Apr 4, 2011

D is for Dog Show Detective

As I have many new visitors, I thought I'd introduce you to my first finished novel: Dog Show Detective.

12yr old Kitty Walker decides to enter her Miniature Schnauzer, Spade, into a dog show to impress her mum. Kitty expected it to be difficult, Spade is not the best behaved dog, and she expected it to be embarrassing, Jessica Jones is sure to win, but she didn't expect it to be dangerous.

At the show, Kitty finds a lost dog, but, when she returns it, the owner insists it's the wrong dog. Only Kitty believes the owner and sets out to uncover the mystery of the missing dog. There are clues along the way, but why is someone trying to dognap the little terrier she found? And would someone really be desperate enough to kill to keep the identity of the little dog hidden?

While writing Dog Show Detective, I learned the importance of conflict, pace and most of all, allowing your first draft to suck. I had so carefully planned out the crime, clues and culprit, it was about halfway through I realised I only had one suspect (not much of a mystery'). I learned not to break my pace and go back to rewrite, but to continue as though the beginning was exactly as I wanted it. I add some great suspects, all so appropriate that towards the end of the book I surprised myself and found out it was actually not the person I suspect who'd actually 'done it'. This taught me that although planning helps, you have to leave some room for impromptu changes.

I was terrified about editing, until I took on Holly Lisle's course, How to Revise Your Novel.

I learned how to take criticism from my beta readers and the wonderful readers at http://www.critiquecircle.com/. I learned to edit again. And again.

Now I'm learning to be brave. I've sent my first 1,000 words into a writer's competition and I'm about send out queries to publishers. I wondered at times if I would ever get to this point, but I'm glad for every hurdle I've come across. This has been the best education I've ever received.

I won't stop while the queries go out. I'm doing up my first round of edits on The Costume Maker (a YA fantasy), and during the school holidays, I'll write up my first draft to My Zombie Dog.

So, the only advice I can offer up today, is keep going. It seems like a long road but you will get there.

39 comments:

  1. Wow, that sounds like a great read! Good luck with the querying.

    Zombie Dog....cool:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a fun read. Thanks for sharing that with us :) Good luck with the competition and the querying process!

    Rosie
    East for Green Eyes

    ReplyDelete
  3. good luck with your querying. It sounds like a great book :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the encouragement everyone - I probably never would have built up the confidence if it wasn't for all the great bloggers out there :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good luck and will look forward to seeing it on the bookshelves. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Our writer friends are simply the greatest. Nice post. Good luck with your book.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Apoligies anyone that tried the link I place - I've fixed it now, so if you want feedback on your manuscript you can visit Critique Circle, it's very helpful :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is wonderful Charmaine. Such hard work but well worth it. I wish you all the best.

    Now you need to slow down and let the rest of the A-Zers catch up. Sunday was to be a day off, so today in Oz it should be C. I'm posting US time so I stay in sync with them otherwise I'll lose track.

    Thanks for travelling with me. C is for goes up early this evening!

    Denise<3

    L'Aussies Travel Blog A - Z Challenge posts

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was the same. When I wrote my first mystery, there weren't enough suspects. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, Charmaine, I've been following this blog for nearly a year now, and it never occurred to me that Dog Show Detective wasn't complete and published. You may have mentioned that before, but I must have missed it.

    You blog so confidently about writing, and have so many novels listed in your sidebar, that I just assumed you'd leapt that hurdle ages ago.

    And I second the value of Critique Circle for the community of helpful writers there.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, you're already on D! That's amazing. And it's good to give yourself permission to muck the manuscript up a bit. That's how we grow as writers.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sounds like a flea-tastic read :) I hope the querying is short and happy.

    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for all the comments and the encouragement :)

    I post on Sundays because it's a nice quiet day for me, midweek is when I'll be taking my day off because work gets busy by then. Hope everyone is having a fulfilling experience blogging A-Z! Now, over 1200 blogs to visit... :D

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sounds like a great story. Thanks for sharing. I am following and I grabbed your button for my blog.Thanks for stopping by Writing with Debra

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sounds like a great read. I wish you luck with the querying. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's so true.

    I kept editing and editing while I wrote and kept getting a watered down result.

    So I wrote in pen and paper so that I couldn't delete anything, but then I realized that I would take double the word count accepted by the industry if I worked to the end I planned.

    Part of me wanted to scrap that version and begin again, but I kept going and hit on an alternative end sooner in the story, with the original one moved to the second book.

    All because I let the idea grow regardless of my first opinions.

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I find myself stopping and going back to edit which I know is a big mistake! It seems like a finished book will never happen, but I keep plugging away and it helps so much to hear from other writers who have been in the same situation. You've reminded me that it's not impossible!

    I am so eager to read Dog Show Detective!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Very cool! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Way to go, Charmaine! Good luck with that.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yay! I've been wondering if you were querying any of your stories. Good luck, Charmaine! I'll keep my fingers crossed. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh my gosh, your premise sounds GREAT! Good luck on your queries!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Excellent advice and plot. I can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Love the title: My Zombie Dog.

    - Eric

    ReplyDelete
  24. Great topic choice for D day. I'll check out the book later today.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Powerful Woman Writer Award.
    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
    ~Deirdra

    ReplyDelete
  26. Have fun riding the query-go-round! I bet it will turn out well for you!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Your stories look interesting, and I enjoyed your entry today! I look forward to reading more!

    Thanks for stopping by Pawny's Pen!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Good advice. I'm taking Holly Lisle's course How to Revise Your Novel too. I need to get back to the lessons. I agree that it's important to let the first draft suck. It'd be hard to get to revisions if the story doesn't get written.

    http://blog.sarahmakela.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. Your writing looks wonderful and I love your topics. Great job. Can't wait to get familiar with more.

    ReplyDelete
  30. That sounds like a fun read! Thanks for sharing advice, hope to read more like this from you.

    ReplyDelete
  31. What a great idea for a novel. But I have to admit to being fascinated by the title, MY ZOMBIE DOG.

    I wish you luck on your edits and on your first draft. Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting. As a weary rare blood courier, I do not get to visit as many blogs as I would wish, Roland

    ReplyDelete
  32. I throughly enjoy stopping by your blog. I've awarded you The Creative Blogger Award. You can pick it up here:
    http://debragrayelliott.blogspot.com/2011/04/creative-blog-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. good luck! sounds great! Yay for dog books.

    ReplyDelete
  34. It seems like a long road but you will get there.

    Truer words were never spoken. Following you now via my Blogger blog.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Best wishes for your success with Dg Detective! Now onto Zombie Dog!!! I love it. That would be a new one for me. Very original.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Best of everything with your first book! (=
    Really liked--
    "I learned the importance of conflict, pace and most of all, allowing your first draft to suck."

    Good for aspiring writers to hear! My revisions and rewriting have been frustratiting but very enlightening!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks for sharing, it sounds interesting..thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete