The new character is coming along nicely. He’s a little penguiny creature, with a slightly anteaterish nose and an insatiable appetite. In my head, he’s not entirely unlike Edward Gorey’s Doubtful Guest, perhaps crossed with a little bit of hairy lurcher. Only I always imagined The Doubtful Guest as having quite a strong and somewhat aloof presence, while Eck errs more on the side of hangdog — a little bit sad, ever-hopeful, quite loveable even — though I think he’s also the sort of creature you might be tempted to aim a kick at when nobody’s looking, despite your finer instincts.
I always seem to be adding an important character to my drafts at the last minute. Not sure why that would be, except that the books have a tendency to start in two dimensions, with a central relationship and not much else, and expand slowly into 3-D over the course of months.
Surely there are more sensible ways to write. But in the meantime, I’m enjoying my new Eck. He’s very endearing. The book obviously needed him — and I think I did too.