Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Dog's Life (2)

What do you think of stories about talking dogs? Yep, my thoughts exactly. With the possible exception of Walt Disney's Goofy, who is not only allowed to talk but also gets to wear white gloves while poor Pluto has to walk around on all fours barefoot and say nothing but "Arf!", dogs haven't got the proper vocal anatomy, so why should they suddenly have the power to talk in stories?


Dogs DO know how to communicate.

When they look at you in that certain way, and make their unique whimpers and groans and barks and grunts, you know they are doing their best to make contact with the human species. And you do your best to figure out what it is they would say, if only they could talk, which of course they can't.

Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes, you just don't know.

What makes J.F.'s dog detective stories fun is precisely that. Randolph does his best to communicate in his doggie way, and sometimes the human catches his drift and sometimes he's way out in left field.

When Randolph gets really desperate, he does what any good dog would do: he tries and tries again. And when he absolutely has to communicate a name or a date, well, he has his methods.

Books I've read on how to write a great book cover this topic. They say your story premise doesn't have to be a hundred percent believable. What they say is, it's your job as the writer to make people feel that just this once, the unbelievable is believable.

Having read two of J.F. Englert's Randolph books (A Dog at Sea will be number three), I can clap my hands in total honesty and say that I believe in Randolph.

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