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

Archive for the ‘revising’ Category

Work in Progress

Around my neighborhood, there are a few works in progress. This vine is definitely a work in progress – trying to grow something. Mom says, “Maybe pumpkins.” I hope not. *shiver* Either way, the flowers are there, but it looks like it needs another year (or ten) before anything will pop out to scare the daylights out of me.


This pile of …. I don’t know what – is another work in progress. Sometimes it seems like road salt, but sometimes, it looks like mulch. I guess it’ll make up its mind eventually.


When Mom was a teacher, she used to stamp her kids’ first drafts with a rubber stamp that read, “Under Construction.”

under construction

The kids thought it was fun. Plus that stamp told them to work on revising and proofreading their stories for a little while longer so they would be ready to hang on the bulletin board.

This month, Mom is studying in Susanna Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class.

pb magic

Her new story is a work in progress and is under construction in a big way. Every morning, Susanna teaches Mom what to do next in order to have a finished story by the end of the month. Mom does each step and then posts it to their Facebook page so her classmates can see it and talk about it with her. She thinks it’s fun to have a work in progress that moves closer to completion every day.

Something else is a work in progress at our house. A whole box of orange snowball cakes.


Mom is trying hard to eat them all herself. I offered to help, but she said, “No thanks.” and “Dogs can’t eat chocolate.”


and “Your behavior is DEFINITELY under construction.”



Inspirational Quote of the Week

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.

Winston Churchill

Mom shows continuous effort in her writing. I guess writing for a little while each day is continuous effort…


Just when she thinks she’s getting better, somebody tells her the word, “Too easy.” and “Not enough conflict.” and “The solution came too fast.” She’s using her continuous effort to listen and change the way her stories end. And to unlock her potential. Life needs to be tougher for Mom’s characters.

Not so with me. Life is tough enough for this doggie! Exhibit A – My PupJoy subscription box came the other day. Right on my birthday!

birthday box

It was filled with toys, treats, and surprises. I looked closely…


and I sniffed and sniffed,


but the box remained closed up tight.


When Mom saw my helpless-hopeless-hapless-face, she got the box open and gave me the goodies. That guy, Winston has the right idea. I didn’t need any strength or intelligence at all to get that done.


Martian toy!

I’m still learning to be well-behaved – with continuous effort. Mom says I am not as “responsive” in my new harness as I am with my Martingale collar.


I think responsive is overrated. Look how cute I look!

Adorable? Yup.

Adorable? Yup.

No strength or intelligence needed here.

Watch me walk nicely, like a good girl, right next to Mom. Continuous effort…. Potential unlocked!

Five Word Friday

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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


Or hiking.


Or the reservoir.


Or to breakfast.


Inspirational Quote of the Week


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.


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

The car can lead to this…


or this…


or this…


or this…


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


Now and then the car leads to this…


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?”


Sometimes it flat out leads to this…


which leads to this…


which leads to this


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


Five Word Friday

5 cards

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.

tooth kiss2


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.

new window

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.

waiting in the window

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!

watching work

Helping. #notcreepy


Inspirational Quote of the Week

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

Leonardo DaVinci

I would love to be a doggie who “happened to things.” But unfortunately, most of the time, things happen to me. I blame this on my leash. One of Mom’s friends pointed out that in every single picture of me – there’s the leash. How can I make things happen when I’m tethered to Mom all the time?

Posed in front of the flowers.


Plopped on a bench.


Placed on a chair.


Pulled from a street nap.


Propped on a rock.


Plunked on an examining table.

vet table

This is an issue in some of Mom’s stories, too. Her characters are sometimes called “slight” because they aren’t doing enough. Things are happening to them, instead of them happening to things like Leonardo said. Mom has to look for this slightness every single time she works on a story. When she spots it, she has to fix it up to make the story more meaty and less slight.

Did somebody say "meaty?"

Did somebody say “meaty?”

Mom says, “It’s easy enough to spot this problem.”

ladybug (2)

and “It’s tougher to fix it.”


and “Do NOT dig a hole in that garden!”


Leash! GAH!

Five Word Friday


Looking over her stories, Mom is noticing she has three different kinds – some that aren’t ready yet, some that are old and worn out, and some that are just about right. Today’s five words are about growing and changing. It’s good for characters, good for stories, good for authors, good for butterflies, …and good for me.


1. Unripe – New stories need time to ripen up.

Ugh! Green and underdone.

Ugh! Green and underdone.

Whenever Mom finishes a story she tucks it away and doesn’t look at it or think about it for a few weeks. It sits in the computer until it gets ripe.

2. Learning – When Mom first adopted me, I apparently did not know how to conduct myself. She had to teach me A LOT of things. Plus she took me to obedience school so she could learn how to make me learn. Wait. What?

CGC diploma

3. Overripe – Some of Mom’s stories have been around for years and years. And YEARS. She has revised them and revised them and edited them and overhauled them and submitted them and revamped them. She’s done everything but run them over with her car.

dog in car

She hasn’t totally ruled that out because they’re going nowhere.

I think this one has been run over by a car...

I think this one has been run over by a car…

4. Waiting – Writers do a LOT of waiting. So do I. I wait for Mom to share her breakfast,

Did somebody say pancake?

Did somebody say pancake?

wait for her to come home, wait for her to go walking with me, wait for her to take me in the car, and wait for my dinner.


5. Just Right – Like the porridge, the chairs, and the beds in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, some of Mom’s stories are just right. They’re not too old and not too new. They’re not too long and not too short. They’re not too blah and not too way out there.


Perfect! May I eat it??


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