Play Projects for Writers – Find Joy in 30 Days

The process feels completely counter-intuitive at first because it requires that you stop fretting about your ideal work or how you could ever get paid – and start doing something.

Last month I decided that I was going to write a poem a day and post them on Medium.

This was a big deal for me because:

  1. My first published writing was poems even before I went into the newspaper world.
  2. I really wanted to be a poet when I grew up.
  3. I am super vulnerable when it comes to sharing my poems (even more than my art, actually).
  4. I have a lot of hang-ups about being a poet. Poets have a voice. I didn’t think I had one for a long time. I was too poor, too raw, too lacking in a million ways.

But I called it a play project and I did it. And it was so much fun. It was fun to take a break from novels and editing and coaching and just play at something totally different, something with no expectations.

A lot of writers I work with forget to play with their writing. They spend a lot of time fixated on one project or one purpose/goal—to get published, to get to 80,000 words, to get an agent.

That’s all lovely.

Until it isn’t.

Sometimes, our hyper-fixation on goals (when it comes to art or writing) and our desire to make a living at it, keeps us from playing and exploring and growing.

Some of us don’t want to grow or play and that’s fine, too! There’s no one way to be a writer and no one reason to and a lot of us only do it to make a living.

This post is probably not for those writers though. Sorry!

So what is this play project thing?

I first saw the idea in Marianne Catwell’s book, but it emerged at least a decade ago.

According to John Williams (from his website, Screw Work, Let’s Play):

The core of the programme is getting the participants to launch a play project – a 4 week project that will be fun to do and explores an area of work or creativity they feel drawn to. 

He continues by saying:

The process feels completely counter-intuitive at first because it requires that you stop fretting about your ideal work or how you could ever get paid – and start doing something. If you are stuck on that very first question “What would I enjoy?” you will benefit hugely from this. At a later stage, you can create further play projects to move you towards getting paid.

Here’s why Play Projects are the bomb-diggity:

You get into action at last so you don’t feel powerless over your life any more

You find out what you enjoy, what you don’t, what you’re good at, what you’re not so good at – all extremely useful information for your future work direction

It’s fun – you get your creative juices going again – and this is a much better state in which to make career decisions and make them happen. As one participant on our programme said “This has affected every area of my life – people are commenting that I haven’t looked this good in ages!”

Once you’re out in the world on the move, you meet a lot more interesting people and opportunities – sometimes you even land some paid work without really trying to!

What are the rules?

According to Marianne Cantwell and Williams:

  1. Pick a project that gets you excited.
  2. Make it something you can complete in 30 days.
  3. Have a tangible product at the end — Like three blog posts, 20 poems, 3 picture books.
  4. Make time for it. Put in 30 minutes a day or just three days a week. Be all Nike ad and “just do it.”
  5. Start

The key is to give yourself the freedom of thinking of these as mini projects, as play, but focused play. And then as you do it, it’s cool to ask yourself questions like:

Is this fun?

Why am I avoiding doing this?

Holy crud, do I hate this?

And for me? I found out that I loved writing poems every day.

Actually, I love it so much that I am still doing it (with weekends off) and I’m having the best time making new friends on MEDIUM (where I’m posting those poems) and exploring new groups of writers and poets and myself.

So, how about you? What’s your play project going to be?

Sexy Candied Hot Peppers of Romance Novels

Yes. It’s back. For real.

Cooking With a Writer is where I let my inner weird all the way out and try to get the people in the house to eat less meat.

I hope you’ll like it! All the recipes are real, just a bit tweaked.

Sexy Candied Hot Peppers of Romance Novels

Recipe by Carrie
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

300

kcal

Stuff That Goes In It

  • 3 pounds fresh firm, washed hot peppers, sliced into 1/8-1/4 inch slices

  • 2 cups cider vinegar

  • 3 cups of sugar, the granulated kind

  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

  • 3 teaspoons granulated garlic

  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper because it makes things hotter

  • .5 tsp turmeric because it’s sexy

How to Make It

  • If you are a smart and sexy person, put on some gloves.
    If you are me, forget to do this. Just do NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES for 24 hours even when wiping tears of romantic joy when our lovers get together finally.
  • Wearing gloves, remove those pepper stems. They are icky and don’t add to the plot of the romance. Do not think of it as castration. That does not belong in a romance novel. This is romance! Not dystopian horror!
  • Cut those peppers into ¼-⅛ inch rounds.
  • Find a big old pot.
    Get ready for your set-up of the story.
    In that pot, combine the cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper.

    Get it boiling. Whoa. That is hot already, right? Whew. Look around the room to make sure nobody’s watching and then reduce the heat so that globby mixture all combines and simmers for 5 minutes.
  • Ready? It is the meet cute!
    Add the pepper slice heroes into that pot of goo. Oh, look at them blend together. Simmer them there, hot and steamy for 4 minutes. Oh my gosh, they are so perfect together.
  • BUT NO! No romance goes that easily.
    Take the slotted spoon of OBSTACLE AND CONFLICT.
    Use it and move those peppers away from the adorable goo.
    Put the peppers in a nice mason jar to make them look good for their Instagram shot or just a glass bowl with a lid if you aren’t into that.
  • Boil everything hard. So hard. Do that for six minutes.
  • Okay. That’s been long enough for all of us to suffer. Imagine that the peppers and goo are rushing through a crowded city to get back together. Maybe one of them is getting on the plane? It’s all been a terrible misunderstanding and all the fault of that horrible spoon. I hope that spoon has been put in the sink and/or dishwasher where it belongs and nowhere near our lovebirds.
  • Find a nice supportive ladle character and use it to get the boiling syrup into a jar where the peppers are waiting so patiently to be reunited. Look at that. Oh my gosh. It’s such a happy ending. They are whole-hearted now. It’s beautiful. Store them in the fridge because honestly, they need to cool down, those steamy buggers.

Notes

WEIRD, WILD DRINKING TRADITIONS and a LADY WHO CRUSHES THINGS WITH HER BREASTS

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
WEIRD, WILD DRINKING TRADITIONS and a LADY WHO CRUSHES THINGS WITH HER BREASTS
/

This week’s podcast is all about the weird, wild drinking traditions in our world, plus some random facts, which led us down a wormhole (thanks, Dee!) to discover a woman who crushes things with her breasts.

We hope she’s okay. Allegedly, she has a house on an island in Maine. Maybe we’re neighbors?

RESOURCES

https://www.thrillist.com/vice/17-weird-drinking-laws-from-around-the-world-crazy-liquor-laws

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/worlds-strangest-drinking-customs_n_5758554

https://www.lastnightoffreedom.co.uk/ideas/drinking-traditions-around-the-world/

You Should Start Your Own Publishing Company – Be Brave Friday

what if you started your own publishing imprint? You’ve already got a great platform, a well-developed brand and access to a ton of talented writers, many of whom, like me, are struggling to launch their stories into the world.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
You Should Start Your Own Publishing Company - Be Brave Friday
/

IT’S BE BRAVE FRIDAY WHERE SHAUN OR I (FROM DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE AND LOVING THE STRANGE AND JUST BEING AN AUTHOR IN MAINE) SHARE PEOPLE’S UNEDITED, UNFILTERED STORIES, SO WE CAN ALL CELEBRATE THE BIG AND LITTLE BRAVE THINGS WE DO ALL THE TIME.

SOMETIMES WE DON’T EVEN REALIZE WE’RE BEING BRAVE.

I’ve been reading your stuff on Patreon and Medium and loving it, as always. I keep having this crazy idea pop up in my head, so I’m finally going to go out on a limb–it’s Be Brave Friday, right?–and ask you about it.

You’ve likely already thought about doing this. Also, it’s probably not realistic. Then again, maybe it would be amazing!

So here goes:  what if you started your own publishing imprint? You’ve already got a great platform, a well-developed brand and access to a ton of talented writers, many of whom, like me, are struggling to launch their stories into the world.

I’m so tired of reading excellent work by wonderful humans, but knowing it has little chance of reaching readers. Most authors barely have time to write, much less launch their own platforms, etc., even if they choose to self-publish. An imprint like yours could lend legitimacy to a whole swath of quirky life-affirming stories and help those stories reach the readers who need to hear them. 

I know that you’re already working 24/7 to create your own content and run your own business. And I imagine the benefits to you would be quite small, though ultimately something like this would likely give you some marginal financial returns and increase your visibility, too.

That being said, I’m looking for a cause to devote myself to, so I’d be more than willing to write up a mission statement/business proposal and contribute my time, talents and even some limited financial resources on an ongoing basis. I’m guessing a whole lot of gifted writers, editors and designers would be willing to do the same. I know, I know: this is a giant, wild and probably foolish idea, but it wouldn’t stop nagging me.

I love and admire you. I want your stories and stories like yours to reach everyone. I want good humans to flourish. And now I feel scared and silly for saying all of this aloud. But I said it anyway, and that’s a win, right? 

Sending you all kinds of love,


BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

The Game of WTF

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

Today is one of those days where I can’t really think of anything to write! I was however, thinking of a game that would involve me thinking of a substantial number of thoughts that fit a certain rough description.

This rough description is WTF? It’s a game, only I have to think of all of the statements and/or questions. But, that’s alright, I am up to the challenge! Maybe. Where the “game” part come sin, I have no idea. Maybe I will figure it out, maybe I won’t.

Here we go.

You have a sore throat, a cough, maybe a fever and definitely a runny nose. You go to get a COVID test. You swab one nostril and pull it out. You make the huge mistake of looking at said swab and you are like, “You expect me to put that in my other nostril? WTF?”

You are doing a load of laundry. Something that you have been doing since you were thirteen when your mother told you that if you didn’t do your own laundry from now on you would not have clean clothes and after the seventh, and consecutive, item of clothing that you have had to turn right side out, you are like, “WTF?”

You look at your significant other when they don’t know you are looking at them so that you can really stare and study and you think to yourself, “How did I even get to this place? How on earth could I ever get so lucky? WTF?”

You are hanging with your just barely a teenager and they tell you that they have secretly known about the mechanics of sex for a few years now and you turn your head and silently mouth, “Holy crap, they are normal! WTF?”

Just so you know, I was strongly shut down on the birds and the bees talk a couple years ago. Now I know why.

I don’t know really. I find so many things about life, both huge and miniscule,  amazing. It’s even amazingly confusing!

Sometimes the bad seems good and sometimes the good seems bad. Sometimes the bad seems amazingly bad and sometimes the good seems amazingly good.

Sometimes it is good to realize that you are very lucky just to be here, living life, and able to tell the good from the bad!

Able to turn bad to good and able to make good better!

Able to make the best of the bad and the very bestest out of the good!

Cause I will tell you one thing people, you can’t help the hand that you were dealt, but you sure as hell can take a chance to make that hand better!

Remember to ALWAYS – LOVE YOUR WAY THROUGH IT!

Peace,

Shaun

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is here!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know! I might send you something!

Throw Your Wife Around Strange Hobbies People Actually Do

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Throw Your Wife Around Strange Hobbies People Actually Do
/

Tonight we’re talking about weird hobbies. And on the podcast itself we talk a lot more about this than we do in these notes. We even talk about WHY people have hobbies.

What I like is when people who don’t even realize that their hobbies are weird or maybe just embarrassing.

Coburg Banks has a list of weird hobbies people actually put on their resume, and while they aren’t weird? It is a bit strange to put them down for a potential employer. We’re talking about things like.

“I like sex.”

“Drinking.”

“Hacking.”

“Farmville.”

“Talking.”

“Honestly, I like doing nothing.”

“Escapology.”

“Time travel.”

“Snake skin collecting.”

“Arguing with people online.”

“Ferret racing.”

“Stalking celebrities.”

“Being awesome.”

“I have 14 cats.”

“Netflix n’ chill.”

“Crash dieting.”

And out in the regular world, there is the hobby of mooing. There is actually a moo-la-palooza in Wisconsin where people try to sound like a cow.

People also collect in-flight sickness bags, navel fluff, and ecstasy pills. A guy has done this for two decades.

And they throw their wives around.

There’s even the pretty cool hobby of Toy Voyaging, as explained by Stupid Hobby is “ToyVoyagers are traveling toys that are passed from person to person. To continue its journey, toys can be released into the wild for somebody to find. Their travels are tracked on a website. Each toy carries a unique identification number on a tag. A message on the tag encourages anyone who comes into contact with it to go to the website and update its Travelog with photographs.”

But our fave? It’s got to be guerrilla gardening. Listen to the podcast and find out why. 🙂

Resources

https://www.coburgbanks.co.uk/blog/friday-funnies/50-strange-hobbies/

https://www.toptenz.net/top-10-strangest-hobbies-in-the-world.php

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/15-strange-hobbies-around-world-7345374


NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Breaking Down

The tourists will start to leave our town any day now. Our daughter will go back to Harvard for graduate school. Our other child will probably get kicked out of eighth grade at least twice as they readjust. My husband woke this Saturday morning, sad, tears in his eyes.

“I can’t talk about it,” he said, dutifully putting dog food into bowls. “If I talk about it, I’ll break down.”

“There’s nothing wrong with breaking down,” I said. “Sometimes you need to break down to build back up.”

He kept feeding the dogs, moved on to making tea. The tears collected there. They didn’t fall. He wouldn’t let me help him with the chores and he wouldn’t talk about what was created such huge sadness.

There’s nothing wrong with breaking down.

New moments will begin any day now. October will come and leaves will fall, routines will become. Last year October didn’t even feel real—No big Halloween, no in-person school, but there were certain less worries, too. We didn’t have to worry about anyone getting triggered or kicked out of school because there was Zoom.

Any day now can become a mantra in our lives sometimes.

COVID will be over any day now.

Things will get back to normal any day now.

We’ll make progress any day now.

We’ll get a break any day now.

I’m not supposed to write or even Facebook post about our other child because their mother gets too upset and can’t handle it. I’m not sure why. During COVID she barely called or texted. Even now, our kid has to text her to get to visit. One visit maybe every two weeks and only if asked. It’s not a lot. And there’s a sadness that comes from her choices.

There’s nothing wrong with breaking down. There’s nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed sometimes and scared for your kid especially when your kid doesn’t fit in to society’s norms. But my husband refuses to break down.

Here’s the thing. Breaking down doesn’t mean you aren’t strong. October comes. January comes. But so does May and July. Our lives and worries ebb and flow and we can’t always be strong. Breaking down is part of evolving and rebuilding yourself and your life into something bigger and better.

Any day now if you just keep working towards it every day.

Peter Korn wrote in Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman. “I was becoming aware that a good life was not some Shangri-La waiting to be stumbled upon. One constructed it from the materials at hand.”

In order to build something powerful, you have to know where the pressures points are in the structure. Defining those, locating them? That’s not weakness. That’s what gives you the strength to sturdy up the frame, to put in brackets to handle those pressure points. Novelists know that they have to go through their stories with a critical eye looking for places that need to be shored up, revised, layered, or taken away. Carpenters, engineers, they do that as well.

That’s what we have to do with our lives too, build them step by step, moment by moment, hope by hope.

“It’s okay to cry,” I told him.

“But what if I can’t stop?”

“You will. We always do.”

He finally told me that he was worried about the about-to-enter-eight-grade child. Would they be okay? Would they get kicked out? Triggered? Would their anxiety overwhelm them and then they’d overwhelm their teachers and peers.

Probably. And then we’d deal with it and move on, move them on, work on things over and over again. And that’s okay.

There’s nothing wrong with breaking down especially when it’s because of love. It’s strong. It’s being strong enough to realize how much you love and feel and hope and worry. There’s nothing wrong with breaking down because it means how beautiful you really are.

NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

New Book Alert – SAINT – A YA paranormal

I have a new book! It’s about to come out!

Big breaths.

If you don’t remember, I’m doing this BIG EXPERIMENT where I’m independently publishing a book every month even though

I’m terrible at pushing my own books and getting people to buy them.

Yeah. That’s basically it. But I coach and edit so many writers who choose independent publishing over traditional publishing and I wanted to do a big year-long experiment and immerse myself in that world so I could learn about it, too.

But the problem is:

I still want people to buy those books because I really really love them.

Which leads me to the problem of:

I hate marketing my own books. It just makes me feel dirty somehow. Yes. I should probably go to therapy for this, but I can’t afford therapy thanks to American healthcare. 🙂

So, here goes:

My book coming out is SAINT. It’s super fun. It’s part of a series of stand-alone paranormals all set in the same world/same town in Maine. And I’m SO in love with the lead character Cole and his bestie, Norah. And also there are Bridge to Terabithia references. It’s such a book of my heart.

Think – Guy who levitates and is followed by birds.

Think – Guy who has a crush on his best friend and a skeleton knocking on his window.

Think -An evil curse on a town and a demon demanding guy’s best friend be sacrificed.

There you go!

Look! That’s me with Tobin and Tammy and Kekla and Katharine Paterson! Cool, right? Yes, I’m in Tobin’s armpit.

Okay. Here’s more about the book!

What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

And please buy it if you’re feeling like helping a writer pay for therapy some day. Or if you just like fun books. I’m a pretty good writer, I promise. 🙂

So many thanks for my awesome patrons who help support me write new books. I wouldn’t be able to do any of it (emotionally especially) without you cheering me on.

Don’t be a Life Diva: You Gotta Edit the Book to Find Out What Happens

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

best podcast ever

Today is a rarity. Usually, I am begging my brain for ideas to write about, but today, today I seem to have a plethora of ideas. Now my problem is which one to pick!

Since today is Carrie’s newest book’s birthday, I have decided to go with the one that I thought of last night. Mind you, this was not an “idea” so much as a direct quote out of Carrie’s mouth.

Last night, Carrie was talking about her book release for October, The Treasures We Seek and how excited she was because she got to actually work on it yesterday. Then she wanted to tell me the overall premise of the book and I, as the world’s best husband responded, “Please dear, do tell, I have been waiting for this moment, with baited breath, for an eternity!”

Carrie smiled a big smile and released the basic premise of her book with a verbal flourish that would have made Niagara Falls jealous. Then, right when she has hit the good spot, the sweet spot we have all been waiting for … nothing.

I said, “What happens when…?”

Carrie responded with, “You will have to read and edit the book for me to find out what happens!”

I started laughing and looked at Carrie expecting her to laugh too. Nothing. Dead serious she was!

And you know what? I can’t wait to read that book and edit it to the best of my limited middle school ability! For the past few months, Carrie has been on a quest to self-publish one book a month until December on Amazon.

She has tasked me with being her editorial assistant. I won’t mention that I also format the books for all versions that Amazon offers, but I love having the opportunity to read Carrie’s books first.

I don’t have much to offer, my grammatical skills are rudimentary, but I am really good at continuity of plot and sequence. So, I read every story that is to be self-published and I help in every way that I can. I also create a character bible because most of her stories are sequels and you know, you have to keep track of those characters and those characters’ arcs.

So yeah, I have to help edit the books to find out how they end. But, man am I lucky! I am lucky to be able to find out what happens before it does. Cause nothing in a book happens until it is officially publicly published, right?

And, it’s just like life. You must read the book, the script, and make constant edits, constant adjustments, if you want to be able to find out what happens. Don’t be a life diva, listen to your internal editors and make those changes. Don’t be scared!

Go edit something and remember to always Love Your Way Through It,

Shaun

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

How To Deal With WHITE ROOM SYNDROME

One quick revision note. There are still some scenes in here that could use a little bit more grounding detail so that the reader can see Emily and her friends/relatives interact with the world and setting.

So what is this again? This white room syndrome?

According to inventingrealityeditingservice.com:

Rather than fully imagine such a world, some writers instead create a quick, unformed facsimile of their own. For example, they start the story with the line, “She awoke in a white room.” The white room is the white piece of paper facing the author. This is known as white room syndrome, a term coined a few year ago at the Turkey City Workshop in Austin (a group that has included authors William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Lewis Shiner, Rudy Rucker and Walter Jon Williams).

They officially define white room syndrome as “an authorial imagination inadequate to the situation at end, most common at the beginning of a story.” In short, because the world wasn’t fully imagined, it can’t support the story that unfolds from it.

Or as Lauren Mullen says:

The scene is coming together just as planned. Your dialogue is snappy, witty, and poignant. The action is electric, carrying your characters from one spot to the next. You can see it all unfolding to you as if it were happening on a screen…but the setting details are absent. As a result, all your character’s amazing dialogue and action happen in a blank space.

But what I really like that she says is here:

Think of when you go over to someone’s house for the first time, how they decorate and treat their home says a lot about them. Are they the type of person who cleans up when expecting guests or not? Do they keep a lot of books? Collect art? Fan memorabilia? Are there any pets? What are they? A dog owner says something different about a person than a hamster owner. You learn a lot about a person by how they decorate and treat their home, likewise this is why description and setting are so vital to good storytelling. 

When done properly, the world in which your characters inhabit can take on a life of their own. It is important to spend as much time fleshing out your setting as you would a persona. This helps the space in which your characters exist feel grounded and real. 

So, how do you keep it from happening? Or how do you fix it?

There are some good ways!

  1. First make the decision about how you want the reader to feel about the space where the scene is happening.
  2. Add details that make that happen. Is it a crowded space? A quiet café? A darkly lit jazz club? Are the tables sticky? Does the office smell like onions? Do you hear the fast clickety-clack of coworkers keyboards? Do smells come from another cubicle? From the coffee shop’s kitchen?
  3. Think about how you learn about people from the first time you walk into their homes? Give that feeling to the reader. Is it well lit? Shadowy? Are the salt and pepper shakers shaped like manatees or plastic? That sort of thing.
  4. Allow yourself to set the scene as a stage where the details you choose reflect the emotional struggle of the character and/or the plot.
  5. Use the five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) and try to use three of them in each scene. Oh! And don’t have the three you use be the same for every single scene.
  6. Don’t overdo those senses, but do use them a bit.

Why is this important again?

It’s important because:

  1. It keeps your characters from just being talking heads.
  2. Setting is a tool that you can use to create ambience, tone, reality.
  3. Readers like to know where the characters are.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

  1. It allows your reader to be fully in the experience of the character of the book.
  2. It’s a tool. The setting can be a metaphor for your character’s internal struggle. If your character is having an anxiety attack and stuck in her job and life, making her hide in a bathroom stall is perfect as metaphor.
  3. It can be a character in your story. The city of Chicago or New Orleans can influence the plot and character a lot. The city can grow too as the character grows.
  4. It helps create tone and conflict. If you’re writing a novel about an apocalypse, the details you choose in your scene’s setting help show that.
  5. It shows class and divisions in society, too.