@GoddessFish, @Archaeolibrary, @DSolvieAuthor,
Spencer held on to the faintest of hope, but still he knew the trip to Ireland had almost no prospect of remedying his internal dilemma. Then again, he never imagined that a chance meeting with a lost and dying dog named Shandy would change his life forever.
Step into the small Irish village of Galbally, where the unwitting Spencer stumbles headfirst into a parallel world that will test his will, sanity, and even physical well-being.
Time and promise are running out. Will unnatural forces and events scare Spencer away before he can connect again with the mysterious dog? Will he find his way forward before Shandy meets her inevitable fate? Or will suspicious locals and a nefarious Dublin innkeeper force Spencer from the village before he completes his life-altering mission?
Follow Spencer as he races to save a little Irish dog named Shandy. If he only realized that it is Shandy who is trying to save him...
“You should not be here,” said the old man.
“What? What do you mean?”
“You should not be here,” the man repeated without the slightest emotion.
“What are you talking about? The sign over there clearly says that public fishing is allowed here.” Spencer set his fishing rod on the ground and pointed in the direction of village, not remembering exactly where he had read the information.
He studied the odd fellow. The man wore an old woolen trench coat that hung to the top of his thighs, and underneath a tattered brown sweater. Rubber boots extended to his knees, the kind of boots a farmer trudging through the mud would wear. His beard was an unruly mess of gray whiskers that encompassed the lower half of his weather-beaten face, and on his head sat a tweed cap. Everything about him was dirty and unkempt.
His dog didn’t look much better.
The man spoke again. “Everything you say is nothing. Everything you think is nothing. Everything you believe is nothing. You are just a bystander; you are just a voyeur. You do not belong. You must leave.”
Spencer took a quick look around the area, thinking this crazy man’s caretaker surely would soon be coming to the rescue. “What are you talking about, old man? Do you know me? What do you mean I must leave? You mean I must leave this area, this village? Why?”
“Can’t you see that it resides around you? It is there around you and inside you. It is shallow, and ugly, and hollow. You must leave.”
How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No?
Before I began writing my book, I honestly didn’t think about the process very deeply. I assumed that most writers and authors create an outline for a book, having the storyline already firmly in place. I also assumed that I would do the same.
In the beginning, I had an idea in my head based on an actual experience during a solo trip to Ireland. As such, as opening fodder, I could begin writing the story using episodes of things that happened to me on that trip. That part, I knew, would be relatively easy. I had the true-life episodes ready to go (embellished greatly to make the story more interesting), and I planned out how they would evolve. That’s when I got stuck. For a long while, I absolutely could not envision where to take the story from there.
I tried for weeks to consciously concentrate on the next steps, the next chapters, in the book, but nothing would come to me. So how could I possibly create a book outline when I had no idea of what was to come later? Finally, out of desperation perhaps, I just began writing the opening chapters. As I wrote, things began to gel and ideas began to flow. Before I knew it, I was completing one chapter after another, and I actually had a story that was beginning to move forward.
Naturally, I got stuck again and again, and I wrote the ending chapter long before completing the rest of the novel. That too helped me to formulate more ideas of what was to come before. With the help from beta readers and a professional editor, the creativity I was lacking was supplemented by their input. I jumped around throughout the story, adding (and even deleting) entire chapters that never would have occurred to me without simply enjoying the freedom of haphazard writing.
I should note that I took a second trip back to Ireland, hoping it would inspire me. At the time, it didn’t, and I assumed the trip was wasted in that sense. But it wasn’t. A few weeks after returning, one concept after another began formulating in my mind, some of them again based on actual experiences.
In retrospect, I understand now that creating an outline just does not suit me. I also realize that it’s a terrible mistake to try to go it alone. Input from others is an integral piece of the puzzle if one expects to complete something of quality. I have jotted down several opening-chapter scenarios for a sequel to My Irish Dog. Other than that, I have no notion of where the story will go. But I know I will know once I begin writing.Before I began writing my book, I honestly didn’t think about the process very deeply. I assumed that most writers and authors create an outline for a book, having the storyline already firmly in place. I also assumed that I would do the same.
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My Irish Dog is the debut novel by Douglas Solvie and was motivated by a trip taken to Ireland and the chance discovery of a lost dog there. After spending most of his adult life living and working in Japan, Douglas is currently living in his home state of Montana. He hopes to make a new career out of writing and to travel the world, looking for inspiration for that next book, perhaps another set in beautiful Ireland. My Irish Dog is, after all, a story with a lot of unanswered questions.