Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

A Dog’s Story Journey

In All About Me, Being Cute, Big dogs, Shelley Widhalm on May 27, 2012 at 11:30 am

I’ve figured out how to describe arc in storytelling.

Arc is something I need to know, because as the cutest dachshund this side of theMississippi, I’m writing a children’s story with me as the main character.

Arc is the path from the story’s beginning to the middle and to the end. The path has lots of nice smells along the way for me to stop, sniff and ponder.

In my story’s beginning, I plan to describe an incident that sets up the conflict. I can think of plenty, like all the big dogs that try to walk by without paying me any heed. I bark loud and long, just to let them know, “Here I am,” with an “Aren’t I cute?” thrown in for a conversation starter.

Conflict arises because they just look at me like, “Excuse me, Little Missy, but you are awfully small.” They don’t tell me I’m cute, but trot on ahead.

I don’t agree with their “awfully small” business. I’ve got a big dog bark to prove them wrong, so I say, “B-A-A-R-K!!”

The conflict escalates as I try to prove that I am a big dog (okay, I do weigh 9.5 pounds) as I wag my tail. I am trying to say, “Yes, I am tough, but I also want to be friends.”

I find it frustrating that they respond by putting their doggie noses in the air as if to say, “No thanks, you’re not one of us.”

“But I am,” I say with a smaller bark and more tail wags.

As they continue walking away, I know how this will end. I have to stay behind all sad and lonely, all because I forgot how to play nice when all I really wanted to do was say, “Hi.”

They don’t get it, those big dogs.

My story is not resolved because I have this penchant for barking, because as I’ve said before, I bark, therefore I am.

The end.

See Shelley my pet parent’s blog on arc at http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/a-storys-arc/

A Dog’s Poetic Barking

In All About Me, Dog communication, Shelley Widhalm on May 23, 2012 at 1:50 am

When I bark, there is no subtext. It’s simply, “Woof, woof, yip and yap.”

I bark loud when I want to let the big dogs know that I am 9 ½ pounds of toughness.

I bark long when a noise – like a truck rumbling over the alley below my window or the neighbor click-clacks up the stairs – interrupts my quietude.

And I bark yippy and yappy to let my friends, along with any would-be-friends, know that I am here.

My vocabulary of different barks carries a variety of meanings. What I want to say is pretty obvious in the “hello, I’m here and I’m cute” message, though there is a bit of underlying meaning that the listener of my barks has to interpret.

Okay, I was wrong, there is subtext in how I express myself.

If I am engaging in zen with my dog bear, paddling my feet as I bite his neck, I bark with irritation at the interruption.

If I’m drifting to sleep, I bark a soft half-bark, saying, “Go away, I’m dreaming.”

Or starting to.

If I snarl with a bark, I’m pouting because I’m not getting my way. To emphasize my message, I go under the bed and take a timeout.

Shelley, my pet parent, put a rug on my pouting spot, but I walked over it (under the bed) to the spot next to it.

To pout, you need a lot of space. Not plush carpet-y stuff.

I need a blank slate, or floor, to figure out what I’m thinking. Woof! And bark, bark, bark. Sigh-h-h.

A Dachshund’s Toolbox

In All About Me, Being Cute, Shelley Widhalm, Woof! Woof! on May 13, 2012 at 11:30 am

Writers like to say they have a toolbox, while it’s their dogs who like boxes.

I like tissue boxes and boxes slighter larger or smaller that I can rip apart into smaller pieces. Newspapers and envelopes also work for ripping.

I’m not interested in tools, because as a dog, I can’t build things, though I can dig.

With some imagination, however, I see that I have a tool, that of my cuteness. Don’t I look adorable in this photograph where I’m posing for the camera?

My cuteness stops traffic wherever I am, because people (most of them anyway) want to pet me. They say, “She’s so cute.”

Yeah, I know.

Another tool is my bark. What do I love about barking? you ask.

I like hearing my own voice, and I like grabbing attention. I like pointing out sounds, like the neighbor coming home, trucks driving down the alley and people talking on the other side of the window.
Do you think it’s easy to bark with all the steps I have to go through?

First, I hear a sound, lift my head and decide whether it’s a perceived threat, annoyance or stimulant (i.e. a potential visitor to pet and play with me). If I determine the noise needs an echo, I bark. If the noise is unusual or new, I bark loud and repeatedly.

Like I’ve said before, I bark, therefore I am.

My dog toolbox has cuteness, barking and oh no, not that.

“It’s time for your bath,” Shelley says.

I run under the bed to my secret spot where I hide when I want to have a pout or avoid things.

“Don’t you want to be clean and pretty? If you smell, no one will pet you.”

I don’t care, I bark to say.

After two hours of hiding, I realize I’m not getting a bath. I won! Until the next day when Shelley grabs me and hauls me to the sink.

So does my heart.

I so wish baths didn’t have to be in the toolbox, but that’s the way it is in a world where being clean matters.

See Shelley’s blog on writers’ toolboxes at http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/a-writers-toolbox/

A Dog’s Quarterly Review

In A keen barker, All About Me, Pet me, Shelley Widhalm on May 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

I figured as a dog, I could dig a little into what makes for good storytelling, because I’m not just about barking.

Call me Zoey the Super Cute Dachshund.

I am learning about the elements of fiction, so that by the end of the year, I will know how to write a puppy’s book, I mean children’s book.

Take plot, which in my shoe-less paws, is pretty exciting. The hook is my cute demeanor (check my photos and see just how adorable I am) that draws passersby into wanting to pet me.

The inciting incident of getting human attention always triggers my desire to get more pets and to be told that I am the cutest of all the cute dogs in the world. Sometimes this desire submerges me into a bit of trouble when I bark at the big dogs or from the vantage point of a coffee shop table or the patio, telling everyone, “Here I am. Come play!”

The obstacles to my getting visitors are the front door without a doorbell and Shelley, my pet parent, saying, “No bark,” to which I reply with an even louder bark and a snout in the air.

“You have to come in now,” Shelley says, and if I don’t, I’m picked up and brought inside.


The other elements of fiction include:

  • Setting, or wherever I am: downtown out on walks, the patio to see the city and Shelley’s Mom’s big, huge, wonderful backyard to run and run and have fun.
  • Character, which is obvious in that I am the main character of everything, while the minor characters include Shelley, her friends and her family.
  • Dialogue, or woof, bark and yip. Need I say more?
  • Pacing, as in I run fast, I play hard and I sleep long.

As for theme, that should be obvious. Life’s not all about looks, but about beauty, or cuteness in my case, from inward out. It helps, however, that I’m cute to look at and have a cute personality to boot.

Chew on that, why don’t you?

The end.

* See Shelley’s blog on the writing process at http://shelleywidhalm.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/a-writers-quarterly-review/