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Copyright 2023 © by Jim Potter
This is my update, a progress report, the nuts and bolts of the draft copy of my children’s book. Another blog may cover the importance of an author taking time between edits, giving the manuscript time to breath, and the writer an opportunity for rest, reflection, perspective, and fun.
There’re a few holes that I need to fill to improve K-9 Kudzu’s Guide to Law Enforcement: Observations from a Working Dog Who Loves to Play. Here’s my report on the current draft—what I have, what I need, and what’s next.
In discussing a draft copy of this book, I’m talking about the interior, not the covers. In my experience, the front cover is one of the last steps before publishing. I’ve got ideas for the cover, but they will wait, except that right now I’m considering who I want to invite to give “blurbs” (endorsements) for the back cover.
Copyright page: My draft of the copyright page won’t change much. Of course, I’ve got to be sure I’m using the correct, last updated title! I already have International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN), one for the printed book and one for the e-book. I’ll request the Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) once I know the number of pages, but that’s way down the road. The illustrations, formatting, and personal preference will determine the number of pages and the dimensions of the book.
Acknowledgement: This page is the last interior page I’ll write. It’s a thank you page.
Dedication: I’ve written my dedication and so has K-9 Kudzu. I’m going to invite Gina Laiso, the book’s illustrator, to make a dedication. We’ll see. No hurry on this.
Introduction: This is a crucial page, written by K-9 Kudzu. I’m pleased with Kudzu’s written voice. Here’s a preview.
My name is Kudzu. I’m a German shepherd dog who works in law enforcement as part of a team. My partner’s name is Deputy Tom Jennings.
I’m also called a canine. That’s spelled c-a-n-i-n-e. When I’m working with Tom, I’m known as a ‘K-9,’ but that’s with the letter ‘K’ followed by the number ‘9.’
Tom takes his work too seriously. I’m always trying to get him to play with me.
My most fun activity is playing with my blue ball.
Since I’ve been working as a K-9 for 24 years—that’s 2 years in people time—I’ve learned a lot about the way police officers do their jobs.
Today I’m going to share with you some of the vocabulary words I’ve learned while helping police officers.
I’ll introduce the words to you in alphabetical order.
Have fun learning.
Contents: This is the table of contents. There’s a chapter title for each vocabulary word I’ve selected. The chapters are listed in alphabetical order. For example, A is for Accident, B is for Badge, C is for Car, etc. The correct page numbers won’t be listed until I receive a formatted draft of the book.
Chapters: All 26 chapters are written, but I’m constantly editing them. The information is good, but I’m still deciding on its length and how much to incorporate K-9 Kudzu’s stories. There’s also a section in every chapter titled, “Kudzu’s Questions and Comments.”
Here’s a partial preview of the first chapter, “A is for Accident.” There are no illustrations yet since they’re still under development.
“A” is for Accident
“One time, Tom left me locked in our car for hours all by myself. Eventually, I needed to pee. When Tom didn’t return, I had an accident. It wasn’t planned. I didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident.
“I’ve been with Deputy Jennings when he’s worked car accidents. In the summer, the asphalt on the highways can get so hot it feels like my feet are on fire. In the winter, I’m glad to be wearing my heavy coat.
“After an accident, Tom always asks the driver, ‘What happened?’ I’ve heard a lot of answers. Sometimes the driver blames another driver. Other times people admit to falling asleep or texting on their phone.
“I’ve also heard people blame dogs for running out into the road. I don’t take it personally. I know some dogs who don’t have a lick of common sense.
“When Deputy Jennings and I get sent to an accident by a dispatcher, the 911 employee identifies the type of wreck we’re going to by using a language called ‘ten-code’. A ‘10-48’ is an injury accident; a ‘10-47’ is a non-injury accident. Once I was on a ‘10-40.’ That’s a fatality wreck. Someone had died. Everyone was sad, including me.”
“Another common word used in law enforcement that begins with the letter ‘a,’ is arrest.
“I was with Tom one night when he worked a non-injury car accident where the driver was intoxicated. Intoxicated means the person is drunk. People who are drunk don’t think clearly or have full control of their body.
“Tom arrested the driver for DUI, which means Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs. Tom told the dispatcher that he was ‘10-15 one time.’ That meant Tom had one person under arrest. When Tom or any K-9 officer makes an arrest while they have their dog with them, they call for backup. That way, an officer without a K-9 in their patrol car, can transport the person to jail.
“I remember the man Tom arrested slurring his words as he said: ‘I’m too drunk to drive; just take me home.’”
Q&A: At the end of the book, narrator K-9 Kudzu answers pre-publication questions from his early readers. Here’s a sample.
Q: “What are your favorite movies with canines?”
Kudzu: I haven’t found the perfect K-9 movie yet, but at Thanksgiving, while Tom watches football on TV, Jesse and I enjoy seeing canines at the National Dog Show. They aren’t just good-looking dogs, they’re talented, especially in herding, sporting, and working.”
Q: “Have you ever been shot?”
Kudzu: “In the chapter on letter ‘v’ I told the readers that I’ve been shot several times in the neck, but not by bullets. Instead, veterinarians have given me vaccine shots. I’ve also been shot during training by plastic bullets that are called simulated rounds. They hurt, but just for a second.”
Q: “While on your police job, have you ever bitten anyone?”
Kudzu: “No, the sheriff doesn’t have any of us K-9s trained to be aggressive. Instead, we detect drugs, search, and track. However, I’ve bitten Tom on many occasions when we’ve been playing with my ball. When I bite Tom, it’s not on purpose. It’s an accident.”
Appendix: I’m planning on having two pages in the appendix. One is the phonetic police alphabet, the other a list of police ten-codes used during police radio transmissions. Before including the appendix pages, I’m attempting to learn if they’re copyrighted, and if so, how I can get permission to use them.
Until next time, happy writing,
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Nancy Julien Kopp says
I’m enjoying following your creation of a children’s book. I have one small suggestion. In the Q and A section where the question is asked if the dog has ever bitten anyone. He mentions that he has bitten Tom several times when playing ball, and that it was an accident. I wonder if using the word ‘nip’ would make the children realize it is just a little bite, not a full bite. Some kids are really afraid of dogs. Just a thought I had as I read.
Jim Potter says
Nancy, great recommendation! I agree. There’s a place in the book where Kudzu tells the reader that Tom, prior to visiting a school classroom, always asks the students if anyone is scared of dogs. He gives them an option to leave the classroom prior to getting Kudzu from the car. Thanks again!
Jim Potter says
Nancy, thanks to you I’m adding another letter “c” word to my list within the “c” chapter. It’s CYNOPHOBIA.
I’m impressed with how much information you’re packing into this story. That list of other “A” words would have delighted my 12-year-old self and added a great deal of value to the book. Miriam