Usually, I have a little list in my head of THE COOLEST THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO CARRIE IN ONE WEEK. This is how I keep the horrible things from bothering me, and believe me thanks to Sparty’s breath smelling like the litter box and Gabby having some doggy indigestion, things haven’t been too swell around here. (Note: How goofy is the word ‘swell?’)
And, I think I already have a winner for the COOLEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO CARRIE THIS WEEK!
I was out taking photos and all strung up with cameras and lenses when I saw a librarian walking across the parking lot.
She also saw me.
Her face lit up.
I instantly panicked and stressed about the overdue books in a bag in my car. I wondered if I had enough cash in my camera bag to cover my fines. Would she tackle me? Would she slap my wrists with something? I didn’t know… Maybe I could outrun her, hide in the produce section of Hannaford’s Maybe…
But then she smiled and said, “Carrie! I read your book!!!”
And then I remembered that she isn’t a librarian in my actual town. Doh!
And then she told me that she read my ancient, old book because another librarian talked about it on a listserv and then she said the most amazing words an author can hear: I LOVED IT, CARRIE. I really loved it.
YAY! A librarian I know loved Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend.
But it gets better than that because then she hugged me!!!!
There is nothing better than a librarian hug. Except maybe a kid hug. But they are pretty close.
And speaking about kissing… let’s talk writer advice here with:
Lines of Desire and Character Wants
Desire. It sort of sounds like erotica, but desire needs to be a part of all story. Not the rated-x kind, but the kind that relates to your character and your character’s longing.
Humans are always wanting, needing, and desiring.
We are born. We want to be fed. We want to be held. We want sleep.
And so it goes all our lives. When it’s about your characters’ multiple levels of desire, it is often about yearning.
What is it that your character yearns for above all else? This is also often called the super objective. This is the place where readers connect with your character – this yearning. It’s what resonates with them. Why? Because they yearn too.
A lot of writers have super objectives and desire lines inserted into their characters without even realizing it. Their character pops out yearning and it’s merely a tweaking of that in prose.
But sometimes? It isn’t that easy.
So what do you need?
You need two main things: A concrete desire and an internal desire are the big ones that are meant to drive your character through most (if not all) of the book.
What is concrete? It’s something real, tangible. It’s making a team. It’s getting a kiss. It’s saving a town.
What is internal? It’s what happens on the inside. This is where the characters emotional desires are pulling her or him through the book. It could be a want for home, family, friends. It could be to feel worthy. It could be to feel loved. This propels the character through the book, too.
So, along with that, in theater when we do character studies, we think about these three questions in every scene we play. So in writing, we’d think about these things in every chapter we write.
These are the characters’ questions:
I want –
I need –
I must have –
And we fill in the blanks. In each scene, we see those three objectives and how they relate to our character. We can do that with novels too. What is it that the character wants, needs, and must have (super objective, greater than all other objectives, the desire line of objectives)?
The super objective or must have is what creates that arc throughout the entire piece/novel/play – the want that provides the throughline and arc.
Pretty cool, huh?
Random note: You can do this for more than just your characters. You can do this for your life. What is it you want, that you need, that you absolutely must have?
DO GOOD WEDNESDAY
You want to make a difference in the world. I know you do.
According to its website, Amnesty International is “a global movement of more than 7 million people who take injustice personally. We are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.”
Zara in the NEED books was big into writing letters to political prisoners via Amnesty’s network.
This link brings you to a page where you can sign a petition to add your voice to thousands of others who are calling for an end to the assault on Syria’s Easter Ghouta.
Random Marketing and Book Things
My nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg, the pro ball player who became a spy was all official on March 1 and I’m super psyched about it. You can order it!
Kirkus Review says: A captivating true story of a spy, secret hero, and baseball player too.
The podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, has a new podcast that came out yesterday.
And finally, I made a little video for my TIME STOPPERS books. Hopefully, the link works. I’m a bit worried about it not showing up.