Works In Progress

I have two WIPs just now. My next western, ROMANCING THE WEST and our adopted pup, CHEYENNE. If you've been coming here awhile you know the stories. How she ate my two-book contract with Medallion. How she trapped herself in our bathroom and destroyed the door trying to get out. Last week she chewed up my glasses, my expensive progressive bifoculs. Yeah. That was a steller day. And if you even look at her like you're angry she cowers and tinkles. Clearly she has past issues and we've been trying to work through them. Someone here suggested that I pick up the book 'The Dog Whisper' and I did and at least I now understand better how she 'thinks'. But I figured we could use some hands-on help. I signed us up for an eight-week basic obedience course. Last night was the first night, a two hour lecture without the dogs. I learned a lot. Mostly that I'm a soft-hearted sucker. I think this course is going to be tougher on me than her.

Regarding ROMANCING THE WEST, I had a breakthrough yesterday. The secondary plot, which I had not outlined was tripping me up. I couldn't press forward without knowing some specifics--like what exactly the secondary plot was. I just knew that it had to feature a character I'd highlighted in the opening chapter. I know some writers skip over scenes, even whole chapters, and come back to them later. I can't do that. For me one thing leads to another, everything's connected. I didn't need to know every detail, but I had to have the general idea. I played with different scenarios. Nothing clicked... until yesterday. Now I can freewrite that scene and move forward. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to happen. I'll pretty it up later.

Cheyenne, RTW, and I have a long way to go, but at least we're on the move. Wish us luck.


Sam said…
I think it's a great idea (the dog obeidiance course)
Good Luck!
Jennifer Elbaum said…
Beth, try to keep in mind that, with any luck, being tough on Cheyenne during training should result in her being a happier dog (and you, a happier owner).

Congrats on your breakthru!
Mary Stella said…
Be strong, B. You can do it for Cheyenne's sake -- and your own sanity. Congrats on the breakthrough. From talking with you about it on the phone, I know you're on target!
Cyn said…
I can see how the obedience training would be harder on you. I have a feeling it's going to turn out very well for you both.

Good luck on RTW. I know it will be great!
ElsieHogarth said…
Good Luck Beth. Once you finish with this course I can see you as the next Ms. Woodhouse. Remember her on PBS? Walkies!!!!
Roni said…
I'm sure you and Cheyenne will do well witht he obedience course. Just remember to be patient--obviously she has issues from her past. And she's still young enough to get into mischief like any other puppy. Good work on the breakthrough in your book! Also see my comment from yesterday. When you have ttime (like when you finish these next four books0 I'd love to see more Atlantic City stories.
Bethany said…

Sounds GREAT... on both accounts. Keep going, as it will only get easier. Really. I have a trouble-maker doggy too... and one of those pesky WIPs. :-)
Anna Lucia said…
Beth, one of the cruellest things people do to a dog is let them be boss. The stress of being 'pack leader' can kill them, or at least rob them of all joy in life.

People let their dog be the boss by dropping everything when they demand attention, by letting them bark, jump up, rule the roost and generally run the show. Kids need boundaries, dogs need rules.

So, yes, this obedience class may demand you be tougher on your adorable mutt, but it's the kindest thing you can do for her. I'm sure it's going to be great!
Beth Ciotta said…
Thank you for your words of emcouragment everyone. I've been working with Cheyenne since last night--off and on as suggested--and I see a small change already. Anna, the instructor covered much of what you said. You know dogs well. And here I thought you were a cat woman. :)

Regarding RTW, I just got home from the library and I'm getting ready to dive in. Hope my muse is as coorperative as Cheyenne. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Oops. Gads! Sorry for the typos. Need. Tea.
Jordan Summers said…
Good luck with the puppy and the story. You can do it. :)
This my first visit--I liked the way you do things. I can't wait for ROMANCING THE WEST--Seth is about to get caught in the ole "love trap".

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