The story I’m currently working on has been tentatively named, “The White Cat”. Unsurprisingly, there’s a cat in it (a white one, at that). Of all the things I thought I’d struggle with researching for this tale, I did not expect cat vision and cat psychology to be the biggest contenders.
Did you know that cats see the world in panorama-view? That they actually do see a hell of a lot better than we do in the dark? That they have absolutely crappy long distance vision?
This is what I love the most about writing. The process will send you researching the most bizarre factoids. Most of them you’ll never actually use. Some will be sprinkled around the story like little Easter eggs. I squeal like a fan girl when I read someone else’s story and realize that like me, they went on a nerdy research spree and slipped their research in between the lines, so to speak. When you can tell that the author may not have decided to use every tidbit, but what’s there is one hundred percent consistent and well researched. When the writing is confident, the author at home in his or her field. When you end up learning something.
A story works for me on multiple levels. Sometimes, a story is just a story. You read it, you toss it away, you forget about it, an hour or two well wasted and done with. Sometimes, you may not recall the story itself later but you remember the things you learned from it. A writer who can teach a lesson and tell a good story at once, that’s a writer who’s managing to balance lecturing, research, and storytelling.
Did you know that in the original Italian version of Cinderella, the benevolent fairy godmother figure was a cat?