During my quest for a publishing deal, I have been on lots of writing courses, two run by Della Galton. I would highly recommend Della's courses by they way, see here for more details, http://www.dellagalton.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/della-class.jpg.
Unfortunately, instead of taking her advice on editing - which I hate! I focused on her stories about how she get ideas. Della loves her dogs. She has these amazing, wonderful long walks in which fills her with creativity and the urge to write successful short stories and novels. She's even published a book about a dog, The Dog with Nine Lives.
Newly inspired I left the building with notes on how to edit my stories like a professional, which I quickly lost. I was convinced I now knew the secret of her success. Buy a dog. Since we had a rat problem, why not buy a dog that kills rats? Of course, instead of getting advice from dog owners or the kennel club about where to buy a puppy - why not just ask the rat man? He promised me that this puppy's mother had been an outstanding rat hunter and this dog would kill any pest. Well, I can't disagree, Watson our West Highland Terrier kills, a lot. Rats, mice, baby bunnies, birds, pigeons especially when lame and, this strange little mammal creature with a long snout which is probably extinct now. I'm not going to mention the unfortunate incident with someones pet. What we didn't know is that our little rat catcher would chase the kids around the garden with dead rats in his mouth. Or that he would drop a mice and birds into our cups of tea and bowls of cornflakes. I certainly wasn't prepared for the dead mouse being dropped into my bubble bath or visit to the vets to remove a birds leg from between his teeth.
Lets get this straight I completely love my dog. I can cope with natural terrier behaviour. I can cope with the fact that he wakes me up by biting my toe. That he doesn't run up and shows me he loves me when I come home, unless I'm carrying a KFC. I'm fine with the fact that we are now on our fourth dog trainer who has more degrees than a thermometer. Plus my dogs diagnosis from an animal behaviourist is,
'Well you see the thing is with Watson he knows all his commands he is simply choosing not to obey them. He's what's known in the trade as an awkward bastard.'
He barks when a leaf falls and hides if he is threatened. He complains, mutters, sniffs and has been nicked name Father Jack after the character from Father Ted. He rips up my knickers and hangs them on the bushes - ok I get it. He's a dog that's what dogs do.
What really annoys me is all the long relaxing walks daydreaming about plots and characters I'm missing because of bad doggie behaviour. I am willing to own up to the fact that Watson is a bit spoilt and that I have made some new doggy owners mistakes but, today I could have killed him.
I took him into the pet shop. And I admit I did pick him a treat. I love the way he sniffs at everything and, when he sees something he likes he gets onto his back legs and begs - so cute. Even the shop owners fussed and stroked him, he was being so good, I was so proud. Then a lady came in carrying a puppy and Watson didn't bark. The staff fused the puppy and Watson gave a short snort we turned around and, he peed in the bono dog biscuits. Of course, the biscuits had to be weighed, (wet) and paid for. It is like the worse toddler behaviour with a dog. At least with a child you sometimes got sympathy from other parents.
I came home head hurting, angry, stressed with £10 of wet doggie biscuits. Do I feel like writing? Am I relaxed and filled with creativity? No...Della I'm not!