Women Are Allowed To Laugh, Aren’t We?

When I was growing up in Bedford, New Hampshire, humor was something that was somehow cultivated in our school system and in my family. To put it into context, Bedford is where Sarah and Laura Silverman, Josh and Seth Myers all grew up. Adam Sandler spent a few formative years in Manchester, the big city next door. New Hampshire, the state where the motto is “Live free or die” was somehow a funny place. 

Who knew? 

Maybe it has to be funny with a motto like that? Where hard granite peeks out beneath the soil almost anywhere you go? 

I grew up thinking women laughing and women making jokes was absolutely normal. In my family, we laughed at anything and everything even when we were desperately poor, even when one of us is dying in the ICU. We laugh. 

Glamorous Moments Gone Wrong

One of my favorite stories that I tell about myself is when I got a prestigious award for my first young adult novel. I received the award, preening, went back to my seat thinking “I have finally made it! I’m not a goofball anymore. I got an award! Look at me! I’m a serious writer now.”

Two seconds into my glorious preening, the emcee for the event (the governor’s wife) yelled into the microphone, “Carrie! Carrie! I forgot to ask you. What high school do you go to?”

There were titters in the crowd. Someone gasped. Someone other than me actually. My heart stopped. Did this woman who just gave me an award think that I was actually in high school? 

I blurted, “What? Me? I don’t go to high school. I’m old!” 

Apparently, she thought the genre of young adult could only be written by young adults? Or maybe she was drunk. I don’t know. I do know that I turned bright red and people laughed really hard. 

Things People Say

Recently someone said to me, “You laugh a lot during your podcast.”

And I said (brilliantly), “Yeah?”

“You laugh really loud.” 

“I always laugh loud,” I said. “I commit.”

“Oh,” she said. “It’s just really loud for a woman.” 

For a woman?

According to an article by Jennifer Crusie, “Happily Ever Laughter: Writing Romantic Comedy for Women,” there’s a political element to comments like that one. 

“The biggest barrier to writing women’s humor is the intrinsic belief that Good Girls don’t laugh. Ever hear a woman laugh out loud – really loud – in public? Chances are your first reaction was, ‘She’s no lady.’” 

She’s No Lady

Oops. Apparently every single time I find things funny or joyous or ridiculous I’m losing my lady status. Judging by the amount of times that I laugh, I probably lost that when I was five. I’m cool with that. 

Crusie continues, writing, “A woman’s laugher not only tells the world she knows, it also communicates strength and confidence. A woman must be very sure of herself to make the joke, to tell the story and to laugh out loud knowing people will stare. She must be proud, strong and confident.” 

To laugh is to defy the norm, the social constructs that tell us in this culture how ladies are meant to behave. 


Crusie extols writers to write funny women, women who make the readers laugh with them, women who laugh with rather than laughing down. 

So how do you do that? 

Crusie suggests the following: 

  1. Base your humor on common experiences, things other women can relate to.
  2. Laugh with not at
  3. Let your protagonist use humor when she feels scared. Let her use it like a shield
  4. Give your protagonist friends to be funny with. 

People who write humor are like poets. I know! I know? What am I talking about. Funny writers and poets only succeed because they are truth seekers and truth-sayers. They take the mundane, the detailed, the ridiculous and turn it into something universal. They notice things and then they stop to reflect on it. 

So be funny. Be brave enough to laugh out loud in your books and in your life. Let the people stare. 


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.”

Continue reading “Women Are Allowed To Laugh, Aren’t We?”

GLOSSARY OF IMPORTANT LITERARY TERMS, WHICH I WOULD FIND IN A CRAFT BOOK IF I COULD BRING MYSELF TO READ ONE

Let me just say this up front: I don’t like craft books.

Yep. You read it, right. 

I don’t like craft books. 

I’m sure there’s a deep-seated reason for this, which probably requires years of counseling; however, I am a writer who has holes in her clothes and I can’t afford years of counseling. So, unless someone decides to cough up the money to take care of my soul, it seems the roots of my craft book dislike may never be discovered. 

So because I have some sort of death wish (Please do NOT kill me fellow toll writers, especially writers of craft books), I am going to create my own, special GLOSSARY OF IMPORTANT LITERARY TERMS, WHICH I WOULD (MAYBE) FIND IN A CRAFT BOOK IF I COULD BRING MYSELF TO READ ONE AGAIN, WHICH I CAN NOT, SO NO TRYING TO FORCE ME! I AM NO LONGER IN A MFA PROGRAM, SO JUST STOP IT RIGHT NOW. IT’S MY OWN LIFE DAMNIT:

Let’s Begin

A is for

Active Verbs

These are the verbs that everyone wants. These verbs take no prisoners and aren’t all namby-pamby passive like everyone’s complaining Bella in the Twilight series is. These are the Rambo of verbs, the Natural Born Killers of verbs, the Stephen Colbert of verbs. 

Interestingly enough, in the sentence, I WILL LICK YOUR FEET, MR. PRESIDENT, lick is an active verb, not a passive verb. 

See? It makes no sense.

Amazonaddictionitis

The horrifying addiction (not described in most craft books) that happens to authors after their book debuts. Symptoms include:

  1. Obsessive checking of book stats, namely Amazon.com Sales Rank
  2.  Screaming
  3. Massive Depression
  4. Constant murmuring of “It’s #831,051 in books, how can this be? How? CAN? THIS? BE?”
  5. Frantic calls to editor/agent
  6. Consumption of a lot of cosmopolitans (if you write chick lit) and/or rum and Cokes (if you write werewolf horror novels)

B is for

Book contract

This is the ultimate of all goals for most writers, unless of course, you are Stephanie Meyers, J.K. Rowling, or God, then your goal is media domination or at least a multi-book, seven-figure contract.

Here. Let me use it in a paragraph: 

The author claimed to have a book contract, but actually it was a book contact. It’s true. She touched a book. Once.

C is for

Comma 

Oh, the comma. It is the evilest of the punctuation marks. It once made a Kirkus reviewer very mad at me. Who would think that this ,,,, could be so evil? Oh. Right. The Kirkus reviewer.

Comma Curse

This is what happens to writers who do not memorize Diane Hacker’s RULES FOR THE WRITER ( Memorize that fifth edition – it’s the best!!!) and they fail to remember not to “use a comma between compound elements that are not independent clauses.”

You can never be free of the comma curse once you have it. Trust me, you don’t want it. It causes embarrassing itching in between the typing fingers.

D is for

dénouement (IPA:/deˈnuːmɑ̃/)

The hoity-toity word for all the stuff that happens after the climax. The climax in the book. Geesh…

E is for

Evolution. 

According to Evolution 101 at Berkley this is “descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations). Evolution helps us to understand the history of life.”

Try not to write about this. It may make your book banned.

F is for

Foreward

This is what happens when you get super famous and dead and other people (teachers) force students to read your work in high school or college and they (the forward writers) have to explain before the actual text how important you and your writing is to the entire universe or at least to post-colonial New England, specifically Amherst, Massachusetts. It also shows up in those BEST OF AMERICAN SHORT STORY collections. 

Hint: If you have a foreward in your book, you may be dead.

### I will continue with this next week if I don’t get kicked out of the Writers Club of Writerness


Now, I’m going to Revision Land and when I get to page 300 I’m going to reward myself and never think about tan people rubbing basil on their bodies again.

WRITING NEWS

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! 

You can 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

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can 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. 




Cooking With a Writer

So, in an effort to make life healthier, I’ve been posting and trying vegetarian recipes.

This week’s efforts were thwarted by some anger I had at Adobe Support, who kept me waiting in the tech support chat room for an hour and never supported me.

So, um…. It gets ugly.

Caldo Verde Without the Meat

I know! It’s pretty much sacrilegious

  • 2 lbs potatoes – gold (peeled, chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 whole onion (chopped)
  • .5 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale or collard greens
  • 8 cups veggie broth
  • .5 whatever salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut the greens into super thin strips while waiting for Adobe Support to answer your chat message. 

  2. Get a pot. Check to see if Adobe has answered yet. Realize they hate you

  3. In the pot put potatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil and broth.

  4. Read the Adobe  support message thanking you for your patience. Realize that they have now resent that message 11 times. 

    That’s a lot of thanking.

    Bring pot ingredients to a boil while contemplating how to get Adobe Support to notice you. Wonder if you should angry Tweet. 

  5. Lower heat to medium. Cook 20 minutes. Check that support chat. Realize they really are never going to answer you.

  6. Realize how dependent you are on Adobe for your podcast, newsletter, website, and pretty much whole life. 

    Cry bitterly

  7. Remove potatoes from pot. Mash them. Return to pot. 

    Have violent, mashing thoughts about Adobe support but then remember you are a peace-loving pacifist writer of picture books. Suppress the urge. 

  8. Find or borrow a hand blender. Blend soup until it is smooth. 

  9. Add greens. 

    Cook for 15 more minutes.

    Realize Adobe is indeed never going to respond to you.

    Angry tweet. 

  10. Add salt and pepper, maybe some extra olive oil. 

    Eat. 

    Do not share it with Adobe Support

 

 

Man Verdict: It needs sausage. What’s that Portuguese sausage?

Dogs Verdict: Or bacon.

Carrie Verdict: You all aren’t getting the point of this.

Writing News

Next and Last Time Stoppers Book

It’s almost out! You can pre-ordermy middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere. The official release date is August 7! 

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People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Moe Berg

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

You should totally buy Carrie’s book about Moe. It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

OUR PODCAST DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow.

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

Writing Coach

Carrie offers solo writing coach services. For more about Carrie’s individual coaching, click here.

Appearances

Carrie will be at The Books-A-Million in South Portland, Maine on August 8. She’ll be at the Maine Literacy Volunteers Festival on September 8.

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Cooking With a Writer – Amazing Twice Baked Potatoes

In my never ending quest to make The Man a vegetarian (or to at least eat less meat), I pulled out the American comfort food that clogs almost every happy vegetarian’s arteries.

Yes… twice baked potatoes.

I know! I know! It’s full of dairy.

It’s one step at a time over here, people. One step at a time.

Twice Baked Potato

When your potatoes are overachievers. 

  • 2 whole baking potatoes
  • 4 slices bacon
  • .5 cup sour cream
  • .25 cup milk
  • .5 cup cream cheese (onion and chive flavor is awesome)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • .5 cup cheddar cheese
  • 4 bits green onion (slice the onions up and separate into two piles)
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  1. Writer! Find your oven! Turn it on to 350 Fahrenheit.

    Hint: Oven is usually in the kitchen. 

  2. Poke holes in your potatoes. Rub them in a little oil if you have it, but not a lot because you don’t want them to drip. Place the potatoes in the oven. Keep them there for 60 minutes. 

    Think about potatoes. They are so versatile like those annoying writers who get starred reviews in multiple genres. Try not to hate potatoes. Fail. Those jerks. MUST THEY BE ABLE TO DO EVERYTHING? 

  3. Take potatoes out of the oven. Realize that not only are they a versatile food capable of inspiring Seamus Heaney poems, but they also inspire children’s games like hot potato.

    Hate them more.

    Realize that you will eat them and they will become a part of you. You win in this power struggle. You the writer are going to triumph over the potato.

  4. Let them cool for 10 minutes.

    Realize you could just eat them now as regular old baked potatoes. Why do you need to be fancy?

    Because other writers are fancy. That’s why. And you can overachieve, too, even if you are still wearing your pajamas at 7 p.m. and you woke up at 8 a.m. Hey! You woke up. That’s achieving.

  5. Cut the poor potatoes in half lengthwise.

    This feels violent. You are not violent.

    Continue on and scoop the soft potato innards into a large bowl.

    Save skins. They aren’t really skins. It’s okay. Let’s call them peels. That sounds nicer.

    Save the peels. Try not to rip them.

  6. Add cream cheese, sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, onion powder, and 1/2 the green onions.  Add all of that to the potato innards. 

    Then mix it until it is creamy. Use a hand mixer if you have electricity and stuff like hand mixers. If not just whip it into a frenzy with a potato masher. Do you have one of those? How about a fork? Even that will work. 

  7. Put all of that stuff  into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, and green onions.

  8. Put it in the oven again for 15 minutes.

    Appreciate that you overachieved and went for it. You did it, writer! Eat up! 

Dog Verdict: PLEASE PUT BACON ON THESE.

Man Verdict: These would be even more amazing with bacon bits, but I like them. I like them a lot.

Me: EVERYTHING IS NOT BETTER WITH BACON! 

All others: (Blank stares).

Writing News

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

You should totally buy Carrie’s book about Moe. It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

Moe Berg The Spy Who Played Baseball
Moe Berg

OUR PODCAST DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow.

Writing Coach

Carrie offers solo writing coach services, but she’s also teaching a Write! Submit! Support! six-month class online via the Writing Barn in Austin. For details about that class, check out this link. For more about Carrie’s individual coaching, click here.