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Farley’s Friday: A Wheaten Meets Snow

Farley here,

The snow’s a-comin! British Columbia is turning into a Wheaten Terrier paradise.


BC Snow

Running in the snow is awesome. I never overheat and I can eat the stuff if I get thirsty.

Farley and Snow

Snowballs stick to my fur is not so awesome. What’s a dog to do?

Farley Snowball



I mean literally what’s a dog to do?

Anyone have any idea how to get this stuff off my nose?  I’d really like some advice, and please don’t say stop rubbing my nose in the snow. I’m having too  much fun, and there is now way I can control the urge. I keep telling Kristina is an instinct. She’ll believe anything I woof at her, but it’s really about playing.


Woof Woof

Before You Submit: Scene Opening and Closing

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest? My series called Before You Submit might help. The series contains hints and tips I’ve learned from professionals in the publishing industry that I’d like to share.

See Before You Submit:Likeable Characters for the first blog in this series and an introduction the benefits of submitting even if you get a rejection letter.

This week I’ll write about how to start and end scenes throughout a novel without being monotonous.

Sometimes it’s easy to get into a habit and open or close scenes in the same manner.

A dramatic line of dialogue is a great way to hook the reader and keep them reading. But what if you do this every scene? The dramatic tension will decrease. The same goes for other ways to start a scene.

Here are your options for opening and closing a scene.

  1. Dialogue
  2. Narrative
  3. Action
  4. Thought

When you are reviewing your manuscript prior to submitting, make a list of how you enter and exit scenes. I do this in excel so I can graph how many scenes start or finish in each way. The result gives me an idea of whether I’ve used one technique to often or not.

Entering and exiting scenes in a balanced and thought out approach will make your writing more interesting and keep the dramatic tension flowing.

If you have any tips on entering and exiting scenes, please share.

Thanks for reading . . .

Farley’s Friday: A Wheaten Loves Leaves and Cold Weather

Farley here,

I’m a dog who has lived on a boat in the Bahamas since I was 9 month old. All of a sudden, my humans decide enough of the sea life, it’s off to the mountains we go. British Columbia to be exact.

At first, I thought they were crazy. But now, I’m rethinking this situation.

Did you know leaves fall off trees in the fall? No one told me that.

Did you know a dog has more energy in cold temperatures? I didn’t either.

Did you know sticks are free in the forest? I’m kinda figuring this one out on my own.

Farley in Leaves

Rolling in leaves while chewing on a stick is the best. I miss boat life, but wilderness living is cool too.

Woof Woof.

Before You Submit: Likeable Characters

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest?

This is a scary prospect, right? Ignore the night demon who tells you to hide your work in a drawer and prepare your story for submission. Besides signing an agent, getting your work published, or winning a contest, there are other benefits to submitting.

Submitting your work is a great way to get feedback from a professional in the industry. We all know this is hard to get, but if you’re lucky, valuable pieces of advice will end up in your inbox.

There are contests, the Debut Dagger hosted by The Crime Writers’ Association is one of them, that will provide feedback on your entry if you are short listed. There are also agents, who when queried, will give you feedback. You might even get comments back from a publisher or editor.

I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve learned this last year from people in the industry.

The week I’ll talk about liking the main protagonist.

Many writing books declare the reader must like your main character. This doesn’t mean everything about your character should be likeable. No one likes a perfect person. On the flip side, even if your character is nasty, is there at least one characteristic your reader can relate to, like or admire? If not, you might create something.

In a novel, giving your reader someone to cheer for and follow for 300 or so pages might make the difference between the reader dropping your book on the coffee table after chapter one to staying awake late into the night reading until the climax satisfies their need to know what happened to the character.

When I started writing, I struggled with how to make a character likeable. Thinking about what made me like people in real life was difficult to translate into the pages of a novel. How was I to get a reader to like my character?

The Crime Writers’ Association honoured me by shortlisting my novel, Burnt. The comment I received from one Debut Dagger judge on the topic of likeable characters was:

“The thread with the dog is a clever way of engaging interest and building suspense right from the start, while telling the reader something appealing about Kalin.”

Kalin is the main protagonist in Burnt.  In the opening scene, on the run and separated from her dog in a forest fire, Kalin fights for her life. The suspense part: Will she be able to save herself and her dog?  The likeable part: Her concern for her dog.

What I learned from this comment: The actions of your characters can show the reader a likeable trait. There is no need to describe the trait by telling the reader Kalin cares about animals.

I hope this helps you review your draft and get it ready for submission. In the coming months, I’ll post a series on what I’ve learned from the mysterious publishing industry.

Thanks for reading . . .

Click here for a look at my proofreading and copyediting series.

Farley’s Friday: A Wheaten, A Border Terrier, and A Rottweiler

Farley here,

Victoria is a magic place in British Columbia. In winter, the beaches are dog friendly. Yup, you heard that right. I can run off leash wherever I want.

You see my friend Piper. She’s the border terrier going crazy in the sand. The sand here is not like the sand in The Bahamas. The smell is a bit funky. I’m told that’s kelp. Now kelp is also slimy, so why would Piper want to roll in it?


Murphy is much more dignified. He understands the proper behaviour is to wade slowly into the water, stand tummy deep and gaze thoughtfully at the horizon. Piper, well, I don’t think she does anything thoughtfully, but I love her anyway. She part of my FFL pack.

Wool Wool

Farley’s Friday: A Wheaten in the Ocean


Farley here.

Woot woot. I’m in the Pacific Ocean with my friend for life, that’s FFL, Murphy.

The smell, the birds, the sand. Oh how I’ve missed this.

Woof Woof

Farley’s Friday: Drink from a Creek and Get Happy

Farley here,

Have you have tasted fresh water, right out of a creek? It’s awesome. I’m on my hike, making sure my human get some exercise, and look what I find. The water is cold and rushing across my feet. I think the supply is endless. Sometimes life is confusing. I have no idea where the water is coming from. At home, Kristina fills my bowl, so who is filling this creek? I think about this great life question and realize I don’t care. Just bring it on.

Hike 1


Everyone should drink from a creek every day. It’s the secret to life happiness :)

Woof Woof


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