The Problem With Zoom and Dogs

Why is it that the only time my dogs pant really hard is when I’m on the phone with people I don’t know or leading a class/session/workshop/anything on Zoom?

Like the moment I unmute and say, “Hi, Carrie Jones, and I’m so excited to be…”

The cute dog will nudge my hand by the computer and go PANT PANT PANT.

And then I’ll say something like, “That panting? That’s not me.”

it is me. It is how I say ‘hi.’ 

And then there will be this awkward Zoom moment where someone will say something like, “……”

Or “Sure!”

Or, “Mmhmm… right.”


And I’ll say, “No. Really. It’s not me. It’s my dogs.”

And they’ll say, “Okay. No worries.” 

But, I know what they are really thinking is: 

 I do not believe you! 

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

WEDGIES AND THREE BIG STEPS TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE GOOD STUFF

To be the best writer you can be, you need to spend time learning.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
WEDGIES AND THREE BIG STEPS TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE GOOD STUFF
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In the random thoughts part of the podcast we talk about Big Foot, wedgies and how you can tell when predators are looking at you.

THREE BIG STEPS TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE GOOD STUFF

There’s a lot of people out there who say that if you write every day you’ll become a better writer and that’s true … sort of. You also need the basics.

If you write every day, but you don’t learn about writing every day then you don’t get to improve. You just write.

And that’s not good enough.

Learning how to write has to do with a few things. And the first step is to know what you want to write.

FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU’RE INTO

Writing an epic fantasy isn’t the same as writing ad copy and that’s not the same as writing poetry. Pick something. It doesn’t have to be your only style, but pick one way first.

LEARN THE TOOLS

Now here’s the fun part. The learning. How do you learn how to write?

  1. Enroll in courses.
  2. Read things like what you want to write.
  3. Watch blogs, listen to podcasts, and read books about craft.
  4. Talk to other writers who do what you do. They might have cool resources too.
  5. Hire a writing coach or editor who loves helping people and not just loves making money.

GO FOR THE GRAMMAR

Yeah. Yeah. We know. Periods aren’t sexy. Most people don’t get turned on by scene structure, but you should!

If your story is awesome, but there is no punctuation or grammar or even sentences?

You’re not going to be understandable to your potential readers. They are just going to stop reading.

Places to Check Get Your Sexy Grammar On

  1. Grammar Girl
  2. Merriam Webster Dictionary
  3. Strunk and White’s, The Elements of Style.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

To be the best writer you can be, you need to spend time learning.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Dogs don’t give other dogs wedgies. We aren’t dogs, we have to take the time to communicate.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

If you like what you read, please heart it below or share it, it means the world to this writer. x0- Carrie

Keep Your Cat Out Of Tinder and Other Sucky Advice

Generalizations can be so inspiring and they can have truth in them for some people and sometimes even for most people, but they’re never going to work for everyone.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Keep Your Cat Out Of Tinder and Other Sucky Advice
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In our Random Thought section of the podcast (Notes not transcribed), we talk about how straight men aren’t supposed to let the world know they like/have cats on social media. Shaun has thoughts.


The rest of the podcast follows.

Every weekday Carrie posts on her personal Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin, inspiring quotes from our dogs and cats.

Sometimes they are just about bacon and naps because bacon and naps can be inspiring.

But it made us think of famous writing quotes and whether or not they are kind of b.s. And how very privileged some quotes are.

Like Marianne Williamson, who we are sure is an incredibly lovely person wrote this:

“Nothing binds you except your thoughts, nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs.”

Which is lovely and partially true, but it comes from the perspective of a really lucky person who is white, who is good looking, who had a lot of advantages as a white American, right? It’s hard to say nothing binds you except your thoughts to a political prisoner who is legit in chains, to a Black man or woman in the U.S. who is jail for pot, for someone who has paralyzing fear because of trauma that’s happened to her or him or them, right?

Generalizations can be so inspiring and they can have truth in them for some people and sometimes even for most people, but it’s never going to work for everyone.

Writing advice and quotes are like that, too.

Like even the most amazing Ray Bradbury wrote

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

That’s a good quote, right? Us writers are easily destroyed. But being drunk on anything all the time usually means for most of us that we’re not helping create a solution to problems. Instead, we’re being drunk, putting lampshades on our head and saying, “Nah. Nah. Nah. I can’t hear you.”

It’s not the best look, really.

But sometimes the advice is pretty cool.

“Be strategic and resilient in the pursuit of your dreams. That sounds like a cheesy quote, right? But nah, I’m serious. Resilience is one hell of a quality to master and not many have the skin for it.” —Tiffany D. Jackson

“People are going to judge you all the time no matter what you do. . . . Don’t worry about other people. Worry about you.” —Jacqueline Woodson

 “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Write what should not be forgotten.” — Isabel Allende

“Healing begins where the wound was made.” -Alice Walker (The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart)

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Blow off the b.s. And realize where it’s coming from. Sometimes it’s coming from people whose lives and brains are nothing like yours and sometimes it’s just coming from people who want to make a butt ton of money selling their advice to you.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Cats are okay. They’re good to snuggle with, too.

best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Making Your Story Believably Bad Ass (and your characters too)

In both real life and stories, you don’t want to make things so unbelievable that you don’t make sense. Things need to be logical.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Making Your Story Believably Bad Ass (and your characters too)
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A lot of time you’ll write a story and a beta reader, agent, editor or reviewer will say, “This is not believable.”

And a lot of time, you’ll tweet something and some rando on Twitter will say, “WTF. You lie.”

And a lot of time, you’ll just be telling a story at a party (or during Zoom in COVID times) and people will say, “No way! No freaking way.”

This can be annoying especially when you’re trying to sell a book and you get that note.

Why Does This Happen?

Sometimes people react that way because their world and experience doesn’t mesh with your own and they don’t understand that everyone in Downeast Maine calls everyone else “dear,” even straight men say it to other straight men.

Sometimes it’s because you just haven’t suspended disbelief for them.

This happens in real life, too.

Sometimes Lies Aren’t Believable

This man who used to be a Houston police officer (He resigned January 14.) went into the Capitol Building on January 6.  And when he was interviewed, he told the federal agents that he wasn’t really part of the riots. He just wanted to see the amazing art. He was only in D.C. to help out his wife who had a business (cooking). But his phone (which the agents looked at) showed a bunch of videos and photos of him.

The photos and videos were allegedly in a deleted folder. But the folder was not all the way deleted.

And he was arrested because his story? It wasn’t that believable to those federal agents, right? I’m sure that when Shaun used to be a cop, he heard a lot of stories like this, too.

One time our youngest daughter who has autism and likes to make really big stories told other campers at the campground that we went to Disney but she had to sleep in a chair. The other campers gawped at us and said, “What?”

They didn’t believe her because it wasn’t believable. It didn’t match the people we were. Every time she does this, we say, “Buddy, if you’re going to lie, which we hope you won’t, you kind of want to make it more believable.”

And then I tell her about the girl I met in college who told everyone during freshman orientation that her parents died in a plane crash in Alaska. About two parties later that morphed to a plane crash in Hawaii. Then during homecoming weekend, her parents showed up in their BMW very much alive. Don’t be that girl. In life or in story.

How To Make Your Story Believable and Bad Ass

Michael Hauge over on “Story Mastery” has some great, easy ideas on how to make your story believable. They are pretty basic, but important to remember.

“1. In every sequence of your story, ask yourself, “Do my characters behave the way people with their backgrounds would normally behave in this situation? Is this their most logical response to the danger they’re in, to the desire they’re pursuing, or to the actions of the other characters?”

If you’re in doubt, ask yourself, “Is this what I would do if I were in this situation?”

2. Don’t confuse credibility with documented reality. One of the weakest arguments you can make in support of your characters’ actions is, “But that really happened.”

3. Foreshadow the characters’ actions and abilities. If you want your hero to use karate in a fight with the villain, reveal her martial arts talents before it’s important to the plot. Show her practicing in the dojo early in the movie, when it doesn’t seem important, or open the novel with her beating down a mugger with her martial arts skills. That way, when it counts, your audience will subconsciously say, “Oh, that’s right. This everyday school teacher has been learning karate.””

4. Openly admit the incredibility of a scene. If, against all logic, your hero pursues a lover who might be a hit man, have her best friend say to her, “Are you nuts? This guy could be a cold-blooded killer!” Then your hero can explain her actions in a way that is consistent with the personality and background you’ve given her. Subconsciously you’re telling the audience, “Look, I know this seems unbelievable, but let me tell you why it isn’t.”

5. Dazzle the audience with pyrotechnics. This is definitely the last resort solution to the problem of credibility. But if you keep the action moving fast enough, or if the setting is big and spectacular enough, the audience might not notice some lapses in logic.”

Michael Hauge

I’m not so sure about that last tip, honestly, but it probably can help. But sometimes those big spectacles can’t divert us enough. I bet you can think of a couple of superhero or science fiction movies that do this.

In both real life and stories, you don’t want to make things so unbelievable that you don’t make sense. Things need to be logical and stuff.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Make your character do things that make sense for your character.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

If you have to play it out and hype it up too much, it often isn’t believable. Don’t forget, the humans aren’t going to believe you’re starving if they are the ones who know how many treats you get. Backstory and evidence matter.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

RESOURCES

https://www.justice.gov/opa/page/file/1357336/download


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Having a Manly Christmas, Martial Law and Characterization

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Having a Manly Christmas, Martial Law and Characterization
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CHARACTER VS CHARACTERIZATION

Robert McPhee has a bit in his book, STORY, where he talks about character and characterization and one of my favorite aspects of that discussion is just this simple quote, which will hopefully be of some use to you:

TRUE CHARACTER is revealed in the choices a human being makes under the pressure—the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.

We show who our character is by putting her/him/them under that pressure. Are they brave or wimpy? Empathetic or narcissistic? Cruel or kind?

We see them through their choices. And we see who they are the most when the risk is large.

Inserting choices into the emotional arc and plot really pushes it to another level and that’s something that you can really do with stories. You can show someone’s character—who they really are.

Characterization is just a bunch of traits all tied together. It’s like a demographic. You know I’m a white woman with a MFA in Maine who writes. But my psychographic is a bit different, right? I’m someone who gives money to certain causes, who stops when I see an accident, who cries every time she sees a dog video but chooses to watch it rather than look away. That’s my character.

Our written characters are like that, too. Put them under pressure, give them choices, let us see who they are from that very first chapter so that we can see them change.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Show who your characters are by their choices and actions.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t trust words. Trust smells and movements. Also, trust the person who gives you bacon.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

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

How To Become a Successful Writer The Key Writing Advice to Keep In Your Brain

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How To Become a Successful Writer The Key Writing Advice to Keep In Your Brain
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If you are the kind of writer who wants clicks and readers, this is the podcast for you. Yes! A helpful podcast from us weirdos. I know, right?

Here’s the first one.

Get Rid of The Crap

Seriously. Get rid of the words, the repetition, the flowery language that exists JUST to be flowery but has nothing to do with your message, your character or your plot.

Don’t have people nod and say yes at the same time. One is enough.

Don’t have people think to themselves. We know they are thinking to themselves.

Unnecessary words are blah. Nobody wants to be blah. Nobody wants to read blah either except maybe that one fourth grade teacher and maybe your honors freshman English teacher, the one who yelled about James Joyce a lot.

Let Your Title Be a Promise and a Gift.

That’s right. Give your readers something. Your title is a promise and a gift.

Think to yourself: Why would anyone care about reading this?

For this podcast, the answer to that would be that people care because they want the tools to be a better writer. Figure out why you’re writing what you’re writing and give that to the reader.

This goes for books too. Even if your answer is just – I want to provide readers an escape. It works.

Actually Write Your Story

Don’t just talk about writing. Write.

Don’t stare at the blank page. Write.

You can always revise. Revision is good. But you can’t revise a blank document or a page full of nothing.

I once had a reporter who was THE BEST guy. He was my best friend. I loved him with all my heart, but he would have writer’s block all the way up to deadline. I’m a chill human. I hate being demanding, but I would have to go into his office every deadline and implore him to write.

“My lede isn’t perfect,” he’d say.

“Done matters. Perfect doesn’t matter.”

I would write ten stories to his one story, over and over again. And the thing was? People liked my stories better. That quest for perfection makes us crazy. But it also keeps us from getting things done.

Don’t Try To Be Someone Else

You should write like you. Not like Anne Lamont or the million other lovelies out there. Not like T-Nehisi Cotes who is brilliant.

You have a unique experience and voice. Use that in your stories. Be brave. Be absolutely who you are. Don’t be shy about it, shout your voice into the world.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Write. Be yourself. Don’t write extra words just to be extra or fill up your word count. And your title is a promise to your reader/listener. Don’t break the promise.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Focus on your wants. Don’t add fluff. Don’t be fluff.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Make Your Books Like Wedgies and Commitment is Not a Dirty Word or Is It?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Make Your Books Like Wedgies and Commitment is Not a Dirty Word or Is It?
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Seriously. The best books are like wedgies. You can’t ignore them. They get right up inside you and into places they aren’t supposed to go.

And sometimes it’s hard to get them out.

This week Carrie talked to a lot of her writers about how if you don’t long to write your scenes, your readers probably aren’t going to long to read those scenes either.

And recently the New York Times talked to Steve Martin (actor, writer, comedian) about books. He’s allegedly addicted to audiobooks, which is cool.

He said, “I’m also a sucker for the magic of opening paragraphs. I’ll never understand what the sorcery is in literature and movies that engages you immediately and makes it impossible to look away.”

A wedgie engages you immediately.

And a book can do that too, sometimes. But sometimes it’s not like a wedgie; it’s more like a bad 8-hour Zoom meeting about land use ordinances and setback requirements in a town you’ll never visit.

So how do you keep your book from being boring?

You wedgify it. Yes, we made up that word.

HOW DO YOU WEDGIFY A BOOK?

  1. You go all in. Make the conflict as big as possible.
  2. You have dynamic scenes where things happen. Not just the character’s meandering thoughts about Zoom meetings.
  3. You make us care. Wedgies matter because your bum matters.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Go all in with your stories. Make the conflict (internal or external) huge, presidential huge. But more than that, make us care about who the conflict is happening to.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Commitment is not a dirty word.

We talk about this in our random thought and how David Brooks (the writer) has some issues regarding privilege and class as we all do, but here is something interesting that he wrote in his book, which uses two mountains as a metaphor for our journey and aspirations in life.

Moral formation is not individual; it is relational. Character is not something you build sitting in a room thinking about the difference between right and wrong and about your own willpower. Character emerges from our commitments. If you want to inculcate character in someone else, teach them how to form commitments — temporary ones in childhood, provisional ones in youth, permanent ones in adulthood. Commitments are the school for moral formation. When your life is defined by fervent commitments, you are on the second mountain.

David Brooks

That second mountain? It’s not just happiness. It’s joy. It’s as David Schools paraphrases it, “a journey to a moral life.”

And what are those commitments? It’s not just marriage so do not panic! It’s also family, vocation, faith/philosophy, and community.

Schools says:

“Full exploration of material, experiential, and intellectual aims leave you hungry for more, restless from comparison, and lonely in your deepest substrate. It’s exhausting. The self is unable to remain in a state of permanent satisfaction.

“This is what Brooks came to find in his own journey. What then is left? You decide to “settle” for that dirty word. Commitment. Only commitments matter. Paradoxically, they are actually what make you feel most alive and here’s why:

“You love what you sacrifice for. When you give yourself away to someone or something, you find a sense of purpose that isn’t focused on the rat wheels of personal development or self-improvement. Instead, you find an exhilarating freedom that connects with other people on a deeper level.”

David Schools

That’s a pretty big dog tip for life right there. And for you writers listening out there, it is the commitments we have to our book and that our characters have to each other that make the meaningful wedgies.

SHOUT OUT!


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

CARRIE’S TEACHABLE CLASS!

I have a quick, pre-recorded Teachable class designed to make you a killer scene writer in just one day. It’s fun. It’s fast. And you get to become a better writer for just $25, which is an amazing deal.

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

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED IN THE PODCAST EPISODE

https://entrepreneurshandbook.co/millennials-loathe-this-one-word-but-its-exactly-what-they-re-looking-for-6f7dee52f6b9

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Why You Gotta Hate Like That Bad Guys In Writing and Life

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Why You Gotta Hate Like That Bad Guys In Writing and Life
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This week we’re revisiting the idea of bad guys in our lives and in our writing because lots of us actually have bad people in our writing and our lives. These antagonists run the gamut from people who make us scream at their Facebook posts of Fakeness to actually physically hurting us and our community. Politics is full of making the other party the bad guy. People at work tend to make other employees or bosses the bad guys. We make bad guys everywhere.

Sometimes we make entire groups of people the bad guy like this week on Facebook a guy who manages an inn had a post that said,

The Facebook Post That Started It All

I have a couple staying with us, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The woman came to tell me how she loves the Inn, but has been treated horribly by so many locals. Being told “go home” and have had obscenities shouted at her and her husband. I’ve seen posts in this group and others from people discouraging tourism. My question is.. .Do we want our town to be known as openly hostile towards visitors? Is this how the level of discourse is supposed to be?

Facebook person

And the responses were all over the locals. People saying locals were the bad guys. People accepting and expecting that those tourists’ side of the story was right and the locals were the bad guys. This might be true. It might not.

It’s like everyone just took one story, without verifying it, accepted it as truth and then jumped on the bad guy wagon.

The question is why? Why do we do this?

I’m sure the original poster believes that woman and that woman may absolutely telling the truth or at least her version of it, but why do we all jump in and take it as reality when it’s hearsay and just that woman’s side of the story. I mean, she obviously doesn’t want to think, “Hey, all these people are swearing at me. Maybe I’m actually doing something wrong.” Instead, she cast herself as the victim and the others as being the bad guys. Which could be entirely accurate.

We don’t know.

And that’s just it. In real life, a lot of the time, we don’t know. Things aren’t always as simple as good and evil; absolute right and absolute wrong.

Although, sometimes it really is. There are certain things that are just evil.


One of the biggest questions a lot of new writers have is this:

Do I need a bad guy?

Yes.

But your bad guy can be yourself or your main character.

Like in our random thoughts, Carrie is often showing that she is her own worst enemy. Watching tv gives her anxiety, but she almost always watches tv at night for a couple of hours.

When it comes to life or writing stories, this can help you figure out what the antagonist is.

Here are the steps:

  1. Figure out what your goal or your main character’s goal is.
  2. The bad person is whatever stands in the way of your character (or you) achieving your goal.

So, in life Carrie is her own antagonist because her goal is to not feel anxious at night, yet she still watches television for an hour or two. That’s an example of an inner-antagonist or bad guy.

Also in life, when Carrie doesn’t let Shaun watch American Pickers and makes him watch Pen15 or Teenage Bounty Hunters? She’s Shaun’s external bad guy, keeping him from his goal to chill with those picker guys.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Every story needs conflict. Sometimes that conflict and opposing force (what’s keeping your character from their goal) comes from the character themself.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

There are enough bad guys in the world. You don’t have to make them up.

Sparty Dog
Sparty Dog, our rescue who saw way too many bad people out there.



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.


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

Continue reading “Why You Gotta Hate Like That Bad Guys In Writing and Life”

Flour Tattoos and Hyperbole is the Biggest Danger in the World (That’s Hyperbole right there)

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Flour Tattoos and Hyperbole is the Biggest Danger in the World (That's Hyperbole right there)
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So, this woman, Aileen Weintraub on the Huffington Post, has an article that’s headline is, “I’m a Grown Woman and I Still Sleep with a Stuffed Animal.”

“George is my deep, dark secret, and I’m sharing our story now in the time of COVID-19 because many of us are quietly struggling.”

Aileen Weintraub

And the article is sweet and lovely, and poor Aileen had COVID-19 and was terribly sick and was even more stressed because George, her stuffed dog has been with her for thirty years and she didn’t know if her stuffed animal would be able to go with her if she had to come to the hospital.

And she was ashamed because stuffed animals are allegedly “transitional objects.”

She wrote,

“I love my family, but this little hound doesn’t take up much room and he doesn’t shift the sheets. I don’t have to explain myself to him. He doesn’t ask questions and he’s always there, a personal touchstone I can depend on. George doesn’t judge. He never complains and I never have to cook for him. He never rummages through the fridge and tells me there is no food in the house. He doesn’t leave towels on the floor. He doesn’t bark while I’m on a conference call. George gets me.

“When I was quarantined for 16 days as the coronavirus ravaged my body, no one in my family could touch me. I communicated with them via text or through a closed door. But George was there. He is so quiet that it would be easy to forget him. I never do.

“George is my deep dark secret, and I’m sharing our story now in the time of COVID-19 because no matter how strong, confident or successful a person may appear, the truth is that many of us are quietly struggling. When everything seems hopeless, when it looks like we will never get out of the hellfire that is 2020, perhaps it’s OK to admit to finding softness and comfort from something as simple and familiar as an old threadbare stuffy.”

Aileen Weintraub

God bless this lady because if George, the stuffed animal in her bed, is her deep dark secret? What a nice life she’s had.

What Is Hyperbole?

Hyperbole is basically defined as an exaggeration that people use to emphasize an effect. It’s extravagant. It’s bullshit. It comes from the Greek word for “excess.”

I’m not sure if this ‘deep dark secret’ is hyperbole, but it sure feels like one.

And the problem with hyperbole? Is that it’s not truth. It’s inauthentic. It’s the tool of politicians and apparently op-ed writers and we’re all freaking too used to it. We don’t examine the extravagant claims of influencers, writers. Headlines and tweets and speeches and email subject lines are full of them.

 In writing fiction especially, hyperbole can be a brilliant tool. Listen to this Monty Python bit about being completely not rich.

You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for 14 hours a day and when we got home, our Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!​

Monty Python people

The Problem

Writers, you can use hyperbole but don’t use it in your nonfiction. Even Aristotle was anti-hyperbole saying it was amateur and childlike and that it was the tool of bad, angry politicians.

Why is it bad?

It’s bad because it’s used to manipulate us and our emotions. It makes normal things suddenly feel over the top, excessive, the deepest and darkest of secrets or the most terrifying moments of existence. It’s when someone yells at you for your opinion or your actions and you call it an ‘attack’ in which you are in fear of your life. It’s when you’re pushing for your agenda and twisting truth so that you can be the savior or the victim and it is dangerous AF.

And it’s normal now. We’re used to seeing the exaggeration of truths becoming lies. No, that article is not going to make you instantly a best selling book writer or super fit in three fast weeks. No, that politician isn’t going to save your country. No, that person with an opinion different than yours does not deserve to die.

Hyperbole pulls us away from the truth. In the excess and exaggeration often comes an otherness, an us versus them mentality that prevents us from finding truths, middle roads, and we become so engrossed in it that we see a story about a woman’s deepest, darkest secret being about sleeping with her stuffed animal and we believe it.

We’ve got to return to truth, to discourse, to authenticity.

And we have to do it before it’s too late before that extremism is the norm, exaggeration is the defacto position for all of us, before we forget what truth even is.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Write truth. Write things that resonate. Hyperbole is a great tool, but it shouldn’t be your go-t0 response.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t hyperbolize the simple stuff.

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.

Continue reading “Flour Tattoos and Hyperbole is the Biggest Danger in the World (That’s Hyperbole right there)”

My Dog Is A Skunk Killer AND I Had No Clue!

See this face?

It’s a cute face, right? It is an innocent, adorable, sweet face. This is the dog who lets us hug her for hours and actually leans into it. This is the dog who refuses to take food out of your hand unless you assure her that you really don’t want it. This is a dog that allows kittens to climb through her fur and hitch rides on her back.

But also, apparently, Gabby the Dog has been hiding an entire other side of herself and she is a killer. Not just a hornet killer. She’s really good at swallowing hornets and wasps whole.

No.

She is a skunk killer.

The Scene

We let her and Sparty Dog (our non killer, not even hornets) outside to the backyard before bed. The yard is fenced. She rushed out, running full-tilt, which is hard for her because:

  1. She is old.
  2. She was abused and starved as a puppy and her muscular system and skeletal structure didn’t form correctly do to lack of nutrition and also being tied to a tree in Alabama all day, every day.

But according to He Who Let Her Out, she sprinted, silently to the back corner of the yard where the fence meets the shed.

A Smell Happens

I was at my desk making my to-do list for the next day when I smelled burning.

I jumped up and flipped my laptop over because I’m super paranoid about laptops catching on fire.

It was not my laptop.

“Do you smell burning?” I yelled to Shaun aka the bodyguard aka Person Who Let The Dogs Into The Yard.

“No. I don’t smell any–“

“SKUNK!” I screamed, slamming shut the windows. “Dear God, did you let the dogs out there? Oh no! Oh no!”

Gabby has had a skunk encounter before. She chased it out of the yard and it slid under the gate but first shot its odoriferous defense system straight into her muzzle. It took a lot to make her smell good after that. I did not want a repeat of that event.

But instead, instead…

The Scene Evolves INTO POOPY BUSINESS

We ran to the back mudroom door, flung it open. In the middle of the yard was Sparty the Non Killing Dog doing his poopy business. He was walking across the yard while he did this, head down, doggy posture looking ashamed/horrified and definitely not making any eye contact with us or Gabby the Dog in the back corner.

“Sparty! In here now!” I yelled.

Sparty is a perfect dog and scampered in. I shut us in the mud room. Smelled him. He was good to go.

“You are the best dog ever,” I told him.

He agreed and went into the living room to jump on the couch and wait out the drama.

WHO EVEN IS THIS KILLER?

Meanwhile, Shaun was still out on the back stoop staring into the darkness that is our yard. I could just barely see the white form of Gabby in the corner. She was doing that dog thing she does with her toys where she flails her head rapidly back and forth. Something was in her mouth. That something was not her favorite froggy toy.

“Sweet mother of all things holy,” I whispered. “Is she playing with the skunk?”

“No,” Shaun said. “No, she has killed the skunk and is apparently making sure it’s really dead.”

I gasped. “My baby’s not a killer.”

Shaun said, “Honey, your baby is definitely a killer.”

He had to turn on the hose to get her to drop it. Gabby is a Pyr, not a retriever, not a hunter. And though she knows the command “Drop it,” her stubborn Pyr genes were in full effect.

The Horror

I brought her in the mudroom expecting to see blood and skunk bits. And I cleaned her. There was no blood and she somehow only had skunk smell in her mouth and on her right paw.

“Who even are you?” I asked.

She wagged her tail and breathed skunk smell on me. I managed to not die, too.

What Does This All Mean?

But that’s not why I’m writing about this whole horrific event. I’m writing about it because Gabby reminded me that we never know exactly what other people (or dogs) are capable of. We never know exactly what we are capable of either.

We think we know how we’d react in certain situations, often imagine ourselves the hero of our own stories and other people’s stories, but we have different sides, instincts that sometimes turn into actions and words that we never thought we’d do or save. And that holds true for the people and dogs we love, too.

Gabby reminded me that while I might think of her as a skunk killer now, she thinks she was protecting Sparty and our house. She reminded me that we don’t all have the same motivations and intentions and no matter how much we think we understand people and dogs and ourselves? Well, sometimes surprises happen.

And that’s okay.

my hands smell like dogs
Cutie Dog and Skunk Killer.
Continue reading “My Dog Is A Skunk Killer AND I Had No Clue!”