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.
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.
There are certain reasons why I don’t usually leave the house in super baggy pants, a gray fleece jacket, and super wild, frizzed-out hair.
The main reason I don’t?
Because every time I do, something bad happens, like public spectacle bad.
So near the end of one Ellsworth Middle School basketball game, I slinked in and sat down on the bleachers hoping nobody would see me in my Yeti-state.
I put my cellphone and car keys on the bleacher in front of me so they wouldn’t fall out of my slanty pockets.
Oh, I thought. I am soooo smart.
My daughter Em came over in her cheering uniform, flew up the bleachers, plopped on my lap and hugged me.
Ah, I thought. I love my kid.
She opened up her cheerleading-coach-approved healthy cheer snack and her foot shot out knocking something under the bleachers.
“What was that?” asked my friend who was sitting next to me.
“Popcorn?” Em suggested.
“Your cell phone,” said another nice guy nearby.
“Oh,” I said. “Oh . . . no!”
Em and I started looking for it. The nice man started looking. Another nice man started looking. Em and I walked down the bleachers. Everyone stared at us more than the stared at the seventh-grade ball players hustling back and forth on the court. Em and I search under the bleachers. People peek under the bleachers to see what we’re doing down there.
“Lost my cellphone,” I say in an apologetic way. “Not being creepy! Promise!”
“Oh no!” people said
Ah, I though. I am wearing super baggy pants, have Yeti-hair, a pimple on my forehead and everyone is staring.
(Yes. I had a pimple. A real pimple. It was above my left eyebrow. This was soooo wrong. It was obvious I had been evil and the karmic payback had been declared by the god of facial imperfections. Why? Why?? What hath I done to deserveth this?)
We couldn’t find the stupid cellphone. We eventually give up and returned to the Land Above the Bleachers. More people were definitely now watching us than the game. To be fair, the score was 46-5 in the third quarter.
Someone brilliant gave me their cellphone to call my cellphone. Everyone listened. Everyone stared. Or, well, at least it seemed that way. It was like we were moose waiting for a mating call after a really long, really boring winter.
Please, I thought. Pleaasseeeeeeeeee.
And then. we heard it, the siren call of a nation.
We finally spotted the ugly thing, pushed up against the front bleachers. Em crawled under again, bringing it to me. I made my way up the bleachers thinking, I hate my pimple. I hate my cellphone. I hate my baggy pants.
Then someone kind of clapped. The clapping became bigger.
Someone else says, “Thank God.”
Someone else says, “That’s a good kid you have there, helping you out.”
And they were all right. But the cool thing was that everyone was helping me out, or else, maybe using that as an excuse to check out the Yeti hair. I don’t know.
There is something beautiful when people help each other over big things and small even when you look like a Yeti. All those people helping us look for that cellphone chose altruism and kindness. They did the right thing, supporting us and problem solving as a community so that there was a positive outcome.
How cool is that?
I wish some of the people in power could do that too.
Dog Love for the Day
Sometimes our fears are more alive than our dreams, more real.
Don’t let your failure become your truth.
Be a manatee if you want. Wear a goofy hat. Write. Do. Make a difference in this world.
It may be Monday, but you’ve got this. Go make your dreams live.
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.
This week’s episode is here and it’s all about how to tell a good story (aloud or on paper). And last week’s episode is here and it’s all about how to be happy, Big Foot, and statues that pee, so basically Shaun’s head.
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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?