“Somewhere a dog barked”

Aggressive Dog, originally uploaded by Mr. T in DC.

Dear writerly types:

The next time you find yourself putting the distant bark of a dog into a story, ask yourself why, and whether it’s really the best choice:

Novelists can’t resist including a dog barking in the distance. I’ve seen it happen across the spectrum—Jackie Collins, William Faulkner, and Chuck Palahniuk: “There was no more rain, just an eerie stillness, a deathly silence. Somewhere a dog barked mournfully.” (American Star) “She did not answer for a time. The fireflies drifted; somewhere a dog barked, mellow sad, faraway.” (Light in August) “This is such a fine neighborhood. I jump the fence to the next backyard and land on my head in somebody’s rose bush. Somewhere a dog’s barking.” (Choke)

from “Somewhere a Dog Barked” by Rosecrans Baldwin in Slate

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