Behind the Fic: Dog Run

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:29 am
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[personal profile] catsbythegreat
 Dog Run is one of my few Soukoku fics that can be categorized as fluff. In the fic, Chuuya is a dog walker who takes Akutagawa's dog, Rashomon, to a dog park every day because Rashomon needs to be walked for an hour. While he's there one day hanging out in the Big Dog section (because Rashomon hates the little dog section) he meets a dog named Tiger and his owner, Dazai. Rashomon and Tiger strike up a friendship but Chuuya is less than thrilled to have to spend time with Tiger's annoying owner. 

This was a Valentine's Day fic and I figured fluff would be best. Also, at that point in time I was working as a dog walker in New York City. A lot of this fic is inspired by that, since that was pretty much all I was doing (besides office work) for the few months before that. 

Dog walking (and pet sitting) is actually a really interesting business. In a place like NYC, which is saturated with dog walking businesses, there's quite a bit of competition. A good portion of the people you see walking dogs are probably not the owners. And the dogs are EVERYWHERE. I was walking dogs in the last place I expected to be walking them: the Wall Street area. These were some rich dogs. 

Most of the dogs weren't allowed in dog parks for safety reasons. The owners had to sign a special waiver because off leash activity is always risky. But occasionally, some dogs were allowed in the dog parks and for some, it was actually the better option. Especially dogs who had hour long walks. 

The standard walk time for the dogs I walked was 20-30 minutes. An hour is usually for a really, really active dog, and even them lots of people would just have two half hour or twenty minute walks per day.

One dog that I ran backup for had a thirty minute walk in the morning and an hour walk in the afternoon. For the hour walk, we would go to the nearby dog park and I'd sit and watch him play in the small dog section. This dog is who Rashomon is based off of. He was a small, scraggly dog with an underbite. He looked nothing like most of the pure bread dogs, and he had an interesting personality. When I entered the apartment, he'd be standing on the couch to be at eye level with me. He barked at skateboards and he had to stop and sniff (and pee) on everything. He would also follow other dogs around but not really engage directly with them. And if another dog came over to me, this dog would also come over and ask for attention. 

Basically, he was adorable in a quirky way. That's kind of how I pictured a dog that Akutagawa would own. Rashomon is a black terrier type of dog who likes attention but doesn't like to admit it, and wants to play with the big boys but doesn't know how to socialize. 

After spending a few afternoons with my personal Rashomon at the dog park, I realized that people actually met each other there and were friends. There were a few regulars I noticed, and they seemed to have a little community going on. I thought it would make for a nice meet-cute setting, since dogs are cute and most people at the dog park are nice. 

Chuuya's reluctance to walk around with Rashomon for an hour is a very real reluctance of mine. Dog walking is TIRING and if you're walking more than one per day, walking to the different apartment buildings and stuff like that, it takes a lot out of you. Being able to go to a dog park instead of walking for a straight hour is a blessing because you can sit and let the dog have all the fun he or she wants. I don't think I've ever actually done a full hour walk with a dog without a dog park nearby. 

Chuuya doing the job to make money despite it not being what he really wants is a bit of projecting on my part. Some people genuinely want to be dog walkers as their career. It's a fun job and you get to be active. But at the same time, you don't make a lot of money and in certain cities it's not enough to live on. You can't really apply those skills to any other job. And it's time consuming and unpredictable. 

Still, DOGS! I wanted the dogs in this fic to be characters in their own right because all the dogs I've walked have had very distinct and prominent personalities. I knew that before, but I really didn't know how true it was until I started working with a bunch of different dogs on a daily basis. 

There were a lot of problems with my job, but I really enjoyed writing this fic and making it fluffy and talking about some of the nice parts of dog walking. 



a salt

Jul. 19th, 2017 06:27 am
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[personal profile] catsbythegreat
I kind of get annoyed when I post about something I'm planning on writing for a fic and people are like "oh yeah, that's like x chapter in x popular fic." It's not something that's going to discourage me from writing, but it's just like, I don't really care. Yes, another author might have written a similar character dynamic before, but the way I'm writing it is going to be different because we're two different people with different writing styles, characterizations, and experiences that shape how we write. 

That, and I never know the intention behind those kind of comments. I overthink things so it's like, are you saying that theirs is going to be better regardless because it's a popular fic? Are you saying I shouldn't write it because it's something that's been covered in a popular fic? Are you just comparing for the sake of comparing? Are you telling me to read that fic (to see how it's done)? 

And how do I respond?