174 episodes

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.

Bonus episodes of BE BRAVE FRIDAYS (telling people's stories of bravery) and LOVING THE STRANGE (all about celebrating the weird) and author-to-author interviews. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support

Dogs Are Smarter Than People via Anchor Carrie Jones

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

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.

Bonus episodes of BE BRAVE FRIDAYS (telling people's stories of bravery) and LOVING THE STRANGE (all about celebrating the weird) and author-to-author interviews. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/carriejonesbooks/support

    Bomb in Your Bum and How to Punctuate Dialogue Part Three

    Bomb in Your Bum and How to Punctuate Dialogue Part Three

    This is it! Our final installment in how to punctuate dialogue like a boss

    And we’re talking about questions and quotations in dialogue because why not fry our brains a little more. Are you ready?  And as a reminder, our last two podcasts also talk about this, so you should check them out.

    Let’s start with . . .

    Questions and Exclamations in Dialogue and there is not dialogue tag or beat.

    They are just standing out there all by their lonesome.

    When this happens, you just put the question mark or the exclamation point inside the last end quotation marks.

    “Carrie is obsessed with manatees?”“Carrie is obsessed with manatees!”
    So the formula for that is:

    BEGINNING QUOTATION MARKS + QUESTION OR EXCLAMATION + QUESTION MARK OR EXCLAMATION POINT + END QUOTES

    Questions and Exclamations With a Dialogue Tag

    Now let’s add a dialogue tag for those questions and exclamations.

    So here again, the exclamation point or question marks are right there inside the second set of quotation marks. DO NOT USE A COMMA, TOO! BANISH IT!

    And do not capitalize the dialogue tag. LOWER CASE THAT BABY! It’s all the same sentence even with the exclamation point/question mark in there.

    “Carrie is into manatees?” they asked, pretty much scowling because that was weird.
    “Carrie is into manatees!” he said, gesticulating at the manatee. The manatee winked.
    BEGINNING QUOTATION MARKS + QUESTION OR EXCLAMATION + QUESTION MARK OR EXCLAMATION POINT + END QUOTES + lowercase dialogue tag and the rest of the sentence + PERIOD.

    Okay. Moving on to this dangerous territory.

    Quote Inside Your Dialogue

    Sometimes, you’ll have a character who is telling you a direct quote from someone else or a book or a song lyric within their dialogue, right? So, we have to tell the reader that this quote is a quote they are quoting (look at all those quote words) and not something they themselves are making up.

    How do you do that?

    You use the magical punctuation!

    So, you put those double quotation marks around everything the speaker is saying AND THEN you put single quotation marks around what they are quoting.

    “Carrie said, and I quote, ‘I am so into manatees.’ ”
    “Carrie said, ‘I am so into manatees.’ Sometimes it’s hard to be married to her.”
    Amazing, right?

    WRITING TIP OF THE POD
    Knowing how to punctuate helps make agents, editors, and readers love you.

    DOG TIP FOR LIFE
    If you’re quoting someone else, you want to show it. If you don’t? You’re plagiarizing. That’s naughty.

    SHOUT OUT!
    The 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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

    LINKS WE REFER TO IN THE PODCAST
    https://www.foxnews.com/us/colorado-man-sets-moms-home-ablaze-trying-clear-cobwebs-blowtorch-police

    https://nypost.com/2021/12/05/bomb-squad-rushes-to-hospital-after-wwii-era-shell-found-in-mans-rectum/


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    • 19 min
    Weird Hitchhiking Stories and How to Punctuate Dialogue

    Weird Hitchhiking Stories and How to Punctuate Dialogue

    In last week’s podcast we started to talk about how to punctuate dialogue because we’re sexy like that. And we’re continuing that discussion this week.

    A great source of how to to punctuate dialogue is from theeditorsblog.net

    They are calm and lovely and explain things really well.

    And for a reminder: A dialogue tag is just the bits like “they said,” “she whispered,” “he yelled.”

    Single line of dialogue with dialogue tag and action
    So, for this, you’ve got quotation marks around your dialogue with the dialogue tag following what was said. But before that, right before the end quotation mark, you have a comma. There’s no capital letter for that dialogue tag. Why? Because it’s the same damn sentence, that’s why, and you can’t just randomly capitalize things in there. A period goes at the very end of the action or beat.

    “Shaunie is a cutie face,” she said, hoping Shaunie would look her way and smile.

    Quotation Marks + Capitalized First Word + Comma + End Quotation Marks + Lowercase First Word in the Dialogue Tag + Comma (usually) + Action/Beat + Period.

    You can switch that around and start off with the action/beat and the dialogue tag.

    Hoping Shaunie would look her way and smile, she said, “Shaunie is a cutie face.”

    Action/Beat + Comma + Dialogue Tag + Quotation Marks + Capitalized First Word + Period + End Quote

    So, then you have the interrupting dialogue stuff that writers love.
    This is when the dialogue is all the same sentence, but it’s interrupted by the dialogue tag. When that happens, you want a comma before the last quotation marks in the first part of the sentence and then again after the dialogue tag.

    “Shaunie is a cutie face,” she said, hoping Shaunie would look her way and smile, “but he doesn’t ever notice me.”

    Or

    “Shaunie is a cutie face,” she said, “but he doesn’t ever notice me.”

    Quotation Marks + Capitalized First Word + Comma + End Quotation Marks + Lowercase First Word in the Dialogue Tag + Comma + Action/Beat + Comma + Quotation Marks + Lowercased first word + End Punctuation (not a comma) + End Quotation Marks.

    Two sentences interrupted
    Or you can get all emphatic and make it two sentences because it’s dialogue. Then the first sentence has a period before the end quotes and dialogue tag. The dialogue tag ends with a period. The second quote section starts with a capital letter. Whew. That’s a lot. Ready?

    “Shaunie is a cutie face,” she said, hoping Shaunie would look her way and smile. “But he doesn’t ever notice me.”

    Quotation Marks + Capitalized First Word + Comma + End Quote Marks + Lowercase First Word in the Dialogue Tag + Comma + Action/Beat + Period + Quotation Marks + Capitalized First Word + End Punctuation (not a comma) + End Quotation Marks.

    Whew, that was a lot. Our brains are fried? Your brains okay?

    Writing Tip of the Pod
    Be sexy. Know your punctuation.



    LINKS WE REFERENCE IN THE RANDOM THOUGHTS PART OF THE PODCAST
    https://omaha.com/news/national/roadrunner-going-faster-ends-up-in-maine-after-hitchhike/article_4ce788b0-ef17-50ea-b260-36325130663c.html

    https://www.ranker.com/list/creepy-hitchhiker-stories/isadora-teich


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    • 18 min
    How to Punctuate Dialogue and Astronauts in Diapers

    How to Punctuate Dialogue and Astronauts in Diapers

    A great source of how to to punctuate dialogue is from theeditorsblog.net

    They are calm and lovely and explain things really well.

    But if you’re a little weird, you’re in the right place.

    Let’s get started for this two-part podcast that we’ll finish next week.

    And for a reminder: A dialogue tag is just the bits like “they said,” “she whispered,” “he yelled.”

    Single line of dialogue, no dialogue tag.
    You put the whole sentence inside those quotation marks.

    “Shaunie is a cutie face.”

    Quotation Marks + Capitalized First Word + Period/Question Mark/Exclamation Point+ End Quote

    Single line with dialogue tag (attribution) coming after it.
    This time you put the dialogue inside the quotation marks and also a COMMA of MAGIC right before the last quotation marks. Then after the dialogue tag you put a period like this:

    “Shaunie is a cutie face,” she said.

    Why is this?

    It’s pretty simple, the whole thing is a sentence, but it’s a sentence in two parts. Part one is the stuff someone is saying aloud. Part two is telling the reader who is saying it. It’s all one big thing and that’s why you don’t have a period inside the last quotation marks before the dialogue tag.

    Whoa. Mind blow, right?

    And that’s the same reason we don’t capitalize SHE in the dialogue tag of SHE SAID.

    Quotation Marks + Capitalized First Word + Comma + End Quote + Lowercase First Word in the Dialogue Tag + Period.

    We’re going to do just one more and continue on next week.

    Single line, but you’re putting the dialogue tag first
    So, it’s totally the same concept. It’s all one sentence, but this time the capitalization gets a bit wonky. You want to capitalize the first spoken word inside the first quotation marks and put a COMMA OF MAGIC right before it to separate the spoken words from the tag. Ready?

    She said, “Shaunie, you are such a cutie-cutie face, my little coco-puff.”

    So, you have a capitalized SHE at the beginning of the sentence, a comma at the end of the tag, quotation marks, then a capitalized first word.


    Tag + Comma + Quotation marks + Ending punctuation (period, exclamation point, question mark) + End Quotation marks.

    WRITING TIP OF THE POD
    Know your dialogue punctuation because it gets super confusing if you don’t.

    DOG TIP FOR LIFE
    When you know the rules, when you know how to communicate your wants, you should be able to get your people to understand you AND you can understand your people.

    SHOUT OUT!
    The 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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

    Links We Mention In Random Thoughts
    https://time.com/6115335/spacex-astronauts-200-days/

    https://www.npr.org/2021/11/20/1057698279/cash-spill-san-diego–california-freeway

    \


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    • 18 min
    How to deal with dialogue tags, Throwing Tacos, New Words and DO NOT HISS “I LOVE YOU”

    How to deal with dialogue tags, Throwing Tacos, New Words and DO NOT HISS “I LOVE YOU”

    These next few podcasts, we thought we should get all nitty-gritty with some quick grammar tips or style tips for people writing fiction.

    It can help you nonfiction writers, too, we swear.

    WHEN YOU’RE WRITING DIALOGUE (PEOPLE TALKING TO EACH OTHER), YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO FOLLOW THESE PUNCTUATION RULES.
    Use quotes.

    Have the dialogue tag (who the speaker is, the he said/she asked) in the actual same paragraph as the dialogue.

    Punctuate it all correctly.

    BUT HERE’S THE BIG ONE:
    Don’t go screwing around with those dialogue tags, also known as speaker tags.

    You want to keep it simple when it’s a dialogue tag.

    “Said” and “asked” are your besties here. If you do anything else? You look like a crappy writer who is trying too hard and the tag becomes more attention-grabbing than the very important words your character said.

    “I love you,” she said reads a lot differently than “I love you,” she murmured and bellowed and hissed.

    That can be your intention, but you don’t want to keep doing it all the time.

    “I love you,” she murmured.

    “I love you,” he cat-called.

    “I know,” she bellowed.

    He screamed, “Of course you do.”

    “And what do you mean by that?” she enthused.

    So, the other big thing to remember is this: You can’t sigh out or smile out words, so don’t use them for speaker tags. You can use them for dialogue beats, but that means you have to punctuate them differently.

    “I love you,” she said. – Requires a comma after the word ‘you,’ and a lower-case S for ‘she.’

    “I love you.” She sighed. – Requires a period after the word ‘you,’ and an upper-case S for ‘she.’

    Oh, and romance and horror writers, we all love to make our characters hiss especially when our lovers are shapeshifters, but you can’t hiss out a bunch of words if there are no s-sounds.

    WRITING TIPS OF THE POD
    Make sure your reader knows who is speaking by putting the dialogue tag next to the dialogue.

    DOG TIP FOR LIFE
    Only call attention to the things you want to call attention to.

    SHOUT OUT!
    The 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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.



    LINKS WE TALK ABOUT
    https://shepherdexpress.com/puzzles/news-of-the-weird/news-of-the-weird-nov-11-2021/

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/new-words-in-the-dictionary


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    • 22 min
    Our New Names are Cocoa Puff and Snack Train, Plus Swearing Ducks and Raising Stakes

    Our New Names are Cocoa Puff and Snack Train, Plus Swearing Ducks and Raising Stakes

    Everyone tells you to raise the stakes in your writing.

    And that’s a lovely, easy thing to say when you are the editor and not the writer. But what does it actually mean?

    You hear this and think, “Yeah. Yeah. High stakes equal important. Cool. Cool.”

    But then you start thinking about dinner or something.

    But it’s important. Carrie’s first breakout novel was NEED and it was a series about pixies trying to cause an apocalypse. Those are high stakes, right?

    Agent Donald Maas says it pretty well, “High stakes yield high success.”

    He suggests knowing exactly where the stakes increase. What page does this happen? Can those stakes be higher? Do those stakes make it harder for your main character to get what he/she/they want to get?

    A really, beautiful way he puts this stakes question out there is by asking authors to ask themselves, “So what?”

    What’s the so what question?

    It’s this: IF YOUR MAIN CHARACTER DOESN’T GET THEIR GOAL THEN SO WHAT? Does it matter? How much does it matter?

    And that brings me to what I think of I think is Maas’s most important point about stakes:

    The stakes in your story don’t matter unless you’ve built in human worth about your main character. If your character’s life doesn’t matter to the reader, than the stakes don’t matter, and this is even true for life-and-death stakes.
    HUMAN WORTH
    So, that brings us to the question of what is human worth and how do you make it happen in your story. That’s obviously a big cultural question, right? And this isn’t meant to be about philosophy, but about writing, and yes it’s all intertwined.

    YOU HAVE TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER.
    Who is she?

    Why do we need to care about her?

    What are the stakes that make it necessary for us to care that she gets her goal. There needs to be an extra burst of value in why us readers care about your character. Are they super moral? Are their morals and ethics at risk?



    The rest of the notes (that don't fit) are here. 
    WRITING TIP OF THE POD
    Make your characters matter. Make them redeemable. Make them have human worth.

    DOG TIP FOR LIFE
    Choose the people who see your good, not just your bad.

    SHOUT OUT!
    The 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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

    And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

    Here’s the link.

    SOURCES WE MENTION

    https://metro.co.uk/2021/10/14/police-admit-officer-did-mistake-paddling-pool-of-goldfish-for-sharks-15420535/

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2021/sep/07/talking-duck-in-australia-can-say-you-bloody-fool-after-learning-to-imitate-human-speech-video


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    • 22 min
    Pooping in Public. Don’t Be A Static Character, Baby.

    Pooping in Public. Don’t Be A Static Character, Baby.

    Carrie’s teaching a class at the Writing Barn for the next six weeks about . . . character!

    That means we’re talking a lot about character in our house.

    Of course, we’re also being characters because being characters is more fun than talking about them. It’s like the difference between telling in your writing and showing.

    And in the writing world one of the big annoying things writers hear about their characters is that the character is “too static, man.”

    What’s it mean to be too static? It means that the character isn’t growing or changing.
    The opposite of a static character is a dynamic character. That’s a character that grows and evolves.

    In most stories (but not all) our protagonists grow and change and are dynamic dynamos. They are characters we root for or follow, right? The evil miser who hates Christmas becomes a generous benefactor. A little boy wizard who hides under the stairs becomes a wizard leader in the fight against darkness.

    But if you think about the James Patterson series’s protagonists, most of them are like Sherlock Holmes and they don’t really grow and change. They are pretty consistent a lot of times.

    And then there is the bad guy/antagonist.

    Some editors will want your bad guy to grow and be dynamic too, but a lot of times those baddies and a lot of your side/secondary characters will be pretty consistent and static. Think Hannibal Lecter. Think Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

    What can you use static characters for?
    To be foils to the main character.

    To make fun of tropes and stereotypes or shallow people in society.

    To get pulled along in the main character’s fun.

    To sometimes have contradictory goals that create obstructions for that main dynamic character’s quest.

    WRITING TIP OF THE POD
    There is a place for dynamic and static characters in stories, but you know, you should know what the words mean.

    DOG TIP FOR LIFE
    Don’t be static, dude. Grow. Become.

    SHOUT OUT!
    The 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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

    LINKS TO THINGS WE’VE MENTIONED THIS PODCAST

    https://www.today.com/parents/toddler-brings-his-new-best-friend-skeleton-everywhere-t192612

    https://www.fox44news.com/news/weird-news/police-warn-woman-not-to-wear-halloween-costume-as-protest/


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    • 26 min

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