Author Archives: anndeecanndee

About anndeecanndee

I write books. Sometimes. Mostly I just throw up words.

Assignment today is to read The Veldt. 

I am putting together a reading and study list. Ray Bradbury is my first study subject. You can join me if you want.


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Today, as I take another bite of chocolate covered cinnamon bears, I feel myself physically get fatter. Like the adipose tissue in my stomach globbing and growing and I wonder, does a body get tired?

Are you tired of all the sugar and the sadness? Is it fair to heap everything, my worries and my stresses and my disappointments and even my joys on one helpless frame of bones and tissue and blood and organs, one body that works and works and works to keep me going.

We went to Yellowstone Park last weekend. I told Cam to be prepared.

Prepared for what?

I’m probably going to be discovered for a movie.

He looked at me. What are you talking about?

One time I heard Winona Ryder walked into a cafe where a movie casting director happened to be eating french fries and when he saw her, he knew it. He just knew she was going to be a star. He talked her into being in a little film called Lucas (which I love, P.S.) and the rest is history (I just googled Winona and it turns out that that the story isn’t true which is a little devastating because I feel like my daydreams for the past thirty years have been based on this legend).

I tell Cam that probably at the Old Faithful Lodge, probably while I’m holding my baby and trying to calm down my two year old and my bum is hanging out of my mom jeans and my bangs that were supposed to be cool and ironic but which most of the time look puffy and eighties, my bangs are at their worst, probably right then, a famous director will see me, he’ll see through the exhaustion and the wrinkles and the belly and the screaming children and he’ll say: Excuse me.

And I’ll say: Me?

Yes, he’ll say, You. I can’t help but notice you’re different.


Yes, you. You. There’s something about you.

He’ll study me. I’ll blush. The babies will keep screaming but no matter.

Have you been in films? He’ll ask.

Why, no. I haven’t.

He nods. That’s what it is. It’s rawness. It’s real gut. You’re what I’ve been looking for.

And then he’ll tell me he’s got a project going in two locations Toronto and Rome with a final scene in Hawaii–blast the budget he needs that shot! An independent film and he’d love to fly me out. He’s already got Viggo Mortensen and Helen Mirren signed up. Would I consider? It would only be three months. I could possibly bring the family but it would be long days for me, a lot of hard emotional work. I have to do it though. I have to. Because he’s been looking and looking and looking for just the right person and he’s sorry. I am so sorry, but you are her.

What should we do? I ask Cam.

He stares at me.

I mean it’s only three months.

He keeps staring at me.

The baby is happy now as I hold her on my hip the others are hitting each other as they wait for Old Faithful.

Do you think we can do it? I ask. Can we make it work?

Cam nods then. He says, I think we can. I think it’s probably the right thing to do.

And you guys, it is the right thing to do. You just have to make it work, is what I say.

And that’s all for today.


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Carol is Nice and Words and Sentences and Paragraphs matter

Carol is nice. And a fabulous mother herself. And nice. And nekkid.

This is important information.


I take my Sammy on walks because he wakes up early and then loves to pounce on other people in the house and there are SIX available candidates who are sleeping soundly and most of those six have been awake (and screaming) at least one time or another in the night so this person (ME) who is usually the first person (though sometimes it’s his father, bless his soul) he attacks, does not want him to wake any of the other six if at all possible.

Please read this sentence out loud. Fast. Is it a good sentence? Why or why not?

Here are some more sentences:

Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern wilderness below. It was a small plane, a Cessna 406—a bush plane—and the engine was so loud, so roaring and consuming and loud, that it ruined any chance for conversation.

Not that he had much to say. He was thirteen and the only passenger on the plane with a pilot named—what was it? Jim or Jake or something—who was in his mid-forties and who had been silent as he worked to prepare for take-off. In fact since Brian had come to the small airport in Hampton, New York to meet the plane—driven by his mother—the pilot had spoken only five words to him.

“Get in the copilot’s seat.”

Read these out loud. Fast. Are they good sentences? Why or why not?*

Here’s another example:

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.

Same questions.**

I know I’ve been harping on sentence structure and style lately and that’s because they matter. They matter a lot. The more I write, the more I read, the more I see how crucial it is we become concerned with the sound of our sentences. The rhythm of our words. The structure of our paragraphs.

Do you read your writing out loud? Do you look at the page and assess the paragraph lengths? Is there variety? Are there punches? Do you ramble? Is there any joy or delight in your writing on a surface level?

Take one page of your WIP and play with the sentences. Rewrite them. Rearrange them. Play with the sentence length. The paragraph length. The formatting. Eat cinnamon bears. Chocolate covered. Spend your entire writing session playing with the English language.

If you have time and you’re brave, report back. Maybe even post a before and after sentence.

I promise with all my heart hope to die, this will make you a better writer, It will make writing more fun. It will make your readers want to come back again and again even if they don’t know why.

Love and candy,

The End.

*This is from Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I have a story about Hatchet I will share later.

**This is from Matilda which I love.

P.S. I’m thinking of starting a class. On writing. With lots of reading. And eating. And writing. And talking.


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I think it’s valuable for all writers to practice on a sentence level. It’s one thing to be good at plot and character. It’s another thing to write beauty words, beautiful sentences, etc.

My friend Brian has an excellent style website. It’s geared for students in college studying composition but I think it’s fabulous for fiction writers too. Try it and see what you think.

Another thing you can do to help your sentences is to read. And then read some more. And then keep reading. Sometimes you can even find something you love, a book, an author, and then rewrite one of their paragraphs. Maybe even a whole chapter. By doing this, you’ll feel the rhythm of their writing. You’ll start to understand how they construct their phrases, where they put modifiers, why they put modifiers where they put them. You’ll be surprised at what the actual act of rewriting, of copying for the purpose of learning will do for you. Now, beware, I’m not saying you should copy other writers. I’m saying you should STUDY. you should become a student of fiction. You should learn from those you admire, from the masters.

I’ve learned so much from copying down passages from Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Sandra Cisneros, Flannery O’ Conner, Cormac McCarthy, and others. So many others.

love and style.

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Dear Friends

The other day I listened to a therapist give a podcast on how to talk to our kids about sex.


This makes me very uncomfortable.

I never want to talk about sex to anyone, let alone my kids.

But they say I must.

Did your parents talk to you about sex? Where were you? Sitting in the front room with your arms folded? Standing in line at McDonalds? Going up the stairs of the Statue of Liberty?  Did your mom talk? Your dad? Your grandma? The tour guide?

Did you ask questions, request more information or mostly just die?

What about your MC? What does she know? Who told her? Does it matter? How does she feel about boys? And love? And all the rest?

Sometimes I like to think of the weirdest worst situations, like a mother attempting the talk in the subway or possibly at Subway. And a girl, like me, wearing my horrible Benetton outfit and eating a slimy turkey sandwich sitting in the booth, nodding and crying inside and also hoping she’ll tell me more details but not really, but really and will a boy ever love me? And want to hold my hand? But please not want to do that. Never THAT.

For ten seconds or ten minutes freewrite about the Birds and the Bees and your character and your life and then talk to your kids about sex at Subway.


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“A writer in the act is a thinker on full-time cognitive overload.”   –Linda Flower and John Hayes.

Is this true for you?

What if you don’t any cognitive load let alone overload?

What does your brain do when you write?

Try to be a mindful writer today and think about what happens when you write, what is your optimal writing time of day, your optimal writing atmosphere? What are you roadblocks? When are you able to focus best?

Also, what do you wish you were writing but you’re not.

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This Gorgie Lady

Yesterday, instead of packing or writing or getting a syllabus ready, I cut my bangs.

Short. Really short.

I’ve always wanted to do it and so I asked the new girl at the hair salon go for it. I even showed her a picture. This picture, actually.


she looked at the is famous, young, gorgie actress and then looked at me and my face and my clothes and the hair growing out my chin and said, we’ll go a little conservative.

Then she gave me a mom cut. I always get mom cuts no matter what I do.

So I kept the mom cut for a few days.

And then, maybe because I was sad, or maybe because I was overwhelmed, or maybe because I really wanted short bangs, I got the scissors and did something I have never done in my life. I cut my dumb own hair.

It doesn’t look gorgie like her and It may look a little Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber but it’s deliberate and it’s different and it’s not a mom cut.

Get your manuscript.

Stop being conservative.

Stop doing what you’re always doing.

Stop letting other people dictate what you do.

Use your gut.

Decide what the book really really really needs.

Get your scissors and stop being scared and go for it. You deserve it and your book deserves it.

The end.

Please let me move to a new house by the end of the week, short bangs and all.


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