I AM LOOKING FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR POTENTIAL PUBLICATION. If you know of a remarkable dog who has amazed you with his story, consider sharing it with the world! You are welcome to submit a short outline to be filled in once approved, or a detailed and complete narrative. I cannot accept 'heresay'; all stories must be verifiably sourced. I am especially interested in tales that move and inspire people without heartbreak. No death scenes, please! (My 'pet' peeve is a dog story with a sad ending.)
Please e-mail your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org .
If your story is well-suited for this publication, I will contact you. Please make sure to provide at least TWO ways to reach you. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this project I would be happy to address them at the above link. Thank you for visiting my site and I look forward to hearing from anyone with a tale to tell! For more info and latest developments scroll down...
Thursday, April 14, 2011
"Why is this so $#@! hard?" (I know!)
Heard that before? I know, me too!
So. Here is what I'm getting from most of the submissions: I LOVE my dog. He is always there for me and I am constantly amazed by his courage and stamina against all odds. When he woke up (blind, crippled, deaf) he never seemed to miss a beat. He is a true inspiration to me... I love, love, love that you have such an awesome relationship with your dog and this will be included in your story. It is very important, don't get me wrong.
The problem is, I can't write a story with it.
A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. It has an event or two that evokes a transformation. Someone needs to change...either you or the dog or both. Think about a great book or movie that has affected you. Was there a time in your life with this animal that you can see unfolding like a movie? If so, what would that movie be? These are short stories, so think less "Marley and Me" and more "James Herriot". And if you have not read Herriot, shame on you! <grin> The reason this is not easy is because we have all had cumulative experiences with our dogs that make us feel the way we do. How do you pick one or two events that bring it all together? Sometimes you can't. But in my experience, you usually can.
I know exactly what happened that solidified my relationship with my mastiff. There were two events: the day she 'accepted me' as mistress, and the day I decided to fight for her against the advice of three trainers and most of my family and friends. I changed that day. I became a different person when I grew some (*ahem)'s and stood up for what I felt was right. I have not had Cake long enough to have had an epiphany with him...but I'm sure that day will come.
This is what I'm looking for. I can't tell your story without action.
It doesn't need to be dramatic! It can be funny! It can even be weird! But it must be compelling.
My sister came over and we had a cup of coffee. I was in tears because the vet told me Toby would never walk again. She tried to comfort me and gently suggested that we should consider putting him down. I nodded. I was numb. Just then, Toby raised his eyes from where he was lying in his bed and looked at me...I saw trust. I saw devotion. And something clicked inside me.
Yes, this is a little sappy but the point is, it was a moment that changed the writer. Just a moment, but a powerful moment and it would be very easy to build around this to make a compelling short story.
Another example is from a woman who adopted a deaf/blind dog with a ton of character. She wrote and told me about how this dog was flown to his new home in a private jet--and in the air, the dog chewed through his harness and managed to bust into the cockpit. They had to make an unscheduled stop so they could run to PetSmart and get him a new harness. That's great stuff!
Okay, that's a pretty extreme example but it points out that the stories don't need to be dramatic to be entertaining.
Finally--No fear! Send it in! I am not worried about getting material that is 'not suitable'. It's ALL good--it's just a matter of finding the right stuff to make the focus of your story...anything else is icing and I can still use it.
As always, I am happy to answer questions if you want to run anything by me. Please don't give up--I really need your help to show the world that these dogs have value. We can save lives if people see that their dog does not need to be euthanized just because he is broken. In the words of Tom Smith, the trainer from "Seabiscuit":
You know, you don't need to throw a whole life away just 'cause he's banged up a little.