Sodaro's Stories

June 30, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things – Finishing

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:09 pm
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So as we bring this month to a close…I have to say…I am okay with where things sit. I got 28 of the 30 blogs (and  27 of the 30 workout days, bringing me that much closer to my shoulder piece goal).

I used to never finish things. Well…except cake, pancakes, and ice cream…those I always finished…thus the need for workout goals.

The quote by Erica Jong “I went for years without finishing anything. Because of course, when you finish something you can be judged…” so perfectly described my philosophy of life and I didn’t even consciously realize that was the reason I would start a new project (or seven) to never ever have to run the risk of accidentally finishing something. Because if I finished something, then what…then I had to put it out into the world? No way. Have you seen the world? There are people out there…and they’re mean…and you want me to just toss my novels, my poetry, my short stories, my essays out there…No way.

I didn’t finish my PhD. I had One course, one paper, one residency and my dissertation left. Now I just have a whole lotta debt and nothing to show for it. My adviser said “don’t publish your first novel before you finish your degree. I scoffed and said “I got this.” And then I held my first novel…and not only did I not “have this” but I didn’t care. l knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and it had nothing to do with having three initials after my name. I wanted to finish every project I’d ever started so that I could hold every one of them in my hands, just like I did with Whatever you Make of It. 



June 29, 2016

30 days of blogs: Author things –Smiling

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:49 pm
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I have been told I have a great smile. I think all genuine smiles are great smiles because they express joy and positive energy.

Things that make me smile…a real smile, not a “I have to smile so I don’t punch you, smile” are… **this list is not all-inclusive…really just 30 things that came to mind first…if I really listed EVERYTHING that makes me smile, we would be here for a minute…I’m a pretty happy person>

**Being introduced as an author. “This is my friend, Michelle Sodaro. She’s an author.”

**Talking about writing.

**Thinking about writing.

**Writing about writing.

**Writing about anything at all or nothing at all.

**People excited about my books coming out. (CLICKING SEND ON REDEEMING TRUST ON 1 JULY!!!!)

**People talking to my characters as if they are real.

**Tiny humans giggling. (Really the only tiny human sound that doesn’t make me twitchy.)

**New pens.

**New notebooks.

**New story ideas.


**Kittens. Mine. Yours. Really all kittens.

**Making future plans.

**Really good first dates.

**Reading books.

**Listening to music.

**Talking to people.

**Not talking to people.


**Friends that are my kind of weirdos.

**Ice cream.

**Those rare days I wake up not in pain.

**Typing THE END on a project.


**Barq’s root beer.


**Long Slow Kisses.

**Random conversations with friends.




June 28, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — Outlines

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:48 pm
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I really meant to write about this right after I wrote about prompts, but I got distracted. I know…I was shocked too. Me distracted? That hardly ever happens…ooooh…shiny….

I used to scoff at people who used outlines. I didn’t want to be confined to the constraints of an outline. I was a creative spirit. No outline was going to cage me. I would be free to write what I want and hear me roar. Oh sweetie, sit down.

So it turns out having a game plan (even one that is literally written in pencil) is pretty handy to keep the plot moving a long at a steady pace. Knowing where you want your characters to get and what (in general) is happening next, is rather effective…and surprisingly was not at all restrictive or confining as I had feared. So the protests died on my lips as I just picked up my pen and wrote the next scene for the draft.

My outline is not what I made my students do when I taught English. Not that formal, not that scary. I am not writing a five-paragraph essay where every paragraph needs a topic sentence and at least two supporting details. I am writing a novel and that is so much more complex and messy than any essay I have ever written…not to mention the novel trumps the essay in length, breadth, depth, and most other ways we have of “measuring” the writing that gets done.

30 days of blogs: Author things –Fresh air

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:38 am
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So I am so very grateful for air conditioning. So very grateful. I really don’t think my knee could handle it if there was no cooling down from this heat…I hurt almost every day…but I am still doing my workout more days than I am not doing it, so I’m trying.

One of my favorite things to do is drive my Jeep…those of you know me should know this…it’s my dream vehicle and I love her. She’s beautiful and perfect.

If I get out early enough, I can drive to work with the windows down and not look like (or smell like) I just stepped out of a sauna. And I love the fresh air. It is such a contrast to the air-conditioning that I have come to depend on.

On the way home, I drive home with the windows down any chance I get. If the air is too humid and I can’t breathe, then it’s windows up and air on…but there is something about the fresh air that helps to clear my mind and allow me to work through things that have me stumped or conflicted. And then suddenly things make sense again.

June 24, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — Inspiration

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:25 pm
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So, if you have read my blogs for any time now, you know that I find inspiration just about anywhere and by talking to anyone. I found a single rose in a parking lot and had about 50 potential ideas on how it got there (including it walking there and falling down in exhaustion).

There are people I have met that are a one-hit wonder…they inspire one idea…one scene…one bit of conversation…one secondary character.

There are some people who inspire many ideas and many stories. Who become a primary character… a recurring theme…a constant source of inspiration.

I am always amazed when I meet new people and they instantly become old friends…as if we have known each other in previous lifetimes…as if our souls can finally relax and say, “oh thank goodness…I found you again.” These are the people who teach me about friendship and love and all of the best parts of life. They give me hope and help me to write.

I am so grateful for the people in my life who are fodder for the bad things that can happen…after all what is a story without conflict? What is a protagonist without an antagonist?

I’m also grateful for the people who remind me of what I want to believe in and all the reasons to write a happy ever after.

I am grateful for the people who inspire me…


June 23, 2016

30 days of blogs: Author things –Early mornings

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:03 pm
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Recently a writer friend asked me when my best writing time. I immediately said “early mornings” and then looked at my (self-chosen, I might add) schedule and asked…why do I get to my teaching job during my prime writing time? To be honest, I am not the most productive at work things first thing in the morning, and that is probably because my heart longs to be writing and editing and making progress on my lovelies.

So in July I am going to change my schedule to be more conducive for my productive times for both my author life and my teaching life…and yes, I realize I should have done this ages ago…but I will do it starting July 5th and it will be wonderful. This way when I get home, too tired of staring at a computer screen to get any author stuff done, I will have already done some author stuff for the day so I won’t feel that the day is totally wasted.

I naturally get up around 5:30 almost every morning. The latest I “sleep in” is 7:00 and that is rare because my kittens have been trained that 6:00 is the latest they should let their human sleep. There are cookies to have and water to drink, and oh yeah, clean our potty.

People tend to look at me sideways when I tell them that I am usually up at 5:30 with or without an alarm…and that’s okay…I can write while they sleep and then I won’t be desperately trying to get out of activities to go sneak in some writing time.

You may be thinking, Sodaro, this sounds fantastic. Why wait until 5 July. Why not start today? I’m still working on my OCDs, folks…but it’s baby steps.

June 22, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — Smiles

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 5:57 pm
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It is a fascination of mine to smile at people and watch their reaction…which of course then gets put in my notes for a future book.

Tiny humans are usually the best at smiling back…and they smile unabashedly and clap their hands (often with food in the tiny hands which makes a mess they also don’t care about). Research notes that mashed potatoes are especially effective in this.

With teens, I usually have to put more work into getting a smile back…it’s evidently universally and historically impossible for a teenager to express enjoyment of anything, so my smiles to teens are usually more dramatic…it’s really difficult to be growly around someone acting like a fool…and usually the smile is a “wow, what an idiot” but I’m still counting it and recording it for when I write teens.

Adults are in general the toughest to figure out on smiles. So I need to watch that in my books. I like to laugh and smile, so  I use “he laughed.” and “he smiled” a lot as opposed to “he said.” Looking through a draft of mine would make someone crazy…no one laughs and smiles at EVERYTHING. So I watch people as I smile at that. That person frowned. hmmm…this one smiled back…okay…yikes, this person winked…don’t know what to do with that exactly.


June 21, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — Helpers

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:25 pm
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I have some idea-bouncer-offers that are absolutely fabulous for the help they give me in my times of need.

If I am in a good writing zone and don’t want to get distracted by the Bermuda Triangle that is Google, I will ask one of my idea-bouncer-offers and if none are available, I will mark it with a big circle on the draft to come back and fill in later. I have 4 that I ask random things of fairly regularly. They are fantastic and help me out when I don’t know the names for things (one day, “foyer” was nowhere in my mind for “what do they call that place right inside the front door of a place?”)

I also have subject-matter-experts who I ask about things I do not have any prior knowledge of…and yes, my job calls them “SME’s” but that sounds too much like Smeagol to me which makes me think they are somewhere holding up random preciouses…so I will just write out subject-matter-experts. They let me know about what a certain Harley is called or what is a really top-end stilleto shoe brand. What are some bits of hockey lingo.

SO my idea-bouncer-offers are amazing. I can’t even imagine writing my books without them.


June 20, 2016

30 Days of blogs: Author Things — Prompts

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:43 pm
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I don’t know how many times I have promoted or recommended Monica Wood’s The Pocket Muse vol 1 and vol 2…but I know how many times I have used them. Okay, so not like an actual number of times I have used them…that would be impossible to speculate and as I don’t keep a tally on my calendar about how many days I have used a prompt or two from her book…I can just officially go on record and say I have used them A LOT…

Each edition of The Pocket Muse has a prompt for every day of the year…let that sink in, and while it sinking in, remind yourself that there are 2 volumes…that’s right ladies and gentlemen, elves and trolls…that is 730 prompts for your writing pleasure.

Some of them, I have never used. Some of them have come into play with almost every novel. I use the prompts when I am outlining my novel and know I want this scene to show up somewhere. I also use them for poems. I use them when I am stuck. I would use them in a box, with a fox, while sitting on rocks…in my socks.


30 days of blogs: Author things — alternate realities

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:47 am
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I felt this was a fitting one for today. Some of you will understand why…but as I am not an air-er of dirty laundry, we will just leave it at that…

One of the things I look at when I am writing, is to not make my novels too autobiographical. Of course there is going to be parts of me and my life in there just as there are going to be parts of other people I know in there. It’s a fact of a writer’s life that anything is fair game (which people should really keep in mind when dealing with me and my friends…).

I often look at my relationships and friendships and family-ships and make sure that my books don’t come off sounding like an autobiography or memoir. I might make a relationship better or worse than I have known in reality because I don’t want my life to be known by everyone. Some people know the truth of the situation and that is fine…some people don’t need to know and that is also fine.

I think about it on holidays because I especially want to write about experiences like mine and then as far removed from mine as you can get. That’s why it’s called fiction, my dear friends.

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