Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Title: Typo The News Hound
Genre: Chapter Book

I had a story to write.

A deadline to meet.

I yawned and stretched my legs. Then I shook all over. This usually chases away that sleepy feeling. But all it did this time was splatter drool across my keyboard. It also made my dog tags jingle through the empty building.

At least, I thought it was empty.

“What story is the famous Typo The News Hound working on?” a familiar voice asked. It was Hoover, the station’s night janitor.

“Those mutts selling fake concert tickets.”

“Mind if I take a peek?” The Bearded Collie pulled his round, wire-rimmed glasses from the pocket of his striped shirt and leaned over my shoulder.

“Not until I’m finished.”

“If your story is about phony concert tickets, why are the words Beware! Pirated video games heading your way! flashing on your computer screen?”

“What are you…?” I saw the message before I could finish. My nose suddenly started to twitch.

“I saw that,” Hoover said as he put his paws on my desk and leaned closer to my computer.

“Saw what?”

“That famous nose-for-news of yours was twitching. You smell a story, don’t you?”

“If I could see, I’d have a better idea.” I moved his shaggy head out of my way and stared at the strange message.

“Come on, do something,” Hoover said. When he was a puppy, Hoover wanted to join the Canine Intelligence Agency (CIA). But poor vision kept him out. “Find out what that message means.”


  1. I liked this one. I'd read on. The only problem I had is the second sentence: A deadline to keep. It's a fragment but it feels sort of out of place and unfinished.

  2. I agree with Chelle on this one.

    I'm hooked enough to read more.

    Good luck!

  3. Great writing, but it's not suited to my tastes. Totally all me, nothing to do with you. Best of luck with this.

  4. Ridiculously cute and funny to boot. Love the opening lines. I was wondering just what was meant by news 'hound'. I was in no way disappointed by the fact it was a real hound.

  5. Oh, this is one I like!

    Witty, cute, and who can resist talking dogs?

    Would definitely keep reading.

  6. Great writing, though not exactly to my taste.

    I love the Canine Intelligence Agency, but would not put in the (CIA) it feels like you as the author are interjecting that instead of the characters. Instead, just say "But poor vision kept him out of the CIA."

  7. I love talking animals, si this hooked me. Great writing too.

  8. Nice humor. I think little kids would like it a lot.

  9. Very cute. I don't know if I'm hooked but it's got me interested. The little dog details are cute and the story seems like it might be interesting. I'd read this.

  10. I don't like anthropomorphic tales, so I'm out. The writing's not bad, it's just that I don't like the subject.

  11. This is cute. Not my thing. But cute.

  12. I like the cia thing; I love when adult humor is added that kids might not pick up on. I agree, its cute, but the mystery itself didn't grab me. Stolen tickets and pirated videos aren't that exciting.

  13. Hmmmm... Good writing, but I've never read anything with the dog as a protagonist before. I mean, a speaking, clothes-wearing dog. I feel like I'm watching a movie and I don't like feeling that way when I'm reading books. But, you're a good writer and I like a lot of the description.

  14. According to Elana Roth's blog, she's getting a lot of queries for books with talking animals.

    I wasn't hooked because talking animals isn't my thing.

  15. Hah hah! Have to admit I really like this (though whether I could sell it is another matter). Your opening is trim, effective and funny. I love the drool splattering across the keyboard - and Hoover and the CIA. You have a really nice touch and, quite simply, you write well. It's hard to find funny writers; they are in very short supply.

  16. I really like this. My kids would love it. I even think my son would read it, and it's like pulling teeth to get him to read.
    Great job!
    Yes, HOOKED!

  17. I liked the humor and picturing the dogs. Truly enjoyed!

  18. Doesn’t hook me…
    Because I just can’t get the image of dogs wearing clothes and trying to type on a keyboard into my head believably. I know it’s for kids and its kinda cute, but it doesn’t work for me. Your story could be great… I’m just not the right person to say

  19. You switched from past to present tense in the third paragraph. just thought I'd mention it since no one else did. I'm not sure if you meant to do it, or not, but that kind of stuff grates on me and makes me put a book down.

  20. Not quite hooked. Personal preference of not liking animals doing human jobs. But the writing is pretty good. Hoover was a funny name for the dog who "hoovered".

  21. I'm not a big fan of anthropomorphic stories, but the setting is intriguing. News "hound" is definitely a different take on the old metaphor!

  22. I'm not hooked.

    I love the opening, love the way it takes a few sentences to find out the MC is a dog.

    But anthropomorphic animals are so hard to sustain. You're funny. He's likable.

    I'm picturing a building full of dogs running a newspaper, and I just can't go there. Maybe I could if it was an early chapter book.

    I don't know. I'm agonizing because you're writing is great.
    Don't listen to me.

  23. Story hooked me right away! Great opening lines and very well-written. Your descriptions and clever humor would keep both a child and their parent intrigued.
    Good work!

  24. Great writing, I don't love talking animals. I can see my fourth grader going for this.

    I say yes.

  25. Very clever! Well done. I could see this turning into a chapter book series.

  26. I'm intrigued by the reporter dog character as I work as a reporter in my "day" job. I'd be watching to see if you capture the essence of the profession in your animal world.

    Would these dogs wear collars and tags if they're independent of people? Just wondering.

    Lower level books aren't my thing, but I'd read further to see what the story is about.

  27. Love the voice for a chapter book. I think this age group would love the anthropomorphic MC.