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Archive for the ‘revising’ Category

Almost…

April-Calendar-2014-PDF

Spring is almost here. I mean it’s here on the calendar, but in real life, not so much. Mom and I look for flowers outside, but we’re not seeing a whole lot.

daffodil1

Almost there…not quite…

The grass is still kind of brownish and slime-ish in spots. And the wind still turns my ears upside down.

daffodil4

Also, the rain has Mom bringing out my raincoat every couple of days. April showers and all that….

rainy

Real, actual spring – street nap spring – takes longer to happen, I guess.

street rest

Chilly tummy.

Stories take longer than expected sometimes, too. The calendar says we’re 10 days into the month, but we’re not seeing much of Mom’s April manuscript. The idea is still brownish and slime-ish, and wind and rain in Mom’s head are slowing down the progress. Her ears aren’t upside down or anything, but I’m hearing an awful lot of “Here we go.” and not an awful lot of, “Yay. I’m finished.”

I think the rain wetting the soil and the wind flying the seeds all around are putting down the groundwork for the real season.

This is definitely a sign of spring...

This is definitely a sign of spring…

Like the rain and the wind, mind-writing and planning are putting down the groundwork for Mom’s story. The daffodils are starting to pop. I hope Mom’s story will pop soon, too.

daffodils bloom

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.

-Bruce Garrabrandt-

Moments matter – Every single one of them. I try to use each one wisely.

Climbing.

climb

Kissing.

kissing vic

Exploring.

explore

Eating.

cupcakeeating

Playing.

teddybear playing

And helping.

photo 2

This past weekend we lost 60 moments of sleep for daylight savings. Well, the humans did. I got those moments back in spades 60 times over.

sleeping

Mom uses one hour of moments each day for work. And by work I mean she sits there and types on the computer and talks out loud to herself. Sometimes the Creativity visits her during that hour. I love visitors. I’m not sure I’ve ever met the Creativity Visitor, though. Maybe tomorrow…..

waiting

If the Creativity doesn’t visit at that exact work time, Mom still works. Each month, she makes a new story and fixes up an old story (or two or three) for her 12×12 Challenge. She also reads books about writing books, and reads books like the books she writes. Wait. What?

books1

Writing time is not for blogs, not for Facebook, not for email, not for Words With Friends, and not even for TV.

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It’s just working on stories in one way or another – writing them, reading them, fixing them, thinking about them, submitting them to agents and publishers, and giving me cuddles and treats…. (See what I did there?) If the Creativity doesn’t come – Oh well. Maybe tomorrow…..

We’ll be ready.

waiting2

Stuck and Waiting or Stuck but Moving

Sometimes stories get stuck. Mom likes the rule of three, so if there are only two good obstacles in her story, she can be Stuck-and-Waiting for one more good idea. Her other choice is to use an obstacle that isn’t her favorite and worry about it later. Then she is Stuck-but-Moving.

123

If a character turns boring halfway through the story, Mom can be Stuck-and-Waiting. A story that is Stuck-and-Waiting can die a miserable death. Her other choice is to go back to her character sketch and add some flaws, quirks, oddities, and traits to bump that character up. Even if he or she isn’t perfect, Mom can go back to work and worry about it later. Then she is Stuck-but-Moving.

jump for joy

When I come inside, I need to get the rock salt (and snow and mud) cleaned off my feet with a baby wipe. Sometimes, I am Stuck-and-Waiting.

photo 2

Wipe my feet, please….

When the snow is really deep (and touching my belly *shiver*) my legs can’t reach solid ground. Mom says, “I am not carrying you anymore.” So I get busy – Stuck-but-Moving.

Inside a snow bank, there could be something fun like a ball or something yummy like a piece of bread that the birds dropped. There’s one way to find out - drill my nose in as far as I can. Then I am Stuck-and-Searching. That’s my favorite way to be!

photo 1

Five Word Friday

5 cards

Today’s five words are about being happy.

1. King of the Hill – I am happy when I am King of the Hill. Even though the hill is sometimes made of black plow-snow mixed with ice. And stones. And dirt.

photo 2

2. Great Story Idea – Mom is happy when she gets a great story idea in her head. At first a new idea is all white and fluffy and has unlimited possibilities.

snow 63

3. Beehive – I was happy when enough snow melted so I could see the broken piece of beehive that fell out of the tree a few months ago.

hive

I TASTED it! Mom said the word, “Oh no you didn’t!” But oh yes, I did.

hive2

Is she watching me?

4. Brand New Story – Mom is happy when she sits down to start writing a brand new story about her brand new idea. Still white, still fluffy, and still filled with unlimited possibilities.

white

5. On top – I am happy walking on top of a foot of snow covered by a few inches of ice. As long as I stay on top, the snow can’t touch my belly. *shiver* But sometimes, I end up holding on for dear life  with my tiny chicken-feet so I don’t slide into the street.

photo 3

26. Holding On –  After Mom works on her story for a while, she feels like she’s holding on for dear life with chicken-feet trying to get to the end and making sure the story isn’t a computer full of nonsense. She is happy when she finishes, though, and sometimes it’s nonsense and sometimes it’s not. But either way, it’s finished.

end

71. Cutting out nonsense - After the end of the story, Mom has to revise. That does not make her happy, but it has to be done. It helps cut out some of the nonsense and makes the story better. Just do it, Mom. Don’t look back.

photo 1

I’m King of the …… *gulp*

 

Fixed

quote pic

When I first came here, I had to be fixed. I wasn’t broken, but getting fixed was about not getting any more puppies in my belly. That’s fine with me.

puppies

My puppies were adopted at the shelter where I “lived” (and by lived, I mean barely existed) before I was rescued. Nowadays, I feel that puppies would take away some of Mom’s attention – which belongs 100% on ME. Plus, I use my belly for other things, named treats.

jar

Mom’s story for the Highlights Annual Fiction Contest wasn’t broken, either.

highlights

But, boy oh boy, did it need to be fixed. Mom’s cyberclassmates and her cyberteacher from the Contest Magic class gave suggestion after suggestion and asked important questions that made Mom think of important answers and make important changes. At the end of it all, the story was a LOT better than it started out. Like me!

Before

Before

After

After

Some things Mom learned were:

1. She is a mental case when it comes to commas.  (She, kind, of, already, knew, that,,,)

comma

2. The story problem needs to be close to the beginning of the story.

Help!

Help!

3. Readers need to learn about characters by what they say and what they do.

photo 5

4. A problem can’t solve itself. Characters need to work at it and make the solution happen. And it can’t be too easy.

photo 4

5. Conflict and tension are important. (Mom stinks at both of them.)

photo 3

6. Sometimes, even your favorite parts of a story need to be cut. It might be scary and hurt a little, but it has to be done.

...has to be done...

It’s like getting my nails trimmed. Like it or not, it has to be done….

Countdown Wednesday

caneldar

Today, Mom and I are counting down about rest.

What I Know About Rest

3. I nap in my bed.

photo 1

2. I nap on the couch.

photo 2

…a lot.

photo 4

16. I nap in the street. (But only in the summer.)

street nap2

1. I nap on Mom’s bed. I am allowed on her bed when she says the word, “OK” and then we sleep there all night long.

photo 10

Who turned out the lights?

I am not allowed on there when she makes the bed, or when she is sorting out her folders and paperwork for her college job.

photo 3

Who? Me?

What Mom Knows About Rest

3. Waking up super-early in the morning, lazing in bed, drinking tea is a perfect, restful start to the day.

photo 11

2. After a story is finished it needs to rest. No working on it, no looking at it, no THINKING about it.

photo 20

Sometimes, a story needs to rest for a week. Sometimes longer.

calendar

1. While a story is asleep, it’s difficult to wait for it to finish resting. It’s good to start mind-writing a new story right away. (And all new stories should be about me!)

swing

26. When stories wake up from resting, they sometimes stink.

photo 30

Frenzy

Sometimes, when I play with my monkey in a barrel, it puts me into a frenzy. There’s just too much going on! Too much to do. Too many possibilities. Bite the barrel? Tear off the lid? Growl at the talking? Rip the monkey’s face off? Chew his arm till he stops laughing? Shake the whole thing till I’m dizzy? I don’t know what to do first.

Since NewYears, Mom has also been in a frenzy. She’s not biting, tearing, growling, ripping, chewing, or shaking, like me. But she does have a lot going on, a lot to do, and a lot of possibilities. She may have bitten off more than she can chew. I’ve done that occasionally, too…. (And by “occasionally” I mean every day.)

photo

Gah! Why is my mouth so tiny?!

Mom has entered a ton of challenges, and made a bunch of goals for herself this year. She will read 200 picture books in the Goodreads Challenge again,

2014 goodreads

she joined 12×12 for 2014, which means she needs to write a new first draft in the next few weeks,

12-x-12-new-banner

she’ll get 30 new ideas when PiBoIdMo starts,

lightbulb

and she will write 30 poems this year.

poetry

In between all those jobs (and a bunch of others – if you can believe such a thing), Mom decided to enter the Highlights Annual Fiction Contest this month, AND take Susanna Hill’s Making Contest Magic class this week.

So Mom is learning, mind-writing, registering, paypal-ing, reading, commenting, revising, studying, listing, rhyming, critiquing, and ….do you see what’s missing here??

Snow pea?? Blech! I may have bitten off (stolen) more than I can chew again.

Snow pea?? Blech! I may have bitten off more than I can chew again.

Rocky, over at my friend Bacon’s blog told me that January 6 was National CuddleUp Day. So I made sure Mom took some time out to celebrate. Actually, I will make sure we celebrate that thing EVERY day!!

cuddle

Chasing

Sometimes, my food dish gets away from me.

photo6

It slides off my placemat and I slurp it across the kitchen.

kitchen bowl

Then it slips into the living room and tries to escape behind the rocking chair.

chair1

I keep my eye on it and chase it and keep eating without missing a beat.

rug bowl

Sometimes, Mom’s story ideas get away from her. She thinks she has an idea, and then she starts writing and suddenly the idea she thought she had escapes behind the rocking chair and a new idea takes over without missing a beat. A story about a funny looking creature sitting next to a regular little girl starts out silly and funny and light and crazy, and then the creature gets bullied! Wait! What?

fish bed

That’s not silly or funny or light or crazy.

Mom wonders, “Do I keep writing this new story?” and “Do I backtrack and go back to my original idea?” and “Where are you going with that?”

running bowl

Macaroni

Mom says, “No garbage.” a lot. I’m not allowed to lick the floor or eat from the garbage pail (I can barely reach it, anyway).

garbage

When we walk around the neighborhood or go to the park, I’m not allowed to eat banana peels or sunflower seed shells or pick up empty pudding cups or coffee lids. I’m not allowed to have candy wrappers or eat goose poop or sniff around by the dumpster.

lid

Apparently, garbage is a bad thing. Sometimes, Mom writes a word or a sentence or a story that’s garbage. She doesn’t mince words about it. She says, “This stinks!” and “What am I talking about?” and “Are you eating a napkin?”

napkin

Mom is not worried when she writes garbage. She thinks if she “gets the garbage out” the good stuff will come next.

garbage2

Let’s get the garbage out!

I know this is true because after Mom and I took the garbage out once, we walked around the back of the dumpster, and I found the good stuff! Macaroni noodles!!

macaroni2

Before Mom could say the word, “Leave it,” I ate one!

macaroni

Garbage. Mmmmm…

Surprise!

Today, the park was chock full of surprises. I chased a butterfly whose name was Don’t-You-Dare. I tried to eat a bottle cap, which tasted like sand. I ran in circles on the baseball field till Mom was dizzy and my feet and legs turned brown from kicking up dirt. And I even saw a purple jelly bean and a cigar butt.

butt

After all that excitement, I cooled off on a pile of dirt in the shade of a bench.

under the bench

Mom got a super-fun surprise last week. Back when she was studying in her Making Picture Book Magic class, she wrote a story called What If I Don’t. Her teacher, Susanna, and all of her online classmates helped her and encouraged her while she worked on it. She also brought it to her writing group called DavidLaurieandOtherDavid. They said, “Fix this, change that, move this, cut that, let’s have more coffee.” Last week, Mom got a contract for her story from MeeGenius! What If I Don’t is going to be Mom’s first ever eBook! Surprise!

meegenius blue

MeeGenius is a free app with tons and tons of cute books for kids to read on the iPad and iPhone. Pages turn with a swipe, and there’s also a Read to Me option, in case you’re like me and can’t read.

Mom, I don't think these glasses are working....

Mom, I don’t think these glasses are working….

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