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

Archive for the ‘critique group’ Category

Waiting

It’s tough to wait. Waiting to have time to write, waiting to get an idea, waiting to hear what the characters want to do, waiting for a story to be finished – They’re all tough.

Waiting for a response from a publisher or an agent – also tough. But Mom does it. All writers do.

Sometimes she waits by reading picture books at home. Sometimes, she visits the bookstore.

She talks to kids and listens to kids. She does work with her critique group online. And of course, she watches TV. That’s a great waiting activity – especially this time of year.

Mom always has the choice of playing with me while she waits. I like practicing my tricks and walking around the neighborhood

and napping.

And of course, I watch TV. And I watch Mom watch TV.

Fascinating!

For the next couple of weeks I will be waiting in overdrive. Waiting for Santa!

I hope he brings treats and toys and maybe a new dress for me. I’m sure most of my furfriends and humanfriends are also waiting for Christmas. And if The Big Guy brings an opportunity for Mom, that would be good, too. Either way, the working and playing and talking and listening and practicing and napping and watching and waiting will continue…

C’mon, Santa!

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.
 ~Meister Eckhart~

Erasing is easy when you’re a writer who uses the computer. Mom is all Tap. Tap. Tap. 

And bingo, things she doesn’t want in her story are gone for good. And replaced by something better. It’s important that writers don’t get too attached to the words they write because anything may need to go at any given time.

Some of Mom’s critique partners thought one part of her latest story was too mean for little kids. Mom took a deep breath and erased two whole paragraphs of meanness. Now the story is nicer.

Being nice is…. um… nice!

Mom had to erase our balcony flowers already.

‘Nuff said.

They’ve been replaced with something better (and more alive).

I’m glad erasing can’t happen to me. I’d have been gone for good a long time ago. Mom might have replaced me with a better doggie! Whenever she brushes me, she says, “Now you look pretty.” and “Maybe you’ll stop shedding all over the place.” and “I’m going to make a new dog out of all this hair and THROW YOU IN THE GARBAGE.” Gah! She can’t do that. Can she…?

Mom has to erase my furs from the floor and rugs all the time. Also my drool.

Eeeuuwwww!

And crumbs. And the spit marks I make when I lick the floor.

I don’t mind when she erases them. I can always make more.

And more.

And more…

 

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words come from one of the stories Mom is working on these days. Sadly, the story has no doggies in it. Just humans. And of course a cyclops. So, yeah… There’s that.

6. Sky – I watch the sky a lot. You never know when a blimp might fly over and try to kill you. I saw one once, and I barked at it a lot. Then when I was sure it was about to pounce, I hid behind Mom’s chair.

I also watch the ceiling when I’m in the elevator at my building. It’s dangerous like the sky.

Every single day, there’s a dog up there that looks EXACTLY like me! #it’sterrifying

48. Alone – Besides me and all of my valuable help (staring like a creeper), Mom writes alone.

You’re welcome.

She loves all of her stories, but she’s prejudiced. That’s why she has a critique group. Her online writing friends read her work and she reads theirs. Then they say ideas about what they like and tell each other how to make the stories better.

4. School – I studied at obedience school when I was first adopted.

Mom studied at webinar school last week. She studied Picture Books in Focus. Now she has some new and fresh ideas. I am not allowed to be fresh, but apparently, her ideas are.

I wonder if they’re allowed to be stubborn. I’m not!

96. Halloween – Halloween month is a tough gig. Mom yanks out all the old costumes and we have to decide which one I should wear to each of my therapy jobs. Why?

Why?

Why can’t I just be a dog…?

5. Panting – I am not a dog who does panting very often. Mostly, my mouth is shut. That’s why I look worried most of the time.

Can you blame me? Who’s not worried at the vet?! GAH!

Somehow, I still manage to drool a lot, and Mom is confused about how that even happens. Whenever I do pant, it looks like I’m smiling. Really, I’m just hot!

Birthday

I wish (for Mom’s sake) that this was a post about a Book Birthday. It’s been flat-out ages since we’ve had one.But it’s not. She’s still a writer, though. She gets ideas, writes brand new stories, fixes up ratty old stories, works with her critique group, submits stories to publishers, agents, and Rate Your Story, and does author visits at schools. That’s pretty much what writers do, so there’s that.

The birthday today, is MINE. Actually, I’m counting this whole week as my birthday week. On September 25th, I turned 11 years old. I got to wear my birthday balloon/cupcake dress,

and got a new stuffed bunny with FIVE squeakers.

Mom enjoys it a lot and says the word, “Look at the cute bunny!” and “Do you like your new toy?” and “Stop it! SHUT THAT THING UP!” That’s good… Right…? She likes it so much that sometimes she threatens to throw it in the garbage. Wait. What?

Also, there was cake – whipped cream, strawberries, custard, the whole 9 yards.

For my birthday road trip, we went for a ride to the reservoir where I had a staring contest with a baby turtle, and met lots of people who petted me and said I was cute.

Get serious, turtle. I have never lost a staredown.

For Mom’s birthday writing time, she revised an old story about a birthday party gone wrong. She said that maybe my birthday will bring it some good luck.

I could use some luck, here, right about now…

My birthday has been so amazing that I’m planning to turn 11 again next year! Plus, when I blew out my candle (I think Mom did the actual blowing because the flame scared me), I wished for a Book Birthday real soon.

Nom, nom, nom…

 

 

Not What It Seems

In the three months we’ve lived in our new apartment, Mom and I have seen lots of deer,

a million birds, a ton of chipmunks, a spider, a bee,

*not the actual bee*

and three dead snakes.

*actual snake corpse*

Once I was in the dog park and there was a little brown dog in there with me. I wanted to play with him, but he kept ignoring me. When I sniffed him, he smelled like laundry detergent. Mom said, “Get it!” and “Fetch it!” and “Ugh. Why do I bother?”

What’s up with this guy?

This week, we ALMOST saw another dead snake, but then when we got closer, it was a shoelace.

Things are not always what they seem!

Recently, Mom got a critique of one of her stories.

The main suggestion was to “try putting some humor in.” GAH! She already thought there WAS humor in there!

Surprise! To her, it seemed funny, but it wasn’t what it seemed. Oh well. At least she knows what to work on.

First she will head to the library to read some of the books suggested to see the kind of humor she SHOULD have had in her story. Hopefully, she will be able to add in or switch out some of the events with the right humor that really IS what it seems.

Plus if we see another dead snake, I plan to roll on it and smear his guts all over my furs and smear my furs all over his guts. If I’m quick enough I may be able to pull it off this time. …unless it’s another shoelace.

*actual shoelace* Bummer…

 

 

 

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.

Finished

I was tortured last week. First Mom lured me into the bathroom.

Oooh. A trail of chicken. Yes, please.

Oooh. A trail of chicken! Yes, please.

Then she tricked me into the tub and gave me a bath!

bath3There was splashing and shivering…

bath2

…water pouring, crazy amounts of soap suds, 5 entire minutes of standing still covered in sweet smelling conditioner…

conditioner…and 3 giant towels.

bath-towelI tried numerous times to shake the bath off of me, but only succeeded in sharing a little of the bath with Mom. And the walls. And the floor. And the vanity. And the door.

dog-shaking-cartoonOne thing I know for sure is that it was my LAST. BATH. EVER. I could tell because the shampoo bottle is empty.

shampoo

No more shampoo = No more baths

That’s what it means… Right…?

Mom finished her most recent story. She wrote it and wrote it, revised it like crazy, sent it to her critique group, and then revised it like crazy all over again. Now it’s finished. I’m pretty sure it’s her LAST. STORY. EVER.

endThat’s what it means… Right…?

Wait. What?

computerAarrrgh. She’s starting a BRAND NEW story!

*gulp* Does that mean…..

bath-closeup

Oh no!