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

Archive for the ‘rejection’ Category

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Worst and Best fascinate me. Sometimes just when I think I’m being the Best Girl, I discover to my shock and surprise that I am not.

Best Girl helping with laundry

Best Girl looking at Mom

Best Girl not taking a street nap in the dumpster slime

Best Girl getting her exercise

People say all writers have an inner critic telling them their work stinks, they’re wasting their time, nothing they do is  good enough, and they’re straight-up frauds. I don’t have one of those critics in my head. Neither does Mom. I think I learned it from her! When she reads over one of her stories, she’s all, “SO CUTE!” and “I love this thing.” and “Quit staring at me when I’m eating.”

I’m not staring at you. You’re staring at me.

Mom relies on her critique group and RYS and agents and editors to tell her she may not be quite the best. Sometimes, they say nothing. #’nuffsaid. Sometimes they say, “Not what we’re looking for.” or “Fix this. Change that. What about this?”

I rely on Mom to tell me I may not be quite the best.

“Stay away from the edge.”

“Heel!”

“Get off the bed.”

 

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Five Word Friday

 

Today, I picked out 5 words from one of Mom’s old stories that she’s working on again. She’s making it new. And better. And shorter. And better…

6. Pets – Mom has always had pets – even before me. (What a shocker that life didn’t begin with me, #amiright ) She grew up with a Myna bird that talked, a couple of other birds off and on, tropical fish, baby turtles, and of course doggies always.

Sandy

Smoki

92. Basement – Mom got a score back from a story she had rated. She said her score was “in the basement” which is confusing because our house doesn’t have a basement – unless you count where Mom parks the car. It’s just as well. I am already afraid of the parking garage, the fire extinguisher, the elevator, the trash room, and the hallway. I do NOT need a basement to worry about on top of all that.

Yikes! A mirror dog on the ceiling! I’m pretty sure he’s trying to kill me….

14. Grass – When I am not taking a street nap or a sidewalk nap,

I will sometimes lie in the grass for a change of pace.

That said, if the grass is damp for any reason – rain, dew, sprinklers – I will not step in it. Mom says, “Come on, weirdo.” and “I don’t like it either.” and “You can’t walk the tightrope forever.” But yes I can…

#curbwalker

27. Crab – When she was a 3rd grade teacher, Mom had hermit crabs, fiddler crabs, newts, goldfish, mealworms, a turtle, sea monkeys. hamsters, tadpoles, butterflies, frogs, ants, and a parakeet in her classroom at one time or another. Once when I was sleepy, Mom called me the name of Crabby, so in a way, she STILL has a crab.

#sideeye

8. Sweat – Whenever Mom is working on a new story or waiting to hear about something she submitted, she says she is “sweating it out.” I don’t think she knows from sweating while she’s typing and talking to herself in the nice cool house. I know sweating better than she does. I do it through my paws and my mouth. I do it when I’m hot and I do it when I’m nervous. And sometimes, I do it for no reason at all….

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Mom has been looking up at the stars a lot lately.

She imagines getting her next acceptance letter/email/phone call/telepathic message. She visualizes how it will play out and exactly how it will feel.

When a rejection comes instead, she visualizes the acceptance even harder.

Meanwhile, she reads, writes, revises, edits, critiques, and submits. She has to. That’s what writers do.

…in between playing with the peppermint ball…

I look up at the stars, too. I don’t imagine anything or visualize anything – or read or write or edit or critique or submit anything. I just look at the stars or stare at the air. Mom says, “Are you daydreaming?” and “Are you sightseeing?” and “Enough, weirdo! We’re going home!”

She is long on patience waiting for Book #2 to be accepted, but short on patience waiting for me. When she gets publisher mail, she says, “This is it!” When I am star gazing, she says, “That is it!” They are really very different…

Mom and I agree on one thing. Stephen Hawking was a pretty smart guy. Keeping your head up and your eye on the prize matters. Aiming for the stars is never a bad idea. And when you can’t take time to smell the flowers

because the flowers are sleeping under the snow, keep your head up. Stare at the air. Or look up at the stars!

 

Getting Normal

Things are getting back to normal around here. Almost.

I still have trouble figuring out how to work my blanket bed,

Wait. What?

and I still nap on the couch.

That’s normal. Except I have to wear a shirt so my furs don’t get all over the place too much.

Mom tamed the wild wires and organized her desk.

She even stared at a few stories on her computer, checked off her most recent rejections in her record notebook, and actually wrote a sentence or two in her latest story – which happens to be about a doggie. That’s normal. Except she does her work in the bedroom now, so I am forced to stare at her from my dogbed.

I tried to take a street nap in the parking lot by our new house, but a lot of the normal drama is gone because there’s hardly any traffic.

Where is everybody?

This is street nap 2.0 – on the porch.

Mom found the public library in our new neighborhood, but hasn’t stopped in for a normal pile of picture books to read. She is falling behind in her goal to read 200 books this year, but plans to catch up soon.

I am falling behind I my normal goal to take 200 naps each day, but I plan to catch up soon.

I still help Mom type, but instead of making my usual story of QQQQQQQ with my ear, I type DDDDDDFFFFFCCCCCVVVVV with my paw.

When my “story” is finished, Mom usually calls me the name of Knucklehead… I guess that’s another name for best selling author.

Let me try this blanket bed again….

 

Nailed it!

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are about adjusting. Mom and I are both adjusting to our new home. And we are adjusting our new home to suit us just right.

I think I need a booster seat.

75. Writing – no writing whatsoever has been done in our new home, yet. The desk has wires everywhere and none of them is connected to anything.

Plus there’s a ton and a half of other things to hog writing time. Mom hopes in a few days, she will be back on schedule with her stories. I will be happy when she sits still for an hour. It’s hard to keep an eye on her when she is on the move.

Whatcha got there? Lunch? I like lunch…

14. Tail – I had barely adjusted to my tail bandages when they were unceremoniously removed – to reveal THIS! Now I am adjusting to my shorter, thinner, mismatched, discolored FREAK-tail.

61. Street Naps – I almost took my first street nap at my new street this afternoon. Almost! But a loud noise spooked me. I’m taking balcony naps, now.

999. Rejections – 2 rejections came to Mom by email. She said, “You can run, but you cannot hide.” and “I can’t wait to work on these stories to try to make them better.” and “Please don’t bark at the new neighbors.”

5. Activity – Moving to a new home is cause for lots of activity. There are moving men, deliveries, shopping, unpacking, reorganizing, and decorating. Being a writer, is cause for lots of activity, too. There are ideas to record, drafts to write and rewrite, agents and publishers to research, and critique work to get to. But sometimes, I just want my own kind of activity – for no reason at all.

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!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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.