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

Posts tagged ‘characters’

Waiting

It’s tough to wait. Waiting to have time to write, waiting to get an idea, waiting to hear what the characters want to do, waiting for a story to be finished – They’re all tough.

Waiting for a response from a publisher or an agent – also tough. But Mom does it. All writers do.

Sometimes she waits by reading picture books at home. Sometimes, she visits the bookstore.

She talks to kids and listens to kids. She does work with her critique group online. And of course, she watches TV. That’s a great waiting activity – especially this time of year.

Mom always has the choice of playing with me while she waits. I like practicing my tricks and walking around the neighborhood

and napping.

And of course, I watch TV. And I watch Mom watch TV.

Fascinating!

For the next couple of weeks I will be waiting in overdrive. Waiting for Santa!

I hope he brings treats and toys and maybe a new dress for me. I’m sure most of my furfriends and humanfriends are also waiting for Christmas. And if The Big Guy brings an opportunity for Mom, that would be good, too. Either way, the working and playing and talking and listening and practicing and napping and watching and waiting will continue…

C’mon, Santa!

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Walking

Walking is a good way for Mom to tidy up her head and make room for ideas.

lightbulbThere are always interesting things to investigate on a walk. We walk at lots of different parks,

verona-stump

and also the reservoir,

reservoir walk

the 9/11 memorial,

IMG_7793

and the playing field.

#netfail

Other times we walk right in our neighborhood. Either way, walking is fun.
Mom likes it for the pretty flowers,
rosecrazy leaves, fresh air,
The fresh air is blowing my ear upside down!

The fresh air is blowing my ear upside down!

and exercise.
Sort of....

Sort of….

The change of scenery helps Mom hear what her characters are trying to tell her, see where her story is going, and figure out what might happen when she asks herself, “What if….”
I like it for the leftovers that somebody forgot in the parking lot,
Don't eat it.

It’s called a doggie bag for a reason.

the acorns,
Unless you're a pig or a donkey, those are not food.

Unless I’m a pig or a donkey, acorns are apparently “not food.”

the candy papers,

Halloween is not over...

the lost glove,

Somebody will be looking for this when it gets cold...

the mud puddle,
The mud puddle leads directly to the bathtub.

Stepping in the mud leads directly to the bathtub.

and the delicious poison that the lawn guys left for me.
The poison leads directly to the vet...

The poison leads directly to the vet…

Here’s hoping our walks lead directly to Book #2. Or indirectly to Book #2. Or to eBook #2. Or to McDonald’s for an ice cream cone.

helping eat the ice cream

 

Characters

Writers pretend a lot. Mom deals with pretend characters every time she sits at the computer. Characters can be tough to pin down. Just when Mom thinks she knows them, they take off in directions she didn’t expect. They can go caveman,

cavedog

nurturer,

nurse

superhero,

costume

evil,

devil

or sweet.

fairy

I can also go off in unexpected directions. I can go lazy,

belly-up-streetnap

friendly,

cupcake-and-gracie

relaxed,

bench-relaxing

happy,

happyface

confused,

blanket-mixup

or annoyed.

Why?

Why?

Mom keeps me on a leash everywhere we go, so I won’t go off and get lost. She does her best to keep me under control. Even though I am unpredictable, she does a better job with me than she does with her story characters.

weeds

Busy Working Hard

Mom and I have been working hard.

img_3764

Mom is working hard on two new stories, as usual.

typing

What’s so difficult about this?

She writes a little bit of each one each day. When she gets to the end of them, she will put them away for a while and then revise the heck out of them to make them tight with no extra words. She will make sure they open with action and end with a twist. She will try to show and not tell. She will move the characters from place to place and keep the action coming so they aren’t talking heads.

computer kid (2)

Then she will send her favorite one of them to her critique group friends to see what else she needs to work on.

I have been working hard too –  at the library…

img_3765…and at the veteran’s home.

fullsizerenderI have dressed up, listened to stories, sat on laps,

lap

and given kisses. If you don’t think that’s hard work, think again. Sometimes I can barely stay awake on the ride home.

sleeping-in-the-carBesides my therapy work, I have begged for coffee. And it paid off.

img_3779I begged for a pancake on my 10th birthday. And got one of my very own.

img_3731I even fought the dreaded soccer net. Again. And won (with some help from Mom).

img_3776It’s a good thing I am a ball of energy…

img_3818

 

sleep

sleepy-flag-dog

 

Countdown Wednesday

Mom reads a lot. She reads picture books,

book-pile

grown up books, blogs, websites, Instagram and Facebook posts,

ig

kiddie magazines, and of course CATalogs. *shiver* I don’t know how to read, but people read to me a lot. Today, Mom and I are counting down about reading.

My Reading Countdown

3. Read-to-a-Pet-Night – Kids come to the library to read to me at Read-to-a-Pet-Night. Sometimes they read dog books, which make me very happy.

happy-with-dog-bookSometimes they read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?. The purple cat scares me, but I try to be brave.

2. Waiting – When Mom is reading, I wait. Eventually, she finishes and then we play or cuddle or go to the park.

verona-stump

At Read-to-a-Pet-Night, I wait for a reader like a good girl – no crying, no playing with the other therapy pets, and no begging for treats when apparently I didn’t do anything to earn them.

Empty chair. Bummer...

Empty chair. Bummer…

8. Listening – When Mom works on her writing, she reads out loud to herself. I listen very carefully, in case there’s anything in there I need to know. Once, I heard the word “dog boots” which scared me because I hate my boots.

boots-and-bellyBut it made me happy at the same time because it meant Mom was writing about a dog!

Mom’s Reading Countdown

3. Read-to-a-Pet-Night – Mom has fun at Read-to-a-Pet-Night. She loves hearing the kids read stories. It reminds her of her teacher days, but without any of the teacher stress or responsibility.

tennis-dress-reading

Stress-free-chillin’. Like a boss…

2. Picture books – Mom reads 200 picture books every year. She rates them and keeps count of them on her Goodreads page. Sometimes she reads them at Barnes and Noble.

books-and-drinkSometimes she brings them home from the library and reads them our house. I help her choose the best ones.

This one!

This one!

74. Listening – Mom is always listening for story ideas. She listens extra hard to moms and kids. She learns names, interests, slang, quirks, and speech patterns from them. She never knows when something will kick in and give her a new story idea. Meanwhile, I can give her all the story ideas she needs…

Me.

Me.

Me.

Me.

ME!

ME!

 

 

Unexpected

Stories should always include the unexpected – unexpected events, unexpected characters or characters traits, unexpected plot twists, and of course unexpected endings. Mom is working on endings to three stories right now, and she’s revising two more stories at the same time. That’s a LOT of surprises, but predictably, she’s plugging along and trying not to be predictable.

surprise

Things in my life are always unexpected. Mom says it’s because my brain is so tiny, it can’t store things from the past. So every day, I act like I was just born. Personally, I think that’s a GREAT way to live!

Hullo....

Hullo….

When I smell bacon, I can’t always remember how to find the source of it. Where can it be? In the car? Across the street? Bacon mystery…. Hmmm….

bagel shop

Mom bought me a new blanket-bed. It seemed easy enough to figure out the first day.

understanding the bed

Then I forgot how it worked.

not understanding the bed

My positions are unexpected, but any way I twist it – it works. Confusing blanket-bed…. This seems right….

really not understanding the bed

This past weekend, I was surprised to discover that I was going along on an unexpected road trip to Mom’s BFF’s yard sale.

bench

No wonder my travel crate was in the living room for a couple of days.

cratecrate2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got to play outside in the yard for a long time, and then I rested in the shade on the porch.

porch crate

Can you see me keeping cool?

And VERY predictably, I napped all the way home. Surprise road trip… Yay…

car nap

Lots of times, Mom drives through McDonald’s and gets me an ice cream cone.

ice cream cone

Actually, she gets it for herself, but she shares it with me.

helping eat the ice cream

Some days at the drive thru, things get unpredictable and we drive out with a salad! Or coffee!! Or a cup of oatmeal!!!

wheres the ice cream

Wait. What?

Usually, unpredictability is good. Sometimes it’s bad. Very, very bad.

Hey! Where's my ice cream?

Hey! Mister! Where’s my ice cream?

Hidden

Sometimes, when Mom writes a story, it’s not the story she meant to write. When stories jump from her head to her hands to her computer, bad things can happen.

computer kid (2)

The stories can go on and on and on. And on. The plot can go off track. The focus can go away…

blurry

… and then come back again.

clearsleeper

And then go away again.

blurrybedCharacters can refuse to do what she wants them to do. BAD things can happen.

Remember this...?

Remember this…?

The story from Mom’s brain might be in there somewhere, but it’s hidden. When Mom gets to the end, she says, “It’s twice as long as it should be.” and “This sounded better in my head.” and “Where’s your other boot?”

missing boot

It snowed last weekend in my neighborhood. EVERYTHING was hidden under 28 inches of that cold, white stuff. I was hidden under the hood of my pink parka.

hood problem

Who turned out the lights?

My beautiful paws were hidden in boots to protect them from cold. And rock salt.

boots are killing me

A sofa near the dumpster was hidden under a snow drift.

sofa

After a couple of days, I found some grass that was hidden near a disconnected snowplow that was hidden behind a building.

plow

A long time ago, I found a soggy potato chip bag hidden under the snow. So far, try as I might, I haven’t found any buried food.

looking in snow

Maybe when Mom is finished searching for the elusive, amazing story from her head, we’ll take a walk and see if there’s an elusive, amazing McDonald’s wrapper hidden under the snow. Or maybe I’ll just rest for a little while…

clearbed