Oct 17, 2010

First 250 Words Blogfest

During a happy blog hopping session, I came across this neat blogfest: Post the first 250 words to your WIP. You'll find the links to lots of WIP beginnings at Elle Strauss. This was meant to be posted yesterday, but I couldn't help giving it a go too :-)

Chapter One of Dog Show Detective:
Spade danced around Kitty’s feet, his enthusiasm showing he sensed a great adventure ahead. But then again, Spade sensed great adventures everyday.

Kitty wiped her palms on her crisp navy skirt for the third time, then she adjusted her black velvet headband for the fifth time.
“Quit fidgeting Kitty, you’ll be fine.” Mrs Walker looked up from her copy of ‘Dog Show World’.
Around Kitty’s ankles the black and silver dog jumped, turned and jiggled his behind.
“Maybe I should take Spade for a walk.”
Spade yapped enthusiastically and his short tail wiggled even faster.
Mrs Walker folded her magazine, placed it beside her fold-out chair and reached for Spade’s leash. “Good idea, a walk might calm you both down.”
Another mention of the word ‘walk’ did nothing to calm Spade. “Rup, rupt!”
Kitty furrowed her young brow. “He better calm down before the Junior Handlers comp. I’m not taking him in the ring like this.”
After snapping the leash to Spade’s collar, Mrs Walker pulled a brush out of her bag.
“Mum, I’ll brush him after our walk.”
“This is not Spade’s brush, it’s yours. You’ve fiddled with your hair so much you’ve mussed it all up, now turn around.” Mrs Walker started to rake the brush through Kitty’s straight, but tousled, honey hair.
“Mum, I can do it!” Kitty hoped none of the other juniors would spot her getting her hair brushed by her mother.
 The chapter goes on to have Kitty find a small lost dog on her walk which sets off the mystery - but perhaps I should be starting with the finding...  do you think I need a stronger opening hook? Will you be posting your opening? 


  1. Charmaine, I like your beginning. A sense of place (where are they?) would make the opening stronger, I think.

    By reading your first words, I want to read more to see what happens at the competition!

  2. Hey fellow NSW'er! I'm getting the feeling you like dogs a little :)

    That's a tough call. I think I'd like to see you start with finding the dog. You could tie it into the competition with a first line hook along the lines of "I was supposed to be at the ... competition, but..." or something much better of course. Just a thought :)

    I love the dog called Spade and the girl called Kitty! I wondered though about Mrs Walker talking about taking the dog for a "walk" - is that a step too far perhaps (not sure if it was intentional)? Good luck with it.


  3. I agree - either a better sense of place or an immediate sense of action (losing the dog/searching for the dog) would make it easier for me to get wrapped up by the story.

    Having said that, I do think it is so cute! You have a lovely voice in this!

  4. I like it too. It's not long or dry and we're given a good sense for the characters and setting.

  5. It's a story about a dog - I like it already! Great job. And thanks for letting me know about the blogfest.

  6. Hi,

    I'm guessing Spade digs holes a lot, going by his name!

    I think the opening's cute because it tells us Kitty is a kid MC, and Spade's her sidekick. That said, a little sense of time and place wouldn't go amiss, but I'm guessing that comes within the first 1,000 words, so as I see it nice start with Kitty more messed up than the hound. ;)


  7. I agree with what others have said where maybe you could start with a bit more action like Kitty finding the lost dog. A lot of the things you've mentioned could be done during the walk. Spade jumping around excitedly, Kitty fidgeting with her hair thinking her mum will be mad if she messes it, etc. Very nice voice and excellent writing here. You've done a great job!

  8. Great first 250 words! You've captured the age and the excitement.

  9. Michelle - thanks for the comments, I am rethinking the start and if I begin with the walk, I can work the location in earlier.

    Rachael - Hi! Good to see some other Aussie bloggers :-) And yes, we are bit dog obsessed in our house.

    Marieke - Thanks for stopping by and for your feedback, much appreciated!

    Jemi - you're a doll, thanks :-)

    Terry - Enjoy the link, there's a lot of great openings to look at. We're both a bit loopy for puppies :-)

    WritingNut - Thanks for reading my opening.

    Francine - now that you mention it Spade SHOULD dig a lot of holes :-)

    Nathalie - thanks, I'll play around with the order of the first chapter and see how it affects the flow.

    Lynda - Thank you, you are a sweetie :-)

  10. Though this is a bit of great writing, I too think you should start with her and spade walking and finding the lost dog. Most of the rest can be brought into the work later. You've given us some fun characters now give them some conflict. :D

  11. Brenda - Thanks for stopping by and reading my piece. I'll be fiddling around with the order of the first chapter now, start with the walk and the doubts about her first show (my subplot) and stumble on the lost doggy pretty quickly. It's so helpful to get feedback - and a lot less scary than it seems.
    Thanks! :-)

  12. cute piece!
    I agree - great start