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

Posts tagged ‘character’

Five Word Friday

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Today’s five words come from one of Mom’s new stories.

16. Gum – I love gum. Yes, it’s true that I have never had gum and Mom says I never will, but I’m pretty sure I love it. Gum hides in Mom’s purse sometimes and once in a while it’s in the grocery bag, or in drawers that I can’t reach.

can't reach

8. Crashing – I crash land a lot. It happens when I run and slide and when I try to fly across the room or leap onto something I can’t reach. Mom crashes when a story or poem she wrote gets rejected. After her crashes she rallies by making revisions and trying again. After my crashes,  I run to Mom and beg for a treat to make me feel better.

cookie

720. Eggs – Once Mom wrote a poem about an egg that wasn’t an egg. It was really just a rock. So yeah. She wrote a poem about a rock. That’s how rejection happens… I’m just sayin’. I like to collect toys and things (like Mom’s glasses) and tuck them under my tummy on the couch. I try to hatch them like eggs. So far, nothing has hatched.

hatching

47. Tricks – I know lots of tricks. I can roll, bowl,

bowling pins

high five, sniff out a hidden treat, knock down a pile of paper cups,

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and of course, dance.

Mom uses tricks a lot in her writing. She tries to make interesting characters have unusual goals, encounter a bunch of obstacles, and in a tricky ending, she surprises the reader.

cups down

knock em down

5. Sleep – I sleep in Mom’s bed. She says, “Move over, chubby.” and “How can such a tiny dog take up so much space?” and sometimes, “This is my worst story ever. It will put editors to sleep!”

Seriously. A whole poem about a rock?

Seriously, though. A whole poem about a rock?   Z-z-z-z-z…

 

 

 

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.

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Plopped on a bench.

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Placed on a chair.

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Pulled from a street nap.

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Propped on a rock.

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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.”

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and “It’s tougher to fix it.”

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

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Leash! GAH!

Taking Your Time

Mom has to take her time when she makes a story. It’s OK to write it quickly, but then comes the hard work, which is revising, and that part is slow. Fixing the word choices in poems or stories makes the right mood and the right voice and the right feel. In her Lyrical Language Lab Class, Mom learned to look again at every word in a story to make it sound better and flow better without slowing the story down or going off on a tangent.

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Sometimes I get off on a tangent when I’m checking my pee-mail.

sniffing

When I’m sniffing out a message, I will say, “This is from my friend, Mocha.” and “I wish I could jump on his head right now.” and “His mom always says the furs on my head are soft.” and “My squirrel toy is really soft.”

squirrel

and “I wonder if that laughing monkey toy is out of the toy box waiting for me.”

monkey

and “Squirrels look like monkeys running around in the trees.” and “Trees are…..”

monkey cuddle

And then Mom says, “Let’s go.” and “Let’s GO!” and “LET’S GO!!” Apparently, sniffing the same blade of grass all day is not an option for me.

still sniffing

I am learning to take my time when I eat my dinner. I didn’t learn it in Lyrical Language Lab – it’s because of my new slow-feeder bowl!

Summer Learning

There has been some learning going on around here lately. Mom taught me the word, “Roll over.” It’s something like, “Down.” But more squiggly and flippy and thumpy and spinny. At first, Mom grabbed as many of my little legs as she could and twisted them like spaghetti till she got me upside down. Then I learned to tuck my back legs under and make myself turn to stone, so she couldn’t roll me. tucked under Eventually, she learned to show me a treat which made me melt into submission. That is called Learning. Plus Bribery. Mom said, “Whatever works.” and “By the time you learn this, you’ll be too fat to do it.” and “I need a break.” Then she made a s’more and didn’t share it with me. smore Mom will be learning around here, too. She joined Summer School! badge She’ll be studying online with two amazing teachers, a talented group of guest teachers, and a Facebook group filled with classmates. In Summer School, she’ll think up new characters. Then, she’ll grab their little legs and twist them like spaghetti till they squiggle, flip, thump, and spin. squiggle Then she’ll make a story about them. The bribery won’t work, so she’ll have to read a lot of posts, talk to herself, pay attention to her teachers, and be inspired. After that, she’ll probably make a s’more and not share it with me.

Seriously??!

Seriously??!

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Here I am – at the beach!

sand

There’s sand and sun and sand and sand and sun….

sand field

And fences and bases and benches and grass. Wait! What? This isn’t the beach. It’s the baseball field at the park.

sand fence

It sure seemed like the beach, though…. I guess I should’ve asked more questions before I got into the car.

car

Mom asks her characters questions when she’s writing. I know because she asks them out loud. She needs to know their strengths and weaknesses, favorite things and pet peeves, best friends and secret thoughts. Sometimes characters seem perfect for Mom’s story, but then, when she gets to know them better, she cuts them because they just plain don’t work. Sometimes, they fit better in a different story, so Mom moves them. Or saves them for the future. Once in a while, they change the course of the story they’re in, by not behaving the way Mom thought they would. Characters can be tricky like that.

Things are not always what they seem. When I lived in a cage, Mom thought I was too small, too old, too nervous, and just all wrong for her. Turns out, I’m perfect.

perfect

Countdown Wednesday

Today, Mom and I are counting down about advice.

Advice I Get

3. Be Quiet – Mom says this word when the mailman comes. Ditto the FedEx and UPS guys. She clearly does not know these people are here to kill me. I must sound the alarm.

2. Don’t pull – Mom tells me this word when I am smelling delicious things outside, and checking my pee-mail. She clearly does not know that if I don’t quickly eat the goose candies in the grass, one of my dog friends might get them and I will miss out.

muddy

1. Fetch it – It took me a long time to understand this advice. I finally learned what it means. For any of my friends struggling with fetching, the secret to it is the bring-back. Do not get the ball, bring it on the couch, and try to hatch it like an egg.

fetch

Nailed it. Wait. What??

That is apparently not fetching. Bring it back to Mom and GET A TREAT. That’s fetching.

Advice Mom Gets

3. Add Conflict – People don’t like conflict. Especially Mom. But in a story, conflict is good. So are suspense, action, problems, unexpected obstacles, surprises, and other kinds of trouble. I like trouble.

broken barrel

I don’t think the monkey will pop out of the barrel and laugh at me anymore…. RIP laughing monkey.

2. Find Your Voice – Each time she starts a new story (at least once a month), Mom has to find her picture book voice. Voice helps the book sound unique and different from other books. Voice shows Mom’s characters looking at the world in their own special way.

shadow

1. Focus on Character – Mom usually writes stories that are plot, plot, plot. Lately, she is trying to take the advice she’s received about developing character, character, character. Susanna Hill’s Picture Book Magic class helped her a lot with that. Now Mom can get to know her characters before they start living in her story.

sunshine-award

 

Speaking of living, two of my bloggy friends gave me the Sunshine Award, recently. I think it’s the perfect time of year for this award, since the snow is finally gone, and any minute now, the sun will shine and I will take a street nap.

street nap

A big, sunny thank you to Collies of the Meadow and The Squeak Life for sharing this prize with me. If you feel like you need a smile, visit them. They’re a guaranteed giggle. And if you want to celebrate the sunshine, take this award and post it to your own blog.

Hidden

Spring is finally coming. Things that have been hidden under the snow are coming back. Look! It’s a coffee cup!

dd cup

Mom’s new story was hidden under the snow in her brain. Every single day, when she started working on it, she gave it a new title, made a list of new characters, decided on a new theme, and gave them new goals to accomplish, new problems to solve, and different obstacles to overcome.

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It’s a good thing spring is coming. Mom’s hidden story is coming back. It’s her third day working with the same title, the same theme, the same characters, and they have the same goals, problems, and obstacles as they had yesterday.

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I think spring has sprung….

Look! It’s a banana!

peel

I wonder if the black bananas taste better than the yellow ones….

And a ginger ale bottle.

gingerale

And my beehive is back from under the snow!!

hive

Hello, old friend…