Marriage is Gross and Just Say Yes!

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Marriage is Gross and Just Say Yes!
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Carrie has talked about this in her blog before, but we decided that it’s time to talk about it in the podcast thanks to an inspiring presentation writer Sami Main made for the Writing Barn last week.

It’s about one of the basic tenents of improv comedy and how you can use that for your writing and/or your life.

Do both! Overachieve.

Anyway, it’s amazing how Patricia Ryan Madson’s Improv Maxims, apply to writing and life and love and all that sexy stuff.

Her first maxim in Improv Wisdom (New York: Belltower, 2005) is basically, “Say Yes.”

In improv, when two characters are doing a scene, both characters have to be positive, to say yes to each other’s suggestions.

If one guy stands up there and says, “Let’s go party.” And then the other guy says, “No way.” Well… the scene falls on its face and everyone goes home saying they hate improv and the improvers think they suck and everything is just BAD, BAD, BAD.

So, writing is like that too.

When our characters want to take us to new unexpected places in the plot, we just have to go with it. If we don’t, our story stagnates.

We have to be willing to say “yes,” to take risks with our characters and our plots and our language.

According to Madson, “Saying ‘yes’ is an act of courage and optimism; it allows you to share control. It is a way to make your partner happy. Yes expands your world.”

I could go on about this forever. Like, how we get in ruts. Such as, my characters always have a love interest. And it’s always a boy. How cool would it be if the love interest were a cat? Or a hamster? Or a fig tree?

Okay. I know. Banned book.

Or, how we get into habits with our writing just like we get into habits with our lives. How cool would it be to break a writing habit and make a better writing habit? To get out of the safety of routine, change our process and expand? To just say yes?

Writing Tip of the Pod

Say yes to new ideas. Don’t be in a writing rut or hold to your preconceived notions of what your story or writing life should beDog

DOG Tip for Life

Try new things. Eat food off the floor. Go for it, humans!

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.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

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.

Join the 251,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode about poop, dentists, surgery, flavored alcohol and Jung. 

This week’s episode about generalizations and what men want. 

Last week’s bonus podcast with Jessica Burkhart! 

A link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce

Writing Tip Wednesday: Finding Your Big Wonder

The Big Wonder

So, stories tend to need that internal motivator/quest/motivation to keep their plot chugging forward and to keep the reader engaged. As you know, I talk about desire lines way too much, which are all about the emotional through-line for the characters in our stories, but another way to think about the internal motivation is to think of it as the Big Wonder or Big Question. 

Tom French calls this the engine of the story. And it’s these questions that make the readers keep reading.

In a mystery, it’s obvious: Who did it?

In a thriller, it’s usually: Will they survive?

In a romance, it’s often: Will they bang and will they bang forever?

Or it can be a how question. How will Captain America stop Hydra because you know he will.

How will the people in those 50 Shades books hook up now because you know they will. 

Those essential plot questions keep us reading and going because humans like answers. We like winners and losers and to know things in definite ways. That’s why sports are so popular. Almost always, one team loses or one person wins. 

But back to stories. 

When you are writing, not only do you have the big plot, you oftten have subplots and their questions, which are like the baby engines that keep the story edging forward. They are like back-up generators, I guess. I’m not the best with mechanical allusions, honestly. Sorry! 

In each subplot, there has to be something important at stake. If you have a book, divided by two narrators of equal importance, they each need to have a question that happens in their story and a stake. 

So, a good thing to do is to look at your story that you’re working on and ask yourself: 

Is there a big question going on right here? 

Is the answer super obvious? 

If the answer is super obvious, will the how of what happens be a wee bit less super obvious? 

If you have subplots, do those have questions, too? 

Good luck writing, writers! 

And if you think about your life, does it have those big wonders? Are you moving towards the things that motivate you? Do you already hold them in your hands? Do they shine through everything you do? You’re the hero of your own story so make sure that you’re going towards those big wonders, too.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

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.

Join the 233,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Last week’s episode.

Last week’s bonus episode with Anne Marie Pace, author of Vampirina Ballerina.

COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.