Simple Story Structure, Pokemon Oreos and Do You Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching You?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Simple Story Structure, Pokemon Oreos and Do You Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching You?
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There are lots of fancy and complicated ways to figure out story structure.

There’s Save the Cat, the Snowflake Method, the Five-Act, the Four-Act, the Six-Act.

But sometimes all of those complicated methods bog some of our writer brains down.

So today we’re going to give you a super quick guide to story structure for your novel. You ready?

Step One:

Name it. This does not have to be its forever name, just a way for you to find the computer file. It can be THE EVIL NOVEL THAT HAS NO NAME RIGHT NOW. That’s fine.

Step Two:

Find a hero. Name them. Put them in a jam or a bad place. Maybe they suck at making commitments? Maybe they need a promotion. Maybe they live under the stairs. Give them a problem.

Step Three:

Think about what has to occur in order for them to ovary up enough to try to deal with that problem.

Step Four:

Now decide what is going to change once that hero gets proactive and tries to deal with that problem or once they take action.

Step Five:

Are things different for our little hero now? How?

Step Six

Okay. Something else needs to happen so that the story takes a turn or a veer to the right or left. What makes it go in another direction?

Step Seven

Make things worse for our poor hero. How are they worse?

Step Eight

Okay. If this is a positive change arc where the hero ends up in a better place, what is it that inspires them to make a big effort and go for that win?

Step Nine

What is the big win (positive change arc) or the big loss (negative change arc)

There you go, how to figure out your novel’s basic structure in nine easy steps? Do you feel heroic, writer? You should.

Writing Tip of the Pod

It’s okay to make it simple when it comes to story structure. It really is.

Dog Tip for Life

When your people turn your head and look at you and you realize you’ve been caught, it’s time to stop because then they just think you’re a creeper.

Resources

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/26/1040779728/pokemon-oreo-cookies-ebay-pikachu-mew

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

What Not To Say To Your Wife

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

best podcast ever

I am not a writer by trade and I don’t have the grammar skills nor writing craft that many of you have. However, I am here now to give you some advice on how important the proper choice of words is. This is extremely important, not just in writing but in everyday life, so listen up!

Choose your words carefully! Use them in an appropriate manner to get your true and intended point across. The ramifications of not doing so can be very detrimental to your audience and sometimes even yourself.

Please allow me to give you a perfect example of one gargantuan blunder that I made just a few minutes ago.

First, a little backstory. Carrie has been sick for a week, maybe even a couple days more, depending upon when she actually admitted to not feeling a 100%. No, she does not have COVID, it’s more like a common cold with all of the accoutrements, runny nose, congestion, sore throat, tiredness and last night, a slight fever.

Now, I love my wife more than anything, ever! I have tried to take care of her and make sure that she has what she needs. I have been forcing her to work less than normal and rest throughout the day. Hell, last night I even made her chicken soup (from scratch) with leftover stuffing dumplings.

But all of that tenderness and affection can be destroyed in but a moment!

I will start with the point that I was trying to convey to my lovely wife as she sat in her office chair working, coughing, blowing her nose and generally looking miserable.

This is what I tried to say:

“My dearest, I am so incredibly sorry that you have been feeling so horribly for so long! It seems as though this cold will not go away as quickly as I was hoping and it literally breaks my heart every time that I gaze upon you beautiful face and see you so obviously feeling like crap. Is there anything that I can do for you right now?”

And this my friends is what I said.

“Aw, I hope you feel better soon/ I’m getting tired of looking at you and you looking like shit.”

Yep, even though it was said with the most love, tenderness, and empathy, my word choices still made it a little less than desirable. And it was most definitely not the message I was trying to send.

So, while you ruminate on these words of wisdom I am going to try to get my wife to speak to me again.

No worries, I am sure that we will be okay (because my lovely wife is incredibly forgiving) and I am sure that Carrie will be feeling better soon.

This is why I always say, “Love Your Way Through It!”

Peace,

Shaun

NEW BOOK ALERT!

INCHWORMS, the second book in the DUDE GOODFEATHER series is coming out September 1!

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.

You can buy it here!

Dude, don’t nod. Four major writing mistakes that are easy to avoid

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dude, don't nod. Four major writing mistakes that are easy to avoid
/

Here in the Land of Writing Advice, we try not to lay down too many edicts because edicts are prickly things, but we’re going to put out four quick bits of writing advice that make you look a little more cool.

Let’s get started.

Nodding in acknowledgement.

If you’re a writer and you write:

Carrie nodded in acknowledgement. “Yes,” she said. “I do want to someday ride a manatee.”

The reader/editor is going to think, “What the what?”

A lot of writers worry that the reader isn’t going to get it. They want to be helpful. But in that example up there, we have three ways the writer is telling us that Carrie is agreeing.

Carrie nodded.

In acknowledgement.

“Yes,” she said. “I do want …”

Trust your writing. Trust yourself, okay? And trust your reader.

HE THOUGHT TO HIMSELF

The same kind of thing is happening here.

Shaun thought to himself, “Self, I am a pretty sweet man.”

Unless your book is about telepathy or has telepathic characters (hopefully manatees), you’re always going to be thinking to yourself.

So just write:

Shaun thought, “I am a pretty sweet man.”

It’s versus its

Okay, whenever you have an apostrophe in the middle of a word it means one of two things:

There’s a letter missing and you’re smooshing two words together.

It’s showing possession.

It’s with the apostrophe means it is. It always means it is.

Its without the apostrophe means belonging to it.

So:

The werewolf ripped its tank top during the change and cried.

That one? No apostrophe in its.

The werewolf said it’s going down to J Crew to get a new tank.

That one? Apostrophe.

We’re versus were

Continuing on the apostrophe train, we’re and were.

We’re has an apostrophe that’s showing you that it really means we are. The apostrophe is standing in for the a in are. Oh, that sounds weird.

The were (w-e-r-e) is second person past tense singular, past tense plural, and past subjunctive of the verb “be”

So we wouldn’t say:

Hey. The werewolves we’re changing in J.Crew because they were raging out over the lack of pink tanks with tassels.

We’d say.

Hey. The werewolves were changing in J.Crew because they were raging out over the lack of pink tanks with tassels.

Similarly, we’d say:

We’re werewolves, man, and we demand tanks with tassels. Got it?

Not

Were werewolves, man, and we demand tanks with tassels. Got it?

Writing Tip of the Pod

Um. Everything we just said.

Dog Tip for Life

Live in your current paragraph.

Resources -Links we talk about!

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/06/28/australia-Nude-Aussie-sunbathers-who-fled-deer-fined-after-rescue-from-woods/1071624916281/

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/06/24/britain-RSPCA-king-cobra-plastic-toy-Workington-England/1231624552603/

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast 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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

Being Swallowed by a Whale is So Bad Ass – Fear Setting and the Big Lie in Your Novel and Your Life

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Being Swallowed by a Whale is So Bad Ass - Fear Setting and the Big Lie in Your Novel and Your Life
/

A lot of writers get blocks. Sometimes those blocks have to do with story ideas, with the fear that their idea sucks, that they don’t have the writing chops to pull off a novel.

Sometimes those blocks have to do with worry that trolls will ridicule their story, nobody will read it, everyone will hate it.

Sometimes those blocks have to do with the fear of typos, of not being perfect.

But they all have to do with fear.

As a writing coach, I have to talk to a lot of writers about their blocks and their fears. And recently, I realized that adopting Tim Ferriss’s ‘fear setting’ approach could help a ton of the writers-students that I love so much.

Goals are brilliant, Ferris says. Resolutions? Fantastic.

But nothing happens with those goals and resolutions if you are too afraid to make the steps.

So he delves into those fears and explores them and determines the potential and the risk.

That’s what you need to do with your writing (and your life).

Ferris’s process is quite refined and quite simple. We have links in the podcast notes on carriejonesbooks.blog so that you can find them in Ferris’s own extended version. He also has a TedTalk about them.

But it begins like this:“Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. What doubt, fears, and “what-ifs” pop up as you consider the big changes you can—or need—to make? Envision them in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1–10? Are these things really permanent? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?

Next, think about what you could do to fix it if that worst-case scenario happens. Write it down. Was it not quite as hard as your fear made you think it would be?

Next what are the benefits, the potential, the outcomes in forever ways and transient ways of all those scenarios and possibilities? Would you be more confident? Happier? Would you have more money? Make a scale of 1-10 and rate those outcomes.

He asks,

What are you putting off out of fear? Usually, what we most fear doing is what we most need to do. That phone call, that conversation, whatever the action might be—it is fear of unknown outcomes that prevents us from doing what we need to do. Define the worst case, accept it, and do it. I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear. I got into this habit by attempting to contact celebrities and famous business people for advice.

And how is this hurting you? By not doing something because of your fear how are you hurting yourself? Inaction also has a cost. It’s just a cost that seems easier because it doesn’t seem to rely on as much choice.

Ferris has some fantastic slides from his TedTalk that relate to this, too.

A lot of us who write novels, talk about the big lie that dominates our main character’s life, the wrong belief that dictates and holds the character back.

Fear is our big lie in the story of our lives.

All of us have our own big lie or lies. We worry so much about what might go wrong that we are afraid to embrace what might go right. We live so much in our heads that we fail to live in our world. We allow the fear, the lie, to hold us down. Our fear is also a symptom of our lie.

It’s good to see how that’s holding you back. Just like we want the characters in our novels to have transition arcs and evolve, so should we, right?

Dog Tip for Life

Don’t let your fear control your life.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Use the big lie and your characters’ fears to show their transition throughout the story.

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

RESOURCES AND LINKS NOT LINKED ABOVE.

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Mysterious-black-substance-on-Wells-Beach-is-many-16235442.php

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Dog-ejected-from-vehicle-in-Idaho-crash-found-16237347.php

https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/2021/06/11/humpback-whale-catches-michael-packard-lobster-driver-mouth-proviencetown-cape-cod/7653838002/

Writing What You Know is B.S.

Nobody wants to read every single author’s autobiography masquerading as fiction.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Writing What You Know is B.S.
/

Don’t Fall for the Write What You Know BS

So, I just realized that we don’t have the word WRITING in our podcast, which makes us not niche enough and is a total branding f-up.

Oops.

A little too late now.

Anyway, our concept is that we’re just these random married people who give writing tips and life tips via the filter of our two adorable rescue dogs and our own quirky weirdness.

We figured if people found us? So be it.

But if we had done a tiny bit of research we would have probably named the podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN WRITERS or something to get the damn writing word in here.

There’s a weird danger of not thinking quite enough about who your listeners are and this is true for your readers, too, right? But there’s also a weird danger in taking writing advice like WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW and think it’s an edict that Shaun can only write about tall, white, CIS, ex-cops from Florida who now live in Maine or that Carrie can only write about short, quirky authors from New Hampshire who have no clue who they really are.

So, we’re going to break down that phrase for you.

Write what you know doesn’t mean only write about someone exactly like yourself.

Write what you know means:

  1. Write about settings that you can accurately describe well so readers can feel them and experience them, too.
  2. Write dialogue that you can hear in your head coming from characters who have different speech patterns and mannerisms.
  3. Write about emotions that you feel or can understand.

If I only wrote what I knew, I’d never write a book about pixies almost causing an apocalypse or a cheerleader who has alien DNA or murder mysteries.

Nobody wants to read every single author’s autobiography masquerading as fiction.

And then there’s the more philosophical aspect going on. How do we write what we know when we aren’t sure what it is that we know? What is it to know? Maybe a lot of us writers write in order to know. Similarly, maybe a lot of us humans and dogs live in order to know.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Immerse yourself in the details, emotion, and setting of the story so that the reader can trust the world that you’ve created.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t limit what you know. Move beyond your local fire hydrant and smell the world.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast 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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

DON’T STEAL ADULT TOYS THREE BIG TIPS FOR WRITING AND LIFE

The earlier you put the conflict, the more invested your reader gets

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
DON'T STEAL ADULT TOYS THREE BIG TIPS FOR WRITING AND LIFE
/

We’re keeping it simple this week, my friends, with three big tips to write better novels and being a better human.

Make your stories sexy and accurate.

You can’t write a book that takes place in the south and not write ‘y’all’ or ‘bless your heart.’

You can’t write a book that takes place in the south and not have sugar in iced tea.

Similarly, you can’t write a book in New England in the winter and not have the character’s breath puff out into the cold air.

Your stories lose impact if you fail to be concise and sharp.

Your stories lose impact if your readers think, “WTF is this? There are no kangaroos in Maine.”

So, know your people. Know your setting.

And this goes for life too. If you keep buying your wife red roses and she’s told you a bunch of times that she doesn’t like roses, she likes tulips and bright flowers because roses remind her of death?

Yeah, that’s not good.

If you’re handing out flyers in a high school to promote your Gram and you don’t look like you’re in high school? Not going to go well.

If you leave your halloween prop out in May? Not going to go well.

Listen. Learn the details. Be appropriate, my friends.

Have a f-ing point.

A story should have a damn theme. It’s what you want to say in the story. It reflects your personal beliefs, your experiences.

What’s a theme? According to MasterClass,

“A literary theme is the main idea or underlying meaning a writer explores in a novel, short story, or other literary work. The theme of a story can be conveyed using characters, setting, dialogue, plot, or a combination of all of these elements.”

So, your life should have a theme, too.  What is your life’s theme?

Redemption? Love? Courage? Revenge? Good vs evil? Perseverance?

Pick one and give your life some meaning.

If it gives your life meaning to steal someone else’s adult toys for years and years (See the link) just know that this is illegal and stuff.

Don’t jump from one head to another.

Readers want to get attached to your narrator. You don’t want to jump around from one character to another. That’s how the reader gets confused and detached and doesn’t want to follow the story any longer.

So, life is like that, too. Yeah, sometimes it’s frustrating hanging with one person, but you hop around too much? You might get a disease. Make your hopping purposeful.

BONUS TIP FOR WRITING NOT FOR LIFE.

Put the damn conflict in there early.

In real life, it’s pretty nice to not have drama or conflict all the time. It allows us to blossom and to grow. And it’s easy to get addicted to the energy of drama and try to incite it for attention.

But peeps, that’s not the kind of attention you want. Negative attention kind of sucks. You want the positive kind.

However, in stories, the earlier you put the conflict, the more invested your reader gets. They want to know what happens. Readers (and people) are a bit addicted to conflict and drama and you want to put that on the page.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Care enough to make your settings accurate, put in the conflict early, have a point and don’t hop around from character to character.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Sometimes things don’t make sense. Figure them out. Investigate the stuff that doesn’t make sense because that’s how you learn and grow and understand things beyond you and your bubble of experience.

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

What Makes A Sexy Beginning and Emergency Poop?

I was not going to make it to the house. Not with this kind of poop.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
What Makes A Sexy Beginning and Emergency Poop?
/

Every writer and storyteller wants their beginning of their story to be enticing, sexy, something that someone can’t put down.

A story is like a hot fudge sundae. You want the reader to gobble the whole thing down and that’s not going to happen if the first few bites suck.

Luckily, there are a few components that absolutely help us writers make the beginnings of our stories sexy.

Hook – This is the first sentence or first paragraph. You want it to clutch the reader in its hands and never let go.

What makes a sexy hook? A mystery. A question. A strong voice. Urgency.

I was not going to make it to the house. Not with this kind of poop.

Disruption – This is the tension. This is the suspense. Will there be trouble in the beginning? Can you sense it like a good phone psychic in the quivering resonance of the sentences and word choice? Are there big stakes?

I was not going to make it.

Backstory – I know! I know! It’s a naughty beast and we must be wary of it before it takes over our entire lawn like some sort of invasive weed. But you do want to sprinkle a little bit of it here and there.

I was not going to make it to the house. Not with this kind of poop. It had almost happened before in first grade in the pool.

Emotion – There needs to be some emotion on the page and that emotion needs to be detailed and sexy and all about the showing and not the telling. Don’t say, “Shaun was sexy.” Say, “Shaun rubbed that ice cream sundae all over his bulging pecs and he didn’t fart at all. He was the perfect husband.”

I was not going to make it to the house. Not with this kind of poop. It had almost happened before in first grade in the pool. They called me Poop Pants Patty forever after that. My eyes watered as I grabbed the steering wheel.

A Want and a Must Have – Your character needs to want things. Those things need to be surface level (an ice cream sundae or a toilet) and a bigger yearning (to finally feel loved or not be made fun of). They need to be on the page throughout the whole book and inform the entire book.

I was not going to make it to the house. Not with this kind of poop. It had almost happened before in first grade in the pool. They called me Poop Pants Patty forever after that. And now? Right before my first interview with Santa Claus? Seriously?

Things that Suck – Similarly, most books involve the transformation of a character on their journey. To have a positive transformation, there needs to be things wrong in your character’s life. Those things need to be there in the beginning.

I was not going to make it to the house. Not with this kind of poop. It had almost happened before in first grade in the pool. They called me Poop Pants Patty forever after that. And now? Right before my first interview with Santa Claus? Seriously?

Some day I’d know not to eat Flaming Hot Doritos sprinkled with Da Bomb hot sauce. Some day I’d be able to control my anxiety and my colon. Some day I wouldn’t self monologue in the car on the way to my super-important interview with Santa. But today was not that day.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Make your beginning (and your ending) sexy.

Dog Tip for Life

Make everything sexy

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast 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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

I’m Farting Carrots. Oh, the Mondegreen

Always take a piece of meat with you.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
I'm Farting Carrots. Oh, the Mondegreen
/

We’ve all done it. We’ve misheard song lyrics or actual words. We’ve argued about whether someone was saying Laurel or Yanni.

But there is an actual term for that.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, a mondegreen is “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung.”

I had a whole character in my first book that did this all the time.

Sylvia Wright made up the word in 1954 when she wrote an article about it for The Atlantic or possibly Harpers (these are the two most common citings), “The Death of Lady Mondegreen.”

She’d loved this Scottish song or poem that went

They hae slain the Earl Amurray
And laid him on the green.

That last line sounded like Lady Mondegreen to her.

According to an article in the New Yorker by Maria Konnikova,

Hearing is a two-step process. First, there is the auditory perception itself: the physics of sound waves making their way through your ear and into the auditory cortex of your brain. And then there is the meaning-making: the part where your brain takes the noise and imbues it with significance. That was a car alarm. That’s a bird. Mondegreens occur when, somewhere between the sound and the meaning, communication breaks down. You hear the same acoustic information as everyone else, but your brain doesn’t interpret it the same way. What’s less immediately clear is why, precisely, that happens.

The article goes on to say,

A common cause of mondegreens, in particular, is the oronym: word strings in which the sounds can be logically divided multiple ways. One version that Pinker describes goes like this: Eugene O’Neill won a Pullet Surprise. 

Other times, the culprit is the perception of the sound itself: some letters and letter combinations sound remarkably alike, and we need further cues, whether visual or contextual, to help us out. In their absence, one sound can be mistaken for the other. For instance, in a phenomenon known as the McGurk effect, people can be made to hear one consonant when a similar one is being spoken. “There’s a bathroom on the right” standing in for “there’s a bad moon on the rise” is a succession of such similarities adding up to two equally coherent alternatives. 

NME’s site has an article on the top forty misheard song lyrics and it’s hysterical.

It’s a British site and you should check it out, but their top three are:

Number One – Dire Straits’s “Money For Nothing.”

Wrong lyric: “Money for nothin’ and chips for free.”

Correct lyric: “Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free”

Number 2 Wrong Lyric – Paul Young’s “Everytime You Go Away.”

Wrong Lyric: “Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you.”

Correct lyric: “Every time you go away take a piece of me with you.”

Number 4 Wrong Lyric (Yes, we skipped three) – Starship’s ‘We Built This City.’

Wrong lyric: “We built this city on sausage rolls.”

Correct lyric: “We built this city on rock ‘n’ roll.”

Writing Tip of the Pod

It’s fun to play with words, to think about sounds.

Dog Tip for Life

Always take a piece of meat with you.

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

LINKS OF STRANGE NEWS MENTIONED

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/05/06/britain-Leaf-cafe-Liverpool-England-1913-menu-ceiling/6881620329800/

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/05/04/Guinness-World-Records-marshamallow-mouth-catch-distance-Dallas-Anderson-Jon-Paleka/7501620145182/

The Five Senses of Farts, Dangerous Croissant Animals, and Random Writing Tips About Settings

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
The Five Senses of Farts, Dangerous Croissant Animals, and Random Writing Tips About Settings
/

The smell of a really bad fart at a sleepover. The sound of giggles after someone has been dutch ovened at that same sleepover. The touch of a Dorito on your tongue. The sight of Godzilla’s leg outside your window.

The five senses are so important in your story. Those details yank readers into the narrative. They associate it with their own really bad farts, giggles, processed cheese tastes and um–Godzilla moments–and have an emotional reaction and recognition.

That’s what you, the writer, want. You want your story to feel real. Incorporating the senses lets you do that.

Spoiler alert: A story doesn’t feel real if it isn’t fleshed out with sensory details.

Here are the five senses in case you forgot:

  1. Sight (eyes)
  2. Nose (smell)
  3. Taste (tongue)
  4. Touch (skin, hair)
  5. Hearing (ears)

Here are examples of sensory language:

  • His fart brought tears to her eyes. “Refried beans again, really?” (sense of smell)
  • He stuck the entire lemon half into his mouth, puckered and sucked. “This helps with the smell,” he said. (sense of taste)
  • His fart boomed beneath the covers and ended in a slow hiss. (sense of sound)
  • The silk of the sheets against her nose was not enough to keep the smell at bay. Damn it. (sense of touch)
  • The scaly leg took up the entire window. All she could see where reptilian scales, half oval, greenish, like big pieces of armor. (sense of sight)

Writing Tip of The Pod

A story without the senses is a story that’s dull, not real, and all in your head. You want to make it sexy. Sexy is the senses.

Dog Tip for Life

Live with all your senses. Explore the world through them. It’s all good. Smell the smells. Taste the smells. See the smells. Feel the smells. Hear the smells.

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

Random Thoughts

This week we talked about women’s rights, COVID vaccines and also weird news. The link to the news is here. And the story about the deadly croissant animal is here. Stay weird everyone!

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast 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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Naked Lady in the Drain and Why Authors Should Show and Not Tell

When you tell, you are blunt. When you show? You are laying out little truths that compel the reader to turn the page and read on.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Naked Lady in the Drain and Why Authors Should Show and Not Tell
/

So a lot of writers get rejections that say, “Show, don’t tell.”

And then they are left wondering, what does that even mean?

And then everyone uses the Chekov quote, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

That’s because writers and editors like to quote other writers and editors because it makes us sound:

  1. Pretentious. Cough. I mean intelligent!
  2. Like we know what we’re doing.

Definitions Time

Showing is what it sounds like. You are showing what’s happening in the scene or with the character.


Telling is also what it sounds like. You are blunt and direct and are just stating things. Sometimes you’re stating and summarizing.

Here is a quick example:

Telling:

Shaun was cranky.

Showing:

Gabby the dog barked for hours at the dogs trotting by the house that morning and after a quick pause for a drink from her red water bowl in the kitchen, she’d pranced back to the living room sliding glass door and started again.

Shaun tensed. He slammed his fist against his desk and roared, “Will you just shut up already?”

So why do you want to show more and tell less?

It’s more community oriented.

It gives the reader the truth about the character by illustrating it on the page rather than laying it down like an edict.

If I tell you, Carrie is a timid person, then you’re like okay. Whatever.

But if I show you a scene where Carrie steps outside and starts crying because the grass is long and things could be hiding in it and she starts sweating and shaking because she’s so afraid of the grass? You’re going to probably have a better understanding of how timid a person Carrie actually is.

Yeah, showing takes more words, but writers are word magistrates. We are dealers in the sentence and the language. Words are our friends.

The other reason is that telling makes things dull.

It’s hard to be suspenseful when you just say everything all bluntly. When you tell, you are blunt. When you show? You are laying out little truths that compel the reader to turn the page and read on. You are giving the pieces of a meal, one bite at a time, rather than shoving a four-course dinner down their throat and making them gag.

It’s the difference between reading the episode recap for Wanda Vision and actually watching the show.

Telling kills immediacy.

Just like distancing language, telling puts a wall up between the reader and the experience of the characters.

If I write, Carrie heard the bomb explode, it’s not as gripping. You are distanced from the experience.

Compare that to if I write,

The bang rippled through the air. The cops’ radios all began squawking with orders and directives as the cops turned as one towards the source of the sound and the smoke…the smoke billowed out and up. Carrie turned with them. The plastic, the soot, the burning on her tongue made it hard to swallow.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Show more. Tell less.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Show it as best as you can for all the good treats.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Our random thoughts this week were about:

A stray dog at Dollar General stealing a purple unicorn. He’s okay and found his forever home! Yay! Link from People.

A woman who was allegedly stuck in Florida tunnels and a drain for three weeks. She’s okay! Link from the Miami Herald.

How Shaun announced at the Covid vaccine place that Carrie doesn’t bleed. He’s okay, too. Link from our life.

HEY!

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

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

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