How to Be Memorable

Sometimes in life we want to be memorable, right?

And other times? Not so much.

Shaun is so tall and formidable that he doesn’t have much choice in being memorable or not. Carrie? She can fade into walls if she wants to.

In writing, there are some pretty simple things you should do to make sure people remember your character.

How to Be Memorable When Making Your Self or Your Characters. Tips from NYT Bestselling children's book author Carrie Jones and her husband on their podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE
Quirky is key

MENTION THE ACTUAL CHARACTER A LOT

Talk about that character every 30-40 pages. People forget the characters they don’t see. This is true in real life too. Remind people you are out there.

Give them a cool name. Carrie Jones? Not a cool name.

GIVE.

Just give. In real life and in writing, giving matters. People remember kindness.

GIVE THEM SOMETHING THAT MAKES THEM STAND OUTPHYSICALLY AND INTRINSICALLY.

What do I mean by that? Give them something like a tattoo, a way of bending their foot to the side when they talk. Give them a strong personality trait. Do the work to make them memorable.

FOCUS.

In real life, it’s the people who focus on one goal, strategy, process who tend to make a big bang.

EMBRACE YOUR QUIRKINESS.

This is linked to that memorable trait. Being quirky might make you a bullied kid, which is basically hell, but when you’ve embraced that difference, your originality, your authenticity? That’s when people remember you.

If you’re in a room full of a dozen white guys in suits, none of them are going to pop out. It’s the woman in the flowing skirt that you’re going to end up remembering.

dogs-are-smarter-than-people_std.original-1

DOG TIP OF THE POD:

Barking is a good way to remind people that you exist even if you’re stuck in the house during a blizzard. They will still hear you if you bark!

Remind people that you’re out there. Silence isn’t memorable. It’s oppressive. Your voice deserves to be heard.

WRITING TIP OF THE CAST:

What makes your book characters memorable also makes you memorable. Don’t be afraid to be your authentic, original quirky self.

PLEA FOR HELP

Hey, um… if you enjoyed this podcast and post, we’d be so super grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest or subscribing to it on iTunes or Stitcher or rating it there or somewhere. Thank you! We know it’s a super small thing, but it means so much to us.

WRITING NEWS AND STUFF

I (Carrie) will be in Ontario Canada presenting this weekend and at Book Expo America, June 1, at 11:30 in the Lerner booth. Come visit!

Bar Harbor Fourth of july lobster parade
In case you’re looking for me. I am the lobster.

THE CLASS AT THE WRITING BARN

The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support! is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money. There are more details at the link.

AND HERE IS THE LINK TO THE ACTUAL PODCAST.

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How To Be Memorable as Your Self or Your Character

How To Be Memorable as Your Self or Your Character

 
 
00:00 / 00:18:23
 
1X
 

Sometimes in life we want to be memorable, right?

And other times? Not so much.

Shaun is so tall and formidable that he doesn’t have much choice in being memorable or not. Carrie? She can fade into walls if she wants to.

In writing, there are some pretty simple things you should do to make sure people remember your character.

Mention the ACTUAL CHARACTER A LOT

Talk about that character every 30-40 pages. People forget the characters they don’t see. This is true in real life too. Remind people you are out there.

Give them a cool name. Carrie Jones? Not a cool name.

Give.

Just give. In real life and in writing, giving matters. People remember kindness.

Give them something that makes them stand out physically and intrinsically.

What do I mean by that? Give them something like a tattoo, a way of bending their foot to the side when they talk. Give them a strong personality trait. Do the work to make them memorable.

Focus.

In real life, it’s the people who focus on one goal, strategy, process who tend to make a big bang.

Embrace Your Quirkiness.

This is linked to that memorable trait. Being quirky might make you a bullied kid, which is basically hell, but when you’ve embraced that difference, your originality, your authenticity? That’s when people remember you.

If you’re in a room full of a dozen white guys in suits, none of them are going to pop out. It’s the woman in the flowing skirt that you’re going to end up remembering.

Dog Tip for Life
Dog Tip for Life

Dog Tip of the Pod:

Barking is a good way to remind people that you exist even if you’re stuck in the house during a blizzard. They will still hear you if you bark!

Remind people that you’re out there. Silence isn’t memorable. It’s oppressive. Your voice deserves to be heard.

Writing Tip of the Cast:

What makes your book characters memorable also makes you memorable. Don’t be afraid to be your authentic, original quirky self.

We know all about quirky. These are NOT our normal clothes.

Plea for help

Hey, um… if you enjoyed this podcast and post, we’d be so super grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest or subscribing to it on iTunes or Stitcher or rating it there or somewhere. Thank you! We know it’s a super small thing, but it means so much to us.

WRITING NEWS AND STUFF

I (Carrie) will be in Ontario Canada presenting this weekend and at Book Expo America, June 1, at 11:30 in the Lerner booth. Come visit!

Carrie Jones Books blog, NYT bestselling children's book author and podcaster and teacher
This is what I look like so you know who to say ‘hi’ to. These are my normal clothes.

THE CLASS AT THE WRITING BARN

The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support! is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money. There are more details at the link

PRAISE FOR CARRIE JONES AND WRITE. SUBMIT. SUPPORT:

“Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

I swear, I did not pay anyone to say that. I didn’t even ask them to say it. The Writing Barn just told me that the feedback had intensely kind things like that. People are nice.

FLYING AND ENHANCED – THE YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

These books are out there in the world thanks to Tor.

What books? Well, cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal

TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME

Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.

And finally, I’ve added a contact form in case you’d like to be on my email list. If you subscribe to my posts via WordPress then those come to your email whenever I post. To do that click on SUBSCRIBE, but this is to sign up for my random newsletter, which I basically only do when something big happens like a book is coming out or I’m going on tour or something  or I’m giving away a story for free – so basically two to three times a year.

Remembering the Boston Marathon

I first posted this on the night of the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013, and the post was picked up by our local newspaper, the Huffington Post and a couple magazines. People asked me to be interviewed. I denied those requests. I did that because I don’t think this is my story any more than anyone else’s story. I did that because I didn’t want any 10-seconds of fame because of what I witnessed and wrote about.

I never wrote about everything I witnessed.
I never posted all the photos I took.
I never will.

And I am glad of that.

But I will post this almost every year to make sure that I remember. I apologize for the double post today.

I used to be a newspaper reporter and an editor. And there is something cold and limiting in putting down the facts of a story. The facts (when we can discern them) are important, but the truth of stories? That truth is embedded somewhere else. It is in the details, the feelings, the hearts of those involved. I sometimes think that poems and songs come closer to the truth of people and even of terror incidents than a news story ever will.

But still, there has been a verdict. I am glad of that. I am glad that at least one chapter of the many stories that began when brothers bombed a marathon has ended.

Today, people ran the marathon again and I am so glad of that. So glad.

Since that marathon, my friend, Lori, has run it again, still passionately trying to raise money for Dana Farber Cancer research. Another friend, Erin Dionne has written about being in the jury selection pool. Their stories continue, as do so many others. And some have ended.

Here is my original post that I wrote the day of the marathon:

So, I was at the Boston Marathon today to take pictures of my friend, Lori, running and then crossing the finish line. Before the marathon, I had lunch with my daughter Em. She was nervous.

“I have a bad feeling,” she said. “You need to be careful.”

“You have no faith in me. I am a perfectly capable person,” I said.

“I just am worried.”

“I will be fine,” I told her.

But I did several things that I don’t normally do. I didn’t take the T. I chose to walk from Cambridge to mile 25.5 of the race route. I figured out the T route and everything, but I just didn’t want to go on it. Walking was healthier, I figured. I was going to watch a marathon.

So, I walked and set up for taking pictures. I didn’t expect to see Lori for an hour, so I hung out with some people from New Jersey, talked to some cops. I took some pictures and kept wondering if I should walk the rest of the route to get ready for when Lori crossed the finish line. It was close. Logically, I knew I should, but my gut kept me back. One of my friends called, and as we talked the first explosion went off.

“What was that?” he said.

“That was bad,” I answered. “It was an explosion. It was absolutely an explosion.”

Then the second explosion happened. And I hung up. And I looked at the two closest cops. And the cops both lifted up their portable radios to their ears. That was not a good sign. Then they began to run towards the finish line along a parallel road. That was a worse sign, especially since one of the cops looked like he never ran.

Ever.

I followed them. It smelled of smoke. It smelled of fear and confusion. Cops and medics and volunteers swarmed the area. Blood pooled on clothing and the ground. Debris was everywhere. People were crying and hysterical. The police turned me around. So, I turned around. I regret that now. I don’t know how I could have helped. I am not a trained emergency medical technician. I regret that, too. There were cops and medics everywhere. Their shiny, reflective yellow vests were like pieces of good and brave in a smoky land of pain. I wanted to tell each of them how heroic they were. There was no time for that. They were busy saving people.

So, I went back to where I had been taking pictures. Runners were wandering around still, confused, cold. They had a combination of runner’s fatigue and shock. Shivering and stunned, they were desperately trying to contact family members. Some walked in circles because they didn’t know how not to keep moving, but they also didn’t know where to go. They had spent 25 miles moving forward, towards this one destination called the finish line and now they were stuck, aimless. Their ultimate goal was suddenly gone, devastated by two bombs. Those of us who were there to watch, gave them our cell phones so they could call family members who were waiting for them. They were waiting for them right by the bombs. We gave the runners money so they could get on the T when it worked again. We gave them our coats.



“How will I give it back to you?” one runner asked as she shrugged on a dark green fleece.

“You don’t need to. You never need to,” a man next to me told her.

“I have to,” she murmured. “I have to.”

I gave away my coat. I passed around my phone.

One woman said, “Please tell me it wasn’t the subway. My kids are on the subway.”

“It wasn’t the subway,” I tell her. “It was the finish line.”

She cocked her head. “What? No? How?”

That was the question: How? We knew by then that it was probably a bomb, and the hows of making a bomb are easy, but the ‘how could you” is a harder question. How could someone kill runners and spectators? How could humans ever think it’s okay to hurt each other? How could anyone commit violence in big acts with bombs or small acts with fists.

How could we? How could humanity?

“How?” she kept saying. “How?”

And then the police moved the runners out, detouring them down another street. And then they told us, the watchers, to go. So, we left, a massive exodus towards the bridge and Massachusetts Avenue. People were still sobbing. A man on a corner was reading from Boston.com on his iPhone trying to find out exactly what happened. People stood around him, strangers listening to him say the words, “explosions… injuries…”

Three girls were crying, young and scared and broken inside.

“They are so hurt. They hurt them. They are so hurt,” one girl kept repeating.

We kept walking, moving forward because we didn’t know what else to do.

As I walked across the bridge, a woman on the phone sobbed to her friend, “It was so big. The explosion was so big. I dropped everything in my hands. I dropped my lens cap. I dropped my purse. I dropped it all. I called my sister. I called my friend. I called everyone. I just need to talk to someone. I feel so alone. It was awful. People were missing their legs. It was awful.”

And then she saw me, this talking woman, and I nodded at her and I grabbed her hand and squeezed it. She squeezed back. We kept walking.

A leather-jacket guy next to me was telling another guy in plaid that he had no way home. I gave him my cell. It worked. We kept walking.

I made sure that Lori’s husband and daughter were okay even though they’d been waiting right across the street from where the bomb exploded. They were. I knew Lori was okay already because I had been tracking her route. I’d never been so happy that she was running hurt and that was making her slower than normal. As I was feeling thankful, a man in front of me went down on his knees on the sidewalk. It looked like he was praying, but he was really sobbing. We all stopped walking. People patted his back. People murmured things. He stood up and we kept walking again. We walked and walked and gradually the crowd thinned, and gradually the sobs lessoned. But the sirens? The sirens grew louder and more continuous. They were forever sirens. They did not stop.

And so many people will not be able to walk ever again. And at least three people are dead. And so many people have had their hearts and bodies broken at this marathon that should be a celebration of human endurance and spirit and will.

And so many people helped others, making tourniquets out of yarn, carrying the injured, soothing the shocked, giving away their clothes to keep runners warm. And so many people have hearts of goodness. We can’t forget that. Not ever. Not today. Not in Boston. Not ever. Because that is exactly what the Boston Marathon is about: It’s about not giving up, not giving in to pain. It’s about that celebration of surviving and enduring against all odds, against everything. It’s about humanity. No bomber can take that away. Not ever.

Five Things That Make Me Go “Ick” – My Biggest Book Turnoffs and People Turnoffs

So one day I was driving Em to school and Bob and Sheri, this talk show, was on the radio and the hosts were having callers tell them about what was a huge turn-off. You know, what is it that happens when you are on a date that makes a great big red light flash in your head and you go: WHOA! THIS DUDE/DUDETTE IS NOT FOR ME!

I’ve had a lot of these moments. *Cough. Cough* However, I’ve decided to make a top five list. Yes, I am limiting myself to five.

TOP FIVE THINGS POTENTIAL LOVE INTERESTS HAVE DONE OR SAID TO ME THAT MADE ME GO ICK!

*Note: All of these have actually happened to me before.

1. A CRIMINALLY Abusive Past

Finding a restraining order under the front seat of his car on your first date when he is out of the car pumping gas.

Actually, my dog found this and I had to take it out of his doggy mouth. Let’s just say protection orders are never good to find under the seat on a first date.

He ended up stalking me for awhile.

2. General Freakyness

He has an apartment with absolutely no pictures on the walls, no knickknacks, no litter, no nothing.

Nothing says serial killer like this. Honestly, I was looking for big, blue tarps and duct tape.

3. MESSY and/or Loud Eating

They possess the inability to get food in their mouth and instead gets it in their hair, my hair, their chin, the table, the floor, etc….

It’s just gross. Plus, it’s a waste of food.

4.Putting on the Passive-Aggressive Compliments.

Telling me I look like a bag lady. Not charming. Even if you add in ‘cute,” as in…. Hey, you look like a bag lady if bag ladies were cute.

To be fair, though, I was wearing a lot of clothes. Seriously. Maine is cold in winter. Sometimes you have to layer. A lot.


5. Being A Horrible Human Being

Telling me that I look like a good breeder because even though I don’t have hips, I’m pale and I have blue eyes? Sorry. Racists and guys who think of women as ‘breeders’ are not a turn on. Ever. Also, you don’t know what is hanging out in my DNA and heritage.

Hint: I’m not as white as I present, but man? Do I present as really white? I truly do. Is that my race? Yes, it is. Unless, you’re a eugenist and then… no.

So what about you? Have you ever been on a date where you were like: Nope. Nuh-uh. Never again.

Five things that make me go "ick" about books and life partners. Things that are super turnoffs
ICK!

And as I was thinking about this, I realized that there are ways books do this to me, too. Everyone’s turn-offs are different, but here are my current top five.

The love interest is abusive and it’s supposed to be a romance. 

Yeah. No. Enough said.

Everyone is white and straight and rich and able bodied. 

Because… well, I don’t like books that are that kind of creepy.

Really, really bad grammar AND SPELLING.

Stuff like:

‘Your a villain’, he sayid.

‘No freakin’g, way, in a million years” ! she said,

Characters that don’t sound like people.

You know what I mean, right? There’s a super famous, multi-million dollar book that became a movie that’s a first person narrative and I swear the main character sounds like a pretentious 50-year-old man who wears a lot of tweed and only drinks craft scotch while sculling. To be fair, I think I’m the only person who feels this way because all my friends adore this book.

Or the books without contractions and everyone sounds like a computer-generated scam call. I’m totally not into that unless it’s on purpose for a specific character and they get called out on it.

Incest

Yeah. No. Again. It’s not something I can handle.

GIRLS WHO LOOK IN THE MIRROR RIGHT AWAY

I don’t care about what the character looks like enough to read a paragraph about her looking in the mirror and talking about what she looks like AS IF SHE HAS NEVER SEEN HERSELF BEFORE!

I can about what the character does, thinks, says, feels, but her looks? His looks? Not so much.

Marsie only cares about whether or not people will feed her. And also if they pet her. Not how they look.

How about you? What are you biggest people turn-offs? Your biggest book turn-offs? Teach us all what not to do! And how does this have to do with my Monday Motivation theme? Knowing what we don’t like? It helps us to go after and experience what we love.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be so super grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest. Thank you! I know it’s a super small thing, but it means so much to me.

carriejonesbooks.blog Writing tips and help from NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones

WRITING NEWS AND STUFF

Okay. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but I earned out my picture book biography of Sara Emma Edmonds!!!!

This is such a huge thing for me that I can’t begin to tell you how cool it feels especially since it’s with this picture book. Sara was this cool woman who dressed like a man so she could fight in the U.S. Civil War, but then her superiors asked her to dress like a woman and spy on the other side. So, she was a woman dressed like a man dressed like a woman and taking names the entire time. So amazing. Thank you so much to everyone who bought it!

Unknown

 

THE CLASS AT THE WRITING BARN

The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn classthat they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support!is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.

PRAISE FOR CARRIE JONES AND WRITE. SUBMIT. SUPPORT:

“Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

I swear, I did not pay anyone to say that. I didn’t even ask them to say it. The Writing Barn just told me that the feedback had intensely kind things like that.

FLYING AND ENHANCED – THE YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

These books are out there in the world thanks to Tor.

What books? Well, cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal

TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME

Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.

Get Thee Behind Me, Satan

This post about Friday Writing Life is basically about me almost dying thanks to the devil and an ankle brace.

I go through most of my life feeling pretty lucky. I have a place to live. I have food. I’m not under constant threat of violence. That’s all pretty sweet and it hasn’t always been that way for me.

And part of the way that it’s happened is that I just keep working and doing and going after things, but not in a despot way, but in an “Everyone let’s make this world better together!” kind of way.

Part of determining what you’re passionate about is asking yourself if you’d do what you’re doing even if you made no money at all. For me, being a writer, is just something I do. I can’t imagine not doing it. And I feel lucky and blessed that I get to do it for a living and also help other people do it, too.

I like that so freaking much.

I like it when I get to witness  other people shine.

And it impacts me way too much when they suffer, or make mistakes, and recently a scam call made such a horrible mistake that I thought I’d share it with you.

This week, I got this phone call from “headquarters” about how I had “four complaints against me” and the “local cops” would come get me unless I called a specific number back in 24 hours.

And here’s the thing – people in positions of power who are threatening you with jail time for ‘four complaints,’ don’t call the local authorities, ‘cops.’ They call them police. Or law enforcement. But not ‘cops.’ Word choice matters. That’s your writing lesson of the post.

But….

The call made me think of the other interesting and randomly threatening phone calls that have happened in my life.  I think my favorite ones are where I am threatened not by ‘local cops,’ but by the actual devil himself. Because honestly? If you’re going to get threatened why not by the ultimate in evil, am I right?

Crank Calls from the Devil. The writing life.
Or just a devil duck?

So, anyway, those of you who are my friends on Facebook heard how I got this crank call on another Monday night awhile ago.

That time, the caller said, “Prepare to die, Satan claims you, Carrie.”

And I was all, “Hm. Wait! Can you not hang up so quickly, creepy-voiced man, because I would like to try to discuss this and maybe argue Satan out of it!”

But he hung up.

Apparently, Satan does not like to argue with random children’s book writers? Who knew?

And I was all, “Man, that was so creepy it was kind of funny.”

This is pretty much my response to everything creepy. Floating apparition? I laugh. Possible UFO? I laugh. Weird man running away after ringing my doorbell? Hold on, while I giggle. It’s sort of my defense mechanism for all bad things; I fight them with humor. It’s either that or screaming and screaming hurts your throat if you do it for too long.

I have other defense mechanisms. These are called dogs.

So, for the whole night I was basically all,  “Dogs. Come Velcro yourselves to my sides.”

Gabby: Carrie, we are always Velcroed to your sides. Geesh. *shakes doggy head*

And then because I had no attention span I kind of forgot about the call from the devil because I was busy writing and living and writing more.

But two days later, I almost died.

Really.

I was driving to this cool conference of librarians in Maine and I was on the turnpike and wearing the ankle brace from hell. That point of origin is just like the devil I guess, although originally he was from heaven.

The brace, which was on my left foot, suddenly flopped onto the brake. Now, basically the ankle brace from hell was so heavy and thick I could stand on a puppy and not notice. So, when the car lurched and lost 40 mph (like I was going 70 and then was going 30)  JUST AS I WAS PASSING A LOGGING TRUCK (because – Maine), and the car’s tires made this weird noise AND the car behind me wiggled all around to avoid the collision (Nice Driving, Mr. Car Driving Guy, btw), I realized that something was going on.

Fortunately, the brace was not on a poor little puppy.

Unfortunately, it was on my brake.

This is a brace about 1/4 the size of my monster. 

And I yelled, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” because obviously all the Friday nights that the Albertsons brought me to Pioneer Girls at Calvary Baptist Church in New Hampshire had conditioned me more than I realized. They were trying so hard to save my first-grade self’s soul. Apparently, Satan thought they failed.

Anyways, I moved the brace and kept going and then got to Augusta (where the conference was) and totally cried. I mean, I sobbed.

Seriously. I was a total wuss because:

1. I did not want that crank caller to be right.
2. I did not want to die because of my stupid ankle brace from hell.
3. I almost got the people in the car behind me hurt, too, and that’s something I couldn’t have lived with.

So, yeah. If you feel like someone is about to crank you and tell you that you’re about to die and that the devil has claimed your soul: DO NOT PICK UP THE PHONE!

That’s my brilliant life lesson here. Don’t pick up the phone if the devil is calling, or even if you just think it’s a scam caller who is going to send the ‘local cops’ after you. Life is too short to have the evil beside you or in front of you or blabbering on into your ear. Put it behind you where it belongs.

WSSTypeWriter-300x300

WRITING NEWS AND APPEARANCES AND STUFF:

Okay. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but I earned out my picture book biography of Sara Emma Edmonds!!!!

This is such a huge thing for me that I can’t begin to tell you how cool it feels especially since it’s with this picture book. Sara was this cool woman who dressed like a man so she could fight in the U.S. Civil War, but then her superiors asked her to dress like a woman and spy on the other side. So, she was a woman dressed like a man dressed like a woman and taking names the entire time. So amazing. Thank you so much to everyone who bought it!

Unknown

 

THE CLASS AT THE WRITING BARN

The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support!is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.

PRAISE FOR CARRIE JONES AND WRITE. SUBMIT. SUPPORT:

“Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

I swear, I did not pay anyone to say that. I didn’t even ask them to say it. The Writing Barn just told me that the feedback had intensely kind things like that.

FLYING AND ENHANCED – THE YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

These books are out there in the world thanks to Tor.

What books? Well, cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal

TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME

Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.

 

Dogs Are Smarter Than People – the podcast.

Shaun and I are total dorks in really different ways. You can tell when you listen to the podcasts, which come out every Tuesday.

We give writing tips, life tips, random thoughts. Occasionally, the dogs bark. Thank you so much to the thousands of people who have listened already. You guys are really amazing and our minds are basically blown by all of your support.

 

 

 

Cooking With a Writer: Black Bean Soup Recipe That is Allegedly Spicy But is It?

There are certain really important questions in this world.

Why does asparagus have to smell soooo rotten when it cooks?

And why does my asparagus have cool googly eyes?

Black bean soup recipe
And a hat

Why does my dog Gabby have to lick my fingers every time I sit down and type?

Cooking with a Writer Black Bean Soup Recipe
Fingers are yummy!

No, Gabby, “fingers are yummy” is not a good answer. 

And why does Gabby think the UPS man is evil incarnated?

Gabby: No, that prom dress is evil incarnate. What were you thinking?

*sobs

One of my major questions of all time is why is black bean soup not so tasty?

Like I love refried black beans. I love black beans in a regular way. Why not the soup?

I tried a recipe to find out.

Black Bean Soup – Allegedly Spicy

It’s soup. It’s made from canned black beans.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (enough to coat the pot's bottom)
  • 2 onions (chopped, diced, cut)
  • 2 celery stalky things – ribs? Ribs sounds creepy (chopped)
  • 5 garlic cloves or 7 TBS (Totally up to you, but mince it)
  • 5 tsp cumin
  • .5 tsp red pepper flakes (This was not spicy enough for me)
  • 4 cans black beans (rinse. drain. )
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper (as much as feels good to you)

You can garnish. It will impact the calorie count, obviously, but it's way more fun – cilantro, avocado, cheese, tortilla chips

    1. Find a pot. Study the pot. Is it big enough? 

    2. Put the olive oil in the pot. Turn the burner onto medium. Watch the oil get warm. Ponder life. 

    3. Wonder why you’re writer.

    4. When the oil is shimmering like a vampire in a successful young adult novel/movie franchise, add the onions, celery, carrot and maybe salt if you are into that. Cook 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft and mushy. 

    5. Think about how you changed those veggies from hard things into soft things. Feel powerful. Wish you could elicit that same kind of change in your main character and her story arc.

    6. Add garlic. Think about vampires. Wonder if world is ready for another vampire franchise. Add cumin and red pepper. Cook 30 seconds. HURRY! 

    7. 30 seconds pass so quickly when you aren’t waiting for an agent to call. You have no time to ponder this. Instead, add all the beans and the broth. Turn the heat up enough to get a simmer.

    8. Lower the heat so that it’s a gentle simmer and keep it that way for 30 minutes.

    9. Cry. Because the world really isn’t ready for another vampire franchise yet even though you, personally, have written 374,012 words about vampires and love and garlic. 

    10. Stare at the social media outlet of your choice for 30 minutes while your soup is simmering. Pretend like you’re going to use this time to write. 

    11. Don’t write. 

    12. Go back to the kitchen. Really super carefully get 4 cups of the soup (more if you like your soup thick like your prose and plot and descriptions). Blend/puree that soup in a blender. Be careful of steam. 

    13. Return blended up soupy stuff into the pot. Stir it all up. Add the cilantro if you want, lime, salt, and pepper. Taste it. 

    14. Eat that soup. It should be dark like the night that your story’s vampires emerge from, dark like your villain’s heart. 

    Black bean soup recipe
    Black bean soup recipe

    Gabby the Dog and Spartacus the Dog’s Verdict:  They won’t let us taste this. It’s all ‘black beans and dogs don’t mix’ and ‘You’re name is Spartacus not Fartacus.’ Humans….

    Man Verdict: This is delicious and filling. But I’m going to go have a third bowl anyways because I don’t believe in moderation.

    Me: I think it needs more cumin and spice and salt and cumin and lime and cumin.

    Man: There is no pleasing you.

    Me: I’m a writer. All I want to do is improve things. It’s how I am made.

    https://carriejonesbooks.blog Recipes with a Writer. Cooking With a Writer

    WRITING NEWS AND APPEARANCE AND STUFF:

    THE CLASS AT THE WRITING BARN

    The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support!is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.

    PRAISE FOR CARRIE JONES AND WRITE. SUBMIT. SUPPORT:

    “Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

    FLYING AND ENHANCED – THE YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

    Cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

    This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal

    TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME

    And finally, I made a little video for my TIME STOPPERS books.

    Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun

    Wednesday Bullying Post

    So Monday I posted about my own bullying experiences and mentioned DEAR BULLY, an anthology that I co-edited. That book happened because Megan Kelley Hall and I felt so powerless after hearing the stories of two girls. One was Phoebe Prince. Phoebe killed herself after being bullied over and over again. The other girl was a kindergarten student, Jasmin Lovin, who survived her bullying, but was having a horrible time with nightmares and fear.

    Carrie Jones Dear Bully 70 Authors tell their stories
    Dear Bully

    But the book was about more than just those two girls. Bullying is bigger than that and any identity factor or trait (real or perceived) can be used as a reason to deride and torment others.

    I felt so powerless to help these kids all over our country. So as an author, I did the only thing I could think of doing; I asked for stories from other authors, so kids who had the opportunity to read the book could realize that they weren’t alone.

    They weren’t. They aren’t.

    As I told the International Literacy Worldwide Association during an interview, “It (a person’s bullying story) was about kids who were bullied about their sexual orientation, their size, their parents; kids were bullied about anything.”

    The hope was that if we all shared how we had been bullied, kids could find hope in our survival, hope in the fact that some super cool authors like Z Brewer or Alyson Noel or R. L. Stine had survived and that they could too.

    I was absolutely blown away by everyone’s support and everyone’s stories. And it made me incredibly sad that so many of you have bullying stories and that so many of you are still affected by bullying or are being affected right now.

    I keep saying it breaks my heart but honestly my heart is shattering over and over again every time I hear a new story.

    But I’m also really happy and proud of everyone for sharing and wanting to help and wanting to make change. You are awesome.

    And now I’m going to tell some bullying stories from one person’s life. It’s not about me. It’s about my daughter, Em of Awesome, and she’s given me permission, I swear. Em would never categorize herself as either a bullied kid or a hero. I think that’s important somehow.

     

    Life lessons learned from bullying stories
    Little hiker buddy
    Life lessons learned from bullying stories
    A love of sweaters runs deep in this family

    BULLYING STORY 1

    So, when Em was four she went to a Waldorf nursery school. I took her there so she could know how to hang with other kids and also because I love the whole Waldorf philosophy which is, “the human being is fundamentally a spiritual being and that all human beings deserve respect as the embodiment of their spiritual nature.”

    So, Em had gone there for about a month when I came to pick her up. Her little cotton dress was all ripped and her face was splotched because she’d been crying. The teachers were all consoling and talking to another little girl, Hannah.

    Em launched herself into my arms and I said, “What happened, baby?” because that is what mommies ask.

    And she said, “Hannah threw me down and told me she was a lion and was going to eat me up and she ripped my dress and wouldn’t let me up.”

    And I hugged her and asked her what the teachers did and she said, “They are talking to Hannah.”

    And I said, “Did they talk to you?”

    And she said, “No.”

    So, I went and talked to the teachers (who are all lovely by the way) and I asked them what happened and they said the same thing as Em. And then they told me that Hannah had been jealous of Em who was somehow really good at sewing and reading (and basically everything – such is the curse of being Em) so Hannah was acting out her rage.

    And I asked if Hannah was told that it wasn’t cool to rip another girl’s dress, threaten to kill her, and tackle her. And they told me that they hadn’t because Hannah was merely expressing herself. This was the escalation of her being angry and jealous for awhile.

    And then I asked if anyone had comforted Em.

    And they said, “No. We were focusing on Hannah.”

    This is when I took Em out of the school forever because I honestly thought the spiritual growth and support of the bullied, beaten-up kid was just as important as the spiritual growth and worth of the kid who bullied.

    And also because I often have no chill.

    Carrie Jones Dear Bully 70 Authors tell their stories
    Em of Awesome
    Life Lesson here:

    If you feel your kid is in a situation that isn’t healthy for them and you have the means to take them out of that situation? Take them out.

    Random note: This same girl who lion attacked Em laughed at me for telling  over a decade later for telling her I needed more information before signing a petition about an issue in our town.

    Dear Bully. Bullying stories for survival
    The Emster in snow

    Bullying Story #2

    Em has been bullied again, but never to a horrible extreme, and she’s lucky. And she’s also turned into one of those kids/young adults who stands up for other people who are being bullied.

    One time a boy in third grade was tormenting a girl in the lunch line because of her eye shape. The girl was Aleutian. Em (who has always had wicked verbal skills) went up one side of him and down the other and announced to everyone, “M- has the most beautiful eyes ever.”

    M said, “You think so?”

    Em said, “Um… yeah. You are so pretty, especially your eyes.”

    And the girl told Em that the boy had been bullying her about her looks for forever. Em was the first one who heard and said something.

    Life Lesson Here:

    Standing up for others in the moment when they can’t manage it themselves, is okay. Another lesson, if you love someone. If you think the are beautiful, let them know.

    Bullying stories and life lessons learned
    Graduation

    Bullying Story #3

    Another time Em battled an Ed Tech who told one of her friends during PE that she threw the ball “like she was r-word.”

    (Sorry. I hate that word. I couldn’t write it.)

    Yes, the Ed Tech said the actual word.

    Yes, the Ed Tech worked with what the school district labels as ‘special needs’ kids.

    Yes, the Ed Tech saw nothing wrong with what she said.

    Yes, Em’s friend cried and cried about it. She had issues with reading back then. The Ed Tech knew that. She bullied her right into a sobbing mess on the gym floor.

    Life Lesson Here:

    Bullies can be grown-ups. We’ve all learned that, right? We just call them trolls when they are on social media.

    Life lessons learned from bullying stories
    Dog kissing helps


    Bullying Story #4

    We were at a big conference in LA full of children’s book writers and the key note speaker was hanging out talking by the pool. Em waited her turn and told him how much she loved his books. She was pretty small so he looked kind of shocked that she had read them. Anyways, he was super nice and they were talking when three women who wanted to be children’s writers came over and shoved her out of the way to talk to him.

    Seriously, they just pushed her.

    Keynote Author Man got this shocked/stunned looked and asked if Em was okay.

    The ladies? Didn’t even blink.

    Em wasn’t a person to them, and I think a lot of the time that’s what happens. Bullies forget that they are bullying people with feelings and coolness and quirks and emotions. Or maybe they don’t forget? Maybe they just don’t care.

    Life Lesson Here:

    Rudeness can happen in places where you least expect it. Adults ignoring, berating, tormenting, discounting kids? That’s something that makes an impact. Yes, those ladies were just rude once, so it’s not technically ‘bullying,’ but having the gatekeepers, the movers, the shakers, the people in positions of power and authority ignore you over and over again? That makes an impact.

    Life lessons learned from bullying stories
    She is embarrassed about this shirt. I am embarrassed about my hat.

    Em was a quiet kid, but she was fierce, and she was so lucky that she has had the opportunity to be so  fierce and strong and what kills me is that so many of us don’t. So many of us don’t have the tools to keep dealing with bullies over and over again. So many of us don’t know that other people have had to deal with it, too. So many of us don’t realize that we aren’t alone, that we aren’t the only one with our dress ripped, or called names, or physically attacked or pushed aside by women who want to write stories for us, but more than that, they want to talk to the semi-famous man.

    Life lessons learned from bullying stories
    Dogs make you stronger

    That’s why we all have to do whatever small thing we can. That might be standing up like Em; it might be joining a Facebook page; it might be telling our stories; it might just be giving someone a hug. It might be changing ourselves so that when someone calls us out on bad behavior we don’t get defensive and stubborn but we actually listen and care about their feelings more than our own just for a moment at least.

    I know. I know… It seems so little. But it’s something.

    Life lessons learned from bullying stories
    Em as Black Widow for Halloween

    WHAT I’VE TRIED TO DO

    So, I can’t save anyone, really. All I can do is listen, give out smelly stickers, and share my own stories. Sometimes those stories are super fun and inspiring, like the NEED series or TIME STOPPERS or THE SPY WHO PLAYED BASEBALL. 

    Sometimes those stories? They are full of pain.

    I’ve recently contributed to the anthology THINGS WE HAVEN’T SAID and Megan Kelley Hall and I co-edited another anthology, DEAR BULLY, which was an effort of writers, readers, bloggers and people to raise awareness about bullying. The money we raise from Dear Bully’s royalties continues each year to support programs meant to raise awareness about bulling and support those who have suffered. I am so grateful for that opportunity.

    But it doesn’t feel like enough, you know? Nothing ever feels like enough.

    DO GOOD WEDNESDAY

    Writing tips and help from NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones
    Do Good Wednesday!

    If you’re a survivor of bullying, please know that you aren’t alone. Check out this website for some resources. And if you are a person who bullies? Try to get some help too. Your life can be so much better than it is now.  Let’s change our culture into something better.

     

    Adobe Spark-3 copy

    Writing News

    The Class at the Writing Barn

    The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support! is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.

    WSSTypeWriter-300x300

    Praise for Carrie Jones and Write. Submit. Support:

    “Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

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

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

    People are saying super nice things about me, which is so kind of them because helping people on their writing journeys and their craft and supporting them? That’s pretty boss, honestly.

    Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs
    The podcast of awesome

    The Podcast

    The podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE has a new episode about life tips, dog tips and writing advice that just came out yesterday.

     

     

    Flying and Enhanced – the Young Adult Science Fiction Series

    Cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

    This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking action – School Library Journal

    22310265_10155015429843008_7077529214549352143_n

    Sparty knows all about that. More info about FLYING is here and the rest of my books? Right here.

     

    Make Your Life and Your Writing Resonate

    The best kind of work is the kind that makes you messy (even if you’re a Virgo) inside and out.

    And for a lot of writers, especially writers for kids, our job isn’t just about making story; it’s about making a difference somehow in at least one kid’s life. That is a messy business because in order to make a difference, you have to dig deep, to go through a lot of dirt and mud and rock to get to what it is that matters to you and to your story and to your reader and/or life partners.

    When I go to schools, I always tell the kids that one of the important steps to becoming the best writers you can be is to live the biggest life you can live. To not risk life or jail time, but to have adventures, to do things that you would never expect yourself doing.

    YOUR LIFE IS YOUR STORY. MAKE IT A BIG ONE.

    Big stories have conflict, and none of us are really into conflict in our lives, but it’s the conflict that allows our stories to have meaning and resonance.

    Big stories have awkward moments and worries. Our characters and our selves feel overwhelmed. We feel like we can’t make it sometimes. That’s part of what makes surviving such a sweet triumph.

    Being a writer is about more than craft. It’s about the story of how to be a writer, your story. It’s part of the bigger story of your life.

    Being a writer is about more than craft. It's about life and resonance and cohesion.
    Writing is life.

     

    EVERY LESSON ABOUT WRITING CRAFT IS ACTUALLY A LESSON ABOUT LIFE.

    Talking about paying attention to detail in your scene? It’s the same as paying attention to the details in your real life.

    Talking about traits of your character and how to make them heroes (or not)? It’s the same as talking about the traits that make you the you that you so beautifully are.

    Talking about resolution to your story is the same as talking about resolution to your relationships, to your current conflict, to your own life and death.

    I know, right? Mind blown.

    In every story we write there needs to be some logic and there needs to be some spirit or resonance.

    What makes the logic of the story?

    That comes from plot, pacing, character, and theme. You start your story with a vision and then the other elements are honed and refined to express that vision.

    The logic is the structure of the story, how it all works together. It’s how your plot isn’t just action, but a movement forward towards an end point – and how that movement forward makes sense and works together with the character, the theme, the pacing.

    Events that happen must make the character react and act.

    Creating resonance and cohesion in your life and your story. Tips on how to make life better.
    Resonate

    AND RESONANCE?  WHAT’S RESONANCE?

    It’s the story’s value. It’s the universal nature of the story. It’s what makes the reader’s heart and mind go, “A-ha!”

    It’s what makes you remember the story. We’ve all met people, read books, watched movies or shows or heard songs and forgotten them, but the ones that resonate? Those are the ones we remember.

    Think Hamilton.  Hamilton resonates across so many demographics partially because it’s the story about immigration and triumph and death, about idealism and it’s then set to something that feels more new in musical theater – the style of music, which is juxtaposed to the historical setting. It resonates.

    Think about the Nas song War (Birth of a Nation). This song connects Nat Turner to the protests of today and about fighting to make a better U.S. It resonates.

    It’s about theme and heart. It’s about authenticity and humanity. That’s what resonates.

    SO HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR STORY RESONATE?

    Think about what your story is really about on the deepest level.

    HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR LIFE RESONATE?

    Same thing. Think about what your life is really about on the deepest level.

    dogs-are-smarter-than-people_std.original-1

    Dog Tip for Life

    Get dirty as much as you can. Dirt means you’re living. Dirt is real. Dirt is life.

    Getting Messy makes you a better writer. carriejonesbooks.blog
    dog tip for life

    Writing Tip of the Pod – When you’re writing, don’t be afraid to have messy, uncomfortable things happen to your characters. A story with no conflict is not a story.

    Advice about adding resonance and cohesion to your story
    Bob? Yuri? Scary?

    Random Bonus Picture from Random Thought Time

    This is Bob. Or maybe Yuri? He is in our house. Shaun mentions him in the podcast. Bob/Yuri frightens me even though he has no arms.

    Here’s a direct link to the podcast feed.

    Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs
    The podcast of awesome

    Writing News – Carrie’s

    img_1604

    Book Expo America

    Carrie will be signing copies of The Spy Who Played Baseball at Book Expo America on June 1 at 11:30 a.m.

    WSSTypeWriter-300x300

    THE CLASS AT THE WRITING BARN

    The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support!is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.

    PRAISE FOR CARRIE JONES AND WRITE. SUBMIT. SUPPORT:

    “Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

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

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

    People are saying super nice things about me, which is so kind of them because helping people on their writing journeys and their craft and supporting them? That’s pretty boss, honestly.

    FLYING AND ENHANCED – THE YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

    Cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

    This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal

    Sparty knows all about that. More info about that series and all of Carrie’s books is here.

     

    Make Your Life and Your Writing Resonate

    Make Your Life and Your Writing Resonate

     
     
    00:00 / 00:17:19
     
    1X
     

    The best kind of work is the kind that makes you messy (even if you’re a Virgo) inside and out.

    And for a lot of writers, especially writers for kids, our job isn’t just about making story; it’s about making a difference somehow in at least one kid’s life. That is a messy business because in order to make a difference, you have to dig deep, to go through a lot of dirt and mud and rock to get to what it is that matters to you and to your story and to your reader and/or life partners.

    When Carrie goes to schools, she always tells the kids that one of the important steps to becoming the best writers you can be is to live the biggest life you can live. To not risk life or jail time, but to have adventures, to do things that you would never expect yourself doing.

    Digging deep allows us to find out what it is we truly want out of our lives and stories.
    Dirt is good sometimes

    Your life is your story. Make it a big one.

    Big stories have conflict, and none of us are really into conflict in our lives, but it’s the conflict that allows our stories to have meaning and resonance.

    Big stories have awkward moments and worries. Our characters and our selves feel overwhelmed. We feel like we can’t make it sometimes. That’s part of what makes surviving such a sweet triumph.

    Being a writer is about more than craft. It’s about the story of how to be a writer, your story. It’s part of the bigger story of your life.

    Being a writer is about more than craft. It's about life and resonance and cohesion.
    Writing is life.

    Every lesson about writing craft is actually a lesson about life.

    Talking about paying attention to detail in your scene? It’s the same as paying attention to the details in your real life.

    Talking about traits of your character and how to make them heroes (or not)? It’s the same as talking about the traits that make you the you that you so beautifully are.

    Talking about resolution to your story is the same as talking about resolution to your relationships, to your current conflict, to your own life and death.

    I know, right? Mind blown.

    In every story we write there needs to be some logic and there needs to be some spirit or resonance.

    What makes the logic of the story?

    That comes from plot, pacing, character, and theme. You start your story with a vision and then the other elements are honed and refined to express that vision.

    The logic is the structure of the story, how it all works together. It’s how your plot isn’t just action, but a movement forward towards an end point – and how that movement forward makes sense and works together with the character, the theme, the pacing.

    Events that happen must make the character react and act.

    Creating resonance and cohesion in your life and your story. Tips on how to make life better.
    Resonate

    And resonance?  What’s Resonance?

    It’s the story’s value. It’s the universal nature of the story. It’s what makes the reader’s heart and mind go, “A-ha!”

    It’s what makes you remember the story. We’ve all met people, read books, watched movies or shows or heard songs and forgotten them, but the ones that resonate? Those are the ones we remember.

    Think Hamilton.  Hamilton resonates across so many demographics partially because it’s the story about immigration and triumph and death, about idealism and it’s then set to something that feels more new in musical theater – the style of music, which is juxtaposed to the historical setting. It resonates.

    Think about the Nas song War (Birth of a Nation). This song connects Nat Turner to the protests of today and about fighting to make a better U.S. It resonates.

    It’s about theme and heart. It’s about authenticity and humanity. That’s what resonates.

    So how do you make your story resonate?

    Think about what your story is really about on the deepest level.

    How do you make your life resonate?

    Same thing. Think about what your life is really about on the deepest level.

    Dog Tip for Life
    Dog Tip for Life

    Dog Tip for Life – Get dirty as much as you can. Dirt means you’re living. Dirt is real. Dirt is life.

    Getting Messy makes you a better writer. carriejonesbooks.blog
    dog tip for life

    Writing Tip of the Pod – When you’re writing, don’t be afraid to have messy, uncomfortable things happen to your characters. A story with no conflict is not a story.

    Writing Tip of the Podcast
    Writing Tip of the Podcast

    Random Bonus Picture from Random Thought Time

    This is Bob. Or maybe Yuri? He is in our house. Shaun mentions him in the podcast. Bob/Yuri frightens me even though he has no arms.

    Advice about adding resonance and cohesion to your story
    Bob? Yuri? Scary?

    Writing News – Carrie’s

    The Class at the Writing Barn

    The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn classthat they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support!is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.

    WSSTypeWriter-300x300

    Praise for Carrie Jones andWrite. Submit. Support:

    “Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions withttps://carriejonesbooks.blog/wp-admin/post.php?post=679&action=edit#edit_timestamph thought, care and encouragement.”

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

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

    People are saying super nice things about me, which is so kind of them because helping people on their writing journeys and their craft and supporting them? That’s pretty boss, honestly.

    Writing tips and help from NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones
    Muses painting

    Flying and Enhanced – the Young Adult Science Fiction Series

    Cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

    This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal

    Sparty knows all about that. More info about that series and all of Carrie’s books is here.

    22310265_10155015429843008_7077529214549352143_n

    Monday Motivation – How I Survived My Bullies and Tips So Maybe You Can, Too

    When I was a little kid I talked funny. If you’ve heard me in person or listened to the podcast, you can tell that I still do, but it was way worse then. I slurred my s sounds. It wasn’t a lisp. It was more of a slur – like my tongue was kind of lazy and just didn’t want to do all the work.

    How I survived bullying
    The tongue – my mortal enemy

     

    So, in first grade for the whole first week, Jay Jamison (almost his real name) made fun of me. I’d raise my hand and answer and he’d lean over his desk and repeat whatever I said only super exaggerating the bad ‘s’ sounds.

    So, if the answer was Sunday, I’d raise my hand and say, “Sunday.”
    And then he’d lean over and go, “Ssssssshunday.”

    And something inside me would tighten up. And something inside of me would want to cry, so I’d have to press my lips together really hard. And something inside of me would die a little bit.

    Then, things got worse. Jay got his friends to mock me too at recess. They’d stand around me and say ‘s’ words, copying my voice, making their voices really high, laughing. They made fun of my last name, which was Barnard, and call me, “Carrie St. Bernard.”

    It was pretty bad. Sometimes they’d pull at my jacket or my hair. Sometimes they’d monster hug me, which meant they’d try to squish me. The entire time they’d make fun of my voice, my s’s, me.

    So, I stopped talking. I stopped raising my hand. I stopped answering questions.

    I’d talk to my best friend Kathy Albertson and that was pretty much it. They had silenced me.

    And I also tried to be invisible because I figured if they didn’t notice me then they couldn’t hurt me. I wanted more than anything to have invisibility be my super power. I would pray for it every night.

    How I survived bullying Carrie Jones Books, NYT bestselling kid lit author of children's books
    This is what I’d say

    Pretty much all of first grade I didn’t talk. It was too scary to talk. I didn’t ever raise my hand even though I always knew the answers. And when I did talk I would try really hard to find words without ‘s’ sounds. (David Sedaris has a great essay about this. He did it, too). And the teacher thought there might be something wrong with me in a developmentally divergent and/or emotionally challenged way. And she told my mom. And I promised my mom I would talk more in second grade.

    I spent the whole summer trying to learn how to talk better. I was home alone most of the time so I needed a model. You couldn’t hear people when you read books so I turned to the television.

    We were super poor and we only got two channels – sometimes three.

    One channel was soap operas and kissing, which was grosser than gross.

    The other channel was mostly game shows, which was so tense. I had issues watching people almost win things and then not win things.

    I was the least tough kid ever, basically.

    This left one channel – PBS.

    PBS is full of kids show, and back then it was also full of Muppets.

    Yes, like the brilliant kid I was, I watched Sesame Street over and over to learn how to talk, so yes, I modeled my voice after Muppets, which pretty much explains my voice now.

    Helpful Hint: It is not the best idea to model your voice after Elmo and Big Bird and Grover if you’re trying to fit in and not be bullied.

     Yes, I taught Carrie how to talk.

    Obviously, Sesame Street did not fix my s’s, but it did tweak my accent AND make me sound like a Muppet, which means that in second grade people still made fun of my voice, but my teacher, Mrs. Snierson gave us a haiku assignment that I totally aced and she realized I was smart, and pretty much protected me all that year.

    Say what?

    Say “writing changed my life” is what.

    How I survived bullying Carrie Jones Books, NYT bestselling kid lit author of children's booksHow I survived bullying Carrie Jones Books, NYT bestselling kid lit author of children's booksHow I survived bullying Carrie Jones Books, NYT bestselling kid lit author of children's books

    I also learned that if you give your snacks away to the kids who never had enough money for snacks they would protect you, too.

    And I also learned that if you asked people what was wrong when they cried, they’d protect you, too, once they were done crying.

    And I also learned that Timmy Bourassa also liked smelly stickers, so I gave him some and then he protected me, too.

    It was weird, but it was how I dealt. I coped by taking care of other people. I coped by buying protection with food and stickers.

    The price of my protection?

    1. Empathy

    2. No lunches for me

    3. Smelly stickers

    And things got better for a long time. People stood up for me when Jay was mean. Jay eventually became a kid named Chris. Both of them gave up when other people stepped in for me.

    No.

    I never stepped in for myself.

    I didn’t know how.

    Things were better though because my caring about other kids returned as they cared about me. ,

    But then in seventh grade after years of speech classes that didn’t help my s sounds at all, one of my teachers made me stay during recess and said, “Carrie. You are never going to succeed because of your s’s. You’re a smart girl, but you’ll always be a loser if your voice sounds like that. “

    He told me I had no hope.
    He told me that there was no point in me trying or going to college or even finishing high school if I didn’t get those ‘s’ sounds fixed.
    He told me I would never succeed.

    I cried a lot in the hall and another teacher asked what happened. I still remember how red that other teacher’s face got when I told him.

    I remember him hugging me while I sobbed.

    I remember him storming into the first teacher’s room and yelling so loudly the whole school heard.

    That teacher saved me. My mom saved me too.

    She went to the school and complained. Nothing happened to the first teacher, but I knew my mom cared and that was important. But no matter what either my mom or my nice teacher, or any of my friends said, that first teacher’s words echoed in my head and in my soul for a super long time. They still echo there sometimes and I hear those words in that teacher’s voice, and Jay’s voice, and those recess boys’ voices, and sometimes I hear them in my voice and that’s when it hurts the most. It hurts the most when I, myself, am thinking:

    I have no hope.
    There is no point in me trying.
    I will never succeed.
    I am a loser. 

    My books have made  New York Times bestseller lists and bestseller lists in France and I’m published in a bunch of countries and I get fan mail, but I still can hear those bullying words sometimes – not all the time – but sometimes.

    And I realize I cringe every time someone makes fun of speech impediments on tv or movies or books.

    And I realize that I still do what I did in second grade – I surround myself with people who protect me by making me feel better. If I’m really hurt, I’ll friends-lock blog about it and people are always so kind. That’s how I cope. But other people? They aren’t so lucky for a bunch of reasons.

    Sometimes you are too hurt to help other people.

    Sometimes sharing a lunch or a smelly sticker isn’t enough.

    Sometimes the pain inside of you becomes so big that there is no way for you to help other people because your own heart has fractured so much.

    Life advice, writing advice, dogs. Carrie Jones talks about bullying and how she survived it
    Need series

    So, thanks to all of you who have ever helped me through a bully experience. I hope you know how awesome you are.

    WHAT I’VE TRIED TO DO

    So, I can’t save anyone, really. All I can do is listen, give out smelly stickers, and share my own stories. Sometimes those stories are super fun and inspiring, like the NEED series or TIME STOPPERS or THE SPY WHO PLAYED BASEBALL. 

    Sometimes those stories? They are full of pain.

    I’ve recently contributed to the anthology THINGS WE HAVEN’T SAID and Megan Kelley Hall and I co-edited another anthology, DEAR BULLY, which was an effort of writers, readers, bloggers and people to raise awareness about bullying. The money we raise from Dear Bully’s royalties continues each year to support programs meant to raise awareness about bullying and support those who have suffered. I am so grateful for that opportunity.

    But it doesn’t feel like enough, you know? Nothing ever feels like enough.

    If you’re a survivor of bullying, please know that you aren’t alone. Check out this website for some resources. And if you are a person who bullies? Try to get some help too. Your life can be so much better than it is now.  Let’s change our culture into something better.

     

    carriejonesbooks.blog Writing tips and help from NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones

    Writing News

    The Class at the Writing Barn

    The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support! is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.

    WSSTypeWriter-300x300

    Praise for Carrie Jones and Write. Submit. Support:

    “Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

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

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

    People are saying super nice things about me, which is so kind of them because helping people on their writing journeys and their craft and supporting them? That’s pretty boss, honestly.

    Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs
    The podcast of awesome

    The Podcast

    The podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE has a new episode about life tips, dog tips and writing advice tomorrow.

     

     

    Book Expo America 

    I’ll be at Book Expo America in NYC on June 1. From 11:30 to 12, I’ll be signing copies of The Spy Who Played Baseball. If you’re going to be there, come hang out.

    Moe Berg The Spy Who Played Baseball
    Moe Berg

    Flying and Enhanced – the Young Adult Science Fiction Series

    Cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

    This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking action School Library Journal

    Sparty knows all about that. More info about FLYING is here and the rest of my books? Right here.

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