Monday, October 10, 2011
Guess the Plot
"Hey! There's a Dog In The Store!"
1. For fourteen years I've been listening to questions and comments about my guide dog from children and idiots. Now I can just hand them a copy of my book. Includes dog biographies.
2. Fifty-two pages of animals photographed in unusual places. Includes a cat in a washing machine and a pig in a mosque.
3. The last words spoken by the victim were a clue to who killed her. Sam spends five years tracking down the store, the dog, and the dog's owner, only to discover that he had misheard the phrase and in fact the victim had called out "Aaaaarrrrgh."
4. Bruce Rogers and his guide dog Stevie have to overcome customers' fears and stereotypes while struggling to launch their new business. Soon shoppers learn there's nothing strange about a blind businessman or even having a dog in the store. Like, duh...it's a PET shop.
5. Ralph is in a grocery store trying to get some ice cream. When he asks at the counter for the Haagan Dazs vanilla chocolate chunk, he's told to go outside because "dogs aren't allowed." Ralph's owner, Liz Lutmuth, decides that enough is enough, and starts a doggy restaurant. Hilarity ensues.
6. At Miss Calico’s Spa, the upper feline class lines the walkway for their turn at pampering and grooming. Until one of the clients turns up dead. The only clues are a trail of catnip and a hairball. Things go from bad to worse when the detective assigned to the case turns out to be Mutt Jefferson, a mongrel with a nose for trouble--and Miss Calico’s ex-lover.
7. A stray dog gets into an organic supermarket near Washington, DC, and leads store employees on a merry chase, during which each of ten POV characters reflects on his or her past, roads taken and not taken, and the ultimate meaning of life. Includes index.
I am disabled. But I also have a tool to help me cope: I have a Service Dog. [I don't suppose you'd consider switching to a service monkey? I ask only because Hey, There's a Monkey in the Store is a funnier title.] [My research of this topic reveals that there are also service ducks, horses, goats, pigs, parrots and at least one kangaroo and one iguana. A Winston-Salem man was kicked out of a mall for bringing in his service ferret. I'm guessing there are stores you can't bring your service horse or goat or monkey into, so maybe you should forget the monkey and go with a duck. Surely no one would put up a stink about a service duck.
Madam, you can't bring a duck into this restaurant.
He's a service duck.
What service does he perform?
He sells insurance.]
"Hey! There's a Dog In The Store!" seeks to answer the many questions [Questions like, Hey, what's that dog doing in the store?] posed by all manner of people over the last 14 years. [That sentence was awkward. What happened 14 years ago? Is that when you got your dog? Started training service dogs? First got annoyed by questions about your dog? You could add "to me" after "posed," but I recommend changing the sentence to . . . seeks to answer such questions as: How are service dogs chosen, trained and paired with their human partners? and Do service dogs have the will power to not drop everything when the opportunity to sniff another dog's anus presents itself?] Aimed at younger readers, I describe [It's the book that's aimed at younger readers, not you.] the ways in which dogs are chosen, trained and paired with their human partners. What dogs can. and can't, do [Remove period and comma.] are explained with examples and photographs. Why and how the laws that protect Service Dogs came into being are outlined, with historic precedents from the Middle Ages to today.
The book includes interviews with noted trainers and breeders of Service Dogs, discussions with lawyers about the legal rights of Service Dogs, [Nothing about the legal rights of service ducks?] photos of dogs in action, and even some brief biographies of working dogs. [Pablo started life as a puppy . . . ]
As one of the first people to successfully train a working Seizure Alerter, [Probably no need to say both "successfully" and "working," as either implies the other.] and one of the few to have to defend my rights in court, I am in a unique position to tell this story. [You are highly qualified; as one of a few, your position isn't unique.] [Also, not sure I'd call this a story. Although . . . if you want to appeal to young readers, maybe you could work your knowledge into a story about a kid and a service dog.] At 60,000 words the manuscript is brief enough for children and adults seeking answers. [No need to mention that it's brief enough for adults, as adults can handle long books. Also, you already said the book is aimed at younger readers. Plus, the title seems more appealing to children than adults.]
Thank you for your consideration.
[Note to EE: The title is something I hear almost every time we go out. We also hear "Doggy! Mommy look! Wow-wow! Puppy! POODLE!" But that seemed a bit long for a title.]
Are you planning a Braille version?
It would be cool if someone whose disability left him unable to turn the pages of a book bought your book and his service dog turned the pages for him.
I assume there are books about service dogs on the market. Have you shown that they don't cover the topic as ____________ly as yours does?
The title seems aimed at young readers. But the interviews with noted trainers and breeders of Service Dogs, discussions with lawyers about the legal rights of Service Dogs, and historic precedents from the Middle Ages don't sound as appealing to young readers. Is it possible that you're trying to be too comprehensive, trying to appeal to everyone? My uninformed opinion is that kids will be interested in the choosing, training, matching up, photos of dogs in action, and cleverly worded bios. And that adults who want to know about service dogs will use the Internet.
I would focus the query on what appeals to young readers, and liven it up with fun stuff, maybe an anecdote or two. Right now it seems dry and listy.