Having a Manly Christmas, Martial Law and Characterization

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Having a Manly Christmas, Martial Law and Characterization
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CHARACTER VS CHARACTERIZATION

Robert McPhee has a bit in his book, STORY, where he talks about character and characterization and one of my favorite aspects of that discussion is just this simple quote, which will hopefully be of some use to you:

TRUE CHARACTER is revealed in the choices a human being makes under the pressure—the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.

We show who our character is by putting her/him/them under that pressure. Are they brave or wimpy? Empathetic or narcissistic? Cruel or kind?

We see them through their choices. And we see who they are the most when the risk is large.

Inserting choices into the emotional arc and plot really pushes it to another level and that’s something that you can really do with stories. You can show someone’s character—who they really are.

Characterization is just a bunch of traits all tied together. It’s like a demographic. You know I’m a white woman with a MFA in Maine who writes. But my psychographic is a bit different, right? I’m someone who gives money to certain causes, who stops when I see an accident, who cries every time she sees a dog video but chooses to watch it rather than look away. That’s my character.

Our written characters are like that, too. Put them under pressure, give them choices, let us see who they are from that very first chapter so that we can see them change.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Show who your characters are by their choices and actions.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t trust words. Trust smells and movements. Also, trust the person who gives you bacon.

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.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

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

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
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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.


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.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

My Patreon site I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD.

I also share some writing tips that are also going to be on Teachable as the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME and send people art.

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.

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
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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.

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.


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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

Give The Person You Love the Gift of a Deadly Weapon and Use Details

So, a man in Florida basically tried to kill his father with a Christmas Tree.

Yes, one of these:

Christmas tree!

 Watch out, Santa! I am a deadly weapon! It’s the tree stand, really. Or maybe just one of the pointy branches.

At first, in some weird way, I was kind of impressed, because seriously, how ironic and anti-Christmas is death by Christmas tree?

Like, if I wrote that in a book some reviewer would say, “Jones’ quirky writing style sometime stretches the boundaries of the imagination.”

But it really happened! In Florida! In 2008!

And I was also kind of impressed because he tried to throw the tree at his dad, which made me think: Wow. Superman Strong. Florida men are so strong!

I know this because I am married to one.

An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine
An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine

But I was unimpressed because let’s face it:

It’s never cool to try to kill your father unless your father is


Luke, Do not throw the tree at me. I am your father.

EDITED TO ADD: SORRY! SORRY! IT IS NEVER COOL TO KILL DARTH VADER.

VOLDEMORT? HE’S OKAY. RIGHT? DOES HE HAVE KIDS? Ugh. I hope not.

Anyway, it turns out that the tree was not a normal-sized Christmas tree that touches the ceiling.

It was a mini tree. A MINI CHRISTMAS TREE!

I am not so deadly or am I? 

Blech. No longer cool at all. That’s almost as exciting as throwing a wreath at him. Except I like the rainbow on the tree. Sadly, this happened before rainbow trees.


Here’s the thing: Using details like, “A man tried to kill his father with a Christmas tree” makes your writing so much better.

Choosing the right details can make or break your story but using no details? That’s a great way to make a bad story.

“A man tried to kill his father” tells us nothing.

“A man tried to kill his father with a Christmas tree” tells us a bit more.

“An enraged Florida man tried to kill his father when he threw a mini Christmas tree directly at him” is even better, right? I mean, it’s absurd, but amazing.

What do details do?

Details ground the reader in a scene or reality.

Details can show mood.

Details can show character.

Details make it juicy.

Make your stories juicy! And make your life juicy, too! Don’t make it go-to-jail juicy, but find the details in the everyday. Explore the tiny bit of your room, your dwelling, your food, your self. What shows your mood, your character? What grounds you? It’s all good. Share it with the world.


COOL MYSTERY I WROTE

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.

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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

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

Cause and Effect Is a Powerful Thing – How to Make Awesome First Lines

I started writing about first lines last week and I promised I’d write a bit more about it.

And here’s the thing: the first line of your novel starts the cause and effect that becomes your book.

That’s a big deal thing.

Look at this first line. You know things are weird. You know that something is about to happen on this bright, cold April day.

Every Step Of Your Story Is Important

In her book, What’s Your Story: A Young Person’s Guide to Writing Fiction, Marion Dane Bauer writes, “Every part of your story should be an essential step along the way to the outcome.” (p.53)

Just like in books, we create the story that is our life. We interact. We make decisions. We decide to do one thing and that thing makes something else happen. 

This Is True In Real Life Too

There’s a girl in my life who doesn’t understand this concept. She does things – often naughty things – and doesn’t think through to the next step, poor kid.

We’re always talking about consequences for behavior. We’re always talking about how you have to think through what you’re doing and go on to the next step.

“When you ran away from the teacher and hid under the stairs, what did you think is going to happen?” we ask.

And the answer is always, “I didn’t really think about it.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson with the quotable quote win here.

Authors Don’t Get to Be Human

As authors creating plot, we don’t have that opportunity. We always have to think through to the next step and the step after that. The cool thing about this is that it builds our understanding of not just the world of our stories, but the whole world around us.

Authors aren’t likely to become politicians talking about pushing nuclear buttons. 

There’s a reason for that. 

It’s because as creators of story, we understand all the possibilities of that story – the good and the bad. We know if we hide from the teacher, there is going to be hell to pay. We  know if we threaten other world leaders on Twitter, things might go down that we can’t control. 

Most humans who aren’t writers understand cause and effect, too.

Like in my house, in the case of Marsie the Cat, her humans know that smoothing back her ears so she looks like an adorable owl means that she is going to hate us for an hour, hop off our lap, and ignore us. 

It’s hard to be Marsie the Cat.

See up there? That’s Marsie about to hate us. Fortunately, we also know that we can win back her love with the illegal drug called catnip.

Back to Cause and Effect and Plots

Sorry! Back to writing and the brilliant Marion Dane Bauer.

“You must always be aware of what your main character is thinking, feeling, wanting. You must also know how the world looks, smells, sounds, tastes and feels to the touch. Good writing uses all the sense, all of them. Good fiction uses them from inside your main character.” (p. 93)

Marion Dane Bauer

When we read, magic happens. We move inside other characters, embody them, become their experience. That’s part of the reason why we need so many stories out there. The more stories, the more experiences, the more magic.

But also, when we write? Magic happens. We move inside other characters, embody them, become them. That’s part of the reason why writers need to be diligent and build their worlds, piece-by-piece, symbol-by-symbol and word-by-word.

That’s especially true when we’re writing for kids and young adults. Kids are smart. They deserve stories built with empathy, precision, and love. But so do the rest of us humans.

Back to First Lines

The first line of your novel, short story, blog, essay? That line sets the tone for the book, hooks the reader in, and begins the cause and effect that starts your story. It’s important. Make it a good one.

Gabby the Dog’s Writing Exercise of Awesome.

Gabby is adorable.

Write a letter to your friend or the president or somebody. The letter is all about what happens in your story. You’ve got this! Go! 

Once you’ve got it done, give yourself a treat. Gabby’s favorite reward-snack is Milk-Bones. She’s a traditionalist. 

And now go back. Look at that first line. Did it hook the reader in?


FIRST LINE ADVICE

Make your first line surprising like Orwell’s or mysterious

“First the colors.
Then the humans. 
That’s usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.”

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak


Make it shocking or funny.


You Can Make It About Character, But Give It a Twist

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis 

Humor, shock, drama, emotional high stakes, mysteries? These are the elements that almost always keep the readers make it to the end of that first line and then the first paragraph. But the key is that it also has to fit with the rest of the story.


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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

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 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

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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.


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

Make Your Books Like Wedgies and Commitment is Not a Dirty Word or Is It?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Make Your Books Like Wedgies and Commitment is Not a Dirty Word or Is It?
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Seriously. The best books are like wedgies. You can’t ignore them. They get right up inside you and into places they aren’t supposed to go.

And sometimes it’s hard to get them out.

This week Carrie talked to a lot of her writers about how if you don’t long to write your scenes, your readers probably aren’t going to long to read those scenes either.

And recently the New York Times talked to Steve Martin (actor, writer, comedian) about books. He’s allegedly addicted to audiobooks, which is cool.

He said, “I’m also a sucker for the magic of opening paragraphs. I’ll never understand what the sorcery is in literature and movies that engages you immediately and makes it impossible to look away.”

A wedgie engages you immediately.

And a book can do that too, sometimes. But sometimes it’s not like a wedgie; it’s more like a bad 8-hour Zoom meeting about land use ordinances and setback requirements in a town you’ll never visit.

So how do you keep your book from being boring?

You wedgify it. Yes, we made up that word.

HOW DO YOU WEDGIFY A BOOK?

  1. You go all in. Make the conflict as big as possible.
  2. You have dynamic scenes where things happen. Not just the character’s meandering thoughts about Zoom meetings.
  3. You make us care. Wedgies matter because your bum matters.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Go all in with your stories. Make the conflict (internal or external) huge, presidential huge. But more than that, make us care about who the conflict is happening to.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Commitment is not a dirty word.

We talk about this in our random thought and how David Brooks (the writer) has some issues regarding privilege and class as we all do, but here is something interesting that he wrote in his book, which uses two mountains as a metaphor for our journey and aspirations in life.

Moral formation is not individual; it is relational. Character is not something you build sitting in a room thinking about the difference between right and wrong and about your own willpower. Character emerges from our commitments. If you want to inculcate character in someone else, teach them how to form commitments — temporary ones in childhood, provisional ones in youth, permanent ones in adulthood. Commitments are the school for moral formation. When your life is defined by fervent commitments, you are on the second mountain.

David Brooks

That second mountain? It’s not just happiness. It’s joy. It’s as David Schools paraphrases it, “a journey to a moral life.”

And what are those commitments? It’s not just marriage so do not panic! It’s also family, vocation, faith/philosophy, and community.

Schools says:

“Full exploration of material, experiential, and intellectual aims leave you hungry for more, restless from comparison, and lonely in your deepest substrate. It’s exhausting. The self is unable to remain in a state of permanent satisfaction.

“This is what Brooks came to find in his own journey. What then is left? You decide to “settle” for that dirty word. Commitment. Only commitments matter. Paradoxically, they are actually what make you feel most alive and here’s why:

“You love what you sacrifice for. When you give yourself away to someone or something, you find a sense of purpose that isn’t focused on the rat wheels of personal development or self-improvement. Instead, you find an exhilarating freedom that connects with other people on a deeper level.”

David Schools

That’s a pretty big dog tip for life right there. And for you writers listening out there, it is the commitments we have to our book and that our characters have to each other that make the meaningful wedgies.

SHOUT OUT!

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.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

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

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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED IN THE PODCAST EPISODE

https://entrepreneurshandbook.co/millennials-loathe-this-one-word-but-its-exactly-what-they-re-looking-for-6f7dee52f6b9

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

Is Passion a Bad Choice? A Job A Career or a Calling

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Is Passion a Bad Choice? A Job A Career or a Calling
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This week during the blitz of U.S. election news, there was an article gaining some traction called “Seven Life Lessons Everyone Should Learn Sooner Rather Than Later” by Nicholas Cole who Carrie wants to call Nicholas Cage because she is old like that.

Carrie has a tendency to hate these kind of articles because she thinks they are trite and insipid.

But his first point hit home. It was, “If you want to ‘do what you love,’ you have to work three times as hard as everyone else.”

“Most people do not get to spend their lives doing whatever it is they love. Instead, they do what they are told they should do or what their parents or town or friends or peers suggest that they do. Or they simply pursue nothing close to their heart at all.”

N.Cole

Is this you?

Do you love something?

Do you do it?

He said, “But if you want to do what you love, you need to see that as a privilege, not an expectation.”

Which is interesting. What does that mean, right?

Carrie does what she loves. But to be fair, Carrie loves everything she does whether it’s being a YMCA gymnastics coach, a church secretary, a student, a newspaper editor.

“I love all the things,” Carrie says.

Cole never says anything about his assertion that you have to work three times harder to do what you love. And we’re not sure where that comes from because he doesn’t source anything. It might just be a generalization, but we wanted to make sure.

WORST CAREER ADVICE EVER?

Despite an exhaustive internet search of five minutes, we couldn’t find anything that backed Cole’s assertion, but we did find an article by Jeff Haden, which said the worst career advice is to do what you love.

He quotes Cal Newport, Georgetown University professor and author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Search For Work You Love.

“Telling someone to follow their passion–from an entrepreneur’s point of view–is disastrous. That advice has probably resulted in more failed businesses than all the recessions combined… because that’s not how the vast majority of people end up owning successful businesses.

“Passion is not something you follow,” he adds. “Passion is something that will follow you as you put in the hard work to become valuable to the world.”

Cal Newport

According to Haden, passions are a bad choice because:

  1. They take time to cultivate.
  2. It’s rare to actually have a career passion.
  3. Passion is a side effect of mastery at something.
  4. Working hard and improving your skills is more important than finding the perfect job.

“Roughly speaking, work can be broken down into a job, a career, or a calling. A job pays the bills; a career is a path towards increasingly better work; a calling is work that is an important part of your life and a vital part of your identity. (Clearly most people want their work to be a calling.)

“According to research, what is the strongest predictor of a person seeing her work as a calling?

“The number of years spent on the job. The more experience you have the more likely you are to love your work.

“Why? The more experience you have the better your skills and the greater your satisfaction in having those skills. The more experience you have the more you can see how your work has benefited others. And you’ve had more time to develop strong professional and even personal relationships with some of your employees, vendors, and customers.”

Haden

So, yeah? So, no? What do you think? You can hear what we think in the audio of our podcast and hear the random thoughts from our daily lives, too.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD:

To be the best writer you can be, write. But more than that, figure out why you want to write? Is it a job? You’re doing it for some cash, hopefully. Is it a career? Or is it a calling?


DOG TIP FOR LIFE:

Don’t let random people subvert your passion. Just because they wrote it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. That goes for us, too.

SHOUT OUT

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.

LINK TO HADEN’S ARTICLE:

https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/worst-career-advice-do-what-you-love.html


LET’S HANG OUT!

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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 254,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

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.

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The Battle For Word Count

 I am having a hard time writing today.

John Wayne in My Head: Understatement of the year, right there, Little Lady.

Thanks Mr. Wayne, dead movie star, and inner Carrie Jones critic aka internal editor aka mean voice in my head. Nice of you to show up. Your eyes look VERY blue in that picture.

JW: Well, I was alive then.

True. Anyway. I’m having some issues. What kind of issues? I’m worried about female stereotypes in the middle grade I’m writing. All of a sudden on word 20,667 I’m thinking, “Is Lily strong enough? She likes math. How do I keep her from being a stereotype of a girl who likes math?”

Oh no, am I oppressing my co-women? Crud. 

JW: You’re just supposed to write. It’s your first draft. Don’t make me have to threaten ya.

I know! I am, but it’s hard. I have issues.
JW: Issues don’t bring home the bacon.

Do you mean, bread, Mr. Wayne?
JW: No, I mean bacon.

Why do I think you mean bread?
JW: Because your brain is on strike because you aren’t writing. Now get a move on.

Fine. Fine. It’s all going to be garbage.
JW: True, but it’ll be your garbage.

In a stereotypical heterosexual American relationship, the man takes out the garbage, you know. That’s your role.

JW: What do you think I’m doing right now?
Talking to me?

JW: No, I’m trying to take out the garbage also known as self-doubt in your little writer brain.
Oh! Oh. That’s so nice of you. Stereotypical, but nice.

JW: Little Lady, I aim to please.

For all of you doing, National Novel Writing Month right now, good luck! You’ve got this! Battle for that word count and stomp down the stereotypes and that self doubt. They don’t get to control you, right? You control you.

Cough. Off to listen to my own advice.

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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

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

THE END OF TENSION TALKS! How to Increase the Tension in Your Story

In my earlier posts these past couple of weeks, both Steve Wedel and Mark Del Franco had some interesting things to say about point-of-view and tension.

So, in this final blog, I’m going to talk about that a tiny bit more and then give some quick hints about creating suspenseful stories.

Because like Jeff Deaver said it’s our responsibilities as writers to: Give my readers the most exciting roller coaster ride of a suspense story I can possibly think of.


Although, to be fair I agree with Fawn Brodie’s sentence: Show me a character whose life arouses my curiosity, and my flesh begins crawling with suspense.

Character is really intertwined with point-of-view.

There are two main point of views I’m talking about here, first person and third person.

Every day you live in your own point-of-view. Every day you are the main character of your story living out the suspense of your life. That’s the first person.

If you expand beyond yourself, use empathy and imagination to jump back into other people’s lives as well, creating a web that connects both, that’s more third person.

Or, you might end up in this book turned movie, I’m not sure:

Anyway, there are special problems with both point of views.

Issues with I Stories:

1.      You know the narrator is probably not going to die, so there isn’t that mortal danger worry.

2.      In first-person past tense it’s hard to keep it fresh, because the I of the story already knows what’s going to happen.

Good Things About I Stories:

1.      You can use the ‘peril detector.’

2.      The narrator’s fear moves the scene forward, increasing tension.

Issues with Third-Person Stories:

1.      Sometimes it’s harder to get you to care about the character. There. Sorry. I said it. Haters get at it.

2.      Sometimes, if you don’t do it well, switching around can actually ruin the tension and frustrate the reader.

Good Things about Third-Person Stories:

1.      You can set up what’s going to happen, the crisis, the conflict, the scary by switching back and forth between the good guy and bad guy.

2.      It’s very freeing.

I asked Editor Andrew Karre (currently executive editor at Dutton about first vs. third person.

Andrew said, “I think suspense is often important, but adding it to a manuscript tends to involve removing stuff and rearranging stuff. I think a clear, sequential, third-person story is rarely maximally suspenseful, so if suspense is in order, I think a meandering, unreliable first person is the way to go.”

Okay. Here are some take-away tips about adding suspense to your story.

They are summarized from an article by Vivian Gilbert Zabel, which is sourced below.

1. Make the main character someone you like but someone who can screw up. The reader has to care. If the reader doesn’t care about the character, the reader closes the book. If the character is perfect and can’t screw up? Then there’s no tension.

2. Make the plot a question and then “Make a list of all the possible reasons why the answer could be “no.” Those “no” answers become the focus of problems and obstacles – suspense,” Zabel says.

3. Make the hero have a really good reason for what she wants. Make her need.

4. Do that for the bad guy, too.  Stories like Harry Potter wouldn’t be nearly so fun if there wasn’t the possibility that the evil wizard Voldemort might kick everyone’s butts.

5. Make things harder and harder for the hero. Make it get worse.

6.  Pick the right POV for you and your story.

7.  Try to make the story urgent. Imagine a bomb ticking down before the explosion. Make the story a race against that.

And there you go! I hope all these blog posts on tension help you out a bit instead of making you more tense.

SOURCES:

Luce, Carol. “Writing Suspense That’ll “Kill” Your Readers.” The Complete Book of Novel Writing. Ed 2002. Med Leder and Jack Heffrom. Cincinatti: Writers’ Digest Books, 2002.

Reynolds, William. “Keeping Them In Suspense.” The Complete Book of Novel Writing. Ed 2002. Med Leder and Jack Heffrom. Cincinatti: Writers’ Digest Books, 2002.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Vivian_Gilbert_Zabel 

Personal Interviews with Mark Del Franco, Andrew Karre, and Steven Wedel, Sept. 2008.

Want More of Me?

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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.


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.


HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

My Patreon site I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD.

I also share some writing tips that are also going to be on Teachable as the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME and send people art.

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.


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