“Education is learning what you didn’t know you didn’t know.”
I’m pretty sure Mom doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. That’s probably because she thinks she knows everything. At least that’s how she acts sometimes!
Recently she signed herself up for a webinar called Picture Books in Focus, so I think she’s ready to learn something new. Ugh. Now she’ll REALLY think she knows it all! She says she’s hoping to learn how to focus and structure her stories better. Maya Angelou says, “When you know better you do better.” So, I guess that’s what Mom is after, because who doesn’t want to do better?!
I ALWAYS learn new things. Mostly because I forget what I knew yesterday. I can sit
and come and lie down and roll over.
I can beg
and high five and give my paw and dance.
I also knock down bowling pins
and pyramids of paper cups
and sniff out hidden dental treats when Mom says, “Find it.”
In case I accidentally forget one of my tricks,
Mom practices it with me till I remember.
Two tricks I don’t know and can’t seem to learn are fetch and hide and seek. When Mom hides from me, she stands there quietly like an idiot and I never bother looking for her. I just wait till she gets bored and comes out on her own. When she tells me to fetch something, I usually bring it on the couch and try to hatch it like an egg.
I wonder if there’s a webinar for that!
Today, Mom and I are counting down about favorites.
3. Eating is my favorite activity. Sometimes, Mom adds chicken pieces to my kibbles. Sometimes, she puts in some carrots or green beans. If she gives me plain kibbles, I look at her like…
Plain kibbles are not OK.
That’s more like it!
2. My favorite place to sleep is in Mom’s bed. I am very cuddly in that thing. Plus, I like to stay under the covers. Waaaay under the covers.
1. My favorite toy is….
Um…. GAH! I love them all!
3. Morning is Mom’s favorite time to work on writing stories. She dreamed that she would do all her writing in her pajamas,
but she can’t manage it. She flies out of bed and dives into the shower at the crack of dark, and then gets dressed so we can go for a walk.
2. Mom loves both her published stories – her print book –
and her eBook –
but her favorite pre-published books are named Ballet Secret and Cupcake Learns. She always wants one of them to become the elusive Book#2. So far… Nope.
1. Mom’s favorite part of being an author is school visits. She loves reading stories to kids and talking to them about writing and being an author. Sometime soon, I plan to go to school with her…
Backpack, books, apple for the teacher… I’m ready!
I love children (and also wet cement, but that’s another story for another time.). Mostly children are just my size. I love to taste them and snuggle up next to them (and also hump them, but that’s another story for another time.).
I see children at the library when they come to tell me stories at Read to a Pet Night.
Sometimes they taste like gum. And mac and cheese. A lot of them choose doggie books which I appreciate.
But I’m a good girl and listen politely, even when the book is about a C-A-T or FlyGuy or ToyStory.
Sometimes, I see children at the VA when they are visiting an old soldier that they know and love. I mean what’s not to love about an old soldier? They’re adorable. And more importantly, they think I’m adorable. #thingsthatmatter
Mom writes stories for children. Long ago, she took a class and tried to write an adult story. It FELT horrible when she was doing it, it SOUNDED horrible when she read it to herself, and everybody she read it to said it WAS horrible. So yeah. I guess spending 35 years surrounded by children makes your head work in a certain way that’s tough to fight and impossible to change.
She is always careful about what she writes and how she writes it because just like when she was a teacher, she wants children to remember her words in a good way that will stick with them (like cement) and make them grow up into better humans.
Mom has not forgotten about her dark-of-night challenge.
She has started her story and is wondering if it will ever make it to the night. So far, no. But her character named Martin might take it that way eventually… I’m hoping so, for Mom’s sake. And hoping not for mine. And Martin’s.
I don’t like dark. Or storms. Or night. Our house is rarely ever completely dark. It has TV light ALL the time and a hundred night lights that switch on automatically as soon as night tries to sneak in.
Day is my favorite time. I’m all about sunshine and sparkle and bright and light.
Mom’s favorite time is morning. She is always up and att’em early. That’s her best time to write and her best time to do most everything – clean, swim, get ideas, take me for a walk, meditate, and cook.
Ugh… Not yet!
Her stories usually take place during the daytime. That is part of what is called setting. It sounds like sitting,
but apparently it’s not. When Mom said she was working on setting, I said, “…so am I!”
Anyway, dark is scary and Mom doesn’t usually write scary things. But she has a challenging plan for herself. The next story she writes will take place at night or in a dark place.
Mom doesn’t have her next story idea, yet, but she will check her lists and choose an idea or two that she can mix together and take to the night. I typically like helping Mom work,
but if there’s anything dark involved…
She’s on her own.
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.
I smell cookies.
I smell outside.
“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”
~Orson Scott Card~
Story ideas. Aargh. This month is all about ideas for Mom on account of StoryStorm. She was hoping to have 30 ideas by the 30th, and she is pretty flush with 39 so far. Way ahead of the game.
Still she continues to read the StoryStorm posts every morning and she adds an idea or two to her list, depending on what the post says to do.
Probably about 5 or 6 of the ideas on the list will turn into something. Maybe it will be exactly the something we need to finally see Book 2 or e-Book 2. Paws crossed.
It’s not only humans who walk past ideas every day. Just this morning, I walked past a McDonald’s bag that might’ve had a piece of burger in it.
A stick that fell in the storm.
And a cat waiting to kill me while he was hiding under a car.
Mom said, “No litter-burgers.” and “That’s not a stick. It’s half of a tree.”
and “Don’t even think about it.” Also, “Why do I take you anywhere?” She says that one a lot.
So if that Orson Card guy is right, I still have 997 ideas to walk past today. I’d better get back out there and get busy! Maybe I’ll catch a little nap first….
There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
William Somerset Maugham
First of all, I love this guy. How could I not? His name is W. Somerset Mom. And just like Mom, he talks about rules. Mom has a lot of rules for me. Here are the top three:
14. Keep off the bed after it’s made.
6. Always put the toys back in the toy box.
97. Don’t eat garbage.
Somethin’ smells good…
3. No begging.
Mom doesn’t know the novel rules any better than Maugham does. Ditto the picture book rules.
I mean she knows there needs to be a great opening, unpredictable characters, conflict, voice, rising action, increasing obstacles, excitement, humor, emotion, lyrical language, plot twists, surprises, and of course a satisfying ending.
Sometimes, when she reads picture books – which she does A LOT,
she says the word, “What? There’s no conflict here.” and “Aargh. That was SO predictable.” and “Get off the bed!”
and “Ugh. Worst ending ever.” and “Meh.” and “Don’t even think about it!”
So apparently, there are rules and there is reality. It’s tough to know what an editor will like. It’s much easier to know what Mom will like.