In the distance, a dog barked

Filed under: Fun — marcia at 11:16 am on Friday, June 18, 2010

What do Jackie Collins, William Faulkner, Dave Eggers, Virginia Woolf, and Steven King have in common? According to

Perhaps distant dogs are a way for novelists to wink at one another, at their extraordinary luck for being allowed into the publishing club. When an author incorporates a faceless barking dog into his novel, he’s like an amateur at Harlem’s Apollo Theater rubbing the Tree of Hopeā€”he does it because so many others have done it before him, and it might just bring him some luck.

Some authors do this on purpose to great affect; others use it to buy time or cheat a mood. The article is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it reminds us to pay attention to our tics and make sure every word is there because it matters. Now I’m going to pay attention today–do I hear any dogs barking?

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