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

Archive for the ‘revising’ Category

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.
 ~Meister Eckhart~

Erasing is easy when you’re a writer who uses the computer. Mom is all Tap. Tap. Tap. 

And bingo, things she doesn’t want in her story are gone for good. And replaced by something better. It’s important that writers don’t get too attached to the words they write because anything may need to go at any given time.

Some of Mom’s critique partners thought one part of her latest story was too mean for little kids. Mom took a deep breath and erased two whole paragraphs of meanness. Now the story is nicer.

Being nice is…. um… nice!

Mom had to erase our balcony flowers already.

‘Nuff said.

They’ve been replaced with something better (and more alive).

I’m glad erasing can’t happen to me. I’d have been gone for good a long time ago. Mom might have replaced me with a better doggie! Whenever she brushes me, she says, “Now you look pretty.” and “Maybe you’ll stop shedding all over the place.” and “I’m going to make a new dog out of all this hair and THROW YOU IN THE GARBAGE.” Gah! She can’t do that. Can she…?

Mom has to erase my furs from the floor and rugs all the time. Also my drool.

Eeeuuwwww!

And crumbs. And the spit marks I make when I lick the floor.

I don’t mind when she erases them. I can always make more.

And more.

And more…

 

 

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Birthday

I wish (for Mom’s sake) that this was a post about a Book Birthday. It’s been flat-out ages since we’ve had one.But it’s not. She’s still a writer, though. She gets ideas, writes brand new stories, fixes up ratty old stories, works with her critique group, submits stories to publishers, agents, and Rate Your Story, and does author visits at schools. That’s pretty much what writers do, so there’s that.

The birthday today, is MINE. Actually, I’m counting this whole week as my birthday week. On September 25th, I turned 11 years old. I got to wear my birthday balloon/cupcake dress,

and got a new stuffed bunny with FIVE squeakers.

Mom enjoys it a lot and says the word, “Look at the cute bunny!” and “Do you like your new toy?” and “Stop it! SHUT THAT THING UP!” That’s good… Right…? She likes it so much that sometimes she threatens to throw it in the garbage. Wait. What?

Also, there was cake – whipped cream, strawberries, custard, the whole 9 yards.

For my birthday road trip, we went for a ride to the reservoir where I had a staring contest with a baby turtle, and met lots of people who petted me and said I was cute.

Get serious, turtle. I have never lost a staredown.

For Mom’s birthday writing time, she revised an old story about a birthday party gone wrong. She said that maybe my birthday will bring it some good luck.

I could use some luck, here, right about now…

My birthday has been so amazing that I’m planning to turn 11 again next year! Plus, when I blew out my candle (I think Mom did the actual blowing because the flame scared me), I wished for a Book Birthday real soon.

Nom, nom, nom…

 

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s 5 words come from the story Mom is revising right now. Soon, these words might not even be in the story anymore. Who knows? She might revise them right out!

61. Dinner – I eat Morning Dinner and Nighttime Dinner. I like them both equally. Plus I like treats, crumbs, floorfood, sharing table food with Mom, and stealing food from bags, purses, and pockets. Also, if I could figure out how to open the garbage pail, I would never be hungry again.

14. Furniture – All our furniture is settled and arranged in our new apartment. I am allowed on the furniture.

Sometimes, Mom calls me the name of “Filthy” and “NutJob” and “Seriously? More Drool on the Couch?”

479. Crinkle – In the old days of writing with pencil and paper, Mom would wrinkle and crinkle and tear up the papers with mistakes on them. They all got tossed in the trash. Computer writing is different. It’s quieter, simpler, and neater. Find, Replace, Cut, and Delete make no sound at all. Neither does the Recycle Bin. They’re loud as a 747 in Mom’s head, though.

8. Fixing – Fixing first drafts is serious business for a writer. Mom’s first drafts are usually way too long, way too rambling, with way too many pointless passages, and never enough conflict or rising action. My most useful rising actions are begging,

giving a high five, and dancing.

5. Reward – There are many types of rewards. When I do my therapy work at the Veteran’s Home, the old soldiers always say thank you to Mom and me for coming to visit them.

Who’s next?

(Sometimes, they also say I’m pretty.)

I know…. Right…?

Mom says thank you to THEM because seeing them smile and hearing THEIR stories is our best reward.

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.

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are about communicating.

16. Kids – Kids can be great communicators. When Mom visited a couple of schools  this month, kids talked to her a lot. Sometimes they asked questions like, “How long does it take to write a story?” and “How many stories have you written?” and “On Sunday, my Uncle Peter’s toilet overflowed!”

2. Kids – Lots of the kids made Mom thank you notes to say “Thank you for coming to our school.” and “We loved your book.”

and “My baby brother has a car seat with bunnies on it.”

73. My Face – Mom says my face communicates NOTHING.

It’s blank.

All the time.

She says, “Are you hungry?” and “Do you need to go out?” and “What? What?!! WHAT???”

What?

6. Body Language – I sometimes communicate through body language. When I’m scared, I shiver and tuck my tail between my legs. When Mom tries to put my boots on, I play dead and flop down on my pillow.

Also, my feet turn as mushy as pudding. Mom calls me the name “PuddingPaws.”

5. Show Don’t Tell – Everybody who’s anybody says writers must SHOW what’s happening in a story. Don’t just TELL it. That helps the reader stay engaged and gets them to do a little work while they’re reading. They will also feel closer to the characters in the story and more invested in the plot. Sometimes I need to SHOW Mom that she has put my food bowl too high for me to reach.

What’s my dinner doing up here?

Then she TELLS me I have to wait.

Seriously??

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Mom is working on 3 different stories that she’s not crazy about. She is certain that they WILL get better, just like Janet says they will, so she keeps going back and forth from one to the other and moving them forward. Paws crossed that they’ll get better real soon.

Packing for our move to the new apartment is also coming along. Mom is feeling on top of the whole thing and not frazzled at all.

Wait. What? Uh…. Mom? A little help here, please…

I’m on top of everything, too….in my own way.

Mom works on one story and when she gets stuck, she switches to another one till she gets stuck. Then she switches again and works on the third one for a while. Little by little, things are getting done.

Around here, Mom also goes from one thing to another. She empties a cabinet and then switches to the bookshelf and packs up some of that stuff. Then she switches again and packs up the stuff in a desk drawer. Little by little, things are getting done.

With my help, of course…

Mom mind-writes about her stories, too, so by the time she sits down to write, she knows a few ideas to help her get going.

I mind write in my special doggie way.

And when I wake up I have LOTS of ideas to help me get going.

I smell gum.

What?

I smell cookies.

I smell outside.