The Goodjelly Blog

On Revision, Sculpture, and Pliable Stone

May 03, 2021

By Christine Carron

I’m close to finishing a third revision of a middle grade novel. The first two revisions fell into place with an almost unreal ease and with each, and I had a visceral experience of both the story getting stronger and my craft skills sharpening. Sweet!

Then I got to revision three. There was struggle, there was despair, there was doubt. Months came. Months went. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off what the story needed. I had chosen to detonate a key structural conceit of the story, which—once detonated—left a gaping hole in the novel. Basically, I...

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On the (Real) Purpose of a Query Letter

Apr 26, 2021

By Christine Carron

Like old-school record albums, there are two sides to the writing adventure: the A-side and the B-side. The A-side, the Artistic side, is the work we writers do to craft a story that we hope will gobsmack our readers. Often, the A-side is the juice, the special sauce, the holy-wow-I love-doing-this! energy that keeps us going no matter the slings and arrows that come our way. 

The B-side is the Business side, the part of the adventure where we make a go of earning some money from our writing. Though the B-side often creates angst for writers, it generally...

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On Solving Story Pickles

Apr 19, 2021

By Christine Carron

The past fwe weeks we have explored Whole Brain Thinking, identifying different ways you might use it and layering in deeper meaning and understanding of the model each week. For our final post in this first-ever Goodjelly cycle focused on Whole Brain Thinking, let’s dive into using the Whole Brain Model to address challenges in new, unexpected ways. Since we are of the writerly persuasion, we’ll focus on the challenge of story pickles.

What is a story pickle?

A story pickle is a story problem. It could be any time you feel stuck in how to move the story...

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On the Sweetening Power of Meaning

Apr 12, 2021

By Christine Carron

Continuing our Whole Brain Thinking series, today we will explore one of the most powerful applications of the model: helping you to situationally shift into less preferred modes of thinking, i.e., helping you do things that you don’t like doing. An application which may leave you scratching your head. Is she really telling us to do things we don’t enjoy doing? Isn’t the Goodjelly mission about expanding writerly confidence, equilibrium, and joy?

Do not fear. Goodjelly is still about the joy. It’s also about supporting your success on the...

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On Preferences, Plotting, and Pantsing

Mar 29, 2021

By Christine Carron

Last week, I introduced the Whole Brain Model. As part of the introduction, we looked at plotting through a whole brain lens, examining how the four thinking styles enrich the effectiveness of a plot. If you haven’t read that post yet, pop back and take a gander. It gives you all the background you need to dive in with us here.

This week, we’ll stick with plotting but use the Whole Brain Model in a different way: as a tool to diagnose a conflict. In this case the recurring writerly conundrum: Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? Which is really asking: Do you...

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On Whole Braining Your Writing Adventure

Mar 22, 2021

By Christine Carron

I once delivered a speech on the benefits of growing up with a mentally ill father. A main benefit I highlighted was that it spurred a lifelong curiosity about balance, health, and healing. I was (and am) a learning maven, churning through any idea for how it might help me (and others) create more equilibrium, possibility, and joy. I actively search out new tools and methods, but sometimes cool approaches fall into my lap. Those always feel particularly delightful to me. Winks from the universe: We've got you covered, girlfriend.

One of those land-in-my-lap tools...

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On Getting to Thrillsville

Mar 15, 2021

By Christine Carron

I couldn’t ride a bike until I was in my thirties. That’s not quite right. I could whiteknuckle ride a bike, but I didn’t know how to get a bike started or how to bring it to a stop without awkward hopping and massive inner panic that I might wipe out. Starting and stopping was Klunkytown all the way.  

Why this skill gap? When I was in the first grade, I was on the handlebars of my older sister’s bike.* We were racing our oldest sister down the street—a huge hill. One second my sister and I are in Tour de France speed mode. The...

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On a Teacher, True Voice, and Trusting It Will All Come Together

Mar 08, 2021

By Christine Carron

In a time long ago at Saint Pius X High School in Festus, Missouri, once you hit sophomore year, you got Mr. Janc for English. Calm and spare in body, kind and spare in temperament. That’s how I remember Mr. Janc.

One day, he assigned us the classic and classically boring How-To essay. Even then, I loved writing. I was also a depressingly good student, not prone to rebelliousness in any way, shape or shenanigans-inducing form. But that assignment was so tedious, it unleashed a demon inside me. A Christine-compatible demon, of course, so we’re not exactly...

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On Shredding the Shoulding

Mar 01, 2021

By Christine Carron

When I turned forty, which was not long after I officially started my writerly journey, I decided it was time to do something with all the diaries and journals I kept since I was ten. There were boxes of them. Over the years, I dragged those boxes from city to city; I even paid for storage for them when I lived abroad. The upkeep of those journals and diaries kind of stressed me out, but I had this firm notion that one should keep such things. Do something with them. Especially, if one wanted to be a real writer.

With dogged enthusiasm and expecting to be inspired, I...

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On Taming the Wire

Feb 22, 2021

By Christine Carron

In 2010, I got to attend Tightrope! A three-day workshop led by Philippe Petit. Yes, the same Philippe Petit who walked between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974. There were five of us in the class. No hiding in the back. I was getting on the wire. Slightly problematic as I have a not insignificant fear of heights. I can’t even watch some of the scenes in The Walk. All my limbs go to jelly if I try. To this day, I don’t know what even possessed me to apply for the workshop in the first place. 

Yet, in affirmation for anyone called to...

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