Simple Story Structure, Pokemon Oreos and Do You Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching You?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Simple Story Structure, Pokemon Oreos and Do You Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching You?
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There are lots of fancy and complicated ways to figure out story structure.

There’s Save the Cat, the Snowflake Method, the Five-Act, the Four-Act, the Six-Act.

But sometimes all of those complicated methods bog some of our writer brains down.

So today we’re going to give you a super quick guide to story structure for your novel. You ready?

Step One:

Name it. This does not have to be its forever name, just a way for you to find the computer file. It can be THE EVIL NOVEL THAT HAS NO NAME RIGHT NOW. That’s fine.

Step Two:

Find a hero. Name them. Put them in a jam or a bad place. Maybe they suck at making commitments? Maybe they need a promotion. Maybe they live under the stairs. Give them a problem.

Step Three:

Think about what has to occur in order for them to ovary up enough to try to deal with that problem.

Step Four:

Now decide what is going to change once that hero gets proactive and tries to deal with that problem or once they take action.

Step Five:

Are things different for our little hero now? How?

Step Six

Okay. Something else needs to happen so that the story takes a turn or a veer to the right or left. What makes it go in another direction?

Step Seven

Make things worse for our poor hero. How are they worse?

Step Eight

Okay. If this is a positive change arc where the hero ends up in a better place, what is it that inspires them to make a big effort and go for that win?

Step Nine

What is the big win (positive change arc) or the big loss (negative change arc)

There you go, how to figure out your novel’s basic structure in nine easy steps? Do you feel heroic, writer? You should.

Writing Tip of the Pod

It’s okay to make it simple when it comes to story structure. It really is.

Dog Tip for Life

When your people turn your head and look at you and you realize you’ve been caught, it’s time to stop because then they just think you’re a creeper.

Resources

https://www.npr.org/2021/09/26/1040779728/pokemon-oreo-cookies-ebay-pikachu-mew

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

WORD! AWARD-WINNING ELLEN BOORAEM TALKS WRITING TIPS AND HOW SHAME KEEPS HER FROM GIVING IN TO PROCRASTINATION

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
WORD! AWARD-WINNING ELLEN BOORAEM TALKS WRITING TIPS AND HOW SHAME KEEPS HER FROM GIVING IN TO PROCRASTINATION
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The amazing writer and human, Ellen Booraem, spent nineteen years as a small-town journalist before quitting her day job to write four award-winning fantasies for readers ten and older (The Unnameables, Small Persons with Wings, Texting the Underworld and River Magic.

In this bonus podcast, we talked about Ellen’s writing tips to deal with writing blocks, the big leaps she took to start a fiction career at 52, and the incredibly cool WORD festival (the annual Blue Hill Maine literary arts festival) that’s coming up this October (which you should all check out).

We also touch on how working at a newspaper made us visual writers and trained us for fiction.  

Ellen volunteers as a writing coach for students in her local middle school and is a founding organizer for Word, the annual Blue Hill (Maine) literary arts festival. Having ventured from her early time as Alton Hall Blackington’s next door neighbor in coastal Massachusetts, she now lives in coastal Maine with her partner, painter Robert Shillady.

Publisher’s Weekly called Ellen’s latest novel, “A dense emotional core, resonant voice, and themes of grief, shifting friendships, and family enliven Booraem’s contemporary fantasy, reminding readers that ‘hope is everywhere.’

To find out more about Ellen and her books, check out Ellen’s website:

https://www.ellenbooraem.com/

To find out more about WORD (which is online this year), check out its website:

https://www.wordfestival.org/

And Word’s full schedule including workshops, art, and readings is here:

https://www.wordfestival.org/word-2021-full-schedule

Big Foot Fights and Trailer Sauce and No Flat Writing

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Big Foot Fights and Trailer Sauce and No Flat Writing
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A lot of writers will worry that their stories seem flat. There’s a reason that they are worrying about that and it’s one of the core elements of good writing.

Ready?

You want to vary your sentence structure.

Take a bit of writing that you’ve done that feels flat—or maybe even one that doesn’t. Count the words in your sentences for two or three paragraphs.

Are they all five words? Twelve? Twenty-seven?

That robotic sameness in sentence length is one of the main reasons that writing can feel flat.

It’s like those ancient Dick and Jane books.

See Dick run.

See Jane skip.

See Dick wave.

The other big bugger is when all of your sentences are simple and declarative.

I walk to the forest. The trees are gracious, tall. I inhale the pine scent.

There is actually a whole, entire world of different sentence styles that writers can use and when you use them? That’s when you make your writing shiny and sexy and all the good things.

The names for these structures are pretty boring, honestly, but we’ll try to look beyond that, right?

Simple – You have one main clause.

Carrie is the best wife.

Compound – You have more than one independent clause. You probably use a conjunction.

            Carrie wants to get another dog, but Shaun keeps saying no.

Complex – Oh, the sentence that probably has to pay for a therapist or is reading Foucault obviously in the park. This sentence has an independent clause and a subordinate clause. It’st the BDSM of sentences.

            When hell freezes over, we will allegedly get another dog.

Compound-Complex – It sounds like a place with a cult, right? But it’s just a sentence with at least two independent clauses and one subordinate clause.

Carrie really needs a new dog to love, so Shaun said that they would get one when hell freezes over, so Carrie immediately got some dry ice and sent some down to Lucifer.

Refresher moments:

What’s a clause? A bunch of words chilling out together and one of those words in the group is a verb and another is a noun. Fancy people call the verb, the predicate, but we aren’t fancy here.

What’s an independent clause? It is a bunch of words that has a subject and a predicate. It is grammatically complete all by itself and doesn’t need anyone. Not any other words to stand alone! Darn it.

What’s a subordinate or dependent clause? A bunch of words that needs other words to be a sentence. This poor beautiful baby cannot stand alone and be complete, kind of like a  protagonist in a Hallmark romance.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Vary your sentence structures and don’t be flat.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Variety is good. Don’t eat the same Milkbones all the time. Mix it up.

Be fluffy.

Resources Mentioned in the podcast:

https://nypost.com/2021/09/17/teen-gets-usb-cable-stuck-in-penis-in-attempt-to-measure-length/

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/weird/article251950768.html#storylink=mainstage_card

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

The Game of WTF

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

Today is one of those days where I can’t really think of anything to write! I was however, thinking of a game that would involve me thinking of a substantial number of thoughts that fit a certain rough description.

This rough description is WTF? It’s a game, only I have to think of all of the statements and/or questions. But, that’s alright, I am up to the challenge! Maybe. Where the “game” part come sin, I have no idea. Maybe I will figure it out, maybe I won’t.

Here we go.

You have a sore throat, a cough, maybe a fever and definitely a runny nose. You go to get a COVID test. You swab one nostril and pull it out. You make the huge mistake of looking at said swab and you are like, “You expect me to put that in my other nostril? WTF?”

You are doing a load of laundry. Something that you have been doing since you were thirteen when your mother told you that if you didn’t do your own laundry from now on you would not have clean clothes and after the seventh, and consecutive, item of clothing that you have had to turn right side out, you are like, “WTF?”

You look at your significant other when they don’t know you are looking at them so that you can really stare and study and you think to yourself, “How did I even get to this place? How on earth could I ever get so lucky? WTF?”

You are hanging with your just barely a teenager and they tell you that they have secretly known about the mechanics of sex for a few years now and you turn your head and silently mouth, “Holy crap, they are normal! WTF?”

Just so you know, I was strongly shut down on the birds and the bees talk a couple years ago. Now I know why.

I don’t know really. I find so many things about life, both huge and miniscule,  amazing. It’s even amazingly confusing!

Sometimes the bad seems good and sometimes the good seems bad. Sometimes the bad seems amazingly bad and sometimes the good seems amazingly good.

Sometimes it is good to realize that you are very lucky just to be here, living life, and able to tell the good from the bad!

Able to turn bad to good and able to make good better!

Able to make the best of the bad and the very bestest out of the good!

Cause I will tell you one thing people, you can’t help the hand that you were dealt, but you sure as hell can take a chance to make that hand better!

Remember to ALWAYS – LOVE YOUR WAY THROUGH IT!

Peace,

Shaun

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is here!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know! I might send you something!

He Built a Guitar Out of His Uncle’s Skeleton And Over-explaining Makes Bad Writing

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
He Built a Guitar Out of His Uncle's Skeleton And Over-explaining Makes Bad Writing
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Authors, let’s just admit it. We’re insecure.

Writing is communication and we want to make sure that our readers are getting what we’re putting down (Translation: Understanding what we’re saying).

So, what do we do?

We over-explain.

And that over-explaining slows down our pacing and makes our reader not want to read anymore.

There are lots of bigger ways of overexplaining.

And what is overexplaining? It’s when you just keep adding things on to make your reader get what you’re saying.

Like this:

Shaun punched the wall. He was so angry he could spit. His hands clenched into tight fists. “What kind of butthead are you?” he roared.

So, all four of those sentences tell us the same thing.

Shaun is angry.

You can cut down that to one or two and the reader is still going to get it. Trust the reader’s brains. Trust yourself.

Here’s a rewrite.

Shaun punched the wall. “What kind of butthead are you?”

But it’s not just in long passages that us writer people do this. We do it in short bits too.

Here are some big ones.

            She shrugged her shoulders. (She shrugged)

            He nodded his head in agreement. (He nodded) or (He agreed)

            They shook their head no. (They shook their head)

            He looked at his watch to check the time. (He checked the time)

Other things we do is

            Tell something that we just showed. (Shaun punched the wall. He was so angry.)

            Add in a dialogue tag that we don’t need, (the she said/they asked) when we don’t need it.

            Add in silly adverbs that we don’t need.

            Add in a bunch of statements all saying the same thing. (See that original example).

Acting like the reader is stupid. (Of course we know the person is nodding their head. We don’t think they are nodding their butt.)

            Info dumps

When you do this over-explaining thing you:

  1.  Slow down the pace
  2. Ruin the subtext.
  3. Break my heart.
  4. Make the scenes dull. Over-explaining takes out the pizzazz.
  5. It takes away the immediacy and the forward motion of the plot and scene.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Be all one and done, people. Trust the reader to get it. Trust your skills to communicate well.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE.

If you want a treat, sit in front of the pantry and drool on the floor.

LINKS WE TALK ABOUT IN THE PODCAST

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article254523322.html

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article254523322.html

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

Alligator Romance with Darth Gator and the grammar behind the words in to vs into

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Alligator Romance with Darth Gator and the grammar behind the words in to vs into
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So, now that we’re into the helpful part of the podcast and no longer talking about women in love with the alligators that attacked them or dogs and cats breaking records together, we thought we’d take a quick look at a big grammar mistake.

And that’s when INTO is one word or two.

Is it . . .

Dude, I am so into you.

Or is it . . .

Dude, I am so in to you.

Here’s how it works.

INTO all as one word is a preposition, which means it’s showing MOVEMENT of one thing to another thing.

But IN TO (two words) has two grammatical bits going on right there. The IN is an adverb and the TO is the preposition. And they aren’t like snuggled up in bed like a cohabitating couple, they just tend to show up in the sentence next to each other.

Here are some examples:

INTO as one word:

Baby, I made it into the office today, but only just barely because… cough… you know.

Lordie, look what Santa put into your stocking.

That alligator went into that woman’s head, man, like took total control.

INTO usually tells you WHERE something is happening.

IN TO as two words

Look, I am standing in to make a statement to our senator.

Santa came in to say a hearty hello.

The dog and cat rode in to break that record on that damn scooter.

IN TO usually can be substituted with IN ORDER TO.

Easy, right? Consider yourself grammatical.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Two words are different than one.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Sometimes taking chances pays off (like when you jump on a scooter with a cat) and sometimes it doesn’t (like when you bite your handler’s hand). Choose your risks wisely. And that goes for copyediting too. Unless you’re super sure you know all the grammar, don’t copyedit your own story.

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

LINKS WE MENTION IN THE RANDOM THOUGHTS PORTION OF THE PODCAST

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/09/16/canada-Guinness-World-Records-dog-cat-scooter-Lollipop-Sashimi-Melissa-Millett/5691631809102/

https://news.sky.com/story/woman-attacked-by-alligator-says-i-love-him-and-it-shouldnt-face-any-consequences-12385890

Throwing Poop on Your Landlord, Demon Texts, and Making Happy Endings

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Throwing Poop on Your Landlord, Demon Texts, and Making Happy Endings
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Carrie reads a lot of novels in progress and helps writers make those novels better and one of the big things that happen that keep a book from being super star status is an unsatisfying ending.

Yes. Yes, that is about books, not sex, Shaun. But some of the same principles apply to both.

You want your ending to be satisfying even if it’s an unhappy ending.

So, how do you make your ending satisfying?

Ah, just like the copulation, it’s all about fulfilling your promises to the reader in the lead-up to that ending, right?

Your reader has been hanging out with you for 50,000 words at least (usually) and that means that you owe them what you’ve promised them–a complete story with a damn fine ending.

Here are the things to know:

The character at the end of the book should have changed enough to react to the events in a way that they wouldn’t have reacted on page 10.

Most books that are satisfying have a main character that changes. They evolve (positive change arc) or devolve (negative change arc). Their situation is different at the end of the book and you, the author, want to recognize that and show us readers — WOW! Look at how Sparty the Dog is so much stronger now. He’s dealing with that squirrel in a way he never would have on page 10.

All the events that have happened prior to the climax and the ending have made Sparty the dog that’s able to handle his arch nemesis like a boss.

There needs to be emotional growth (or regression) in your main character at the end of this story.

And this growth at the ending has to be shown in the gorgeous story in between the beginning and the ending.

If we imagine the story as three acts, then the ending is where we see how Act One (the set-up, who the character used to be, their original want) and Act Two (where the character’s world changes and they proactively go after their wants, messing up, succeeding, learning and evolving) makes the character who they are now.

Do they get the girl? Save the world? Defeat the evil demon? Throw poop on their landlord?

Do they come to terms with grief?

The ending matters because of everything in the story that the hero has gone through to get there.

They have to earn that ending and when they do? Oh, boy, is it satisfying.

The Ending Doesn’t Matter Much if You Don’t Make It Matter

You want to give your readers the answers to the questions that exist in your story. No loose ends. No mysteries that just end with a ‘to be continued’ because you’ve hit 70,000 words.

It is all about satisfying the reader. If you promise the reader a sexy romance and there’s no sex and the significant other slinks off on the last page to go wrestle guinea pigs in Ireland with someone else? You’re breaking that promise to the reader and totally not satisfying. You are being a bad lover. I mean writer.

Nobody wants that.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Think about what your reader wants. Aim to please your lover/reader.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Sparty says it’s more satisfying to earn your treat rather than just be given the treat. The journey makes the ending more satisfying.

LINKS MENTIONED

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/priest-demons-figured-text-messages-24898111

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2020/12/28/23-of-the-strangest-things-that-happened-in-florida-in-2020/

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

Interplanetary Love, Massive Bathtub Ducks, and Sexy Subtext

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Interplanetary Love, Massive Bathtub Ducks, and Sexy Subtext
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Let’s talk about subtext. And to talk about it, we’ve got to define that baby. So here goes.

Masterclass defines subtext as:

“In day-to-day life, there are often wide gaps between what people say and what they are thinking. These gaps can collectively be referred to as subtext—and they are valuable territory for fiction writers. Ernest Hemingway, who relied on subtext in his minimalistic approach to writing, even coined a term for it: the Iceberg Theory. He believed deeper meanings of character and plot should live below the surface of the text, just as the bulk of an iceberg floats beneath the surface of the water.”

And Merriam-Webster says:

A literary text often has more than one meaning: the literal meaning of the words on the page, and their hidden meaning, what exists “between the lines”—the subtext. Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, for example, is about the Salem witchcraft trials of the 17th century, but its subtext is the comparison of those trials with the “witch hunts” of the 1950s, when many people were unfairly accused of being communists. Even a social conversation between a man and a woman may have a subtext, but you may have to listen very closely to figure out what it is. Don’t confuse subtext with subplot, a less important plot that moves along in parallel with the main plot.

And there are different types as defined by literary.net

Privilege Subtext

Privilege subtext is subtext in which the audience has certain privileges over the characters in a narrative. In other words, the audience is aware of something the characters are not aware of. For example, imagine a character who has three missed calls from her mother. We as readers cringe as we know she is about to find out her sister has been in a car crash which we have seen but she is not yet aware of.

Revelation Subtext

Revelation subtext is subtext that reveals a certain truth over time throughout a story, leading up to a revelation. For example, imagine a boy who has been trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up. He considers firefighting, being a policeman, or even being an actor. Throughout his childhood, though, he enjoys drawing, painting, and sculpting for fun. The revelation subtext here is that his hobby has been his calling all along: he will become an artist.

Subtext through Promise

Subtext through Promise is subtext in which an audience expects certain promises to be kept by the author. In other words, the audience expects the story to run as stories usually do: the audience expects a plot that makes sense and is weaved together, characters who have revelations and change meaningfully, and symbols and motifs which make sense and suit the story. When an author fails to please the audience in this way, the story is considered poorly written or disappointing due to the subtext.

Subtext through Questions

Subtext through Questions is subtext created when readers and audiences have questions about a story, such as how a plot is developing or what a character will do. Naturally, such questions arise in a well-written story as a form of unwritten subtext.

Wow. Right? And of course, we do this all the time in real life too. We argue with our spouses about the proper way to put dishes in the dishwasher, but what we’re really arguing about is how one of us called the other one a dork or something. In a lot of our lives, we have to infer the meaning of things underneath the words that people say or the actions that they do.

Why do we want subtext in our stories?

It’s a bit like showing versus telling. Subtext allows the reader to make connections and learn about the characters and their yearnings and motivations and wants without yelling, “HEY! MY NAME IS SHAUN AND WHAT I WANT IS THE SEX.”

Cough.

Subtext is actually very sexy. It’s the driving force behind some parts of your story, the blank space where readers get to have an a-ha moment! It’s the epiphany your reader gets to have rather than you saying, “DOH! READER, HE IS LONGING HERE!”

It’s almost like a continuum.

Show is better than tell.

And subtext might be greater than showing.

Subtext is invisible, but real, kind of like the air. You need it to survive. Why? Because it makes the reader participate in the scene rather than just read it. Their brains are turned on. How cool is that? They get to interpret things.

You can build it into your story by:

  1. Understanding their characters and what they really want and are motivated by.
  2. Thinking about ways that characters can talk around what it is they want. If Shaun wants sex and says, “I want sex,” then there is no subtext. If he never mentions sex while trying to get it? Then you’ve got subtext.
  3. Show the characters’ wants and the subtext through emotion rather than explicit dialogue. If Shaun stares longingly at two people canoodling in a car? That shows his want in the subtext.
  4. Double meanings and evasions. When people are talking and there’s more one way to interpret something? That can be subtext. When they refuse to talk about something? Or when they turn away every time a certain someone comes in a room? That can be subtext.

In order to have subtext you need to:

  1. Give your characters things they want. They might not even realize they want whatever it is they want, but you, the all-knowing writer, do.

Thinking about that means that:

  • Give your character something they don’t want other people to know right then (if they know themselves that they have a want).

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Subtext is sexy

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

It’s okay to be subtle sometimes.

LINKS

https://allthatsinteresting.com/abbie-bela

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

The Lactating Armpit and How To Make Your Characters Have Different Voices

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
The Lactating Armpit and How To Make Your Characters Have Different Voices
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Voice is such a big deal for making memorable and believable characters in your story, but it’s one of the harder things to understand sometimes.

As writer Rita Mae Brown said,

“People are funny. No doubt you’ve noticed that others are not nearly as reasonable as yourself. Shocking, isn’t it? This difference between you and other people comes out in speech. Obviously, difference displays itself in the subject matter people speak about, but on a deeper, more subtle level, it displays itself in the way in which they frame those very ideas.”

The voice of your character is truly the heart and mind of your character and their background expressed on the page.

Or as Brown says, “Speech is a literary biopsy.”

There are a lot of different ways to think about the voice of your characters, that thing that makes them believable and sets them apart from the other characters even when they all have similar demographics (college sophomores, white women, middle class background, from Missouri).

But first we have to think about the two different ways voice is represented for characters.

There is

Internal voice

            What they think. (Use only in first and limited-third person POVs)

External voice

            Word choice

            Dialect

To make that character’s voice stand out, writers tend to do one of three things or a combination:

  1. Write your way through it until your characters sound different.
  2. Listen to people who are like your character and copy their cadence and word choice, sentence length, etc.
  3. Watch a tv show/movie with people who remind you of your character.

There are other factors that come into play too. How we talk is often influenced by

  1. Where we’re from.
  2. Socio-economic demographics.
  3. Education.
  4. Age. Gender. Ethnicity. Race. The cultural norms for any group we belong to.
  5. Our emotions at that moment – I don’t sound the same now as I do when I’m yelling or terrified or when I’m trying to take command of a volatile situation.
  6. What we’re really into – If you’re into dogs, you’ll probably use words like “alpha.” If you’re into military culture, you might sprinkle in words like “got your six” or “command.” If you’re into poetry, you might use words like “cadence,” “litany.” And you might use those words even when you aren’t talking about those things.

How we put words together makes a big difference, too. I’m sure in Shaun’s times in the military or the police force he heard choppy sentence people.

            Get here. Now.

And managerial types.

            I’d like you to come here immediately.

And those afraid of conflict.

            If you have a moment, would you mind coming over here as soon as you possibly can?

Some people love the drama of speech. Some people don’t like to talk at all. It’s all a bit of info that you can use to show their character, too.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Think beyond your experience, write beyond it too.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Not everyone sounds the same. Listen for the nuance.


SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

Resources Mentioned

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/dad-catches-son-sneaking-out-24763972

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/dad-catches-son-sneaking-out-24763972

NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

We are TOO Angry to Podcast Plus So Many Ways to Plot Your Story

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
We are TOO Angry to Podcast Plus So Many Ways to Plot Your Story
/

I (Carrie) was at a conference one time and hanging out with a bunch of celebrity young adult authors. One author said he wrote everything down in an outline form first.

Another author said that she wrote expressly to the Save the Cat beatsheet.

And I said, “I just kind of write.”

They gasped. I ordered a drink with actual alcohol in it and another writer saved me by saying, “I, like Carrie, just write after doing decades of research in a dark and lonely hole in my basement drinking only Post-um mixed with grape Fanta and crying the tears of salty mirth while trying to contact Dickens on my Ouija board.”

I kid! I kid! Nobody tried to save me. They just gasped.

So, here’s the thing: some writers just write. They don’t plot first. They just write and hope for the best.

I, Carrie, am oft. en one of those writers. We vomit it all out on the page and watch the structure form. And sometimes? Sometimes we have to revise a lot because of this.

And some writers can’t start until they’ve got the whole story nicely plotted out in intricate details.

And some writers are somewhere in between.

You might not even write the same way every time. Some books you might plot out completely. Some books you might not plot at all. Some books you might get to 40,000 words and scream and yank out the beat sheet from Save the Cat and drink whiskey straight and roll around on your floor amongst the tumbleweeds of dog fur and cry.

Cough.

No personal experience there or anything. But when you do get stuck, it’s good think of how to work out your plot. Here are a couple ways.

OLD SCHOOL BABY.

You make an outline. You use Roman numerals. You write it all down. Act 1, 2, 3. Chapters. Scenes. You feel proud that you remember things from when you were in grade school. You are proud of your beautiful ability to be linear.

OLD SCHOOL BACKWARDS

You do the outline but you do it backwards because you know the ending but you just don’t know how to get there.

THE GENERALIST

You write the beginning, the middle, the end. Maybe you write down the big horrifying moment where everything sucks for your character. There. You’re good.

BEATING IT

This is intricate man. This is the way you tell each beat in each scene. It’s going to be a lot of pages. You’re basically writing the book without the dialogue or a lot of setting.

CHARACTER ARCING IT

You’re just writing about your characters and what happens to them. How do they evolve and transform.

IT IS ALL IN THE MIND.

You make adorable bubbles and connect words to ideas. It’s adorable like you.

IT IS ALL TALK

You say to your character, “Hey, tell me what happens.” Then you write the dialogue of the characters telling you what happens.

PINTEREST IT

Some of us like images and pictures to help us plot. We might cut things out of magazines if we actually still have magazines or we might use Pinterest.

WHITE BOARDS AND INDEX CARDS AND SPREADSHEETS

These sexy beast are like binders. They organize your thoughts and then allow you to reorganize your thoughts again and again.

I HAVE A TEMPLATE AND I KNOW HOW TO USE IT!

Some writers find these super restrictive and some writers want to give them a massive smooch and cuddle with them on the couch in front of a warm fire. Save the Cat, Joseph Campell, the Six-Act Structure are all adorable and sexy templates you can use when you want to get your story to work.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Usually we plot so that we have a way to go, a roadmap. Some of us just like to drive. It doesn’t matter. There’s no one damn way to write your novel.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

You get to live your life according to your rules, your wants and thoughts and needs.

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.