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Archive for the ‘critique group’ Category

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are about being sick. Sort of… Not really…

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Cone – I have been wearing the cone of shame for a week.

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I wasn’t really sick, but I had some allergies and couldn’t stop biting and scratching my tummy. The cone (and some medicine) made me better.

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Mmmm… Peanut butter! Wait. What?

Story-itis – One of Mom’s stories was feeling under the weather. Not really sick, but not up to par. Mom bit it and scratched it…. Not really. She actually fixed it and changed it A LOT and made it better.

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Vet – The vet checked me out and pronounced me good to go.

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RatingRate Your Story checked out Mom’s story and pronounced it ALMOST good to go. It’s just a little too long.

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Cutting – Mom is cutting words like crazy out of her story before she sends it anywhere. We hope it’ll have a happy and successful trip when it’s ready.

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Trip – We are cutting out the cone of shame and soon I’ll take my last pill. Then I’ll be ready for a happy and successful trip, too.

Road trip!

Road trip!

Maybe to the park.

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Or hiking.

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Or the reservoir.

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Or to breakfast.

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

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Writers see possibilities a lot. They imagine them and ask about them inside their heads when they’re making up a story. They especially need to consider them when they’re revising.  Mom had an old story that she liked a lot. She showed it to her writing group friends and they said SO many amazing things about it. Like, “There’s too much this.” or “Not enough that.” and “Maybe you can try some of this.” or “You may want to add some of that.” Mom considered the possibilities and tried some of the suggestions and guess what. The story is VERY different, and Mom loves it even more in its new form! Who knew?

Possibilities. I love those guys. I, for one, am happy to hear that they never run out.

Riding in the car opens a ton of possibilities.

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Mouth open, sunroof open, ready for the open road…

The car can lead to this…

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or this…

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or this…

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or this…

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New places, new sights, new peemail from new friends, and sometimes a tree-root nap…

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Now and then the car leads to this…

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Take it easy, lady. Leave me a nail or two to scratch my ears with!

Walking into the bathroom opens fewer possibilities. Maybe I’ll be able to sniff the shower gel and wait while Mom takes a shower. Unless she says the word, “That’s soap, not food.” or “That’s not a water bowl.” or “OUT. Can I have 5 minutes of privacy?”

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Sometimes it flat out leads to this…

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which leads to this…

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which leads to this

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Pardon my bits and pieces, but I’m trying to air condition my wet belly.

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

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Writers are always looking for inspiration. Mom is no exception. The other day, Mom and I took a ride to Meadowlands Environment Center for inspiration. She likes to be in nature to clear out her head.

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Doggies like inspiration, too. I like to be in nature because it smells good!

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The GPS lady told us we had arrived at our destination.

Really?

Really?

Mom said naughty words about her because we had so NOT arrived at our destination.

This looks like a good place to get murdered.

This looks like a good place to get murdered.

Mom drove and complained and drove some more and complained some more and somehow found the place anyway.

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She was inspired by the beautiful flowers and the views and bunches of summer camp field trip kids scooping goop out of the swamp to study.”

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I was inspired by the smelly old swamp. I was pretty sure I could swim in there, but Mom said the word, “Time to go home and write.” and “Inspiration has to find me working.” and “Don’t even think about it.”

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Mom still only “works” for an hour a day, but she works very hard during that hour – doing her KidLit Summer School stuff, checking in on her critique group, and working on new things that she’s writing and old things that she’s fixing. I sure hope when Inspiration drops around it comes at the right time. Otherwise, it’ll find her eating a donut…

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…or watching TV or reading her Kindle or talking on the phone or God forbid giving me a bath.

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Help me…

 

 

Five Word Friday

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There’s some new stuff going on around here. Today’s five words are all about new stuff.

1. Toys. Mom bought me some new toy hot dogs for Fourth of July. Apparently, these were supposed to take the place of having a delicious REAL hot dog at a delicious ACTUAL barbecue.

Fun, but not delicious.

Fun, but not delicious.

68. Group. Mom joined a new online writing critique group. There’s a bunch of smarty, creative, friendly, and helpful people who will talk with Mom about her stories and their stories. It seems like fun, because who doesn’t love talking to smarty, creative, friendly, and helpful people. I wish I could sit on their feet, cuddle up with them, and lick their teeth. Yeah – that’s a thing, and I’m pretty good at it.

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33. Clothes. Mom and I had to stay away from the house for a few hours because of workmen putting in a new front window. Plus power tools and glass breaking could scare a little doggie. We spent some time looking around at the pet store. Mom picked out this new shirt for me. It tells a true fact.

97. Window. Our new front window works great.

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I can watch Mom leave and wait for her to come back. Also, Mom gets to wash my nose prints and spit off the glass every single day of her life.

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5. Summer School. Mom will start studying in Kidlit Summer School at the end of the month. Every day she will read posts, get ideas, do assignments, and share her work with her cyberclassmates. I’m hoping it’ll be fun for her. I know it’ll be fun for me because she has to stay here with me to do it. It’s school, but it’s home! Yay!

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Helping. #notcreepy

 

When?

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Lots of leaves are falling all over my neighborhood. Big fluffy piles of them.

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The lawn guys come every week and take them away. But somehow, there are more leaf blankets the next week and the next and the next. I can’t figure out how to know when they’ll be finished.

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Almost…

Sometimes it’s difficult for Mom to know when a story is finished. It’s NOT finished when she writes the last word. That’s a no-brainer.

But what about these?

But what about these?

Is it finished when she reads it out loud 5,700 times and changes the language and order of events, adds details to develop the characters and setting, and deletes every word that doesn’t move the story along?

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Is it finished when her critique partner sends her comments and she fixes the things she hadn’t noticed before? Is it finished when it comes back from RYS with a score and some more suggestions? Nope.

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Not yet…

It isn’t even finished after Mom submits it to an agent or publisher, because if it comes back rejected, she will start editing like she just wrote the last word all over again.

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Here we go again…

Being finished for sure is a tough call….

Summer Learning

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. tucked under 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. smore Mom will be learning around here, too. She joined Summer School! badge 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. squiggle 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.

Seriously??!

Seriously??!

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

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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?”

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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??

Fixed

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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After

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Some things Mom learned were:

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

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

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Help!

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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.

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

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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!

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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….

Inspirational Quote of the Week

But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.”
― Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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I struck lucky when Mom found me a few Decembers ago. Purrs n Pups found me in Georgia in a kill-shelter, where my puppies had been adopted…

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….and I was left behind.

They brought me to foster care and my foster-mom brought me to an adoption event where Mom found me.

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She said some bad words like, “Too small.” and “Too old.” But then she said some good words like, “I’m taking her home!” and “This is my new dog!”

My first day at home.

My first day at home, I said, “This is my new couch!”

Mom is always waiting to strike lucky. She works on stories, revises them and revises them, makes cover letters, signs them with her lucky pen, and submits story after story to magazines, book publishers, and agents. Whenever Book #2 gets accepted, that will be her lucky day.

PiBoIdMo is helpful. Mom gets a new idea every single day during that month.

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Mom’s 12×12 Challenge is helpful. It keeps her writing new pieces every month.

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The class she took named Making Picture Book Magic was helpful. It taught her about planning a story to make sure it has all the parts it needs.

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Her writing group named DavidLaurieandOtherDavid is helpful. They help her stories get better and better.

Where's the work? This looks like a party!

Where’s the work? This looks like a party!

Her computer friends at RateYourStory help her by giving her a reality check about what she writes.

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And of course, I help her by taking her to the park to clear her head,

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staring at her while she’s working,

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and sometimes, I fall asleep on the iPad and type LLLLLLLL with my ear.

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