The author Gwen Hawes has a book that’s all about writing a romance, but I think a lot of her elements really apply to more genres than that.
One of those elements is what she calls, “whole-hearted.” It’s when the lovers are at the end of the book and you think, “Wow. Have they grown or what? Look at how big their hearts are now. Look at how different their lives are. Those are some whole-hearted people right there.”
And that’s what story (with a positive ending) is all about. It’s about making those characters whole-hearted, and allowing us readers to see their journey.
There’s a line in this song from Hamilton that always resonates with Carrie and it goes:
Look at where we are
Look at where we started
The fact that you’re alive is a miracle.
Just stay alive. That would be enough.
These lyrics get her because they are so true. Life is a process. We start at one point. We move on to another. And when we look back and take stock? That’s where those wow moments happen.
That needs to happen in books too.
And a really good way to bang that difference home is to set up a mirror image at this whole-hearted point of the book that reflects something that started happened at the beginning of the book.
What exactly are we talking about? It’s like this:
Beginning of a series: Wizard gets on a train and goes to magical school.
End of series: Wizard sends his son off on that same train to that same magical school.
Beginning of a book: A girl rides in her grandmother’s car on her way into the remote Maine woods and sees a man pointing at her.
End of a book: A girl drives her own car through those same woods and a man waves goodbye.
See what we mean?
But the thing is that this isn’t just true for our characters. It’s also true for us. A lot of times we believe lies about ourselves. We think that the opinion from a random critique or of a single publisher or reader means more than our process, our art, our our own understanding of self worth.
This is about letting a rejection or a criticism change our whole entire identity.
We stop believing in our creative purpose or our skill and in ourselves. Right? Instead of trying to improve our craft, we give up and internalize the criticism from “Hey, Arthur Levine didn’t like my story,” to “I am a failure. I suck. I should never write again.”
That’s not whole hearted. That’s not where your journey should be. Look at how much better you are now than when you were five, ten, 15, 20-years-old. Be proud of how much you’ve grown and accomplished and learned. Even if that’s just knowing that a lot is two words and not one. That’s growth, baby. Hold onto it.
Shaun is proud that he no longer spells quite – quiet.
Dog Hint For Life: Rejoice in where you are now. Luxuriate in it. Gabby and Sparty were both rescue dogs. Gabby was malnourished, constantly chained to a tree for the first year of her life. Sparty was roaming the streets of the South scavenging for food. Now they live on the coast of Maine and they get to frolic and feed. And be loved. They enjoy that every single day.
Writing Tip of the Pod: Write change. Write mirrors. Look at where your story started and have it journey somewhere else.
And when you do those things? That’s usually when your writing career starts to grow. By understanding the journey of your characters, you get to make your own journey even better! How cool is that?
Shout out: The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.
Our podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE is still chugging along. Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please like, share and subscribe!
ENHANCED PAPERBACK RELEASE!
Carrie Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of Flying, presents another science fiction adventure of cheerleader-turned-alien-hunter Mana in Enhanced.
Seventeen-year-old Mana has found and rescued her mother, but her work isn’t done yet. Her mother may be out of alien hands, but she’s in a coma, unable to tell anyone what she knows.
Mana is ready to take action. The only problem? Nobody will let her. Lyle, her best friend and almost-boyfriend (for a minute there, anyway), seems to want nothing to do with hunting aliens, despite his love of Doctor Who. Bestie Seppie is so desperate to stay out of it, she’s actually leaving town. And her mom’s hot but arrogant alien-hunting partner, China, is ignoring Mana’s texts, cutting her out of the mission entirely.
They all know the alien threat won’t stay quiet for long. It’s up to Mana to fight her way back in.
“Witty dialogue and flawless action.”—VOYA
“YA readers, you’re in for a treat this week. Hilarious and action-packed, this novel is sure to be the perfect summer read.”—Bookish
“Funny and playful, with a diverse cast of characters and a bit of romance and adventure, Flying is the perfect light summer read.”—BookPage
Order Your Copy:
Cough. That was pretty self-promotional, wasn’t it?
The Final Time Stoppers Book
What is it? It’s the third TIME STOPPERS book! It’s also one of the reasons that I forgot about ENHANCED’s release.
Time Stopper Annie’s newfound home, the enchanted town Aurora, is in danger. The vicious Raiff will stop at nothing to steal the town’s magic, and Annie is the only one who can defeat him–even though it’s prophesied that she’ll “fall with evil.”
Alongside her loyal band of friends Eva, Bloom, SalGoud, and Jamie, who still isn’t quite sure whether he’s a troll or not, Annie journeys deep into the Raiff’s realm, the Badlands. The group will face everything from ruthless monsters to their own deepest fears. Can Annie find the courage to confront the Raiff and save everyone, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice?
What People are Saying About The Books:
“An imaginative blend of fantasy, whimsy, and suspense, with a charming cast of underdog characters . . . This new fantasy series will entice younger fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.” – School Library Journal
“The characters show welcome kindness and poignant insecurity, and the text sprinkles in humor . . . and an abundance of magical creatures.” – Kirkus Reviews on QUEST FOR THE GOLDEN ARROW
“An imaginative blend of fantasy, whimsy, and suspense, with a charming cast of underdog characters . . . This new fantasy series will entice younger fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.” –School Library Journal on TIME STOPPERS
How to Get Signed Copies of Any of Carrie’s Books:
For signed copies – email email@example.com for Sherman’s or email firstname.lastname@example.org let them know the titles in which you are interested. There’s sometimes a waiting list, but they are the best option. Plus, you’re supporting an adorable local bookstore run by some really wonderful humans. But here’s the Amazon link, too!
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I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.
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