One day I was hanging out in the hallway of the middle school with some other mommies, waiting for all the sports practices to be over so we could shuttle our kids home.
These two other moms standing next to me were talking about diets and diabetes. They were both on Weight Watchers. One mom had lost tons of weight. The moms talk about the effect of weight on piercing private places and all this incredibly personal stuff.
And I am completely uptight so I basically listened with my mouth hanging open while backing up a step whenever I thought that they wouldn’t notice me backing up a step.
Then they started talking about sugar and sugar substitutes (Splenda and Aspartame).
One mom said, “That Aspartame. I stay away from that stuff. It makes the back of my throat feel funny. I think it does something to rats.”
So I said to the ladies who were just thirty seconds earlier talking about private part piercings, “Aspartame gives me seizures.”
I swear both their mouths dropped open and they both actually stopped talking, which was a big deal, because they NEVER stop talking.
And I learned: You can talk about your diabetes, your husband’s joy stick, your own special piercings, your kids’ bed wetting, but you can’t talk about epilepsy.
And, this? This just totally sucks.
Because, I’m someone who is really, really lucky. I know what makes me have seizures so I avoid those things, but other people aren’t lucky at all. About one person in every 50 will have epilepsy at some point in his/her life. And they don’t always have the choice of disclosure, and they just have the stigma.
So? What does this have to do with writing?
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the choices I’ve made in the books I’ve written. With Belle, the protagonist of Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, I made her a member of Amnesty International for really important reasons. I also gave her seizures, the same kind of seizures I have, caused by the same thing.
Her epilepsy is not a part of the plot. It’s not a part of the character development. But it’s there.
And, no matter how bad my book is, or how good, or that it won awards or made me a traditionally published writer, I am really, really glad I made that choice for Belle.
Gabby’s Monday Motivation
The world? It can be scary.
But put on your best warrior face.
Go surprise them with your kindness & how fine you are.
Look at you!
You’re so shiny.
Let the world see that. Let the world see you. Face that scary with beauty. You’ve got this.
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!
COOKING WITH AN AUTHOR
This week’s Cooking With an Author – vegetarian recipes with a quirky, author twist is here. It’s all about hangover burritos. You do not have to be hungover or to ever have had alcohol to enjoy them.
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.”
This week we’re pretty low-key chill with an off-format podcast about the weird things about us
Basically, we answer some of our listener’s questions.
We forgot the hardest one, which is:
HOW DOES CARRIE GET EVERYTHING DONE?
That one took too much time, so we’ll share it next week.
We love you all and thank you so much for your awesome questions.
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.
You can preorder 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?
HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON
On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.
WHAT IS PATREON?
A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.
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 as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!
BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!
Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!
No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?
Shaun used to call Carrie, “WC,” because he is evil.
No. Really. He called her that because she was always thinking up the worst case scenario for every situation and planned for that, which is not a particularly healthy way to live.
But. . . it’s a pretty good way to write. The ‘what if’ element of any situation in real life can be expanded into a story. Throw in a ‘what if’ coupled with a ‘worst case scenario’ into your story idea and you have really high stakes.
Like when Carrie wrote the Needseries, she thought, “What is the worst thing that can happen to this girl forced to move to Maine from Charleston? Oh. How about her biological father is a pixie king who is kidnapping people to feed off them because he can’t control his hunger and need. Ah. That’s not bad enough. How about we throw in an impending apocalypse and she has to turn pixie to stop it?”
Story ideas can come from anywhere. Your own life. The news. Random stories of friends. Country music videos. But the story ideas that are heart-stopping are the ones where there’s a worst case scenario involved. Take a situation in your life and think, “Whoah, what if those people were cannibals?” or “Whoah, what if that cat was a secret Russian agent?”
Those ‘what if’ stories are the stories that make high stakes and high action.
Don’t be afraid of the worst case scenarios.
Dog Tip for Life
Expecting horrible things to happen isn’t healthy. Enough said. Eat bacon instead.
No, seriously, Ask Yourself This:
What do I need to change in order to get what I want? What do I have to change to make myself a better person? A more successful person? A person I want to be?
Writing Tip of the Pod
Making horrible things happen in your story is TOTALLY happy. Enough said. Extra tip: Bacon is not good for you nor is it good for pigs.
The music in this podcast is “Check Them In” by Ema Grace and her site is here. We’re able to use this amazing music, thanks to Ema’s kindness and the Creative Commons.
Carrie’s super excited about the upcoming TIME STOPPERS book coming out this August.
This middle grade fantasy series happens in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine and it’s all about friendship and magic and kids saving their magical town.
For a complete round-up of Carrie’s 16-or-so books, check out her website. And if you like us, or our podcast, or just want to support a writer, please buy one of those books, or leave a review on a site like Amazon. Those reviews help. It’s all some weird marketing algorhthym from hell, basically.
OUR PODCAST DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.
Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips.
Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow.
Carrie offers solo writing coach services, but she’s also teaching a Write! Submit! Support!six-month class online via the Writing Barn in Austin. For details about that class, check out this link. For more about Carrie’s individual coaching, click here.
Share this if you want and also because it would be super nice of you!