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

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.

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!

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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??

 

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.

New Places

Mom is visiting two new places this week. She will speak at two schools that she’s never visited before. She has packed up her bag of supplies and box of goodies.

I smell gum...

I smell gum…

At school, she will talk and listen and read and ask and answer questions.

school visit

Somehow, she already knows it will be fun.

At home, I’ll be sad and lonely and possibly a little scared to be by myself. I will check out the window, listen by the door, bark at shadows and phantom sounds, and take 562 naps.

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Somehow, I already know it will NOT be fun.

Soon, Mom and I will be moving to a new place. She’ll be packing up bags and boxes and moving men will come and go a lot. I will try not to be afraid, but just in case, my safety crate is here.

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This will be our little balcony.

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And this will be our little dog park.

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Somehow, we both already know this will be a TON of fun.

 

Countdown Wednesday

123

Today we are counting down things we believe.

Things Mom Believes

35. Writing is a tough job. Being a teacher was a tough job, too. And so is being a college supervisor…. The bottom line is – I guess all jobs are tough. That’s why they’re called work and not a party.

THIS is a party!

THIS is a party!

 2. Book 2 and/or e-Book 2 will happen eventually. Learning her craft, writing a lot, reading a lot, and submitting sometimes is what writers do. Getting rejected a lot is also what writers do. So, Mom is doing what writers do. Mission accomplished.

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16. Author visits are fun. Mom has 2 school visits scheduled in the next few weeks. She believes they are one of the best parts of being an author. She will talk, read, ask and answer questions, and play games. Author visits are not my favorite.

...bye... SERIOUSLY??

…bye… SERIOUSLY??

Things I Believe

6. Watching The Puppy Bowl is a tough job.

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I am sure I could’ve made a hundred touchdowns, spiked the ball, the pig, the monkey, and the rubber chicken, and done the victory dance like crazy. If only I could figure out how to get inside the TV.

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Hullo…?

21. Read to a Pet Night will happen eventually. All I need to do is look cute, wait for Mom to get ready,

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be a good girl on my ParkIt Mat, and soon the kids will come and read to me.

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Mission accomplished.

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3. Snow is fun. I like walking and running in the snow, as long as it doesn’t touch my belly. Sometimes the snow gets crazy and blows my ears out like wings and makes my eyes get all squinchy. Slightly less fun, but aside from street nap weather, snow is my next favorite.

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