Tag Archives: Jocelyn

The Places that Shape Us

By Jocelyn Nash Carlin

This past week I had the opportunity to revisit many places from my past. My parents, after 32 years, are moving out of the home they raised me in and down-sizing their way into a town home in a retirement community. They live one sate away, and I drove with the whole family out to see the home one more time and to help them pack their three decades of accumulated stuff into boxes to prepare for the movers. My home town looks very much the same if you stay in the neighborhood of my childhood. The houses haven’t changed much – some are in need of repair, others have been well-maintained and updated. Some of the yards are well-kept, others less so. But the same was true during my youth. The only major change is that the trees are taller and there are a few extra cracks in the sidewalks. On the other hand, as I drove further afield, I noticed more and more changes. Old shops ripped down and replaced with new. Once-empty fields now filled to the brim with housing tracts. Bright new storefronts and restaurants. Even my old middle school had been completely demolished and replaced with a new building. The place I grew up in had continued to grow and change without me, as if it had a life of its own. It was more than a little disorienting.

Then, on the way home from our visit, we took a detour to the town my father grew up in, to see the old farmhouse once owned by my paternal grandparents. They’ve been gone for about six years now, and my uncle owns the house. I haven’t been back since he and my father decided to subdivide the old farm and turn it into housing lots. The house looks the same on the outside – the same red brick, surrounded by tall trees. The towering catalpa still casts shade over the driveway with it’s dinner-plate sized leaves, the old root cellar resting a few yards behind it. But the familiar fences and outbuildings of the old farm are long gone. Where once stood an old barn and granary there is now a row of ranch-style stucco-coated homes with SUVs parked in front drives and swing sets and propane grills standing in the back. The old bull-pen has been replaced by a street, and a round-about sits right about where another old shed once resided. The reality of progress has washed away the places of my memories, leaving only ghosts behind.

This nostalgia-filled journey got me thinking about just how much our sense of place informs our writing. I can set a story in a city, or a forest, or a frozen waste, or on a space-faring vessel, but in the back of my mind I see rolling fields and distant mountains – gullies lined with scrub and cottonwood – housing tracts and hay pastures standing side by side. Just how much of that makes its way into my writing? How does it inform the way I conceive the worlds I create?

In his study of the Apache sense of place, Wisdom Sits in Places, anthropologist Keith Basso writes:

“…places are perceived in terms of their outward aspect – as being on their manifest surfaces, the familiar places they are – and unless something happens to dislodge these perceptions they are left, as it were, to their own enduring devices. But then something does happen. Perhaps one spots a freshly fallen tree, or a bit of flaking paint, or a house where none has stood before – any disturbance, large or small, that inscribes the passage of time – and a place presents itself as bearing on prior events. And at the precise moment, when ordinary perceptions begin to loosen their hold, a border has been crossed and the country starts to change. Awareness has shifted its footing, and the character of the place, now transfigured by thoughts of an earlier day, swiftly takes on a new and foreign look.”

I’ve been seeing the places of my past as colored by this new and foreign look all week long. It makes me wonder how that disorientation of past memories colliding with present realities impacted Gimli when he stepped inside the mines of Moria, or how different Green Gables seemed to Anne when she returned from college with a new perspective, or how difficult it must have been for Odysseus to get used to his home after being away for so very long.

The interplay of one’s memories of a place with the alterations left by the passage of time is fertile ground for exploration in our writing. Now that I’ve had a taste of it in my own life it’s definitely something I’ll spend more time thinking about as I write.

On Outlining

I think every fiction writer faces the question: “Do I want to outline, or not?” at some point in their career, and revisit it from time to time. As to the particular style of outlining, they probably revisit the problem from time to time.

I’ve known some writers who write detailed chapter by chapter outlines that are not only long, but include actual snippets of description and dialog. Others write vague lists of major plot points and then free-write their way from plot point to plot point. Still others will come up with a basic story concept, spend time writing character sketches, and then put their characters into their basic story and see where those characters take it through free-writing. There are methods based on a three-act structure, or other multi-point systems, or circular cycles of rising and falling action leading to new cycles of rising and falling action. A simple google search will produce dozens of different outlining systems.

None of these systems are right or wrong. It’s a matter of experimentation to find what works best for you.

For most of my short stories I come up with a basic concept and then free-write until I’m finished. I’m generally happy with the results. On the other hand, when I tried to free-write a children’s fantasy novel, the resulting manuscript was so messy and inconsistent that I’ve had to revise it about five times, and I’m still not happy.

I’ve set that manuscript aside for the time-being, and for my two new works in progress I produced outlines of all the key plot points. I’m currently using the 7-point plot system taught by author Dan Wells in this series of videos, or summarized in this episode of the podcast Writing Excuses. Give it a listen – it might be the system for you. And if not, there are dozen of other systems out there, just waiting for you to try them.

So far I’m very happy with this outlining system. It provides a clear path for each of my major characters, as well as an overarching story to tie all those characters together. But it’s not a chapter-by-chapter or scene-by-scene outline. There is still plenty of room for me to make changes here and there and to free-write my way to better world-building and character development as I work all my outlined plot points together.

What outlining styles (or lack of outlining styles) have worked best for you? Share them in the comments to help other readers find the right fit for their writing method.

Tips from Pixar

By Jocelyn Nash Carlion

I’ve always admired the Pixar movie studio – not just for the brilliant animation, but for their wonderful storytelling. Pixar films consistently win more critical praise and more awards than any other animation studio not just because of their technical expertise but because of their focus on telling a good story, and telling it well. In my opinion they not only tell better stories than most family films, but better than most Hollywood films, period.

So, even thought it’s about a year and a half old, I was delighted to find this list of storytelling tips from senior story artists at Pixar, as compiled and tweeted by former Pixar story artist Emma Coats.

Here’s the complete list:

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

Not all the tips will apply to you and your writing at this exact moment, but there are enough gems of wisdom on this list that something on it will probably resonate with you. Numbers 8 and 17 really speak to me right now. Which tips speak to you?

Where to Publish Short Fiction

by Jocelyn Nash Carlin

Over the past year and a half I’ve been spending more time away from my ongoing novel to try my hand at some short fiction. Short fiction can be a wonderful palate cleanser after months of being bogged down in revisions and editing, and if you are successful in publishing, it can be a great resume builder to add to the bottom of your query letters for your novels. Not to mention that getting your fiction in front of an audience and receiving financial compensation for it (no matter how small) is always a great confidence booster.

But, like many of you, I’ve been faced with the question: Where exactly can I sell my stories?

There are no literary agents as gatekeepers in the short fiction market – you send your work directly to the editors and let them make the buy/reject decisions. Which means you have to know who to send your fiction to.

In my online research I’ve found several helpful websites to get you started in your search for short fiction publication venues.

The first and mostly highly regarded place to find markets for your fiction is Duotrope, a site which not only has the most comprehensive and up-to-date listings for short fiction markets, they also have some submission tracking features and interactivity among members where they can share tips and experiences with different markets. But there is a downside – while Duotrope started out as a free service, after an initial free trial they now operate as a subscription service with a $5 monthly membership fee, or a discount if you join on an annual basis. Given how little short fiction markets pay, you could pay more for Duotrope membership than you earn for your fiction in an entire year. However, they really are the best, so if you have multiple stories ready to submit and you are determined and committed, this site is probably worth your money.

If you write speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror and the like), a fantastic free site listing short fiction markets is Ralan.com. This site lists markets according to how much they pay, from professional-rate markets on down to zero-pay markets. It is updated regularly and tries to stay on top of any announcements from markets as to whether or not they are open for submissions.

Another great place to start for speculative fiction short fiction is the list of SFWA qualifying markets. SFWA is the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and they keep a list of markets where you can publish to help you qualify for membership in the organization. These markets are not only the top-paying speculative fiction markets, but will also get your writing the most exposure.

I don’t know as much about literary fiction markets, but I found a great list of short-fiction-market-resources on Absolute Write. This page includes links to many market-lists that should get you a very good start on finding the right places to submit your fiction. This article on Yahoo lists the top-paying/most exposure literary fiction markets. And author Cindi Myers is currently publishing a series of articles on more obscure short fiction markets on her blog. One of these resources will likely point you in the right direction to begin your search for a market.

From my experience so far, you’ll pile up rejections pretty quickly when you dive into the short fiction business, but each rejection I collect reminds me that I am working hard toward my goals. And once I finally get an acceptance, rather than a rejection, you better believe I’ll be back to toot my own horn.

Those First Million Words . . .

By Jocelyn Nash Carlin

There is a popular quote in the writing world (though Google has shown me that the proper attribution is somewhat disputed) that goes something like this:

“Your first million words don’t count – be prepared to throw them in the trash.”

I’m sure you’ve all seen variations of this quote, and at different times you’ve probably had different reactions. One day you might think, “My first novel needs a little revision, but it’s mostly great.” Other days you might think, “More like two million.” And most days you’ll probably be somewhere in between.

Recently I stumbled across another quote from novelist/freelance editor Erin Bow, and I think I like this quote a lot better:

No writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Franciso is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfranciscensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better. Even a failed loaf is not wasted. Likewise, cheese makers wash the dairy floor with whey. Tomato gardeners compost with rotten tomatoes. No writing is wasted: the words you can’t put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better. (emphasis mine)

No writing is wasted.

I love that idea.

Does it contradict the idea that it takes many (most) writers a million words of practice before they get published? No. But those words do count. They aren’t just trash. They are the words that till, cultivate, and fertilize your mind. They are the words that hone your skills, pump up your writing muscles, and train your word-craft until you can perform before a crowd without fear of falling down.

Even better, your first million words don’t all have to be in your genre. Do you want to get published in young adult fiction, but you write a blog on cooking just for fun? Guess what – if you put care and effort into those words, they count! So do your journals, your personal blogs, your fan fiction, the practice character or dialog sketches that never made it into a story, or all the discarded stories from your creative writing assignments in high school and college.

Every one of those million or more words have cultivated an ecosystem in your brain that will make your new writing tastier than ever before.

Will it take you a million words to get published? Maybe, maybe not.

But no writing is wasted.

Writing Snippets Classics: Podcast on Writing Around Your Full-Time Job, featuring Mark Forman

On this beautiful spring morning, we bring you a classic podcast featuring one of our favorite guests, Mark “M.L.” Forman, author of the Adventurers Wanted series. Jocelyn hosts, while Lauren and Mark talk about life at a full time day job when you are also a writer.

Enjoy this lively discussion all over again.

(about 17 min.)

Download here (right click and select “save link as” to download)

Getting Active About Passive Voice

By Jocelyn Nash Carlin

This past week I spent some time reviewing an older story to see if it was worth revisiting. In the process, I discovered a disturbing amount of passive voice. As a result, I think it’s time for a quick review of this basic principle of fiction writing: Active verb construction is (nearly) always better than passive verb construction.

*Disclaimer 1: Not all uses of “to be” are passive construction. You don’t have to eliminate all uses of “to be.”

*Disclaimer 2: Not all “-ing” words are passive construction. You don’t have to eliminate all uses of “-ing.”

*Disclaimer 3: Though you should try to use active construction whenever possible when writing fiction and narrative non-fiction, there are occasions when passive construction will work better for the flow of your narrative than active construction. Just be sure to use your passive voice thoughtfully and sparingly.

With those out of the way, how do you recognize and change passive construction?

Here’s the most basic rule:

If the subject of your sentence (the person, place, thing or idea) is performing an action, your construction is active. If the subject of your sentence is being acted upon (or receiving) the action, your construction is passive.

For example: “Zombies killed Josh,” is active. “Josh was killed by zombies,” is passive.

Rebecca Johnson, a professor at USMC, came up with a fun rule to help identify passive construction. She said, “if you can add the phrase ‘by zombies’ after the verb, you have passive voice.”

Let’s play:

“The wall was toppled [by zombies].”

“Toby ate [by zombies] lunch.”

“The bill was signed [by zombies].”

“The story was told [by zombies].”

“Josh threw [by zombies] the ball.”

I’m sure you can tell where the “by zombies” addition works and where it doesn’t. The sentences where it works are in passive voice. All those examples were in the Past Simple Tense. Spotting the passive seems more complicated in other tenses, but the zombie rule still applies.

Let’s look at the Present Continuous Tense:

“Donna is singing [by zombies] a song.”

“A song is being sung [by zombies].”

See? The zombie rule still works.

Some writers argue that you should avoid using “-ing” constructions anyway (see what I did there?), for stylistic reasons. However, I say: your style is your style – not someone else’s. For a good review of when “-ing” is passive vs. when it functions as an adjective or present participle, see this blog post. And for a great breakdown of what active vs. passive construction looks like in all the verb tenses, see this post.

I hope this quick review will help exercise your grammar muscles as you get ready for more writing and editing.

*No words were harmed [by zombies] while writing this blog post.

ETA: the original link I provided for explaining present participles also includes a passive voice mis-identification, so to eliminate confusion I’ve edited to provide a link to a different article. Anyone interested can see the original link here.

A Character By Any Other Name . . .

By Jocelyn Nash Carlin

How do you name your characters?

Creating character names is a dilemma that all fiction authors encounter on a regular basis. We need to put labels on the personalities running rampant in our brains before we can corral them into printed words.

The importance of character names is different for every writer. Some authors need to find their character’s names before they can truly get to know them, while other authors will use generic placeholder names and develop the character independent of their true name, only christening them when the story is complete. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, eventually you will have to pick some names.

We are fortunate, in this technological age, to have vast name-listing resources available on the internet.

Baby name websites are a great resource. My two favorites are BabyNames.com, and BehindTheName.com. Both sites include multiple search criteria to help you narrow down your choices, and both include historical etymology, name meanings and language of origin information.

For fantasy or historical stories, I like to choose specific countries of origin for my names to help create a more authentic cultural milieu. In my new novel, I have characters from two different countries. I’ve chosen to model those countries after real historical regions, so I’ve picked one set of names with Norwegian origins, and the other set of names with Italian origins. This helps me to mentally distinguish my two cultures and to keep track of the differences between the characters.

For contemporary stories, you have even more options. But you still need to keep in mind things like your character’s ethnicity, social class, regional trends, the personality of their parents, etc. You might still want to look at name meanings or origins, or you just might want to find a name that “feels” right for your character.

You also need to make sure you have good variety in your character names. If your characters have names that are too similar, it can be confusing for your readers. (When I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time as a teen, it drove me crazy that nearly all the Bennet sisters were sometimes refered to as “Miss Bennet,” and that two men – who were cousins and friends – were named Fitzwilliam Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam. What? Don’t do that to your readers.) And try not to give your lead characters names that are difficult to pronounce, unless you plan on giving them a simpler nickname.

Here are a few other web resources that might be usual to you:

Genealogy websites such as Ancestry.com

This list of novelty name generators might give you some fun name ideas.

The Medieval Names Archive can be useful to writers of fantasy or historical fiction.

Now go have fun losing yourselves in name databases for hours and hours! I know I have.

Looking Back and Moving Forward – Another New Year for the Writing Snippets Crew

Hello wonderful followers! This post marks the two year anniversary of Writing Snippets. We’ve gone through lots of changes in these two short years, and we’d like to send a hearty THANK YOU to anyone who was along for the whole ride, and an equally hearty THANK YOU to anyone who hopped on board more recently. We love you all!

In the new year, due to time restraints and logistics, we’ll be spending more time blogging and less time podcasting. We hope you’ll enjoy our written words as much as you’ve enjoyed our spoken words.

As this anniversary passes and a new year begins, members of our crew are looking back over what they’ve learned this past year and what lies ahead for them. Here are their thoughts – please share your own in the comments.

Ava Mylne

I think the single thing I have learned this year about writing is that there is no single thing I need to improve on. But my biggest lesson is this: I have more to learn than I have learned in the past, and I know when I have learned everything I think I need to learn right now, that I will have miles more to go. I want to start learning how to logically follow a story, so that I can find plot holes and character inconsistencies — big picture problems — that I haven’t been able to see before.

I think it odd that when we are learning to write, most of us focus first on grammar and punctuation; but grammar and punctuation are the last things to be fixed in a serious edit. If you fixed the grammar first, you would have to fix it again with every subsequent edit. Why torture yourself? I want my stories, my characters, my thoughts, to live and breathe in book form. That means I have to perfect the characters and the story before I perfect the words that create them. It feels backwards somehow.

I can read your thoughts. You’re thinking, “Good luck with that perfection thing.”

Oh, well. I’ll never get there in this life, but think of everything I’ll learn along the way.

Alice Beesley

What I’ve learned in the last year:

Some of the things I’ve learned this year are how to plot a novel. I was more of a pantser to begin with but I’ve found that I end up having to do too many revisions that way and I’m not a super fast writer so it takes too long. I tried several plotting worksheets I found on line and they’ve helped me do loose outlines of my stories. I also started doing character sketches to help me get to know and develop my characters better since that’s one of the things I struggle with and it’s made a difference. For me character development usually comes last after I’ve got my plot and story figured out and have done several revisions. Emotion is another thing I’ve worked hard to portray in my stories this year and I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of it and be able to incorporate that more into my stories.

Writing goals for 2013:

Publish a novel and find an agent. I have two novels out with editors who have expressed and interest in them. I’m doing a revision on one of the novels, and I’m going to start querying agents for another one. I’m having a third novel critiqued by our writer’s group and some other writers I trade books with. After that I’ll do more revisions on it, then I’ll query agents with it. I also plan to plot out and write sequels for two of my novels.

Jocelyn Nash Carlin

The biggest lesson that I’ve learned this year is that I don’t function well as a writer unless I have a structure – and after having a baby a year and a half ago, my structure completely fell apart. If I don’t have a fixed writing schedule and goal, the work doesn’t happen. If I don’t have an outline, the work is three times as hard. That novel I wanted to have finalized by Christmas 2011? Still not done. Why? Because I wrote it by the seat of my pants. Every time I go to work on more edits, I curse myself for not outlining beforehand.

I’ve also learned that I enjoy writing short fiction from time to time. I’ve completed several short stories this year, which are making their way through the rounds of submission to various publications and contests. Writing them was a wonderful palette-cleanser from my endless novel edits.

In this new year I’m working with my spouse and children to get back on a fixed writing schedule that works for the whole family, and that the whole family will respect. I plan on trying my hand at more short fiction, redoubling my efforts at submitting regularly, and outlining my next novel before diving in too deep.

My only measure of success will be: Am I happy with what I write? Sometimes, after writing slumps, that’s the goal that matters the most.

Lillian Banks

Lilly decided to share her thoughts in a vlog:

Nichole Jarnagin

In 2012 I learned a valuable lesson — or at least that’s when it finally sank in. The concept is this: From the very first page you set up an expectation for your reader, a promise, and it’s a promise you must keep.

For example, if you’ve written a blossoming romance set in regency England, you can’t introduce aliens in chapter five. Okay, that’s a big jump but you get the point. In the case of my work in progress, I was aiming for a YA paranormal romance but in trying to add depth to my characters, I’d inadvertently written a gritty contemporary. The “issues” my main character struggled with were distracting and prevented the story from moving forward. I’d mislead my readers, switching the focus entirely. Readers couldn’t get past my main character binge drinking and cutting herself to focus on the important parts of the story — the discovery of a gorgeous male siren. Forehead slap. I had taken my story in the wrong direction because I failed to keep the promise I’d made. The good news. Once you’ve grasped this concept and stop fighting against it, it’s much easier to delve into your story and take it where it needs to go.

In light of the New Year my writing goals for 2013 are as follows:

1. Schedule and honor time to write as follows: every other Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00am -noon. Every Friday from 7:00am- 10:00am OR 10:00am-1:00.
2. Edit and polish Allure by March 15th
3. Submit query letter to dream agent C.D. by March 30th
4. Research and compose list of backup dream agents just in case 😉

Now you’ve seen our New Year’s thoughts – don’t forget to share yours in the comments!

Feed Your Writer-Brain

I’m sure most writers have experienced this: You mention to someone that you’re writing a novel. They reply, “Oh, I’ve been thinking about writing a book. I have some really great ideas.”

My most recent experience with this came from a distant relative who wanted to write a non-fiction history book. When I asked if he read much in the genre, he replied, “No.” When I asked if he’d looked at the online platforms of other writers in the genre, I was met with a blank stare.

What it boils down to is he had lots of enthusiasm for his own ideas, but had done nothing to educate himself on current writing trends or the opinions of others. He was writing from a void. That’s no way to succeed in the business of publishing these days.

In order to find success, whether in fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose, screenwriting or short stories, you have to feed your writer-brain.

What exactly does that mean?

Well, first and foremost, it means you need to read. You need read a lot. Fill your spare moments with a good book or a good article. Read a variety of genres, and once you focus in on the genre you want to try writing, narrow your reading, too. Read what’s popular and critically acclaimed in your genre. Read old favorites from the genre, and take a chance on first time authors. If you don’t know the marketplace, you’ll have a hard time finding a place in it for your own work. Whether you follow the traditional agent/editor/publishing house route, or aim for self-publishing, filling your writer-brain with knowledge of the marketplace is going to give you a huge boost.

Additionally, reading will help you internalize good technique. If you get used to reading good dialog, you’ll be more aware of when your own dialog is falling flat. If you find some authors who write amazing sensory description, you can learn from them to improve your own. And don’t give up reading outside your genre – sometimes you can learn tricks of technique from authors outside your genre that will help your writing stand out from the pack when it comes to your own genre. Plus, you never know what might spark a moment of inspiration that leads to a new story, even if it’s just a random article or a non-fiction book you picked up on a lark.

If you like to multitask while doing household work or exercise, like I do, you can feed your writer-brain by listening to audiobooks or watching the types of films and television shows that feature interesting plotting, fascinating characters, or quality writing. Usually stick to scripted works – ones that writers worked hard to bring to life. You can generally learn more from those shows than from “reality” television. Unless “reality” tv or news programs are the ones that spark your creativity.

Ultimately, you need to learn what feeds your writer-brain best. Seek out that brain-food, and consume it as often as possible.

In an era in which information and entertainment is just a few keystrokes away, you can’t expect to write in a void and succeed.

Don’t think of all this reading as time taken away from your writing. That writer-brain needs nourishment and inspiration to do its work properly, and this is how you feed it.

By Jocelyn Nash Carlin