How many types of scenes are there?

Stories aren’t always about hitting each prescribed beat. Stories are about characters making choices.

I’ve been talking about scenes a bit this week and I’m keeping up the scene theme today.

Mike Nichols had thoughts about scenes.

Mike Nichols (a famous movie guy) believes there are three main types of scenes and his scene types are all about what the conflict and choices are in the scene.

Fight – You have to use strength or endurance or willpower to get what you want.

Negotiation – You are being logical and everyone is working together to figure something out. It’s like Scooby Doo when the gang tries to figure something out.

Seduction – You are manipulating someone else to get what you want.

Rachel Poli among others says there are eight.

Hers read a bit more like plot points or story beats. And honestly, I worry about the idea of an ‘exposition’ scene because that usually slows down the plot and narrative, but here you go.

Introduction – Shows character/back ground

Exposition and preparation – Information is given to the character. She says this is where the conflict is scene, but I’d argue that you need your conflict to be seen in every scene.

Transition – “The character are on the move.”

Investigation – It’s an investigation.

Revelation – Things are revealed! Realizations are had.

Escape and Pursuit – Your characters rescue someone, they run away from someone, they run after someone.

Aftermath – This is usually after a big scene. It’s basically a reaction beat.

Resolution – The finale.

The Script Lab presents 17 types of scenes. We’re quoting them here.


1. Setting
 – Where are we?

2. Atmosphere/Mood – What is it like there?

3. Introduction – Who is it we are dealing with here?

4. Exposition – Necessary information. Quick and Clever.

5. Transition – getting from one place to another. Fast.

6. Preparation – What will it take to prepare for the task at hand?

7. Aftermath – How does the character feel about what just happened?

8. Investigation – Gathering information.

9. Revelation – The reader/audience finds out something important.

10. Recognition – The character finds out something important.

11. The Gift – Using a prop with emotional investment and turning it into a weapon, emotional or otherwise.

12. Escape – The character is trying to get away, avoid, or hide.

13. Pursuit – The character is trying to follow, capture, or secure.

14. Seduction – Someone must convince someone else.

15. Opposites – Two characters from seemingly opposite poles are forced together.

16. Reversal of Expectations – A character expects a certain, very clear outcome, but another character surprises him, influencing him to reverse his intention and do something else – practically the opposite of what he planned to do.

17. Unexpected Visitor – Someone unexpected shows up. Problems arise.

Why So Many Different Numbers? Three? Seventeen? That’s a big difference.

Well, people like to have original ideas and claim knowledge as exact. But also because they are looking at slightly different things.

You’ll notice that Nichols’s scenes descriptions really are different. They are about conflict and choice and not about story beats. And I like that.

Stories aren’t always about hitting each prescribed beat. Stories are about characters making choices. If you read those other scene lists they can be helpful in structuring your story and making sure you hit certain beats, but they aren’t about the core of your character’s transformation.

Lisa Cron, author of Wired for Story, says,

“A story is about how the things that happen affect someone in pursuit of a difficult goal, and how that person changes internally as a result.”

Timothy Hallinan writes,

“For me, a scene is a unit of story in which something changes. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and at the end something is different than it was at the beginning. It may be a character or a situation, or just our understanding of a character or a situation, but whatever it is, it’s changed when the scene is over.”

What do you think? How do you describe a scene?

Resources

What’s a Scene (And What’s A Chapter?), Timothy Hallinanhttps://rachelpoli.com/2018/07/11/8-types-of-scenes/embed/#?secret=a6jGSYAmSm

https://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting/structure/the-scene/16-types-of-scenes/https://www.ninetydegreesmedia.com/how-to-write-a-scene-in-a-novel/#:~:text=A%20scene%20is%20a%20piece,these%20categories%20it%20falls%20into

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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

I’m Farting Carrots. Oh, the Mondegreen

Always take a piece of meat with you.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
I'm Farting Carrots. Oh, the Mondegreen
/

We’ve all done it. We’ve misheard song lyrics or actual words. We’ve argued about whether someone was saying Laurel or Yanni.

But there is an actual term for that.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, a mondegreen is “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung.”

I had a whole character in my first book that did this all the time.

Sylvia Wright made up the word in 1954 when she wrote an article about it for The Atlantic or possibly Harpers (these are the two most common citings), “The Death of Lady Mondegreen.”

She’d loved this Scottish song or poem that went

They hae slain the Earl Amurray
And laid him on the green.

That last line sounded like Lady Mondegreen to her.

According to an article in the New Yorker by Maria Konnikova,

Hearing is a two-step process. First, there is the auditory perception itself: the physics of sound waves making their way through your ear and into the auditory cortex of your brain. And then there is the meaning-making: the part where your brain takes the noise and imbues it with significance. That was a car alarm. That’s a bird. Mondegreens occur when, somewhere between the sound and the meaning, communication breaks down. You hear the same acoustic information as everyone else, but your brain doesn’t interpret it the same way. What’s less immediately clear is why, precisely, that happens.

The article goes on to say,

A common cause of mondegreens, in particular, is the oronym: word strings in which the sounds can be logically divided multiple ways. One version that Pinker describes goes like this: Eugene O’Neill won a Pullet Surprise. 

Other times, the culprit is the perception of the sound itself: some letters and letter combinations sound remarkably alike, and we need further cues, whether visual or contextual, to help us out. In their absence, one sound can be mistaken for the other. For instance, in a phenomenon known as the McGurk effect, people can be made to hear one consonant when a similar one is being spoken. “There’s a bathroom on the right” standing in for “there’s a bad moon on the rise” is a succession of such similarities adding up to two equally coherent alternatives. 

NME’s site has an article on the top forty misheard song lyrics and it’s hysterical.

It’s a British site and you should check it out, but their top three are:

Number One – Dire Straits’s “Money For Nothing.”

Wrong lyric: “Money for nothin’ and chips for free.”

Correct lyric: “Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free”

Number 2 Wrong Lyric – Paul Young’s “Everytime You Go Away.”

Wrong Lyric: “Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you.”

Correct lyric: “Every time you go away take a piece of me with you.”

Number 4 Wrong Lyric (Yes, we skipped three) – Starship’s ‘We Built This City.’

Wrong lyric: “We built this city on sausage rolls.”

Correct lyric: “We built this city on rock ‘n’ roll.”

Writing Tip of the Pod

It’s fun to play with words, to think about sounds.

Dog Tip for Life

Always take a piece of meat with you.

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

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.

LINKS OF STRANGE NEWS MENTIONED

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/05/06/britain-Leaf-cafe-Liverpool-England-1913-menu-ceiling/6881620329800/

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/05/04/Guinness-World-Records-marshamallow-mouth-catch-distance-Dallas-Anderson-Jon-Paleka/7501620145182/

Fight, Negotiate, Sex – The three main types of scenes.

So, a lot of people think that there are three main types of scenes:

  1. Fight scenes
  2. Negotiation scenes
  3. Sexy sexiness scenes

And the important part of every scene is conflict. That’s because when conflict happens, the character is forced to do something.

Readers want to watch characters do things, right?

Except for fans of Waiting for Godot, but to be fair the characters are waiting. That’s an action.

Sorry! Tangent.

What us writers have to do is make the conflict matter.

For the conflict to matter it has to be about your character wanting something so damn badly, but they aren’t getting it in a way that’s easy.

The biggest, strongest desire is when our character’s want makes them suffer.

Your character arguing about how to hard boil eggs wouldn’t be a meaningful conflict UNLESS it’s somehow connected to her biggest needs and wants and yearnings.

Your character arguing about how to hard boil eggs might be a meaningful conflict IF he has been on the perfect hardboiled egg quest because it’s the only thing he remembers about his dad – his perfect eggs. Or something.

What meaningful conflict does is that it forces the character to do something, to act, to make a choice.  The type of conflict relates to that choice in the scene.

FIGHT SCENE

This is usually about willpower or strength or determination. You will by beating up your opponent or by dealing with something for a long time, enduring it.

Think Atlas holding up the world.

Think about Captain America being beaten up by the Winter Soldier and he keeps getting up.

That’s a fight scene.

SEXY SCENES

I could probably call this a seduction scene, but I’m not terribly mature.

In these scenes you have one character (or multiple ones) manipulating another character’s desires. It might not always be about the sex.

Darth Vader’s big scene where he tries to get Luke to join him, be part of the dark side, stop fighting. He gives him the possibility to be important and a place to belong.

NEGOTIATE ME SCENES

These are scenes that are a push and pull between solutions. It’s about compromise. It’s about logic. It’s very Ravenclaw.

It’s whenever a gangster convinces people to do something.

Negotiation scenes are all about that logical outcome. And at the end of it, everyone goes, “Ah. That makes sense. Of course, we’ll do it that way.”

Each type of scene requires different responses about the character and tells us different things. I think you should lean into these earlier scenes with the men being either fight or manipulation.

Mike Nichols, this ancient director, really loved to talk about those three types of scenes. He was pretty adamant about them being the only types of scenes that there are and he would always say, “When in doubt, seduce.”

Actually, I think his partner, Elaine May might have said that.

But the truth is that you can have a scene be more than one thing at a time. That intricacy makes them pretty beautiful and so much more poignant. Whenever you can add the character enduring (Fight) to a negotiation, it’s a better scene. Because it’s layered.

Other screenwriters and playwrights (like Pete Peterson) have taken this from Nichols and talked about it on podcasts all over the place. One interesting and possibly helpful insight on this is by Jonathan Rogers of THE HABIT after an interview with Pete Peterson.

He wrote:

To frame every fictional conversation as a fight, a seduction, or a negotiation is to foreground desire. And desire is the engine of storytelling. What do your characters want? There may be other questions at stake in the stories you tell, but that question is ALWAYS in play. It is an unavoidable fact that writers always need to communicate information; sometimes they communicate that information in dialogue. But characters carry on conversations in order to get what they want. If we use dialogue merely to convey information and neglect the interplay of characters’ desires, that dialogue will almost surely be flat, uninteresting, and less than believable.

This may be another way of saying the same thing, but dialogue is something that characters DO to each other. Fighting, seducing, and negotiating are actions, not merely an exchange of information or opinions. And, by the way, in the process of fighting, seducing, and negotiating, your characters will provide information and express opinions that your reader will find most helpful. The point here is not that characters can only fight, seduce, or negotiate, but that whatever else is happening, one of those three things has to be happening.

In real life, not every conversation is a fight, a seduction, or a negotiation. Sometimes people really are just providing information or expressing an opinion. Or talking baby-talk to a baby or asking for directions or ordering French fries. But not everything in real life is raw material for a story. I’m reminded of Steve Martin’s exasperated reminder to John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: “Not everything is an anecdote, you know.” We spend a third of our lives sleeping. I don’t care how realistic your fiction purports to be; it would be a mistake to devote a third of your word-count to people sleeping.

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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

How Do You Make Your Story Thrilling and Sunbathing Your Testicles?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How Do You Make Your Story Thrilling and Sunbathing Your Testicles?
/

You’ve all read a story or heard a story that just bores you to tears, right?

You don’t want to write that story UNLESS boring people is your goal. That’s a fine goal! You get to have that if you want it. Don’t let anyone take your goal away from you.

But if that’s not your goal? Let’s talk.

To not bore your reader, at the most basic level, you have to do three things. And these three things are the basic elements. Bare bones here, okay?

  • Keeping your damn word.

Just like in a relationship, when you write a book for someone or tell them a story, you set up an expectation in them that there is going to be a payoff there.

There is always an expectation the reader will have.

Will they catch the murderer?

Will James get out of the giant peach? Will the rich family get out of the town?

Will Lassie save whoever Lassie needs to save?

Your book is full of these promises and questions that you the author set out for the reader and that you have to answer. If you don’t? You’re a promise breaker! And you’ve ruined your relationship with your reader.

  • Making your damn character interesting (This has to do with plot too, actually.).

Your character has a journey. They make choices. The bigger the story and the scarier? The bigger the choices. The character in a thrilling story has to be the hero, the brave one, the choice-maker. Those choices lead you to a thrilling and amazing finale.

  • Making time matter

If you have your whole life to hunt down the monster that’s killing everyone in town, there’s not as much tension there.

If the bomb is going to explode in 10,000 years? Same thing. But the pressure of a villain who is killing people, the pressure of the bomb about to explode, the pressure of a destiny that might not happen if you don’t hurry up?

That’s a big deal. It’s a trope. Who cares? Use it.

There’s some other things that make a good thriller, too.

  1. There needs to be high stakes. Time limits. Multiple problems increases those stakes.
  2. There needs to be an actual threat to the characters or society.
  3. There needs to be some things that you don’t expect to happen, happen.
  4. The characters need to be multiple dimensions, not flat little cardboard figures or game pieces. But interesting.
  5. There needs to be some cool action going on. That might be mind games. Mind games count. Car chases do too.

Bonus Element:

  1. Cool locations. Your reader wants to explore the world from the safety of their bed/couch/porch/subway seat. Your book lets them do that. Use details. Make those locations real.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Think about your damn audience not just yourself.

Dog Tip for Life

Make your own excitement like Gabby. Every moment can be thrilling.

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.

Resources for Random Thoughts

https://apnews.com/hub/oddities

https://www.mynbc5.com/article/video-shows-1-000-dolphin-stampede-off-california-coast/36017470#

https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19539973/i-put-a-giant-red-light-on-my-balls-to-triple-my-testosterone-levels/

Banish Negative Thoughts

Have you ever felt like you’re riding a bike really hard, but you’re not getting anywhere? Like all your effort and work and energy hasn’t moved you at all. Then you look down and remember you’re on a stationary bike. Your tires are just spinning. But you aren’t going anywhere. You aren’t moving forward.

And your inner critic is saying, “You suck. You must be an idiot to think you can do anything, be anything, that you matter at all. You don’t. Nothing you do is good enough. You aren’t good enough.”

So basically your inner critic is Morrissey or Nick Kershaw or any alt 1980s singer from the U.K.

You’ve got to get Morrisey to shut the hell up.

We spend our days communicating with other people and with ourselves. We can get away from other people pretty easily, but it’s a lot harder to get away from ourselves.

A New Zealand study reports that people have over 60,000 thoughts every day. Not all of those thoughts are “I have to poo” or “Uh-oh. I just let one rip.” A lot of those thoughts are negative. Too many.

According to a 2005 study by the National Science Foundation, “Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.”

Then there’s this—

A Cornell University study in 2005 found that only 15% of what we worry about actually happens and a good 79% of the people they studied realized that they could absolutely handle whatever it was that happened.

They decided that 97 % “are baseless.” Those thoughts are just us being pessimistic, negative Eeyores.

So the question becomes how do you manage your own mind, keep it from spending all that time in the negative spiral?

  1. According to the tlex institute, “The secret is in our Breath. Through breathing techniques validated by modern science, we effortlessly quiet, empty and calm the mind, at the same time increase attention and focus. This state of relaxed-awareness is the Flow state, when we are our most creative, effective and happy.
  2. Say something positive to yourself the moment you wake up. Go all Stuart Smalley on your day. Say, “Today is going to rock.”
  3. You know all those people who #soblessed, #countingblessing, #graitutude? They are onto something. Focusing on even the tiniest of good things helps you deal with the crap things. Say some buttface passes you on the double yellow lines and gives you the finger? You can think, “Hey, at least that buttface won’t rear end me now.”
  4. When things suck, crack jokes. Find the light in the darkness. Find the funny in the horrible.
  5. When you start talking whack at yourself, turn it around. Instead of thinking, “Yeah, I never shut the drawers because I suck,” think “I am just super efficient and left that drawer open because I knew I’d have to go right back there.” Think this even after you slam your hip into the drawer.
  6. Don’t think about the past. Don’t worry too much about the future. Think about you right now. Right this second. Live in the now.
  7. When you fail at something, be chill. Pull out your inner Elmo and think about how you can learn from this and still get hugged. Most things aren’t end of the world.
  8. Surround yourself with people who aren’t assholes. Seriously. If everyone around you is an Eeyore or a cannibal or a backstabber, it’s going to get to you. Positive people help make you more positive. 

Live like an optimist especially if you’re a writer.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2020/07/new-study-reveals-just-how-many-thoughts-we-have-each-day.html

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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

Don’t Be a Passive Punk

So, I’ve been talking to a lot of my writers about passive voice lately and I thought I’d share it here on the blog.

So is you are a writer, one thing you might want to touch up as you go through your revisions is the passive voice. That’s when the subject of your sentence is the recipient of the action of the verb, right?

Whenever I write that, I think it sounds like gobbley-gook.

What I mean is this:

Active voice is when the subject makes the action.

Carrie loves manatees.

The writing coach worried about making money.

Passive voice is where the verb acts on the subject.

So that would be:

            Manatees are loved by Carrie Jones.

            The money was worried about by the writing coach.

Do you see how the doer comes after the thing that they’ve done?

Do you see the difference? It’s wordier and the verb is dominating the subject somehow.

How Do You Find Passive Voice In Your Story?

Look at a sentence and look at what’s getting done.

If nobody is doing that thing? Probably passive voice.

            Manatees are loved.

If the doer comes after the doing? Probably Passive voice.

            Manatees are loved by Carrie.

Random Things About the Passive Voice

It’s okay to have it sometimes. Sometimes it’s even necessary. It’s like a colonoscopy. You know you have to occasionally do it, but you don’t want to be doing it every day.

News stories use passive voice a lot because sometimes the reporter doesn’t know who did the action. If you don’t know or don’t care who did the action? It’s okay to use passive voice.

            A person was shot.

            A fire was set.

            A manatee was stolen.

Sometimes when you say something it doesn’t matter who said it. It’s just truth.

            Laws were created about manatees.

Sometimes what is being acted on is more important that the person doing the act.

            The manatees were loved by the random women from Maine.

Final Hint: Grammar Checkers That Are Automated Don’t Always Find That Passive Voice

They aren’t perfect. I know! Gasp!

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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

Make Your Setting Sexy

In my work as a writing coach and an editor, I read a lot of stories that don’t feel real. That might be because there are no senses involved. But the other big culprit is setting.

Every story takes place somewhere.

That’s right. Let me say it again.

Every story takes place somewhere.

And our job as a writer is to show the specific details of that setting, to give setting a presence in the story just as much as we give the plot and characters a presence in the story.

I’ve written before:

Setting has lovers and haters. It can be quite the polarizing part of the writer world.

The haters think of setting and the thing of description. Or they think of massive amounts of description that continues on forever and ever. The think setting equals boring.

The setting lovers think setting is the best thing in the whole universe. Their stories start with paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of mood and setting.

But no matter what camp you’re in, setting isn’t something that should be tacked onto a story. Setting is more than describing the living room. It creates the feeling of a story and its time, where it happens, its bit of the world. Poets and novelists of the past often make the landscape a character in their poem or their narrative. The claustrophobia of a small town like in Peyton Place or even Twilight’s moody darkness is part of the story and is an important aspect to the main characters’ moods and choices.

Writers who can visualize the setting and put that on the page are writers who transport their readers.

How do you make your settings amazing and sexy?

Make it surprising. Make how your characters interact with it matter.

We all expect someone to be moved at a sunrise or sunset’s beauty. What if your character is afraid of it?

Let your readers know what’s going on.

Keep them oriented in the scene. Don’t have the characters just floating out there in talking heads dialogue with no details or just all internal dialogue. Characters need to interact with the space.

Make your character interact with the setting on a big and small level.

Has your character been in their town their whole life and feels like it’s crushing her soul? Show that. That’s big-picture-interaction.

Does your character keep trying to scrub the dog drool off her wood floor? Show that. That’s small-picture-interaction.

Use All the Senses

I wrote about this earlier. It’s easy. Humans smell, feel, see, touch, hear and taste. Your characters should too. What they smell, feel, see, touch, hear and taste? That’s part of the setting.

Make it interesting

Every place is unique. Every setting has an aspect of difference. Bring those unique details out and have them matter to the story.

What Are The Three Types of Setting?

Wait what? Yep. You read that correctly. There are three types of setting.

Temporal – the era that the story is happening in.

Environmental – The geographical area

Individual – specific place in that area

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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

The Five Senses of Farts, Dangerous Croissant Animals, and Random Writing Tips About Settings

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
The Five Senses of Farts, Dangerous Croissant Animals, and Random Writing Tips About Settings
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The smell of a really bad fart at a sleepover. The sound of giggles after someone has been dutch ovened at that same sleepover. The touch of a Dorito on your tongue. The sight of Godzilla’s leg outside your window.

The five senses are so important in your story. Those details yank readers into the narrative. They associate it with their own really bad farts, giggles, processed cheese tastes and um–Godzilla moments–and have an emotional reaction and recognition.

That’s what you, the writer, want. You want your story to feel real. Incorporating the senses lets you do that.

Spoiler alert: A story doesn’t feel real if it isn’t fleshed out with sensory details.

Here are the five senses in case you forgot:

  1. Sight (eyes)
  2. Nose (smell)
  3. Taste (tongue)
  4. Touch (skin, hair)
  5. Hearing (ears)

Here are examples of sensory language:

  • His fart brought tears to her eyes. “Refried beans again, really?” (sense of smell)
  • He stuck the entire lemon half into his mouth, puckered and sucked. “This helps with the smell,” he said. (sense of taste)
  • His fart boomed beneath the covers and ended in a slow hiss. (sense of sound)
  • The silk of the sheets against her nose was not enough to keep the smell at bay. Damn it. (sense of touch)
  • The scaly leg took up the entire window. All she could see where reptilian scales, half oval, greenish, like big pieces of armor. (sense of sight)

Writing Tip of The Pod

A story without the senses is a story that’s dull, not real, and all in your head. You want to make it sexy. Sexy is the senses.

Dog Tip for Life

Live with all your senses. Explore the world through them. It’s all good. Smell the smells. Taste the smells. See the smells. Feel the smells. Hear the smells.

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.

Random Thoughts

This week we talked about women’s rights, COVID vaccines and also weird news. The link to the news is here. And the story about the deadly croissant animal is here. Stay weird everyone!

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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

Why You Should Write Right Now

After another one of my books was published, a teen wrote me that they’d felt desperate and alone and said, “I finally feel like I’ve been seen. It helped so much. So much.”

I’ve been copyediting an anthology about self-love and it’s an interesting concept in the middle of our second pandemic winter when everything feels a bit impossible for some of us as we deal with the losses of friends, family, and income.

It makes me think a lot about how do we take care of ourselves when so many of our outlets aren’t there any longer.

How do we remember to take care of ourselves when we worry so much about things beyond our control, about a world that seems to need more and more from us while we’re sometimes barely hanging on?

That’s an especially big question for writers. I’ve had so many students and writers this year tell me that it doesn’t feel like they should be writing now because there’s so much pain and loss in the world.

But the thing is?

That’s exactly when you should. Our stories, even when they are fiction, even when they go unpublished, become a document for our time, they are our outlets and our bits of showing the future what it was like for us.

And the thing is? You want all the stories to be out there. Not just stories written by one demographic. All stories. Your story is part of that too. You get to write your own stories and to hell with people who tell you that you shouldn’t.

Silent.

No outlet.

No voice.

Is that what you want to be? During this pandemic stories are even more important. During the times when we confront inequities in our society, stories are even more important.

Your story.

It’s worth being out there.

During times of great distress, many people turn to storytelling or art or creating because that’s how they get through it, process it, and also how they end up influencing the world towards good.

A couple years ago I wrote a book and I got an email where someone told me that my book had saved their life. That’s hard to get my head around. It wasn’t a big, deep book. It was adventurous.

After another one of my books was published, a teen wrote me that they’d felt desperate and alone and said, “I finally feel like I’ve been seen. It helped so much. So much.”

That wasn’t my intention, but oh my gosh what a gift that kid gave me there

You can’t make a difference unless you give yourself permission to act.

You’ve got this. Go write. Go art. Go sing. Go create. The world needs more beauty and more thought in it. You can be a part of that. Channel your fear into passion. Channel your silence into a pursuit. Be true. Be real. And you’ll end up saving someone.


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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

Love Your Way Through It

Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

It’s really easy to get all wrapped up in status and ambition, to fall into the syndrome where you think the grass is always greener everywhere except your lawn, to be jealous at other people’s accolades or family’s or looks or luck.

            Shakespeare said that comparisons are odious. And that long-dead white guy was right.

            Comparisons make you feel like poop.

            I know that a lot of people try to make themselves feel better by comparing themself to others and find the others lesser.

I’ve had people do it to me all my life. I bet you have, too.

My husband before Shaun was a hospital CEO in a small, local hospital. I was volunteering to decorate for one of the hospital’s two annual fundraisers. I was up on a ladder wearing my favorite Snoopy shoes and jeans, hardly hospital CEO wife clothes, but good stuff for climbing ladders, hauling tables and putting out poinsettias.

My hair was its natural color and in a lopsided ponytail. I had no make-up on.

I’ll never forget these two wealthy ladies about two decades older than me loudly saying, “What does he see in her?”

            I tottered on the ladder a bit and the person helping me knew that I heard. It would have been impossible not to hear.

            “Don’t listen to them. They have miserable small lives and they’re jealous. Just jealous shrews,” the helper said.

            She might have been right, but it didn’t matter right that second.

I heard their words and for a moment they hurt me, but then I just felt so sad for them. How lonely their lives must be if they had to say that about me. How sad.

All I could do was love them when I thought about the hurt that they must have had inside of their hearts.

            Neither of those women probably even remember that moment, but I do, and I also remember that I made a choice.

            I could have luxuriated in that hurt instead of acknowledging it, seeing it, and then letting it pass through me.

            I could have lashed out at them and matched their pettiness with my own.

            But instead I chose empathy. I had the luxury and safety of doing that because I’m secretly pretty secure in who I am. I love myself even when I suck. I chose to love them when they sucked, too.

            A translation of Dhammapada verse 223 makes it so that  Buddha once roughly said, “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.”

Some translations use ‘overpower’ rather than ‘silence.’

Overpower the angry man with love.

            Love your way through it.

            Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

Let’s all be strong together, okay?


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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!


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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!