Rita Mae Brown [author of the classic Rubyfruit Jungle…] in her book Starting From Scratch, acknowledges that if her cat Sneaky Pie won’t sleep on a manuscript, it’s obviously no good and will start over.
My cats have taken literary criticism to much higher level. They will, of course, only sleep on manuscripts they like, but have been known to go a bit further to air their dislike of any writing project.
The editor kitties, as I call them, will intercede during the actual writing process. Oz Kitty, for example, will interfere with typing if I am not on a roll.
Giallo, the young upstart, is one to voice his opinion if he finds something funny–whether it’s meant to be or not. He has an infectious laugh.
Bubo, the incarnation of evil, prefers to work from the shadows. She may or may not be the one who likes to leave her editorial comments in physical form. I do not know. But I always take their comments seriously.
More than once I’ve gone back over a previous day’s efforts with an eye to “what didn’t they like that prompted them to poop on the manuscript? Or to insert gibberish into a chapter in process?
Giallo, despite lacking thumbs, or indeed, digits long enough to actually touch type, frequently tries to write himself into a manuscript, just for a laugh. Sometimes he succeeds. Ish.
Now, I am not adverse to writing pets, friends, or even interesting strangers into my manuscripts [like all good writers, I “borrow” relentlessly from life, then hide it behind the thinnest tissue of lies. The sort of tissue you can normally see through, without even holding it up to the light.
In the current project, for example, Giallo appears somewhere in the vicinity of where he tried to insert himself, at left. I hope, a little more sensibly, but [again] I am not the critic my cats are. Or the dog, even, who moves his lips when he reads.
I trust my animals’ opinions more than most people, that’s why they’re here and you aren’t. If you think that sounds a little bit crazy, I assure you it isn’t. Here are a bunch of famous writers who listened to their cats [not in that Son of Sam listening to his dog kind of way]. So it is definitely not crazy. Right?
Right? For the love of god, tell me that I’m right.