Anyone who has ever had a beagle knows they live to smell. And they like to take their time doing it. Our rescue beagles have this sniff and process thing down to science, which means they can sniff one spot for five minutes which means they take their time so they can soak it all in…
…which means they’re not in any rush, and this leads me to the other morning’s fun and games. One of the rescue beagles managed to snork out of her harness and made a break for freedom after she managed to wrap herself around a tree. Meanwhile, dragging the second rescue beagle behind her, a horrified Pricey took off in hot pursuit after the escaped rescue beagle – who was having the time of her life. Mind you, hot pursuit is an endeavor I’d hoped to avoid for the rest of my life.
The ultimate insult is that she knew what she was doing. Little rat would wait until I’d almost reached her, then she’d throw back her head and laugh, and take off again. Thoughts of murder were racing through my oxygen-starved brain.
But her glee in striking out for freedom had its drawbacks. Instead of lollygagging over a spot for five minutes to process every nuance, she was forced to speed sniff in order to stay one step aheand of my grips. She’s still on smell overload, and it serves her right.
I see lots of speed sniffing in many submissions. The writing appears is rushed and green, and it’s obvious the author didn’t take the time to stop and analyze each scent. I wish, wish, wish, more authors would s-l-o-w down. Just because you’ve written The End doesn’t mean it’s ready for query. Instead, think about writing Beagle style. Stop and sniff the spots in the forest. Process every scent, every nuance so that you are confident you have the story you intended to write.
I always recommend that writers toss their newly finished books aside for a few weeks. It’s only with fresh eyes that you can spot the rough patches. You only get once chance to make a first impression, so don’t blow it by sending a manuscript that hasn’t had the chance to marinate and age. I can always tell when an author has written Beagle style. The writing glows and warms my evil soul into a puddle of goo. And isn’t that the reaction you want from an editor?
As for the rescue beagle, I finally snatched the little breakout artist when she stopped to bark at another dog and its pissed-off owner. Over all, not a good way to start my morning, but a great way to get my blackened, soulless heart pumping.