Writing Weirdly – When You aren’t exactly a plotser or a pantser

While I was at Vermont College my first semester, one of the teachers, Alison McGhee, mentioned off-handedly that when she wrote one of her many brilliant, amazing books she wrote it all in a rush, just page after page. She didn’t write it with an eye for structure. She didn’t write it with a specific linear plot in mind. She wrote it looking for emotion and heart and depth.

I told my then-editor at Flux, Andrew Karre (who is super cool), about this and he dubbed it: THE ALISON MCGHEE METHOD. He also dubbed it: SEXY.

Sexy?

Since all my life I have secretly (okay… not so secretly wanted to be less cuddly and more sexy) I immediately told him that this was how I wrote LOVE AND OTHER USES FOR DUCT TAPE.

He squeed in a masculine way.

I had suddenly become sexy. Finally. After how many years?

So Many Years

Anyway, on her website, Alison McGhee writes, “As a writer, what I like best is to sit by myself in a room, spinning out words and sentences and paragraphs and stories. No music. No telephone. Nothing but the silent light coming through the window and the people taking shape in my noisy mind. Writing is my only church.”

That’s an interesting quote when you think about the method.

The method is writing. Just writing at first. Writing and writing and writing some more. And while you are writing, you are not worrying about plot as a device to keep you moving, but instead worrying about going into the soul of your character, going deep into that absolute place where your character’s identity is, and rushing inside it, holding it up and becoming one with it.

The thing is you don’t have to be a plotter or a pantser. You just have to be a writer.

That method is not how I always write, but it’s really how I wrote my first two published books: TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND and LOVE AND OTHER USES FOR DUCT TAPE.


How is it different?

It instinctively adds more layers of image and emotion to your work.

 
Things like theme resonate a lot.


Consistency errors pop up like crazy and you need people with super sharp eyes to catch them.


It makes the tension of the story (the compulsion to keep reading) not something that’s in the plot but something that’s in the character.



WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic
Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction. ImageImage

31702754 copy
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Weird Things About Us

This week we’re pretty low-key chill with an off-format podcast about the weird things about us

Basically, we answer some of our listener’s questions.

We forgot the hardest one, which is:

HOW DOES CARRIE GET EVERYTHING DONE?

That one took too much time, so we’ll share it next week.

We love you all and thank you so much for your awesome questions.

Dogs are Smarter Than People podcast
Why do you choose to live this way, humans?

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic
Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction. Image

31702754 copy

When You Don’t Have to Say Anything – The Magic of Step Dads and Living From Love Not Fear

It would have been so much easier for my tired dad to leave those girls at their homes, for me not to have a birthday party. He had an out. There was a blizzard.

There was blizzard on the same day as my 11thbirthday party. 

            My mom was packing back and forth across our cramped kitchen’s linoleum floors as one mother after another called to cancel because of the road conditions, the wind, the snow billowing down. The cabinets were old pine, so knotty that I’d use my fingers to draw faces in between the dark circles, connecting the blackness into eyes, a nose, a mouth, something less scary. I would have used a black magic marker to make those faces real if I could, but I wasn’t the type of kid who did that sort of thing. I was the type of kid who followed the rules, who hugged their friends, who cared about everyone’s feelings more than her own, trying desperately to fit in to a town that had exploded with wealth. 

Everyone was rich except us. You get used to that after awhile, but that doesn’t mean you’re ever cool with it. 

My mom wasn’t cool with it either and she always felt excluded and looked-down on. My dad built our ranch house sixteen years before I was born and back then our town was little and all lower working class people. Tractor salesmen were a big deal. Truckers like him were the norm. All the men volunteered at the fire department and everyone knew the three cops by name. My mom was the town clerk back then. But there was a bit of a tech bubble and all these people moved up from Massachusetts, building subdivisions filled with McMansions and wearing clothes that weren’t from K-Mart. We weren’t the norm anymore. We were below.

            And when my parents divorced, we became poor even after my mom and stepdad married because although he was a contractor, he’d moved all the way from California to marry her and he’d had to build up his business from scratch.  When he died was when my Nana would get government cheese for us. Mom would take the giant blocks with a grimace and Nana would say, “But you love cheese. You work hard.”

But this isn’t about my nana. This is about my bonus dad.

           On the blizzard day of my birthday party, his little green Toyota truck trundled up the hill towards the house, a Kermit-The-Frog colored beacon in the snow. Mom joined me at the picture window, arms crossed over her chest, staring out at him trying to make it up the hill, failing as the truck slid backwards a bit, trying again. 

 “I’m sorry, baby,” she whispered. 

“It’s okay,” I told her, but she knew I was lying. 

 Daddy parked the truck and started walking up the hill. She left me to meet him in the kitchen. I leaned my head against the cold pane of the window, listening. He stomped his boots free of the snow and then the whisperings started. I didn’t need to listen. I knew she was telling him about the cancellations, how I actually cried, which I was horrified about. There was the gross sound of lips smacking against each other. Kissing. Muffled noises of secret conversations sounded just below my hearing capabilities.

Daddy came into the living room. His socks were stained from where snow leaked into his boots. The snow line on his pants went up almost to his knees. He held his arms open and I ran into them. 

 “Hey, Miss America, you doing okay?” He had a gruff voice from decades of cigarettes, and it was soft spoken. Old people had to lean in sometimes when he talked, which wasn’t much. He never talked much.

“I’m okay.” I lied again. It was my favorite lie. 

 He kissed the top of my head. 

 “Your mom told me what’s going on.”

“Nobody can come.”

 “I know, I heard.” He bent down and pulled the sock off one foot, exposing dark skin, wiggling toes. Then he moved to the other. “She’s going to make some phone calls and we’re going to see if those scaredy-cat moms will let me go get their girls and bring them here.”

“Really?” I squealed.

 He handed me his wet socks and moved over to the couch. “Really. You get me some new socks, put those on the sink to dry and we have a deal okay?”

 “Deal!” 

 About 15 minutes later, only one mother refused to let my dad pick up her daughter. Mom kissed his cheek, I gave him a great big hug and he ventured out into the storm, picking up five girls. They smooshed together in his truck and later he told me that they all chattered the entire time.

“I didn’t have to say anything.” He tucked me in the next night, after all the sleeping bags were rolled up, the presents tucked away, and the last of my yellow cake with chocolate frosting was being digested in a rumbling stomach. 

The thing is he usually didn’t have to say anything. His love showed in everything he did. There’s a certain magic in that, in acting with love and confidence.

When we have time to choose and make decisions, we often have a moment to think about our intent. Are we acting with love or because of fear?

Here’s a really interesting article about how our intentions and our fear often close us down to opportunity and happiness. We might be afraid to get hurt by loved ones or afraid of losing control over a work situation so we keep information to ourselves, refuse to delegate, are guarded.

But if we let the fear control us then we become that fear. We lose our ability to expand, to share our stories, to pick up little girls during a blizzard.

In a post on Psychology Today’s website, Nancy Collier speaks about ‘operating from love.’

I like this Quote. It is Wise.

Operating from love is to set our own ego aside long enough to listen to the experience of the other, to be courageous enough to be willing to try and understand what the other person is experiencing, no matter how radically different it is from what we intended to happen, think happened, or believe was the cause of what happened. It is to have the strength of heart to understand and open our heart to what the pain is that the other is skillfully or unskillfully trying to express. A response (not reaction) that comes from love is listening to the other’s upset as if we were just ears hearing, ears alone, not ears attached to a head, attached to an ego, attached to an identity, attached to a person intent on remaining intact and unchanged. 

Collier, LCSW, Rev

It would have been so much easier for my tired dad to leave those girls at their homes, for me not to have a birthday party. He had an out. There was a blizzard. He didn’t because he acted out of love. In small and big ways, we have choices every day where we can listen to our intentions and understand why we do what we do.

So What Does It Mean to Live From Love?

To live from love not fear, on a practical level, is to shift from a goal of protecting our ego, being right, winning the argument, being not to blame, and move into actually being kind, being loving—in our actions. It is to be willing to stop proving that we’re a good person and actually be that good person—to be courageous enough to open our heart and be love even when our ego is screaming in fear.   

Collier again

It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? I hope we all can start moving forward in this journey with that intent.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday! Here are our last two episodes!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app and our bonus podcast below.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic
Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction. Who knew there was such a thing?

31702754 copy

Basil Tomato Creamy Pasta for Valentines Day


Print Recipe


Basil Tomato Creamy Pasta for Valentines Day

This recipe was recommended by Alyson and is adapted from Lee Hirsh of Fit Foodie Finds

Quirky and funny vegetarian recipes redone with author Carrie Jones featuring Basil Tomato Creamy Pasta for Valentines Day

Cuisine american, Italian
Keyword pasta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time overnight soaking

Servings
people


Ingredients

Cuisine american, Italian
Keyword pasta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time overnight soaking

Servings
people


Ingredients

Quirky and funny vegetarian recipes redone with author Carrie Jones featuring Basil Tomato Creamy Pasta for Valentines Day


Instructions
  1. First, prepare for your meal of love and put your beautiful, expensive cashews in a big bowl and leave them there overnight while you dream of their beautiful, exquisite form. Maybe write a sonnet about them.

  2. It is the next day!

    Writer, you are in love with your story and therefore you are in love with life so go put that stove on 400.

  3. Line a pan with tinfoil or aluminum foil. Wait. What is it? When did this word change? Resist the urge to look it up and just use the shiny stuff.

  4. Look at all your adorable ingredients. They are the character in the story called DINNER. Love them up. Maybe kiss them quickly. Make sure nobody is watching

  5. Put all the tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper on top of the lined baking sheet. ADORE THEM!

  6. Find the olive oil and drizzle its juice all over the vegetables on the sheet. Do not breathe heavily. This is not porn. This is dinner.

  7. Feel guilty that your brain even went there.

  8. Put it in the oven and shut it. Are you feeling ashamed? It's okay. It's all behind the oven door now. Keep it all back there, hidden, for 20 minutes.

  9. Take the pan out. Skin the tomatoes. Dear God! What have you become? It started out so lovingly and now you are skinning tomatoes! YOU ARE A WRITER NOT A DEMON! YOU ARE NO HANNIBEL! Take no pleasure in this step. Also be careful not to burn your fingers.

  10. Cook pasta according to its directions.

  11. Hide it all in the oven again for ten minutes and breathe deeply. Practice your mantras. Repeat after me, "I cook with love. I cook with love. I cook with love."

  12. You know those cashews you've been drowning all night? Put them in a blender. Add the vegetables and their juices. Blend. Blend it until smooth until there's no damn evidence that these things were once separate entities. Add salt.

  13. Mix it up with the pasta. Eat it. Check for cameras.

Basil-Tomato Creamy Pasta for Valentines Day

Print Recipe
Basil Tomato Creamy Pasta for Valentines Day
This recipe was recommended by Alyson and is adapted from Lee Hirsh of Fit Foodie Finds
Quirky and funny vegetarian recipes redone with author Carrie Jones featuring Basil Tomato Creamy Pasta for Valentines Day
Cuisine american, Italian
Keyword pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time overnight soaking
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine american, Italian
Keyword pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time overnight soaking
Servings
people
Ingredients
Quirky and funny vegetarian recipes redone with author Carrie Jones featuring Basil Tomato Creamy Pasta for Valentines Day
Instructions
  1. First, prepare for your meal of love and put your beautiful, expensive cashews in a big bowl and leave them there overnight while you dream of their beautiful, exquisite form. Maybe write a sonnet about them.
  2. It is the next day! Writer, you are in love with your story and therefore you are in love with life so go put that stove on 400.
  3. Line a pan with tinfoil or aluminum foil. Wait. What is it? When did this word change? Resist the urge to look it up and just use the shiny stuff.
  4. Look at all your adorable ingredients. They are the character in the story called DINNER. Love them up. Maybe kiss them quickly. Make sure nobody is watching
  5. Put all the tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper on top of the lined baking sheet. ADORE THEM!
  6. Find the olive oil and drizzle its juice all over the vegetables on the sheet. Do not breathe heavily. This is not porn. This is dinner.
  7. Feel guilty that your brain even went there.
  8. Put it in the oven and shut it. Are you feeling ashamed? It's okay. It's all behind the oven door now. Keep it all back there, hidden, for 20 minutes.
  9. Take the pan out. Skin the tomatoes. Dear God! What have you become? It started out so lovingly and now you are skinning tomatoes! YOU ARE A WRITER NOT A DEMON! YOU ARE NO HANNIBEL! Take no pleasure in this step. Also be careful not to burn your fingers.
  10. Cook pasta according to its directions.
  11. Hide it all in the oven again for ten minutes and breathe deeply. Practice your mantras. Repeat after me, "I cook with love. I cook with love. I cook with love."
  12. You know those cashews you've been drowning all night? Put them in a blender. Add the vegetables and their juices. Blend. Blend it until smooth until there's no damn evidence that these things were once separate entities. Add salt.
  13. Mix it up with the pasta. Eat it. Check for cameras.

As many of you know, I’m trying to get the man who lives in this house to eat less meat.

Important note: He hates tomatoes, but you can disguise them and he’s cool with it.

This works as a disguise.

HAPPY LOVE DAY! Maybe all your loves be good ones.

Man Verdict:

I LOVE THIS AND I LOVE YOU! BECAUSE IT IS Valentine’s Day AND I HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE.

My Verdict:

I LOVE THIS AND I LOVE EVERYTHING.

DOGS VERDICT:

PLEASE DROP THINGS ON THE FLOOR!

Gabby the Dog Cooking with a Writer Recipes - Peanut Butter is Awesome
Food is Awesome!



WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic
Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction.

31702754 copy

Writing Tip Wednesday Scene Structure is Sexy

A lot of times we fiction writers get a little (cough) a lot obsessed with character, which makes sense, right? Characters are sexy. They’re these fake humans that we get to do our biding in a plot of our choosing. It’s a very dominant place for us writers to be.

But sometimes we get so obsessed with our characters and their emotions and dialogue and action and setting that we forget the very basics of writing, which is…

Scenes.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot from people about their scene worries, which includes the all-star lineup of questions:

  • Is this a scene?
  • Where does my scene end?
  • What the heck even is a freaking scene?

For theater people, a scene is when the story’s action happens in one setting. Theater people have it easy that way.

The best way to think of it is to remember that scenes

  • Can be super long or incredibly short.
  • Can actually shift settings, but this is complicated.
  • Have no real rules.

Sorry! Sorry! Those lack of rules, don’t help sometimes. It might be better to look at it this way?

What is the purpose of a scene?

According to the Novelist’s Guide to Crafting Scenes by Raymond Obstfeld:

  • Helps the plot journey on.
  • Shows conflict
  • “Develop a particular character by highlighting a specific trait or action.”
  • “Create Suspense.”

We all know that sexy rockstar scenes do more than one of those things at a time. These scenes become ‘moments’ that we remember. Elliot and ET on the bicycle riding up the hill on the dark night. Luke fighting Darth Vadar and the line, “I am your father.” Spock and Kirk when Spock is in that chamber and Kirk is on the other side and Spock’s about to die in a sacrifice to save the crew but Kirk can’t hold him or do anything for him and it’s so sad!

Sorry. That one gets me.

Jack and Rose at the front of the Titanic, arms open to the wind. Maria singing in the field in the Sound of Music. Dorothy telling Toto that she doesn’t think they’re in Kansas anymore.

Those moments? They matter.

When it comes to scene length

Obstfeld has great advice about scene length, which I’m going to paraphrase here.

Go Short When:

You’re dumping information that is about plot or about technical world-building stuff.

Setting is the point

It’s erotic

Go Long When

It’s a conversation that shows character.

It’s emotional.

Suspense is what’s going on.

Last Advice

Don’t forget the power of moment in your story. It’s one of the key things that makes a book break-out and transcend the others. That’s because of the power of the scene, where character, plot, emotion, image and setting combine to make something truly pop.

*Pop in a good way, not like a tick. Although, I guess when ticks pop that’s sort of good, right?


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday! Here are our last two episodes!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app and our bonus podcast below.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic
Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction. Who knew there was such a thing?

31702754 copy

Public Humiliation and Us

To be a writer and a human you often have to be courageous. Writers put their books out there for other people to see. Humans put their selves out there (sometimes in places like Tinder) for people to see.

And that’s scary AF, honestly.

With us writer people we’re putting our inner thoughts on a page, we’re exposing our insides and that can be so hard and when we do that? It hurts when we get rejected or judged or told that our insides suck?

And sometimes when we want to protect ourselves from that hurt we develop writers block.

Spoiler alert: Writers block is bad for writers because we don’t write.

But the thing is that writers aren’t the only ones who get writers block, right? People get it, too. People get so afraid of doing the wrong thing, of being judged, of being publicly humiliated that we forget to live. We hunker down and have a shell of a life instead of trying something new.

Carrie: For me, the things that I get afraid about are my voice and being filmed. That’s because I was bullied for my voice when I was little and because I’m kind of a dork when I get filmed and I think I’m too ugly.

Cough.

Real moment right there.

We really want to do video, but Carrie’s pretty phobic about it because it feels like a place to be humiliated, for all that bullying as a child to bubble back to the surface and even though she’s an adult now? It feels so vulnerable and raw.

Humiliation is traumatic and often hushed up, whereas embarrassment, given enough time, can be sublimed into a humorous anecdote. More fundamentally, humiliation involves abasement of pride and dignity, and with it loss of status and standing. The Latin root of ‘humiliation’ is ‘humus’, which translates as ‘earth’ or ‘dirt’. We all make certain status claims, however modest they may be, for instance, ‘I am a competent teacher’, ‘I am a good mother’, or ‘I am a beloved spouse’. When we are merely embarrassed, our status claims are not undermined—or if they are, they are easily recovered. But when we are humiliated, our status claims cannot so easily be recovered because, in this case, our very authority to make status claims has been called into question.

Neel Bierton, MD for Psychology Today

I think the point is to think about the worst thing that can happen from being humiliated. Lose your job? Your reputation? That sucks, but if you’re still alive? That’s what matters because if you can continue on, you can rise back up, right?

So here’s what you do:

Deal with the humiliation. Manage it. Do the right thing, not just the defensive thing.

Do better.

Work harder.

And go out and be brave again. Or just be brave the first time.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Fear holds you back, but it can propel your characters forward. Humiliation of a character raises the stakes and also moves the plot, but it gives the readers something to relate to and someone to cheer for. Don’t humiliate people in real life, but go for it in your books.

Dog Tip for Life

Dogs move on.

Shout Out!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic
Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction.

31702754 copy

How To Deal With Rejection

I’ve been thinking a lot about rejection lately because I’m teaching some amazingly brilliant writers at the Writing Barn who haven’t been published yet. And they are talent. Their stories should be published.

And I found one of my earliest blog posts when I wrote about a story getting rejected. It’s below.

Well, the fat cat sits with her bum on my manuscript again, which can only mean good things because according to writer myths, “A cat sitting on your manuscript means that the manuscript will become a book.”

And the big, white dog is soaked because it rained during our walk today. She has a “poopie heinie” somehow too. Yuck. I wish there was some good writing superstition about this… If your long-haired dog gets fecal matter stuck in their pure white hair means a starred review…

On a weirdly positive note, I just received the BEST rejection letter ever. Yes, I know. It makes no sense. But i sent out a novella to Penguin. They responded that it was “Beautifully, written, incredibly moving” and it’s clear that I “have a great deal of talent.”

So why did they reject it? Just to make me sad?
Probably, but they said it was a bit too specialized and scary for the middle grade market.

Hhmmm…

What does this mean?

Does this mean it’s YA or adult even though I imagined it as middle grade? I am not smart enough to figure out who to send this to now. If only my magic cat and her great sitting abilities could tell me. 

On another positive note Penguin said they’d be happy to consider future work, wished me great luck and “strongly encourage” me to submit the piece elsewhere.
Where? Where? Where?
Acckkkk!!!

It may have been a lovely rejection letter, but it’s a bit frustrating too. 
I am going to go pet the cat.

Me back in 2006

Rejection Is Not Always bad

Sometimes rejection is good in life and in books. If the creepy homicidal dude rejects you then that’s awesome and you live to see another day and all those cliches. But the thing is, when he’s rejecting you? You don’t know that he’s a creepy homicidal dude. So you mourn without realizing that him rejecting your offer to go split a pizza is the best thing ever.

It can be like this with your books, too.

Sometimes you and an agent or editor aren’t going to click. Sometimes your rejection is saving you from a really bad business relationship.

That doesn’t feel easy to take in though, does it? Or really make it better. So here are so more tips.

Babe, they just don’t get you.

Some people don’t get your sense of humor, your style, your witty comebacks, your endless Doctor Who references and you don’t get their live for American Pickers. You are rejected because you’re a bad match.

Sometimes they know you better than you know you.

They might have some good criticism about the fact that your 500,000 word manuscript has 450,000 words that start with the letter- r. Their criticism is going to help you make a stronger book with less alliteration. Boom! Score!

Remember that You Write Because You Love It

In all seriousness, I see a lot of people on Twitter and Facebook posting about how much writing sucks and how hard it is and how much they hate it. If this is you, I want you to think about why you’re writing. Don’t do this to yourself. You deserve to be happy. If writing makes you miserable almost all the time that you do it, don’t write. Tell your story to the world in a way that makes sense to you, that gives you joy, that you look forward to doing. Life is too short to spend it miserable when you don’t have to be miserable.

I will be sad that your stories aren’t out there, but I will be so happy that you are out there doing things you love.

Tell Your Inner Critic To Shut Up

The hardest part of rejection for a lot of us is that we internalize it. Some random editor or agent somewhere has rejected this one manuscript and we think that this means an inditement on our worth and our character. We think, “I suck.” We think, “I am a loser.” Our inner critic hyperbolizes the rejections into a massive litany of all our failures.

That inner critic needs to shut up.

Here’s the thing, the more we do, the more we try, the more we create, the better we get, but we also fail more that then people who never try, never do and never create.

“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.”

Sylvia Plath

Remember When Dealing With Rejection

  • It’s okay to feel sad about it. That’s normal and human. It’s not okay to feel forever sad about it or make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Don’t be a butthead to the person or company that rejected you. That doesn’t get you published. It gets you the reputation of being a butthead. Nobody wants to work with buttheads.
  • Find friends who will lift you up. Check out the hashtag #writercommunity. Commiserate with others.
  • Write again. Try again. Shout and sing your stories and never give up. You deserve to be heard.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app and our bonus podcast below.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic
Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction. Who knew there was such a thing?

31702754 copy

My YA Fantasy – THE LAST GODS

I’m Carrie Jones, quirky Maine Author, and I want to bring more of my stories out into the world. Most of you who read my blog know that.

That’s what I want. That’s who I am. Making stories and the art to go with them is my favorite thing ever. Even though I’ve been a New York Times-bestselling and internationally bestselling author, the publishing world is slow. The self-publishing world is scary and what I crave is to get to work with my friends and readers in a more constant, interactive way. 

Creating stories and reading them via podcasts and sharing them, my writing wisdom, and my art is a dream. I love doing it. With your help, I can bring stories into the world more often AND pay my health insurance, which is a big deal to me because I have epilepsy. 

The Last Gods is only available on Patreon

The Last Gods

Ericha’s spent her entire high school career taking care of her sick mom, their horses, and making sure that she’s interesting and perfect enough to get out of their small Maine town and into Harvard. 

She risks it all to save an injured deer outside her high school – a major break in the school’s rules – and starts a chain of events that puts her and her friends on the radar of some old gods, ready to battle last time and make the world their own, for good.

Read it only on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/carriejones 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HEREthat explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

What I’ll Use the Money For

Hosting for the podcast and the website. I need a decent hosting plan to support the podcast and blog so it doesn’t crash when it gets busy. This is horrifying when it happens.
MailChimp. The service I use to email posts out to the subscription list. This fee grows as the email list grows. 

Adobe suite.This costs a ridiculous amount of money every year, but it has great tools for creators and so… I pay for it.

Supplies. Art costs money. WHY? It is one of the great wrongs of the universe that a tube of oil paint costs so darn much. Weird fact about me (One of many): I’m a writer who needs to paint in order to write. 

Me. I really need health insurance. I am living in a terrified state that I’ll have a seizure someday and bash something or break something, plus I need to continue to eat food, I guess, and feed the dogs and the cat and the gecko. 

Better Podcast Equipment. We need one of those windscreens for the microphone and a pop filter because our b’s and p’s are popping. Also, we’d like to expand into video and for that we need a drone.

The Levels Available – SO MANY CHOICES!

HEAR MY BOOK BABY

$1 or more per month 

What is this magical tier? For it, you’ll hear me reading the podcast of my unpublished books, one chapter a week as well as patron-only posts. 

Yes, you have to listen to my goofy voice reading the book, but you get to be a part of it. You’ll get some downloads of adorable dogs being motivational and be a part of the community. And it’s a community where your voice is just as important as someone who donates more than $1 a month. 

So, we’ll send you a link and if you want to you can be part of the ‘inner confidant’ email list of awesome people who I email when I need help or suggestions. Or you can just let us know when I’m  being too naughty or talking about dogs too much.  

And you’ll get a special, magical, ad-free podcast every month where I talk about writing things and life things and be a dork. 

So, for $1 you get to support a NYT-bestselling dork and hear a cool story that the rest of the world doesn’t get to hear. JOIN $1 TIER

READ MY BOOK BABY

$3 or more per month 

Every month, I’ll email you a pdf of all the chapters that I’ve read on the podcast so far.  Yep, words written down into story chapters. How cool is that? 

Honestly, you are an angel and this might make me get all verklempt and cry. But here, you get to be a part of the patron-only feed. We hang there. 

(Plus all previous rewards)JOIN $3 TIER

HOLD ON! SO MANY BOOK BABIES

$5 or more per month 

RANDOM SURPRISE IN SNAILMAIL, 

EARLY PODCASTS, and an AWESOME BOOK RAFFLE 

What the what? 

We’re talking serious money here and you are basically sacrificing a cup of monthly store-bought coffee and that’s a big deal to me. Thank you so much. 

This means you’ll get a random surprise (probably art) in the regular mail (if you’re cool with giving me your mailing address) and be entered into the monthly FREE ALREADY PUBLISHED BOOK RAFFLE where you get a signed book. 

So, here you’ll also get every episode of the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE (my other podcast)  podcast a day early and with no poopy ads. 

Plus all previous rewards, obviously. 🙂 JOIN $5 TIER

REAL BOOK IN THE MAIL, BABY

$10 or more per month 

THANK YOU’S EVERWHERE AND RANDOM MAILED SUPRISES AND A BOOK (In real-printed form)

Wait. This is a really big deal. This makes a huge difference to me and my life and I want to tell you how big a deal it is. 

It is a big (insert strong adjective of your choice) deal. 

So, you obviously get all previous rewards, plus, you’re named in the back of my next traditionally-published bookafter IN THE WOODS (as a thank you for helping me survive); your name in the thank you section of all podcasts after you start supporting, random occasional surprises in the mail. 

And if you support me at this level for 12 months, I’ll send you a free, signed book (of mine) in the mail. JOIN $10 TIER

MONTHLY HANG-OUT, BABY and ORIGINAL ART

$25 or more per month

Are you an investment banker? Heiress? Wow. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Here, you’re invited to a monthly ZOOM hangout where you get to hang out with me (or us) and we’ll chat about whatever you all want and maybe give you a random tour about some aspect of our life. You know you want to see the basement where I make art. The lawn where the dogs poop? 

And you after two months, you can also opt-in to receive a piece of art (the physical kind) that I’ll mail to you.  Plus, all the previous rewards, obviously. JOIN $25 TIER

Virtual Coaching

$100 or more per month 

Cough. This is serious money here. Every episode you get a shout-out and written credit at my website. You have saved my family. We will drink apple cider in your honor! Okay, Shaun will drink Bud Lite. 

You get a half hour of monthly feedback on a private video chat every month (or written feedback if you are shy) if you send me 20 pages of your writing. I’m actually a kick-butt writing mentor. Who knew? You can check out the testimonials on my website. Plus, all the other rewards, obviously. 

And finally, at the end of every podcast, we’ll read your personal sponsorship or dedication message. 

Plus all the previous benefits! JOIN $100 TIER


Mushroom Pasta of Love


Print Recipe


Mushroom Pasta of Love

This is adapted from a recipe by Chef John on Allrecipes, which is a recipe website with SO MANY recipes.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 0 minutes

Servings
people


Ingredients

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 0 minutes

Servings
people


Ingredients


Instructions
  1. Sometimes you need love. So you heat oil in a large skillet via the heat rank of medium, right?

  2. Watch that oil slowly bubble up the way love does.

  3. When the oil is warm put those mushrooms in there and stir it up. Sure, the mushroom shrink eventually, but look at how they all seem to love each other. A writer's life should be like that, right? Building each other up instead of tearing down. Add a little salt because we are salty people.

  4. Brown those mushrooms, which will take about 10 minutes.

  5. Put some garlic in with the mushrooms and the tiny bit of salty writer personality.

  6. Garlic is the smell of warm nights and memoirs by ladies in their 40s. Look beyond this.

  7. Cook the garlic for 1 minute. Add the sherry and/or red wine. This is the smell of ladies reading other ladies' memoirs and feeling envious. Watch that wine evaporate.

  8. Try to not let your love hopes evaporate. You're a writer and you need love. You also need health care. Sometimes these magical things come together in the form of a spouse with a job that has benefits.

  9. Add chicken stock. Add pepper and salt to taste. Get it warm enough to simmer and then cool things back down like you're in a romantic comedy and you have commitment issues.

  10. Cook about five minutes. It will be a thicker substance, sort of like a writer in a relationship after five years of steady meals and healthcare.

  11. Add cream. Stir. Simmer it for another five. It should get thicker because you're at the 10 minute/year relationship mark and this is to be expected.

  12. Hey! Did you forget about the pasta? MAKE THE PASTA! I know! I know, we were all focused on the sexy, love part of the relationship - the tasty part, but we need structure and a good foundation, too.

  13. Cook the pasta and when it's done, drain it. Don't rinse it. Put it in a bowl.

  14. Go back to your creamy, sexy mushroom mixture and all of those chopped things (tarragon, chives, thyme) and turn off the heat. That's a hard phrase to write when you're talking about love, but trust me and do it.

  15. Stir in the cheese - ½ cup of it Let it melt.

  16. Mix all this up with the pasta. Then use the rest of the cheese and sprinkle it on top to make the Love Pasta look pretty like an Instagram photo.