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Archive for the ‘children’s literature’ Category

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Making changes is something writers have to do – whether they like it or not.

Mom is one of those writers who does NOT like it. But she does it. Sometimes, she gets a story scored by Rate Your Story, sometimes, her online critique group suggests the changes, and sometimes, she gets a flat out rejection and knows changes have to be made.

She reads and rereads her story. She asks questions like, “Will illustrations enhance the story?” and “Is the sequence of the plot events logical?” and “Do the obstacles increase through the story to a critical level that seems hopeless?” and “Are you licking your tail bandage?” Changes are made based on the answers to those questions. Mostly the answers are,  “Yes. Yes. No. And Who? Me?.”

Obstacles have been an issue for Mom. She is aware of it and is working on doing better. Licking my tail bandage has been an issue for me. I am aware of it, and when my bandage is off, I will stop – not right away, but as soon as I taste what’s left of my post-surgery tail.

What just happened…?

Story changes and bandage changes are not the only changes around here. Next week, we will move to a new apartment. Mom and I have visited the new place,

brought some of our things there,

got some new things delivered,

and we have played there a lot.

Our illustrations are just iPhone photos,

the sequence of the moving steps seems logical,

and we are sure there will be no obstacles, and nothing critical or hopeless.

I’m hopeful I’ll spend a lot of time right here…

Thanks, Socrates. We are focused on “building the new.” New story improvements, new tail sizes, and a new home.

Unexpected Things

Rate Your Story Rating Scale:
10 – Consider this story as practice.
9 – This story is best saved for reading to your family.
8 – If at first you don’t succeed…rewrite, rewrite again.
7 – Your idea has merit, but the story needs a lot of revision.
6 – Not bad, but doesn’t stand out.
5 – Better than average, but still needs work.
4 – A decent story. Could be great with a few revisions.
3 – Good story! Get a critique or two and polish before submitting.
2 – A very good story with the potential to be outstanding! Nearly submission-ready!
1 – Great story! You should consider submitting this!

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Usually, things go just as you expect them to go. When Mom sends her work to Rate Your Story, lots of times it gets rated a 4 or a 5.

But unexpected things happen all the time. Recently, one of her stories was rated a 2.

Also, recently, one of her stories was rated a 7. Mom works equally as hard on each of them, and feels equally good when she sends them in, but there’s no way to know what clicks and what clunks.

Speaking of clunking, the front door at my house where I have lived for the past 7 years clunks shut on its own every time Mom and I go into or out of it. We expect the clunk and usually things go as we expect them to go.

But unexpected things happen all the time. Last week, I unexpectedly hesitated in the doorway, and the door clunked shut ON MY TAIL. I screamed and pulled it free, but the last little bit of my long, monkey tail didn’t make it out. It was left behind on the living room floor!

Yikes!

When Mom gets her scores, she looks carefully at what went wrong and fixes the story up. There are little changes like tweaking the opening to make the conflict clearer. And big changes like changing the entire point of view of the story. Whatever she does, the story is never the same again.

Doctors looked at what was left of my tail and decided how to fix it up. I slept peacefully through my surgery, and have been sporting a series of adorable bandages…

and the cone of courage.

This week, my stitches will be removed and I will be back to my old self. But my tail will never be the same again.

*sigh* Good times….

Soon, we will move to our new house. And yes, as I expected, that door also clunks shut on its own.

I’ll just wait right here. Thank you very much.

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are about communicating.

16. Kids – Kids can be great communicators. When Mom visited a couple of schools  this month, kids talked to her a lot. Sometimes they asked questions like, “How long does it take to write a story?” and “How many stories have you written?” and “On Sunday, my Uncle Peter’s toilet overflowed!”

2. Kids – Lots of the kids made Mom thank you notes to say “Thank you for coming to our school.” and “We loved your book.”

and “My baby brother has a car seat with bunnies on it.”

73. My Face – Mom says my face communicates NOTHING.

It’s blank.

All the time.

She says, “Are you hungry?” and “Do you need to go out?” and “What? What?!! WHAT???”

What?

6. Body Language – I sometimes communicate through body language. When I’m scared, I shiver and tuck my tail between my legs. When Mom tries to put my boots on, I play dead and flop down on my pillow.

Also, my feet turn as mushy as pudding. Mom calls me the name “PuddingPaws.”

5. Show Don’t Tell – Everybody who’s anybody says writers must SHOW what’s happening in a story. Don’t just TELL it. That helps the reader stay engaged and gets them to do a little work while they’re reading. They will also feel closer to the characters in the story and more invested in the plot. Sometimes I need to SHOW Mom that she has put my food bowl too high for me to reach.

What’s my dinner doing up here?

Then she TELLS me I have to wait.

Seriously??

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Mom is working on 3 different stories that she’s not crazy about. She is certain that they WILL get better, just like Janet says they will, so she keeps going back and forth from one to the other and moving them forward. Paws crossed that they’ll get better real soon.

Packing for our move to the new apartment is also coming along. Mom is feeling on top of the whole thing and not frazzled at all.

Wait. What? Uh…. Mom? A little help here, please…

I’m on top of everything, too….in my own way.

Mom works on one story and when she gets stuck, she switches to another one till she gets stuck. Then she switches again and works on the third one for a while. Little by little, things are getting done.

Around here, Mom also goes from one thing to another. She empties a cabinet and then switches to the bookshelf and packs up some of that stuff. Then she switches again and packs up the stuff in a desk drawer. Little by little, things are getting done.

With my help, of course…

Mom mind-writes about her stories, too, so by the time she sits down to write, she knows a few ideas to help her get going.

I mind write in my special doggie way.

And when I wake up I have LOTS of ideas to help me get going.

I smell gum.

What?

I smell cookies.

I smell outside.

Countdown Wednesday

123

Today we are counting down things we believe.

Things Mom Believes

35. Writing is a tough job. Being a teacher was a tough job, too. And so is being a college supervisor…. The bottom line is – I guess all jobs are tough. That’s why they’re called work and not a party.

THIS is a party!

THIS is a party!

 2. Book 2 and/or e-Book 2 will happen eventually. Learning her craft, writing a lot, reading a lot, and submitting sometimes is what writers do. Getting rejected a lot is also what writers do. So, Mom is doing what writers do. Mission accomplished.

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16. Author visits are fun. Mom has 2 school visits scheduled in the next few weeks. She believes they are one of the best parts of being an author. She will talk, read, ask and answer questions, and play games. Author visits are not my favorite.

...bye... SERIOUSLY??

…bye… SERIOUSLY??

Things I Believe

6. Watching The Puppy Bowl is a tough job.

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I am sure I could’ve made a hundred touchdowns, spiked the ball, the pig, the monkey, and the rubber chicken, and done the victory dance like crazy. If only I could figure out how to get inside the TV.

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Hullo…?

21. Read to a Pet Night will happen eventually. All I need to do is look cute, wait for Mom to get ready,

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be a good girl on my ParkIt Mat, and soon the kids will come and read to me.

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Mission accomplished.

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3. Snow is fun. I like walking and running in the snow, as long as it doesn’t touch my belly. Sometimes the snow gets crazy and blows my ears out like wings and makes my eyes get all squinchy. Slightly less fun, but aside from street nap weather, snow is my next favorite.

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”
~Orson Scott Card~

Story ideas. Aargh. This month is all about ideas for Mom on account of StoryStorm. She was hoping to have 30 ideas by the 30th, and she is pretty flush with 39 so far. Way ahead of the game.

Still she continues to read the StoryStorm posts every morning and she adds an idea or two to her list, depending on what the post says to do.

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Probably about 5 or 6 of the ideas on the list will turn into something. Maybe it will be exactly the something we need to finally see Book 2 or e-Book 2. Paws crossed.

2 books

It’s not only humans who walk past ideas every day. Just this morning, I walked past a McDonald’s bag that might’ve had a piece of burger in it.

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A stick that fell in the storm.

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And a cat waiting to kill me while he was hiding under a car.

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Mom said, “No litter-burgers.” and “That’s not a stick. It’s half of a tree.”

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and “Don’t even think about it.” Also, “Why do I take you anywhere?” She says that one a lot.

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I’m ready…

So if that Orson Card guy is right, I still have 997 ideas to walk past today. I’d better get back out there and get busy! Maybe I’ll catch a little nap first….

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

William Somerset Maugham

First of all, I love this guy. How could I not? His name is W. Somerset Mom. And just like Mom, he talks about rules. Mom has a lot of rules for me. Here are the top three:

14. Keep off the bed after it’s made.

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6. Always put the toys back in the toy box.

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97. Don’t eat garbage.

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Somethin’ smells good…

3. No begging.

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Mom doesn’t know the novel rules any better than Maugham does. Ditto the picture book rules.

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I mean she knows there needs to be a great opening, unpredictable characters, conflict, voice, rising action, increasing obstacles, excitement, humor, emotion, lyrical language, plot twists, surprises, and of course a satisfying ending.

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Sometimes, when she reads picture books – which she does A LOT,

books3she says the word, “What? There’s no conflict here.” and “Aargh. That was SO predictable.” and “Get off the bed!”

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and “Ugh. Worst ending ever.” and “Meh.” and “Don’t even think about it!”

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So apparently, there are rules and there is reality. It’s tough to know what an editor will like. It’s much easier to know what Mom will like.

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What?