top of page

Book update!

Guess what! We're done rewriting the book!!! We're not all the way done, but rewriting a book you've already written might be even harder than writing it the first time, so I wanted to share the good news with you so we can celebrate together.

I can't wait to send it to you!

The story was always clear in my mind, but it was hard to figure out how to write a dog's plot in a way that a human would understand.

Dogs' storytelling style is better for short, simple tales. We don't have the attention span for long stories that focus on the same goal through many squirrel chases and cheese sticks. For us dogs, the squirrels and cheese sticks are the story.

I wrote the first version of the book doggy style. It followed one squirrel to the next until eventually the book was over and you weren't quite sure how you got there.

There was a ton of cheese in it, so I thought the story was pretty great. But other people thought it was confusing.

I didn't understand what was wrong. Kurt Paw-negut said that every character should want something, even if it's a glass of water.

"No, look! The hero wanted cheese, but the cheese was inside the wrapper, see? Then Mom opened the wrapper and he got his cheese! Isn't that a satisfying story?" I said to my readers.

"But where's the tension?" the readers asked.

"In the wrapper," I said. "Isn't it terrible? How will he ever get the cheese? Aren't you in suspense?"

"But the lady opens the cheese right away. I saw it coming," the people said like they were too smart to miss such an obvious point. "It's too predictable."

"Of course it's predictable. How else would you build suspense? I bet you're positively drooling in suspense."

"But if he gets the cheese, why should I keep reading?" they asked.

"Because there's always more cheese," I coached. You humans are so dense.

Eventually, I figured out that I would need to tell the story differently to make it easier for you to follow.

Play is the best way to learn. If you've known me since the beginning, you know that the stories I've been telling here for the past few months are retellings of older stories from many years ago. Those old stories are my practice field. Every week, I try something new to see what's the most fun for you.

When I do something right, I see it in your reactions and comments. The next week, I try to get even better so we can both have even more fun. When I don't have it quite right, I see it in your questions and your silence. The next week, I try something different and watch closely to see if you like it better.

Everything that I've learned from you has helped me to rewrite a better book. When it's finally done, I hope you'll have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Every time you read something that brings a thrill to your heart and a smile to your face, I want you to think, "I taught him that!"

The book is going to make blog subscribers feel so smart. While book-only readers are learning about the World According to Oscar for the first time, blog readers will already know everything I do because you've been there with me all along. Because you learned the same way I did, everything that new readers have to figure out for themselves will be like an inside joke between you and me.

Right now, Mom and I are working on the "final polish," where we go through every line to make sure it's as fun for new readers and old Friends alike.

Mom reads it aloud to me so we can both make sure it sounds right. Some days we get through many pages in a row, reliving the memories together almost like they were happening all over again. Sometimes we spend half a day on one page, arguing about what we saw and how best to describe it.

Sometimes I catch Mom in a lie. "You made that up! It didn't happen that way!" I tell her.

"It did too happen that way! You're just remembering it wrong because you're a dumb dog and didn't understand what was happening around you."

"If I'm such a dumb dog, then why didn't it happen the way you planned? Maybe you're the dumb one and the readers will side with me."

You, the reader, are the tie breaker. It takes hard work to write a story that's true in two ways at once, but I think I know whose side you'll be on in the end.

Once we're done polishing, a dog's job is done, but Mom still has work to do. There's proofreading, which sounds like more arguing, but really it's just making sure that all the letters are in the right order.

After that, there's something called formatting. "Formatting," may sound like something you take a nap on, but Mom says it's really quite stressful.

"You would understand if you've ever tried to use Microsoft Word in the 90's," Mom says. "You make everything look perfect on one screen, and then you open the file in another program and it looks like a cat walked across the keyboard. It's more frustrating than losing your ball under the couch."

"You mean I could have been writing this with a cat instead of you? Why didn't you tell me?!"

"Because a cat would knock the laptop off the table in frustration and never finish," Mom said. "You want to finish, don't you?"

I do want to finish. I want to finish so bad. I can't wait to share it with you!


bottom of page