Is That Even A Joke? It’s All About the Subtext

So, um, a lot of the time during the podcast Shaun will say something that makes Carrie have these huge pauses because she’s reading the subtext underneath what he’s saying.

Honesty moment: Shaun’s subtext is usually naughty, which is totally okay because they are married, but Carrie has these brain hiccups when that happens because:

  1. She is from New England and grew up where people pretended intercourse didn’t happen and people made babies by sitting on unclean toilet seats.
  2. She is a children’s book writer, but not the cool cutting-edge kind that writes about intercourse and she’s worried about her branding. Just kidding! Sort of…

Anyway, Alicia Rasley said that in writing: “Subtext is like a gift to the astute reader—an additional layer of meaning implied by the text but not accessible without a bit of thinking. … Experienced readers aren’t confined to the text—what’s printed on the page—they interact with the text, fully participating with the writer in the making of meaning in the story.”

Sort of how Carrie interacts with Shaun during the podcast.

Writing Tip of the Cast: Not everything has to be super obvious. Trust your readers. Remember your book, like a podcast, is a conversation, not just a monologue.

Dog Tip for Life: Don’t be afraid of the subtext. Notice people’s nuance, the meaning under what they’re saying.

SHOUT-OUT

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.

Writing News

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy.

You should totally buy Carrie’s book about Moe. It’s awesome and quirky and fun. She’s heading to Houston, North Carolina, and Virgnia soon, just to talk about it. How cool is that?

My Post copy 6

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. 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.

Writing Coach

Carrie offers solo writing coach services, but she’s also teaching a Write! Submit! Support! (WSS) 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.

WSS-Testimonial-Mountains-1-300x300

And finally, for the month of July, Carrie’s book FLYING is on sale in ebook version on multiple platforms, which means not just Amazon. It’s a cheap way to have an awesome read in a book that’s basically Men in Black meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer but with chocolate-covered pretzels.

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Proof of the sale-nature of July.

 

Thanks so much for reading my blog! Please comment or say ‘hi!’ if you feel like it!

 

xo

Carrie and Shaun

Is That Even A Joke? It’s All About the Subtext

 
 
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Worst Case Scenario. Getting Story Ideas.

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 Need series, 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.

Writing News 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. CARRIE’S BOOKS 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. Moe Berg 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. 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. Writing Coach 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.

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.

Writing News

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.

Timestoppers3_005

CARRIE’S BOOKS

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.

Moe Berg The Spy Who Played Baseball
Moe Berg

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.

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.

Writing Coach

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.

Worst Case Scenario. Getting Story Ideas.

 
 
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Make Your Life and Your Writing Resonate

The best kind of work is the kind that makes you messy (even if you’re a Virgo) inside and out.

And for a lot of writers, especially writers for kids, our job isn’t just about making story; it’s about making a difference somehow in at least one kid’s life. That is a messy business because in order to make a difference, you have to dig deep, to go through a lot of dirt and mud and rock to get to what it is that matters to you and to your story and to your reader and/or life partners.

When Carrie goes to schools, she always tells the kids that one of the important steps to becoming the best writers you can be is to live the biggest life you can live. To not risk life or jail time, but to have adventures, to do things that you would never expect yourself doing.

Digging deep allows us to find out what it is we truly want out of our lives and stories.
Dirt is good sometimes

Your life is your story. Make it a big one.

Big stories have conflict, and none of us are really into conflict in our lives, but it’s the conflict that allows our stories to have meaning and resonance.

Big stories have awkward moments and worries. Our characters and our selves feel overwhelmed. We feel like we can’t make it sometimes. That’s part of what makes surviving such a sweet triumph.

Being a writer is about more than craft. It’s about the story of how to be a writer, your story. It’s part of the bigger story of your life.

Being a writer is about more than craft. It's about life and resonance and cohesion.
Writing is life.

Every lesson about writing craft is actually a lesson about life.

Talking about paying attention to detail in your scene? It’s the same as paying attention to the details in your real life.

Talking about traits of your character and how to make them heroes (or not)? It’s the same as talking about the traits that make you the you that you so beautifully are.

Talking about resolution to your story is the same as talking about resolution to your relationships, to your current conflict, to your own life and death.

I know, right? Mind blown.

In every story we write there needs to be some logic and there needs to be some spirit or resonance.

What makes the logic of the story?

That comes from plot, pacing, character, and theme. You start your story with a vision and then the other elements are honed and refined to express that vision.

The logic is the structure of the story, how it all works together. It’s how your plot isn’t just action, but a movement forward towards an end point – and how that movement forward makes sense and works together with the character, the theme, the pacing.

Events that happen must make the character react and act.

Creating resonance and cohesion in your life and your story. Tips on how to make life better.
Resonate

And resonance?  What’s Resonance?

It’s the story’s value. It’s the universal nature of the story. It’s what makes the reader’s heart and mind go, “A-ha!”

It’s what makes you remember the story. We’ve all met people, read books, watched movies or shows or heard songs and forgotten them, but the ones that resonate? Those are the ones we remember.

Think Hamilton.  Hamilton resonates across so many demographics partially because it’s the story about immigration and triumph and death, about idealism and it’s then set to something that feels more new in musical theater – the style of music, which is juxtaposed to the historical setting. It resonates.

Think about the Nas song War (Birth of a Nation). This song connects Nat Turner to the protests of today and about fighting to make a better U.S. It resonates.

It’s about theme and heart. It’s about authenticity and humanity. That’s what resonates.

So how do you make your story resonate?

Think about what your story is really about on the deepest level.

How do you make your life resonate?

Same thing. Think about what your life is really about on the deepest level.

Dog Tip for Life
Dog Tip for Life

Dog Tip for Life – Get dirty as much as you can. Dirt means you’re living. Dirt is real. Dirt is life.

Getting Messy makes you a better writer. carriejonesbooks.blog
dog tip for life

Writing Tip of the Pod – When you’re writing, don’t be afraid to have messy, uncomfortable things happen to your characters. A story with no conflict is not a story.

Writing Tip of the Podcast
Writing Tip of the Podcast

Random Bonus Picture from Random Thought Time

This is Bob. Or maybe Yuri? He is in our house. Shaun mentions him in the podcast. Bob/Yuri frightens me even though he has no arms.

Advice about adding resonance and cohesion to your story
Bob? Yuri? Scary?

Writing News – Carrie’s

The Class at the Writing Barn

The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn classthat they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support!is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.

WSSTypeWriter-300x300

Praise for Carrie Jones andWrite. Submit. Support:

“Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions withttps://carriejonesbooks.blog/wp-admin/post.php?post=679&action=edit#edit_timestamph thought, care and encouragement.”

“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.”

People are saying super nice things about me, which is so kind of them because helping people on their writing journeys and their craft and supporting them? That’s pretty boss, honestly.

Writing tips and help from NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones
Muses painting

Flying and Enhanced – the Young Adult Science Fiction Series

Cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal

Sparty knows all about that. More info about that series and all of Carrie’s books is here.

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Make Your Life and Your Writing Resonate

 
 
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“I’m Getting a Bag. Right Now!” How we talk matters.

In Episode Six of our podcast, we get a closer look at the differences in speech patterns and get to hear Shaun impersonate his grandmother and totally not understand the use of adjectives in dialogue tags. This sounds vaguely boring, but I promise. It’s probably our funniest cast yet.

Dog Tip For Life: 

We communicate with our bodies, not just our words. Communicating effectively gets you more treats.

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/
Rosie and Goldie are communicating that they want more treats!

Writer Tip of the Cast:

To improve your dialogue try to do the following four things. . .

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/

  1. Don’t make all your characters sound the same. Don’t expect all the people in your life to sound the same, either.
  2. Avoid -ly words in your dialogue tags. Let the dialogue be clear. Show how you feel with words and actions.
    1. Don’t say:
      1. “This sucks,” he said, sadly.
      2. “I’m so happy,” she said, gleefully.
  3. Don’t forget body language when writing dialogue or when you’re talking to others. Body language can tell us as much about intent as words and it can change intent like this:
    1. “I love you.” Shaun made an obscene gesture.
    2. “I love you.” Shaun’s fingers formed a giant heart.
    3. “I love you.” Shaun cupped the back of her head and brought her head towards him.
  4. Read your dialogue aloud. It helps to know if it rings true or all sounds the same or sounds stilted.

www.carriejonesbooks.com

“I’m Getting a Bag. Right Now!” How we talk matters.

 
 
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Dogs Are Smarter Than People – Just Say Yes! – Episode One

This podcast is all about trying to live a happy, better life and being happier, better people and how you can use those skills in writing and vice versa. But we’re not perfect, just like our podcast. We’re cool with that.

Life doesn’t go the way we want to a lot of the time. Your kid gets a speeding ticket. You can lose your job, your mom, your friend. Life is improvisation and yeah – the whole seize the day thing is a cliché because it’s important. 

 

Life doesn’t go the way we want to a lot of the time. Your kid gets a speeding ticket. You can lose your job, your mom, your friend. Life is improvisation and yeah – the whole seize the day thing is a cliché because it’s important.

 

So to enjoy life you’ve got to be a good improviser. What does it take to be a good improviser?

 

  1. Be aware. Be awake. Don’t succumb to numbness. Be brave! Say yes to things!
  2. Be aware of other people. Not just focused on yourself.
  3. Say yes to things. Live your biggest damn life and take chances.

 

 

Writing Tip – Say yes to experiences and to writing about them. When you look at the page, don’t see emptiness, see possibility.

 

Dog Tip – Say yes to every new experience! And don’t just say yes, SAY YES!!! Live your life with exclamation marks and joy.

Hey! There’s some bonus content over on my website with links to free things. FREE THINGS!

Dogs Are Smarter Than People – Just Say Yes! – Episode One

 
 
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