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Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are about Following Directions.

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Good. Sometimes it’s good to follow directions. When Mom made Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, she followed the directions and those swirly beauties came out of the oven smelling and tasting PERFECT!

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And yes – she shared!

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Ridiculous. Some directions are just plain silly. Somehow, Mom wrestles me into my snow boots before we go outside.

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There’s a lot of twisting and a little tumbling and some saying of the word, “Ouch.” and the word, “Stay still.” and the word, “Don’t bite your shoes.”

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Neither of us knows exactly how the boots get on my paws, but it certainly isn’t the ridiculous way the directions say to do it.

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Ha!

Helpful. When Mom’s stories are critiqued by her friend or her critique partner or RateYourStory, the suggestions help her make the story better. Following those directions makes sense and they help a “Meh” story become more of a “Wow” story.

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Submitting. When Mom submits a story to a publisher or an agent, she has to follow directions to be sure to do it right. She needs to know how to format her story, whether to send it electronically or hard copy, and of course, there are always directions about what to do (or not to do) after the story is sent.

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Behavior. Mom has a billion directions for me to follow when I go to work at Read To A Pet Night. There are directions like, “Don’t pull.” and “No jumping up.” and “Stop licking the books. And the kids. And the chairs. And the floor.”

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Following directions…

Apparently it is also bad manners to jump on the heads of the other dogs, knock over a table of books, and steal treats out of Mom’s treat pouch.

Not following directions...

Not following directions…

Some directions just don’t make any sense at all…

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…Maybe I’ll just lick her foot… It looks delicious!

 

Old and New

Mom bought me something new.

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It’s an IQ toy that helps me be smart. I learned all my old IQ toys…

…so now I am studying my new one. It has blocks, a spinning layer, and TREATS hidden inside. Sometimes new things are better than old things.

Sometimes they’re not! My old snowman used to look like this.

Awesome snowman!

Awesome snowman!

Then he looked like this.

Less awesome snowman.

Less awesome snowman.

And now he looks like this.

Wait. What?

Worst. Snowman. Ever.

The new snowman has no rock buttons (that looked like cookies), no stick arms with twig hands, and no carrot nose. He’s barely a snowman at all.

These days, Mom is working on some old stories…

Old.

Old.

.. and some new stories.

New!

New!

She writes her new story for a while, then she yanks out an old story and punches it. I mean punches it up. She adds in some new things, takes out some old things, and moves some things around.

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That’s called punching. ….Up. It makes old things new and new things old – till they get punched up too.

Mom says, “What was I thinking?” and “This sounds SO much better.” and “GAH! Toy squirrels are everywhere!”

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Five Word Friday

Things change. Change is what makes the world keep spinning and not come to a stuck-in-the-mud-stop.

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Today’s five words are about changes.

1. Joining - Joining a class or taking on a challenge makes things different. Last month, Mom became a ProMember at Rate Your Story. That means experts will look at her work and give her tips before she sends it out to a publisher.

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2. Color - Mom’s friend gave her a color change umbrella. It’s white when it’s dry…

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…and when it rains, this happens.

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Colors make everything happier. It’s like when Mom edits a story. It’s plain when she starts, and comes alive when she adds colorful characters, interesting word choices, and unexpected plot twists.

3. Bowl Games - For SuperBowl Sunday, we started off watching the Puppy Bowl,

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Yay, team!

but then we had to change to the Human SuperBowl.

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Z-z-z-z-z….

4. Bravery - Bravery can change. I am afraid of a LOT of things. So when the little girl upstairs built a snowman on the front lawn, Mom was sure I would be terrified. But I suddenly became brave, and didn’t bat an eye when I saw the snowguy.

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I even tried to eat his buttons which looked like cookies….

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…but turned out to be rocks.

5. Point of View - Mom tries to see her work with a different eye, and make changes. She looks for an unusual point of view or a new spin. I help her see life from my point of view when she puts her GoPro camera onto my Fetch harness and we go walking in the snow. Maybe she should clip the camera to herself and then work on her stories.

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

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Whenever Mom mind-writes, she starts in the middle of a story. An idea pops into her brain, and she goes gangbusters from there.

Sometimes I start in the middle of my toys…

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and fight my way out with the favored toy of the day.

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Mom says, “What a mess!” and “I guess it’ll be MY job to clean up.” and “I wish I had a delete key for naughty behavior.”

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Wait. What?

When Mom sits down to write (and ignore me), she starts at what she THINKS is the beginning. But that first sentence or paragraph or page doesn’t always make the cut as the REAL beginning when the story is finished.  Writers are like that. They can’t get too attached to their words because sometimes they get the delete key. Nuthin’ personal…

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I got the delete key from the laundry basket when I tried to go along for the ride to the laundromat last week.

I was in,

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I begged to stay,

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but I got tossed.

I wish there was a delete key for the mailman. He thinks I can’t hear him sneaking around the hallway. But I hear him out there plotting to kill me.

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One day, I will delete you, you lunatic!

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Believing

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There would be no point to sending out stories if Mom didn’t believe somebody would love her work and will publish it. She believes like crazy. Part of the fun of setting goals and striving to get better at your craft is believing. She says, “I believe this is one of my best stories yet.” and “I believe this is the one.” and “I don’t believe you can’t find a better place to sit!”

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Two pieces of tissue paper. Perfect place to plop down and snoopervise.

Believing doesn’t mean dreaming (not that there’s anything wrong with dreaming), and it doesn’t mean that nothing will ever go wrong. Sometimes things go wrong.

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Things that go wrong are called Rejections. They’re also called I’m-Stuck. And Where’s-the-Conflict. And What’s-the-Point-of-This. When these things go wrong, Mom revises, switches to a different project, adds in a new problem for her character, or takes away some paragraphs and starts in a spot that makes the point clear.

Then she sweeps the broken glass off the floor and throws away my tissue paper bed. Go figure.

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Unbelievable…

 

Countdown Wednesday

2015

It’s that wonderful (terrifying) time when we look back on what’s been accomplished in the year past and set some new goals for the future. Today, we are counting down about resolutions.

Mom made a ton of resolutions last year. Some were successful, some went bust. ‘Nuff said about those clunkers.

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Mom’s 2015 Resolutions

 3. Read 200 more picture books and rate them on Goodreads.

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2. Revise and submit 12 manuscripts that she’s written recently.

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1. Draw and color 100 pictures – hopefully some will be pictures of me!

Mom did NOT draw this one....

Mom did NOT draw this one….

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She drew this one… Ugh.

My 2015 Resolutions

3. Develop a relationship with my toybox. In 5 years, I have never taken a toy out of my toybox (That’s been Mom’s job.). But last week, I decided to see what this toybox thing was all about. Guess what! It really is filled with TOYS!

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2. Meditate. Sometimes when I’m walking with Mom, she tries to make me walk into areas that scare me. I usually turn to stone and refuse to move. Sometimes she picks me up and carries me. This year, I will turn that paralyzing fear into a meditation. I will hear babbling brooks, the wind in the trees, and the sound of birds – not the words, “Come on.” or “Let’s go.” or “Heel.” or “Keep moving.” or “COME ON!” Meditation is good for my soul.

Ooohhhmmmm.....

Ooohhhmmmm…..

1. Grow taller. Being tiny has its advantages when it comes to hiding. But when it comes to stealing food, it’s a problem. I can’t reach the table, the counters, or the garbage pail.

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I can only hope somebody forgets to push in their chair or doesn’t notice I am a few inches away from the gingerbread house on the coffee table.

gingerbread house

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….

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