The Error In My Ways

The Error In My Ways

Posted on January 26 by Sylvia McNicoll
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Making mistakes drives me crazy. Especially when I know in advance that something I’m trying is ridiculous and will likely end in disaster.

And then I do it anyway.

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Walking my dogs Worf and Mortie together seems like exactly one of those colossal booboos. I can’t control either for different reasons. Australian cattle dog Worf stands about waist high beside me and pulls harder than a horse. Rabbit-sized Jackapoo Mortie bounces and yaps with hyper energy. Together they challenge each other in bad behaviour, barking at everything in sight and pulling me in every direction.

But they’re also hilarious and loveable, carrying sticks together, sharing bones, defending each other against real and imagined insults from other dogs and squirrels.

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And while they are the inspiration for the furry clients — (Jack Russell) Ping and (greyhound) Pong — in my Great Mistake Mystery series, they also epitomize the relationship of twelve-year-old main character Stephen Noble and his new partner in dogwalking, Renée Kobai. He’s tall, quiet, and nerdy while she’s short, sparkly, and always in your face with her questions and comments. The dogs, as well as the humans, irritate each other but learn to accommodate and even celebrate each other’s flaws.

Writing a mystery series based on a character’s mistakes might seem ridiculous especially considering the challenging structure I’ve created for myself: ten mistakes on each of the three days, making thirty mistake all together that lead to the solution in which a neighbourhood mystery is solved.

But if we learn to laugh and find meaning in mistakes, then we won’t be so anxious about reaching and stretching for new ideas and solutions. It takes courage to take big risks and face possible failure. I hope my story inspires that courage..

Sylvia McNicoll

Posted by Kendra on April 12, 2016
Sylvia McNicoll photo

Sylvia McNicoll

Sylvia McNicoll is the author of over thirty novels. Bringing up Beauty, her guide dog story, won the Silver Birch Award, launching her to international success. Sylvia lives in Burlington, Ontario.