Why We Don’t Use Real Life Dialogue in Our Books

This is from when Em was super young and I wrote it all out and saved it because that’s what I do.

There is a Halloween Sleep Over at my house. There are six 14-year-olds. They are making cheesy ghosts with olive faces. This is the dialogue. It is verbatim. 

This is the reason why we don’t have perfectly accurate dialogue in our stories.

DIRECT CONVERSATION BEGINS NOW

Didn’t H — make show choir?

She didn’t make it. She tried it again in the spring and she emailed Mrs. Wright and asked her what to work on but she used all these big words so then X —  didn’t try out because she was mad.

Oh no … Big words

She told her she needed to work on her voice and stuff.

No offense, but she does

Abby keeps singing.

Guys do not be mean.

I don’t want to be mean.

Did you hear her solo?

It was good, but she got mad after awhile.

She got sick of it after awhile because Ben told her to do something on her solo.

Is Ben the guy who runs the band thing with the saxophones.

No, he does the drama.

I’m so mad.

Can we do it?

Guys we would be amazing.

I would do the choreography. I’m so tough.

The three of us. No, the four of us.

What about me. You guys hate me!

No… You don’t do musical stuff.

No! All of us can do it.

Oh! I’m so foolish…

I don’t know how to shape the ghost.

You have a hard butt.

Look! It has a belly button.

I got bored, so I put more olives on it.

All of my cheese fell-off.

Abby keeps singing.

Abby will you shut up!

Mallory joins Abby in singing.

Oh my God, you guys. Emily’s ghost looks like a Pac-Man.

It is a Pac-Man.

Oh.

I decided to announce my geekiness to the world via a Pac-Man cheesy ghost.

Why This DIALOGUE WOULDn’t Work In A Story

It’s pretty simple.

  1. It’s all talking heads. We don’t know who is talking or responding until the end.
  2. It’s a lot of filler. Would the real point be Emily announcing her geekiness to the world of her friends or would it be someone being excluded and then included or would it be about X not making show choir?
  3. Dialogue needs to keep up the pace, move the story forward and reveal something about the characters.

Don’t get me wrong. We can tweak this dialogue and make it work. We can add in some tags, physical reactions and actions, setting, backstory and it could be pretty snazzy. But right now? Right now, it’s a bit of a talking-heads mess.

More Posts About Dialogue Are Here

Camper Wisdom and Dialogue Hints.

Mushy Dialogue Sucks

Talk to Me Baby! Dialogue Help

WRITING NEWS

THE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOME

Steve Wedel and I wrote a super creepy book a few years back called After Obsession and it’s making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands thanks to Dutch Venture Publishing and its leader Jen Minkman. 

Check out this spread in a Dutch magazine. I met a whole bunch of Dutch readers last Friday and let me tell you? They are the best. 

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. 

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. 


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Don’t Dabble Writers, Commit. We Know What a Hyphen Is and That’s Sexy.

Jared Leto is a somewhat polarizing guy for who-knows-what reason. He’s model-pretty, a vegan, an award-winning actor and a musician. And there’s this quote I (Carrie) read that struck a chord. 

“When you commit to something that’s seemingly impossible,” he says, referring to ascents both metaphorical and literal, “and you’re pushing through things that are seemingly hostile, and then you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, we did that,’ that’s a great feeling. And a little bit of pain isn’t a bad thing.”

Jared Leto to Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt

A lot of us writers whine a lot about writing. I’m not sure why that is. Is it because we’re plumbing the deep emotional recesses in our brain? Is it because we are creating an entire pretend world? 

I used to get super cranky about this because compared to being a firefighter or an emergency dispatcher or juggling eighteen jobs as a single parent, it felt to me like everyone was a little bit whiny. 

Then I realized that It’s because being committed to something, to a craft, to something when you are never going to be perfect, where you’ll always have room to grow? It can play a bit of havoc on your emotional wellbeing. But that’s okay. It’s like Leto says, you want to commit to that impossible thing to get the payoff. You want to be all in. Not a dabbler in writing or in life. 

How to Commit

Emalie Jacobs has some nice hints on her blog about how to do that, to be committed. They are basically: 

  • Plan to write every day.
  • Stay committed. 
  • Aim for a word count.
  • Plan early. 
  • Find your people.

And all of this is so much of what the Write! Submit! Support! class that I teach at the Writing Barn is all about. 

Back to Leto. Leto doesn’t dabble. He’s a method actor, a method singer, method artist and probably a method human. He commits wholeheartedly or he doesn’t commit at all. That’s true when he’s on stage singing or when he’s on the screen acting. He becomes. 

Becomes. 

Dabbling is the opposite of commitment. It’s an exploration. That can be good. But you don’t want to get so caught up in the explorations that you never focus. 

“I don’t dabble,” he said in that Rolling Stone interview. “I dive in. 1,000 percent.” 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t dabble. Commit fully to living the writing life. Don’t let other things take priority over your dreams.

Dog Tip for Life

Proofread your poop. 

Random ThoughtS

In our random thought portion of the podcast this week, we talk about:

  1. Carrie giving up dabbling
  2. Emcee duties at the MDI YWCA’s Women of Distinction event
  3. Hyphens. Semicolons. Politicians of all sides failing to have copyeditors.
  4. How do we trust reporters and politicians with big decisions when they can’t proofread things.

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

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. 

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. 

Don’t Dabble Writers, Commit. We Know What a Hyphen Is and That’s Sexy.

 
 
00:00 / 00:21:54
 
1X
 

Hey Baby, What’s Your Back Story and why we are running around so much

Hey baby, what’s your back story? 

It should be a pick-up line at a bar, yet it somehow is not a pick-up line at any bar that I know of except maybe in a New Yorker cartoon or a bar in a town where there’s one of those MFA programs in writing literature for literary people doing literary things. 

Anyway, it’s a term writers throw around all the time and it is basically just how we imagine our characters’ lives went before they are in the actual story that we’re writing. 

I know! How can you imagine that your character had a life before your story? It’s like imagining your spouse had a life before you that wasn’t totally centered around you. Us narcissists have a hard time with that. 

Do you know, in nine hundred years of time and space, I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important…

Steven Moffat, Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

According to a post on Now Novel there are three uses of back story.

  1. Developing the understanding of the characters. Like if your dad died of a heart attack in front of you and you couldn’t save him, then your character might have a savior complex. It helps the reader understand your characters’ motivations. 
  2. It can heighten the stakes and the suspense. You were once addicted to dating cops. Cops were always bad for you. Will you date this one? NO! YOU MUST NOT. 
  3. It makes it real damn it. By the time, you make it into a book, you’re not going to be a blank slate, born out of Zeus’ head or a clamshell fully formed on page 1. We all have prologues. 

Standout asks how much back story does a story need and answers its own question pretty simply:

If judged solely on complexity, the answer to ‘how much back story should I include?’ would be ‘enough to pay for the reader’s efforts,’ however you also need to consider immersion.

Standout

Ah. Okay?

Here is our advice: 

  • Don’t be fake. Don’t be pretend. We all know people who show up at a party, engage in small talk about absolutely nothing other than the weather, the traffic, where they work. There is no underlayment. It’s like they are a rug thrown on the floor, but if you touch that rug it will just slip away because there’s nothing holding it there. 
  • Do not let your characters be rugs. 
  • Ground those suckers with nails and staples if you have to. ModPodge them to the floor, give them a life before you. 
  • Don’t tell us everything about them. We do not know that they prefer Aquafina to Poland Spring water or that they had an ingrown toenail when they were twenty-four any more than you want to know about the guy at the party’s hemorrhoid treatment unless it’s really good. Be sparing. 

The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.

Stephen King

Writing Tip of the Pod 

Find the balance in your backstory and your life. 

Dog Tip for Life

Run through adversity. Don’t give up. 

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

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. 

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. 



Hey Baby, What’s Your Back Story and why we are running around so much

 
 
00:00 / 00:26:18
 
1X
 

“Carrie Has Potential, but . . . ” Dealing with rejection

Every writer hears that rejection is part of the process. You learn that you are supposed to roll with it, put them on the wall like Stephen King, collect them as badges of honor, signs that you’re getting your work out there. 

But sometimes they just suck. 

Who knows why, but one of those rejections will feel like an absolute indictment on you, your abilities, your soul. 

That happened to me this summer. 

The rejection was for something stupid, an app that runs stories like SnapChat. The rejection wasn’t even for a book, but when I read through the editor’s quick and kind-ish words, it broke me. 

“Carrie has potential, but …” 

There’s always a but, isn’t there? My 1,000-word horror story written in text form didn’t lay it out enough for the reader. This kind of writing wasn’t meant to have space to think. It was supposed to be all right there, one brief line after another. I can’t do that. I want people to have space and moments, to make their own inferences between the lines. Even when I write horror, I want it to be poem. 

“Carrie has potential, but …” 

But I didn’t achieve it? But my story didn’t have potential? But the world doesn’t need quick simple stories with gaps and holes and white space to explore? 

I sat and cried. The dogs watched. 

I sent out a text that said, “I’m depressed.”

“Gotta be happy,” came the text that came back. 

That didn’t help. Maybe my text had potential but didn’t explain the horrible hole that was stuck right in the middle of my chest where my heart was supposed to be. 

“Carrie has potential, but …” 

But I didn’t reach it? 

But I don’t write right? 

But I don’t fit with this app place? 

But I don’t fit anywhere? 

“Carrie has potential, but …”

But I don’t.

“I need a different job,” I text. 

And, yes, I texted that the same week that my last book debuted. And, yes, I texted that even though I’ve actually been successful at writing by ‘industry standards,’ whatever that means. 

I spend a lot of time wondering how I will continue to survive financially. I’m not a writer who has a wealthy significant other who supports her. I came from a long line of poor and I’m probably heading back there unless I can figure out how to reach my damn potential. And I spend a lot of time helping and hoping that other people reach theirs. 

But it’s not enough. 

There’s always a ‘but,’ isn’t there? 

Carrie has potential, but she doesn’t reach it. 

Actually, I do. I do reach it. I reach it on a million things, but maybe not for that project that time, maybe not for that genre.

Grab your potential, everyone. Move past the moments of rejection, feel them, but try not to let them crush your soul.

I know a lot of writers act like they are all joy-joy and bliss-bliss all the time. I know other writers act like writing is not as fun as snacking, or like it’s wresting demons from their souls. Some act like all they do is get rejected. Some act like all they do is be loved.

It’s both. It’s always a bunch of emotions and reactions swirling around.

On our podcast (Dogs are Smarter than People) this week (tomorrow’s), we talk about a lot of things, but we also talk about running and how it sucks so much sometimes and things hurt and how we try to run through them and not give up. 

That’s what writing and life is about, too. It’s about not giving up, going after your goals, going after your story. It is so freaking hard sometimes, but it’s worth it. 

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. 

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. 



You Matter. What I did when I felt forgotten.

When I was a little kid, my dad would sometimes to pick me up on Sundays, which was the day he was supposed to see me according to court papers. *

Back then I was one of a handful of kids whose parents were divorced and we’d sort of cluster together in Bedford, New Hampshire, surrounded by McMansions filled with parents where there were two parents and normalcy. This was made super obvious during an assembly in seventh grade where the counselor made all of us kids with divorced parents stand up in front of everyone else.

“There is nothing to be ashamed of,” she told us while everyone else stared.

It was the first time I felt ashamed of my parents being divorced. A kid named Erik stood next to me and muttered the f-word under his breath. This made him ridiculously cool, but it also made me feel better because he thought it was ridiculous, too.

But even compared to them, I knew I stood out because everyone else went to their dad’s for the whole weekend and their dads never actually forgot about them. Not like my dad.

I’d stare out the bedroom window at the long driveway. He was always supposed to pick me up at 10. He rarely picked me up at 10. Sometimes Mom would have to call to remind him. 

“He’s a forgetful man,” she’d say.

He was. He rarely knew the day of the week or people’s phone numbers. But their stories? He would remember those perfectly. 

I’d climb into his beige Ford Escort, horrified that my rich friends might see me in such an uncool car, and he’d hand me the check for my mom and apologize for being late. 

“I didn’t forget you,” he’d say, tearing up. “I’m so sorry. Time got away from me.”

Or sometimes it was, “I didn’t forget you. I forgot it was Sunday!”

Or sometimes it was, “I didn’t forget you. I got to talking to Uncle Kilton.”

My almost-always response was, “Mm. Hm.”

“I don’t want you to feel forgotten.”

He always said this and I knew he meant it, but I did feel forgotten a lot of the time, my poor dad. He tried so hard.

The thing is that it’s pretty normal to feel forgotten or looked over sometimes. 

And there are ways to fight that. I want you to fight that. I want you to realize how awesome you are, which is why I’m blogging this again. It’s not because I’m being lazy – I don’t think – it’s because I really want you to feel okay.

So here’s how to fight that forgotten feeling.

Expand Your Social Circle

If your friends fail to invite you to things enough to feel forgotten. Find new ones. They are missing out on your fabulousness.

Honestly, my poor dad, when this kept happening to me when I was little I found about 800 father figures to fill in. I had teacher-fathers, cousin-fathers, theater-director-fathers, piano-playing-fathers, random-family-friends-fathers, boating-neighbor-fathers, uncle-fathers. So many.

Tell People You Miss Them

Seriously, if you’re missing your friends, tell them. They might be clueless. They might even be feeling forgotten, too.

Realize That Your Important in This World

Yep. You are. You matter to your dog, to your cat, to your ferret. You matter and it’s good to remember that, but sometimes it’s so hard.

What do you do to make a difference in this world? Do you volunteer? Help your parents? Help your kids?

I bet there are more ways that you matter than you realize and when you remember those ways? It’s easier to not feel so forgotten.

Be kind to yourself. The worst is when YOU forget you.

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. 

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. 

Passive Aggressive Much? And How to Become More Awesome in Just 30 Minutes a Day

Over on the random thought part of the podcast, we hear about Carrie being passive-aggressive at the campground bathroom, Shaun sing, and random people at Smokey’s Barbecue and Lobster.

But here is the more intellectual stuff. Um. Slightly more intellectual stuff?

This guy Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book Outliers and in it he outlines his belief that if you practice something for 10,000 hours and do that in a deliberate way, then you’ll become a top performer.

Who are the outliers? They are the best and the brightest. 

We don’t want you to freak out over that 10,000 hours bit because that’s like saying, “Hey Shaun, I know you can’t run more than 60 seconds right now, but this Friday you’re going to run for 93 minutes.”

Spoiler alert: Shaun ran for 93-minutes straight on Friday. Carrie did too.

Anyway, this guy named Danny Forest who writes on Medium breaks it down to something that feels a bit more doable. He says that he can learn soft skills in about eight hours and breaks it into working 30 minutes each day on those skills. 

That seems a lot better than 10,000 hours, right?

There’s a difference between competence and brilliance, but that half-hour concentrated focus is how so many of us build our skills. Even dogs. 

So, inspired by Mr. Forest, the Farrar has three things he wants to learn: 

  • Make movies on Adobe Premiere
  • Spanish
  • Stained glass stuff
  • How to be a better parent

And Carrie also made a list:

  • Make movies on Adobe Premiere
  • Make felted paintings
  • How to self publish
  • How to draw
  • How to write travel stories
  • How to be Anthony Boudrain
  • Spanish
  • How to cook in the French style, but also to make kick-butt saltanas and samosas and all things in pockets, basically.

What do you want to learn? To do?

For writing, focusing on writing or reading about writing for a half hour a day is really an essential tip to becoming a better storyteller. You see that advice everywhere and you see other people countering that advice saying to ‘ignore all advice,’ which is also actually advice. 

Yes, do your own thing and do what works for you. That should be obvious. But don’t forget that you can’t become a brilliant guitar player if you’ve never picked up a guitar. You have to put in the time. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Practice what you want to be good at. Do it in small bites. You’ve got this.

Dog Tip for Life

Dogs are good at sleeping and practicing that. Be like a dog.

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

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. 


Passive Aggressive Much? And How to Become More Awesome in Just 30 Minutes a Day

 
 
00:00 / 00:24:04
 
1X
 

Reasons to Be a Writer #1391

I’m talking about the reasons to be a writer and specifically one of my main reasons.

There was this movie back in the 1980s or 1990s called SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL.

My favorite part was the kissing scene where Watts tries to teach Keith how to kiss. I mean that is smooth.

Totally cool and chill.

Why did I never pull that  in high school? 

I mean, that is soooooo smooth.

When I was in high school I was more like,

Wow. Is he going to kiss me? How do I make him kiss me? If I lean in, will he kiss me? Will she kiss me? WILL SOMEONE KISS ME OTHER THAN MY DOG? EVER?

Carrie being pathetic in high school, a direct quote from her brain.

And basically I NEVER got to practice kiss with my hot male friend or hot female friend and I ended up being more like Mary Katherine Gallagher:

I think that’s one of the trillion reasons why I write. Because being a writer you can make things happen in stories and sometimes those things involve kissing cute people instead of trees or dogs. Sometimes you can make your characters save the world, that same one you want so desperately want to save. Sometimes you can give your characters hope when hope feels like a mirage.

How about you?

Do you write? Why? What are your reasons to be a writer?

Do you read? Why?

So many whys.

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. 

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. 

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. 




Actions Create Who You Are

Jean-Paul Satre believed that people are the only objects that create who they are by their actions. A plant is a plant. It doesn’t choose to be a lilac. If he’s poison ivy, he’s poison ivy.

But a person becomes a truck driver because his actions prove him to be a truck driver. A person becomes a lounge singer because he’s singing in a lounge.

It’s all about the actions.

This is something I need to remember while I’m writing, especially when I’m writing middle grade for some reason. Our characters become something by their actions. 

Harry Potter becomes a hero because he does heroic stuff, not because he tells ushe does heroic stuff, or because he wants to doheroic stuff. We believe he’s a hero because we read his actions of being a hero.

Life is like this, too. A person becomes an artist by creating art. A person becomes a hero by doing something heroic, not by claiming to do something heroic or thinking about it. A person embodies the traits of their office, position or religion by actually embodying those traits, not just talking about it. 

In life like in writing, it’s about showing not telling. It’s about actions not lip-service. 

Okay. I’m going to go revise now.

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. 

Author versus Mushrooms

As you know, I am a woman of obsessions.

I am obsessed with mushrooms. Like I legit love them.

I am obsessed with children’s book writing world and lately I’ve become obsessed about my time in a house in Ellsworth, Maine where one of these obsessions was growing in the wood trim outside my shower IN MY OLD HOUSE. 

I repeat: IN MY OLD HOUSE!

Spoiler:

It was not the children’s book writing world that was growing in the wood trim. It was mushrooms.

How wrong was that? 

Yes, I know I am a writer. I know I have some issues with doing certain things, but I swear to Stephen Colbert and all things holy that I did actually clean my bathroom.

Law enforcement officials, please note that I also vow that I awas not growing magic mushrooms for any illegal drug purposes.

Do you know what this meant? It meant that the mushrooms are there for some evil, nefarious purpose. 

It also meant that it was time for a – 

THREAT DOWN FOR CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITERS:

It’s hard to be a children’s writer. And it isn’t just book banners, angry reviewers who don’t like comma splices, or paper cuts we have to worry about, folks. Our very existence is being threatened. Our happy homes are being infiltrated. It’s a dangerous world out there. 

#1 Threat. 

Mushrooms.

We think they are cute. We think Smurfs live under their polka-dotted roof tops, but no … 

Really they are hanging out in our bathrooms waiting to strike, waiting to tell the world: LOOK AN ABSENT MINDED AUTHOR LIVES HERE AND SHE HAS NO CLEANING SKILLS! 

They are directly related to

# 2 Threat.

Spores.

Because let’s face it, mushrooms are releasing these babies possibly causing hallucinations. We could be breathing them in. They could be the true reason behind Green Eggs and Ham, behind Knuffle Bunny, behind my sudden allergy to laptop computers. And they could also be the reason for …

#3 Threat. 

Disembodied Voices in the Night. 

Every night this week, I’ve heard a woman’s voice. 

It’s said things like: Hufflepuffs.

Or maybe it was: Huff and puff. 

I’m not sure. But it’s waking me up and creeping me out. 

#4 Threat. 

Other children’s authors. 

Who other than other authors have obviously fed lines to the disembodied voice of the night. J.K. Rowling I’m talking to you! What am I going to hear next ? 

Can I ever sleep again? Soon I’ll be seeing Lisa Yee’s giant Peep floating across the room.

Enough is enough guys! Do you hear me? Enough is enough!

5. Mosquitos 

Colbert used to have a bear that was his big threat, but for me, it’s got to be the mosquitos behind this whole threat down. 

I’m covered in welts. 

I’m obsessing about past mushroom-home incidents. 

I’m actually blogging about it all.

Could someone just come over and sedate me now? Please…? That way I don’t have to work on this revision. 

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.