Friday, October 8, 2010

Holy Cow. Or Holy Horse.

I got bit in the head by a horse.

My daughter and I were at the stable getting the horse ready for her weekly lesson, and he took a chomp at my hair.

I should have expected it. I mean, he was being a pill that day as my daughter prepped him for her lesson. He pushed. He nipped a few times. He lifted his head as high as he could knowing there was no way I could get the halter on him.

I was reading the signs. Watching to make sure his hoof didn't end up on my foot. Or in my gut. Or that he wouldn't take the pocket off my coat.

But I wasn't expecting the chomp-o-rama of his teeth against my scalp.

Especially on the top of my head.

After I toweled off the horse spit and poked the bruise 20 times to prove to myself that he really did bite me, I was still thinking to myself, "Holy cow. I can't believe he bit me."

And that, my friends writerly and otherwise, is good plot. The signs are there. The audience is invested and interested, and then: WHAM-O. They get something they weren't expecting.

Spit on the head. Teeth in the scalp. All of it.

Great plot happens when a writer makes the audience look back and say, "I thought I was reading all the signs. I can't believe I didn't figure it out sooner."

So onward. Charge ahead on that steed before he decides your head looks like a bag of oats...and work on writing great plot.


  1. Ouch! I'm glad it wasn't something really serious. (I got bopped on the head by a camel once.) I like the way you turned it around into a writing lesson--it's true that authors who make the reader think they're reading the signs but still manage to miss the main plot are really good.

  2. Great story! A logical but unexpected surprise!!

  3. My first show helmet was a much-loved and long-saved-for piece of my riding attire as a child. It was real velvet, not just velveteen, and I cherished it and lint-brushed it and kept it in its box for years.

    At my first show, my horse bit it. Took a huge flap of velvet right off.

    I colored in the damaged spot with a black Sharpie and at first I was annoyed, but later, after that horse passed away, I cherished the dented helmet with its markered-over and thinly-disguised teeth marks!

  4. Wow! The minute I saw your first sentence on this post i thought, "Wait, what??" Glad it was only a bruise though and nothing more serious!

  5. You must have had some tasty shampoo that day! LOL We have horses and they are such curious creatures. Not surprised one took a nip! I'm a follower.

  6. Made me laugh - sorry! My daughter-in-law, breeds Arabian horses, if frequently picked up by her pony tail....