The ratio of squirrel to non-squirrel metaphors in my posts is about to go up. Yes, I could use a chipmunk or one of those dwarf bunnies, but that would require that I find another image and I’m too busy eating soup.
UPDATE: Since starting this post, I have finished my soup. And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
So here’s the thing: your protagonist has to stay invested in her goal from the moment it’s incited until the moment it’s achieved or abandoned at the end of the novel. There are NO exceptions to this rule. Yes, she can have moments where she thinks she won’t achieve the goal but she cannot give up wanting it. What you really, really, really (did I mention really?) don’t want to do is something like this:
Protag wants goal. Protag REALLY wants goal. Protag is like OBSESSED with goal. Oh look, a handsome squirrel:
Protag forgets goal while gazing longingly at squirrel’s silky fur and chocolate-coloured eyes and perfect teeth and blah blah blah. Eventually, squirrel needs to find an acorn so protag goes back to REALLY WANTING GOAL. Unfortunately, the reader has now decided that protag, a) is a vapid idiot and, b) doesn’t want goal as much as she said or she wouldn’t have forgotten about it for 34 pages.
So, if you want to add a handsome squirrel to your plot, make sure that squirrel is connected to the goal, either by being someone the protag needs assistance from in order to achieve it, or by being someone the protag needs to avoid/overcome in order to achieve it.
P.S. And by squirrel, I mean love interest. For the love of soup, please don’t write a book about a squirrel. It has already been done by the wonderful Mélanie Watt.