Why Do People Love Hot Chicken Wings and Will Carrie Survive the Hiccups

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Why Do People Love Hot Chicken Wings and Will Carrie Survive the Hiccups
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This week on LOVING THE STRANGE, we stayed away from the paranormal and delved into (a tiny bit) why people love hot sauce and hot chicken wings.

Carrie hiccuped her way through the vegan version of wings, which were sort of peach-puree nuggets while Shaun went full-on carnivore, gnawing on the bones.

We talked a bit about the Heatonist, Gotcha! (Carrie’s favorite 80s movie), which came first the chicken or the egg, and how a lot of people who like hot sauce are thrill seekers, but some are just used to it. They grew up with it. They like its flavor or they’re super competitive. There’s more on that in our resources!

Secret Aardvark article

What is a Scoville Unit?

Honestly, the episode was chaos and Carrie just hiccuped all the way through it.

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?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Spicing Up Your Life

A refrigerator is like life. It is full of culinary experiences which we often take for granted and for many of us, are often the same week after week.

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.

An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine

Hi folks!

I hope that you have had a wonderful week since I last wrote my Thursday blog post. One of my favorite things to do as of late is the new podcast that Carrie and I have been doing live on Friday evenings at 7 p.m. eastern time.

It is called Loving the Strange and usually we speak on topics such as ghosts, Bigfoot, lucid dreaming and anything not ordinary. However, this week we are going to be doing a hot chicken wing eating episode and are inviting our viewers to ask us questions during the podcast, similar to the show Hot Ones.

I Swear This Isn’t An Ad

I know that first paragraph sounded like a big advertisement for our podcast, and it was sort of, but in actuality I was giving some background for the rest of this blog.

Before I sat down and started typing I was starting to prepare for tomorrow night’s podcast. It is way too soon to start frying delicious chicken wings (Carrie is eating fake vegan wings, blech!), but I thought that I would start inventorying our hot sauce and picking out the ones for us to use, with Carrie’s input of course.

Note from Carrie: I have so far had no input.

We will start with the more mild sauces and work our way up to the hottest sauce that we have. Considering that we have 22 different bottles of hot sauce in our refrigerator, we will be skipping many of them because we will each only be eating six wings on the podcast. I am getting off track again, sorry!

My real point is that when I opened the refrigerator and thought about our hot sauces and how they change or enhance the taste of food I realized that a refrigerator is like life. It is full of culinary experiences which we often take for granted and for many of us, are often the same week after week.

How many of us just go through the motions of life and never spice it up with a dash of heat?

Making life more interesting and less mundane can be as simple as opening a “bottle” of hot life sauce and letting some fly. It is exciting, exhilarating, and oh so much better than just leading the same old bland existence all of the time!

Try it please!

Take a moment at the beginning of each day and say to yourself, “Self, how can I spice up my day today?”

You can choose a mild life spice or an insanely hot life spice depending on your mood. Just remember that the hotter and more adventurous the life spice you choose is, to use a corresponding amount less. It’s the same as food spice. If you use too much life spice, it can totally ruin the experience.

If you can’t bring yourself to add any life spice right now, you should at least watch our podcast on Friday. I guarantee that we will be feeling the effects of the hot sauces by the end and as long as Carrie can keep her fingers out of hers eyes it should be humorous.

Till then, start with some mild life spice and Love Your Way Through It!

Peace,

Shaun

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?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Three Quick Tips to Try to Show Instead of Tell

So all this week, I’ve been talking about how to show and not tell in your writing.

You can find those past post, by clicking on SHOW DON’T TELL in the tags.

We defined it.

Showing is what it sounds like. You are showing what’s happening in the scene or with the character.


Telling is also what it sounds like. You are blunt and direct and are just stating things. Sometimes you’re stating and summarizing.

WE GAVE A QUICK EXAMPLE:

Telling:

Shaun was cranky.

Showing:

Gabby the dog barked for hours at the dogs trotting by the house that morning and after a quick pause for a drink from her red water bowl in the kitchen, she’d pranced back to the living room sliding glass door and started again.

Shaun tensed. He slammed his fist against his desk and roared, “Will you just shut up already?”

And Now I’m Going To Give Three Quicks on How to Show Not Tell

  1. Use dialogue.

We learn a lot about people by how they talk to other people. Do they use big words? Little words? Dramatic words? Do they just grunt?

“I am terribly disappointed in your behavior.”

“You suck. I can’t believe you freaking did that.”

“Wow. Buttface.”

Those are all about the same thing, but three very different responses, right? Those responses tell us about the characters.

  • Describe the action rather than state the action.

Telling:

She loved Spring. It gave her joy.

Showing:

She spiraled around, arms out in the air as she waited for the light to change. The moment it did, she started across.

“You’re skipping,” the lady next to her said.

She smiled back at her, weaving around the school children crossing against them. A dog wagged his tail, sniffing some daffodils in the medium. “It’s Spring. Spring is the best.”

  • Use the setting and make your character actually interact with the setting.

Telling:

I stepped on the porch. It was hot.

Showing:

The rotting wooden boards of the porch popped under my weight as I sniffed my pits. Before I knocked on the red door with its peeling paint and bright orange STAY OUT sign, I pulled at my t-shirt fabric. The humidity made it cling.

HERE IS THE THING: SOMETIMES YOU CAN TELL.

You just want to not always tell. You can tell a little bit as a story begins. You just don’t want to only tell.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU ARE TELLING TOO MUCH?

You’re using a lot of distancing words like “knew, look, saw, heard, supposed, watched, stared, told.”

      Shaun heard the bathroom door unlock and knew that someone was going to be entering the room.

You are using the word obviously, of course, clearly a lot.

      Shaun heard the bathroom door unlock, obviously someone had unlocked it and would be entering the room. Would they die from the smell, clearly it was horrifyingly bad, of course it was. It was the bathroom.

You are making a lot of fluffy language and filler language.

      A flurry of worry flooded his brain as Shaun heard the bathroom door unlock.

And there you go! I hope it helps! Have fun writing!

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?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Naked Lady in the Drain and Why Authors Should Show and Not Tell

When you tell, you are blunt. When you show? You are laying out little truths that compel the reader to turn the page and read on.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Naked Lady in the Drain and Why Authors Should Show and Not Tell
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So a lot of writers get rejections that say, “Show, don’t tell.”

And then they are left wondering, what does that even mean?

And then everyone uses the Chekov quote, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

That’s because writers and editors like to quote other writers and editors because it makes us sound:

  1. Pretentious. Cough. I mean intelligent!
  2. Like we know what we’re doing.

Definitions Time

Showing is what it sounds like. You are showing what’s happening in the scene or with the character.


Telling is also what it sounds like. You are blunt and direct and are just stating things. Sometimes you’re stating and summarizing.

Here is a quick example:

Telling:

Shaun was cranky.

Showing:

Gabby the dog barked for hours at the dogs trotting by the house that morning and after a quick pause for a drink from her red water bowl in the kitchen, she’d pranced back to the living room sliding glass door and started again.

Shaun tensed. He slammed his fist against his desk and roared, “Will you just shut up already?”

So why do you want to show more and tell less?

It’s more community oriented.

It gives the reader the truth about the character by illustrating it on the page rather than laying it down like an edict.

If I tell you, Carrie is a timid person, then you’re like okay. Whatever.

But if I show you a scene where Carrie steps outside and starts crying because the grass is long and things could be hiding in it and she starts sweating and shaking because she’s so afraid of the grass? You’re going to probably have a better understanding of how timid a person Carrie actually is.

Yeah, showing takes more words, but writers are word magistrates. We are dealers in the sentence and the language. Words are our friends.

The other reason is that telling makes things dull.

It’s hard to be suspenseful when you just say everything all bluntly. When you tell, you are blunt. When you show? You are laying out little truths that compel the reader to turn the page and read on. You are giving the pieces of a meal, one bite at a time, rather than shoving a four-course dinner down their throat and making them gag.

It’s the difference between reading the episode recap for Wanda Vision and actually watching the show.

Telling kills immediacy.

Just like distancing language, telling puts a wall up between the reader and the experience of the characters.

If I write, Carrie heard the bomb explode, it’s not as gripping. You are distanced from the experience.

Compare that to if I write,

The bang rippled through the air. The cops’ radios all began squawking with orders and directives as the cops turned as one towards the source of the sound and the smoke…the smoke billowed out and up. Carrie turned with them. The plastic, the soot, the burning on her tongue made it hard to swallow.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Show more. Tell less.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Show it as best as you can for all the good treats.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Our random thoughts this week were about:

A stray dog at Dollar General stealing a purple unicorn. He’s okay and found his forever home! Yay! Link from People.

A woman who was allegedly stuck in Florida tunnels and a drain for three weeks. She’s okay! Link from the Miami Herald.

How Shaun announced at the Covid vaccine place that Carrie doesn’t bleed. He’s okay, too. Link from our life.

HEY!

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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about strange habits.

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

Three Quick Tips to Show Instead of Tell

As writers, showing allows us more control over what we’re trying to communicate to the reader. Pretty cool, right?

This week, I’m talking a bit about showing versus telling.

There will be more about this in our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

As I say there, a lot of writers get the note that they need to show more and tell less and then they are stuck thinking a lot of swear words and end up screaming into their pillow, “HOW DO I EVEN DO THAT?”

Showing is what it sounds like. You are showing what’s happening in the scene or with the character.


Telling is also what it sounds like. You are blunt and direct and are just stating things. Sometimes you’re stating and summarizing.

Showing Example:

Carrie was hungry.

Telling Example:

Her stomach grumbled as Carrie opened the refrigerator. Nothing. Just shelves of sourdough starter and orange-vanilla soda water and left-over crumbs of pizza crust. Pressing her face against the dirty shelf, she tried to lap them up with her tongue. The world wobbled.

“Food,” she whispered. “Please, just a little food.”

Those seem like two totally different stories, right? But they are both just about me being hungry.

When you tell people, they are left filling in the gaps. If you heard, “Carrie was hungry,” I bet you didn’t fill in those gaps quite the way I just did.

As writers, showing allows us more control over what we’re trying to communicate to the reader. Pretty cool, right?

Three Quick Tips to Try to Show Instead of Tell

Use dialogue.

We learn a lot about people by how they talk to other people. Do they use big words? Little words? Dramatic words? Do they just grunt?

“I am terribly disappointed in your behavior.”

“You suck. I can’t believe you freaking did that.”

“Wow. Buttface.”

Those are all about the same thing, but three very different responses, right? Those responses tell us about the characters.

Describe the action rather than state the action.

Telling:

She loved Spring. It gave her joy.

Showing:

She spiraled around, arms out in the air as she waited for the light to change. The moment it did, she started across.

“You’re skipping,” the lady next to her said.

She smiled back at her, weaving around the school children crossing against them. A dog wagged his tail, sniffing some daffodils in the medium. “It’s Spring. Spring is the best.”

Use the setting and make your character actually interact with the setting.

Telling:

I stepped on the porch. It was hot.

Showing:

The rotting wooden boards of the porch popped under my weight as I sniffed my pits. Before I knocked on the red door with its peeling paint and bright orange STAY OUT sign, I pulled at my t-shirt fabric. The humidity made it cling.

There you go! Like I said, I’ll be talking about this in this week’s podcast, but also in my Wednesday post. Just click on the tab for SHOWDON’T TELL to see all the posts about this topic.

Hm. That seemed a little telling, didn’t it? 🙂

Maine is a UFO Hot Spot and Alien Abductions in the Allagash

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Maine is a UFO Hot Spot and Alien Abductions in the Allagash
/

We talk about alien abductions, how Maine is a sexy UFO hotspot and how Carrie’s old boss thought for sure she was abducted.

Check it out!

RESOURCES

The links and articles we refer to in this podcast are all below!

https://wgme.com/news/local/maine-is-a-ufo-hotspot-newly-declassified-docs-say

https://www.vice.com/en/article/qbnajw/alien-abductees-draw-their-abduction-876

https://www.history.com/news/first-alien-abduction-account-barney-betty-hill

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_and_Betty_Hill

https://unsolvedmysteries.fandom.com/wiki/The_Allagash_Abductions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antônio_Villas_Boas

https://www.vice.com/sv/article/wnd3nq/this-woman-can-tell-you-who-really-was-abducted-by-aliens-and-who-is-faking-it

If you like what you read, please heart it below or share it, it means the world to this writer. x0- Carrie

We Got Our Shots and Damn, We’re Lucky

But, you know what? Prior to COVID, and I am sure that it will be the same after, there were millions of people whose everyday existence was not far off from what mainstream society has been so truly shaken by this past year. Remember this!

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.

An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine
An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine

Some days are not like the others. Some days are days you never really thought that you would have to live out. Carrie and I got our first round of COVID vaccination today and I don’t think that we are going to post about it on social media, we are just not that kind of people.

Getting the vaccine is exciting in a way, but mostly just having a sense of security that if we do get COVID, you know ten or more days after our second dose, that it may not be that bad and most likely won’t kill us.

However, I must say that it was really a great experience and the hospital running the setup at the Cross Insurance Arena in Bangor, Maine really has it down. We were there a total of 45 minutes and 15 of that was waiting for the doors to open because we were the first appointments of the day. So, a big shout out to all of those professionals and volunteers making that happen!

Basically we had a good morning. Then this afternoon we had to go see our tax man.

Bummer dude!

I think this particular visit fits under both categories, days not like the others and days you never really thought that you would have to live out. I shall say no more other than we are fine and really, we are truly lucky that we owe Uncle Sam so much money. We are lucky that we are not having to choose between food or rent this month. We are lucky that we have friends to talk to on Zoom meetings once or twice a week. We are lucky to have another human being in our house to say, “thank you, I appreciate you and I love you” to us and for us to say the same to them!

It has been a very strange year and hopefully we are coming up on an incredible turning point.

People need a break! People need to work, go to school, get out of the house, travel and just be able to socialize like before COVID.

But, you know what? Prior to COVID, and I am sure that it will be the same after, there were millions of people whose everyday existence was not far off from what mainstream society has been so truly shaken by this past year. Remember this!

Remember that there are people who need you to say hi and smile at them for no reason.

There are people who need to socialize and have friends.

There are people who need to feel loved.

I truly believe that if every single person would take the opportunity to say hello and say one thing nice to a stranger every day, the world would be a much better place!

Not only do such actions make the receiver feel better, they most definitely help the giver feel better as well. I challenge you to try this every time that you are out in public or have contact with someone whom you do not see on a daily basis for a week, or a month if you don’t get out much, and see how much of a difference you can make.

Thank you for reading my feel good post, which I really do believe in, and I hope you will give it a go.

As always, Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

LOVING THE STRANGE

Chapters Begin, Chapters End and There are Ways To Do That

This week we’ve been talking all about chapters. Check out the tag CHAPTER to navigate to the other posts and today we’re talking about…

How Do You Begin a Chapter?

There’s a few things you want to do here.

You want to start in a way that makes your reader want to read the story.

You want there to be continuity from the last chapter so it doesn’t feel jerky and episodic.

You want to have a good first line to pull the reader along for the whole length of the chapter. It is the Oreo cookie or potato chip of the writing world. You want to make it so delicious that the reader just can’t eat/read just one sentence, but send them on a gobbling frenzy.

Usually, you want to:

  1. Show where the characters are.
  2. Have some action.
  3. Actually have a character. That should have been #1.

You can start A CHAPTER BY oR WITH:

  1. With setting the scene.
  2. Dialogue, but this isn’t a big hot thing to do right now. If you do this, make it exciting and give us some physical grounding and characters pretty quickly.
  3. In the middle of the action. If you want to be fancy say, in medias res. That’s fancy.

You want to make sure THE CHAPTER Is:

  1. Not boring.
  2. Makes sense with the rest of the story.
  3. That we readers know where the characters are. You don’t want them just floating out in the ether (usually). That’s why you want to give us the who, what, when, where, why of the story, too.
  4. That the chapter has a point. If you took this chapter out, would you still have a story? If so, the chapter needs to go. (I made that rhyme.)

That’s really such an important question that I’m going to repeat it:

If you took the chapter out, would the story still make sense?

If it does, then you want to take that chapter out.

Or — If so, the chapter needs to go.

I really can’t resist a dorky rhyme.

Along those lines, your chapter should do a couple things:

  1. Help the character transform.
  2. Give the character a goal and show movement or loss towards that goal.
  3. Be part of the novel’s cause and effect that creates the novel’s plot.
  4. Have an ending that compels the reader to keep reading after the pause.

This is really part of what it means when I say that your chapter needs to have a point.

Chapter Endings.

These little babies are what worry a lot of writers. How do you end things? You’ve been in a relationship with this chapter for a long few pages, hammering out the words on the keyboard, spending time together.

It’s so hard to let go!

But seriously, when should your time together end?

Good times to end your chapter are:

  1. After a big turning point in your story. If you’re following a beat sheet or outline, those turning points are great places to pause.
  2. Right before a big turning point in your story.
  3. Right after something scary happened.
  4. Right before something scary happens.
  5. Right after something emotionally resonating happened.
  6. Right after something is figured out.

Look at your favorite books and the last three paragraphs of each chapter. What just happened? What’s about to happen? You can learn a lot about chapter breaks and structure this way.

A lot of times you’ll see that where The Chapters end are:

  1. Moments of suspense. Something big is about to happen.
  2. Moments of reflection. The character is thinking about something big that just happened.
  3. Moments of questioning. The what do I do or what did I do times.

There! I hoped this helped a bit!

LET’S HANG OUT!

Do you want to take a little online course, learn with me as your writing coach, buy some art or listen to our podcasts? Or give me a buck and read unpublished books on Patreon?

Just  CLICK ON THIS LINK and find out how we can interact more

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about bears in outhouses and chapter titles, click here.

Bear in the Outhouse. Chapter Titles and You

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Bear in the Outhouse. Chapter Titles and You
/

This week on Carrie’s blog, carriejonesbooks.blog, she’s talking all about chapters and so we’re talking about them on the podcast, too, because Carrie’s controlling like that.

And what we’re talking about specifically is chapter titles.

You can divide your books into chapters and just label them numerically, 1, 2, 3… But you can also give them a title like:

Chapter One

Surviving the Podcast

Here’s the thing.

Chapter Titles Help Your Readers

How do they help your readers? In a lot of ways.

Grab attention.

You put these bad boys at the top of the chapter. And the reader thinks, “Ah! Look at that! I am paying attention.”

Tell readers who they are focusing on now.

If you have a story with multiple point of views, you can put who this chapter is focused on here.

Show location or time changes.

You can give the reader some help. If you have a time jumping, place jumping novel. You can use this space to say, “Hey, we are in sexy Scotland in 2021.” Or you can say, “Look, we’re in Zambia in August.”

Show theme or the future.

It’s like a happy little spoiler where the reader goes, “Oh, that’s what this chapter is about.” This can be about theme, too.

Show Echoes.

A chapter title can be a first sentence.

Summing it up: And there you go. A quick bit about chapter titles and what they can do for you.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Chapter titles are good tools. Use them.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Use whatever you can to communicate things to your human. Wag. Growl. Bark. Spin in circles. Hit them with your paw. They are stupid and need a lot of help understanding what you’re putting down.

In our Random Thoughts We Talked About

Bears in the outhouse

Snake in an Inhaler

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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about spontaneous combustion and poop styles.

How To Write Chapters

So, this week, I’ve decided to have a bit of a mini-series about how to write chapters.

That’s because one of my clients has this great story and an agent gave him some feedback about chapter length.

And that got me thinking about chapters. Here’s the big reveal…

Chapters Aren’t Tricky Beasts

Some writers are magically lucky and just intuitively know when a chapter ends and when a chapter begins and how they work in a novel.

If you aren’t one of those magically lucky writers, this blog post is for you.

A chapter has a couple roles.

  1. They let the reader have a hot moment to themselves.

Seriously a lot of stuff has just gone done in your novel and the reader needs a moment to pause, to inhale, to process everything that just happened.

  • They tell the reader that there is a change coming.

The fancy name for change is a transition. It just means, “Hey. We’re going to a new place or meeting someone new.  Or maybe it’s act two now. Let’s have a moment together.”

Chapter Length

A lot of people get super hung up on how long a chapter should be. Chapters are key elements in creating the pace of the story.

The general rule: Short chapters increase the pace. Long chapters tend to decrease the pace.

How does this happen?

Short chapters tend to be about action scenes. Longer chapters tend to be about big transitions and emotional and plot developments. That’s not always true, but it usually is.

The chapter should be as long as it’s meant to be. The shorter the chapter, the more resonance it becomes and that’s because the pause in between the chapters makes the reader’s brain go, “Ah. Wow. This one thing just happened. Whoa. I am pausing and thinking about that one thing.” Rather than pausing and thinking about a ton of things.  

Some people think that chapters should all have a consistent length.

Those people are wrong. I know! I know! I rarely say that. But they are.

Consistent lengths is a lovely thing if your reader likes consistency and the calming expectation of knowing every chapter is going to be twelve pages.

But consistent chapter lengths means that you, the author, are restricting yourself. You can’t use chapters to play with pace or emotional resonance. You are tying yourself up in a non-sexy way. We need all the tools we can have. Don’t limit yourself.

In our podcast tomorrow, we’ll be talking about all the things chapter titles can do for you and your readers. Sexy, right? You want to work those chapters. And on Wednesday, we’ll be talking about how to start and end your chapters and what they can do for you.

I hope you’ll stick around!

If you like what you read, please heart it below or share it, it means the world to this writer. x0- Carrie