Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome

Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:47
 
1X
 

A lot of time I’ll be reading scenes in books and it will be two characters talking and I’ll only have a vaguely general idea about where they are. Maybe I won’t have an idea at all. We call this evil beast the talking heads syndrome. 

Cue scary music here. 

WHAT IS TALKING HEADS SYNDROME?

No, it’s not about the iconic 1980s group. Sorry!

It’s where there’s a lot of dialogue going on but there’s no actual anchor for the characters. It’s like they are floating in space blabbing at each other. There’s no physical world placement. 

This happens a lot and it’s because some of us are writers who really hear our scenes rather than see our scenes or live in our scenes. It’s also because we sometimes forget to get those anchors in there. 

How to Imagine Yourself in a Scene

To do this exercise you have to step away from the keyboard for a second and stand up. We know! We know! Writers are all about sitting down and putting their butts in the chair and getting the work done, right? Well, give yourself five minutes and stand up in a quiet place preferably not in Starbucks or anything. 

Now close your eyes and think about your scene where there are talking heads.

SMELL

There you are with your characters. Maybe you can even imagine yourself as one of the characters. Possess them like they’re Zac Bagans and you’re filming Ghost Adventures. Inhale. What kind of smells are you smelling? Remember that. 

SOUND

You’re still there with the characters standing in the setting. What do you hear? Remember that. 

TOUCH

Your characters don’t stay completely still for the whole scene, do they? Have them move even if it’s to fidget. Let them touch things. What do those things feel like? Are they hot? Textured? Hands aren’t the only things that touch. Does their hair sweep over something? Does their foot kick against a table? Do their shoulders lean against the rough wood of the wall? 

TASTE

What does it feel like inside their mouth? Dry? Coppery? Do they need to brush their teeth? Please make them floss. Everyone should floss. 

SIGHT

This is the fallback for most writers and it can have some issues. We want to be able to visualize the setting and where things are happening, but we don’t need the buffer of the character seeing what’s happening. 

There are a lot of stories where it says, 

“Shaun looked over and saw the cat dangling from the curtain.”  

Don’t pad the details with distancing words. Don’t tell us that Shaun’s looking. Just have us see. 

Instead write, 

“The cat dangled from the curtain.”  

It’s so much more powerful. 

MOVEMENT

Have the characters move. Give them actions and objective correlatives to their emotional states. 

What are the next steps to Banishing the talking heads?

No, it’s not casting David Byrne to an isolated bunker in Nebraska. It’s also not putting him on SNL. It has nothing to do with him! I promise.

The next step is incorporating what you imagined for tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing, movement into the actual scene. You have to have your characters’ perceptions of the outside world and setting incorporated into that dialogue and action. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper. 

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Don’t be full of talking heads. Write scenes that come alive. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Be in the moment, man, and actually notice things. 

Note: In the random thoughts in bed section of our podcast we talk about Liberal cheers, famous for being losers, getting thick thanks to the Coronavirus and Shaun binging Swedish Fish, and golf balls. How’s that for random? 

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.

Last week’s episode’s link.


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.

This week’s episode link. 

NEWS

Over 180,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them.

Continue reading “Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome”
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Surviving Road Trips, K-Pop, Stranger Things, and the Takis Burn

Surviving Road Trips, K-Pop, Stranger Things, and the Takis Burn

 
 
00:00 / 00:12:24
 
1X
 

This week, we’ve stepped away from our normal format because we’re on a massive road trip from Maine to Georgia to Florida and back again.

So much time in the car is making our brains a bit – a bit – a bit – broken?

Have a listen. There’s a special guest. She’s eleven. She’s got opinions just like her dad.

Apologies for the car noises. That’s because we’re in the car. Come join us.


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. 


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. 

It’s My Anniversary and I Never Remember My Anniversary

So, it’s my anniversary and I never remember my anniversary. What I remember is the love.

The bodyguard I am married to says it this, “Every day is our anniversary, baby.”

I love the bodyguard despite the fact that he calls me baby and we are profoundly different in our thoughts and reactions and essence.

This blog is a quick excerpt of our life from awhile ago when I went to Conestoga, this convention in Oklahoma and it was super fun. I talked. I met cool people. I saw strange things. I presented on panels, but then it was time to come home to Maine with the bodyguard.

Our first sign that something was off should have been the airport. I am a person who like airports. I think they are neat. There’s all this hustle and bustle and people going off to exciting places like – um – Hawaii or something. I am never actually going to those super cool exciting places. 

But to me Tulsa, Oklahoma was exciting.

This was evidenced by the airport. 

The zombie airport of Tulsa

We get to the UNITED counter to check in at the handy dandy self-serve kiosk and there were only two other people there. Seriously. Two other people! There were four people behind the counter. Do you know what this means? There were MORE UNITED workers than customers. Score!

But wait, I thought, perhaps this is a bad omen. I looked around the airport. There were hardly any people anywhere. I told the bodyguard my thoughts.

He said, “Baby. Take deep breaths.”

I ignored him as I will whenever he gives me good advice.

“Oh my God,” I said. “Was there a zombie apocalypse? I totally should have gone to the panel at Conestoga about how to survive a zombie apocalypse. AND I AM IN AN AIRPORT! There are no weapons here. They don’t even have metal steak knives. Everything is plastic. How am I going to survive? Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”

The bodyguard hugged me, which is an effective way of making me stop talking. He is a smart bodyguard.

“Miss,” the airplane guy from UNITED said. “Can I help you?”

I looked up at him. His flesh did not seem to be decaying. 

“You aren’t a zombie, are you?” I asked.

He lifted an eyebrow. It didn’t fall off. I figured it was safe. 

I cautiously approached the counter wondering if I could throw my suitcase at him. BUT I DIDN’T HAVE TO! Instead of eating us, he told me that our flight to Chicago has been delayed for 500 hours. 

“But we have a connection,” I said.

“You have forty minutes to make it,” he said. He frowned. “If there are no more delays.”

FORTY MINUTES!

I had sudden images of being trapped in a Chicago airport surrounded by zombies and the bodyguard trying to fend them off. I decided this was vaguely sexy.

“Um,” I managed to say. “Is there a reason for the delay like – um – like – um – zombies?”

“Did you say zombies?” he asked.

I shook my head really fast.

“It’s weather related.” 

“Okay,” I say, “cool.” 

Because we now had four hours to waste in the Tulsa Airport. We did this super slow walk over to the security check-in where you get to take off your shoes and walk through the cool metal detector thing, which always reminds me of Star Trek and futuristic things because – well, because I am nerdy and live in Northern Maine where we don’t have a lot of futuristic things. We do have lobsters ….

And blueberries …

Which can be kind of scary actually.

The Land of TSA and Bodyguards

So, we get to the security part and still – THERE ARE ONLY TWO OTHER PEOPLE THERE. 

“We are totally in a Stephen King novel and almost everyone is dead,” I said to my bodyguard.

My bodyguard, however, didn’t hear me because he was stuck in the futuristic cool metal detector thing because he was made of metal or something and he was kind of big like bodyguards are supposed to be. 

I swallowed hard as TSA agents surrounded him. Were the TSA agents actually high-functioning zombies?

“Do not take my bodyguard!” I started to say. “I totally need him to — to — um — guard my body?”

The bodyguard smiled. They let him through. He puts his shoes back on.

Side note: May I just say that bodyguards in bare feet just aren’t as threatening? 

So, there were other people who have put their shoes back on. We all randomly roamed around a pretty empty concourse. I decided to go to the bathroom.

I am the kind of person who constantly thinks, “I am going to be in a ________(Fill in the blank. Car. Airplane. Deserted Wilderness. Bad theatrical production of GUYS AND DOLLS) for hours and I may never get to pee again. I should pee now.”

“I am going to try to pee,” I announced to my bodyguard. “If I don’t return, the zombies got me. Get back-up.”

The Lady In the Bathroom

And I headed to the restroom. But there was a woman with a badge there, blocking the door! The last time I was in Tulsa there was a woman security person blocking the door. It is like Groundhog Day mixed with a Stephen King novel now. 

“You can’t go in there,” she said. 

“Is it zombies?” I whispered.

“Go away weirdo,” she said. 

I went away. I suddenly had to pee a lot more. 

There was no place to pee in the Tulsa airport except the restrooms. Normally, this was a good thing. Not today. 

Police came. She let them in the bathroom. Firemen came. She let them in the bathroom. I wondered if they were there to help or to pee. After hours pass, they took a fragile-looking older lady out of the bathroom. They let us in. There were blue gloves and EMT type things all over the floor. It was scary looking. But there were no zombies. I started to worry a lot about the fragile-looking older lady. When I came out, I tell my body guard. 

“She’ll be okay,” he said in a very reassuring bodyguard way. 

I decided to believe him. 

“But will we be okay?” I asked.

“Of course.”

Getting on the Plane

This is because the bodyguard doesn’t worry the way I worry or think the way I think. He just knows, which is possibly why I married him eventually and we have an anniversary that I can never remember.

We boarded and it was the SMALLEST PLANE IN THE UNIVERSE! It was like a Playskool airplane and tall people had to sort of shuffle sideways down the aisle bent at the waist.

I was suddenly happy that I was not tall.

The happiness didn’t last though because the pilot said, “Um. Folks. The plane has been delayed another fifteen minutes. It’ll be that long before we take off.”

Fifteen minutes! 

We would never get our connection. I would be stuck in Chicago forever with zombies and just my bodyguard.

Bible College Girl

The girl in the seat behind me started murmuring. I thought she was praying. She said before that she went to Bible college so I was hopeful. The plane takes off! SCORE 1 for Bible College Girl.

But no – as we were landing, the back of my seat suddenly thrusted forward. I heard a funny coughing noise and Bible College Girl’s hair seemed to touch my hair through the crack between the seat and the airplane wall. Suddenly, there was a smell of parmesan cheese and eggs. It was NOT a good smell.

I gagged. 

I looked at my bodyguard who was reading. I make big eyes. He sniffed. He gagged.

Bible College Girl had upchucked all over the place. 

“Sean,” she whimpered to her seatmate, this cool young guy coming back from a wedding. “Um … Do you have anything I can wipe up with?”

He didn’t. 

There were no barf bag things. We were landing and the flight attendants were all sitting down. There was no way to clean up the mess. It was all in her hair. I gagged again. 

“I think I might throw up,” I said to my bodyguard.

“Do. Not. Throw. Up,” he said and put his massive bodyguard hand over my mouth and nose so that all I could smell was bodyguard-hand smell, which was much nicer than parmesan cheese-acid-egg throw-up smell. 


“It is in my hair?” I shrieked this but it came out all muffled because of the hand. “Is it in my hair too?”

“No,” he said after deciphering my mmphh mumpphhs. “I swear it is not in your hair.” 

We landed. The flight attendant came over. 

“Oh,” she said to Bible College Girl. “You poor dear.”

Bible College Girl said, “There were no bags.”

Flight attendent made scoffing noise and rushed off to get cleaning supplies.

“Bodyguard,” I said. “Are we going to be okay?”

“Yes,” he insisted and gagged. “We are going to be okay.”

We got off plane. Bible College Girl had now morphed into Throw-Up in Long Hair Girl. Satan has scored one for his team. Boo Satan!

THE SKIRT ISSUE

We got off the plane onto the tarmac in Chicago and we had to walk down these steps on this narrow staircase. But the problem was not that it was a super steep staircase. 

The problem was: I WAS WEARING A SKIRT! 

Anyway, there is a reason they call Chicago, “The Windy City.” 
This reason does not involve flatulence. 

Oh no,” I said to Mr. Bodyguard aka my seat mate. “Will you hold my bag?”


“Sure,” he said as all nice bodyguards do. “Why?”


“Um ….” I coughed. I stuttered. I ended up pointing at my flouncy skirt. This same flouncy skirt made me get patted down by a TSA officer in Manchester, NH. She said I could hide things in there.

Let me tell you: I needed more than two hands to hold that baby down. 

So, once down on the ground, I grabbed my bag back and sprinted across the tarmac towards the airport terminal. 
“My skirt!” I explained. “I only have (gasp!) thirty minutes to get to my next flight. ARE WE GOING TO BE OKAY?”

Mr. Body Guard nodded. He had to wait for his carry-on luggage, which became carry-under luggage during the flight. 


I sprinted to the terminal. Bible College Girl With the Vomit Hair (as she is now known even to her mother) sprinted behind me. I held the door for her so she wouldn’t touch it and spread germs and then scooted inside, holding my breath so I didn’t have to actually smell her and become Writing Person with the Weak Stomach and Vomit Hair of Her Own.

Inside the building were masses of people waiting for some delayed planes, more masses of people were in a customer service line complaining.

There was no easy path through the sea of people and luggage. I am not super tall or big. I could not push my way through.

“Excuse me!” I yelled. “I need to get through.”


Nobody moved.
“Excuse me! Zombie attack!” I yelled.


Nobody moved.


“Excuse me! Brad Pitt! Oh my God. Is that Brad Pitt getting off that plane?” I yelled.

Everyone rushed to the window screaming.


I took my clear path and dashed up the escalator looking for the screen that would tell me where the next flight is. 
 

I gasped.
It was not good.

Our flight was in C terminal (at the end of it). I was in F terminal (at the end of it). We had a mere twenty minutes to get there.  Could Mr. Bodyguard sprint that far carrying me in less that 20 minutes? Wait! Where was Mr. Bodyguard? 

 I had lost Mr. Body Guard in a sea of carryon luggage and zombie humans

I looked around frantically. Mr. Bodyguard was nowhere! I was a lowly writer without a bodyguard.

Screaming,  I went down the escalator I just came up. Mr. Body Guard was going up the escalator. We were on different escalators separated by a divider thingy. 

“Mr. Body Guard!” I screamed waving frantically at him. “Our flight is  42 miles away! And we have 20 minutes! And I am going the wrong way on the escalator!”

Mr. Bodyguard assesses the situation and reached over the escalator divider and yanked me up and over. I was now heading in the right direction.

“We are going to have to run,” Mr. Body Guard said.
“Run!” I gasped. “Like Whitney and Kevin Costner in that movie? About the bodyguard?”

“No.” He shook his head and grabbed my hand. “And please stop talking about that movie. I hate that movie! And that song! No, I meant like in the tv show CHUCK when there’s about to be an explosion. And if they don’t run they will explode into tiny little body parts and not even their teeth will be whole.”

And right then I realized that Mr. Bodyguard was not actually all that different from me.

“Got it,” I said, clutching his hand getting ready to run. “Are we going to be alright?”

“Yes, baby.” He smiled even as I cringed and he kissed me before adding. “It will always be alright.”

So, happy anniversary to my more stable, stronger half, the man who gives everything to take care of his girls, who steps into the role of full-time dad and anxiety coach with ease. It’s hard to imagine anyone else I could ever feel safer with or love any more. That’s because there isn’t anyone. Sometimes we both suck because we’re human, but there’s nobody I’d rather go on adventure with, fight against the zombies with, or make a podcast and life together.



Other News

Hey! Ballsy is sponsoring our podcasts this week and it is an awesome company. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 


The link to our episode

Our last regular episode.


Big News!

I just publish eda 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, order 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.


Sparty Dog Inspiration for Thursday

Sometimes it feels like even when you are in a perfect ‘sit,’ you’re never going to get a treat.


But you. Right there. You.


You deserve one.


I believe in you & your humanity.


Let’s make amazing stories & give each other treats, okay? We’ve got this.


x

Sparty Dog

This week’s podcast.

DUDE, DON’T WHATEVER ME

DUDE, DON’T WHATEVER ME

 
 
00:00 / 00:14:13
 
1X
 

We like to think that our lives have a point and that they matter. I think they do, but we’re not here to get all esoteric on you. We’re here to help you be better writers and humans and one of the biggest things we need to tell you is this. 

You need to ban the ‘whatever.’ 

If you want your life to have a point then you need to give it a point. 

If you want your story to have a point? Same thing. 

Your life and your story should never be about ‘whatever.’ 

In life, you fix things when they break. You create goals. You move forward to solve things. In your story? Well it needs to happen that way too. We have to lean into the guiding force that creates every moment and scene in our stories. 

We focus so much on our feelings and our emotions, but here’s the thing – emotions change, feelings are flighty. What matters is our point or our purpose and that matters both overall and in the moment. 

Remembering your point or purpose works really well when you’re arguing with your partner because they failed to hear you when you said, “Can you put the onions in the pot, right now?” Instead of being super cranky and resentful that they didn’t put the onions in the pot for two minutes, you can think, “Wait. What is my purpose of being with this person?”

Chances are your purpose isn’t about getting onions quickly into a pot or having someone to boss around. Usually your purpose about being someone is something like, “To build a happy, safe, collaborative life together.” 

So, how do you find your life’s purpose? That’s a bit question that Carrie’s always struggling with.

A good first step is to ask yourself these five questions: 

  1. What happens because I am here? 
  2. What wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t here? 
  3. What am I good at and think is pretty easy? 
  4. What do I love doing when I do it? 
  5. What do I actually look forward to? 

Ask yourself these questions over and over again and if you’re blocked on them, if you think you don’t make a difference in anyone’s life? Ask again. Keep asking. Wonder for a second if it’s easier to believe that you don’t matter than accept that you do.

Because you do. 

You have a point. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Just like our lives, our characters in stories need to have a point and a purpose and so do our stories. Ask yourself what each characters’ points are. Ask yourself what the story’s point is? Is it a treatise about government corrupt? A call to love? 

Dog Tip for Life

Dog’s don’t ask what they should be doing. They ask, what their purpose is? A protector dog protects. A hunter hunts. A lap dog laps. A lab eats. Their purpose propels their choices and gives them a point to existence. 

So, think about it. What is your purpose right now in this second? 

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.

Gabby’s Dog Tip for Today

Hello!
Look at you showing your best self to this world even when other people are being not so best.

Look at you leading by example, making your story, making community, lifting others up, reaching for them, noticing. Make room for the beauty you are.

xo
Gabby Dog

Big News!

I’m about to publish 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 preorder 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.


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

Becoming

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

Don’t Vomit in the Taxi and How to Tell a Good Story in Three Quick Steps

Don’t Vomit in the Taxi and How to Tell a Good Story in Three Quick Steps

 
 
00:00 / 00:19:52
 
1X
 

This week Carrie was in Georgia hanging out with her daughter who had just had an operation. Her daughter is fine! Anyways, on the way to the airport at 4 a.m., the taxi driver told her story after story, mostly about the drunk people from Fort Benning who had ridden in his cab. 

He was an amazing story teller and I realized that sometimes writing is just like telling a big anecdote. And you don’t want to be boring. We all know the people who have super boring anecdotes that just go on and on, right? You don’t want to be that person! 

The Three Quick and Simple Steps For Telling a Good Anecdote or writing a Good Story

Hook them in

This is the attention grabber. 

Tell an actual story

Tell a real story, not just a bunch of random details. Let it have a beginning, a middle and an end. 

Give a Moment to Let the Message Sink In

Your story has a point, right? Let us understand what that point is. Don’t rush the ending. Show how your anecdote or your novel or your story reflects a bigger piece of life. Let it resonate. 


Writing Tip of the Pod

Give your story a point. 

Dog Tip for Life

Do whatever you can to get their attention. Hook them in. 

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’m about to publish 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 preorder 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.


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

Becoming

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

How to Be A HAPPY writer, Big Foot, Statues that Pee

How to Be A HAPPY writer, Big Foot, Statues that Pee

 
 
00:00 / 00:18:40
 
1X
 

This week’s podcast is about something really important. It’s about remembering to have fun. For a lot of us, life has a ton of stressors and responsibilities. We have to make enough money to survive. We have to take care of our family and ourselves. We have to deal with a world and not succumb to constant catastrophic thinking about the state of the world. 

It’s easy to forget to have fun. 

Or to feel guilty about having fun. 

Or to feel guilty about having hobbies. 

And here’s the thing. It’s great to be a professional writer and make money at something you love to do, but you don’t have to make money at it. A lack of financial rewards for your efforts doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you aren’t getting money. 

And money, my friends, is not everything. 

What is everything? Having fun. Growing. Enjoying your damn self in this short amount of time you have on this world, making yourself wiser and stronger and embracing your moments of joy. Everyone who sings in the shower isn’t expected to make money at singing in the shower. That should go for those of us who write too. 

Here’s the truth: You can write solely for the joy of writing. 

Don’t let other people’s opinions or standards give you or your writing validation. Don’t let the pressure for external measures of success (publication, an agent, an award, 100,000 social media followers) ruin your joy in creating stories. 

Here are Five Quick Steps to Reclaiming That Joy

  1. Rest when you need to. Take care of your body. Eat food. Drink water. The simple things that all us living organisms should be doing.
  2. Don’t have buttheads for friends. Be with people who make you happy and support you and inspire you. Ditch the others. 
  3. Go outside. Seriously. Go out of the building. Feel the air. You are part of this earth. Remember this and take care of it, too. Study a flower, a rock, a tree. It’ll make you a better writer, too. Notice the whole. 
  4. Be grateful for the good stuff that happens. What do you have? You’re reading this, or listening. That means you have enough that allows you to do that. Pretty cool, right? 
  5. Open your mind and your heart. Try not to be so super judgmental. Be generous and chill when you can. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

If writing isn’t your profession and isn’t feeding you and your family. It’s okay to stop if it’s not giving you joy. Wait until it gives you joy and go back to it. Also, remember that y-o-u-r  (your) means belonging to you and y-o-u-r-apostrophe-e(you’re) means you are.

Dog Tip for Life

It’s good to have a pack of humans to clean up after you. That way you can enjoy life and be messy when you slobber on the windows barking enthusiastically at the Fed Ex guy. Try to find a good pack of humans to be your clean-up crew. 

Sponsor

This podcast was sponsored by BookNotes and this link sets you up for a free seven-day trail. 

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.

This week’s podcast link.

Last week’s podcast.

BIG NEWS! 

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up? 

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

I have a new book coming out!

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 preorder 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.

Dealing With Distractions and Trolls and Panting Dogs

Dealing With Distractions and Trolls and Panting Dogs

 
 
00:00 / 00:22:41
 
1X
 

How do you write (or live) when you’re surrounded by distractions? Recently, a great teacher was talking to me about me being his writing coach, but he was hesitant to start right now because of his new class load. 

I’m a seize the moment kind of human because I always expect to die tomorrow. That ticking-clock point of view keeps me moving and going despite distractions, but I know not everyone is that way. 

When I was a newspaper editor and Em was little, I was always dealing with distractions and I would write anywhere – at a planning board meeting, at a swim meet, at the Y on the bike, waiting in the car to pick Em up after school, in bed, standing at the counter, anywhere and everywhere. Noise was everywhere. Ten-year-olds would be having sleep-overs. Dinner would need to be made. Dogs would be barking.

And I would write. 

I knew that if I wanted to write, then I had to write. And to do that? I had to force my brain to filter though the distractions and be in the flow. 

So how do you do that? 

According to an article on the Entrepeneur by Deep Patel, which we’ve linked to in the notes for this podcast, there are several decent methods for dealing with distractions.

Make It Chill

He says to, “Begin building habits that help you eliminate distractions and stay focused. Start by creating an environment in which you’re less tempted to get preoccupied with something other than what you’re working on.”

That means make things quiet. Close your door. Turn off the cell. 

Make Pretend Deadlines

Deadlines make us focus. Make small time limits for you to get your work done instead of giving yourself all day to get your priorities done. I (Carrie) do this all the time, actually and even stress about my completely self-imposed deadlines. That anxiety sucks, but that focus? It makes me get a lot of things done. 

Get into The Pondoro Method

What is this? It sounds sort of x-rated, right? It’s not. 

Patel explains it as a method “in which you set a timer and are completely focused on a task for a period of time, such as 45 minutes straight. Then allow yourself a 15-minute break.”

It’s actually another thing Carrie does all the time, only she’s a 50-10 split. She also makes herself stand for that 10 minutes because she’s afraid of Dead Butt Syndrome, which we talked about in an earlier podcast. You should look it up. It’s wild in a dead-butt kind of way.

There you go. Three hot tips to help keep yourself from being distracted in 2020. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t let distractions become your attention.

Dog Tip for Life

Pant throughout the podcast, look cute, and rest your muzzle on someone’s knee.

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


Big News!

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up? I’ll be sending out more news about this soon! 

Sparty Daily Wisdom (as seen on Twitter)


Some days you might not feel super wise.

You might accidentally get kitty litter smeared into your side while indulging in your secret nasty addiction.


Your humans who love you will STILL love you. Mistakes happen. But so does joy. Hold onto the joy not the mistakes.

Sparty Dog
Continue reading “Dealing With Distractions and Trolls and Panting Dogs”

Santa, What are Your Eyebrows doing? Telling Details and Taco Bell Smells.

Santa, What are Your Eyebrows doing? Telling Details and Taco Bell Smells.

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:36
 
1X
 

The Magic of The Eyebrow and Telling Details

What is this thing? This telling detail? 

It’s a phrase or an image or a word that illustrates something about a character. It’s pretty exact. It’s a magical moment of showing rather than telling. 

It’s usually pretty short. 

And it’s the opposite of a telling description. 

Here’s a bad description: 

He was nervous and scared and sad all at once. 

Here’s a telling-detail description: 

He soothed himself, rubbing the tips of his own ears over and over. 

Telling details make the characters and settings feel real. If we say, “Shaun lifted his eyebrows?” Well, that’s a cliché, but also it’s not quite enough to be a telling detail no matter how much people communicate with their eyebrows. 

Here’s a bad description: 

They walked into an almost empty bar. 

We don’t really see the bar, do we? 

Here’s something a bit better: 

The bar smelled of beer and lilac bushes somehow. The Sonos speaker tottering on the edge of the reclaimed wood bar blared “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story. A man leaning between ferns used a pencil to smash a hole into the bottom of a Bud Lite can and chugged it all down. He crushed the empty can between his hands and belched out the alphabet to cheers. 

“Wow. This place is weird,” I said and grabbed the door handle, ready to bolt. 

It’s all about detail and detail choice. Your reader and you don’t have the exact same image of what the inside of a bar is going to look like. It’s your job to show them your character’s world. You do that with a few telling details. This goes about setting, but it’s also true about people.

If I wrote,

Santa had straight eyebrows, far apart on his face, thin, red and with scars running through the center. They crept towards his receding hairline.

You’ll have a different image than,

Santa’s eyebrows raised.


Writing Tip of the Pod

When you’re revising think, “Can I make this shorter? Tighter? Quirkier? More authentic?” 

Dog Tip for Life


Notice the eyebrows. The difference. The details. And use them in your stories.


This week’s podcast

Last week’s podcast


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.


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.”

Continue reading “Santa, What are Your Eyebrows doing? Telling Details and Taco Bell Smells.”

Gabby Friday Thoughts

Dog Inspiration
Dog Inspiration by Gabby the Great Pyrennes

Sometimes the only thing breaking through the darkness is you.


Stare out of it. Be the brave you want everyone else to be.


Wag your tail. Be the love you want everyone else to be.


Bark. Breathe in. Bark again.

Love. Fight for others. Love through it all.


xo

Gabby Dog