Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation

Join an internationally bestselling children's book author and her down-home husband and their dogs as they try to live a happy, better life by being happier, better people . You can use those skills in ...more

Hosted by

Latest Episodes

November 12, 2019 00:23:45
Yo! We're High  Concept.

Yo! We're High Concept.

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 ...

Listen

November 05, 2019 00:27:14
Episode Cover

Motivation and Creativity And Hand Pies

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 ...

Listen

October 29, 2019 00:23:12
Episode Cover

Lick the Kitten, Embrace Your Vulnerability

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 ...

Listen

October 22, 2019 00:27:05
Episode Cover

Am I the Butt Face? How to Make (and be) a Likeable Character

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 thread called “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 Face   The 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 ...

Listen

October 15, 2019 00:25:01
If UFOs Are Real Then What the Heck Else Is

If UFOs Are Real Then What the Heck Else Is

  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.   In 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? Leslie Kean   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 ...

Listen

October 08, 2019 00:27:35
Let's Write a Best Seller, Bear Cubs and Border Agents

Let's Write a Best Seller, Bear Cubs and Border Agents

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 SELLER   You 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 Question   What'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 hooked   This 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 EMOTION   The other element is that we have to have a character who responds to things emotionally. That's what makes the story resonate. Our character ...

Listen