wanted for Zie so I watched Squeak (when she lived here) and I watched Wookie (who exasperatingly stays upstairs because she's afraid of the new kitchen ceiling fan, sigh). I watched them eat, demand attention, play, fight, sleep. I watched them do stupid things (like fall off the window ledge) and try to hide their embarrassment for the rare moment of clumsiness. I watched them chase a stray spark of light, a shiny reflection from a suncatcher. I watched them run helter skelter when something startled them (we're not talking about big, brave cats here :D) I watched them utterly enjoy their food or nap or their hunt and killing of the many (toy) mice we've provided for them. They know what they want and they know when they want it. Zie is an amalgam of both Squeak and Wookie.
And it occurs to me that many writers probably do the same thing when they're creating their characters (though they may not use their cats to create a principle character like some of us do, lol). I know if I'm at the mall or grocery store or even at work, part of my attention is on those around me--picking up nuances, sorting impressions, storing snippets of conversation. Being a writer is a fascinating occupation.
Plus it gives you a chance to use your furbles as a blog subject when you have absolutely no idea what to write :D