Yo! We’re High Concept.

So there’s a quick and easy way to figure out who you are and who you want to be, but also figure out what your book is and what it wants to be. 

It’s called the high concept. It’s the dramatic question. It’s the way you describe in a quick captivating phrase all the energy inside your novel. 

You can also do this for your life: 

Like mine would be: Latchkey kid overwhelmed by family secrets sets out to find out who she is in a world that really couldn’t give a crap. 

Sorry! Sorry! That’s so negative. 

How about: Stuck in small-town New Hampshire, a weird psychic kid manages to survive thanks to her intellect until a rapist gives her a disease that attacks her brain. She survives anyways. 

There are sort of standard questions for every genre of story and movies. Will they fall in love? Will the killer be caught? Will our hero survive the zombie gerbils? Will the events of our youth make us into fractured adults? 

Don’t be shy about what your story is about. Will ET make it home? Will the Skywalkers go to the dark side – all of them? Will the Avengers defeat Thanos? Will Hugh Grant fall in love with someone in a fulfilling way? Even ghost ‘reality’ shows on tv have a dramatic question – Will they catch evidence – real evidence of the ghosts? Will they get possessed? Will they survive the night in the haunted castle? 

An awesome dramatic question isn’t enough to make something a bestseller, but it’s an important start. Go get one. For your life and your story. 

Next add in the obstacles. What’s making it complicated for ET to get home? For the ghost hunters to find evidence? Add those obstacles up so that we doubt that dramatic question is going to have a good answer. 

Finally, make sure that your hero is someone with some damn strong convictions. ET knows he has to get home, right? Scarlett O’Hara is positive she has to marry that Ashley guy. Harry Potter/Iron Man/Captain America/Black Widow must defeat Voldemort/Thanos/Whatever Big Bad you want to insert. 

That character’s super strong convictions are what makes us root for them. We feel that conviction. The stakes resonate. 

Writing Tip of the Pod:

Make a dramatic question.

Add obstacles.

Make your character have convictions.

Dog Tip For Life

Make a dramatic question.

Realize you have obstacles.

Make yourself have the convictions to bash through those obstacles.

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.

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s 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!

Order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

THE WEEK BEFORE LAST WEEK’S PODCAST! 

LASt WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

Yo! We’re High Concept.

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:45
 
1X
 
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Motivation and Creativity And Hand Pies

We all want to be creative. We all want to be amazing at relationships. This guy, Benjamin Hardy, PHD, wrote an article on Medium exactly about that. It’s called “21 Behaviors that will make you brilliant at creativity and relationships.” 

Basically, his article is saying that people limit themselves by defining who they are, what they can do, and what resources they have. This article is wildly popular with 31,000 likes, which means he’s made a ton of money off this point of view. And with over 19,000 Twitter followers, Mr. Hardy is pretty popular, too.  He has posts that link to his articles like “10 Steps to Being a Millionaire in 5 Years (or Less).”

If you look at his twitter posts, you’ll find a lot of encouraging things about success and motivation and morning routines that guarantee success.

But we’re talking about just the first point in his article., which is that a goal must be wild and huge. It must be urgent with a time component. It must motivate you and he quotes Napolean Hill who wrote in the book, Think and Grow Rich, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” 

This is lovely. 

He also quotes Marcus Aurelias, a Roman emperor. And also Canadian author Justine Musk, who he introduces as only, “Elon Musk’s wife.” 

There are a lot of white men talking and quoting and thinking going on in the first few paragraphs of Dr. Hardy’s piece. It’s all about going after what you want and making no excuses about your situation or self because those things will make you fail.

There are twenty more points in Dr. Hardy’s article, but we’re only going to talk to the first one because it relates to writing and why so much writing falls flat. 

He writes: 

As with all things in life, you get what you want. If you prefer to make excuses and justifications for a lack of progress, then just admit you prefer your current station in life. Self-acceptance can be a beautiful thing.

However, once you desire progress more than convenience, obstacles no longer stop but propel you. As the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius is famous for saying,“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Hardy, per Medium article cited above

You have to have your main character have a desire and they need to pulsate with it. Your main character needs to be passionate about something. They need to go after those passions. There needs to be a bit of urgency about them. The obstacles that happen are the ones that your character needs to smash through in order to get to what she wants. 

What is it your character wants more than any damn thing in the world?

Who does your character have to be to get that? 

Now, how about you?

What do you want more than any damn thing in the world? 

Who do you have to be to get that?

Writing Tip of the Pod: 

In life, Hardy says that our ambitious goals must be: 

  1. Full of a motivating desire
  2. Hard as hell
  3. Tied to a timeframe to make them urgent.

Do this for your characters, too.

Dog Tip for Life

Don’t be afraid to remember you aren’t a solo show. Think about who can help you become who you want to be and achieve what you want to do. 

Random Thoughts

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear:

  • Us cooking hand pies and Shaun’s delightful name for a hand-pie take-out window
  • Carrie ranting about articles
  • Carrie worrying about meeting Shaun’s aunt

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.

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

Writing News

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s 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!

Order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST!

This week’s podcast link!

Motivation and Creativity And Hand Pies

 
 
00:00 / 00:27:14
 
1X
 

Lick the Kitten, Embrace Your Vulnerability

Shaun: A week or so ago, someone told Carrie that she’d be better served if she didn’t present as insecure on her social media. 

Carrie: For the record, I am just open about when I’m scared about things. I’m not sure insecurity is the same as fear. I mean, I guess it is to a certain extent. But I’m not insecure about who I am. I like who I am, an occasionally anxious, goofy, smart, creative, quirky, open-book kind of  person. Does that sound like who I am? 

Shaun: Pretty much.

Carrie: Anyways, here’s the thing. You can pretend to be someone you aren’t. You can present any damn way you choose. But that’s it – it’s your choice. Nobody else’s. 

Shaun: And Carrie? She has no problem being vulnerable. In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes that the biggest myth about vulnerability is that it is weakness. And that’s possibly what happened with that person’s comment to Carrie last week.

Carrie: To be fair, about once a year a woman writer, usually older than I am, will tell me to present as more confident because I am strong and talented. They are trying to help me, personally, and the cause of all women, too. I think? But I don’t see the dichotomy between strength and vulnerability. They shouldn’t be on opposite ends of a line. 

Shaun: Brene Brown writes, “We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgement and criticism.” 

Carrie: And she also says this, which I think is how it pertains to writers and artists and this podcast, “Vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness.” 

Shaun: So vulnerability is writing. Because vulnerability is risk and emotional exposure. And even the act of writing is vulnerable because almost the first thing someone asks you is, “Oh? Have I read you?” It’s like they determine your worth just by whether or not you’ve been on a bestseller list or not.

Carrie: Exactly, but just writing and deciding to create is a risk because it’s not the most financially secure thing in the world, but it also is because once you put your creation out there – unlike the accountant – you are vulnerable via ratings and bad reviews and internet trolls, which is massive emotional exposure. But it’s more than that. Writers have to incorporate emotion and vulnerability on the page. They create characters who are meant to tweak the readers’ emotions. Writers are like the tsars of vulnerability. 

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

You are a writer. You are a human. Embrace your ability to take risks, to be vulnerable. Emotions are not weakness. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Allow yourself to lick the kitten in public, adopt those who you love. Be open. Be vulnerable. Love.  

Random Thoughts Included:

  • Carrie’s anxiety about dental surgery
  • Bangor (Maine) City Council Signs
  • Carrie not being dead. We think.

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 News

Cool Contest of Spooky Awesomeness!

Um. MacMillan is having a super cool sweepstakes where you can win the book I wrote with Steve (IN THE WOODS) and four other scary books.
Go enter! Go win! I’m rooting for you!

In the Paper, Baby

I was just in the newspaper and I think the photo of my head is actually larger than my real-life head. Go figure. It was super kind of them to notice me and to write about me. Here is the link.

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN! 

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s 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! 

Order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

Last WEEK’S PODCAST

Today’s Podcast Link if you can’t see it below or at the top of this post.

Lick the Kitten, Embrace Your Vulnerability

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:12
 
1X
 

Hello, I’m Super Medicated and Writer Flow

I’m currently super medicated thanks to surgery, and my inability to metabolically react to even simple drugs well. So, I decided rather than try to be coherent or babble incessantly about how I hurt, I would share this podcast from January.

Why?

  1. I don’t trust my medicated self
  2. One of my writing students needs to hear it.
  3. Although this is from New Years, a lot of us think of New Years as fall, or we’re about to start National Novel Writing Month and it still pertains.
  4. Did I mention that medicated thing?

So here goes.

Sometimes it’s hard to be super positive when you’re starting s project or thinking about new beginnings and a new year.

That’s because it’s all about goals and new starts. And you know, every day should be about that, right? And then you’re like, “Crap, I failed in my goals. Crap, I need new goals. Crap, why is this New Year’s party boring? Crap, should my new goal to be to never attend a party?”

And so on.

But that pressure? To be Instagram-worthy, to be super achiever goal person, to be extra? That’s what makes New Years suck. At this house, we like to just celebrate that we’re still alive, not bankrupt, and not in jail. It’s way better that way because there’s not as much pressure.

A long time ago – back in the 1980s – this guy Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was studying happiness. He gave people pagers. Remember this was in the 1980s. Then he and his research assistants would send the people messages at random times and ask how they were doing, feeling, what they were doing, etc. It sounds a bit like when your mom texts you, honestly.

And he discovered flow. People were happy when they were super engaged in the task they were doing. People weren’t happy when they were doing nothing. They were happy when they were involved in something. 

Minds were blown.

When people were in the ‘flow,’ they forgot about time, space, all the other detritus in their lives. They were focused on the now, on what they were doing. What they were doing might be writing, sports, hanging out with other humans, art, and so on… But for them the involvement was so intense that they became engaged and absorbed into it and were happy.

Writing should do that for you.

WRITING NEWS

THE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOME

Steve Wedel and I wrote a super creepy book a few years back called After Obsession and it’s making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands thanks to Dutch Venture Publishing and its leader Jen Minkman. 

Check out this spread in a Dutch magazine. I met a whole bunch of Dutch readers last Friday and let me tell you? They are the best. 

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN! 

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s 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 order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

Yesterday’s podcast

Am I the Butt Face? How to Make (and be) a Likeable Character

Why Do People Suck So Much?

One of the biggest things you hear in the world of writing is to make your character likeable, which is great and all but gives you two questions: 

  1. How. How do you make your characters likable?
  2. How do you make your characters likable when in real life people suck so much? There’s an entire Reddit thread called “Am I the A-Hole?” 

We talk about the second question in our RANDOM THOUGHT in the podcast, so the writer-helpful stuff is here, now. Ready? 

What Do the Bad Guys Care About?

Usually they are propelled by greed or power. In our society those things are usually indicative of a bad guy. Although, some segments of our society seem to laud those traits now. 

What Do We Have to Do to Make Our Characters (or our selves) Not the Bad Guy?

People want to care about the character. You automatically think that means the character is nice, right? No. 

Think about those Marvel movies. Iron Man’s kind of a jerk. Sherlock Holmes? Jerk. But we still like and care about them. Why? 

Here is What You Need To Do To Make Your Character Not an Butt Face

The character has a big want and/or need.

Iron Man wants to save the world. 

Sherlock Holmes needs to catch a murderer. 

We connect with that because we all have wants or needs. 

I want to make $5,000 a month. This possibly make me a bad guy because that seems to be about money BUT if I want to make $5,000 a month so that I can pay for my child with autism’s medicines? Not quite so awful, right? It’s all in the presentation and the reason. 

Conflicting Wants are What Really Makes It Pop

When our character wants to save the world, but saving the world mean that he must sacrifice his entire business that he’s worked so hard to build up? That’s when our interest is super EXCITED. We’re all – Oh. Snap. What will he choose? What would I choose? 

Caring About Others Who Are More Vulnerable

This is the big one, really.

In the Star Wars movies, Rey is super snarky with the little droid when we first meet her, but then she refuses to sell that little droid baby for scrap money and protects it. Bing. We love this resilient go-getter named Rey who now has conflicting wants of her own survival (needs money) and protecting the droid (probably going to cost her money and her life). 

So, we care about Rey because she cares. She has empathy. 

What are the characteristics people admire in others? 

Authenticity

Caring

Kindness

Empathy

Bravery

Charisma

Loyalty

Give your character one of those if you can. 

Give them a Wicked Sad, Sob-Story Life Before the Story

Harry Potter? Orphan. 

Rey? Orphan. 

Captain America? Orphan. 

Iron Man? Orphan.

Luke Skywalker? Orphan. 

Captain Kirk? Orphan. 

James in James and the Giant Peach? Orphan. 

Do you see a pattern? Characters WHO HAVE HAD a background full of grief or pain or sadness, we’re more likely to love them. You grieve for them. You want to feed them. You root for them.

Write in the First Person or the Close Third Person Point of View. 

When we see what the characters do and why they do it, how they think, what they feel, then it’s easier to feel, think, relate and be like them.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD:

Make your character a lovable orphan who cares about others, basically. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE:

Move beyond your sad story. Realize that someone out there is going to make you the villain in their story and try not to care about that. Just do little moment of goodness. Do them over and over again. 

Random Thought:

In the audio of the podcast, we talk about

  • The bigger picture of being a part of a society that celebrates butt-hole people.
  • Helping a friend.
  • You get to hear a tractor
  • Other random stuff like whether or not the word a** is explicit

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 NEWS

THE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOME

Steve Wedel and I wrote a super creepy book a few years back called After Obsession and it’s making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands thanks to Dutch Venture Publishing and its leader Jen Minkman. 

Check out this spread in a Dutch magazine. I met a whole bunch of Dutch readers last Friday and let me tell you? They are the best. 

Learn With Me at the Writing Barn!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here!

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s 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 order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

Am I the Butt Face? How to Make (and be) a Likeable Character

 
 
00:00 / 00:27:05
 
1X
 

If UFOs Are Real Then What the Heck Else Is

So, if you check out the link to this article on the Huffington Post by Leslie Kean, you’ll have some good background on what we’re talking about.

But Kean writes about the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, which is meant to “advance research into unexplained phenomena and develop related technology.”

One of the players in that is Luis Eiizondo who worked for the United States’ Department of Defense.

In short, less that two weeks after leaving the Pentagon, Luis Elizondo confirmed that UFOs are a real; they exist, and they have been officially documented. Can anyone argue with this fact now, given where this man comes from and what he knows?

Leslie Kean

And he kind of sort of pretty much said UFOs are real and that’s a big deal.

Because if UFOs might be real, what else is? As writers, we’re always trying to make sure that our stories are believable, but what if the unbelievable is no longer unbelievable? What happens then?

And how do we make the unbelievable believable? The biggest trick is that we have to make the person that the unbelievable things happen to have real reactions, emotions, belief systems and feelings?

We can believe that someone saw a UFO hovering over the Maine Turnpike if we see them before it happens, see them react to it in a way that’s consistent with their character, and see them deal with the after effects.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD –

To make the unbelievable believable focus on details.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE –

Your life can become unbelievable in a good way. Embrace that.

RANDOM THOUGHT RUNDOWN

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear:

  • Talk about the underwear in Road House and Sam Elliott
  • Tips about making a bestselling. Hint: It’s about fear for the character and pity for the character.
  • UFOs

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 NEWS

THE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOME

Steve Wedel and I wrote a super creepy book a few years back called After Obsession and it’s making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands thanks to Dutch Venture Publishing and its leader Jen Minkman. 

Check out this spread in a Dutch magazine. I met a whole bunch of Dutch readers last Friday and let me tell you? They are the best. 

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s 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 order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 


If UFOs Are Real Then What the Heck Else Is

 
 
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Let’s Write a Best Seller

There are a lot of different ways to write a best seller, but the three of the most common features are these:

THREE MAIN HINTS TO MAKE A BEST SELLER

  1. You have to engage the reader.
  2. You have to keep them hooked.
  3. Make them loyal.

Easier said than done, right?

Maybe not.

Think of what your story is about. Can you pitch the idea in less than fifty words? Less than twenty-five? Can you gel its essence down into a quick pitch? That’s the high concept.

High Concept is a Really a big Question

What’s your big dramatic question?

Will the kid survive the evil wizard?

Will the young reporter fall in love with Mr. Bondage?

Will a resourceful young adult survive a pixie apocalypse?

Let the reader know from the very beginning what your story is about. Will Harry Potter survive the dark wizard Voldemort? Will Eleanor and Park fall in love? Who will die in this John Green novel?

Keeping the reader hooked

This is where the obstacles and complications come in.

How do we keep our heroine challenged? What is in his or her way? Will her big dramatic question change into a new dramatic question.

MAKING EMOTION

The other element is that we have to have a character who responds to things emotionally. That’s what makes the story resonate. Our character already has a want. There are complications to the want. But more than that, the hero has to have intense emotions and reactions to those complications.

When Harry Potter has to dig deep and be brave, when he has to look in the Mirror of Desire and confront his deepest longings, when he has to face the wizard, know his friends might die (and on and on), he reacts emotionally and intensely and the stakes of his decisions have emotional consequences that elevate the reader and incite empathy.

Because we feel so connected to that character, we become loyal to that character. When we have that connection and loyalty? That book? It becomes something magical.

Writing Tip of the Pod

The best books hook the readers early, elevate the stakes, and make us connected to the character.

Dog Tip for Life.

Do not stay still. Go after your dreams.

Random Thought Rundown

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear:

  • Carrie scream in the car and take the Lord’s name in vain as she sees bear cubs run across the road.
  • Shaun cranky about border patrol agents
  • Big foot talk
  • More beautiful weirdness.

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 NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s 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 order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

Let’s Write a Best Seller

 
 
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Don’t Dabble Writers, Commit. We Know What a Hyphen Is and That’s Sexy.

Jared Leto is a somewhat polarizing guy for who-knows-what reason. He’s model-pretty, a vegan, an award-winning actor and a musician. And there’s this quote I (Carrie) read that struck a chord. 

“When you commit to something that’s seemingly impossible,” he says, referring to ascents both metaphorical and literal, “and you’re pushing through things that are seemingly hostile, and then you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, we did that,’ that’s a great feeling. And a little bit of pain isn’t a bad thing.”

Jared Leto to Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt

A lot of us writers whine a lot about writing. I’m not sure why that is. Is it because we’re plumbing the deep emotional recesses in our brain? Is it because we are creating an entire pretend world? 

I used to get super cranky about this because compared to being a firefighter or an emergency dispatcher or juggling eighteen jobs as a single parent, it felt to me like everyone was a little bit whiny. 

Then I realized that It’s because being committed to something, to a craft, to something when you are never going to be perfect, where you’ll always have room to grow? It can play a bit of havoc on your emotional wellbeing. But that’s okay. It’s like Leto says, you want to commit to that impossible thing to get the payoff. You want to be all in. Not a dabbler in writing or in life. 

How to Commit

Emalie Jacobs has some nice hints on her blog about how to do that, to be committed. They are basically: 

  • Plan to write every day.
  • Stay committed. 
  • Aim for a word count.
  • Plan early. 
  • Find your people.

And all of this is so much of what the Write! Submit! Support! class that I teach at the Writing Barn is all about. 

Back to Leto. Leto doesn’t dabble. He’s a method actor, a method singer, method artist and probably a method human. He commits wholeheartedly or he doesn’t commit at all. That’s true when he’s on stage singing or when he’s on the screen acting. He becomes. 

Becomes. 

Dabbling is the opposite of commitment. It’s an exploration. That can be good. But you don’t want to get so caught up in the explorations that you never focus. 

“I don’t dabble,” he said in that Rolling Stone interview. “I dive in. 1,000 percent.” 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t dabble. Commit fully to living the writing life. Don’t let other things take priority over your dreams.

Dog Tip for Life

Proofread your poop. 

Random ThoughtS

In our random thought portion of the podcast this week, we talk about:

  1. Carrie giving up dabbling
  2. Emcee duties at the MDI YWCA’s Women of Distinction event
  3. Hyphens. Semicolons. Politicians of all sides failing to have copyeditors.
  4. How do we trust reporters and politicians with big decisions when they can’t proofread things.

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 NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s 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 order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

Don’t Dabble Writers, Commit. We Know What a Hyphen Is and That’s Sexy.

 
 
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Shaun Reveals Why People Divorce. Plus, Hippies and Rotarians.

This week’s podcast is not our normal format. We drove 27 hours or so this week. Our brains became a bit unglued – Okay. Even more unglued. 

But we talk about:

  1. Writing
  2. Divorce
  3. Why People Get Divorced
  4. How By Using Those Metrics We Will Probably Get Divorced
  5. Paying Attention to Other People’s Stories
  6. Rotarians
  7. The Common Ground Fair

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 NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s 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 order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

Shaun Reveals Why People Divorce. Plus, Hippies and Rotarians.

 
 
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Three Hot Tips to Make Your Writing and Life Way More Intense in a Good Way – Dogs are Smarter Than People Writing Podcast

It’s Writing Tip Time and we’re going to give you three fast and dirty writing tips today that’s going to make your writing more intense. Ready? 

Think about your tense 

What’s that mean? It means don’t be writing like things are happening now and then shift over to writing like things were happening in the past. If you want the most immediate writing experience, write in the present tense.

Here’s a quick example: 

I lost feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run on Friday. I thought I might be having a stroke. 

That’s in the past tense, right? We read this, notice it’s in the first person and figure that the narrator has survived because she’s telling us about this after-the-fact. 

Try it out in the present tense: 

I lose feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run. I think I might be having a stroke. 

It’s more intense, right? 

Let’s make it more intense.

Intense dog look from Sparty

Take out the distancing words. 

In first person especially, it’s really hard to get away from a lot of lookingand knowingand words that pull us out of the moment and the immediacy of the character’s experience.

Distancing language tends to be the words like ‘seem,’ and ‘look,’ and ‘heard,’ and ‘know.’ When I revise, I think of these words as placeholders for where I can go back and dig in more deeply in certain places. 

So, let’s take that sentence again and make it more immediate. 

I lose feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run. I think I might be having a stroke. 

Change that up and it looks like: 

My entire left side of my body starts going numb during our long run. My left foot numbs first. Then my left hand and arm. When the left side of my mouth starts going numb, I gasp. I might be having a stroke. 

You’re in there a bit more with that character now right. Is she having a stroke? What the heck is she running for? SHE IS BROKEN! 

Try not to use the same word too many times too closely together. 

In the example above I deliberately use the word ‘numb’ and ‘my left’ over and over again. I’m cool with the repetition of ‘my left,’ but not so much with the numb. There are better, cooler words to mix in there and grab the reader’s attention. Let’s try. 

My entire left side of my body starts going numb during our long run. My left foot disappears first. Then my left hand and arm. When the left side of my mouth starts to tingle, I gasp. I might be having a stroke. 

There you go! 

We’ve learned three fast tips to making your writing more intense. 

Random Thoughts: 

In our random thought time, we go to Denny’s and Dunkin’ Donuts and talk about dog poop as well as this article. You should listen and rejoice in our weirdness. 

Writing Tip of the Pod:

Be in the present (tense). Don’t be distant. Mix up your words, man.

Dog Tip for Life:

Live in the present. Don’t be distant to people or to the experience. Mix up your routine, man. 

Nobody wants to do the same thing all the time, do they? Don’t go numb.

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 NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s 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 order 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?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

Three Hot Tips to Make Your Writing and Life Way More Intense in a Good Way – Dogs are Smarter Than People Writing Podcast

 
 
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