Saturday, October 06, 2012

Choose Your Words Carefully--What Writers Discuss

A snail galloping through Bronte Creek
The other night at writers' group, I read a new scene from a story with the working title What the Dog Taught Me   This will make the fourth rewrite for this book and I should have it perfect by now.   In this scene a dog galloped.

One of my friendly colleagues suggested that horses galloped.  That to her it was a very horselike move.

Worf aka Brownie in my book has white socks which make him horselike too
I thought about this but then said that while it was a verb often reserved for horses, by allowing the dog to gallop it made him more horselike.  In point of fact the real dog I based the story on, always reminds me of a horse.  He has a horse brown smooth coat and when he's calm well, I feel like I'm patting an equine animal.

Do you like that verb?  Can you picture this big brown Australian cattle dog moving his legs in unison quickly off the ground like a horse?

Well, then this morning I took my dog to Bronte Creek where they have this great leash free hike and there in the path was a snail, his head all stretched out of his shell and I remembered a book I wrote called The Big Race.  The kids in it competed by playing baseball, reading for crocheted bookworm prizes and racing snails.  While doing research for this first chapter book, I learned that when snails move slowly, the verb used is creeping.  But when snails move quickly, and quick is relative, they gallop.

I used to tell my grade 2 and 3 audiences about this little known fact.  Then I would imitate the starting horn at the races and show some ceramic snails "galloping".  Ah memories!  Wish that book was still in print.

In any case I think it's easier to picture my fictional dog galloping.
Same colour as my fictional dog, this horse is not galloping though

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