Friday Speak Out!: How Dogs Killed My Dating Life But Improved My Writing, Guest Post by Barbara Barth

Friday, May 25, 2012
How Dogs Killed My Dating Life But Improved My Writing

by Barbara Barth

The last date I had fled my house quickly saying he had a headache. I thought that was to be my line. I believe my seven-pound Chihuahua, with her shrill, piercing bark, was the last straw for him. It was pretty much my last date too.

I live with five dogs.

I've found no man wants to deal with a pack of hounds when he is out for romance. I don't help the situation either. I kiss the dogs and forget about my date. But then, I haven't met a male as well behaved as the dogs I sleep with! If I did, perhaps he'd deserve to be petted too.

My dogs are my writing muses. I write on several blogs, including a commercial TV blog, and have found my audience connects with my dog stories. Drop a pooch on a page and you get a reader's attention.

The universal love of dogs by most everyone (except bad dates) is a thread most can identify with.

My first book was a memoir on the year after my husband died. Short essays filled the pages along with stories of my dogs. The two dogs in my life then are now gone, but I adopted five rescue dogs in nine months. Since my dogs creep into everything I write, I've labeled myself "Writer With Dogs".

Recently, with all the media attention to Fifty Shades of Grey and a lunch meeting with several women authors writing erotica, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and give it a whirl.

I knocked out 6500 words in two days. The sex scenes were better than my own feeble attempts as a widow. I thought I should buy a pack of cigarettes to complete the experience!

At my next writer's guild meeting I shared my story.

A few gals started to laugh. I didn't know if I should be embarrassed. Then I heard the ugly truth.

"You've included your dogs!"

Yes, I had. The dogs were not having sex, but they were on most of the pages. It was then I realized I was blessed/cursed with my reputation as a "writer with dogs." I'm glad I bought the

I'd forgotten what I had always been told. Write what you know. With sex, write how the character would handle it or risk looking foolish. My character loved dogs and naughty sex was not true to her. I correct myself, perhaps she liked naughty sex, but sharing it with the public was a definite no-no.

I'm turning the plot into a thriller screenplay and if it titillates enough, a director can fill in the sex scenes. I am off the hook. The heroine has several dogs that come to her rescue when danger lurks. Perfect!

I like to believe my writing tickles your fancy. But I learned to leave that feather in erotica to those who can handle it best!

* * *

Barbara Barth is author The Unfaithful Widow, a finalist in the 2011 USA Best Book Awards, blogger for Lifetime TV's "The Balancing Act", and contributor to Silver & Grace "Women Who Make A Difference." Antique dealer, life commentator, and dog whisperer. Visit author's web at . Remember love is just around the corner, adopt a shelter dog!


Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Margo Dill said...

I absolutely LOVE the title of this blog post :) And you are funny. I am a dog lover, too, so I completely understand how some dogs don't mix with dates. Or some dates don't mix with dogs. Good luck with this latest novel. . . ;)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Oh how funny! I'm glad you didn't include them in the sex scenes! ;)

Seriously though, dogs can be great for stories! It reminds me of an articled WOW published in '07 about using animals to reveal traits about a character or move the plot forward. It can be a handy tool! Character Trouble? Try Man's Best Friend

I've been hearing a lot of writers mention 50 Shades of Grey lately, and I keep wondering how an erotica book became such a huge bestseller? Is it that good?

Thanks for a fun post, Barbara! I love the title, too. :)

Britton Minor said...

This was just the topic on my mind today. I have zero desire to write erotica. I was once asked to edit a friend's (male friend) erotic novel. I couldn't get more than two pages in before I realized that this genre, and his creepy book, we're not for me. No offense to those who do it's just not what I like to read, write, or edit.

Dogs are so much more reliable....

Barbara Barth said...

Thanks for the comments and thanks to WOW for including me in Friday's Speak Out! As I write my dogs are curled up around me wondering if we are ever going to bed. Love to write at night. A pleaure meeting you. Sleep tight. Barbara

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