There has been some learning going on around here lately. Mom taught me the word, “Roll over.” It’s something like, “Down.” But more squiggly and flippy and thumpy and spinny. At first, Mom grabbed as many of my little legs as she could and twisted them like spaghetti till she got me upside down. Then I learned to tuck my back legs under and make myself turn to stone, so she couldn’t roll me. Eventually, she learned to show me a treat which made me melt into submission. That is called Learning. Plus Bribery. Mom said, “Whatever works.” and “By the time you learn this, you’ll be too fat to do it.” and “I need a break.” Then she made a s’more and didn’t share it with me. Mom will be learning around here, too. She joined Summer School! She’ll be studying online with two amazing teachers, a talented group of guest teachers, and a Facebook group filled with classmates. In Summer School, she’ll think up new characters. Then, she’ll grab their little legs and twist them like spaghetti till they squiggle, flip, thump, and spin. Then she’ll make a story about them. The bribery won’t work, so she’ll have to read a lot of posts, talk to herself, pay attention to her teachers, and be inspired. After that, she’ll probably make a s’more and not share it with me.
Archive for the ‘revising’ Category
Here I am – at the beach!
There’s sand and sun and sand and sand and sun….
And fences and bases and benches and grass. Wait! What? This isn’t the beach. It’s the baseball field at the park.
It sure seemed like the beach, though…. I guess I should’ve asked more questions before I got into the car.
Mom asks her characters questions when she’s writing. I know because she asks them out loud. She needs to know their strengths and weaknesses, favorite things and pet peeves, best friends and secret thoughts. Sometimes characters seem perfect for Mom’s story, but then, when she gets to know them better, she cuts them because they just plain don’t work. Sometimes, they fit better in a different story, so Mom moves them. Or saves them for the future. Once in a while, they change the course of the story they’re in, by not behaving the way Mom thought they would. Characters can be tricky like that.
Things are not always what they seem. When I lived in a cage, Mom thought I was too small, too old, too nervous, and just all wrong for her. Turns out, I’m perfect.
Being out and about is awesome. When I’m out in the world, out of my comfort zone, I see things I wouldn’t see at home.
I smell things I never smell at home.
And if I pay attention and turn my head just so, I hear things I don’t hear at home.
Out and about is different – in a good way. It’s exciting!
This week, Mom’s first ever ebook What If I Don’t? was published at MeeGenius.
She can’t frame it
or autograph it, and she can’t put a pile of them in her bag for a school visit. She’s a little out of her comfort zone with her ebook out there in the cyber-world. It’s different – in a good way. It’s exciting!
If you want to see (buy) Mom’s new ebook, you can download the free MeeGenius App from the App Store and look for it in New Releases. Or you can put “What If I Don’t?” or “Genevieve Petrillo” into the search box. You can also see (buy) it at meegenius.com.
If you want to see me at the vet – forget it. You’re too late. I was poked, prodded, stuck, squeezed, checked, and double-checked from teeth to tail. I’m back in my comfort zone.
There’s been a lot of hiding around here lately.
A blog post about ME is hiding over at Peace, Love, and Whiskers. Pop over and check it out, if you haven’t already.
The other day, I saw this…
It’s an evil, runaway, red balloon. It’s hiding under the car, waiting to roll out and get me. Mom let me walk by really fast, because she knows that balloons are trying to kill me.
And look what’s back there! Two more balloons. White ones. I know what they have planned…
I have no plans to start liking balloons, but I want to thank my friend Little Binky for sending me this lovely award. I am not afraid of it.
Do you see what else is hiding? In the grass? A feather. It’s from the birds that sit in the trees and laugh at me.
All kinds of things are hiding in all kinds of places. When I try to hide, I always get caught. The other day, I brought my tiny yellow dog and hid on Mom’s bed with it. Somehow, she found out that I was in there.
I don’t know how she does it! She’s a regular Nancy Drew when it comes to figuring things out.
When she was little, Mom was probably Nancy Drew’s biggest fan. She read every one of the Nancy Drew Mysteries, and hung on every word.
Now that she’s a writer, she hardly ever writes mysteries. She wrote one once, and when it was finished, she said, “Ugh. This thing is so lame.” And “Where’s the suspense, the red herring, the foreshadowing!?” and “Seriously? You’re back on the bed again?”
Mom might BE Nancy Drew, and LOVE Nancy Drew, but she has no plans to WRITE Nancy Drew.
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.
The grass is still kind of brownish and slime-ish in spots. And the wind still turns my ears upside down.
Also, the rain has Mom bringing out my raincoat every couple of days. April showers and all that….
Real, actual spring – street nap spring – takes longer to happen, I guess.
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.
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.
Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.
Moments matter – Every single one of them. I try to use each one wisely.
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.
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…..
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?
Writing time is not for blogs, not for Facebook, not for email, not for Words With Friends, and not even for TV.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I TASTED it! Mom said the word, “Oh no you didn’t!” But oh yes, I did.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mom’s story for the Highlights Annual Fiction Contest wasn’t broken, either.
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!
Some things Mom learned were:
1. She is a mental case when it comes to commas. (She, kind, of, already, knew, that,,,)
2. The story problem needs to be close to the beginning of the story.
3. Readers need to learn about characters by what they say and what they do.
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.
5. Conflict and tension are important. (Mom stinks at both of them.)
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.
Today, Mom and I are counting down about rest.
What I Know About Rest
3. I nap in my bed.
2. I nap on the couch.
16. I nap in the street. (But only in the summer.)
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.
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.
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.
2. After a story is finished it needs to rest. No working on it, no looking at it, no THINKING about it.
Sometimes, a story needs to rest for a week. Sometimes longer.
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!)
26. When stories wake up from resting, they sometimes stink.