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

Posts tagged ‘revising’

Not What It Seems

In the three months we’ve lived in our new apartment, Mom and I have seen lots of deer,

a million birds, a ton of chipmunks, a spider, a bee,

*not the actual bee*

and three dead snakes.

*actual snake corpse*

Once I was in the dog park and there was a little brown dog in there with me. I wanted to play with him, but he kept ignoring me. When I sniffed him, he smelled like laundry detergent. Mom said, “Get it!” and “Fetch it!” and “Ugh. Why do I bother?”

What’s up with this guy?

This week, we ALMOST saw another dead snake, but then when we got closer, it was a shoelace.

Things are not always what they seem!

Recently, Mom got a critique of one of her stories.

The main suggestion was to “try putting some humor in.” GAH! She already thought there WAS humor in there!

Surprise! To her, it seemed funny, but it wasn’t what it seemed. Oh well. At least she knows what to work on.

First she will head to the library to read some of the books suggested to see the kind of humor she SHOULD have had in her story. Hopefully, she will be able to add in or switch out some of the events with the right humor that really IS what it seems.

Plus if we see another dead snake, I plan to roll on it and smear his guts all over my furs and smear my furs all over his guts. If I’m quick enough I may be able to pull it off this time. …unless it’s another shoelace.

*actual shoelace* Bummer…

 

 

 

Countdown Wednesday

Today, Mom and I are counting down about favorites.

My 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…

Seriously??

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!

Mom’s Favorites

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!

 

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.

 

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.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

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.

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6. Always put the toys back in the toy box.

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97. Don’t eat garbage.

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Somethin’ smells good…

3. No begging.

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Mom doesn’t know the novel rules any better than Maugham does. Ditto the picture book rules.

books

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.

books2

Sometimes, when she reads picture books – which she does A LOT,

books3she says the word, “What? There’s no conflict here.” and “Aargh. That was SO predictable.” and “Get off the bed!”

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and “Ugh. Worst ending ever.” and “Meh.” and “Don’t even think about it!”

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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.

img_4739

What?

Joining

I am not much of a joiner. I do join up with some of my therapy dog friends at the veteran’s home and the library. But we don’t play much. Apparently, that’s not what we’re there for…

This is what I'm here for...

This is what I’m there for…

I got some new toys and a new coat from Santa. They have now joined up with my old toys

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and my old coats and sweaters.

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And sometimes, I join Mom for dinner. That never ends the way I imagine it will.

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Wait. What?

Mom is more of a joiner than I am. Now that it’s a new year, she has joined StoryStorm,

storystorm_participant

The 12 Days of Christmas for Writers,

12-days-of-christmas

and Rate Your Story.

1

That means she will get 30 story ideas in 30 days, will watch videos every day for 12 days to be inspired and learn new things, and can send her stories to RYS for evaluation and critique.

She has also joined the GoodReads 2017 Reading Challenge, with plans to read 200 picture books this year.

2017-read

Maybe I will join her while she reads. There might be snacks….

*sigh*

*sigh*