Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome

Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:47
 
1X
 

A lot of time I’ll be reading scenes in books and it will be two characters talking and I’ll only have a vaguely general idea about where they are. Maybe I won’t have an idea at all. We call this evil beast the talking heads syndrome. 

Cue scary music here. 

WHAT IS TALKING HEADS SYNDROME?

No, it’s not about the iconic 1980s group. Sorry!

It’s where there’s a lot of dialogue going on but there’s no actual anchor for the characters. It’s like they are floating in space blabbing at each other. There’s no physical world placement. 

This happens a lot and it’s because some of us are writers who really hear our scenes rather than see our scenes or live in our scenes. It’s also because we sometimes forget to get those anchors in there. 

How to Imagine Yourself in a Scene

To do this exercise you have to step away from the keyboard for a second and stand up. We know! We know! Writers are all about sitting down and putting their butts in the chair and getting the work done, right? Well, give yourself five minutes and stand up in a quiet place preferably not in Starbucks or anything. 

Now close your eyes and think about your scene where there are talking heads.

SMELL

There you are with your characters. Maybe you can even imagine yourself as one of the characters. Possess them like they’re Zac Bagans and you’re filming Ghost Adventures. Inhale. What kind of smells are you smelling? Remember that. 

SOUND

You’re still there with the characters standing in the setting. What do you hear? Remember that. 

TOUCH

Your characters don’t stay completely still for the whole scene, do they? Have them move even if it’s to fidget. Let them touch things. What do those things feel like? Are they hot? Textured? Hands aren’t the only things that touch. Does their hair sweep over something? Does their foot kick against a table? Do their shoulders lean against the rough wood of the wall? 

TASTE

What does it feel like inside their mouth? Dry? Coppery? Do they need to brush their teeth? Please make them floss. Everyone should floss. 

SIGHT

This is the fallback for most writers and it can have some issues. We want to be able to visualize the setting and where things are happening, but we don’t need the buffer of the character seeing what’s happening. 

There are a lot of stories where it says, 

“Shaun looked over and saw the cat dangling from the curtain.”  

Don’t pad the details with distancing words. Don’t tell us that Shaun’s looking. Just have us see. 

Instead write, 

“The cat dangled from the curtain.”  

It’s so much more powerful. 

MOVEMENT

Have the characters move. Give them actions and objective correlatives to their emotional states. 

What are the next steps to Banishing the talking heads?

No, it’s not casting David Byrne to an isolated bunker in Nebraska. It’s also not putting him on SNL. It has nothing to do with him! I promise.

The next step is incorporating what you imagined for tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing, movement into the actual scene. You have to have your characters’ perceptions of the outside world and setting incorporated into that dialogue and action. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper. 

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Don’t be full of talking heads. Write scenes that come alive. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Be in the moment, man, and actually notice things. 

Note: In the random thoughts in bed section of our podcast we talk about Liberal cheers, famous for being losers, getting thick thanks to the Coronavirus and Shaun binging Swedish Fish, and golf balls. How’s that for random? 

SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

Last week’s episode’s link.


WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

This week’s episode link. 

NEWS

Over 180,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them.

Continue reading “Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome”
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How to Make a Good Book Better – Revision Tips of Awesome – Part Three

So, these past three Mondays, I’ve been giving revision tips to help with people’s stories. And this is the last in the series! I know! I know! The horror!

Get ready writers and put your revision hats on. As I write this, we’re in lockdown because of CoVid-19 aka the coronavirus, and I know you all just want to draft and eat, but get dressed and do the hard stuff, too. Revising makes your book so much stronger.

11.  GIVE YOUR CHARACTERS A REASON

Do not have your hamster kill your cat without a motivation. The cat’s tormenting? That’s a reason. The cat’s snoring? That’s a motivation. 

Every character has to have a want and a motivation, a reason for doing what they do.

In other words: Your characters need to make sense.

12. THINK ABOUT TIME FRAME

Should your story be an hour in the protagonist’s life? A day? A year? Does it really need to end with the prom? Plath says to think of the story as “an image stamped in Silly Putty, until it became distorted and possibly more interesting?” 

Pull out that image. Think about how long your story is in the character’s life.

13. ADD SOME TEXTURE

Think about figurative language. Think about symbols and allusions and metaphors. Use the tools of literature and the sounds of poetry to make your story resonate.

But, um, don’t put a simile in every paragraph.

14. MAYBE YOU SHOULD GO UNRELIABLE

Narrators who are reliable are sometimes narrators who are boring. What would happen if yours went to the dark side? 

15. BE TRIVIAL. BE DEEP

We want to hear what matters to the character and what trivial parts of his/her existence make him/her real. If she’s a bus driver. Let us know how that impacts her thinking. Let us see her job.

PART ONE OF THESE TIPS IS HERE!

PART TWO OF THESE TIPS IS HERE!


These revision tips this week are all originally from James Plath’s article “Twenty-one Tweaks to a Better Tale,” which was published in THE COMPLETE BOOK OF NOVEL WRITING, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinatti, Ohio, Edited by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron, and the Editors of Writer’s Digest.


WRITING AND PODCAST NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow! 

Last week’s episode’s link.

This week’s episode’s link.


Continue reading “How to Make a Good Book Better – Revision Tips of Awesome – Part Three”

How to Conquer Writer’s Block in the Time of CoVid-19

How to Conquer Writer’s Block in the Time of CoVid-19

 
 
00:00 / 00:19:02
 
1X
 

So normally Carrie writes the podcast part of the podcast and this week she had no idea what to write. Should she write about Covid-19 and try to help people with things to do during their lock downs and times of social distancing? Should she totally ignore that and we go the other route with a happy, fun, dorky and totally non-informative episode? Should she cry? 

It turns out that Carrie was thinking too much and giving herself writer’s block. Writer’s block is something Carrie never gets. So, she had to overcome it, right?

So here are some quick steps to overcoming writer’s block in the time of Covid-19.

  1. Go for a walk if you can go for a walk without coming into contact with anyone else going for a walk.
  2. Eliminate distractions. If there are other kids in the house or cats, lock them out of the room so you can focus. 
  3. Read a book.
  4. Write something that isn’t what you’re pressured to write. 
  5. Set a timer and tell yourself that you only have 15 minutes to write so you better hurry up. 
  6. Disconnect your Wi-Fi. 
  7. Close your eyes and listen to a song that you’ve never listened to before. Then open your eyes and write. 
  8. Do a Graham Greene (old British author) and keep a dream journal. Every morning write what you’ve dreamt. This will come in handy some day and it counts as writing. 
  9. Visualize scenes in your story without writing. Just sit and try to daydream. Can you do it? 
  10. Allow yourself to make mistakes, jump around to scenes you can see. Writing does not have to be linear when you draft. 

Back in 2016, Maria Konnikova wrote “How to Beat Writer’s Block” for the New Yorker, which touches on the research into writer’s block and it’s pretty interesting.

And way back in the 1950s, a man named Bergler wrote “Does Writer’s Block Exist?,” which was published in American Imago. Bergler said a writer “unconsciously tries to solve his inner problems via the sublimatory medium of writing.” A writer wasn’t lazy or bored. They hadn’t used up their muse and ideas. They just needed therapy. Later psychiatrists learned through studies that most writers blocked for three months or more were indeed unhappy. Was this correlative and how did the causation factors work?

I can’t find that, but what they did determine was that these unhappy writers seemed to be one of four blocked groups: 

  1. Anxious and Stressed Out Authors – Writing no longer gave joy because of emotional distress. They’re are the ‘nothing is good enough’ authors. 
  2. Irritate AF Authors  – They were lashing out at others. These are the ‘I don’t want to be compared to others’ authors.’ 
  3. Whatever Authors – Apathy rules and they figure there is no point. These are the no daydreams, rules are mean and constricts my creativity’ authors. 
  4. I Am So Freaking Mad Authors – They aren’t sad. They’re really sick of it all and they are so angry and hostile. These are the ‘I am getting no attention’ authors.

I (Carrie) just was teaching an online class to some writers and admitted that I don’t daydream anymore, which is a big deal for me because I used to daydream all the time. A lack of daydreaming is a symptom of a writer who is blocked. 

            Other symptoms Of Writer’s Block: 

  1. Less able to form images in their brains
  2. Images they do form are more vague than in the past
  3. Less ambition
  4. Less joy
  5. Less creativity

So work on creatively visualizing different things in your book and your life. Imagine what your character eats, what’s happening at the grocery story right now, the best kiss ever. Reawaken your creativity in ways that don’t involve judgement – yours or anyone else’s. 

Writing Tip of the Pod: 

Turn the wi-fi back on and look up some creative visualizations for authors. Check out the steps we mentioned earlier. You’ve got this. 

Dog Tip for Life:

Go with the flow, man. 

Writing Tip for the Week:

Imagine your main character is in a Nashville bar the night before the world ends. What music is playing? What does it smell like? How is your character reacting?

WRITING AND PODCAST NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow! 

This week’s episode’s link.

Last week’s episode’s link.

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.


I HAVE A NEW BOOK! 

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can order it here. 


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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

How to Make a Good Book Better

I am currently being whipped down into one of Dante’s lower circles of hell due to:

  • 1. My deadline crunch on a million things.
  • 2. My dog who has decided that something evil is in the lot behind our house and she must press her body into mine at all times in order to keep me safe. She simultaneously barks while doing this. It is making writing a little – um – difficult? Have I mentioned that she’s a large dog? 
I love my people. I protect them with my furry charm and big bark.

Here are some things I (should) think about when I’m revising. Hopefully, they’ll help you out, too.


I’ve taken them from James Plath’s article “Twenty-One Tweaks to a Better Tale.” 

1. Does the beginning need to be an ending?



Sometimes our beginnings stink. 

Beginnings need to be:
powerful
witty
stunning

This could be a powerful piece of dialogue, a witty description or a stunning scene. 

Sometimes we writers have to amp up, sort of rev our engines before we start the race of the story. 

My engine is revving. Shh…..


Side note: Some of us never get started.

It’s okay to cross entire paragraphs or a chapter out. 

2. Check Out How It Ends



Just like a beginning needs to be powerful or witty or stunning to draw us in like a really good appetizer, the ending has to linger (not in the way heartburn lingers). The ending has to resonate.

Is there a way to echo earlier images or words or a phrase so that it has that extra kick, making the reader realize that there are deeper things going on, that there is a deeper meaning, that this story or poem somehow touches on the truth that is life. 


3. Make Love to the Image

Have an image that resonates throughout the story. In the movie, Brokeback Mountain, it’s when one guy is hugging the other guy from behind him or it’s when he says, “I wish I knew how to quit you.” 

Think about a book like Carolyn Coman’s MANY STONES or THE HOBBIT or CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS. There are central images in there. Do that. Use an image. A strong image will keep your story in readers’ memories. 

4. Is the right person telling the tale?


I mean, I have often written gothic murder love stories from the point of view of Barney the Dinosaur, but it never seems to work. Have you had this problem too? 

Do not be afraid to switch that tale teller to Baby Bop.

I giggle! I am Baby Bop! 

5. Is your narrator talking to him/herself too much?


My former teacher and amazing writer-man Tim Wynne Jones once yelled at me (via email and in a lovely way) because I stopped a fight scene to have the narrator look at her Snoopy shoes. 

Dude. That is just not cool. 


Don’t have the character talk too much internally, but don’t have them not talk at ALL internally because then they are just robotic or perhaps a little shallow.

Nobody wants to read a whole novel from Barney’s point-of -view. It is not super-dee-duper. 


So get some internal monologue in there. 

Everything is super-dee-duper, writers! If a purple dino can dance and have his own tv show then you can revise! 

6. Do you have enough people in your story? Too many? 


I once wrote a story with three characters in it. It even actually won an award, which had actual money attached to it, but it did not get published.

Of course, my agent hasn’t submitted it, but that’s probably because it’s soooooooooo thin. A story with too few characters is like going out to dinner and only getting a cracker. It is not satisfying usually unless it’s a really big, yummy, super-cool cracker.

It’s the same thing with too many characters. I am one of those people who are easily confused. If there are twenty character names in the first two paragraphs I pretty much give up on the book.

Get rid of those unnecessary characters. 

It’s all about me! And my core group of friends! Sometimes you have to trim those expendables. That’s why they call them expendable. They are totally expendable. 

WRITING AND PODCAST NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow! 

Last week’s episode’s link.

This week’s episode’s link.


I HAVE A NEW BOOK! 

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can order it here. 


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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

Don’t Be a Punk. Coronavirus and People Being Liars

Don’t Be a Punk. Coronavirus and People Being Liars

 
 
00:00 / 00:19:01
 
1X
 

If you’re going to write or communicate, it’s really cool to know what you’re writing or talking about.

What? I know, right? Mind blown.

It should be self-evident, but sadly it seems that this is not self evident.

Here’s the thing. You think that you know everything until you realize that you don’t half as much as you thought you did. We live in a time period where everyone is yelling, ‘fake facts,’ and ‘false news’ and ‘liar.’ We live in a time period that’s amazing because so many of us have things like indoor plumbing, internet access, prescriptions, food. But we also live in a time where people think they are omniscient.

None of us are omniscient. We all see things from our own perspectives built upon by our culture and our experiences. Yet, some people think that they know everything and lay down these edicts about what the right way to vote, to write, to think, to create, to live is.

But these same people don’t know the difference between unfazed and unphased. Don’t be one of those people.

When you write, when you live, when you troll people on social media? Check your words and your facts. It makes your argument and your story and your opinion so much stronger when you can spell things correctly or when you have stats to back up your arguments.

And there is nothing bad about realizing that you’re wrong, about growing as a human in your thoughts. Evolving is a good thing. We promise.

Writing Tip of the Pod:

It’s okay to break the rules, but know the rules you’re breaking. Study your craft before you start telling people there is only one right way to do things.

Dog Tip for Life:

Know what you’re barking at, man. Don’t call a blowing bag a squirrel.

Free Write for Your Story:

Write about a character who thinks that he/she/they know everything about something but they are terribly wrong.

SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

This week’s episode’s link.

Note: We hunt for ghosts and talk about douchebags in our random thoughts, which are not transcribed here. 


WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

This week’s episode link. 

NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow! 

Last week’s episode’s link.


WRITING NEWS!

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should.

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can order it here. 


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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


As writers, how do we give kids hope?

As I struggle to finish the first draft of my new novel before my April 1 deadline, I can’t stop thinking about hope and suffering and how it relates to children’s novels and us as writers. 

Because, seriously, as writers how do we determine how much suffering children can bear to see. Do we want them to see it? 

This is me back when I was a little kid. I hadn’t read THE LORD OF THE RINGS yet. I think you can tell. Please ignore the vest. *cringe* Also, please ignore the uneven bangs. We couldn’t afford hairdressers.

A mother I know had three teens. She thought her youngest, a high school freshman, didn’t know that rape exists. She asked me for books to recommend to her daughter but wanted them to be pure and good. Only pure and good.

I know this kid. Believe me, she knew that rape existed when she was eleven. She knew that sex (in lots of forms) existed. She’d talked about it when she slept over my house and hung out with my daughter. 

But her mom wanted to protect her, keep her from suffering, keep her innocent. 

 This is the Emster. At this point in her life, she has read LORD OF THE RINGS and ANIMAL FARM here, but she hasn’t read SPEAK yet. Can you tell? 

Sometimes a parent will tell me that there are no hate crimes in high schools; yet in a 2007 GLSEN survey 86.2 % of LGBT students reported they were verbally harrassed, 44.1% said they were physically harassed and 22.1 % said they were assaulted. 

This was at school.
This was because of their sexual orientation.

This is Joe, my high school boyfriend and me after the prom. We dated for three years. Everyone thought we would get married. It was that kind of thing. Joe was gay. He is gay. He never told anyone until college. He couldn’t tell and survive. Not then. Even now it’s hard. But back then there were no books for him or for me (the girlfriend of a gay guy). There were no stories of our suffering, no written words that paralleled our lives and would help make us strong.

And those statistics I quoted up there? That’s just suffering kids endure because of sexual orientation. I’m not talking about gender or race or religion or disabilities or even political views. 

And my question is;  As writers, how do we give kids hope?
And my question is:  As writers, how do we show the hellmouth of the world, what Nietzsche called the “innumerable shouts of pleasure and woe” without pushing teens and children into despair? 
And my question is: How can our characters’ suffering give readers hope? 
And my question is: How can we make sure that kids like Joe or me or Em’s friend have the stories that they need to survive?

Because our books are the books they read first; the books that inform them; the books that show through story how they will survive the next 70-80-90 (hopefully) years of the joy and suffering we call life. 

Is it our responsibility as purveyors of craft to think about these things? Or is it just about writing a story? Hopefully, getting said story published and then hopefully seeing that story get five-star reviews and lots of face-out shelf time at the book store. 

E.B. White said, “All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation — it is the Self escaping into the open.” 

So, what is it we want to reveal to the kids who read our books? What is it that we want to reveal to ourselves? 

Man, is it any wonder I’m having a hard time getting this draft done?  Sigh.


WRITING AND PODCAST NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow! 

Last week’s episode’s link.


I have a new book!

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can order it here. 

Continue reading “As writers, how do we give kids hope?”

THE CASE AGAINST LAZINESS AND DOUCHEBAGS.

THE CASE AGAINST LAZINESS AND DOUCHEBAGS.

 
 
00:00 / 00:22:34
 
1X
 

Okay. I know the title of our podcast this week sounds mean, but it’s truth. You want to be a good writer or good liver, right?

Digression: Not a liver like an organ, but a liver like someone who is alive. 

Anyway, digression over. 

You want to be good. So that means what? You guessed it. It means that you can’t be lazy. 

What’s a lazy writer? 

It’s someone who babbles and has a lot of words that really say nothing.  So here are hot tips about that. 

PROBLEM #1: USING WAY TOO MANY TO-BE VERBS.

TIP #1: Don’t.

A to-be verb is: is, are, was, were, has been, had been,

A to-be verb hides the real importance of your sentence in a layer of whatever. 

How about an example? 

Lazy to-be sentence: 

Being thrilled to be snowboarding is such a real feeling.

So the subject up there is so dull. It’s being thrilled.

How about we switch it up to having a real concrete subject: 

The yeti is thrilled to be snowboarding today. 

Whoa, way better, right? We now know the yeti is thrilled and that’s more concrete, but we still have that ‘to be’ verb with ‘is.’

One more try: 

The yeti snowboards, pumping his hairy fist in the air, screaming, “Yee-haw!” 

We now have a much better image of the yeti and his joy. Also we just all have an image of a yeti, which is always a bonus. 

PROBLEM #2: WRITING LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO HIT A TEACHER-INSPIRED WORD COUNT ON A U.S. HISTORY PAPER ABOUT THE ANTEBELLUM AND YOU ARE JUST PUTTING IN WORDS TO FILL UP SPACE. 


TIP #2: Don’t babble. 

You know what we mean, right? 

We’re talking about the never-ending sentence. Something like this: 

If this economic crisis is able to be adjudicated with both the president and Congress’s  approval, there will likely be an increased number of regulatory-relief provisions that will also be passed, which should make a resulting impact on the home-owner’s monetary status. 

And all you hear is blah-blah-blah-BLAH-blah. 

Don’t do that in your fiction. 


Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t babble. Don’t pad your thoughts down with meaningless words



Dog Tip for Life

Meandering with purpose is the best. Don’t bark for no reason because then people won’t listen to your important growls. 


SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

This week’s episode’s link.

Note: We hunt for ghosts and talk about douchebags in our random thoughts, which are not transcribed here.


WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

This week’s episode link.

Continue reading “THE CASE AGAINST LAZINESS AND DOUCHEBAGS.”

Ride Hard. Seven Tips for Aspiring Writers

Remember all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end where people (or hamsters or whatever) ride hard for something and there are obstacles blocking their way to get that something.

Ride Hard. Seven Tips for Aspiring Writers

 
 
00:00 / 00:14:10
 
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Tips for Aspiring Writers? Everyone gives them. But these are the essentials that were inspired by a hot-wings induced stupor. Shaun doesn’t believe you can get drunk off hot sauce, but I’m here to tell you that I (Carrie) can.

Seven Tips for Aspiring Writers

  1. Write your ideas down anywhere and everywhere. Don’t think that you’ll remember the amazing ideas you got while in a half-drunken stupor from too many Buffalo wings. Have a notebook or notes file on your phone. Write that stuff down. 
  2. Ride hard for books. Not just your own books but other people’s too. 
  3. Wait. That’s not good enough. Ride hard for words. Fall in love with them. 
  4. Remember all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end where people (or hamsters or whatever) ride hard for something and there are obstacles blocking their way to get that something. 
  5. Remember all stories have characters who have external wants (a good hot wing) and internal desire (to be admired for devouring that damn hot wing without doing a Will Ferrell and crying). 
  6. Study people. Write people. Not card-board cut-outs. Don’t make your story an Instagram filter. Show people the quirks, the dirt, the torn hems on your skirt. 
  7. Write. You aspire to write? Do it, my friend. Don’t just aspire. Do. 

Writing Tip of the Pod: 

If you want to write books, study people, study books, and experience as much as you can experience so you can use everything you do, see, and feel to communicate that to others. 

Dog Tip for Life: `

Channel your inner Yoda. There is no try. Just do. 

Or channel your inner Nike ad. Just do it. 

Don’t aspire. 

Work towards it. You’ve got it. 

SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

This week’s episode’s link.


WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can order it here. Please, please, order it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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

Don’t Vomit in the Taxi and How to Tell a Good Story in Three Quick Steps

Don’t Vomit in the Taxi and How to Tell a Good Story in Three Quick Steps

 
 
00:00 / 00:19:52
 
1X
 

This week Carrie was in Georgia hanging out with her daughter who had just had an operation. Her daughter is fine! Anyways, on the way to the airport at 4 a.m., the taxi driver told her story after story, mostly about the drunk people from Fort Benning who had ridden in his cab. 

He was an amazing story teller and I realized that sometimes writing is just like telling a big anecdote. And you don’t want to be boring. We all know the people who have super boring anecdotes that just go on and on, right? You don’t want to be that person! 

The Three Quick and Simple Steps For Telling a Good Anecdote or writing a Good Story

Hook them in

This is the attention grabber. 

Tell an actual story

Tell a real story, not just a bunch of random details. Let it have a beginning, a middle and an end. 

Give a Moment to Let the Message Sink In

Your story has a point, right? Let us understand what that point is. Don’t rush the ending. Show how your anecdote or your novel or your story reflects a bigger piece of life. Let it resonate. 


Writing Tip of the Pod

Give your story a point. 

Dog Tip for Life

Do whatever you can to get their attention. Hook them in. 

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.


WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.


Big News!

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.


LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

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

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

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


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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

How to Be A HAPPY writer, Big Foot, Statues that Pee

How to Be A HAPPY writer, Big Foot, Statues that Pee

 
 
00:00 / 00:18:40
 
1X
 

This week’s podcast is about something really important. It’s about remembering to have fun. For a lot of us, life has a ton of stressors and responsibilities. We have to make enough money to survive. We have to take care of our family and ourselves. We have to deal with a world and not succumb to constant catastrophic thinking about the state of the world. 

It’s easy to forget to have fun. 

Or to feel guilty about having fun. 

Or to feel guilty about having hobbies. 

And here’s the thing. It’s great to be a professional writer and make money at something you love to do, but you don’t have to make money at it. A lack of financial rewards for your efforts doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you aren’t getting money. 

And money, my friends, is not everything. 

What is everything? Having fun. Growing. Enjoying your damn self in this short amount of time you have on this world, making yourself wiser and stronger and embracing your moments of joy. Everyone who sings in the shower isn’t expected to make money at singing in the shower. That should go for those of us who write too. 

Here’s the truth: You can write solely for the joy of writing. 

Don’t let other people’s opinions or standards give you or your writing validation. Don’t let the pressure for external measures of success (publication, an agent, an award, 100,000 social media followers) ruin your joy in creating stories. 

Here are Five Quick Steps to Reclaiming That Joy

  1. Rest when you need to. Take care of your body. Eat food. Drink water. The simple things that all us living organisms should be doing.
  2. Don’t have buttheads for friends. Be with people who make you happy and support you and inspire you. Ditch the others. 
  3. Go outside. Seriously. Go out of the building. Feel the air. You are part of this earth. Remember this and take care of it, too. Study a flower, a rock, a tree. It’ll make you a better writer, too. Notice the whole. 
  4. Be grateful for the good stuff that happens. What do you have? You’re reading this, or listening. That means you have enough that allows you to do that. Pretty cool, right? 
  5. Open your mind and your heart. Try not to be so super judgmental. Be generous and chill when you can. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

If writing isn’t your profession and isn’t feeding you and your family. It’s okay to stop if it’s not giving you joy. Wait until it gives you joy and go back to it. Also, remember that y-o-u-r  (your) means belonging to you and y-o-u-r-apostrophe-e(you’re) means you are.

Dog Tip for Life

It’s good to have a pack of humans to clean up after you. That way you can enjoy life and be messy when you slobber on the windows barking enthusiastically at the Fed Ex guy. Try to find a good pack of humans to be your clean-up crew. 

Sponsor

This podcast was sponsored by BookNotes and this link sets you up for a free seven-day trail. 

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.


WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

This week’s podcast link.

Last week’s podcast.

BIG NEWS! 

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up? 

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

I have a new book coming out!

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.