I have found myself quite partial to roosters ever since I added a colorful rooster character to my story. I named him Bert (for many reasons), and his main role is that of Schoolhouse Protector. More specifically, defender of schoolteachers who teach in the schoolhouse.
After researching the creatures I had learned I could have quite a bit of fun with him. Did you know that roosters make a bunch of different sounds? I thought they only crowed. But as I researched further, I learned roosters are very protective of those in their care and they have different noises they make to call out warnings or to get someone’s attention.
Why A Rooster Character?
I wanted an animal in my Going West story, but I wanted to do something other than a dog. Since my story includes ranches and the west in 1869, I googled different types of animals including roosters. One of the most interesting thing about a rooster is that they crow all throughout the day, not just the morning. I liked that. I could have a rooster tell time both before school and after.
As I researched roosters, I came across Chinese Astrology and the meaning behind the rooster. Then I came across an article with how the rooster has been used as a symbol in Christianity. From Peter’s denial and ultimate remorse and repentance, to the crowing at dawn representing the light over darkness, to the emblem on weathervanes respresenting a Christian’s attitude of watchfulness and readiness for the sudden return of Christ. All of it intrigued me, and since I’m writing Historical Inspirational, helped solidify my choosing the rooster as my animal character.
Digging into a Rooster’s Personality
Once I decided on the rooster, I wanted to understand it’s sounds. I learned there are several breeds of roosters and they all have different noises and personalities. They love to be the center of attention. I found a fun blog from someone who writes about her roosters and their shenanigans. The fun and differing personalities she covered, provided ideas of what I could create and inspired a rooster character I couldn’t wait to expand on.
It was also helpful to pay attention to some other famous rooster characters and how unique, memorable and fun they are.
Character Names Mean Something
I wanted to name my rooster something meaningful. As I was flushing out his character, I wanted to honor my mom, who liked roosters. And I wanted a short name. Something easy for the kids and townfolk to call him. My mom’s name is Beverly (she went by Bev), so I wanted a name that started with a B. One of my all-time favorite movie characters is Bert, from Mary Poppins. After writing out a bunch of alternates, I kept coming back to this one. And so I named my rooster character Bert.
Writing an Animal Character
I’ve had a lot of fun writing Bert and can’t wait for you to meet him. He’s spunky, colorful, loyal, caring, observant and very smart. And he stands by my heroine’s side whether she wants him to or not.
Since writing him, I now notice roosters everywhere, and it immediately brings to mind, Bert. Last year at the Knott’s Berry Farm Berry Festival, there were roosters sitting amongst flowers in key spots. I found myself on a rooster hunt, since every single one was a different style and color palette. I’ve been saving these pictures till I wrote a blog post about it. And look forward to sharing more about roosters and Bert in the future.