Living with a children's author isn't as easy as it looks!

Posts tagged ‘ideas’

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.

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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.

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

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

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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

 

 

Hidden

Spring is finally coming. Things that have been hidden under the snow are coming back. Look! It’s a coffee cup!

dd cup

Mom’s new story was hidden under the snow in her brain. Every single day, when she started working on it, she gave it a new title, made a list of new characters, decided on a new theme, and gave them new goals to accomplish, new problems to solve, and different obstacles to overcome.

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It’s a good thing spring is coming. Mom’s hidden story is coming back. It’s her third day working with the same title, the same theme, the same characters, and they have the same goals, problems, and obstacles as they had yesterday.

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I think spring has sprung….

Look! It’s a banana!

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I wonder if the black bananas taste better than the yellow ones….

And a ginger ale bottle.

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And my beehive is back from under the snow!!

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Hello, old friend…

Best Doctor Ever

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Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He would’ve been 109 years old. He is the Best Doctor Ever on account of no needles, no looking into ears with a flashlight, no sticks stuck into forbidden places, and no touching of my bits and pieces.

Waiting for the doctor...

Waiting for the Doctor. Hoping for the Best.

Mom also loves Dr. Seuss for a million other reasons – his wild imagination, his silly rhyming, his crazy stories, and the fact that his first book was rejected 27 times before anybody said they liked it. Misery loves company.

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Mom’s #1 favorite Dr. Seuss book is The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins from 1938.

500 hats

Normally, Mom and I steer clear of anything that smacks of numbers, but counting those hats is so much fun and so suspenseful that we can’t resist it. Also, a hundred years ago, Mom’s 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Nelson read that story to her class and Mom and her friends giggled and counted and were afraid for poor little Bartholomew not being able to take his hat off for the king.

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As of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Mom is up to date on her 12×12 Challenge. She has written 2 new stories in the past 2 months. Now it’s a new month and time to start a new story.

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In which direction should she go?

Direction? Up, of course.

King of the Hill of Filth

King of the Hill of Filth

What will be original?

Original? It doesn’t get any more original than an old dog learning a new trick.

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Who will step out of her list of character ideas?

Character? This one.

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Or this one.

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Or this one.

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How will she make the story sparkle?

Sparkle? With a tiara, of course.

Am I sparkling, yet?

Am I sparkling, yet?

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I’m King of the …… *gulp*

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.
Vaclav Havel

steps

Mom’s Highlights Contest story is finished resting, and thanks to her Contest Magic classmates giving her tons of help, she revised it –  AGAIN – cutting and adding and switching and tightening and tweaking (not twerking – trust me – nobody wants to see that).

 Yesterday, we went to the mailbox

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and Mom unceremoniously dropped it in. She said, “I could work on this thing for the rest of my life.” and “It’s time to stop staring up the steps and step up the stairs.” and “Where do you think you’re going?”

steps2

Mom is hoping to win big, but she is also hoping for her cyberclassmates to win big right along with her. She said, “Their stories are amazing.” and “Can I even compete with these people?” and “There’s nothing up there for you.”

Is she talking to me??

Is she talking to me??

Countdown Wednesday

caneldar

Today, Mom and I are counting down about rest.

What I Know About Rest

3. I nap in my bed.

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2. I nap on the couch.

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…a lot.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.)

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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

Finished

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Dinner is finished. I can tell by my empty dish.

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The Nutcracker Ballet is finished. I can tell by the SugarPlum Fairy dancing…

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…and Clara waking up.

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You mean we can’t play King of the Hill??

The snow is finished. I can tell by this little pile of black mush which is called Get-Away-From-It-It’s-Filthy.

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Mom is finished with her Goodreads Reading Challenge. She read 200 books this year, just like she planned.

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She is finished with PiBoIdMo, too. She made a list of 30+ ideas, just like she planned.

12-x-12-new-badge2

Now, 2013 is about finished, but Mom isn’t ready. She has one more thing to finish. It’s her second year of The12x12 Challenge. That means she planned to write 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months. But she’s only got eleven-and-a-half stories finished. She needs to buckle down and get to the end of her 12th story before the end of the year.

Mom says, “It doesn’t count if it’s inside my head.” and “This is a tough time of year to catch up.” and “Dinner is finished. Get over it. You will eat again tomorrow.”

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Combinations

There are lots and lots of breeds of dogs.

tv

Nobody is really sure what combination I am. Part Jack Russell for sure, and maybe some Beagle or Dachshund or Dalmation or ….Monkey or Bobcat.

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Whatever the mix, I’ve turned out to be perfectly me. Not perfectly perfect, but with a bunch of good parts put together (and a little naughty streak for good luck).

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Is that…? Is he…? Am I…?

I’m an original.

tv huh

Wait. What?

Mom keeps idea lists in her phone. One of the lists is called PiBoIdMo2012. It has 32 ideas.

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One is called PiBoIdMo2013. It has 35 ideas.

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And one is called Story Ideas. It has 42 ideas. Some of the ideas are already used up, so Mom marked them with a star. She says, “An author needs lots of ideas.” and “My phone is always nearby, in case I think of anything.” and “Do you have the hiccups?”

what

Hic….

When Mom starts a new story, she doesn’t always pick one of the ideas from her phone. Sometimes, she picks two ideas or even three and puts them together to make a combination. It’s not perfectly perfect, but it’s perfectly her. Idea mixing makes stories have some surprises and some unexpected events and unique characters in odd places doing unusual things.

And yes, sometimes I have the hiccups.

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