You can’t hiss if there isn’t an s-sound.

You are always trying to give your reader the best experience they can get out of your stories.

My fingers were poised above my keyboard, ready to spring into action as soon as my mind had a good thought on what I might write about today.

Mind you this was a rather long pause and poise and behind me, Carrie, who was diligently working as always, said this, “I really wish that authors would realize that you cannot hiss a sentence that has no s sounds in it.”

It’s truth.

She did not say it angrily, but the way that she stated it made me laugh incredibly hard! I laughed at the way that she said it, but once I had finished with my joyful endeavor I thought that this makes perfect sense, but yet I had never, ever had that thought.

As somebody who does not consider themselves an author, I don’t think of such things often. However, in hindsight, it seems like one of those jewels of wisdom that once heard from the mouth of another makes perfect sense. I mean what if snakes made buzz sounds. Would they still hiss? I think not, that is a bee’s job!

Carrie Talks to Gabby About How You Can’t Hiss a Sentence That Doesn’t Have S or Sh sounds.

Shaun thinks more.

Then I got to thinking about this a bit more. How important is our understanding of the languages that we speak and their interpretation to how we view our world? What if we woke up one morning and s sounds were now z sounds? Bees would hiss and snakes would buzz?

What if our native language is one that does not have the s sound, or perhaps more importantly, the z sound? How would we know if we were in close proximity to a bee and we couldn’t see it?

Of course, if our native tongue didn’t include those sounds it makes sense that naturally we would still hear the same sound and most likely experience the same warning signals due to our experience with the sounds, but my point is, know your language and how it relates to your craft.

This is your job, writers.

As a writer you are constantly setting a scene. You are always trying to give your reader the best experience they can get out of your stories. You want them to be immersed, involved, and able to imagine that they themselves are there in that scene, living every nuance of the adventure that awaits them!

It can be tough and take a lot of time, patience and learning, but most all crafts are only mastered through tedious and frequent practice.

Shaun Pretends Like he Isn’t a Writer

Again, I will say that I am not an aspiring author and most of my experience in all areas of the writing craft comes from the guru who sits behind me every day. I am not judging but merely trying to pass on what I have learned by assisting or listening to Carrie talk to herself while she works, so please don’t think that I believe myself to be any better than you.

I do however, encourage you to get back to mastering your craft and enjoying the process of writing, revising and always learning!

Shaun Does a Shameless Plug in A Way Carrie Cant.

If you need assistance in any phase of your writing you can always contact Carrie who offers a wide array of services and is an extremely knowledgeable and wonderfully kind person to work with and/or learn from.

carriejonesbooks@gmail.com  

As always, remember to Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun

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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Claw Your Way Out

Success doesn’t ride on the coattails of forgetfulness or excuses. It rides on doing and getting things done!

You ever have one of those days where you wake up, claw your way out of bed to start your day and after five minutes the only thing you really want to do is go right back to bed?

As I write this I have been awake for approximately one hour and fifty minutes and returning to the sleeping realm still seems to be the only thing my brain can concentrate on.

But, I have work to do, work outside of and away from the house and my beloved wife, Carrie, is counting on me completing my Thursday assignment of authoring a blog post.

I never want to let Carrie down, so regardless of what my brain is telling me I have sat down in front of my computer and started to type. Why would I torment myself this way, you may ask.

The answer is simple.

We all have responsibilities, usually to many people who are counting on us to get one or more things accomplished and usually within a certain frame of time.

The only way to get anything done is, simply put, just start doing it!

If you never start, it will never get completed.

Not only do you need to start, you need to persevere, come back to it if you have to take a break, but never stop doing it or it will always go unfinished.

That includes writing.

Maybe you don’t feel like writing on a given day, maybe you are experiencing writer’s block or maybe you have a long ago forgotten unfinished work.

Whatever it is, you need to sit down and just start!

Just put words on paper or screen and let them flow forth from you. They don’t have to be perfect, nothing is the first time around, but pretty soon you will have a much increased word count.

As you write you may even have an epiphany, a new idea or path for your story to take. Some of the best ideas come from just letting whatever thoughts and words ooze out of your noggin.

After you have logged a few paragraphs or pages, you can go back, reread your beautiful work, do a little editing (because you were just going with the flow the first time around) and most times you will find that there is something within that dribble that you can really use. It may require a little tightening up, a little changing around, but it’s there, a story, or at least the bones of one.

As you complete this sequence, hopefully you will find yourself getting into the process more, your body feeling more awake and excited about the drudgery that you had no interest in even beginning a short while ago.

Now, I realize that we have all read or heard this advice before. I am simply reminding you of it.

Sometimes we need reminders about the tiniest and most simplistic of ways to fool ourselves into doing something we don’t want to. We all forget and we all make excuses, but success doesn’t ride on the coattails of forgetfulness or excuses. It rides on doing and getting things done!

YOU can do it, just start, go grab your dreams and don’t forget to love your way through it!

Shaun

Shaun clawing his way into a hat.

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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

If you like what you read, please heart it below or share it, it means the world to this writer. x0- Carrie

Keep Your Cat Out Of Tinder and Other Sucky Advice

Generalizations can be so inspiring and they can have truth in them for some people and sometimes even for most people, but they’re never going to work for everyone.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Keep Your Cat Out Of Tinder and Other Sucky Advice
/

In our Random Thought section of the podcast (Notes not transcribed), we talk about how straight men aren’t supposed to let the world know they like/have cats on social media. Shaun has thoughts.


The rest of the podcast follows.

Every weekday Carrie posts on her personal Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin, inspiring quotes from our dogs and cats.

Sometimes they are just about bacon and naps because bacon and naps can be inspiring.

But it made us think of famous writing quotes and whether or not they are kind of b.s. And how very privileged some quotes are.

Like Marianne Williamson, who we are sure is an incredibly lovely person wrote this:

“Nothing binds you except your thoughts, nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs.”

Which is lovely and partially true, but it comes from the perspective of a really lucky person who is white, who is good looking, who had a lot of advantages as a white American, right? It’s hard to say nothing binds you except your thoughts to a political prisoner who is legit in chains, to a Black man or woman in the U.S. who is jail for pot, for someone who has paralyzing fear because of trauma that’s happened to her or him or them, right?

Generalizations can be so inspiring and they can have truth in them for some people and sometimes even for most people, but it’s never going to work for everyone.

Writing advice and quotes are like that, too.

Like even the most amazing Ray Bradbury wrote

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

That’s a good quote, right? Us writers are easily destroyed. But being drunk on anything all the time usually means for most of us that we’re not helping create a solution to problems. Instead, we’re being drunk, putting lampshades on our head and saying, “Nah. Nah. Nah. I can’t hear you.”

It’s not the best look, really.

But sometimes the advice is pretty cool.

“Be strategic and resilient in the pursuit of your dreams. That sounds like a cheesy quote, right? But nah, I’m serious. Resilience is one hell of a quality to master and not many have the skin for it.” —Tiffany D. Jackson

“People are going to judge you all the time no matter what you do. . . . Don’t worry about other people. Worry about you.” —Jacqueline Woodson

 “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Write what should not be forgotten.” — Isabel Allende

“Healing begins where the wound was made.” -Alice Walker (The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart)

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Blow off the b.s. And realize where it’s coming from. Sometimes it’s coming from people whose lives and brains are nothing like yours and sometimes it’s just coming from people who want to make a butt ton of money selling their advice to you.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Cats are okay. They’re good to snuggle with, too.

best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Making Your Story Believably Bad Ass (and your characters too)

In both real life and stories, you don’t want to make things so unbelievable that you don’t make sense. Things need to be logical.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Making Your Story Believably Bad Ass (and your characters too)
/

A lot of time you’ll write a story and a beta reader, agent, editor or reviewer will say, “This is not believable.”

And a lot of time, you’ll tweet something and some rando on Twitter will say, “WTF. You lie.”

And a lot of time, you’ll just be telling a story at a party (or during Zoom in COVID times) and people will say, “No way! No freaking way.”

This can be annoying especially when you’re trying to sell a book and you get that note.

Why Does This Happen?

Sometimes people react that way because their world and experience doesn’t mesh with your own and they don’t understand that everyone in Downeast Maine calls everyone else “dear,” even straight men say it to other straight men.

Sometimes it’s because you just haven’t suspended disbelief for them.

This happens in real life, too.

Sometimes Lies Aren’t Believable

This man who used to be a Houston police officer (He resigned January 14.) went into the Capitol Building on January 6.  And when he was interviewed, he told the federal agents that he wasn’t really part of the riots. He just wanted to see the amazing art. He was only in D.C. to help out his wife who had a business (cooking). But his phone (which the agents looked at) showed a bunch of videos and photos of him.

The photos and videos were allegedly in a deleted folder. But the folder was not all the way deleted.

And he was arrested because his story? It wasn’t that believable to those federal agents, right? I’m sure that when Shaun used to be a cop, he heard a lot of stories like this, too.

One time our youngest daughter who has autism and likes to make really big stories told other campers at the campground that we went to Disney but she had to sleep in a chair. The other campers gawped at us and said, “What?”

They didn’t believe her because it wasn’t believable. It didn’t match the people we were. Every time she does this, we say, “Buddy, if you’re going to lie, which we hope you won’t, you kind of want to make it more believable.”

And then I tell her about the girl I met in college who told everyone during freshman orientation that her parents died in a plane crash in Alaska. About two parties later that morphed to a plane crash in Hawaii. Then during homecoming weekend, her parents showed up in their BMW very much alive. Don’t be that girl. In life or in story.

How To Make Your Story Believable and Bad Ass

Michael Hauge over on “Story Mastery” has some great, easy ideas on how to make your story believable. They are pretty basic, but important to remember.

“1. In every sequence of your story, ask yourself, “Do my characters behave the way people with their backgrounds would normally behave in this situation? Is this their most logical response to the danger they’re in, to the desire they’re pursuing, or to the actions of the other characters?”

If you’re in doubt, ask yourself, “Is this what I would do if I were in this situation?”

2. Don’t confuse credibility with documented reality. One of the weakest arguments you can make in support of your characters’ actions is, “But that really happened.”

3. Foreshadow the characters’ actions and abilities. If you want your hero to use karate in a fight with the villain, reveal her martial arts talents before it’s important to the plot. Show her practicing in the dojo early in the movie, when it doesn’t seem important, or open the novel with her beating down a mugger with her martial arts skills. That way, when it counts, your audience will subconsciously say, “Oh, that’s right. This everyday school teacher has been learning karate.””

4. Openly admit the incredibility of a scene. If, against all logic, your hero pursues a lover who might be a hit man, have her best friend say to her, “Are you nuts? This guy could be a cold-blooded killer!” Then your hero can explain her actions in a way that is consistent with the personality and background you’ve given her. Subconsciously you’re telling the audience, “Look, I know this seems unbelievable, but let me tell you why it isn’t.”

5. Dazzle the audience with pyrotechnics. This is definitely the last resort solution to the problem of credibility. But if you keep the action moving fast enough, or if the setting is big and spectacular enough, the audience might not notice some lapses in logic.”

Michael Hauge

I’m not so sure about that last tip, honestly, but it probably can help. But sometimes those big spectacles can’t divert us enough. I bet you can think of a couple of superhero or science fiction movies that do this.

In both real life and stories, you don’t want to make things so unbelievable that you don’t make sense. Things need to be logical and stuff.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Make your character do things that make sense for your character.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

If you have to play it out and hype it up too much, it often isn’t believable. Don’t forget, the humans aren’t going to believe you’re starving if they are the ones who know how many treats you get. Backstory and evidence matter.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

RESOURCES

https://www.justice.gov/opa/page/file/1357336/download


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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Ways to Battle Writer’s Block

Back in 2008, I had a big writer’s block and I wrote this on my LiveJournal blog And I think Some of you All might relate.


I know. I know!

I am the queen of WRITE NO MATTER WHAT.

I am the princess of WRITE EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO.

But I can’t write. I write two sentences and then I lose it.  

I think I’m one of those people who can only write when they are happy. And I’m not happy. I am so far from happy.  I know I always seem happy, but right now I’m really REALLY unhappy.

Writer people out there do you have advice?

I need advice.


Please?


I initially friends locked this entry back in 2008 because:


1. I liked to pretend I’m not neurotic in case I ever run for office again.
2. I didn’t want my mom to call and ask me what’s wrong.

But, I think maybe it’s better for people to see how all writers can be insecure or have bad days and how some of us can be open about it (not that it’s better to be open about it… it’s fine to be whatever way you are), but more importantly how freaking amazing the Livejournal community was at giving .id

Look at how nice people were. You guys were all so amazing. Crud. Now I’m crying. Bad Carrie, bad.


LiveJournal isn’t a space I hang out anymore, but I still have things archived and it showed me all this great advice and empathy that was out there and that? That makes me happy and have faith even when the world tries to take faith away from me.


Advice #1

 I think today calls for a warm blanket, a comfy couch, and a really good book.

Hoping you feel better soon…..

This counts as “advice I give, and really should take myself, but usually don’t”:

Advice #2


Maybe you can give yourself a set amount of time–15 minutes, half an hour, nothing drastic–and set some kind of timer, and tell yourself that for that time you will write, no matter how awful it comes out. And then at the end of that time, if you still feel awful and it isn’t working, you get to stop for the day and do something comforting. Probably you’ll end up stopping, but maybe you’ll get something you can use in that short time. And if you don’t want to stop, if it’s starting to work, then keep going. The one thing you’re not allowed to do is to beat yourself up over whatever you do or don’t get done, because that won’t help at all.

I know it’s weird, but I have to make those kinds of bargains with myself all the time!

Advice #3

Get away from your computer? Just sit and visualize your story for a while–could be several hours. Take notes if you have to, but don’t hold the pen or notebook in your hand when you’re not HAVING to scribble?

Tea? Chocolate? Play with the animals?

Good luck–it’ll come!

Advice #4

My advice is to wallow.

I mean it.

Wallow.

Write about why life sucks right now…then delete it.

Be home alone and rant and rave.

Throw a tantrum–kicking legs and all.

Bawl.

Bawl some more.

Let the writing sit.

Seven months went by for me, and look. You are still here, LJ Land is still here, my stories are still here, my agent (bless her!) is still here… My friends are all still here. Now, I’m not saying you should take a break from LJ Land, no way! I’d miss you too much! I’m just saying, it’s okay. It’s okay to not feel like writing.

Relax. Let yourself ‘not write’.

It’ll be there tomorrow and the next day and the next….

HUGS!!!!

*hugs* and *chocolate*

Advice #5



Go watch some TV – an episode of something/a film you love, sad, funny whatever, it doesn’t matter. Give yourself and your brain a break. Then do the fool-your-brain thing – say you’re only going to write 100 words [or 50] and that will be it. Then pat yourself on the back for a good job done, and if you want to go for bonus wordage, then do the next 100. And tell yourself that it can be about anything.

And more *hugs*

Advice #6

This may cause your daughter to hate me forever and plot vengeance.

You need to dance. Put on the happiest song, (kudos if it’s a geeky, embaressing song) and dance in the living room. Revel in your geekiness and the groans of humiliation from others.

Don’t write. Read. Soak in hot, fragrant water. Drink/eat lots of chocolate. Visit your friends…the writing will be waiting for you when you come back. Till then, tons of HUGS and good thoughts, Carrie!!

Advice #7

Having emotions means you are not one of the sheeple.

If that doesn’t make yo smile, consider this: “The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis, and we’d have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads.” ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

If that doesn’t help, I suppose I could call and do the choo-choo thing and sing songs. But that’s really an emergency procedure.

Advice #8

Aw, Carrie! {hugs}

I’m a big believer in WRITE NO MATTER WHAT…unless you can’t. 🙂 I think there are times when I weasel my way out of writing because I’m being a slacker – that’s not cool. But there are other times that I take a break because I can feel inside that no matter how long I sit there stabbing keys, nothing worthwhile is going to appear on the page and in the meantime I’m feeling darker and darker inside (and not the good kind of dark, if that makes any sense).

Take a break (like everyone else suggested) – whether it’s for a day or a week or whatever. Be gentle with yourself. You’ll feel the whatever-it-is ease inside you when you’re able to sit at the keyboard again. Just make sure you’re paying attention and not coddling yourself *too* much. 😉

Last Thoughts

I hope one of those writers’ advice helps you if you’re here because of writers’ block. No one way will work for everyone. No one way will even always work for ourselves. Be gentle with yourself the same way you would be for the ones you love.


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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

Don’t Be So Wordy, Punk, plus Stabbings and Vampires

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Don't Be So Wordy, Punk, plus Stabbings and Vampires
/

A lot of us humans and writers spend a lot of time trying to impress people by being extra wordy.

And it seems like we’re all trying to avoid the word “because.”

This is extremely cruel to the word “because,” which probably gets hurt feelings, but it’s also super cruel to your readers and/or listeners who deserve clarity.

They need to understand what you’re putting down.

So, when it comes to “because,” we do not need to say:

  • The reason is because (that’s redundant).
  • Due to the fact that
  • On the grounds that
  • On account of


If you sound like a lawyer in a bad tv procedural?

You’re trying too hard.

HERE IS CONTRARY ADVICE….

“BECAUSE” OR “SINCE” CAN SOMETIMES FORCE YOU TO BE WORDY.

With the words ‘because’ and ‘since,’ you can almost always use either one. They are interchangeable BFFs.

Here are some examples.

  • Because I hate you, I decided to date.
  • Since I hate you, I decided to date.

They both mean “because” here because they are synonyms.

But sometimes “since” means “from the time’ instead of ‘because.’

Since we went to Disney, I’ve been crushing on Pluto.

That means “ever since the time they went to Disney” not “because.”

But you might not know that, right?

So, instead you might want to be wordy.

You don’t want to be ambiguous and have people wondering if you mean “because” or “ever since the time they went to Disney.”

The whole point in writing and talking is for people to understand you, so don’t be a schmuck. Be clear.


WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Don’t be wordy and know what your words mean and what they’re conveying to the reader.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Listen more than you speak. Look for clues in your environment and people’s actions so you can really understand them.

RANDOM THOUGHT

To hear about punks, stabbings and vampires, you have to listen to the podcast file. Sorry! We only put the advice part in the notes.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

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.

Secret Writing Advice

Do not sign up with a local internet provider who will allegedly embezzle funds from his employees’ 401k accounts and then disconnect the service, the server and the phone lines and then everyone (including your editors and agent and mother) will try to send you an email and they will get a message that you don’t exist.

No. Sorry. That’s not it. 

Although that is good important advice I wish someone had told me before it happened.

Below is my real advice and it’s not about computer fraud or even strictly about the craft of writing. Instead, it’s about the mind state of being a writer.

Yes, the mind state.

Yes, that sounds hokey.

MY ADVICE:

The thing is that sometimes writing is easy.


The thing is that sometimes writing is not… easy.

These are the days of writers. People blog. They text. They NaNoWriMo. You are one of those people. You know that it’s hard.

I know that it is not easy for me to be one of those people, a writer in the days of writers, and especially in these times of economic turmoil where people are getting laid off or fired and entire publishing houses are restructuring, trying to stay alive.

Let me tell you something about writers in these days of writers. 

Sometimes when we look at a page we see the world.

Sometimes when we look at a page we see hope. Sometimes when we look at a page we see nothing at all.

But here’s the big secret….

Writers matter. Stories matter. You matter.

It all matters despite the economy, or maybe even more so because of it.
It all matters despite the fact that the whole world can write and blog and text, or maybe even more so because of it.

So we lurch.

So we bother.

So we search our mirrors and our lives.

So we search in hearts and in actions and we make stories.

No matter what: We make stories.

So go on. Read and study, think and play, feel the truths that form solid hard in the gut and in the throat. Write your stories, blogs, texts, and poems and don’t worry if it’s Proust or gobbley gook or even if it will get published.

Worry will keep you from creating. And we all worry too much about too many things. Writing and the joy of creation should not be one of those things.

That’s my secret advice: Just write.

You owe it to the world and the world owes it to you.

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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

How To Become a Successful Writer The Key Writing Advice to Keep In Your Brain

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How To Become a Successful Writer The Key Writing Advice to Keep In Your Brain
/

If you are the kind of writer who wants clicks and readers, this is the podcast for you. Yes! A helpful podcast from us weirdos. I know, right?

Here’s the first one.

Get Rid of The Crap

Seriously. Get rid of the words, the repetition, the flowery language that exists JUST to be flowery but has nothing to do with your message, your character or your plot.

Don’t have people nod and say yes at the same time. One is enough.

Don’t have people think to themselves. We know they are thinking to themselves.

Unnecessary words are blah. Nobody wants to be blah. Nobody wants to read blah either except maybe that one fourth grade teacher and maybe your honors freshman English teacher, the one who yelled about James Joyce a lot.

Let Your Title Be a Promise and a Gift.

That’s right. Give your readers something. Your title is a promise and a gift.

Think to yourself: Why would anyone care about reading this?

For this podcast, the answer to that would be that people care because they want the tools to be a better writer. Figure out why you’re writing what you’re writing and give that to the reader.

This goes for books too. Even if your answer is just – I want to provide readers an escape. It works.

Actually Write Your Story

Don’t just talk about writing. Write.

Don’t stare at the blank page. Write.

You can always revise. Revision is good. But you can’t revise a blank document or a page full of nothing.

I once had a reporter who was THE BEST guy. He was my best friend. I loved him with all my heart, but he would have writer’s block all the way up to deadline. I’m a chill human. I hate being demanding, but I would have to go into his office every deadline and implore him to write.

“My lede isn’t perfect,” he’d say.

“Done matters. Perfect doesn’t matter.”

I would write ten stories to his one story, over and over again. And the thing was? People liked my stories better. That quest for perfection makes us crazy. But it also keeps us from getting things done.

Don’t Try To Be Someone Else

You should write like you. Not like Anne Lamont or the million other lovelies out there. Not like T-Nehisi Cotes who is brilliant.

You have a unique experience and voice. Use that in your stories. Be brave. Be absolutely who you are. Don’t be shy about it, shout your voice into the world.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Write. Be yourself. Don’t write extra words just to be extra or fill up your word count. And your title is a promise to your reader/listener. Don’t break the promise.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Focus on your wants. Don’t add fluff. Don’t be fluff.


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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

It Doesn’t Matter If The Rock Retweets You

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
It Doesn’t Matter If The Rock Retweets You
/

Okay, you all. We know this is harsh, but it’s truth time.  Life isn’t about random interactions. Success isn’t about it either.

When Carrie became Andrew Yang’s Twitter friend, it made her super happy, but it didn’t actually do anything for her. When the Rock retweeted her tweet about disabilities…

Full disclosure: Carrie has no depth perception and also has epilepsy.

…but when that happened? It was cool because it was the Rock, but it didn’t make her suddenly more successful or cooler.

The Rock would never remember that retweet. Andrew Yang isn’t going to remember being Carrie’s Twitter friend.

It was a nice moment, but Carrie doesn’t really need that moment to make her feel cooler or more validated as a human being. That’s because though she presents as really insecure, she’s actually pretty cool with herself. And other people’s perceptions – even when they are the Rock or Andrew Yang? They don’t matter.

There’s a guy in our town who is a bit off and he thinks we are basically Satan incarnate. Does Shaun care? Not one for one freaking second. Why? Because he knows who the hell he is. He’s cool with himself. For the same reason when there are rumors about him or Carrie or even his bffs, does he care? Nope. That’s because he knows he’s the sh*t. He knows who he is.

It’s confidence, but it’s also about knowing that you can’t control what other people think about you all the time.

But there’s another side to this, too.

You want to connect with your people, your readers, your audience, your friends, by being you, your authentic self, and you can’t do that if you’re busy worrying about what everyone else is thinking about you.

When you’re all ME ME ME all the time because you need to be an influencer or sell your book or whatever, you lose who you are and any connections you get? They aren’t even about you. They are about the false perception of you.

But it’s more than that, too.

When all you care about is people’s perceptions of you, you stop caring about people.

And then, you’re basically an egotistical sh*t. Is that who you want to become? No. So, focus on the work. Focus on making connections where you care about the other person. Having the Rock retweet you doesn’t mean you’re going to be a movie star or an international bestseller.

What makes you succeed is the work you do, the care you give, the problems you help other people with.

Carrie is a successful novelist. Her books have won awards, been NYT and international bestsellers, but that’s because she took the time to learn to write and to understand people. She now uses those skills to help other people write their own books.

And those people? The ones she coaches and teaches and gets to know so well as they make their stories? Those are the people that matter to Carrie, that make her a success. Not the Rock. No offense to the Rock! 

Pretending to be someone else, being preoccupied with others’ perceptions of you? It destroys you. Don’t be destroyed. Celebrate who you are and who other people are too.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t pretend to be another writer or adopt their style. Be you. Write what you want to write.

Dog Tip For Life

Be the dog you’re meant to be. Have your values align with your actions. And bark a lot about it if that’s your thing.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.

FREE BOOK? YES! I AM SERIOUS.

Click here to subscribe to my weekly newsletter and get a free pdf of my book!

Making Powerful First Lines

Everyone talks about first lines and how important they are for establishing voice, setting the tone, hooking your reader and never letting go.

It’s intriguing to see how first lines change or don’t. I checked out some of my first and last lines from my books and they are below and we’ll be talking about first lines for a few posts. This is just the first one.

But before we do, let me ask:

Do you have any favorites from books?

What was it that grabbed you?

Do you do that in your own books?

How Do You Make A Powerful First Line? What are the Traits?

  • You make it mysterious.
  • You make it have a strong voice.
  • You make it surprising.
  • You make it goofy or funny.
  • You make it understandable.
  • You make it authentic.

Here are Some Examples From My Books

Mostly they show how my first lines changed or didn’t. And how they met those above qualities or didn’t. Just like all of you, I’ve learned and evolved or devolved during these years.

Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend

Original:
He wants to know why it happens.

Final:
He wants to know why it happens.


Love (and other uses for duct tape)

Original:

You think you know people and then it turns out you don’t.

Final:

You think you know people and then it turns out you don’t.


Girl, Hero

Original:
Dear, Mr. Wayne, My mother’s got a man coming to see her.

Final:
Dear, Mr. Wayne, My mother’s got a man coming to see her.

Need (2009):

Original: My parents drove me to the airport with the air conditioner on full blast.

Current: Everybody has fears, right?

TIME STOPPERS

Original: The dog raced through the Maine woods, keeping up with the little car speeding down the rural road.

Revision For a Long Time: “Remember, you’re not special, Annie,” Mrs. Betsey said.

Final: “Remember , you’re not special, Annie,” Mrs. Betsey told the small girl next to her as they stood on the rickety wooden step of the trailer.



Weird (not published yet, YA paranormal)


Original: Blake and I lie naked on the grass in my backyard, looking up at the sky and we’re all lazy feeling, because, yes, we had sex, and no, having sex is not a big deal.

Current: Blake and I lie naked on the grass in my backyard, looking up at the sky and we’re all lazy feeling, because, yes, we had sex, and no, having sex is not a big deal.

Flying:


Original: I wake up scared.
Current: I wake up scared

The Fae (not published yet, MG fantasy)

Original: The first cat shuddered and stalked through the yard to sit under the biggest maple tree. 


Current: Somebody had locked him in.


How about you? Have you ever gone back and looked at your first lines then and now. It’s kind of scary. Seriously. Do you want to share?


Sharing is good.


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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 259,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcast is about urban legends. And our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the B Story and goat voyeurs.


NEW BOOK ALERT!

My little novella (It’s spare. It’s sad) is out and it’s just $1,99. It is a book of my heart and I am so worried about it, honestly.

There’s a bit more about it here.

CARRIE’S TEACHABLE CLASS!

I have a quick, pre-recorded Teachable class designed to make you a killer scene writer in just one day. It’s fun. It’s fast. And you get to become a better writer for just $25, which is an amazing deal.

Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com