A Dog’s Education

And that’s what they taught me.

Ralphie, my chocolate Havanese, played rough-and-tumble with the Schnauzer for over an hour, biting, scratching, and lots of bouncing. Where one dog walked, the other followed. Fallen leaves required investigation. And puppies deliberated at trees with sniffs and barks.

So I’m going to study them some more. Maybe another story will turn up. (It’s not like my writing plate isn’t full already.)

Dogs certainly do have motivations. Mostly, it’s food and bathroom. The easy, outer stuff to write about. Plot-driven stuff. The stuff that you can tell and show.


Who’s a good boy? Yeah, Ralphie’s a good boy.

But there’s deeper stuff inside their fuzzy heads. They want to be loved. Playtime teaches them how to interact and feel a sense of belonging. And dogs have good traits. Some have bad. This is the character-driven stuff that requires showing.

I guess that you can’t always show everything in a story. A character’s thoughts may require telling. Too much showing may tire a reader out. And how can an author show everything in a novel, anyway?

Ralphie Snooze

Maybe I haven’t learned anything. I’m tired of thinking about it. So is Ralphie.



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