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Author: Carrie Jones

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Welcome to Dogs are Smarter Than People with NYT and internationally bestselling quirky human author Carrie Jones, her slightly more normal husband, Shaun, and their dogs. Life tips. Writing tips. Dog noises. It's all here. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
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Stories are about people having emotions. Writers who write from their heads (outlining like crazy, etc,) are often missing out on the emotion because they are analyzing how to show emotion.But it’s desire and yearning that makes stories stand out and makes writers into artists and truth tellers.Robert Olen Butler says that yearning creates a dynamic of desire and that dynamic of desire creates plot and story. The need, the yearning, the want, is something that needs to bleed out into the page and it does. It does.Good stories have two epiphanies in them that use this yearning. The first epiphany shows up early in the story where all the details culminate to show the reader what it is that the main character wants. The reader gets it, responds, relates, understands and yearns for it too – yearns for it enough to turn the page and keep reading.The second epiphany is basically the climax or the story’s crisis. The main character is fully committed to her desire and she is at that make-or-break point and we’re there with her.The difference between regular books and books that rock your soul is that they are about wants, not about yearnings. Yearnings are bigger than wants. They are the desire of the inside. The foe blocks that desire, that attempt to fulfill yearnings. The character responds. And that is plot.Writers Tip of the PodMake your characters yearn.Dog Tip For LifeGo after what you yearn for.Random ThoughtsIn our random thoughts this week you get to hear:Shaun fail to see his beer advent calendarThe Queen of Kittens talk about BTXFlorida Men and the things you doChristmas Tree success.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.WRITING NEWSLEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! “Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp!It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
This week? Well, our podcast is not our normal format because we’ve been in the car for… um… Okay? Forty-eight hours?Apologies!So, this week we drove from Maine to Vermont to Maine to North Carolina to Maine. In North Carolina, we went to Shaun’s dad’s funeral and it was the first time that Carrie’s been in a Southern church. And we learn that there is an adult-themed section of Shaun's brain. WRITING NEWSLEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! “Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”IN THE WOODS My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp!It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Dog Poop and Shame

Dog Poop and Shame

2019-11-2000:24:42

When people look at our dog Gabby, they almost always say, “Oh, she’s so beautiful.”Gabby, however, isn’t beautiful by breed standards. She’s actually a mess. Her muzzle isn’t boxy enough. Her back sloops. Her hips splay. She’s about twenty pounds too skinny.And that’s mostly all because she was abused and starved her first year of life, tied by a chain to a tree in the Alabama fields.But Gabby isn’t about shame. Gabby is about being – being joyous, loving, and keeping her flock of kittens and people and one other dog safe. Gabby doesn’t have shame about her imperfections.“She’s the prettiest puppy ever,” people coo to her when we take walks.“Who’s the beautiful baby?”Or sometimes it’s just a simple, “Oh, what a beautiful dog.”Gabby has no shame about her broken body that doesn’t meet AKC standards. She has joy even when she’s broken, hurt, limping along or having a bad fur day. We can learn a lot from Gabby.On the entry “shame v. guilt” on her blog, Dr. Bréne Brown writes,Dr. Bréne Brown“I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. I  don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.”For many women and men, shame has a lot to do with not looking pretty enough, perfect enough, sexy enough, good enough. We stare at our eyes and worry about their shape, our lack of lips, our lack of butt, our lack of symmetry. Lacks. It’s always about lacks.Gabby has no shame about how she looks because she’s a dog. People have no judgement about her lacks because they aren’t constantly fed how she’s supposed to look as a Great Pyr. They just see her dog soul shining through, her kind eyes and her fluffy, white fur.We can’t quickly erase all the beauty programming that the media, our relatives, and even our friends and lovers have fed us, but we can know what triggers our shame and call it out.Shaun says things like, “You are so beautiful.”And I cringe.I cringe and ask, “What about the scar on my stomach?”And he’ll say, “Still beautiful.”And I’ll keep cringing and say, “I think I’m losing my lips.”“Still beautiful.”“I have no eyebrows.”“Still beautiful.”What Shaun has is a great ability to pull me out of my shame spiral, but also empathy. It’s why he was a fantastic cop when he was a cop.Brown writes this in the Semantic Scholar,Brown againWiseman identifies four defining attributes of empathy: (a) to be able to see the world as others see it; (b) to be nonjudgmental; (c) to understand another person’s feelings; and (d) to communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings (1996). Empathy is almost an opposite to shame.This post is too long to fit on Anchor, so for the rest of the words, listen to the podcast or go check it out on https://carriejonesbooks.blogSHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Yo! We're High    Concept

Yo! We're High Concept

2019-11-1200:25:38

So there’s a quick and easy way to figure out who you are and who you want to be, but also figure out what your book is and what it wants to be.It’s called the high concept. It’s the dramatic question. It’s the way you describe in a quick captivating phrase all the energy inside your novel.You can also do this for your life:Like mine would be: Latchkey kid overwhelmed by family secrets sets out to find out who she is in a world that really couldn’t give a crap.Sorry! Sorry! That’s so negative.How about: Stuck in small-town New Hampshire, a weird psychic kid manages to survive thanks to her intellect until a rapist gives her a disease that attacks her brain. She survives anyways.There are sort of standard questions for every genre of story and movies. Will they fall in love? Will the killer be caught? Will our hero survive the zombie gerbils? Will the events of our youth make us into fractured adults?Don’t be shy about what your story is about. Will ET make it home? Will the Skywalkers go to the dark side – all of them? Will the Avengers defeat Thanos? Will Hugh Grant fall in love with someone in a fulfilling way? Even ghost ‘reality’ shows on tv have a dramatic question – Will they catch evidence – real evidence of the ghosts? Will they get possessed? Will they survive the night in the haunted castle?An awesome dramatic question isn’t enough to make something a bestseller, but it’s an important start. Go get one. For your life and your story.Next add in the obstacles. What’s making it complicated for ET to get home? For the ghost hunters to find evidence? Add those obstacles up so that we doubt that dramatic question is going to have a good answer.Finally, make sure that your hero is someone with some damn strong convictions. ET knows he has to get home, right? Scarlett O’Hara is positive she has to marry that Ashley guy. Harry Potter/Iron Man/Captain America/Black Widow must defeat Voldemort/Thanos/Whatever Big Bad you want to insert.That character’s super strong convictions are what makes us root for them. We feel that conviction. The stakes resonate.Writing Tip of the Pod:Make a dramatic question.Add obstacles.Make your character have convictions.Dog Tip For LifeMake a dramatic question.Realize you have obstacles.Make yourself have the convictions to bash through those obstacles.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! “Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
We all want to be creative. We all want to be amazing at relationships. This guy, Benjamin Hardy, PHD, wrote an article on Medium exactly about that. It’s called “21 Behaviors that will make you brilliant at creativity and relationships.”Basically, his article is saying that people limit themselves by defining who they are, what they can do, and what resources they have. This article is wildly popular with 31,000 likes, which means he’s made a ton of money off this point of view. And with over 19,000 Twitter followers, Mr. Hardy is pretty popular, too.  He has posts that link to his articles like “10 Steps to Being a Millionaire in 5 Years (or Less).”If you look at his twitter posts, you’ll find a lot of encouraging things about success and motivation and morning routines that guarantee success.But we’re talking about just the first point in his article., which is that a goal must be wild and huge. It must be urgent with a time component. It must motivate you and he quotes Napolean Hill who wrote in the book, Think and Grow Rich, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”This is lovely.He also quotes Marcus Aurelias, a Roman emperor. And also Canadian author Justine Musk, who he introduces as only, “Elon Musk’s wife.”There are a lot of white men talking and quoting and thinking going on in the first few paragraphs of Dr. Hardy’s piece. It’s all about going after what you want and making no excuses about your situation or self because those things will make you fail.There are twenty more points in Dr. Hardy’s article, but we’re only going to talk to the first one because it relates to writing and why so much writing falls flat.He writes:Hardy, per Medium article cited aboveAs with all things in life, you get what you want. If you prefer to make excuses and justifications for a lack of progress, then just admit you prefer your current station in life. Self-acceptance can be a beautiful thing.However, once you desire progress more than convenience, obstacles no longer stop but propel you. As the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius is famous for saying,“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”You have to have your main character have a desire and they need to pulsate with it. Your main character needs to be passionate about something. They need to go after those passions. There needs to be a bit of urgency about them. The obstacles that happen are the ones that your character needs to smash through in order to get to what she wants.What is it your character wants more than any damn thing in the world?Who does your character have to be to get that?Now, how about you?What do you want more than any damn thing in the world?Who do you have to be to get that?Dog Tip for LifeDon’t be afraid to remember you aren’t a solo show. Think about who can help you become who you want to be and achieve what you want to do.SHOUT OUTHere’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Shaun: A week or so ago, someone told Carrie that she’d be better served if she didn’t present as insecure on her social media.Carrie: For the record, I am just open about when I’m scared about things. I’m not sure insecurity is the same as fear. I mean, I guess it is to a certain extent. But I’m not insecure about who I am. I like who I am, an occasionally anxious, goofy, smart, creative, quirky, open-book kind of  person. Does that sound like who I am?Shaun: Pretty much.Carrie: Anyways, here’s the thing. You can pretend to be someone you aren’t. You can present any damn way you choose. But that’s it – it’s your choice. Nobody else’s.Shaun: And Carrie? She has no problem being vulnerable. In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes that the biggest myth about vulnerability is that it is weakness. And that’s possibly what happened with that person’s comment to Carrie last week.Carrie: To be fair, about once a year a woman writer, usually older than I am, will tell me to present as more confident because I am strong and talented. They are trying to help me, personally, and the cause of all women, too. I think? But I don’t see the dichotomy between strength and vulnerability. They shouldn’t be on opposite ends of a line.Shaun: Brene Brown writes, “We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgement and criticism.”Carrie: And she also says this, which I think is how it pertains to writers and artists and this podcast, “Vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness.”Shaun: So vulnerability is writing. Because vulnerability is risk and emotional exposure. And even the act of writing is vulnerable because almost the first thing someone asks you is, “Oh? Have I read you?” It’s like they determine your worth just by whether or not you’ve been on a bestseller list or not.Carrie: Exactly, but just writing and deciding to create is a risk because it’s not the most financially secure thing in the world, but it also is because once you put your creation out there – unlike the accountant – you are vulnerable via ratings and bad reviews and internet trolls, which is massive emotional exposure. But it’s more than that. Writers have to incorporate emotion and vulnerability on the page. They create characters who are meant to tweak the readers’ emotions. Writers are like the tsars of vulnerability.WRITING TIP OF THE PODYou are a writer. You are a human. Embrace your ability to take risks, to be vulnerable. Emotions are not weakness.DOG TIP FOR LIFEAllow yourself to lick the kitten in public, adopt those who you love. Be open. Be vulnerable. Love.Random Thoughts Included:Carrie's anxiety about dental surgeryBangor (Maine) City Council SignsCarrie not being dead. We think.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Why Do People Suck So Much?One of the biggest things you hear in the world of writing is to make your character likeable, which is great and all but gives you two questions:How. How do you make your characters likable?How do you make your characters likable when in real life people suck so much? There’s an entire Reddit threadcalled “Am I the A-Hole?”We talk about the second question in our RANDOM THOUGHT in the podcast, so the writer-helpful stuff is here, now. Ready?What Do the Bad Guys Care About?Usually they are propelled by greed or power. In our society those things are usually indicative of a bad guy. Although, some segments of our society seem to laud those traits now.What Do We Have to Do to Make Our Characters (or our selves) Not the Bad Guy?People want to care about the character. You automatically think that means the character is nice, right? No.Think about those Marvel movies. Iron Man’s kind of a jerk. Sherlock Holmes? Jerk. But we still like and care about them. Why?Here is What You Need To Do To Make Your Character Not an Butt FaceThe character has a big want and/or need.Iron Man wants to save the world.Sherlock Holmes needs to catch a murderer.We connect with that because we all have wants or needs.I want to make $5,000 a month. This possibly make me a bad guy because that seems to be about money BUT if I want to make $5,000 a month so that I can pay for my child with autism’s medicines? Not quite so awful, right? It’s all in the presentation and the reason.Conflicting Wants are What Really Makes It PopWhen our character wants to save the world, but saving the world mean that he must sacrifice his entire business that he’s worked so hard to build up? That’s when our interest is super EXCITED. We’re all – Oh. Snap. What will he choose? What would I choose?Caring About Others Who Are More VulnerableThis is the big one, really.In the Star Wars movies, Rey is super snarky with the little droid when we first meet her, but then she refuses to sell that little droid baby for scrap money and protects it. Bing. We love this resilient go-getter named Rey who now has conflicting wants of her own survival (needs money) and protecting the droid (probably going to cost her money and her life).So, we care about Rey because she cares. She has empathy.What are the characteristics people admire in others?AuthenticityCaringKindnessEmpathyBraveryCharismaLoyaltyGive your character one of those if you can.The rest of this is over at my website because it was too long to fit here! SO MANY TIPS! SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
So, if you check out the link to this article on the Huffington Post by Leslie Kean, you'll have some good background on what we're talking about.But Kean writes about the  To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, which is meant to "advance research into unexplained phenomena and develop related technology."One of the players in that is Luis Eiizondo who worked for the United States' Department of Defense.Leslie KeanIn short, less that two weeks after leaving the Pentagon, Luis Elizondo confirmed that UFOs are a real; they exist, and they have been officially documented. Can anyone argue with this fact now, given where this man comes from and what he knows?And he kind of sort of pretty much said UFOs are real and that's a big deal.Because if UFOs might be real, what else is? As writers, we're always trying to make sure that our stories are believable, but what if the unbelievable is no longer unbelievable? What happens then?And how do we make the unbelievable believable? The biggest trick is that we have to make the person that the unbelievable things happen to have real reactions, emotions, belief systems and feelings?We can believe that someone saw a UFO hovering over the Maine Turnpike if we see them before it happens, see them react to it in a way that's consistent with their character, and see them deal with the after effects.WRITING TIP OF THE POD -To make the unbelievable believable focus on details.DOG TIP FOR LIFE -Your life can become unbelievable in a good way. Embrace that.RANDOM THOUGHT RUNDOWNIf you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear:Talk about the underwear in Road House and Sam ElliottTips about making a bestselling. Hint: It's about fear for the character and pity for the character.UFOsSHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.WRITING NEWSTHE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOMESteve Wedel and I wrote a super creepy book a few years back called After Obsession and it’s making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands thanks to Dutch Venture Publishing and its leader Jen Minkman.IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp!It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
There are a lot of different ways to write a best seller, but the three of the most common features are these:THREE MAIN HINTS TO MAKE A BEST SELLERYou have to engage the reader.You have to keep them hooked.Make them loyal.Easier said than done, right?Maybe not.Think of what your story is about. Can you pitch the idea in less than fifty words? Less than twenty-five? Can you gel its essence down into a quick pitch? That's the high concept.High Concept is a Really a big QuestionWhat's your big dramatic question?Will the kid survive the evil wizard?Will the young reporter fall in love with Mr. Bondage?Will a resourceful young adult survive a pixie apocalypse?Let the reader know from the very beginning what your story is about. Will Harry Potter survive the dark wizard Voldemort? Will Eleanor and Park fall in love? Who will die in this John Green novel?Keeping the reader hookedThis is where the obstacles and complications come in.How do we keep our heroine challenged? What is in his or her way? Will her big dramatic question change into a new dramatic question.MAKING EMOTIONThe other element is that we have to have a character who responds to things emotionally. That's what makes the story resonate. Our character already has a want. There are complications to the want. But more than that, the hero has to have intense emotions and reactions to those complications.When Harry Potter has to dig deep and be brave, when he has to look in the Mirror of Desire and confront his deepest longings, when he has to face the wizard, know his friends might die (and on and on), he reacts emotionally and intensely and the stakes of his decisions have emotional consequences that elevate the reader and incite empathy.Because we feel so connected to that character, we become loyal to that character. When we have that connection and loyalty? That book? It becomes something magical.Writing Tip of the PodThe best books hook the readers early, elevate the stakes, and make us connected to the character.Dog Tip for Life.Do not stay still. Go after your dreams.Random Thought RundownIf you listen to the podcast, you'll hear:Carrie scream in the car and take the Lord's name in vain as she sees bear cubs run across the road.Shaun cranky about border patrol agentsBig foot talkMore beautiful weirdness.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.WRITING NEWSIN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp!It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?THE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOMEAfter Obsession is making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands. I love them.--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Jared Leto is a somewhat polarizing guy for who-knows-what reason. He’s model-pretty, a vegan, an award-winning actor and a musician. And there’s this quote I (Carrie) read that struck a chord.“When you commit to something that’s seemingly impossible,” he says, referring to ascents both metaphorical and literal, “and you’re pushing through things that are seemingly hostile, and then you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, we did that,’ that’s a great feeling. And a little bit of pain isn’t a bad thing.”Jared Leto to Rolling Stone’s Brian HiattA lot of us writers whine a lot about writing. I’m not sure why that is. Is it because we’re plumbing the deep emotional recesses in our brain? Is it because we are creating an entire pretend world?I used to get super cranky about this because compared to being a firefighter or an emergency dispatcher or juggling eighteen jobs as a single parent, it felt to me like everyone was a little bit whiny.Then I realized that It’s because being committed to something, to a craft, to something when you are never going to be perfect, where you’ll always have room to grow? It can play a bit of havoc on your emotional wellbeing. But that’s okay. It’s like Leto says, you want to commit to that impossible thing to get the payoff. You want to be all in. Not a dabbler in writing or in life.HOW TO COMMITEmalie Jacobs has some nice hints on her blog about how to do that, to be committed. They are basically:Plan to write every day.Stay committed.Aim for a word count.Plan early.Find your people.And all of this is so much of what the Write! Submit! Support! class that I teach at the Writing Barn is all about.Back to Leto. Leto doesn’t dabble. He’s a method actor, a method singer, method artist and probably a method human. He commits wholeheartedly or he doesn’t commit at all. That’s true when he’s on stage singing or when he’s on the screen acting. He becomes.BECOMES.Dabbling is the opposite of commitment. It’s an exploration. That can be good. But you don’t want to get so caught up in the explorations that you never focus.“I don’t dabble,” he said in that Rolling Stone interview. “I dive in. 1,000 percent.”WRITING TIP OF THE PODDon’t dabble. Commit fully to living the writing life. Don’t let other things take priority over your dreams.DOG TIP FOR LIFEProofread your poop.RANDOM THOUGHTSIn our random thought portion of the podcast this week, we talk about:Carrie giving up dabblingEmcee duties at the MDI YWCA’s Women of Distinction eventHyphens. Semicolons. Politicians of all sides failing to have copyeditors.How do we trust reporters and politicians with big decisions when they can’t proofread things.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.MORE ABOUT USIt's on Carrie's website. Have a great day! Play with dogs! --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
This week's podcast is not our normal format. We drove 27 hours or so this week. Our brains became a bit unglued - Okay. Even more unglued.But we talk about:WritingDivorceWhy People Get DivorcedHow By Using Those Metrics We Will Probably Get DivorcedPaying Attention to Other People's StoriesRotariansThe Common Ground FairSHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp!It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Hey baby, what’s your back story?It should be a pick-up line at a bar, yet it somehow is not a pick-up line at any bar that I know of except maybe in a New Yorkercartoon or a bar in a town where there’s one of those MFA programs in writing literature for literary people doing literary things.Anyway, it’s a term writers throw around all the time and it is basically just how we imagine our characters’ lives went before they are in the actual story that we’re writing.I know! How can you imagine that your character had a life before your story? It’s like imagining your spouse had a life before you that wasn’t totally centered around you. Us narcissists have a hard time with that.Do you know, in nine hundred years of time and space, I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important… Stephen Moffat, Dr. Who, A Christmas CarolAccording to a post on Now Novelthere are three uses of back story.Developing the understanding of the characters. Like if your dad died of a heart attack in front of you and you couldn’t save him, then your character might have a savior complex. It helps the reader understand your characters’ motivations.It can heighten the stakes and the suspense. You were once addicted to dating cops. Cops were always bad for you. Will you date this one? NO! YOU MUST NOT.It makes it real damn it. By the time, you make it into a book, you’re not going to be a blank slate, born out of Zeus’ head or a clamshell fully formed on page 1. We all have prologues.Standout asks how much back story does a story need and answers its own question pretty simply:If judged solely on complexity, the answer to ‘how much back story should I include?’ would be ‘enough to pay for the reader’s efforts,’ however you also need to consider immersion. - StandoutAh. Okay?Here is our advice:Don’t be fake. Don’t be pretend. We all know people who show up at a party, engage in small talk about absolutely nothing other than the weather, the traffic, where they work. There is no underlayment. It’s like they are a rug thrown on the floor, but if you touch that rug it will just slip away because there’s nothing holding it there.Do not let your characters be rugs.Ground those suckers with nails and staples if you have to. ModPodge them to the floor, give them a life before you.Don’t tell us everything about them. We do not know that they prefer Aquafina to Poland Spring water or that they had an ingrown toenail when they were twenty-four any more than you want to know about the guy at the party’s hemorrhoid treatment unless it’s really good. Be sparing.Stephen King: The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.Writing Tip of the PodFind the balance in your backstory and your life.Dog Tip for LifeRun through adversity. Don’t give up.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Over on the random thought part of the podcast, we hear about Carrie being passive-aggressive at the campground bathroom, Shaun sing, and random people at Smokey's Barbecue and Lobster.But here is the more intellectual stuff. Um. Slightly more intellectual stuff?This guy Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book Outliersand in it he outlines his belief that if you practice something for 10,000 hours and do that in a deliberate way, then you’ll become a top performer.Who are the outliers? They are the best and the brightest.We don’t want you to freak out over that 10,000 hours bit because that’s like saying, “Hey Shaun, I know you can’t run more than 60 seconds right now, but this Friday you’re going to run for 93 minutes.”Spoiler alert: Shaun ran for 93-minutes straight on Friday. Carrie did too.Anyway, this guy named Danny Forest who writes on Mediumbreaks it down to something that feels a bit more doable. He says that he can learn soft skills in about eight hours and breaks it into working 30 minutes each day on those skills.That seems a lot better than 10,000 hours, right?There’s a difference between competence and brilliance, but that half-hour concentrated focus is how so many of us build our skills. Even dogs.So, inspired by Mr. Forest, the Farrar has three things he wants to learn:Stained glass with lead suaterMake movies on Adobe PremiereSpanishHow to be a better parentAnd Carrie also made a list:Make movies on Adobe PremiereMake felted paintingsHow to self publishHow to drawHow to write travel storiesHow to be Anthony BoudrainSpanishHow to cook in the French style, but also to make kick-butt saltanas and samosas and all things in pockets, basically.What do you want to learn? To do?For writing, focusing on writing or reading about writing for a half hour a day is really an essential tip to becoming a better storyteller. You see that advice everywhere and you see other people countering that advice saying to ‘ignore all advice,’ which is also actually advice.Yes, do your own thing and do what works for you. That should be obvious. But don’t forget that you can’t become a brilliant guitar player if you’ve never picked up a guitar. You have to put in the time.Writing Tip of the PodPractice what you want to be good at. Do it in small bites. You've got this.Dog Tip for LifeDogs are good at sleeping and practicing that. Be like a dog.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp!It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
As you heard in our random thought, this week we went to see some early 1990s bands in concert. They were – well, they were old. The concert hall wasn’t even half full.That sounds depressing, right?It wasn’t. One of the lead singers has had cancer three times. His wife has had it once. They were both on the stage giving it everything they had.And the lead singer?He was smiling the entire damn time.The Alarm at Portland's AuraHere’s the thing. In life and in story, we have to face crap, deal with it, and sometimes we are lucky enough to survive. And sometimes we are lucky enough to choose to survive joyously.A story is no good if there’s no conflict, no obstacles to overcome. It’s hard to root for the characters or care for the characters if nothing happens. You don’t want to turn the page.Obstacles make us stronger.Overcoming obstacles gives us courage.Courage and strength gives us freedom.It’s not enough in our lives or in our stories to be incensed, to shake our fists at the sky, to rage about circumstance, we have to do the next step – action.Without the action, we are just shouting for no reason, inciting without purpose.Don’t be afraid to go to that next step in your life or in your story and if you can? Do it with joy and with kindness.In the random thought, we talk about trust (Should you? How we establish it) and connections and how people kept introducing themselves to Carrie whenever Shaun left during the concert.Those links are here: Writing Tip of the PodObstacles make the story worth it. Actions keep the story moving. We want to root for someone. Make someone for us to root for.Dog Tip for LifeJoy. Embrace it. Wag your tail for everyone to see. Don’t be ashamed of it.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.WRITING NEWSIN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp!It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?In the Woods--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
So, a long time ago Carrie had a dog named Scotty, and she used to fill in at the police department as a dispatcher. For those of you who don’t know, she dispatched part-time because even though she made enough money writing (right then) she got worried that:Carrie's Worries1. I will suddenly make no money at all2. I need to build up social security benefits3. I will forget how to interact with other humans if I’m always at home. ONE DAY HER GOOD DOGS WENT BADSo, she worked from 3:30 to 11:30 pm and when she came home Tala and Scotty, her dogs, greeted her at the door, all doggy happy.Scotty was her new dog and he was a rescue dog from Alabama who was in a kill shelter, and for a long time we have thought that he was perhaps a grandpa who liked crawfish and Bud Lite a lot and was somehow caught in a dog’s body - like he was a shapeshifter who got stuck.  He had a puncture wound in his neck when he got to Maine, two small holes. So, a vampire with a shapeshifting virus was possibly to blame. Carrie had decided this was a true possibility. Already, she'd witnessed him:1. Get ice out of the refrigerator.2. Use his paw on a door handle to open a door.And then when Carrie came home late, she saw a drawer that had been COMPLETELY shut when she left the house, and it was now open. Food was strewn everywhere. This meant Scotty grabbed the drawer with his mouth and got it open at least a little bit and then he either wedged his nose in or something and opened it more. Why would he do that? Oh, he was probably sick of dog food and bored because she was gone. Which is doggy behaviour, we know,Side note: Dog saliva combined with powdered sugar on a wood floor creates a glue-like paste that is impossible to vacuum or mop up. It must be attacked with Clorox bleach wipes. Carrie swears. She did not know this until that night. And finally, though they ate peanut butter chips and brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar and Crisco shortening and Shepard’s pie mix and Italian seasoning mix, they did NOT eat chocolate! Chocolate KILLS dogs. And the dogs left it, only tearing open the end.Carrie sort of imagined Scotty holding Tala back and saying, “Baby. It smells good, but it’s poison. It will kill us. Lets go lick up the sugar."He's totally humanYou know it, baby. Now go get me a beer while I lick the sugar off this here rug.Writing Tip OF THE PODWhat does all this have to do with writing? It's like what we were talking about in our Random Thought in the Car (you have to listen to hear that and about Carrie's accident). All stories aren't good ones. All people aren't perfect. The best writing is when those little imperfections about character or people peek through.And use everything for your stories. Mine your lives and your dogs' lives, too.Dog Tip For LifeDude. Do not eat the chocolate. Have some self control.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
It's a lot like life honestly. Here's the number one hint.Wait forever to start writing.Don't wait to start. Don't expect lightening to strike or a muse to come down from the heavens.Just write. Call it practice if 'writing a novel' seems too big a task. Trick your mind into being chill about it. If you want to do something, you have to do it. Don't wait for permission. Just do it.As long as it's legal and doesn't hurt other people. Obviously that sentence up there about not waiting for permission doesn't apply to all things.But it does freaking apply to art and writing and joy and fun.Again, as long as your fun doesn't hurt other creatures.Back to the point. We wait all our lives for inspiration, for a prince or warrior-queen to come sweep us off our feet, for the muse to bless us with the perfect novel or poem or family or painting or child. But we have to put in the work. We have to be brave and actively go after what it is we want.We might write a ton of sucky sentences. We might forget how to use a comma. We might fail and get rejected a million times.That's what makes the quest good though. That's what makes the goal worth it.So if you want to write a novel? Write it. Just get started.If you don't want to write a novel? Don't.Study craft. Push yourself. Think about who your story is about and how they relate to the world. Just write down the words you hear in your brain, the visions you see. Start it.You've got this.Writing Tip of the Pod:All of the above, man.Dog Tip for LifeDude. Hang out in the truck. SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.WRITING NEWSIN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp! It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Dead Butt Syndrome

Dead Butt Syndrome

2019-08-0600:24:41

People, you have got to get your butts out of the chair, or the bed, or whatever. Seriously. Your butt is breaking! Sorry Dying. Your butt is dying!According to a Huffington Post articleby Nicole Pajer, "Americans are sitting so long that their butts are literally falling asleep. “Dead butt syndrome,” or gluteal amnesia, is a condition that occurs when your gluteus medius gets inflamed and forgets to function normally."Pajer's article, 'Dead Butt Syndrome' Is A Real Thing. Here's How To Tell If You Have It"was a big deal back in 2018, but I swear, we are not listening and our bottoms and our entire bodies are paying the price.Yes, writers, I know that you're thinking, "Isn't the whole point of being a writer about making up imaginary worlds, sitting all day, and putting your butt in the chair?"Spoiler:There are a lot of writer quotes expressly about how you have to put your 'butt in the chair' to get your writing done.Tangent:Writers, there are actual books call "BUTT IN CHAIR!"Second tangent:Putting your butt in the chair, doesn't make you an awesome writer. It just means you've put in some time with your bottom in a chair, typing. Writing is about craft, understanding humans, understanding language, and story.Back to ButtsAn article by Anthea Levi, entitled "Dead Butt Syndrome Is One More Reason You Shouldn’t Sit All Day"stresses that sitting all day isn't good for anyone's butt, not even a writer's. Sitting all day is not good for your bottom.She quote says chiropractor Andrew Bang, who works at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.Dead butt syndrome has to do with reciprocal inhibition—the process that describes the give-and-take relationship between muscles on either side of a joint. "In general, when one muscle contracts, a nerve signal is sent to its opposing muscle to relax,” says Bang. LeviGive-and-take relationships aren't just the talk of couples therapy for writers who are having a hard time. It's also about the body and the self. Our muscles work together but sometimes, they don't.When we sit down too long, our butts get out of shape. The main muscles do a lot of beneficial things and when it's dead or not strong? Our pelvis isn't as stable. We can get pain in our back and hips. Our knees and ankles act up.It all can go bad.Levi's article talks all about the health dynamics and causes of that and you should check it out. Pajer's article talks about the signs of dead butt syndrome.Writer's Tip OF THE PODSitting in your chair all day is putting in the time, but crafting great writing is about more than that. It's about understanding people, story, life. It's about living. It's hard to live in one place, sitting down.Keep your butt healthy, your heart healthy and your writing healthy.Dog Tip for LifeMoving is good.SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Sometimes us writer people feel broken. We maybe got rejected one too many times. We maybe got a horrifying review. We maybe are stuck on Chapter 7560 in our epic fantasy WHEN THE BUNNY OF DOOM FELL IN LOVE WITH THE HAMSTER OF GLORIOUS GLORY. This is normal. Creative people have a lot of big feelings. People who aren’t super creative also have a lot of big feelings. People feel. All of us. And sometimes? Well, sometimes those feelings aren’t always positive. So what do you do? DO NOT MAKE YOURSELF HURRY. Remember that feeling better can take a little while. So, can writing or revising a book. FORGIVE YOURSELF THE WAY YOU’D FORGIVE YOUR DOG. Give your soul a hug. Seriously. But it’s okay to be kind to yourself the way you’d be kind to a friend. Don’t make yourself suffer forever for a mistake you’ve made. REMEMBER EVERYTHING CHANGES. It might be pouring outside. You might not know how to finish your chapter. You might have forgotten to buy dog treats. But all of that can change. It will change. LOVE IS THERE WHETHER YOU WRITE THAT DAMN BOOK OR NOT.Seriously. Your worth isn’t about your productivity. You are wonderful and beautiful and amazing and smart. And you have to believe that you deserve good things. You do. Being a writer isn’t the only thing you are. DO OTHER THINGS. Seriously. Do not only write. Go out and live your own life, too. It makes for better stories. GIVE UP.Yep. You heard me. Look, you can’t control reviews, outside marketing, subjective tastes about people who don’t want to read books about a hamster falling in love with Mike Pence’s rabbit. You have to let go of that, give up trying to control everything. You can only control you and your reactions and thoughts. Dog Tip for LifeDude. Just be. SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.WRITING NEWSIN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp! It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
What to do when your book launches.I don’t know. Seriously. Some writers get tattoos, a piece of jewelry, a new charm for a charm bracelet. Some hold book release parties. Some go out to dinner. As you'll hear, Carrie did none of those things. Instead, she ran, made a whiny video from the campground shower stall, had a Taco Bell incident, bought Shaun a new outfit, tried to raise money for ShelterBox and finally got a copy of her own book.Plus, rainbow-unicorn golf carts.The point here is that you have to create your own life and your own celebrations. Do what feels right to you when you achieve a freaking amazing goal like releasing a book, graduating, sobriety, whatever it is that makes you realize you achieved something.Writer Tip of the Pod Try to make it memorable for you. You did something pretty darn cool. You created something. Dog Tip for LifeDon’t forget to be happy. It isn’t all about stress and anxiety all the time. Let go. Wag your tail. SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!Gasp!It's with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
Poop Texting Fail

Poop Texting Fail

2019-07-1600:26:55

So, two weeks ago the podcast featured poop texting and writing, but somehow only our random thought was uploaded and not the full broadcast. Carrie feels this may have been her mother refusing to allow such things be out in the open. She raised Carrie better than this, honestly. No decent woman from New Hampshire talks openly about poop.Shaun feels Carrie just messed up.WE’VE BEEN MARRIED TOO LONG AND POOP TEXTSSometimes you get married and you’ve been married for a long time and you remember that the beginning of your marriage is like a poem and there’s white space and new discovery in every line. Sometimes you’ve been married a long time and it’s a routine, a science experiment that can be replicated. There can be beautiful comfort in a rut or a routine. Some people want life to be poems. Or not.Some people want life to be expirments. Or not.Some people like patterns to their lives and their books, but some people don’t.  As writers and people, we have to decide if we want to be science experiments, or do we want poem moments again. Listen to the podcast to hear Shaun talk about poop texts, poop talks, Hallmark-quality texts and makes up brilliant poems and admits to excessive emoji use. Also, we haven’t really been married too long. WRITING TIP OF THE PODRandom things in your childhood come up in your poems and stories. It’s okay to not realize this until your siblings tell you.Also, poop is funny.  DOG TIP FOR LIFEDogs smell their poop. They are proud of it until they kick grass on top of it. Dogs are not afraid of the poopy side of life. Embrace your dark side, but then know that the things you poop away should stay away.  SHOUT OUTThe music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.WRITING NEWSIN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears TODAY! TODAY! Gasp!It's with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support
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