Thanks so much to everybody who offered to help my human, Hsin-Yi with her writing for the Big Honey Dog mystery! Wow, we were so overwhelmed by how kind and generous everybody was and how you took the time to send Hsin-Yi helpful comments. And some of you who were Teacher Humans even took the sample of Hsin-Yi’s Chapter 1 into the classroom to read to a whole class of human pups, to see what their thoughts were…thank you!
Well, you know Hsin-Yi had been worried because at the beginning of her novel, a Great Dane called Honey (inspired by me! ) meets a puppy who comes to stay with her for a bit – and this puppy happens to be a baby Dane, with enormous paws and big floppy ears and wrinkly skin it needs to grow into (just like me when I was a puppy!)
Except that when Hsin-Yi read the scene to her writer friends, they told her that they didn’t think a “big” puppy could be cute and that she shouldn’t have a “big” puppy because children don’t find “big” puppies cute – she should change the character to a small fluffy puppy instead.
Well, Hsin-Yi had actually based the puppy on my niece, Raffy, who I babysat when we were still living in Auckland and Hsin-Yi always thought that Raffy was really cute! But of course, maybe Hsin-Yi is a bit biased – ahem, ahem – because she likes giant doggies anyway! So that’s why she wanted to ask around to see what “real children” thought – did they think a “big” puppy could be cute? Well, the answer that came back from everybody was YES! All the children who read/heard the sample of Chapter 1 said they loved the “big” puppy and thought it was adorable and no, Hsin-Yi should definitely not change it into a cliché small fluffy! So thank you so much, everybody – that has been so helpful for Hsin-Yi.
And you know what, not only has all the feedback been so helpful for that one question but it’s also helped Hsin-Yi a LOT because she had been having a sort of mental sickie called ‘Writer’s Block’ about this book for months now, because she was a bit scared and confused and didn’t really know how she should “write for children” – but all the comments & feedback have suddenly given her the answer and she knows exactly what she was doing wrong before and how she should write now! And also, she feels less scared now because knowing that there are human pups (& adults) out there enjoying her story so far and asking for more and interested in helping her…is really making her feel like she’s not alone in this whole thing and helping her feel much more confident!
So she’s really excited now about writing the first draft and she’s suddenly on a roll – in fact, last week, she wrote Chapter Three (2,000 words) in one day! So thank you so much again to everybody who volunteered to read and comment – you don’t know how much you have helped. Hsin-Yi says she feels so lucky because she bets that no other children’s writer has had so much help and feedback from “real” children! (And if anybody is interested in more details about what Hsin-Yi discovered from the feedback, that is the key to “writing for children”, you can check out the post on her own blog: Writing Mojo? Check. Children’s Writer? Check! )
Because Hsin-Yi has been spending all her free time working on The Book, she hasn’t been able to help me much with my blog – so we still haven’t done the post telling you all about Hsin-Yi’s adventures in Taiwan and there’s also a big post all about my doggie holiday in the Blue Mountains, which we went on a few weeks after Hsin-Yi came back from Taiwan – I had some awesome adventures there (I even had a close encounter with a cow, which was caught on video! ) – but hopefully, Hsin-Yi might find some time this week to help me do those posts.
But hey – I can still show you some recent pictures of some things I’ve been up to!
Here’s me enjoying a run at the park…
…and this is me when it’s time to go home! I have started doing this naughty thing which drives Hsin-Yi crazy: when I realise that we’re starting to walk back to the car machine, I will stop a distance away and just stand there. That’s coz I don’t want my walk to end – hee! hee!
You know why I’ve started doing this? Well, it’s so unfair – since the beginning of this year, Hsin-Yi has been cutting my walks short!
She says that now that I’m older, I get tired more easily and so we shouldn’t walk for 1 hour every day, like we always used to – we only walk for about 30 ~ 40mins now. I’m very grumpy about that. I don’t think I’m tired at all but she says I “look” tired and am panting a lot and lagging behind after that time and it’s not good to “push things”, especially when you get older.
Plus she said that when your muscles are tired, that’s when you are more likely to get injuries and ouchies and I have to be careful now because injuries are what trigger the Arthritis Sickie and I’m lucky so far to be so “arthritis-free”…
Humph! Speak for herself! I’ll bet she’s the one who’s getting tired and she’s just using me as an excuse…
So now Hsin-Yi has to keep calling me and calling me and finally, I will walk very reluctantly back to the car machine, making grumpy faces at her. Once she tried to just get in the car machine and drive away, to scare me – but I just stood there like a dum-dum – so she had to drive back and call me again!
Oh – and here is another picture from a recent walk. Hsin-Yi took a picture of our reflection in a window as we were walking past – pretty cool, huh? Hsin-Yi says she always gets a bit of a shock when she sees herself walking me, in the reflection of windows – ‘coz she gets used to looking at me and thinks that I’m just “normal size” and other doggies are all midgets…but then when she suddenly sees herself WITH me in a reflection, she realises that actually, I am a huge doggie!
Meanwhile, back at home, life is continuing as normal – like Muesli is still being a cheeky minx. Do you think I get special treatment now that I am a Glaucoma Survivor and have a Blurry Eye? Humph! No! Muesli is still stealing my bed – the other day my humans went out to The Cinema and when they came back home, this is what they saw:
– but at least most of the time, Muesli does get off when I decide I want to get on my bed. I have learnt to just lie down, even if she’s there – and she’s learnt that if she doesn’t get out of the way, she will be squashed – fast!
Sometimes, though, we do manage to share – which is quite nice, I guess. Although I do wish Muesli would stop doing that thing where she keeps staring at me when I’m sleeping…it’s very creepy.
Speaking of creepy, Hsin-Yi got something in the mail from America last week which made her extra, super-happy…although I did think her reaction was slightly disturbing:
Yup, it was the Fringe Season 4 DVD and Hsin-Yi was so excited, she was practically doing zoomies around the living room. I don’t know – is this normal? Do your humans get excited like this too? Paul keeps telling her, “Yes, yes, it’s wonderful they get together in the end but you do realise that Peter & Olivia are not real people??”
Oh – last thing, before I go – lots of you have been asking if Paul passed his exam and the answer is: YES!! Sorry, we got busy with the glaucoma sickie and stuff and totally forgot to tell everybody. Of course, this was just Part 1 (Written) and there is still Part 2 (Oral) at the end of November but Paul says that’s a bit different and doesn’t need so much studying from textbooks. So it’s all a huge relief! And Hsin-Yi is happy too because now my humans have got their “social life” back on the weekends because Paul isn’t just spending all day studying anymore…
Muesli says that it’s all because of HER help with the studying that Paul passed his exam…
…which I think is total rubbish. It was obviously MY help that made all the difference!
But Hsin-Yi said it was probably actually Ma-Ma’s help from a special thing she did in Taiwan – which I’ll tell you all about in the Taiwan post!