The Goodjelly Blog

On Possible Metaphors of a Mouse Tale

Sep 27, 2021

By Christine Carron

As I thought about what I would write this week, a memory kept sneaking up on me: the first time I used a mouse. It was also the first time I used a personal computer. I was a senior in high school nearing graduation and visiting my older sister at college. I had a final paper in some class due, and decided I wanted to be fancy and write it with a word processor instead of a typewriter. 

So there I was in a university computer room, sitting at one of many terminals. My sister gave me basic instructions. I started typing. At a certain point, I needed to move the...

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On Stress Writing

Sep 20, 2021

By Christine Carron

I am not much of a gambler. Once I was in Las Vegas on a business trip and went with some colleagues to play blackjack. I giddily explained my novice status to our dealer, a white woman so brown and wizened it looked like she spent every non-working, waking hour in the sun, slept in a tanning bed, and got spray tans on her lunch breaks. 

She was not charmed by my admission. There may have been some subtle eye rolling involved in the look she gave me. She dealt the cards, and a few minutes later I lost twenty bucks to the house. That one game drained my gambling...

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On Scenting a Story

Sep 13, 2021

By Christine Carron

A friend is proofreading the revision I have been working on for months. After all the creative, intellectual, and emotional effort that went into that particular revision, it is a relief to have it off my desk and out of my mind. 

Its absence has opened up time in my schedule. Time that I am filling with imagining a new story. The contrast between the thinking processes required for  completing a story versus starting one is stark. On the spectrum of divergent/convergent thinking, completing a story is more about convergence: making choices and removing...

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On Dancing with Doubt

Sep 06, 2021

By Christine Carron

Nobody puts Baby in a corner. So goes a famous line from the movie Dirty Dancing. Doubt on the writing adventure is like Baby. It will not be put in a corner. Like any emotion, doubt wants to be felt. To be moved. To be attended to. 

I was reminded of this last week as I was finalizing a set of changes based on first reader feedback on the massive revision I’d recently finished. I was messing around with a chapter, and instead of simply proofreading as was the plan, I overhauled, adding so much change that the chapter exploded into first-draft mode. Then I...

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On Puzzling, Process, and You

Aug 30, 2021

By Christine Carron

I love jigsaw puzzles. Last night, I finished a particularly tricky one. My puzzle speed slowed dramatically toward the end as I sorted out the last fifty pieces or so, which all looked very similar. I got it done through a combination of methodical analysis, leaps of intuition, and sheer determination. Yet, as I moved piece by piece toward the end of that particular puzzle, what kept circling in my thoughts was the entirety of the puzzle process.

In particular, I was pondering where the puzzle process begins. The end is clear; every piece in its place. But what is the...

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On the Ironing Pass

Aug 23, 2021

By Christine Carron

Are you familiar with this moment? The one where you have made all the big picture changes on a revision. And you have done multiple passes through the manuscript, reading and/or reading aloud, listening for musicality, for clunkiness, for awkwardness. Line-editing mode intensity, where there’s still lots of red-lining on the page where you are reworking phrases, sentences, whole paragraphs even. 

But eventually the manuscript settles and you are ready for that last final pass. The one where you will (hopefully) only be correcting tiny continuity issues,...

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On Going Far Enough

Aug 16, 2021

By Christine Carron

There was a weeping willow tree in the backyard of the house where I spent my youngest childhood years. I have a particular memory of climbing it. Higher and higher I went until I was clinging to the central leader at the very top of that willow. I inchwormed myself up just one bit more and broke through the branches. Broke through into an expanse of endless blue and bone-deep quiet. Sky space. 

I remember the tree’s leader swaying and me swaying with it, and surely it was precarious, yet this memory holds a profound sense of rightness; a sense that I was...

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On Story QA

Aug 09, 2021

By Christine Carron

In software development, the process that ensures that a delivered product works as expected is called quality assurance (QA). Perhaps as a result of being steeped in software development for over twenty-five years, I have always thought of the editing and revision process in writing as Story QA.  

Story QA is like a target and it involves three phases: 

  • Phase 1: Hitting the Target
  • Phase 2: Refinement of Aim
  • Phase 3: Nitty-Gritty Precision

Phase 1: Hitting the Target

This phase is all about having confidence that your arrow (your story) will hit its...

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On Taking Your Readers on a Ride

Aug 02, 2021

By Christine Carron

If you’re a writer, then I figure I’m not going too far out on the proverbial limb if I state that you probably want someone, even lots of someones, to read your work. Basically, you want readers. I fully admit to having that particular want myself. 

Let’s imagine that we have them. Which means, yes, we’re totally skipping way far ahead in the process. A skip that includes a giant leap over the writing itself and another leap over getting the word out about our writerly work, a.k.a., the marketing. 

I’m okay with those gargantuan...

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On How To Be a Great Partner to Your Writing

Jul 26, 2021

By Christine Carron

The other day I watched a special episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee from 2015 where Jerry Seinfeld visits with then President Obama in the White House. In the second half of the interview, after Seinfeld cheekily points out that he’s made way more money than Mr. Obama, the former president asks Seinfeld how he has remained grounded (i.e., not an entitled jerk) in the face of his extreme fame and fortune. Seinfeld’s answer, “I fell in love with the work.”

I’ve been thinking about that answer a lot. What keeps bubbling up for me is...

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