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

Posts tagged ‘writing’

Inspirational Quote of the Week

 

When I was first adopted, I walked forward, backward, sideways, and upside down. I zigged and zagged and wiggled and waggled. I pulled and pushed and jumped and got in the way. Mom said, “Here is your forever home.” and “You’re my new doggie.” and “This psycho mutt is trying to kill me!”

Zigging and zagging…

Then I went to obedience school so I could learn how to walk nicely on my leash. After 10 weeks of studying, I was a perfect walker with the best manners.

Well, maybe not perfect… It took a few more weeks before I stopped trying to chase cars, but eventually, I did.

Walking forward is a great skill to have. Looking forward is also a great skill to have. Mom and I do both. A lot.

There is a time to walk back, though. When Mom works on a story, she tries to keep it moving forward. Each day, she takes her characters a little further through the plot. Sometimes she knows exactly where the story is going. Sometimes, she is straight-up flying blind. But forward she goes day after day. When she gets to the end of the story, then it’s time to look back.

First the story gets to sleep for a while inside the computer.

Sleep is important for stories and for busy puppers…

After a week or two, Mom looks back and starts revising and editing the story. She goes back over it 9,000 times. She reads it out loud, makes changes, takes stuff out, adds stuff in, and moves stuff around. Sometimes she sends it to her critique group, sometimes to Rate Your Story. Sometimes she says, “I’m finished fussing with this thing.” And she starts a new story to do the same stuff all over again. Forward and back. Forward and back. This psycho-human is trying to kill me!

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Five Word Friday

 

Today’s 5 words are from a story Mom is writing for the January 12×12 Challenge. The story isn’t finished, yet, but each day it gets closer to the end. In the 12×12 Challenge, she will be writing a story a month for the whole year!

16. Ladybug – I have never tasted a ladybug. But once, I ate a butterfly. It didn’t taste as good as it looked, but I ate it anyway. One day when Mom and I were hiking, a butterfly landed on my back. I didn’t eat that one, but he looked delicious.

42. Sidewalk – Our sidewalks are covered with rock salt. It was put there to fight off the 18 snowflakes that fell the other day.

Mom is threatening to put my boots on to protect my delicate, little feet. So far, she hasn’t done it. She’s settling for scrubbing them clean as soon as I come back inside.

Totally unnecessary!

9. Tiny – Sometimes, Mom writes tiny 100- or 200-word stories for magazines. Lately, none of them has been picked up, but they are still fun to write. One really tiny one was rejected yesterday, in fact, so things are going along as usual.

Sometimes, I am very tiny…

87. Flying – Mom is flying through her Storystorm Challenge this month. She has to make a list of 30 picture book ideas in 31 days. And guess what – she already HAS 30 ideas! All the rest of the days and ideas are just gravy. (Mmmmm… gravy…) Each day, she reads a blog post and it helps her get an idea. Or two. Or six.

33. Legs – Mom keeps her writing-legs in shape by practicing. She reads, writes, revises, edits, submits, and critiques. Her writing-legs stay strong, so when Book #2 comes along she will be ready to run with it. I keep my doggie-legs strong by running, sliding, climbing, begging, and jumping a lot.



Mom worries that my fat little meatloaf body will get too big for my skinny, stick legs. She weighs me every week to check for fatness.

23.5 – Not bad…

Sometimes, I am put on treat restriction.

24! Blerg!

Snow pea? Seriously??

 

 

 

Strategy

Even though my brain is very tiny, and I am not a great problem solver, I am able to devise a strategy for survival when necessary. Surviving was the name of the game when I lived on the street by myself for three years before I was rescued.

Me at the high-kill shelter with my puppies.

Mom is surviving as a writer. Even though she hasn’t had a story published in a while, she plugs away – writing, revising, editing, and submitting. And reading, researching, critiquing, and creating. That’s her strategy.

My strategy changes from time to time. I like to stay proactive and flexible.

Often, I hide – under cars…

behind the bleachers…

and half under the bed…

Nobody will ever find me here.

I watch – the ceiling

through the window…

and out the door…I’ve also had success with my strategy of staring with…

and without the head tilt…

I’m known for keeping my distance…

Keep reading. I’ll just listen from over here behind the chair…

stealth…

and straight-up stubbornness.

Mom should step up her strategy game. Apparently, plugging away isn’t proactive and flexible enough!

I’m fine. I swear. It’s not too cold for a street nap. #staystubborn

 

 

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words come from a story that Mom is revising this week.

6. Trash – I have always wished I could figure out how to get pizza crusts, eggshells, napkins, banana peels, and many other delicious things out of the garbage pail.

Let me in. I know there are chicken bones in there. Why am I so tiny?

I love trash! Mom doesn’t love trash, especially when one of her stories ends up in the trash bin on her computer. If she starts a story and then gets stuck, she sets it aside for a while, works on other things, and then goes back to it. If it still stinks and it’s still going nowhere, she trashes it and starts over.

If she put a little jelly on that trash, I’d help her out with that. Mmmmm. Jelly.

14. Flop – Mom reads tons of picture books. Some fly and some flop.

When she reads a flop, she says, “Ugh. I want that 5 minutes back!” The weather is getting colder here, so I can’t take as many street naps as I did in the summer.

Even when it’s way too cold, I still flop down and give it a shot. Mom says, “If you’re wearing a sweater, it’s too cold to sit on the ground.” When I ignore her, she says, “Ugh. I want that 5 minutes back.”

8. Outside – I love outside. There are squirrels, leaves, acorns, grass, and dog friends.

I also love inside. There are toys, treats, trash, my blankie, and Mom. Sometimes it’s tough to choose.

74. UsefulCritique groups are useful. Mom’s group called LindaVijiConnieJenandOtherJen help her get ideas, change ideas, and fix ideas that stink.

5. Sneakers – Mom wears sneakers, but they do not make her fast at all. When we walk down the hall at our house, she is so slow! I have to show her how to get us home (and out of the scary hallway) in a more efficient way.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Worst and Best fascinate me. Sometimes just when I think I’m being the Best Girl, I discover to my shock and surprise that I am not.

Best Girl helping with laundry

Best Girl looking at Mom

Best Girl not taking a street nap in the dumpster slime

Best Girl getting her exercise

People say all writers have an inner critic telling them their work stinks, they’re wasting their time, nothing they do is  good enough, and they’re straight-up frauds. I don’t have one of those critics in my head. Neither does Mom. I think I learned it from her! When she reads over one of her stories, she’s all, “SO CUTE!” and “I love this thing.” and “Quit staring at me when I’m eating.”

I’m not staring at you. You’re staring at me.

Mom relies on her critique group and RYS and agents and editors to tell her she may not be quite the best. Sometimes, they say nothing. #’nuffsaid. Sometimes they say, “Not what we’re looking for.” or “Fix this. Change that. What about this?”

I rely on Mom to tell me I may not be quite the best.

“Stay away from the edge.”

“Heel!”

“Get off the bed.”

 

Five Word Friday

Last week, Mom had an opportunity to submit a story to an editor Above the Slushpile. That means her work wouldn’t be buried under everybody else’s as much as usual. It’s nice to have a story rise up there and be seen, but even then, it has to shine on its own.

Paws crossed that this one is shiny!

Today’s five words come from that story…

11. Boy – Lots of times, when I am working at the VA, the old soldiers say to Mom, “Look at this guy.” and “What’s his name?” They actually think I’m a boy! I need to always wear a sundress with 3 layers of ruffles to make sure they realize that I’m a girl.

16. Cake – I love cake. Sometimes, I have to fight with Mom to get her to share. If the cake is chocolate, the deal is off,

Bummer!

but sometimes, I’m allowed to jump in

and grab some whipped cream.

Oh yeah!

86. Book – Mom reads picture books like crazy – piles and piles of them – usually 200 a year. It’s a good way to make her writing better, to see what’s out there, and to pass the time while she tries to write and sell the elusive Book #2.

91. Nibble – I think nibbling is for amateurs. I don’t nibble. I gobble. After Mom writes a story, she hides it from herself for a while to let it rest. Then she nibbles at it – adding things, taking things away, and changing things around. Picture books need to make room for the illustrations to help tell the story. More nibbling. Or gobbling.

M-m-m-m… Tiny pancake. Nom. Nom. Nom.

65. Messy – First drafts can be messy. They’re supposed to be messy. Messy and stupid and even embarrassing, sometimes. If I get messy, Mom sticks me in the bathtub and scrubs me clean and puts conditioner on me and dries me with towels. #itshorrific

Five Word Friday

 

Today, I picked out 5 words from one of Mom’s old stories that she’s working on again. She’s making it new. And better. And shorter. And better…

6. Pets – Mom has always had pets – even before me. (What a shocker that life didn’t begin with me, #amiright ) She grew up with a Myna bird that talked, a couple of other birds off and on, tropical fish, baby turtles, and of course doggies always.

Sandy

Smoki

92. Basement – Mom got a score back from a story she had rated. She said her score was “in the basement” which is confusing because our house doesn’t have a basement – unless you count where Mom parks the car. It’s just as well. I am already afraid of the parking garage, the fire extinguisher, the elevator, the trash room, and the hallway. I do NOT need a basement to worry about on top of all that.

Yikes! A mirror dog on the ceiling! I’m pretty sure he’s trying to kill me….

14. Grass – When I am not taking a street nap or a sidewalk nap,

I will sometimes lie in the grass for a change of pace.

That said, if the grass is damp for any reason – rain, dew, sprinklers – I will not step in it. Mom says, “Come on, weirdo.” and “I don’t like it either.” and “You can’t walk the tightrope forever.” But yes I can…

#curbwalker

27. Crab – When she was a 3rd grade teacher, Mom had hermit crabs, fiddler crabs, newts, goldfish, mealworms, a turtle, sea monkeys. hamsters, tadpoles, butterflies, frogs, ants, and a parakeet in her classroom at one time or another. Once when I was sleepy, Mom called me the name of Crabby, so in a way, she STILL has a crab.

#sideeye

8. Sweat – Whenever Mom is working on a new story or waiting to hear about something she submitted, she says she is “sweating it out.” I don’t think she knows from sweating while she’s typing and talking to herself in the nice cool house. I know sweating better than she does. I do it through my paws and my mouth. I do it when I’m hot and I do it when I’m nervous. And sometimes, I do it for no reason at all….