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. 


Advertisements

If UFOs Are Real Then What the Heck Else Is

So, if you check out the link to this article on the Huffington Post by Leslie Kean, you’ll have some good background on what we’re talking about.

But Kean writes about the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, which is meant to “advance research into unexplained phenomena and develop related technology.”

One of the players in that is Luis Eiizondo who worked for the United States’ Department of Defense.

In short, less that two weeks after leaving the Pentagon, Luis Elizondo confirmed that UFOs are a real; they exist, and they have been officially documented. Can anyone argue with this fact now, given where this man comes from and what he knows?

Leslie Kean

And he kind of sort of pretty much said UFOs are real and that’s a big deal.

Because if UFOs might be real, what else is? As writers, we’re always trying to make sure that our stories are believable, but what if the unbelievable is no longer unbelievable? What happens then?

And how do we make the unbelievable believable? The biggest trick is that we have to make the person that the unbelievable things happen to have real reactions, emotions, belief systems and feelings?

We can believe that someone saw a UFO hovering over the Maine Turnpike if we see them before it happens, see them react to it in a way that’s consistent with their character, and see them deal with the after effects.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD –

To make the unbelievable believable focus on details.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE –

Your life can become unbelievable in a good way. Embrace that.

RANDOM THOUGHT RUNDOWN

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

  • Talk about the underwear in Road House and Sam Elliott
  • Tips about making a bestselling. Hint: It’s about fear for the character and pity for the character.
  • UFOs

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

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. 


If UFOs Are Real Then What the Heck Else Is

 
 
00:00 / 00:25:01
 
1X
 

Grover and John, Writers’ Inner Cheerleaders and Inner Critics

For those of you who don’t know me, or know that I’m crazy, let me explain about Grover and John.

Sometimes when you are a writer you become paralyzed by fear. 

Come on my dear. Write! Just 1,000 words. You can do it. 

No! No! I couldn’t possibly!

You think you suck. You worry about tiny two-word phrases in reviews that could possibly be negative. You wonder if you are totally unoriginal, if you have anything to say, and even if you do have something to say, why say it?

I CAN’T DO THIS!! is often our writing mantra.

This attitude basically leads to sitting in front of the computer staring, or sometimes throwing yourself on the couch and having a good cry.

To combat this, I’ve enlisted Grover and John Wayne.

Grover is the nice one. He disco celebrates with me. 

Let’s dance, Cawwie!

He occasionally deposits raunchy sexual hints.

Oh, Cawwie. You can do it. Do you want to pet my kitty? 

He makes me feel better and when all else fails we just get totally tanked together and talk about the good times.

I am trying to find a source for this image. If it is yours, please let me know.

Do you remember when your books were on the New York Times bestsellers’ list, Cawwie? That can happen again.

God love you for a liar, Grover.

And then there is John, the Inner Critic.


John is the task masker, the enforcer. He gets out that big gun (Do not say anything sexual, Grover) and gets me to work. 

I mean it kid, I am sick to death of all this whining. 

He tells me not to feel sorry for myself or wimp out. 

Do you really want to deal with this, little woman, huh? You want to have a piece of this? 


Today is a John day. Blah.

Take a look at this, Carrie. It’ll make you feel better. I’m a cookie jar.


Yeah, great John.

But anyway, we all have inner cheerleaders and inner critics, but we tend to pay much more attention to those inner critics, those storylines telling us we suck, we’ll fail, that there’s no point. Those critics? They need to be banished. We need to cultivate and listen to our inner cheerleaders instead.

Why?

Because there is enough negative forces out there in this world that we navigate bashing against us. We don’t need to join them. We don’t need to bash ourselves, too. Often the first step to success in our lives and the first to making lasting positive change in this world, is to embrace the good, the positive, to cultivate it, to grow it in ourselves and others. Spread that. Be your own damn cheerleader and cheer on others, too.

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. 

Never Give Up Hope. How I Got Published Even When I Did Everything Wrong

I was trying to think of something cool and pithy to write here today, but I can’t think of anything.

Yesterday, I was interviewed by a reporter who is writing an article about me for our paper and she reminded me of how I did absolutely everything wrong when I was submitting my first book. So, I thought that maybe if I shared that story with you all, it would ease up some of the pressure you put on yourselves and your writing to be perfect. 

how did carrie get published?

It begins as all good things do with an email announcing the creation of Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn. Flux was accepting YA novels. Hhm? I thought to myself. I just wrote a YA novel. Sure, I hadn’t shown it to my advisor at Vermont College’s MFA in Writing Program. Sure, I hadn’t let ANYONE read it. Sure, I only just wrote it in the last month and it was rough, rough, rough. But I sent it in. I chugged out a cover letter. I found some stamps. I mailed it.

Here is what followed, taken from my Livejournal entries.

Sweet Editor Man called me within a week of me mailing the manuscript. Seriously. It was wild.

the 30th, 2006

Okay. Here’s the big question of the day: Why am I so stupid?

I will work on the self esteem exercises tomorrow… but today! Today! Today I am allowed to realize the full extent of my idiotness.

Here’s why.

I sent out some manuscript queries on Thursday.

I get a phone call this morning, from a real live editor who says, “Um, is this C.C. Jones?”

“Yes,” I say while pouring out cat food on the table.

He then proceeds to tell me he got my query, wants to see more of my manuscript, but his email requesting it bounced back.

“Really?” I say. “That’s weird.”

“Let me tell you the address,” he says. “cjonese at…”

“Oh,” I say. “Oh. Oh. Oh.”

“What?” he says.

“There’s no e on the end of Jones.”

“I didn’t think so,” he says.

I then apologize and berate myself for not even being able to spell my own last name! What an idiot. He gives me an email address. I send him the rest of the manuscript.

Yeah, that baby’s going somewhere. Not.

Although, he was kind and he did say, “It’s the manuscript I care about, not your inability to spell your own name.”

What a nice man. Even when he rejects the manuscript. He’s still a darn nice guy.

This means now that MY BOOK has been requested. The JOHN WAYNE LETTERS has been requested (by agent and house). And another book, which was crucified at workshop, has been requested. Will anyone actually buy anything? No…. And if they did, will they be able to contact me? Not unless I can remember to get my email address right. Geesh.

the 31st, 2006

So, despite the fact that I can’t spell, the nice editor man called me back yesterday and talked to me for 40 minutes and told me all the good stuff about my book and what he thinks could get better. It was like talking to a Vermont College mentor. It was really cool. He was brilliant and really, really nice.

And he’s starting the book through the acquisitions process at his imprint, which is really cool… But, I’m not getting my hopes up about it, until papers are signed.

Still, he had the best insight on the piece and I am so excited about working on it. So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go work on it. He only wants another 10,000 words. Geesh. Piece of cake. Ha.

the 4th, 2006

Well, here’s a quick update on the sweet editor man. He sent me an email, which I can not quote verbatim, because it’s somehow infringing on copyright. HOWEVER, he said that he wanted to let me know what’s going on, that the piece is heading to the acquisitions committee on Thursday and he’ll call me when they’re done.

That is so sweet of him.

But now I’m going to be a nervous wreck until Friday and I’m already hyper and neurotic enough as it is. I think everyone in my family will soon disown me.

On a positive note, I wrote 15,000 more words on it this week and I’m really happy with it. It’s done the Sarah A. rubbing thing, where the characters work off each other. I’ve put more setting in, which is good because I’m weak with setting. I’ve also changed the ending and added a couple of conflict scenes. Oh, and sweet editor man said he hopes I’d have a great weekend. Is he crazy? As I told Emily Wing Smith, no matter what happens I’ve made the piece better already, so I can’t complain when he dumps my butt. So, yeah… Now, back to revising my critical thesis.

the 9th, 2006

Um, okay… Sweet Editor man called and he continues to be Sweet Editor Man.

He talked to the acquisitions committee today and wanted to call me about it before he battled the snowstorm and drove home. He said they were all “very enthusiastic about it.” They liked the writing, especially the details and he said even the people who don’t like YA were hooked.

YIPPPEEEE!!!!

So, he’s calling me in the morning to give me contract details, etc… which is great except I know absolutely nothing about contracts because I never thought I’d get offered one. Oh, the stupidity of me continues….

the 3rd, 2006

Well, today was a happy fine day because today the JOHN WAYNE LETTERS (title soon to be changed I am sure) passed an acquisitions committee and is now officially wanted with an offer on the table.

Yippee!!!

What karma gods did I appease? Was it when I helped the little old lady at the grocery store heft her 20-lb bag of kitty litter on to the checkout thing? Was it when I agreed to help run the middle school civil rights team or the drama club?

Was it simply when I refused to succumb to road rage when the guy in the Subaru refused to yield and almost t-boned me? Instead of succumbing to road rage, I thought, ‘Oh, perhaps I’ll get a new car out of this. I hope there’s no major injuries involved.’

I don’t know why. I’m just happy. That’s two YA books now. Now I need to find someone who’ll like my middle grade.

AND my birthday was good despite the fact that I am now old, old, old because I am the same age my mother was when she had me. That is just horrifying. Sigh.

No, wait. I am happy, happy, happy. So happy, in fact, that I’ll even spell check this.

I am not an officially published author yet, because no contracts have been signed but I AM SO CLOSE!

Now in 2019

That book was published here and in Canada (French and English). Some bookstores did not carry it because it had the word ‘gay’ in the title. It won a Maine Literary award. It won an Independent Book Publishers award, but it also made me a writer and started me off on the weird journey that I’m on. 

All that happened despite the absolute lack of perfection.

So have hope. No matter what your dreams. You can do this even if you can’t spell your own last name.

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. 

Fear, Criticism, and Social Anxiety

Only my closest friends know that I have a ton of social anxiety. I don’t present that way. I present super extroverted actually.

One Rotarian told me last week, “Carrie. If I had one word for you, it would be engaging.”

That’s a pretty interesting word for someone who has massive social anxiety, right?

Almost every time I enter a room, I stand outside the door, stare at it, and whisper to myself that it will be okay.

Another kind person said, “When you entered the room, everyone got so excited. It was like a celebrity was there.”

I laughed and told her she was a liar, but it was such a kind thing for her to say, and it really meant a lot to me because of my fear.

My social anxiety tells me that I’m invisible.

Or my anxiety tells me that nobody wants me there.

Or my anxiety tells me, “Run! Run! Be afraid. You don’t belong. They will know you don’t belong. You will say ‘pubic’ instead of ‘public.’ Get out now!”

Gandhi was afraid of public speaking, another Rotarian friend from India told me, but he overcame that and started social change that lasted. By overcoming his fear, he changed the world.

Social Anxiety

The way my anxiety works is that it happens ahead of an event. It’s like stage fright. It happens about the simplest things. It can be about going over someone’s house even when that someone is my bestie. It’s like stage fright about having someone over my house, too.

I’m lucky.

My anxiety stops when I arrive at a conference to speak or get to my friend’s house or a party.

I’m lucky.

Because even though I do panic, I always make it inside the room or the house or up on the stage. That’s because I am so hard on myself that I know I’d never forgive myself for letting other people down or letting myself down because I’ve missed out.

All my mom’s responsibility lessons worked.

What does this have to do with writing?

Writing is about showing up. Writing is about communicating. Writing is about submitting your work.

But more than that, writing is about showing up, communicating, and submitting your work even though you are afraid and even though people will criticize it.

So how do you get over that?

You have to remember that fear isn’t the same as danger and that anxiety isn’t the same as danger either.

I’m not going to run into a flesh-eating manatee zombie at my friends house. If I fail as a speaker? Nobody will die or go to jail. If someone rejects my book or gives it a one-star review? It will suck, but I’m not going to die from it.

Anxiety and fear of rejection and criticism have something huge in common: They both deceive us into thinking that something dangerous is happening.

But when you overcome that fear?

Your book gets published.

You have a good time at your friend’s house.

You get to be engaging and speak and inspire other people.

Sometimes you even get fan mail. How cool is that? Super cool.

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. 

Three Hot Tips to Make Your Writing and Life Way More Intense in a Good Way – Dogs are Smarter Than People Writing Podcast

It’s Writing Tip Time and we’re going to give you three fast and dirty writing tips today that’s going to make your writing more intense. Ready? 

Think about your tense 

What’s that mean? It means don’t be writing like things are happening now and then shift over to writing like things were happening in the past. If you want the most immediate writing experience, write in the present tense.

Here’s a quick example: 

I lost feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run on Friday. I thought I might be having a stroke. 

That’s in the past tense, right? We read this, notice it’s in the first person and figure that the narrator has survived because she’s telling us about this after-the-fact. 

Try it out in the present tense: 

I lose feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run. I think I might be having a stroke. 

It’s more intense, right? 

Let’s make it more intense.

Intense dog look from Sparty

Take out the distancing words. 

In first person especially, it’s really hard to get away from a lot of lookingand knowingand words that pull us out of the moment and the immediacy of the character’s experience.

Distancing language tends to be the words like ‘seem,’ and ‘look,’ and ‘heard,’ and ‘know.’ When I revise, I think of these words as placeholders for where I can go back and dig in more deeply in certain places. 

So, let’s take that sentence again and make it more immediate. 

I lose feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run. I think I might be having a stroke. 

Change that up and it looks like: 

My entire left side of my body starts going numb during our long run. My left foot numbs first. Then my left hand and arm. When the left side of my mouth starts going numb, I gasp. I might be having a stroke. 

You’re in there a bit more with that character now right. Is she having a stroke? What the heck is she running for? SHE IS BROKEN! 

Try not to use the same word too many times too closely together. 

In the example above I deliberately use the word ‘numb’ and ‘my left’ over and over again. I’m cool with the repetition of ‘my left,’ but not so much with the numb. There are better, cooler words to mix in there and grab the reader’s attention. Let’s try. 

My entire left side of my body starts going numb during our long run. My left foot disappears first. Then my left hand and arm. When the left side of my mouth starts to tingle, I gasp. I might be having a stroke. 

There you go! 

We’ve learned three fast tips to making your writing more intense. 

Random Thoughts: 

In our random thought time, we go to Denny’s and Dunkin’ Donuts and talk about dog poop as well as this article. You should listen and rejoice in our weirdness. 

Writing Tip of the Pod:

Be in the present (tense). Don’t be distant. Mix up your words, man.

Dog Tip for Life:

Live in the present. Don’t be distant to people or to the experience. Mix up your routine, man. 

Nobody wants to do the same thing all the time, do they? Don’t go numb.

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. 

Three Hot Tips to Make Your Writing and Life Way More Intense in a Good Way – Dogs are Smarter Than People Writing Podcast

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:04
 
1X
 

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
 

Literary Terms? Who Wants them? Who Needs them?

As you may remember last week we began Carrie’s Anti-Craft Book of Literary Terms, which is also called:

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:

Today we start with the Letter L.

(Note: the rest of the summer my posts will be much more intelligently done, I promise. Sort of? I sort of promise.) 

Literature

This must be pronounced LIT-er- AHHHHHH-ture with either a wealthy Bostonian or Philadelphian accent (Although if you can become fake British for a moment, please do it. Everything sounds better when you sound like the Queen) or else it doesn’t count as literature and you obviously aren’t writing it. 

There’s been some debate over literature writing vs. genre writing and which is better or if there’s even a difference. 

There are differences.

People who claim to write Literature always say the word with that special accent and they remember to make the word capitalized. It’s that important. And gosh, darn it, so are they.

People who write in specific genres tend to be able to afford to eat dinner, lunch, and breakfast, and occasionally even have snacks. 

(Note: This entry is not written so as to offend the literature writers. It’s just that if there is a penultimate smack-down between the two, I have to side with the genre writers because:

  1. I get hungry when I don’t eat and they can feed me. Angry Irish poets usually only have Guinness available and maybe tea.
  2. Steve Wedel writes genre officially and well, I don’t want to go up against a guy who writes good werewolf horror, you know? Plus, he makes me laugh and he co-wrote the book down there. Do not make your cowriters cranky!

I, of course, would like to wave the flag of happiness and peace and beg both sides to love each other, and say: C’mon, dudes. The two things are not mutually exclusive. Do not tell me that OCTAVIAN NOTHING is not both Literature and genre. It is! All Young Adult novels count as genre. 

M

Money/Moolah/Checks/Dough/Dollars/Quarters

This is something many writers never actually see.  Although, sometimes if you read your poems loudly enough on a street corner and put a hat out, people will throw their hot dog wrappers into that hat, which is almost like money.

Note: Licking the ketchup off used hotdog wrappers and occasionally catching a tiny piece of onion is enough to nourish a starving writer for 10 hours.

Melodrama (this entry is provided by the brilliant fabulousfrock)


Melodrama is something many writers add to spice up their conflicts.   

Beware!  Melodrama is like pepper.  If you must pick up the melodrama grinder, you only want to twist it once or twice!

Melodramatic characters tend to have tragic pasts.  They are often orphans because their parents died, and they did not die of heart disease or cancer, they died in a house fire, car wreck, or, best of all, were murdered in front of the protagonist’s eyes so the protagonist can weep over their dead bodies and slip the wedding ring from their mother’s finger and carry it as a keepsake.  (Not that I  ever wrote a scene like this.  Ahem.)

Watch out if your character description looks anything like this:

“Azadriel is a fallen angel vampire who was cursed to be an assassin by the Dark God Lazmortius.  His parents died when he was six when they were murdered by a demon ghost.  Also, he is missing an eye and wears  an cool-looking eyepatch and he has some awesome scars.  Now he wanders the earth assassinating people…but secretly yearning for the love that will end his curse!”

N

No

Become familiar with this word! You will hear it often from your agent/editor/copy editor/publicist/writing group/critique partners/readers.

Examples of the word ‘no’ used in a sentence are as follows:

No, writing about condoms is not a good idea for a picture book.

No, writing about rainbows who fall in love is not a good idea for a young adult horror novel.

No, you did not earn out your advance.

No, you may not sleep over again tonight.

No, I am serious, there is no narrative arch in your book. 

O

Objective Case

According to THE TONGUE UNTIED, “Using the objective case indicates that the pronoun is acting as an object. The object pronouns are: me, you, him, her, them, us, whom and it.”

  • A pronoun is direct object
    • My agent likes me wayyyyyyyyy too much. Wink.
      • Me is the object. Of course, I am. 
    • If you aren’t too busy clipping your toe nails, would you mind telling her to stop stalking me.
      • HER is the direct object.
  • As an indirect object
    • My agent handed me the review from Kirkus.
      • ME is the indirect object.
    • When I opened it up, my agent gave me a hug because I was about to collapse from fear.
      • ME is the indirect object.
    • I wondered whom I could complain to since the reviewers are anonymous.
      •  WHOM is the indirect object.
  • As an object of a preposition
    • For her, no other choice seems reasonable. She must send out a blog post complaining about Kirkus
      • HER is the object 
  • As an object of a verbal 
    • Reprimanding Kirkus and her does little good.
      • HER equals object 
    • I want to murder them.
      • Them is the object.
    • Murdering them over a review, the author tried to get more publicity for her book.
      • THEM is the object.

Opening Sentence

Almost all craft books will tell you that the opening sentence MUST catch the reader’s attention. It must be beyond brilliant. The opening sentence must have hands as strong as the Incredible Hulk so that it can grab the reader by the throat and the reader can not get free, not ever, not even if she/he wanted to, because that opening sentence’s grip is so strong. 

Opening sentence! Opening sentence! Loosen up. The reader needs to breathe. Vessels are popping the reader’s eyes, you’re holding on so tightly.

Whew.

Okay. Reader? Reader? Can you breathe?

Good.

Example of a good opening sentence:

Yikes!

(I know you think this is cheating, but come on. It’s hard to lose a reader’s attention with just one word.)

Example of a bad opening sentence: 

While ornithology may be the study of birds and some people may enjoy studying things with feathers those same people have been know to extol the charms of beaks that are of the yellowish-tint as opposed to the orange-tint of others, which has come to be a major issue in the field causing ornithologists to occasionally have full-throttle pillow fights, the likes of which only rival the throw-downs between writers of the literary vs genre factions.

P

Page Count

What some authors get obsessed about. Others get obsessed about word counts.

Author 1: I only wrote 10 pages today. I am such a slacker.

Author 2: Dude. I only wrote 24,000 words.

Author 1: Oh my God. Why am I so slow?

Author 2: Dude. You think you’re slow. I should’ve at least written 28,000 words today, but I started looking at Facebook.

Author 1: (bangs head on computer keyboard) I can’t believe I suck so bad.

Author 2: Dude ….

Author 1: (screaming)

Author 2: (points at blank screen) Dude, I think you erased your file when you hit your head on the computer.

Author 1: (passes out)

Punctuation

I refuse to talk about this because if I do the comma splices will hear. They hear everything. And then they will come, to get me, I can feel it, oh no, they, are already here.

Periodic Tables

The sexiest of all the table. Seriously. Look at them.

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. 

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.