Sometimes People Suck, Yes Even Parents and Writers

Being a writer is cool and weird. I’m trying to explain this to the students I’m visiting in Vermont this week, and mostly I’ve been talking about:

  1. How cool/weird it is to make up entire worlds and characters in your head and other people read them.
  2. How cool/weird it is to have people fight over your books in line or cry when they meet you.
  3. How cool/weird it is to get emails from people you don’t know.

But sometimes the weird way outweighs the cool when it comes to random emails from people you don’t know.

And no, I’m not talking about the emails that:

  1. Tell you that you are beautiful
  2. Tell you that your nephew has been kidnapped and you must wire money right now.
  3. Tell you that you won a foreign lottery.

I’m talking about emails like this one:

You sound like a very curious, interesting, clever girl. I was hoping to find something that would give these kids a leg to stand on morally and spiritually.
So far I’m not seeing anything with any direction except sucky things happening to young girls.
Hmmmmm OK I’ll withhold further comments until I read one of your books.
But fix it.

Random Mother in Maine Who Likes to Email Imperatives to Authors she Doesn’t Know

And that mother makes me so sad because she’s in charge of a kid right now and she doesn’t realize that sucky things do happen to girls (young and old) and people (young and old) all the time. Those things happen. And books are out there because books reflect life and expand on it and help you empathize about it and be a part of it.

“But fix it,” she said.

I went to that presentation in Maine. I drove three hours. I shook when I saw that parent in the back of the classroom, glaring. “She’s difficult,” the school told me. “Very very difficult. But we don’t think she’ll harm you.”

That was a tiny worry, but my bigger worry is her kid and was her kid.

“But fix it,” she said.

No, ma’am, you fix yourself. And hopefully once you do that, you and me and a whole bunch of other people can spread kindness in this world instead of perpetual suck. Deal?

It’s easy to succumb to the suck of other people. When authors get criticized they can lash out. Everyone can lash out. They don’t have a special course in Author School where they teach you to deal with criticism, stalkers, how to do a school visit, how to be kind. They just expect us to know. We don’t always know.

That makes me sad, obviously, because I want writers to be good role models. But some of us weren’t taught that either. Fixing it, fixing ourselves, making the choices that are right isn’t a constant thing. But I know I want to be better. I want everyone, even that angry mom who wrote that email and glared at me, to be better.

I think we can.

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

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Dog Poop and Shame

When people look at our dog Gabby, they almost always say, “Oh, she’s so beautiful.”

Gabby, however, isn’t beautiful by breed standards. She’s actually a mess. Her muzzle isn’t boxy enough. Her back sloops. Her hips splay. She’s about twenty pounds too skinny.

And that’s mostly all because she was abused and starved her first year of life, tied by a chain to a tree in the Alabama fields. 

But Gabby isn’t about shame. Gabby is about being – being joyous, loving, and keeping her flock of kittens and people and one other dog safe. Gabby doesn’t have shame about her imperfections. 

“She’s the prettiest puppy ever,” people coo to her when we take walks. 

“Who’s the beautiful baby?” 

Or sometimes it’s just a simple, “Oh, what a beautiful dog.” 

Gabby has no shame about her broken body that doesn’t meet AKC standards. She has joy even when she’s broken, hurt, limping along or having a bad fur day. We can learn a lot from Gabby.

On the entry “shame v. guilt” on her blog, Dr. Bréne Brown writes,

“I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. I  don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.”

Dr. Bréne Brown

For many women and men, shame has a lot to do with not looking pretty enough, perfect enough, sexy enough, good enough. We stare at our eyes and worry about their shape, our lack of lips, our lack of butt, our lack of symmetry. Lacks. It’s always about lacks. 

Gabby has no shame about how she looks because she’s a dog. People have no judgement about her lacks because they aren’t constantly fed how she’s supposed to look as a Great Pyr. They just see her dog soul shining through, her kind eyes and her fluffy, white fur. 

We can’t quickly erase all the beauty programming that the media, our relatives, and even our friends and lovers have fed us, but we can know what triggers our shame and call it out. 

Shaun says things like, “You are so beautiful.”

And I cringe. 

I cringe and ask, “What about the scar on my stomach?”

And he’ll say, “Still beautiful.”

And I’ll keep cringing and say, “I think I’m losing my lips.”

“Still beautiful.”

“I have no eyebrows.” 

“Still beautiful.” 

What Shaun has is a great ability to pull me out of my shame spiral, but also empathy. It’s why he was a fantastic cop when he was a cop.

Brown writes this in the Semantic Scholar

Wiseman identifies four defining attributes of empathy: (a) to be able to see the world as others see it; (b) to be nonjudgmental; (c) to understand another person’s feelings; and (d) to communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings (1996). Empathy is almost an opposite to shame.

Brown again

Empathy allows Shaun to be kind and patient when I’m being a dork about how I look when he’s giving me a compliment.

This is true about self publishing. I was teaching a workshop about publishing on Friday and some of the students were like, “There is such a stigma to self publishing still.”

And another guy was like, “That’s because some of those books suck.”

And that’s true, but some are brilliant. I said that.

I also said, “There are some traditionally published books that suck, too.”

We have to figure out to not worry about other people determining the worth of our work. Taste is subjective. Some people love Drake. Some people can’t stand him. That doesn’t devalue Drake. Same thing for Adele or Stephen King or Jayson Reynolds. 

Yes, some self published books haven’t been copy edited or might not be structurally sound, but those books don’t determine the worth of your book.

Your book is yours. Its value isn’t about all the other self published books in the world. Its value is determined by your ability to communicate your story. Its value is determined by the joy and sense of accomplishment that it gave you when you wrote it. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t go into the shame spiral. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve created.

Dog Tip for Life

Poop is nothing to be ashamed about. 

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 “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

Resources

Wiseman, T. (1996). A concept analysis of empathy. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 23, 1162–1167. 

Looking for help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for theSAMHSA National Helpline.

Looking for help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

This week’s podcast link if you can’t see it below!

Dog Poop and Shame

 
 
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1X
 

Author Questions Answered

I’m up in Vermont doing four days of school visits with the most amazing kids and this has made me a bit off my blogging game because of all the other work I’m doing this week like:

  1. Writing
  2. Editing other people’s writing
  3. NaNoWriMo
  4. Podcast stuff

So, I’m treating (cough- pretend it’s a treat) you to the answer to these questions:

1. How old were you when the craft of writing called you to perform? 

I wouldn’t say I was ever ‘called’ because that makes me think of being a priest and the thought of me being a priest is just so scary that I can’t handle it.  Although, it would be fun to wear the clothes and hang out in confessional and stuff because so many stories.

The first thing I remember writing is a haiku in second grade for Mrs. Joyce Snearson. Her son now writes for Entertainment Weekly.

My haiku was posted on the wall because:


1. I understood what syllables were.
2. I wrote in just one sentence like she asked.
3. It did not involve Tonka trucks, Barbies or hunting.

I thought writing might be okay if you always got praise like that.

My haiku (for the record)

Spring is fun you see
Because flowers grow with rain
and robins come home.

My next big writing excursion was a Star Trek story for my brother. It did not go so well. 

2. What’s your favorite writing outfit? 

If I am dressed I consider it a miracle.

3. What computer program do you use for your writing? 

Microsoft Word 

4. What’s the name of your most difficult character to write? 

You know the random guy in the restaurant? The one who doesn’t do anything? He’s just background noise. And then sometimes he’s in the hall at the high school, or maybe at the gas station while stuff is going on?

Him.

5. When is your favorite time of day to write? 

When I am fully awake. This sometimes never happens.

6. What’s your favorite genre? 

Oh, I am a genre whore. I’ll do anything. Wait, you don’t even have to pay me, so that means……

I guess I’m not a whore. I’m just easy.

7. What writers have inspired you the most in your career and why? 

My teachers at Vermont College: Rita Williams-Garcia,TIm Wynne-Jones, Sharon Darrow, Kathi Appelt because they are:


1. Awesome writers
2. Pretty fine dancers
3. Unafraid to give generously to others
4. Cute

8. Do you think you’re smarter than a fifth grader? 

I think that depends on the fifth grader, but in general – no.

9. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re stuck on a scene? 

Have crushes on people.

10. If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be? 

Ignore advice. 

Fine. I won’t be snarky. Um….

How about:

Write the way you want to write. Write about what you want to write. Write like you, not like John Green or E. Lockhart or Stephanie Myers or M.T. Anderson or Rita Williams Garcia or Sherman Alexie. Write like you. 

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST LINK. 

Word Count Troubles

I am having a hard time writing today.

Understatement of the year, right there, Little Lady.

Thanks Mr. Wayne, dead movie star, and inner Carrie Jones critic. Nice of you to show up. Your eyes look VERY blue in that picture.

Well, I was alive then.

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

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. 
Issues don’t bring home the bacon.

Do you mean, bread, Mr. Wayne?


No, I mean bacon.
Why do I think you mean bread?


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.


True, but it’ll be your garbage. 
In a stereotypical American relationship, the man takes out the garbage, you know. That’s your role.


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


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.


Little Lady, I aim to please.

Good luck fellow NaNoWriMo writers! I hope your inner critics and word counts aren’t kicking your butt today. Feel free to add me as a friend on there. I’m pixiewritermaine

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

This week’s podcast link.

Yo! We’re High Concept.

So there’s a quick and easy way to figure out who you are and who you want to be, but also figure out what your book is and what it wants to be. 

It’s called the high concept. It’s the dramatic question. It’s the way you describe in a quick captivating phrase all the energy inside your novel. 

You can also do this for your life: 

Like mine would be: Latchkey kid overwhelmed by family secrets sets out to find out who she is in a world that really couldn’t give a crap. 

Sorry! Sorry! That’s so negative. 

How about: Stuck in small-town New Hampshire, a weird psychic kid manages to survive thanks to her intellect until a rapist gives her a disease that attacks her brain. She survives anyways. 

There are sort of standard questions for every genre of story and movies. Will they fall in love? Will the killer be caught? Will our hero survive the zombie gerbils? Will the events of our youth make us into fractured adults? 

Don’t be shy about what your story is about. Will ET make it home? Will the Skywalkers go to the dark side – all of them? Will the Avengers defeat Thanos? Will Hugh Grant fall in love with someone in a fulfilling way? Even ghost ‘reality’ shows on tv have a dramatic question – Will they catch evidence – real evidence of the ghosts? Will they get possessed? Will they survive the night in the haunted castle? 

An awesome dramatic question isn’t enough to make something a bestseller, but it’s an important start. Go get one. For your life and your story. 

Next add in the obstacles. What’s making it complicated for ET to get home? For the ghost hunters to find evidence? Add those obstacles up so that we doubt that dramatic question is going to have a good answer. 

Finally, make sure that your hero is someone with some damn strong convictions. ET knows he has to get home, right? Scarlett O’Hara is positive she has to marry that Ashley guy. Harry Potter/Iron Man/Captain America/Black Widow must defeat Voldemort/Thanos/Whatever Big Bad you want to insert. 

That character’s super strong convictions are what makes us root for them. We feel that conviction. The stakes resonate. 

Writing Tip of the Pod:

Make a dramatic question.

Add obstacles.

Make your character have convictions.

Dog Tip For Life

Make a dramatic question.

Realize you have obstacles.

Make yourself have the convictions to bash through those obstacles.

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 “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

THE WEEK BEFORE LAST WEEK’S PODCAST! 

LASt WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

Yo! We’re High Concept.

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:45
 
1X
 

Why Manuscript Critiques are Like First Dates and What Exactly is an Editorial Letter

I am a firm believer that humans should help other humans. A couple of people have asked me about manuscript critiques.

So, I’m going to take a quick moment and explain about manuscript critiques and how it relates to dating.

BIG QUESTION NUMBER ONE: 

What tip can you give to best approach another writer’s manuscript in critique?

Here’s the thing: Critiques are like mini-relationships. 

If you go in there and look at that piece of work (be it a person or a manuscript) with an insecure attitude, you are going to do harm even if you don’t mean to do harm. 

I’ve broken up with critique groups because members would make one published (former bestselling) author cry every single time they met. It wasn’t because she was the one who was insecure. It was because they attacked her writing over and over again.

Yes, I yelled at them before I quit. Yes, I was a little drama queen about it. I was a new author back then and like now, I get a bit self-righteous.

2. Since critiques are like mini-relationships, try to present your best self as a critiquer. Do not go in there with an attitude. Do not go in there insecure and hoping to cut someone down in the guise of helping. So not cool.

If you’re on a first-date do you really want to be snarky? Do you really want to spend the whole time showing off how smart you are about narrative arcs or quotation mark punctuation? 

I hope not. If so? You and me? Not dating. 

I think the best dates and the best critiquers talk about specifics (good and bad) but also listen to intention. It isn’t about them showing off. It isn’t about them being jealous about how hot their date (or their date’s manuscript) is. Instead, it’s a connection. It’s a communication. It’s about making the real world or the writing world (in the form of the manuscript) a slightly better place. 

3. If you’re in a critique group or a workshop, beware of the group mind mentality. This goes for dates too.

Have you ever gone on a date and felt like the person you were talking to wasn’t just presenting his/her opinion but the opinion of:


a. Mom.
b. Best friend.
c. Stephen King.
d. Everyone they went to high school with.
e. A president (past or present).

Sometimes group critiques can be like this with everyone’s individual opinions melding into the opinion of OH GREAT ONE.

OH GREAT ONE can be:


a. The tenured professor
b. The alpha female 
c. The alpha male
d. The super-published author
e. A muppet with a butcher knife

If this starts to happen, please PLEASE please do not be a lemming. It’s sometimes so hard, but remember your opinion is just as worthy as the alpha’s opinion, and the award winners and presidents.

And the person who is being critiqued NEEDS TO HEAR YOUR OPINION, too. Don’t be afraid to have a different opinion. It’s totally allowed and needs to be heard. 

BIG QUESTION NUMBER TWO: 

What’s an editorial letter like?  


For all you non-writers out there or my friend, William, an editorial letter is what you get after the miracle happens.


The miracle is called: MY BOOK HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY A PUBLISHER CAN WE HAPPY DANCE IN THE KITCHEN FOREVER?

The editorial letter is typically suggestions from the editor about how to make your book made of awesome.

Let me give you a quick run-down of some of my editors.


Editor #1 has not given me any editorial letter. He is a very mysterious man. He simply told my agent, “I don’t think we need to do anything.”


This makes me nervous.

Editor #2 has given me multiple editorial letters on a single work, which is NEED!

Anyway this editor who may or may not be Michelle Nagler? She mails them. They are full of suggestions like, “Carrie, you have said the word ‘hands,’ 5,342 times in this manuscript. Would you mind changing that?” 

Or, “Um … the entire middle is a bit … It sags. It needs a tummy tuck. Can we speed up the pace?”

Her letters were amazing because they were so detailed and structure oriented.  I loved them because they gave me ideas about revision. Occasionally, I would read a comment and have a panic attack, but then within 20 minutes I was always ready to fix things. 

Editor #3 gave me editorial letters on the phone. They weren’t letters. This editor who may or may not be Andrew Karre? He would talk, reading off his notes about the book. I would take my own notes while he talked. They were often about theme and character and he would say things like, “I think it’s about longing.” Or sometimes he’d say, “You know. There are no details about the physical world. How would those details show where the heck she is and longing?” 

Then I would get 1,004 amazing ideas and be all jazzed up to write. 

This would happen a couple times during the process for some books. In one book it only happened once. 

Once, my editorial letter (on the phone) was: Carrie! You changed EVERYONE’S name. Is there a… Is there a reason for this?

I also know that this editor does not always work that way. He emails letters. He snail mails letters. He’ll do anything his author needs.

Here’s the thing: Just like dating, critiquing is a relationship and there’s a lot of trust involved whether the critiques is another writer or a reader or an editor. All good relationships? Well, they are about respect and communication. The intentions should always be about making the strongest book ever and encouraging the author to do just that.

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST! 

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

Motivation and Creativity And Hand Pies

We all want to be creative. We all want to be amazing at relationships. This guy, Benjamin Hardy, PHD, wrote an article on Medium exactly about that. It’s called “21 Behaviors that will make you brilliant at creativity and relationships.” 

Basically, his article is saying that people limit themselves by defining who they are, what they can do, and what resources they have. This article is wildly popular with 31,000 likes, which means he’s made a ton of money off this point of view. And with over 19,000 Twitter followers, Mr. Hardy is pretty popular, too.  He has posts that link to his articles like “10 Steps to Being a Millionaire in 5 Years (or Less).”

If you look at his twitter posts, you’ll find a lot of encouraging things about success and motivation and morning routines that guarantee success.

But we’re talking about just the first point in his article., which is that a goal must be wild and huge. It must be urgent with a time component. It must motivate you and he quotes Napolean Hill who wrote in the book, Think and Grow Rich, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” 

This is lovely. 

He also quotes Marcus Aurelias, a Roman emperor. And also Canadian author Justine Musk, who he introduces as only, “Elon Musk’s wife.” 

There are a lot of white men talking and quoting and thinking going on in the first few paragraphs of Dr. Hardy’s piece. It’s all about going after what you want and making no excuses about your situation or self because those things will make you fail.

There are twenty more points in Dr. Hardy’s article, but we’re only going to talk to the first one because it relates to writing and why so much writing falls flat. 

He writes: 

As with all things in life, you get what you want. If you prefer to make excuses and justifications for a lack of progress, then just admit you prefer your current station in life. Self-acceptance can be a beautiful thing.

However, once you desire progress more than convenience, obstacles no longer stop but propel you. As the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius is famous for saying,“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Hardy, per Medium article cited above

You have to have your main character have a desire and they need to pulsate with it. Your main character needs to be passionate about something. They need to go after those passions. There needs to be a bit of urgency about them. The obstacles that happen are the ones that your character needs to smash through in order to get to what she wants. 

What is it your character wants more than any damn thing in the world?

Who does your character have to be to get that? 

Now, how about you?

What do you want more than any damn thing in the world? 

Who do you have to be to get that?

Writing Tip of the Pod: 

In life, Hardy says that our ambitious goals must be: 

  1. Full of a motivating desire
  2. Hard as hell
  3. Tied to a timeframe to make them urgent.

Do this for your characters, too.

Dog Tip for Life

Don’t be afraid to remember you aren’t a solo show. Think about who can help you become who you want to be and achieve what you want to do. 

Random Thoughts

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear:

  • Us cooking hand pies and Shaun’s delightful name for a hand-pie take-out window
  • Carrie ranting about articles
  • Carrie worrying about meeting Shaun’s aunt

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 “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

Writing News

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST!

This week’s podcast link!

Motivation and Creativity And Hand Pies

 
 
00:00 / 00:27:14
 
1X
 

TOTAL Writer NaNoWriMo Breakdown

It is I, the lovable monster Grover, and I have taken over the blog because … How do I say this? Carrie is not doing well. Oh no, she is not doing well at all.

She is doing NaNoWriMo again.

National Novel Writing Month is where writers try to draft out 50,000 words of a first draft of a novel in a month, which amounts to 1,667 words a day. Carrie’s very first published novel was drafted like this all the way back in 2005 or something. Carrie and I (Grover) are not good at dates.

I am Carrie’s internal cheerleader, which is what she uses to combat her internal critic, but I must tell you that I, the furry, blue, superhero of a Muppet that I am? Well, I am at a loss.

Carrie is pretty much at the point of Writer TOTAL Breakdown. Have you not heard of this? I, Grover, will explain. 

Writer Nervous Breakdown is where writer (in this case Carrie) screams and cries and then folds into a tiny little ball and cries some more. At some point she gets up and gets tissues because her face is all snotty. At another point she rocks back and forth mumbling, “Plot structure… Plot structure… Plot structure.” She will then most likely decide to quit being a writer. 

I am her official cheerleader but I am at a loss people. I think she is beyond all hope. 

She has named the story LETTERS TO KARDASHIANS, but she can’t remember how to spell Kardashian. Things are dire!

If you’d like to friend her on NaNoWriMo, she is pixiewritermaine. She will send you all her support because writers? They are people, too, and they need support.

She likes friends and also care packages, five-star reviews, libraries, puppies, kittens, and Grovers.

And carbs. She really likes carbs.

Writing News

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST!

Writing Schedule as Envisioned Through Sparty the Dog

Someone cool named A. asked me what my writing schedule is. She is a writer too.

This is what I do:

1. Wake up.

You can’t be serious. You expect me to work? To move? To make full sentences? It’s not even 9 a.m!!!

But also, I will never get a walk today.

2. Try to live without coffee

JUST GIVE IT TO ME NOW! START AN IV DRIP! I DON’T CARE!

3. Sit at computer. SIT AND STARE AND SIT.

Hey! Wake up!

4. Stare at computer. REALIZE WRITING IS NOT THE LIFE FOR ME.

Really, WAKE UP!!! I have work to do and walks to take and bushes to smell.

5. Type for five pages or revise for 20. Think up things. FEEL POWERFUL AND HAPPY.

6. Get up and exercise for a mile OR TWO.

It is so miraculous when the writer finally moves! Also miraculous? This squirrel in the tree over there. Also miraculous? The way this pile of ancient dog poop left by a visiting Pomeranian 18 days ago smells. She ate Cheetos!

7. Type Again and Cuddle With Characters WHILE WHIMPERING ABOUT STORY STRUCTURE AND SUBPLOTS

8. Continue throughout morning until I look semi-human again.

Oh, come on. What did you expect? A normal picture? She is a writer after all.

Any other writers out there want to offer up how they write so much or get a lot done? I could probably use some help.

WRITING NEWS

COOL CONTEST OF SPOOKY AWESOMENESS!

Um. MacMillan is having a super cool sweepstakes where you can win the book I wrote with Steve (IN THE WOODS) and four other scary books. 
Go enter! Go win! I’m rooting for you! 

IN THE PAPER, BABY

I was just in the newspaper and I think the photo of my head is actually larger than my real-life head. Go figure. It was super kind of them to notice me and to write about me. Here is the link.

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN! 

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST!

Lick the Kitten, Embrace Your Vulnerability

Shaun: A week or so ago, someone told Carrie that she’d be better served if she didn’t present as insecure on her social media. 

Carrie: For the record, I am just open about when I’m scared about things. I’m not sure insecurity is the same as fear. I mean, I guess it is to a certain extent. But I’m not insecure about who I am. I like who I am, an occasionally anxious, goofy, smart, creative, quirky, open-book kind of  person. Does that sound like who I am? 

Shaun: Pretty much.

Carrie: Anyways, here’s the thing. You can pretend to be someone you aren’t. You can present any damn way you choose. But that’s it – it’s your choice. Nobody else’s. 

Shaun: And Carrie? She has no problem being vulnerable. In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes that the biggest myth about vulnerability is that it is weakness. And that’s possibly what happened with that person’s comment to Carrie last week.

Carrie: To be fair, about once a year a woman writer, usually older than I am, will tell me to present as more confident because I am strong and talented. They are trying to help me, personally, and the cause of all women, too. I think? But I don’t see the dichotomy between strength and vulnerability. They shouldn’t be on opposite ends of a line. 

Shaun: Brene Brown writes, “We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgement and criticism.” 

Carrie: And she also says this, which I think is how it pertains to writers and artists and this podcast, “Vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness.” 

Shaun: So vulnerability is writing. Because vulnerability is risk and emotional exposure. And even the act of writing is vulnerable because almost the first thing someone asks you is, “Oh? Have I read you?” It’s like they determine your worth just by whether or not you’ve been on a bestseller list or not.

Carrie: Exactly, but just writing and deciding to create is a risk because it’s not the most financially secure thing in the world, but it also is because once you put your creation out there – unlike the accountant – you are vulnerable via ratings and bad reviews and internet trolls, which is massive emotional exposure. But it’s more than that. Writers have to incorporate emotion and vulnerability on the page. They create characters who are meant to tweak the readers’ emotions. Writers are like the tsars of vulnerability. 

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

You are a writer. You are a human. Embrace your ability to take risks, to be vulnerable. Emotions are not weakness. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Allow yourself to lick the kitten in public, adopt those who you love. Be open. Be vulnerable. Love.  

Random Thoughts Included:

  • Carrie’s anxiety about dental surgery
  • Bangor (Maine) City Council Signs
  • Carrie not being dead. We think.

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 “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

Writing News

Cool Contest of Spooky Awesomeness!

Um. MacMillan is having a super cool sweepstakes where you can win the book I wrote with Steve (IN THE WOODS) and four other scary books.
Go enter! Go win! I’m rooting for you!

In the Paper, Baby

I was just in the newspaper and I think the photo of my head is actually larger than my real-life head. Go figure. It was super kind of them to notice me and to write about me. Here is the link.

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN! 

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Last WEEK’S PODCAST

Today’s Podcast Link if you can’t see it below or at the top of this post.

Lick the Kitten, Embrace Your Vulnerability

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:12
 
1X