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

Archive for the ‘revising’ Category

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“What is this character thinking?”

“How does she feel about this?”

“Why is he afraid of that?”

“Who makes her happy?”

These are questions that Mom’s critique group named ConnieLindaJenVijiLaurieandOtherJen ask her about her work. They ask these and many other questions to help Mom to investigate deeper into her characters, their motivations, their feelings, and their goals.

Mom is clearly in the branches, but she needs to dig way down there in the roots.

I am not a doggie who digs – at least not outside.

What?

Sometimes, I dig the pupper cover on the sofa to get it out of the way.

And sometimes, I dig the covers on the bed to make a comfy nest for sleeping while Mom is in the shower.

Of course, as soon as I get the pile just right, Mom comes out of the shower, gets dressed, and chases me off the bed.

Seriously? WHY??

Then I am forced to dig the blanket in my own bed.

Today, Mom dug into the robot vacuum. She dumps the trash cup every day. But just like with her critique partners – when the app told her to – she had to dig deeper. Extractors, filters, edge sweepers, contacts, and sensors were removed, checked, cleaned, wiped, polished, and returned.

Apparently, some of this grossness (ALL of this grossness) is my fault.

*gulp*

I’d like to speak with my lawyer…

Mom says, ” I’m ankle-deep in dog hair, here!” and “How can you shed so much and still have fur?” and “I’m going to save all this hair, make a new dog, and throw you in the garbage.” and…  well, after that I stopped hearing her. I have ALWAYS wanted to get into the garbage. This may be my big chance!

 

 

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

 

When I was first adopted, I walked forward, backward, sideways, and upside down. I zigged and zagged and wiggled and waggled. I pulled and pushed and jumped and got in the way. Mom said, “Here is your forever home.” and “You’re my new doggie.” and “This psycho mutt is trying to kill me!”

Zigging and zagging…

Then I went to obedience school so I could learn how to walk nicely on my leash. After 10 weeks of studying, I was a perfect walker with the best manners.

Well, maybe not perfect… It took a few more weeks before I stopped trying to chase cars, but eventually, I did.

Walking forward is a great skill to have. Looking forward is also a great skill to have. Mom and I do both. A lot.

There is a time to walk back, though. When Mom works on a story, she tries to keep it moving forward. Each day, she takes her characters a little further through the plot. Sometimes she knows exactly where the story is going. Sometimes, she is straight-up flying blind. But forward she goes day after day. When she gets to the end of the story, then it’s time to look back.

First the story gets to sleep for a while inside the computer.

Sleep is important for stories and for busy puppers…

After a week or two, Mom looks back and starts revising and editing the story. She goes back over it 9,000 times. She reads it out loud, makes changes, takes stuff out, adds stuff in, and moves stuff around. Sometimes she sends it to her critique group, sometimes to Rate Your Story. Sometimes she says, “I’m finished fussing with this thing.” And she starts a new story to do the same stuff all over again. Forward and back. Forward and back. This psycho-human is trying to kill me!

Five Word Friday

 

Today’s 5 words are from a story Mom is writing for the January 12×12 Challenge. The story isn’t finished, yet, but each day it gets closer to the end. In the 12×12 Challenge, she will be writing a story a month for the whole year!

16. Ladybug – I have never tasted a ladybug. But once, I ate a butterfly. It didn’t taste as good as it looked, but I ate it anyway. One day when Mom and I were hiking, a butterfly landed on my back. I didn’t eat that one, but he looked delicious.

42. Sidewalk – Our sidewalks are covered with rock salt. It was put there to fight off the 18 snowflakes that fell the other day.

Mom is threatening to put my boots on to protect my delicate, little feet. So far, she hasn’t done it. She’s settling for scrubbing them clean as soon as I come back inside.

Totally unnecessary!

9. Tiny – Sometimes, Mom writes tiny 100- or 200-word stories for magazines. Lately, none of them has been picked up, but they are still fun to write. One really tiny one was rejected yesterday, in fact, so things are going along as usual.

Sometimes, I am very tiny…

87. Flying – Mom is flying through her Storystorm Challenge this month. She has to make a list of 30 picture book ideas in 31 days. And guess what – she already HAS 30 ideas! All the rest of the days and ideas are just gravy. (Mmmmm… gravy…) Each day, she reads a blog post and it helps her get an idea. Or two. Or six.

33. Legs – Mom keeps her writing-legs in shape by practicing. She reads, writes, revises, edits, submits, and critiques. Her writing-legs stay strong, so when Book #2 comes along she will be ready to run with it. I keep my doggie-legs strong by running, sliding, climbing, begging, and jumping a lot.



Mom worries that my fat little meatloaf body will get too big for my skinny, stick legs. She weighs me every week to check for fatness.

23.5 – Not bad…

Sometimes, I am put on treat restriction.

24! Blerg!

Snow pea? Seriously??

 

 

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words come from a story that Mom is revising this week.

6. Trash – I have always wished I could figure out how to get pizza crusts, eggshells, napkins, banana peels, and many other delicious things out of the garbage pail.

Let me in. I know there are chicken bones in there. Why am I so tiny?

I love trash! Mom doesn’t love trash, especially when one of her stories ends up in the trash bin on her computer. If she starts a story and then gets stuck, she sets it aside for a while, works on other things, and then goes back to it. If it still stinks and it’s still going nowhere, she trashes it and starts over.

If she put a little jelly on that trash, I’d help her out with that. Mmmmm. Jelly.

14. Flop – Mom reads tons of picture books. Some fly and some flop.

When she reads a flop, she says, “Ugh. I want that 5 minutes back!” The weather is getting colder here, so I can’t take as many street naps as I did in the summer.

Even when it’s way too cold, I still flop down and give it a shot. Mom says, “If you’re wearing a sweater, it’s too cold to sit on the ground.” When I ignore her, she says, “Ugh. I want that 5 minutes back.”

8. Outside – I love outside. There are squirrels, leaves, acorns, grass, and dog friends.

I also love inside. There are toys, treats, trash, my blankie, and Mom. Sometimes it’s tough to choose.

74. UsefulCritique groups are useful. Mom’s group called LindaVijiConnieJenandOtherJen help her get ideas, change ideas, and fix ideas that stink.

5. Sneakers – Mom wears sneakers, but they do not make her fast at all. When we walk down the hall at our house, she is so slow! I have to show her how to get us home (and out of the scary hallway) in a more efficient way.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“Ever tried and failed? No matter. Try again and fail better.”

~Samuel Beckett~

Of course, Mom wants me to say I try and fail all the time. But that’s not true. I don’t really try at all. I’m usually phoning it in. So when I fail, that’s the reason.

And when I fail better, it’s random luck.

Mom on the other hand tries. Lately, she’s been working on old and new stories and submitting them to Rate Your Story

Could be better (1), but could be worse (10).

and to her critique group named LindaVijiJenConnieandOtherJen. When they write to her about her work, they always say what’s not clear, what to cut, what to tighten, what to add, and what to change. Then Mom is able to fail better. But only until she succeeds.

Meanwhile she has small successes along the way like seeing her new stories get more focused on their themes. And she gets to see her old stories go off in new directions.

My progress goes in many different directions. I’ve recently changed my street nap technique when the street burned my butt. #fail

I moved to the sidewalk. Mom said, “This isn’t much better.” and “Still embarrassing.” and “Why can’t you be normal?”

When she takes me out to eat, I’ve stopped hiding under her chair, tripping the waitress, and sitting in the water bowl. #fail

Now I just beg for food because sharing is caring. And Mom shares!


At the park, I still hide under the bench, but sometimes, I come partway out to catch some sunshine and say hi to some park people.

Mom said, “What are you afraid of?” and “Want to play?” and “I feel like I’m being watched.”

 

 

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s 5 words were taken from Mom’s newest story. The story is finished, but not finished. It’s resting until she opens it again to change things – especially the ending. Mom likes when her stories end with a laugh or a gasp or a smile

or an unexpected pop. When she tucked this one away, the ending was more of a fizzle. Not cool.

Z-z-z-z-z-z…..

16. Wiggle – Stories usually wiggle around from place to place to keep the reader guessing. I usually wiggle around soaking up the street heat and getting dirt into my furs.

42. Giggle – Ending a story with a giggle is always a goal for Mom. Sometimes it takes a few tries or a little advice from her critique partners. I don’t giggle, but I am pretty good at making people smile.

9. Color – Stories should have color: colorful characters, colorful language, colorful pictures, and a long colorful life in the hands of children. Since we have lots of color in our home

and our lives,

Mom hopes to transfer that color to her work every day.

82. Sun – I love sunshine. It makes me feel like taking a street nap,

hitting the park,

or just basking.

5. Broom and dustpan – Because of my white furs, and apparently my spitting, drooling, sneezing, and floor-licking, Mom uses her broom and dustpan a lot. Also her microfiber mop, Swiffer Sweeper, big vacuum, small vacuum, Swiffer Duster, sponge mop, dustcloths, and Mr.Clean Magic Eraser.

Filthy??? Who? Me?

She thinks I have a problem. I think she has a problem.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

~Ray Bradbury~

Thinking is SO overrated. I avoid it at all costs. Mom asks me “What were you thinking?” all the time. I try to tell her, “Nuthin'” but I’m not sure she understands. What is she thinking I’m thinking? She needs to stop thinking.

Captured under a walker?

Nuthin’…

Head caught in a shopping bag?

Nuthin’…

Squished under a chair?

Nuthin’…

Too close to the edge?

Nuthin’…

It’s really pretty simple, actually. Don’t think. Just do.

Mom is doing things these days, too. Just doing. Not thinking. She’s partway through a new story and partway through a new poem. And she submitted a couple of things last week, too. She found them in the computer, fixed them up all shiny and new and sent them on their way out into the world for people to judge. She will do the same when she gets to the end of her latest story and poem. First she will make sure there’s enough conflict and a surprise ending twist. Then off they go. Not thinking is fun.

Except when you head face first into the sticker bush by the lake….

Ouch. Not fun…