My Novels a Hedgehog and I’m a Dog

Just before anyone asks, yes I’m perfectly sane.  Mostly.

Our dog Bonnie has a habit of catching hedgehogs and bringing them home.  This happened a couple of days ago and it suddenly occurred to me that writing a novel is a lot like catching a hedgehog.  That may sound bizarre, but bear with me and I’ll explain.

For those who don’t have indigenous species of hedgehog it’ll probably be better to have a visual idea of what they look like.

So here we have a picture of the hedgehog above and the dog below.  The hedgehogs cute, but when they’re frightened or in danger they curl themselves in a ball and all that’s showing is the spikes on the outside.  And those spikes are sharp.  The hedgehog can be as small as a fist and as large as a small football.

The dog’s a X-Whippet called Bonnie and she hunts hedgehogs.  Clearly she was born with less brains than the average dog.

In fairness she’s getting on a bit now and she doesn’t bring home as many as she used to, but it’s still one a week during summer (whereas it used to be one a night).  So, why is that anything like writing then?

Reason 1 – Persistence

Dog :  It takes persistence for the dog to pick up the hedgehog, carry it a little way and then drop it. She then repeats the process multiple times until she gets it to the house. Our garden is about 60 metres long and she manages about 3 metres at a time.

Me  : It takes persistence for me to pick up my book, write some chapters and then put it down again. I repeat the process multiple times (sometimes over the course of a day, sometimes over the course of a few days). I generally do a few paragraphs or a page at a time

Reason 2 – Pain

Dog : Picking up the hedgehog invariably means a lot of pain. All those spikes sticking in her gums and we frequently have to remove the spikes when we get her back inside.

Me  : Crafting the plot and the characters and their ultimate fate sometimes means a lot of pain. There are spikes of excitement and low points for the characters and I frequently have to remove some of them when I edit the draft

Reason 3 – Surprise

Dog : You never know when the dog will appear with a hedgehog

Me  :  You never know when a novel plot point will appear

Reason 4 – If at first you don’t succeed

Dog : I’m not precisely sure what her ultimate aim is when she brings the hedgehog home, but she obviously has one

Me  :  I’m not precisely sure what my ultimate aim is when I sit down to write, but I obviously have one

Reason 5 – It involves the family

Dog : When she brings a hedgehog home everyone gets involved in the aftermath and has to get their hands dirty

Me  :  When I’ve finished a book everyone gets involved in the aftermath and has to get their hands dirty

Reason 6 – Modification of technique

Dog : The dog tries all different methods of picking up the hedgehog, some good, some not so.  But she varies her technique and learns from her mistakes

Me  :  I try all different methods of writing, some good, some not so.  But I vary my technique and learn from my mistakes

So there you have it.  I’m a dog and my book is a hedgehog.  Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go and get some lunch.  I’m sure they sell Winalot around here somewhere…..

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7 comments on “My Novels a Hedgehog and I’m a Dog

  1. Pingback: The big 2K | W.Chaser

  2. What a fun analogy! While we don’t have hedgehogs in the woods of Manitoba (unfortunately as I think they are adorable!), we do have porcupines. I don’t think Bonnie would try more than once to bring you home one of those prickly characters! Just curious, are the hedgehogs dead or alive when she sets them on your bed?

    • Probably not, although I think they’re quite a bit larger. The hedgehogs are well and truly alive and don’t seem to suffer anything, any blood on them seems to be from Bonnie’s mouth :-). Last year we had what we believe was the same one brought in several times, if it was me I’d have moved to another garden!

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