Writing Pet Peeves

Writing Pet Peeves

 
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Carrie’s number one writing pet peeve is when authors write,

I thought to myself.

Seriously. You are always thinking to yourself, sweet writer, unless you’re telepathically communicating to a zombie hamster and then all bets are off.

But the thing is that I, Carrie, get why authors like myself do this. It’s because:

  1. We’re worried that the reader isn’t going to get what we’re saying.
  2. We’re padding our daily word count totals for NaNoWriMo, national novel writing month where you try to write a 50,000-word novel in November.

But here’s the thing. Your readers are smart or smart enough to know that when your characters are thinking, they are doing that to themselves and not anyone else.

Cut those words, sweeties. Trust the readers. Trust your writing.

If you say, “I think” or “I thought,” everyone knows it’s to yourself… unless, you know, telepathic zombie hamsters.

So how about you? What are your writing pet peeves?

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Trust your readers. Don’t write down to them. Believe in your words.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

You don’t need to be insecure. Be proud of what you’re doing, who you are and what you’re putting down for the world to hear.

SHOUT OUT!

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.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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 253,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


CHILL WITH US

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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


NEW BOOK ALERT!

My little novella (It’s spare. It’s sad) is out and it’s just $1,99. It is a book of my heart and I am so worried about it, honestly.

There’s a bit more about it here.

Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

ARE YOU TENSE? Getting the Tension Out of Your Life and Into Your Story

ARE YOU TENSE? Getting the Tension Out of Your Life and Into Your Story

 
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This is a continuation of this week’s blogs about adding tension and suspense in your writing. It’s a bit short today. Sorry. Or maybe that’s a good thing….

Here goes:

Is My Voice a Little Tense?
 

Tension in writing can also come from your voice.

Not your speaking voice, but your writing voice, your style and your pacing.

Author Justine Larabeister has a series of posts on her blogs about how she alternates action-packed scenes/chapters with more introspective scenes.

Author William Reynolds calls it a roller coaster ride and says, “It works for pacing your writing as well as your scenes.”

I’ve talked about this before especially when I critique things. Sentence length and sound impact the reader’s experience of action and introspection.

While we’re having nice introspective wonderings about things to give the reader a break and/or a build-up we can have long, winding sentences wondering if anyone is actually reading this blog post at all and we can also natter on about it for a bit with no white space, and with long-long paragraphs.

But…

Action comes.

And as Reynolds points out:

“Sentences are short.

Paragraphs too.

Maybe there isn’t even time to –

Get the picture?”

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Short sentences. Short paragraphs. White space. Action verbs. That’s what makes it tense, baby.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t be tense. Don’t add tension to other people’s lives. Know how your presence makes other people feel.


SHOUT OUT!

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.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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 253,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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


MY LITTLE NOVELLA IS HERE.

It’s $1.99 and it’s the novel of my heart. I hope you’ll check it out.

Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Dear Bully, You Are Ruining Things Because We Are Awesome And You Are Not

Dear Bully, You Are Ruining Things Because We Are Awesome And You Are Not

 
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So about nine years ago, DEAR BULLY, the anthology of authors telling their stories of being bullied, or standing by, or being bullies was released. Carrie was the co-editor for this anthology.

And I am so proud of all the authors in there. 

HEY YOU! AUTHORS! I AM PROUD OF YOU!

For a lot of them, it was a big act of bravery to tell their stories. For a lot of them, it was a big act of bravery just to survive. 

I was thinking about that right now because our country (The U.S.) is having some major difficulties and bullying is the norm despite all the efforts and advocacy that happened back in 2009.

And there are truths in every single story of that anthology that resonate. Those truths are that pain is real, that actions and words can shatter us, that it’s hard to remember how awesome you are when people are telling you that you aren’t. 

And there are differences in the experiences too. Some authors hurt more than others. Some used the experience to try to become stronger. For every one of us, the story is our own, and it is different. But one of the biggest, and greatest truths in those stories is that each and every one of us survived. We all lived to tell our stories. And if you are reading this right now or listening on the podcast that means that you have lived through too.

And here’s the thing. You must keep on living and fighting and trying to remember that you are awesome even when people are hating on you.

People hating you doesn’t change that you have worth.


People being violent towards you, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve respect, and tolerance and love.

People ignoring you on purpose, doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to exist. 

And the opposite is true. You don’t get to hate, to decide other people’s worth, to be violent and disrespectful either. We have to be the shiny light that we want in our lives.

Writing Tip of the Pod

What’s this have to do with writing? Well, it was an anthology of true stories from writers that Carrie co-created, but it’s also about what makes the best stories.

Hint: It’s not just having a beginning, a middle, and an end.

It’s about having a point. It’s about believing in something. It’s about being honest and having something to say, something that might be hard to say but needs to be out there.


Dog Tip for Life

Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. It’s as simple as that.


SHOUT OUT!

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.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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 253,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

IN THE WOODS, appeared in paperback in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

My Patreon site I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD.

I also share some writing tips that are also going to be on Teachable as the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME and send people art.

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

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

Saint, a YA supernatural thriller. Sort of. 🙂

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

What’s Killing Your Relationship and Your Character?

What’s Killing Your Relationship and Your Character?

 
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There was a post on Medium on PS I LOVE YOU called, “The Silent Relationship Killer You Never See Coming” about how the silent relationship killer is basically routine and sameness.

The author, Barry Davret, compared relationships to a song that you love so intensely you listen to over and over again obsessively, but then suddenly, you are done with that song.

Couples, he says, set weekly and daily routines after that initial burst of frantic attraction and then? They get bored of having intercourse every Saturday, date night every Friday, laundry every Monday.

If they’re polite, they’ll still ask each other how their days went, but they won’t actually care about the answer because the answer is always the same.

He writes

“Look back on the last six months. Does it feel like it was one day lived 180 times?”

How do you defeat being bored in your relationship?

He suggests two tips to not be bored

  • Occasionally be spontaneous
  • Pursue separate passions


This has never happened to us. As you can tell from our random thoughts, we’re weird. We’re so weird especially when we’re alone. I will fall down laughing because of the things Shaun says.

We think that Barry has it right, but he also has it wrong.

Yes, people get dulled by routines and because of the comfort in routines, and that might be partially be because they’ve stopped doing things on their own. But it’s also more about empathy and building walls around yourself so you don’t get hurt. The person you’re in a relationship with sees you warts and all? And that, my friends, can be a bit scary.

To have a relationship that lasts and evolves you have to do the following things:

  • You have to find humor in yourself and each other even during the bad times.
  • You have to blow off the assumption that you know absolutely everything about your significant other as if they are a blank piece of paper rather than a living, breathing, changing organism. There is still mystery in them even if you aren’t seeing it.
  • You have to be willing to be vulnerable so that your partner can see that mystery inside of you. There is nothing dull in courage and it takes courage to be vulnerable.

How does this relate to writing? Hold on! We’re getting there.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Our novels and characters also need to have tiny doses of the unexpected to keep people from being bored. We want to have each character have differences and not be the same. That sameness, that lack of diversity? It makes Johnny a dull boy. Insert quirks into your characters.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Even when you’re on the same walk that your person always takes you on, there’s going to be a nuance in the smells you sniff up on the side of the road. Rejoice in that nuance. Seek it out. Live in the moment. It’s a good way not to be bored.

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.


WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can order it here. Please, please, preorder it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Mr. Taco and New Year New You? Maybe. If you’re feeling it.

Mr. Taco and New Year New You? Maybe. If you’re feeling it.

 
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New Year? New You?


This week on the podcast we talk about:Mr. Taco, Attacking Seagulls, Doing the Raccoons, and Goals. Also, Shaun sings.

So it’s the New Year and as we all know it’s all about goals and looking back and creating our lives in a new way.

People are spending money on exercise equipment and diet food and all that, but you know what? The you that you are? It’s totally fine.

Writers especially feel pushed towards outside affirmations and validations.

We think, “If I traditionally publish a book, I’ve made it. I’m a writer.” Or we might think, “If my self-published book sells 100 copies, I’ve made it.” Or even, “If I get 10,000 Twitter followers, then I’ve made it.”

Here’s the thing though.

You are a person in a moment.

Every moment that you write? You are a writer.

You don’t have to aim for any goals other than the goal of self realization.

You are a writer by writing, not because you hit a list or make an editor you’ve never met buy your story or a critic that you’ll never know give you five stars.

Writing is communication and exploration. It is craft and art. It’s all these things bundled together and just like you – the writer – the human – it is shiny and real and just fine the way it is.

You are a writer by writing. You are a human because you do human things.

This year maybe we can give others and especially ourselves the empathy to not judge each other by our end goals, but by our journey and actions that we perform every day or every week, by how we create our stories and our families and our communities.

It’s okay to just write. It’s okay to just be.

Let the goals that you create be about process as much as they are about achievement.

And have a happy new year as you, not a new you, but the you that you are, right now, in this moment, a beautiful, shiny soul.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Three obstacles are important in your story especially if it’s a picture book about a seagull trying to nab a French fry.

Dog Tip For Life

Life is about community. Make your community good.

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.


WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Last week’s podcast

Continue reading “Mr. Taco and New Year New You? Maybe. If you’re feeling it.”

Florida Man and the Queen of Kittens

Florida Man and the Queen of Kittens

 
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Stories are about people having emotions. Writers who write from their heads (outlining like crazy, etc,) are often missing out on the emotion because they are analyzing how to show emotion. 

But it’s desire and yearning that makes stories stand out and makes writers into artists and truth tellers. 

Robert Olen Butler says that yearning creates a dynamic of desire and that dynamic of desire creates plot and story. The need, the yearning, the want, is something that needs to bleed out into the page and it does. It does. 

Good stories have two epiphanies in them that use this yearning. The first epiphany shows up early in the story where all the details culminate to show the reader what it is that the main character wants. The reader gets it, responds, relates, understands and yearns for it too – yearns for it enough to turn the page and keep reading. 

The second epiphany is basically the climax or the story’s crisis. The main character is fully committed to her desire and she is at that make-or-break point and we’re there with her. 

The difference between regular books and books that rock your soul is that they are about wants, not about yearnings. Yearnings are bigger than wants. They are the desire of the inside. The foe blocks that desire, that attempt to fulfill yearnings. The character responds. And that is plot. 

Writers Tip of the Pod

Make your characters yearn.

Dog Tip For Life

Go after what you yearn for. 

Random Thoughts

In our random thoughts this week you get to hear:

  • Shaun fail to see his beer advent calendar
  • The Queen of Kittens talk about BTX
  • Florida Men and the things you do
  • Christmas Tree success.

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.


This Week’s Podcast


WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“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.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Bar harbor arts
Carrie Jones Art

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Last week’s podcast.

Lick the Kitten, Embrace Your Vulnerability

Lick the Kitten, Embrace Your Vulnerability

 
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Shaun: A week or so ago, someone told Carrie that she’d be better served if she didn’t present as insecure on her social media. 

Carrie: For the record, I am just open about when I’m scared about things. I’m not sure insecurity is the same as fear. I mean, I guess it is to a certain extent. But I’m not insecure about who I am. I like who I am, an occasionally anxious, goofy, smart, creative, quirky, open-book kind of  person. Does that sound like who I am? 

Shaun: Pretty much.

Carrie: Anyways, here’s the thing. You can pretend to be someone you aren’t. You can present any damn way you choose. But that’s it – it’s your choice. Nobody else’s. 

Shaun: And Carrie? She has no problem being vulnerable. In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes that the biggest myth about vulnerability is that it is weakness. And that’s possibly what happened with that person’s comment to Carrie last week.

Carrie: To be fair, about once a year a woman writer, usually older than I am, will tell me to present as more confident because I am strong and talented. They are trying to help me, personally, and the cause of all women, too. I think? But I don’t see the dichotomy between strength and vulnerability. They shouldn’t be on opposite ends of a line. 

Shaun: Brene Brown writes, “We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgement and criticism.” 

Carrie: And she also says this, which I think is how it pertains to writers and artists and this podcast, “Vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness.” 

Shaun: So vulnerability is writing. Because vulnerability is risk and emotional exposure. And even the act of writing is vulnerable because almost the first thing someone asks you is, “Oh? Have I read you?” It’s like they determine your worth just by whether or not you’ve been on a bestseller list or not.

Carrie: Exactly, but just writing and deciding to create is a risk because it’s not the most financially secure thing in the world, but it also is because once you put your creation out there – unlike the accountant – you are vulnerable via ratings and bad reviews and internet trolls, which is massive emotional exposure. But it’s more than that. Writers have to incorporate emotion and vulnerability on the page. They create characters who are meant to tweak the readers’ emotions. Writers are like the tsars of vulnerability. 

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

You are a writer. You are a human. Embrace your ability to take risks, to be vulnerable. Emotions are not weakness. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Allow yourself to lick the kitten in public, adopt those who you love. Be open. Be vulnerable. Love.  

Random Thoughts Included:

  • Carrie’s anxiety about dental surgery
  • Bangor (Maine) City Council Signs
  • Carrie not being dead. We think.

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.

Writing News

Cool Contest of Spooky Awesomeness!

Um. MacMillan is having a super cool sweepstakes where you can win the book I wrote with Steve (IN THE WOODS) and four other scary books.
Go enter! Go win! I’m rooting for you!

In the Paper, Baby

I was just in the newspaper and I think the photo of my head is actually larger than my real-life head. Go figure. It was super kind of them to notice me and to write about me. Here is the link.

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN! 

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“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.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Last WEEK’S PODCAST

Today’s Podcast Link if you can’t see it below or at the top of this post.

Am I the Butt Face? How to Make (and be) a Likeable Character

Am I the Butt Face? How to Make (and be) a Likeable Character

 
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Why Do People Suck So Much?

One of the biggest things you hear in the world of writing is to make your character likeable, which is great and all but gives you two questions: 

  1. How. How do you make your characters likable?
  2. How do you make your characters likable when in real life people suck so much? There’s an entire Reddit thread called “Am I the A-Hole?” 

We talk about the second question in our RANDOM THOUGHT in the podcast, so the writer-helpful stuff is here, now. Ready? 

What Do the Bad Guys Care About?

Usually they are propelled by greed or power. In our society those things are usually indicative of a bad guy. Although, some segments of our society seem to laud those traits now. 

What Do We Have to Do to Make Our Characters (or our selves) Not the Bad Guy?

People want to care about the character. You automatically think that means the character is nice, right? No. 

Think about those Marvel movies. Iron Man’s kind of a jerk. Sherlock Holmes? Jerk. But we still like and care about them. Why? 

Here is What You Need To Do To Make Your Character Not an Butt Face

The character has a big want and/or need.

Iron Man wants to save the world. 

Sherlock Holmes needs to catch a murderer. 

We connect with that because we all have wants or needs. 

I want to make $5,000 a month. This possibly make me a bad guy because that seems to be about money BUT if I want to make $5,000 a month so that I can pay for my child with autism’s medicines? Not quite so awful, right? It’s all in the presentation and the reason. 

Conflicting Wants are What Really Makes It Pop

When our character wants to save the world, but saving the world mean that he must sacrifice his entire business that he’s worked so hard to build up? That’s when our interest is super EXCITED. We’re all – Oh. Snap. What will he choose? What would I choose? 

Caring About Others Who Are More Vulnerable

This is the big one, really.

In the Star Wars movies, Rey is super snarky with the little droid when we first meet her, but then she refuses to sell that little droid baby for scrap money and protects it. Bing. We love this resilient go-getter named Rey who now has conflicting wants of her own survival (needs money) and protecting the droid (probably going to cost her money and her life). 

So, we care about Rey because she cares. She has empathy. 

What are the characteristics people admire in others? 

Authenticity

Caring

Kindness

Empathy

Bravery

Charisma

Loyalty

Give your character one of those if you can. 

Give them a Wicked Sad, Sob-Story Life Before the Story

Harry Potter? Orphan. 

Rey? Orphan. 

Captain America? Orphan. 

Iron Man? Orphan.

Luke Skywalker? Orphan. 

Captain Kirk? Orphan. 

James in James and the Giant Peach? Orphan. 

Do you see a pattern? Characters WHO HAVE HAD a background full of grief or pain or sadness, we’re more likely to love them. You grieve for them. You want to feed them. You root for them.

Write in the First Person or the Close Third Person Point of View. 

When we see what the characters do and why they do it, how they think, what they feel, then it’s easier to feel, think, relate and be like them.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD:

Make your character a lovable orphan who cares about others, basically. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE:

Move beyond your sad story. Realize that someone out there is going to make you the villain in their story and try not to care about that. Just do little moment of goodness. Do them over and over again. 

Random Thought:

In the audio of the podcast, we talk about

  • The bigger picture of being a part of a society that celebrates butt-hole people.
  • Helping a friend.
  • You get to hear a tractor
  • Other random stuff like whether or not the word a** is explicit

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.

WRITING NEWS

THE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOME

Steve Wedel and I wrote a super creepy book a few years back called After Obsession and it’s making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands thanks to Dutch Venture Publishing and its leader Jen Minkman. 

Check out this spread in a Dutch magazine. I met a whole bunch of Dutch readers last Friday and let me tell you? They are the best. 

Learn With Me at the Writing Barn!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here!

“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.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Don’t Dabble Writers, Commit. We Know What a Hyphen Is and That’s Sexy.

Don’t Dabble Writers, Commit. We Know What a Hyphen Is and That’s Sexy.

 
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Jared Leto is a somewhat polarizing guy for who-knows-what reason. He’s model-pretty, a vegan, an award-winning actor and a musician. And there’s this quote I (Carrie) read that struck a chord. 

“When you commit to something that’s seemingly impossible,” he says, referring to ascents both metaphorical and literal, “and you’re pushing through things that are seemingly hostile, and then you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, we did that,’ that’s a great feeling. And a little bit of pain isn’t a bad thing.”

Jared Leto to Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt

A lot of us writers whine a lot about writing. I’m not sure why that is. Is it because we’re plumbing the deep emotional recesses in our brain? Is it because we are creating an entire pretend world? 

I used to get super cranky about this because compared to being a firefighter or an emergency dispatcher or juggling eighteen jobs as a single parent, it felt to me like everyone was a little bit whiny. 

Then I realized that It’s because being committed to something, to a craft, to something when you are never going to be perfect, where you’ll always have room to grow? It can play a bit of havoc on your emotional wellbeing. But that’s okay. It’s like Leto says, you want to commit to that impossible thing to get the payoff. You want to be all in. Not a dabbler in writing or in life. 

How to Commit

Emalie Jacobs has some nice hints on her blog about how to do that, to be committed. They are basically: 

  • Plan to write every day.
  • Stay committed. 
  • Aim for a word count.
  • Plan early. 
  • Find your people.

And all of this is so much of what the Write! Submit! Support! class that I teach at the Writing Barn is all about. 

Back to Leto. Leto doesn’t dabble. He’s a method actor, a method singer, method artist and probably a method human. He commits wholeheartedly or he doesn’t commit at all. That’s true when he’s on stage singing or when he’s on the screen acting. He becomes. 

Becomes. 

Dabbling is the opposite of commitment. It’s an exploration. That can be good. But you don’t want to get so caught up in the explorations that you never focus. 

“I don’t dabble,” he said in that Rolling Stone interview. “I dive in. 1,000 percent.” 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t dabble. Commit fully to living the writing life. Don’t let other things take priority over your dreams.

Dog Tip for Life

Proofread your poop. 

Random ThoughtS

In our random thought portion of the podcast this week, we talk about:

  1. Carrie giving up dabbling
  2. Emcee duties at the MDI YWCA’s Women of Distinction event
  3. Hyphens. Semicolons. Politicians of all sides failing to have copyeditors.
  4. How do we trust reporters and politicians with big decisions when they can’t proofread things.

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.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Shaun Reveals Why People Divorce. Plus, Hippies and Rotarians.

Shaun Reveals Why People Divorce. Plus, Hippies and Rotarians.

 
Play/Pause Episode
00:00 / 00:23:56
Rewind 30 Seconds
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This week’s podcast is not our normal format. We drove 27 hours or so this week. Our brains became a bit unglued – Okay. Even more unglued. 

But we talk about:

  1. Writing
  2. Divorce
  3. Why People Get Divorced
  4. How By Using Those Metrics We Will Probably Get Divorced
  5. Paying Attention to Other People’s Stories
  6. Rotarians
  7. The Common Ground Fair

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.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.