My daughter, Amy Rose, 8, entered a short story competition hosted by Dogs Trust. We were all stunned at the quality of her submission. You can read it below, but one of the things that I enjoyed about the process is how she targetted the 500 word limit as she composed the story. She did so well, that the first draft overshot the limit by something like 20-30 words. She identified herself those sentences she needed to trim down and got it down to just below the limit (and still deliver a stunning story).

Amy Rose won the competition for her age category, a complete delight for us. Dogs Trust posted the story on their blog, but not all of the edits they applied satisfied the author1. I offered to publish her preferred version on my (far less frequented) blog with the edits that she would prefer.

So, here we have "The Author's Edit", a little but like "The Director's Cut":

The Big Audition

Finaly Lockdown was over, so myself and my dog got an audition! Ok, I’ll go back to the start. It was a normal day at school. I was walking through the school corridor when I noticed an audition on the school notice board, for a girl and her dog. I unpinned the poster and put it in my pocket. I skipped into class knowing my dog Gracie would love to be on TV.

As soon as the school bell rang, I jumped out of my seat and raced home. When I told Gracie we had an audition, she started jumping and barking and I could have sworn tried to dance – that didn’t go well. I rang the number on the poster and they told me more information about the audition. They said the audition was for an ad advertising a new food called "Yum Yums For Pups". What we had to say was realy simple. All I had to say was "So come get you’re Yum Yums For Pupps today" and all Gracie had to say was "Roof roof". We practiced until we heard "DINNER!" coming from downstairs.

It was the day before the audition. Gracie and I were practacing. "Your getting much better, Gracie". "Roof" – that means thank you, I think.

"The day has finally come. The day of the audition. Are you excited?" I asked. Gracie said she was exited and nervous, but I couldn’t blame her. Who wouldn’t be nervous? Gracie and I went downstairs to eat breakfast. After breakfast I got dreased and brushed my teeth, I got Gracie into her harness and I got ready to go to the audition.

To get to the audition, we had to go through the park and Gracie was veeeeeeeeery happy about that. As we walked through the park we saw dogs and dogs and guess what, more dogs! When we were towards the end of the park we saw a beautiful white butterfly flying around us. The butterfly landed on Gracie’s nose and when it flew off her nose, Gracie’s gaze followed it. I unclipped Gracie’s lead as I said "Go on Gracie, there is plenty of time before the audition. What could possibly go wrong?", at least that is what I thought at the time, before we got LOST!

"What are we supposed to do now?" I asked, hoping for an answer. Gracie stuck her nose into my pocket and pulled out the poster. "Gracie! Your a genius!" She gave me the poster so that she could snif it. When Gracie had snifed the poster, she got to work finding the buillding where the audition was held.

The audition went very well – Gracie and I thought so anyway. The next day, we were sitting down to watch our family show and we saw the "Yum Yums For Pups" ad with Gracie and I playing the girl and dog. I had never felt so proud of myself and Gracie.


Written by Amy Rose Ó Hanlon, age 8



A fact of life – following from those letters of mine to the Irish Times that have been published – with which I am quite familiar.

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