Writing for Children ~ Mindy Hardwick

 

Photo by Joshua Fernandez
on Unsplash
At the beginning of the pandemic, a friend posted on her Facebook page a funny video of a thirteen-year-old Schnauzer giving advice to the two-legged from the four-legged. The advice included everything from wearing button pants to chilling out at home and wandering around and playing with the tennis balls.

https://youtu.be/XYWrjjwDeiA



I immediately started following Pluto’s Facebook page and was hooked with the weekly videos that doled out advice on everything from keeping your nose on your own face to telling the two legged to “Stay home. Stay!”

It has been weekly entertainment listening as Pluto gives advice with her own dog language and ways of speaking. Pluto also gives me ideas for how to craft a book I am currently writing from the point of view of my nine-year-old, black and tan cocker spaniel, Stormy.


My work-in-progress, “The World is a Sniff” tells the story of our training to be a reading dog team, failing the test, and finding our home on the Oregon Coast.

In order to help me develop Stormy's voice, I created a Twitter account here:

https://twitter.com/stormyspaniel 

He loves new followers--dog or human!


Photo by Mindy Hardwick
On our daily walks, Stormy and I often see elk in the
park, sand dunes and beach. Sometimes the elk are right outside our door.   



The following story is part of my book in progress and is told from Stormy’s point of view. I hope you enjoy it! 


Fall on the Coast: A Dog’s View

      

In the middle of the night, I smell them. The dark and dank scent. I cuddle against my Human in the pillows and covers. I lift my head and stare toward the bedroom window. They are out there. The creatures who smell.

Elk.

I bury my nose against my Human and I only smell her.

In her sleepy state, she pets me. “Shhh…Stormy,” she says my name. “It’s okay.” I snuggle closer to her. 

       In the morning, I leap out of bed. I retrieve my Human’s slippers and she serves my breakfast. My Human and I meet up with my dog pals on the coffee shop porch. Muffin and bagel crumbs land on the floor. My dog pals and I bump against each other in the dash for crumbs under the tables.

       After coffee, my Human works on her computer and I snuggle beside her on the chair. After a while, I get bored. I use my best pleading whine and she clips on my leash. On our walk, I smell the dank and dark creatures. They are at the top of our hill. I lunge toward them.  Most turn away but one stares at me. Slowly, it takes a step toward me.

My Human tightens my leash. We run down the hill to the park. The scent of elk is all around us.

We pass by the creek. When we are far enough onto the beach, my Human slips off my leash. She throws my ball and my feet dance on the sand. When I get tired, we walk home. The dank, dark smell is gone.

That afternoon, the man in the big truck comes to the door. He hands my Human a box and like always, there is a treat for me. I wiggle and wiggle. I love the man in the big truck.

After dinner, my Human and I meet my dog pals at the end of the street for a beach walk. I am not as fast as I once was, and two beach walks a day is a lot for me now. My dog pals try to get me to play chase, but I can’t always keep up. 

Beach walking Humans always have treats. I like to walk by their sides. I whine a little until a treat finds its way out of a bag and into my mouth. Getting old on the beach isn’t so bad.

Photo by Mindy Hardwick

After the sun sets, Humans and dogs walk down the hill. 

I smell them again.

The dark, dank creatures.

They are close. 

Very close.

One of my dog pals is off leash. She dashes into the trees. The twigs snap. The dark, dank creatures are everywhere. My dog pal barks at them. She barks and barks.

Her Human calls to her. But she doesn’t come.

The elk lifts his leg to smoosh my dog pal.

The Humans all go silent.

I smell it.

Fear. 

And, then, I hear.

My Human is calling. A high-pitched voice that she learned at our puppy training classes. The Trainor Human told her to use that call if I ever ran into the road. She told her I would stop and come back immediately.

It works for elk too.

Suddenly, my dog pal runs out of the bushes and toward the Humans.

The dark, dank creatures clomp into the woods. Their scent lingers in the air.  

I am happy to walk back to the cottage. At bedtime, I snuggle next to my Human. 

Tonight, the dark, dank creatures do not pass by my house. 


Photo by Mindy Hardwick


Animal stories make great picture book stories, and I am teaching an online Writing the Picture Book class with WOW-Women on Writing from January 5 to February 2. 


You can find out more here: https://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/MindyHardwick_PictureBook.php


Mindy Hardwick is a published memoirist, romance and children’s author. Her picture book, Finder’s Keepers, was published as a digital picture book. Her children’s and YA books include: Weaving Magic, Seymour’s Secret, and Stained Glass Summer.  Mindy facilitated a poetry workshop in a juvenile detention and wrote about the experience in her memoir, Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention. Mindy teaches GED and Creative Writing at an online high school in the Portland, Oregon area. When she’s not writing, Mindy can be found art journaling and walking on the Oregon Coast beaches with her dog, Stormy. 


6 comments:

  1. I love that Stormy has his own Twitter account. Of course, I followed him. So excited to be taking your class next month. Mahalo for posting with us today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for following Stormy! His Twitter account is honestly more fun than my own most of the time! I'm looking forward to having you in the Writing the Picture Book Class!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, I love Stormy's voice and you had me in tears... Thanks for the wonderful story

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! Stormy says Woof to you, too!

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