Knowing When To Be A Writer Show-OFF

I ended up talking to some of my writers about this, this past weekend, so I thought I’d share it with everyone. It’s pretty fun stuff and a helpful thing to know.

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it,” said novelist Elmore Leonard.

Sometimes writers fall in love with words, and that seems like a lovely thing, right? Words are writers’ commodity. Writers are word merchants. They deal in words, flinging around and ordering about on the page in the hopes of creating an army of sentences that become a story.

But sometimes writers (like everyone else) show off.

And that showing off makes readers go, “Blech.”

Readers who go ‘blech’ are readers who probably aren’t going to keep reading. No writer wants that because then their words and stories don’t have a chance to motivate or distract or move the reader. Plus, crap reviews.

In his book, Writing Tools, Roy Peter Clark writes:

“Most writers have at least two modes. One says, “Pay no attention the writer behind the curtain. Look only at the world.” The other says, without inhibition, “Watch me dance. Aren’t I clever fellow?”

He likens these to understatement (the first mode) and overstatement or hyperbole (the second mode).

You don’t want your readers to be noticing all your writing adroitness and flourishes and showing off.

You also don’t want to be so underwhelming during really important moments that the reader shrugs and says, “Should I care that the universe imploded and Lassie died?”

Clark creates a little rule that he says works for him.

“The more serious or dramatic the subject, the more the writer backs off, creating the effect that the story tells itself. The more playful or inconsequential the topic, the more the writer can show off. Back off or show off.”

Here are a couple of examples where I’m writing about the same thing.

So, I was at the Boston Marathon today to take pictures of my friend, Lori, running and then crossing the finish line. Before the marathon I had lunch with my daughter Em. She was nervous.

“I have a bad feeling,” she said. “You need to be careful.”

“You have no faith in me. I am a perfectly capable person.”

“I just am worried.”

“I will be fine,” I told her. I insisted it, actually.

But I did several things that I don’t normally do. I didn’t take the T. I chose to walk from Cambridge to mile 25.5 or so of the race route. I figured out the T route and everything, but I just didn’t want to go on it. Walking was healthier, I figured. I was going to watch a marathon.

Pretty understated, right?

Here’s me writing that flamboyantly.

It is the kind of day where people blossom into heroes in Boston and become a part of a legend, a story bigger than themselves, the day of the marathon, a day of heaving chests, heartbreak hills, strangers cheering them on for just moving forward, step by step, mile by mile, until the make it (or don’t) to the finish line. My friend Lori was one of those people—the hopefuls, the push-your-way-through-its, the runners.

While she was on mile eighteen or so, my daughter and I were having lunch in Cambridge before I’d leave her to the doldrums of college and head out to the race route, somewhere around mile 25.5.

Before I left, my daughter hugged me. She smelled of hummus and coconut shampoo, her windblown hair flinging itself into my cheek as she said, “I have a bad feeling.”

You see the difference, right?

How do you work on this in your own writing?

Look at other people’s writing. Newspapers are great examples of this. What stories are on page one because of how they are written versus how newsy they actually are.

Take one of your own scenes and rewrite it like it’s spare bones. Then rewrite it like you’re trying for a very flowery Pulitzer.

Read humor. Great humorists have really mastered the difference between hyperbole and understatement and use it so well.

I took this when I was running this week. It’s so beautiful here.

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?

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


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 261,000 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 a new book 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.

Sometimes it’s okay to not fit in: Writing in the liminal spaces

While I was doing my five-minute break from work today, I pulled up YouTube and saw a video about feeling like you don’t belong by Marianne Cantwell

And it was all about her book, which came from her experience.

But her talk was about how some of us aren’t terribly good at fitting in and that’s okay.

As a writer, I’ve felt this.

And as a person, I’ve felt this.

I almost quit my MFA during the first residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts because I felt so much like I didn’t fit in. I’m pretty sure I actually said, “I just don’t belong here. I need to quit.”

One of the teachers there at the time, the lovely and kind and brilliant Lisa Jahn Clough talked me down. And I stayed. And I learned a lot. I never fit in and that was okay because the people there were cool like Lisa, who told me she often felt like she didn’t fit in either. They were chill with me being me.

But that wasn’t the only place where I felt like I didn’t belong.

plot pacing and proms writing tips

I never fit in with my family, too quirky, too weird, and though I’m quite pale my skin was far too dark. DNA explained that away eventually.

My sibling would say to me, “You’re so weird.”

My mom would say, “You’re just a bit special.”

My sibling would say, “Who dressed you?”

Or “Are those Snoopy shoes? What the hell?”

It wasn’t easy. I usually tried to hide by sitting on the floor at all family gatherings, hoping not to be noticed because to be noticed? It was to be hurt.

I didn’t fit in at college even though it was a great college.

I wanted to study political science and theater and psychology and it all felt too—confining.  My friends told me I was anti-intellectual because I worried about class issues. Nobody else worried about class issues except for this one Marxist guy from England that eventually fled from the FBI.

Everyone else seemed to want to procreate all the time and I didn’t really think about sex, worry about sex, be motivated by sex. I wanted to write poems, figure things out, write stories and plays and understand Derrida and Kant. I wanted to be Derrida and Kant, honestly.

I worked as a security dispatcher because I had to work as part of work-study. I interned at the district attorney’s office while other people spent their summers interning at family law firms and sailing and leading cool Outward Bound trips. I hung out in court rooms with cops and lawyers and alleged criminals.

Still didn’t fit in.

And as a grown-up, I didn’t fit in during my first career as a reporter. I wrote too fast. I cared too much. Same thing as a city councilor.

People said, “Carrie’s nice and smart. But she has pigtails.”

Spoiler alert: They were braids.

They’d say, “She just doesn’t seem tough enough to be a politician. She cares so much. Too much.”

And as an author? I don’t fit in all that well very easily. I’ve gotten to hang out with people who are considered “great,” Printz Award winners, super bestsellers, those whose books become Netflix and tv shows, and also those who are just quietly brilliant and awesome. But never ever have I been part of a clique.

Still no fit.

And I kind of thought I’d fit there. But instead, like always, I have random good friends who fit in their own cliques and I love all of them.

I joined Rotary International because it’s all about service above self and helping others. Still nope. I truly didn’t fit in there at all though I loved SO MANY Rotarians and had so many wonderful experiences talking to massive conventions.and helping others. But did I fit in? I didn’t even own a business suit. So no.

The video reminded me of a few things and we talk about some of them during our live podcast of Loving the Strange:

  1. You can shift careers and professional tracks if it doesn’t suit you and it gets to be too much. You don’t have to stay.
  2. Sometimes if you are okay with persisting in a career where you don’t fit in, you can create great things there.
  3. You can create things all on your own—your own path, careers and ways of living that might not be the ones society thinks are ‘successful’ or where you should fit.

How Does That Relate To Writing?

In the Ploughshares’ blog, the brilliant Yasmin Adele Majeed writes

“Writing is a liminal act, one that comes from a place between the writer and the world, the writer and the page. In this way it is mediated by death, desire, and dreams, those other “in between” spaces we move in and out of in this life.” 

In her own blog, Jeannette de Beauvoir writes:

“Liminality is the borderline area, the frontier, the place that, as a Lewis Carroll character might say, is neither here nor there. Rites of passage move people through liminal moments. Borders move people through liminal places.

“That liminality is on my mind because I’ve recently been having trouble sleeping, and so I’ve been hyper-aware of that almost-but-not-quite asleep moment during which (as in all liminal spaces) magic quite clearly occurs.

“For me, magic always has to do with writing. I am a writer not just in the sense that writing is what I do, but also in that it’s my most authentic and innate self.”

Writers and artists are specialists in the in-between spaces, but they aren’t the only ones who are. There are masses of us out there, searching, discovering, not quite fitting in, making our own spaces, claiming our own spaces.

We all are capable of stripping through the layers of society and self and getting to the essence of who we are, who the characters in our stories and our lives are.

As E.E. Cummings said, “The Artist is no other than he who unlearns what he has learned in order to know himself.”

Writers do that with characters, building them piece by piece on the page, and when we do that, we reveal what it is we believe about people, about character, about cause and effect, society and connections.

But we can also do that with our own selves, right?

We can look and see where our identities stem from, our choices, and we can stitch together the narrative that suits our lives and who we want to be. Sometimes that’s lonely because it’s not always the ways we’re taught to think.

And just that phrase – taught to think – shows how terribly important it is to pursue an understanding of the different layers of your identity, to understand who you are at your deepest core without society or even your family or friends telling you who you ought to be or who you are expected to be.

In a speech back in 2010 at the Edinburgh Book Festival, author Jeanette Winston said,

“Art is such a relief to us because, actually, it’s the real world — it’s the reality that we understand on a deeper level.… Life has an inside as well as an outside, and at the present, the outside of life is very well catered for, and the inside of life not at all…. We can go back to books or pictures or music, film, theater, and we can find there both some release and some relief for our inner life, the place where we actually live, the place where we spend so much time.”

And that’s what it’s really all about, striping away, expanding, creating, living, finding relief, finding our own story and reality even as we create inner lives for others and ourselves.

I hope you find your space. I hope I find mine, too. We’ve got this, right?

Don’t be a Life Diva: You Gotta Edit the Book to Find Out What Happens

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

Today is a rarity. Usually, I am begging my brain for ideas to write about, but today, today I seem to have a plethora of ideas. Now my problem is which one to pick!

Since today is Carrie’s newest book’s birthday, I have decided to go with the one that I thought of last night. Mind you, this was not an “idea” so much as a direct quote out of Carrie’s mouth.

Last night, Carrie was talking about her book release for October, The Treasures We Seek and how excited she was because she got to actually work on it yesterday. Then she wanted to tell me the overall premise of the book and I, as the world’s best husband responded, “Please dear, do tell, I have been waiting for this moment, with baited breath, for an eternity!”

Carrie smiled a big smile and released the basic premise of her book with a verbal flourish that would have made Niagara Falls jealous. Then, right when she has hit the good spot, the sweet spot we have all been waiting for … nothing.

I said, “What happens when…?”

Carrie responded with, “You will have to read and edit the book for me to find out what happens!”

I started laughing and looked at Carrie expecting her to laugh too. Nothing. Dead serious she was!

And you know what? I can’t wait to read that book and edit it to the best of my limited middle school ability! For the past few months, Carrie has been on a quest to self-publish one book a month until December on Amazon.

She has tasked me with being her editorial assistant. I won’t mention that I also format the books for all versions that Amazon offers, but I love having the opportunity to read Carrie’s books first.

I don’t have much to offer, my grammatical skills are rudimentary, but I am really good at continuity of plot and sequence. So, I read every story that is to be self-published and I help in every way that I can. I also create a character bible because most of her stories are sequels and you know, you have to keep track of those characters and those characters’ arcs.

So yeah, I have to help edit the books to find out how they end. But, man am I lucky! I am lucky to be able to find out what happens before it does. Cause nothing in a book happens until it is officially publicly published, right?

And, it’s just like life. You must read the book, the script, and make constant edits, constant adjustments, if you want to be able to find out what happens. Don’t be a life diva, listen to your internal editors and make those changes. Don’t be scared!

Go edit something and remember to always Love Your Way Through It,

Shaun

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?

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


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 261,000 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 a new book 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.

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?

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


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 261,000 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 a new book 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. This week’s podcast is all about strange things people do for luck.

You don’t have to be perfect to be awesome.

 Look.

You don’t have to be perfect.

Here’s the harsh truth:

You’re not going to ever be perfect to everyone.

 That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to evolve, to care, to succeed, to be awesome, it just means that you can let your quest for perfectionism pull you down into despair.

When I was a little kid, I would sometimes be afraid to draw things because I would have to erase the mistakes every time I made Snoopy’s head a little wobbly.  That only happened when one of my older siblings laughed at my drawing, told me it looked like crap, and to go put my head back in a book.

Now, I don’t care too much about drawing Snoopy perfectly. I just explore with form and e texture and color and those positive and negative spaces.

Here’s another not so harsh truth:

Every day is an opportunity to live.

That’s right. Each day we get is a day we probably have to work and deal with people, but it’s also another day to just get out there and live, to live each moment and think, “Holy poop. What’s going to happen next.”

When we worry too much about how we look in our bathing suit, we lose the opportunity to jump in a Maine lake with our friends.

When we worry too much that our book’s copyediting won’t be perfect, we lose the opportunity to share our story.

Our perfectionism about our work, our body, our minds, our selves keeps us from playing, from joy, from wonder, from living in the damn moment and living beyond that moment.

When your life goes a bit out of control? That’s when your perfectionism really does you in. You have to cultivate the playfulness inside of you that allows you to spend each day as an opportunity that you can approach with curiousity and wonder and maybe even joy.

I know! I know! What kind of wildness is this? Joy?

Yes, joy.

When you feel stressed because you feel like you aren’t good enough, try approaching yourself and the problem differently. Applaud yourself for every little victory you have the way we applaud toddlers for taking their first wobbly steps, first full word, first full sentence, or even first time they make it to the potty.

Allowing ourselves to approach ourselves with wonder and acceptance is really an amazingly strong and brave thing.

Step Five of Revision – Read Your Book Again

We’ve been going over how to revise your novel, which is really important if you want to be a writer who doesn’t suck.

No! No! Sorry!

It’s really important if you want to be a writer who wants to write the best stories possible for their reader.

If you don’t care about that? Don’t worry about revising.

For summary:

The first step was taking a breather.

The second step was doing the read-through.

The third step is really making decisions.

Step Four – Deciding if your changes are huge or tiny? Start with the huge ones that impact the whole book. Fix those things.

And here we are at step five! Whew! Look at us go, right?

Step Five is reading through it all again after you’ve made the changes. What? I know! I know! What a beast!

Yes, strap on your caffeine IV, writer friends, you have to read this whole baby again and do that second step all over.

What?

Yep.

Read it and look for things that aren’t working. Look for things that need to be there.

  1. Conflict – Is it there on the first page.
  2. Plot – Does Act Two (1/4 way in usually) put your protagonist in a completely different world than Act One?
  3. Character – Once you hit Act Two (and you can indeed do this in Act One) is your hero main character going after her goals?
  4. Character – Is there an antagonist fighting against her?
  5. Character – Do you need all 896 of them? Hack away if you don’t.
  6. Plot – Is the tension increasing as she goes after those goals?
  7. Character- Are they believable? Does their dialogue make sense? Do they all sound the same? Do they all want the same things? If yes, you need to make that answer a no.
  8. Character – Do they have emotions? Emotions are good. No Vulcans in your novel unless you’re writing Star Trek fanfiction.
  9. Plot – Is everything logical? Is there a cause and effect?
  10. Character – Are their wants and motives right there for the reader to see?
  11. Character – Do they all have names that start with E or K or any other letter? FIX THAT NOW! Do they all have the same name as your besties and evil ex? FIX THAT NOW!
  12. Structure – Is there an emotionally resonating climax? Will your reader weep or pump their fist and scream, “YES! YES! YES!”? Yes? Good!

And that, my friends, is step five.

Ready for step six in my revision series of awesome?

Spoiler: I’m not sure how awesome it truly is. I kind of just made up that name.

For summary or recap. Imagine a montage like they do before an episode of your fave series. Imagine really big crescendos and music too, okay?

The first step was taking a breather.

The second step was doing the read-through.

The third step is really making decisions.

Step FourDeciding if your changes are huge or tiny? Start with the huge ones that impact the whole book. Fix those things.

And here we are at step five!

Whew! Look at us go, right?

Step Five is reading through it all again after you’ve made the changes.

What? I know! I know! What a beast!

Read it and look for things that aren’t working.

Look for things that need to be there.

  1. Conflict – Is it there on the first page.
  2. Plot – Does Act Two (1/4 way in usually) put your protagonist in a completely different world than Act One?
  3. Character – Once you hit Act Two (and you can indeed do this in Act One) is your hero main character going after her goals?
  4. Character – Is there an antagonist fighting against her?
  5. Character – Do you need all 896 of them? Hack away if you don’t.
  6. Plot – Is the tension increasing as she goes after those goals?
  7. Character– Are they believable? Does their dialogue make sense? Do they all sound the same? Do they all want the same things? If yes, you need to make that answer a no.
  8. Character – Do they have emotions? Emotions are good. No Vulcans in your novel unless you’re writing Star Trek fanfiction.
  9. Plot – Is everything logical? Is there a cause and effect?
  10. Character – Are their wants and motives right there for the reader to see?
  11. Character – Do they all have names that start with E or K or any other letter? FIX THAT NOW! Do they all have the same name as your besties and evil exes? FIX THAT NOW!
  12. Structure – Is there an emotionally resonating climax? Will your reader weep or pump their fist and scream, “YES! YES! YES!”? Yes? Good!

And that, my friends, is step five.


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?

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


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 261,000 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 a new book 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.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

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


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

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 261,000 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 a new book 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.

LOVING THE STRANGE – The strange, adorable things people do.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
LOVING THE STRANGE - The strange, adorable things people do.
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Hey! Welcome to episode 16 of LOVING THE STRANGE where we talk about the strange, adorable things people do.

Thank you all so much for listening! This wouldn’t be fun if you weren’t here.

Let me have a moment of bravery and tell you something I (Carrie) do.

I hold my breath.

I hold my breath when I put pants on.

I hold my breath when I put my bra on.

I hold my breath when I walk up stairs.

I speed up my pace when I’m running if other people are around.

I also used to

Eat burgers by layer.

Other things we talked about.

People who put their long, long hair over the seat back in the airplane row in front of you. – This is not something Shaun can handle.

Forgetting to put water in microwave noodles.

Pretending you’re on the Voice or in a dance battle.

Assuming people are laughing at you when they’re just laughing near you.

Sending an email and then being like, oh crap, I should read that before I hit send and immediately reading it.

PRETENDING TO BE INTERVIEWED and acting it out with facial expressions.

PRETENDING ZOMBIES OR BIG FOOT OR BAD GUYS ARE RUNNING AFTER YOU when you are running.

“Throwing away the box from your microwave meal and then immediately having to fish it out to find out how long to cook it.”

The extra shout-outs go to our high level patrons who also read Carrie’s books in progress and get some art in the mail sometimes.

Autumn Gin

Claire De Brey

Jenn Duffield

Pam Leffler

Joan Stradling

Nancy Stone

Sam Spellacy

Toni Floback

Shay Altair

Rachael Azbill

For more resources and laughs about how we are all adorably strange, check out these links!

https://www.buzzfeed.com/ariannarebolini/weird-things-other-people-totally-do-too

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?

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


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 261,000 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 a new book 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.

Loving Your Way Through It And Being Brave – SEND ME YOUR STORIES (please) – Let’s Inspire Each Other

I am not a therapist or a minister an influencer or a teacher, a psychiatrist or a medical professional. At all.

I’m just a normal human living a pretty normal life where there are ups and downs and cataclysmic events and occasionally monotony.

But I’ve learned something.

I’ve learned that love is a powerful force and that even when you rage and sob, even when anxiety makes you pace across the bedroom at 2 a.m., you can still survive and that love? Love’s the reason that you can. Love and hope and belief.

That’s why I do BE BRAVE FRIDAYS here and on social media.

That’s why we started the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast. It forced me to have a voice. And it forced me to listen to my own voice when I mixed down the audio and get used to that voice

And then we started a live podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which was even scarier because:

  1. It’s live.
  2. My face and my sloshy voice was out there.
  3. You can’t control live things especially not when your husband is the other person there with you. And that lack of control? It can be scary.

LOVING THE STRANGE is important to us though and that’s because we truly believe that people should feel okay with getting their strange on, to fly their strange flag proudly, to own it, right? You get to love who and what you want to love. No judgement. Just love.

How cool is that? Now, it’s just about all of us inspiring each other to live that, right?

So, I hope you’ll take this journey with me and that you can embrace the love inside of you and around you and love your way through it, too.

Here’s my work in progress for art this week. Hey! Don’t forget we’re all works in progress, right? So, um, don’t judge too harshly?

Yes, I did paint on part of a box from Man Crates. Canvasses are expensive!

And I would love to start telling your stories about being brave. You can stay anonymous if you want. No story is too big or too small. I’ll start sharing them every week on my Youtube channel and here. Let’s all inspire each other, okay? This isn’t about me. This is about us — all of us.

Continue reading “Loving Your Way Through It And Being Brave – SEND ME YOUR STORIES (please) – Let’s Inspire Each Other”

New Book Coming Out Super Soon

So, I’m releasing the second book in the Bar Harbor Rose Mystery Series on June 1 and I’m super excited about it because:

  • I love writing adult stories, too.
  • It takes place in Bar Harbor.
  • It’s full of thrilling fun stuff.
  • I’m really into.
  • Independent publishing is so much fun.

The first book in the series came out last year. It’s called THE PLACES WE HIDE. You can read the first chapter here.

The second book is called THE PEOPLE WHO KILL.

You can read an excerpt here.

Sometimes it seems like everyone wants someone to die . . . .

After dealing with a serial killer and a long Maine winter, Rosie Jones is ready for a little bit of calm in her adopted coastal Maine town. Then Ernie Emerson, a ladies man and newly married cop, is bludgeoned to death outside a summer estate in what many think was a robbery gone wrong.

But Rosie soon realizes that a lot of people, including the fired town manager, had some pretty powerful reasons to want Ernie dead.

The death of Ernie brings a whole lot of repercussions for Rosie. She might be losing her reporting job. There’s all kinds of tension with her still-not-divorced, sort-of-boyfriend, Seamus Kelley, and her snooping is potentially making her the killer’s next target.

Hoping to solve the crime before she gets hurt any more, Rosie starts to put the pieces together. But that’s not that easy when nobody, including Seamus, wants her to do lawn enforcement’s job and solve the murder of one of their own.

The third book will come out October 1 and it’s called THE THINGS WE SEEK.

Here’s what it’s about.

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

Reporter Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley have dealt with two gruesome murderers in their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance. When a few random people go missing on their large Maine island, things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more sinister . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

And between June and October, I’m going to be releasing a book a month (or so).

Most of them are YA, but they are all really fun. If you were a fan of my NEED books, I think you’ll really like these.

I’m really super excited about all of this!

If you’d like to know everything that’s happening and keep updated on all my book releases, you can subscribe to my blog on the button to the right (which would be super nice of you to do) and/or sign up for my newsletter.

Thank you all so much for your kindness and support! It means everything to me.

Upcoming Books:

July – THOSE WHO SURVIVED – YA murder mystery.

August – A YA paranormal

September – The sequel to July’s murder mystery! So YA/NA mystery.

October – THE TREASURES WE HIDE.

November – Adult paranormal

December – YA paranornal

Oh! And check out podcasts when you get a chance. There are writing tips and life tips on DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE and just a freer flow of weirdness on our very live LOVING THE STRANGE.

Banish Negative Thoughts

Have you ever felt like you’re riding a bike really hard, but you’re not getting anywhere? Like all your effort and work and energy hasn’t moved you at all. Then you look down and remember you’re on a stationary bike. Your tires are just spinning. But you aren’t going anywhere. You aren’t moving forward.

And your inner critic is saying, “You suck. You must be an idiot to think you can do anything, be anything, that you matter at all. You don’t. Nothing you do is good enough. You aren’t good enough.”

So basically your inner critic is Morrissey or Nick Kershaw or any alt 1980s singer from the U.K.

You’ve got to get Morrisey to shut the hell up.

We spend our days communicating with other people and with ourselves. We can get away from other people pretty easily, but it’s a lot harder to get away from ourselves.

A New Zealand study reports that people have over 60,000 thoughts every day. Not all of those thoughts are “I have to poo” or “Uh-oh. I just let one rip.” A lot of those thoughts are negative. Too many.

According to a 2005 study by the National Science Foundation, “Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.”

Then there’s this—

A Cornell University study in 2005 found that only 15% of what we worry about actually happens and a good 79% of the people they studied realized that they could absolutely handle whatever it was that happened.

They decided that 97 % “are baseless.” Those thoughts are just us being pessimistic, negative Eeyores.

So the question becomes how do you manage your own mind, keep it from spending all that time in the negative spiral?

  1. According to the tlex institute, “The secret is in our Breath. Through breathing techniques validated by modern science, we effortlessly quiet, empty and calm the mind, at the same time increase attention and focus. This state of relaxed-awareness is the Flow state, when we are our most creative, effective and happy.
  2. Say something positive to yourself the moment you wake up. Go all Stuart Smalley on your day. Say, “Today is going to rock.”
  3. You know all those people who #soblessed, #countingblessing, #graitutude? They are onto something. Focusing on even the tiniest of good things helps you deal with the crap things. Say some buttface passes you on the double yellow lines and gives you the finger? You can think, “Hey, at least that buttface won’t rear end me now.”
  4. When things suck, crack jokes. Find the light in the darkness. Find the funny in the horrible.
  5. When you start talking whack at yourself, turn it around. Instead of thinking, “Yeah, I never shut the drawers because I suck,” think “I am just super efficient and left that drawer open because I knew I’d have to go right back there.” Think this even after you slam your hip into the drawer.
  6. Don’t think about the past. Don’t worry too much about the future. Think about you right now. Right this second. Live in the now.
  7. When you fail at something, be chill. Pull out your inner Elmo and think about how you can learn from this and still get hugged. Most things aren’t end of the world.
  8. Surround yourself with people who aren’t assholes. Seriously. If everyone around you is an Eeyore or a cannibal or a backstabber, it’s going to get to you. Positive people help make you more positive. 

Live like an optimist especially if you’re a writer.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2020/07/new-study-reveals-just-how-many-thoughts-we-have-each-day.html

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

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


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

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 261,000 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 a new book 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.