Spirit Animal: Character Development
In a play in high school, my drama coach gave me excellent advice when trying to act out a scene. When I failed to capture my character's vibe, she said, "Jessica, be a cat." The way cats saunter over, moving between people's legs to get attention, purring--these traits perfectly represented the character I was attempting to play (I don't remember the role, but my character was a shameless flirt). When I tried being more cat-like, I did a much better job acting.
The same holds true for enhancing character development in fiction. Assigning a character a spirit animal provides a unique perspective to capture his or her essence.
Is your character a golden retriever--friendly and excited? Or maybe a snake--watchful, sly, devious? What about an octopus--smart, stealthy, skilled at getting out of traps? Maybe he's a squirrel--always in motion, preparing for winter? A turtle who does everything at his own pace?
What's your character's spirit animal? What qualities do they have in common? What words could you use in your writing to describe her? How might others describe her?