Skip to main content

Guest Post by Author Marian Allen: Things my dog has taught me about writing

One of the biggest gifts I’ve received from the A to Z Challenge, and my resultant collection A to Z Stories of Life and Death, has been the kind and gracious author-friends I got to meet in the process. Marian Allen was one of the first of these friends to suggest I put together the A to Z stories, and for that I would be forever grateful.

She has supported me ever since, including this guest post she hosted yesterday. Today, she shares with us some great writing advice in her inimitable style. So take it away, Marian!




When my oldest grandson was little, he got a puppy from a box of puppies in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. The puppy grew to be too big for the house, and we took it to live with us in the country.

Now, eleven years later, Joe is still with us. He gives the deliverymen and my mother’s friends merry hell no matter how often he sees them, but let a deer or a rabbit head for the garden and he throws a white cloth over his arm and says, “Where would you like to be seated today?”

We feed him, go for walks, throw sticks, take him to the vet, provide shelter–and, after eleven years, he’s still our oldest grandson’s dog. He loves us, but he’s NUTS about that man.

Things my oldest grandson’s dog has taught me about writing:

  •     Sometimes a project outgrows your plans for it.
  •     If a project doesn’t fit one place, that doesn’t mean there’s no place for it. It just needs to find the right home.
  •     Your project will probably not do or be what you want it to do or be.
  •     A project is never “over”. After you finish writing it, you have to edit it. Then you have to polish it. And again. And again. Then you submit it. If you sell it, you have to edit it and polish it some more. Then you have to market it. In these days of author-marketing and never-out-of-print POD/eBooks, that never quits.
  •     Your book or story might be out in the world and other people may buy it and read it, love it or hate it, recommend it or warn against it, review it, feature it, parody it or rip it off, but it will always be YOURS. Go ahead and love it.

I’m running a contest through October 31, 2011 EST for a free eBook, a MomGoth’s Sweet Little Baby Angels pin or your name in a short story. Drop by and enter.



Marian Allen

Marian Allen

My writing reflects my love of network. I try to remember, in my books and stories, that no one exists in total isolation, but in a web of connections to family, friends, colleagues, self at former stages of maturity, perceptions and self-images. Most of my work is fantasy, science fiction and/or mystery, though I write horror, humor, romance, mainstream or anything else that suits the story and character.

Please feel free to connect with me on my Twitter feed or my Facebook Author Page.

Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Marian Allen says:

    Thanks for letting me visit, Damyanti. It was an honor and a pleasure to be here and interact with your wonderful readers!

  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks Marian, for being such a gracious guest, and thank you to everyone who stopped by to comment. I’ll be returning visits soon!

  • Marian Allen says:

    Thanks, Stina. 🙂 Joe has learned that my mother is NOT a vegetarian, so he makes sure to visit her at least once a day for meaty treats. 🙂

  • That’s one very wise dog.

    Great advice. 😀

  • Marian Allen says:

    Chris, sometimes Joe is TOO friendly, like when he jumps on you with muddy paws. He’s so big, if he jumps on you, you know you’ve been jumped on! 🙂

  • Chris says:

    Joe looks like a friendly dog with loads of spirit. First time visitor to your blog look forward to returning. TFs

  • Marian Allen says:

    Marinela, thanks for coming by and commenting. 🙂

  • Marinela says:

    Great post…thanks for sharing with us
    take care

  • Marian Allen says:

    J.L. Wonderful to see you! Glad you enjoyed the post.

    Mish, thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  • I particularly like this one: If a project doesn’t fit one place, that doesn’t mean there’s no place for it. It just needs to find the right home.

    • Marian Allen says:

      Carole, I’ve found that to be the case SO many times! A story one editor rejects turns out to be exactly what another has been looking for. 🙂

  • mish says:

    Some real gems here ! Thanks for sharing !
    Damyanti , I have an award for you (don’t know if you have received this one yet …)
    If you would just hop over to my blog and check it out …

  • Wonderful tips there, Marian. Good food for thought.

  • Marian Allen says:

    Jocelyn, I’m glad to meet another dog lover! I love cats, too, but there’s something intensely satisfying to me about having that big old heavy guy lean up against my legs when I pat him. 🙂

  • Marian Allen says:

    MPax, I’m a firm believer in not giving up on a project you believe in. If there’s no home for it now, that doesn’t mean one isn’t being built while other places are turning it down.

  • Marian Allen says:

    Arlee, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who starts out thinking I’m going to write a sappy love story and ends up writing horror! lol! Our subconscious minds have (as my mother puts it) lots of little fish swimming around in them, and we never know what little fish is going to come grab our hooks.

  • Jocelyn Rish says:

    Really great reminders about writing that we need to tell ourselves again and again delivered via a fun dog story. This dog-loving writer approves!

  • MPax says:

    Great philosophy, Marian about the network. And I liked your ideas on projects finding new places.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    Marian, you are so right about projects. We can and should have expectations in regard to anything we do, but we should always prepared for surprises. Once you start into something you often don’t know exactly how it’s going to end up

    Tossing It Out

  • Marian Allen says:

    Amen, Beverly! From your mouth to God’s ear!

    Yes, Joe really is in the country, and he’s a very happy dog. 🙂

  • So happy to find that sometimes when a dog has “gone to live i the country,” he really HAS gone to live in the country.

    Loved this lesson from Joe “If a project doesn’t fit one place, that doesn’t mean there’s no place for it. It just needs to find the right home.” May all our projects find the right homes!

  • Marian Allen says:

    Damyanti, it’s still the 26th here, so I got to host you AND visit you both on my birthday–Wonderful presents! 🙂

  • Marian Allen says:

    Thanks, Alex! So lovely of you to drop in and comment. 🙂 You’re the Ninja King!

  • I like that last item! That’s one to remember.

%d bloggers like this: