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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

A Dog And The Rooster's Missing Page


Welcome readers, writers, authors, and bloggers!

We’re glad you’re here. For the sixth time this year, it's the First Wednesday of the month when we celebrate IWSG Day, in the form of a blog hop featuring all of the members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Founded by Alex Cavanaugh and fostered by like-minded associates, IWSG is a place to share the fabulous views and exciting news that occurs along our fascinating writing journeys. Pull up a chair and join us!

Our awesome co-hosts for this month's posting of the IWSG are: 

 J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

Most adages come from something experienced; “Out of the pan and into the fire”, “Birds of a feather…” For John Steinbeck “The dog ate it” was all too true when his faithful Irish setter became upset at being left alone too long and ate the entire first draft half of “Of Mice and Men” Steinbeck, who reportedly thought his dog may have been “acting critically” then spent the next two months amicably rewriting his work.

Would it matter if any or all of your work was published posthumously? It matters a great deal to some, it seems, when it comes to Steinbeck’s long-buried werewolf novel “Murder at Full Moon” Written under a pseudonym and originally rejected in 1930, the novel was all but forgotten until recently when a couple of literary academics petitioned Steinbeck’s estate for its release and were met with opposition from literary agents close to the family. The, uh, “Jury is still out” on the issue.

I can’t imagine too many scenarios more frustrating than a missing page, can you? Thankfully, my only experience has been realizing the exact page I needed had been torn out of a public phonebook. Just last week I actually groaned with dismay when an old rerun of M.A.S.H. showed the entire unit sharing one copy of an engrossing book called “The Rooster Crowed at Midnight” only to discover the last page, the one where the culprit is finally revealed, is missing! I easily understood the anguished consternation that ensued. One outraged member of the camp was even promised a trip to Fatlip, Arizona. Fatlip, Arizona?  Whoa. No need to get personal.

I mean, I gasped. I sat straighter in my chair. Was there really a town called Fatlip in Arizona? I had to know. That, my friends, is what I did for over an hour instead of working on my manuscript. Shameful, isn’t it? Except, I realized something. In all the time I’ve spent on this manuscript which revolves around activity going on nine miles up a mountain, I’ve never named the town below. Now I wonder if I even need to. Your thoughts?

Happy Writing!


  1. That would be a drag to have a first manuscript eaten by your pet. I'm such a slow writer that I don't know if I'd go back to it. Thank God we have computers now.

    1. Hi Natalie!

      Let's hear it for computers!

      Some stories refuse to go untold. For that reason, I'd do it again ;-)

  2. How about that - I just watched that M*A*S*H episode two weeks ago!
    I back up my files constantly because if my manuscript goes poof, I'm done.

    1. Hi Alex!

      I am a fanatic when it comes to backing up files! One disaster was all it took ;-)

  3. I hadn't heard about the dog eating Steinbeck's story. That's a good one.

    1. Hi Lee!

      That the dog may have been "acting critically" cracked me up!

  4. That is the one good thing about a computer file - at least the dog won't eat it.

    To name the town or not. Only if it matters, I guess. My current WIP is set in mid-1800 Chicago, with things happening in various parts of Illinois. I have to worry about the historically accurate police. 🤣

    1. Ha - so true!

      Your WIP sounds interesting. Remember when all we had to worry about was making sense? How about a disclaimer, "This is a work of FICTION, loosely based on facts that may or may not have been true to begin with."
      I like your thinking on whether or not it matters ;-)

  5. Never had a dog eat my work but I've had my computer die on me, so I always make sure to have backups!

    1. Hi Sarah!

      I had a cat that loved to nibble page edges, but our dogs have always preferred sofa cushions ;-)

  6. Dog eating MS would be a bummer. Happy IWSG!

  7. Diedre,

    I want to join in with this group every month and forget. Now, I'm on my summer posting schedule so that's not going to happen. *sigh* Oh well...maybe in the fall I can start.

    Anyway, years ago I remember how easy it was to lose work on those dinosaur computers in which you the author had to manually save your document frequently for fear power failure or mishaps making everything go POOF. The was the figurative dog literally eating whatever I was working on. Even in this day where "auto-save" is enabled on many programs, it's still a good practice to save your work when you think of it. Technology has its weakness. Anywho, I remember The MASH episode you're referring to and the frustration by all which anyone ever in that situation can relate to. Personally, I don't know that I have been but I have with video recordings where our DVR timing was off and the last, most important moments that tells everything didn't record. Talk about wanting to pull my hair out!
    Thanks for stopping by to vote in my June 1st Battle of the Bands. Have a fabulous day!

    1. Hi Cathy!

      On behalf of IWSG, we'd be glad to have you!
      I'm still afraid of power failures ;-) The only trouble I've had with "auto-save" is not having titled my work beforehand and wondering what it saved as.
      Oh my gosh! The DVR incident would have upset me too.
      I'm glad to have found your Battle of the Bands posts. Your unique presentations of good tunes keeps your followers (and me) coming back.
      Happy June!

  8. Hello, Deidre. Lovely banner on your blog! And your post was delightful to read. The story about lost pages reminded me of a trip long ago in Mexico. We were tired after traveling so many hours. A lady was ahead of us in line with very full skirts. She simply settled her skirts down and then moved on, taking with her my husband's first draft of his novel. About your 'wasted' time researching Fatlip AZ, I don't think it was. Didn't that 'search' lead you to recognize that you hadn't named the town in your story? And that's a completely different, writing related search! Sometimes I think falling into research rabbit holes brings unexpected connections and new directions. BTW one of my favorite characters in my novel, Years of Stone, is named Diedre! May 2021 be very good to you!

    1. Hi Beth!

      Stolen by a skirt! How disheartening. But what a sensational story the incident itself would make.
      It's nice to know someone who sees rabbit holes the way I do ;-)
      For most of my life, I never heard my name any where. Especially the way it is spelled. Lately, I see and hear it a lot. Best wishes for Years of Stone!
      Have a lovely June, Beth.

  9. Howdy, dIEDRE ~

    You COULD name the town in your manuscript, nine miles down at the base of the mountain, Fatlip.

    Or how about Blackeye?

    Hmmm.... OK, now I'm really into this quest for a name.

    How about Nueve Millas Hacia Abajo? You know, give it that foreign mystique!

    If that's just too long, then perhaps this:
    Pueblo Sin Nombre?

    I'm not really a Horror guy. (Horrible guy, yes. But Horror guy? No.) Nevertheless, as a big fan of Steinbeck's writing, I'm now very curious to read “Murder at Full Moon”. I can't even imagine Steinbeck writing a monster movie... uhm... with non-human monsters, I mean.

    ~ Stephen
    DogGtor of Alcohology &
    King of Inebriation Nation


      Oops! I wrote:
      "I can't even imagine Steinbeck writing a monster movie..."

      Obviously, I meant "monster novel".

      Pay no mind. That was just the sobriety talking. ;^)

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. Howdy, Stephen!

      Aren't you intuitive! Or do you know the fascinating story (legend?) behind The Iron Door Mine and the lost Ciudad de Nueve Millas? anyway, love the suggestions, thank you!

    3. Oh, and I'd love to read Steinbeck's werewolf story too ;-)

  10. I've lost a number of pieces that I've written because they weren't saved properly on my computer or something like that. So frustrating! But at least I did write something.

    Coming up with names can be an interesting experience. This past weekend when my wife had gone to her daughter's house, I was working on a new idea that I'd been turning over in my head for a number of weeks. Trying to come up with a name for the main character I did a Google search for "Girl names in Spanish that mean Brilliant". Unfortunately, my computer was down for several days so I was using my wife's laptop. Today my wife was on her computer and asked me in a suspicious tone why I was looking up girl names. I explained my story, but I still think she suspects me of something. What I don't know. But she tends to have a suspicious streak at times. Oh, the life of a writer!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Hi Arlee!
      Good to hear from you. I figured you'd be halfway across the US, meandering with a laptop and a bounty of new ideas ;-) Sounds like you're already working on at least one! Names like "Elena" or "Lucia" come to mind.
      There was a funny meme going around awhile back about a writer not wanting to make - or share her plans for fear the word "premeditated" gets tossed around the courtroom ;-)
      Happy writing, Lee!


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