“I loved your book but there weren’t enough dogs.” That’s what a friend of mine wrote after reading my novel. I laughed. We’re in a dog club together and we train and compete with our dogs in agility and obedience. So of course she was looking for the dogs. But it made me think about writing and critiquing and what we writers do to please everyone.
I wonder if the book hadn’t been finished if I might not have added a few scenes of Sonny training a dog, just to get the dog lovers on board. Silly. Maybe. But it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Bed and Board, by Francois Truffaut.
One of the characters asks the protagonist if there are any trumpets in his story. No, is the reply. Are there any drums? No again. Then why not call it “Neither Trumpets Nor Drums”.
Perhaps I should have called my novel. “Hardly any Dogs.” (Because of course there is one.) It is often so much easier to think of what something is not then to come to grips with what it really is.