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

Posts tagged ‘writing class’

Inspirational Quote of the Week

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Writers are always looking for inspiration. Mom is no exception. The other day, Mom and I took a ride to Meadowlands Environment Center for inspiration. She likes to be in nature to clear out her head.

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Doggies like inspiration, too. I like to be in nature because it smells good!

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The GPS lady told us we had arrived at our destination.

Really?

Really?

Mom said naughty words about her because we had so NOT arrived at our destination.

This looks like a good place to get murdered.

This looks like a good place to get murdered.

Mom drove and complained and drove some more and complained some more and somehow found the place anyway.

Meadowlands

She was inspired by the beautiful flowers and the views and bunches of summer camp field trip kids scooping goop out of the swamp to study.”

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I was inspired by the smelly old swamp. I was pretty sure I could swim in there, but Mom said the word, “Time to go home and write.” and “Inspiration has to find me working.” and “Don’t even think about it.”

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Mom still only “works” for an hour a day, but she works very hard during that hour – doing her KidLit Summer School stuff, checking in on her critique group, and working on new things that she’s writing and old things that she’s fixing. I sure hope when Inspiration drops around it comes at the right time. Otherwise, it’ll find her eating a donut…

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…or watching TV or reading her Kindle or talking on the phone or God forbid giving me a bath.

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Help me…

 

 

Five Word Friday

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There’s some new stuff going on around here. Today’s five words are all about new stuff.

1. Toys. Mom bought me some new toy hot dogs for Fourth of July. Apparently, these were supposed to take the place of having a delicious REAL hot dog at a delicious ACTUAL barbecue.

Fun, but not delicious.

Fun, but not delicious.

68. Group. Mom joined a new online writing critique group. There’s a bunch of smarty, creative, friendly, and helpful people who will talk with Mom about her stories and their stories. It seems like fun, because who doesn’t love talking to smarty, creative, friendly, and helpful people. I wish I could sit on their feet, cuddle up with them, and lick their teeth. Yeah – that’s a thing, and I’m pretty good at it.

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33. Clothes. Mom and I had to stay away from the house for a few hours because of workmen putting in a new front window. Plus power tools and glass breaking could scare a little doggie. We spent some time looking around at the pet store. Mom picked out this new shirt for me. It tells a true fact.

97. Window. Our new front window works great.

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I can watch Mom leave and wait for her to come back. Also, Mom gets to wash my nose prints and spit off the glass every single day of her life.

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5. Summer School. Mom will start studying in Kidlit Summer School at the end of the month. Every day she will read posts, get ideas, do assignments, and share her work with her cyberclassmates. I’m hoping it’ll be fun for her. I know it’ll be fun for me because she has to stay here with me to do it. It’s school, but it’s home! Yay!

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Helping. #notcreepy

 

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.

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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.”

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

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

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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.

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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!

Five Word Friday

If you know me, you know I’m afraid of lots of things – golf carts, ladders, airplanes, soccer players, election signs, solar panels, and balloons to name a few…. Today’s 5 words are about FEAR.

1. Vocabulary – You should never be afraid of words. Mom is using a ton of new vocabulary in her Lyrical Language Lab. Words like: iamb, meter, dactyl, trochee, and anapest (anaPEST! That’s my name sometimes.)…

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The words scared Mom at first, but when she learned about them, they helped her. I know a lot of words, too. Mostly: treat, dinner, park, out, ice cream, and naughty.

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2. Fixing up – Mom fixes me up with the Fur-min-a-tor brush. When I’m afraid of the brush, I run around in circles until Mom is too dizzy to un-fur me. Mom works a lot on fixing up her stories after she writes them. She says, “Too long.” and “Too boring.” and “OMG! Where does all this hair come from??”

Blah. Blah. Blah. Where's my treat?

Blah. Blah. Blah. Where’s my treat?

3. Ticking – Mom uses a timer to help me wait for my dinner. She soaks my food in water for a half hour because I don’t like to chew. The clock ticks the whole time, and when it rings, my kibbles are soft enough to eat. The timer is TERRIFYING!

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I won’t stay in the room alone with it, so as soon as it’s set, I get next to Mom and follow her like a shadow. The clock is also ticking for Mom to finish her August 12×12 manuscript. She is studying so much at her 2 summer schools that the story is slowing down. Tick. Tick. Tick. *shiver*

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4. Characters – I am always trying to be a character in one of Mom’s stories. A few times I made it, but nobody bought the stories, so I’m afraid you’ll never read about me.

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I’m changing my look so Mom will write about me again, after she finishes studying characters at Kidlit Summer School.

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5. HidingHiding is a good strategy for when you’re afraid. Always get where nobody will see you and stay still.

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I’ll be fine here. I’m pretty sure I’m invisible….

 

Mom can’t hide her summer school work. Both of her teachers say, “Now put your homework on the Facebook page.” Mom says, “I hope this is right.” and “I can’t wait to see what my classmates did.” and “Where are you?”

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Invisible.

Unthinkable!

This is incredible! Unbelievable! Mind-boggling! Unthinkable! Inconceivable! It’s… it’s…. it’s… Summer School times TWO!

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Mom is smack in the middle of Kidlit Summer School

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and all of a sudden on August 1st Lyrical Language Lab started up.

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Do you see what’s happening here? She’s studying TWO summer schools at once! Reading stories, writing stories, reading poems, writing poems. It’s out of control!

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You’re probably wondering what I’m doing while all this reading and writing and writing and reading is going on. Nuthin’ that’s what.

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I just wait…

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and wait…

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and wait.

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For a whole HOUR – which feels like 2 hours or 8 hours or 67 hours. Ugh! Thank goodness Mom still sets the clock for her writing time, so when her iPad chimes, she can play with me again.

Anybody want to throw the squeaky corn on the cob toy? Anybody...?

Anybody want to throw the squeaky corn on the cob toy? Anybody…?

After what seems like 975 hours, we finally get to walk around outside, go to the park…

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and on Saturday (AFTER summer school), we even went to work at the Veteran’s Home so I could see all my old soldier friends and make them smile.

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Mom says, “I’m learning a lot.” and “School is fun.” and I say, “When the heck is summer VACATION!!??”

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Weekend Trouble

Weekends are for resting and chilling. Also riding in the car and playing with friends and walking at the park and going on the swings.

Weekends make me happy.

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This is my happy face.

There is no “writing time” on the weekends. No work allowed.

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This is also my happy face.

But all of a sudden, Mom is on the computer – burning daylight – reading and writing and printing and talking out loud to herself. badge Apparently there’s Summer School on Saturday and Sunday! Including homework and Facebook work! And I have to “stay quiet” and “be a good girl.” Wait. What? Huh??

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This is all wrong in at least 9 ways. Mom said, “It’ll only take a few minutes.” and “I will bang this out in no time.” and “Yes, that’s the doorknob. And no, I’m not ready to go.”

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How the heck does this thing work?

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??!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Frenzy

Sometimes, when I play with my monkey in a barrel, it puts me into a frenzy. There’s just too much going on! Too much to do. Too many possibilities. Bite the barrel? Tear off the lid? Growl at the talking? Rip the monkey’s face off? Chew his arm till he stops laughing? Shake the whole thing till I’m dizzy? I don’t know what to do first.

Since NewYears, Mom has also been in a frenzy. She’s not biting, tearing, growling, ripping, chewing, or shaking, like me. But she does have a lot going on, a lot to do, and a lot of possibilities. She may have bitten off more than she can chew. I’ve done that occasionally, too…. (And by “occasionally” I mean every day.)

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Gah! Why is my mouth so tiny?!

Mom has entered a ton of challenges, and made a bunch of goals for herself this year. She will read 200 picture books in the Goodreads Challenge again,

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she joined 12×12 for 2014, which means she needs to write a new first draft in the next few weeks,

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she’ll get 30 new ideas when PiBoIdMo starts,

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and she will write 30 poems this year.

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In between all those jobs (and a bunch of others – if you can believe such a thing), Mom decided to enter the Highlights Annual Fiction Contest this month, AND take Susanna Hill’s Making Contest Magic class this week.

So Mom is learning, mind-writing, registering, paypal-ing, reading, commenting, revising, studying, listing, rhyming, critiquing, and ….do you see what’s missing here??

Snow pea?? Blech! I may have bitten off (stolen) more than I can chew again.

Snow pea?? Blech! I may have bitten off more than I can chew again.

Rocky, over at my friend Bacon’s blog told me that January 6 was National CuddleUp Day. So I made sure Mom took some time out to celebrate. Actually, I will make sure we celebrate that thing EVERY day!!

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Visiting

Last week, Mom did an author visit.

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It wasn’t the usual visit with little tiny kids or even one of the visits with medium sized kids. It was a COLLEGE author visit! Mom spoke to a class of future teachers who are learning about literacy. She was a little bit afraid that they’d beat her up and steal her lunch money, but they didn’t. They were so smart and super nice and were an absolutely wonderful audience.

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They asked lots of good questions. Actual questions! Nobody asked any of those random non-questions like, “Once my daddy grew a mustache.” or “My neighbor painted her house purple.” or “If my dog eats too fast he burps.” Mom had a ton of fun. Even though she was a little bit afraid, she was glad she said yes and didn’t miss this amazing opportunity.

I went on a visit last week, too. It was therapy pet day at the veteran’s home.

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I always feel a little bit afraid when I first get there. Sometimes, my tiny brain forgets what’s going to happen.

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But then when I go in, everyone is super nice. They ask lots of good questions, just like the college students did. They say, “Who’s this little fellow?” (even though I’m a girl) and “Aren’t you cute?” and “Do you want to sit on my lap?” They’re a great audience, and nobody beat me up or stole my lunch money.

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I did have an issue with a giant chef. Every time I come to the VA, I cuddle with all the patients, but I stay as far away from the giant chef as possible. I’m pretty sure he’s trying to kill me. And cook me. And eat me.

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*gulp*