Monthly Journal – May 2018 part two

Hello, everyone!

Welcome to my blog series, Monthly Journal. This month, I’m right on time…Yay! I can’t believe it’s the end of the month already. This is part two of this months blog series. Here is part one…

https://melindamariealexander.com/2018/05/31/monthly-journal-may-2018-part-one/

A few years ago, I started making inspiration boards for my story. I loved making them, they were very motivating while I was making them, but they would just end up in a photo file on my PC, on my blog, and in albums on Facebook. I certainly didn’t look at them everyday, so I stopped making them. I decided it was a waste of time. They are pretty though!

This month, I had an idea! I thought about making a vision board for my office, so I could see it everyday. Why didn’t I do this in the first place? I found a couple of 16 x 20 stretched canvas boards in the garage, that I never used. Years ago, I thought about doing some painting, but I never tried it. So, I grabbed the canvas, brought them inside the house, and started looking for copyright free photos on pixabay.com and pexels.com. I saved the pictures I found to a file on my PC, printed them out, and cut them up like I’d cut paper dolls when I was a kid. I arranged the photos the way I wanted it to look, and then I took a photo of it with my phone, so I could glue it on right. One section has been redacted…it’s for my eyes only.

After taking this photo, I removed all of the pictures and then started gluing the photos to my canvas board with Mod Podge Waterbased Sealer, Glue and Finish (Matte Finish)

It’s almost done, I only have one more thing to add, but it’s for my eyes only…sorry! As you can see, this one is slightly different then the first photo…before I glued everything down. I tweaked it, there was too much going on. I like it! What do you think?

On May 16th, things changed and the rest of the month went downhill. I went to see my doctor, because I wasn’t feeling well. I had a sinus infection, and was put on a high dose broad spectrum antibiotics. It was the strongest I’ve ever had, and I’ve had sinus infections ever since I was 18. The strong antibiotics wiped me out, I had to rest. So, I didn’t do any plotting. It’s May 31st and I still don’t feel well. I hope the antibiotics worked, because I don’t want another round of that…that’s for sure!

My goal for June, is to get to step three, and I can’t wait!!!

June, please be good to me!

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

If you haven’t seen all of the Monthly Journal blog posts, I’ve made it easy for you. Just click on Monthly Journal at the top of my blog, there’s a link to each blog post.

P.S. I think I might try plotting and writing next month. The writing will get me back inside my story, and the plotting will give me a road map. I’ll let you know how it works out.

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Monthly Journal – May 2018 part one

Hello, everyone!

Welcome to my blog series, Monthly Journal. This month, I’m right on time…Yay! I can’t believe it’s the end of the month already. If you haven’t been following my blog series, and you’re seeing this for the first time, this is why I started my series.

I decided to do this blog series, for several reasons. I want to let you know what I’m doing every month…to be accountable. I also want you to know how…plotting my book series is going. It’s going slow…really slow. Plotting is not easy for me. I feel like a square peg being shoved into a round hole. To be honest, I’m struggling with it. I’m a plotser…not a plotter, or a pantser, and I’m definitely not a planner. At this point, I’m not sure I’ll ever be a plotter or a planner. A few of my friends and my husband, have told me to stop plotting, and just keep writing. I was so tempted to do just that, to give up on plotting and just write. But then, my stubborn side kicked in, and it wouldn’t let me. I really want to do this! I want to become a plotter. I want to write faster. I want to be organized. I want to finish my book! I’m a linear, slow writer, and I edit as I write. I know, I’m not suppose to do that, but I do. I can’t help it! If only I could write as fast as I come up with story ideas. That would be amazing! There’s so many story ideas floating round inside my head right now, I need to get them out, I need to make some room in there.

It’s getting a little crowed!

When I get stuck, and I don’t know where I’m going…I tend to stop writing. When I feel pressured about plotting, I step away from it. I feel like I’m going around and around in a vicious circle. I don’t know if I should go up, if I should go down. I feel like I’m never getting anywhere, and I don’t know how to get out!

I usually take a few notes, then start writing, and somehow those notes seem to get lost in the piles and piles of notes I have. So, I’m working on getting organized. I write like I’m driving down a dark, and twisted road, in the rain. I can only see what my headlights show me, and sometimes my headlights go out, that’s when I can’t see anything at all.

The further down the road I go, the more I see…as long as my lights are still on.

When I got to the middle of my first book…I stopped writing. I realized that I didn’t like not knowing where I was going. That’s when I knew my husband was right. Crap!!! He bugged me about outlining all the time, and of course, me being an ENFP, Scorpio girl…I didn’t listen.

Lacy, my main character, has been stuck in the library for more months than I’d like to admit too. I know the next few scenes, I just haven’t written them down yet. They’re trapped in my head somewhere. When I was writing the library scene, I found out that publishers want the first book finished, and an outline of all the other books in the series. I’m not really sure if this is true, but it derailed me. It derailed me, because I haven’t nailed down my ending yet, and finding out that I have to outline all the other books has overwhelmed me. I’ve tried so many different ways to plot, nothing has worked…so far. Right now, I’m doing the Snowflake Method, and if this one doesn’t work, I have a backup plan. Harmon’s Plot Embryo.

Fingers crossed that this one works!

Another reason why I’m doing this blog series, is to hopefully help someone else, who might be going through the same problem with plotting a book series.

Why didn’t I just write a standalone book first?

Writing a book series is difficult!!!

Another reason why I’m doing this blog series, is to help me get more organized, to help me keep track of what I’m doing, how long it’s taking, what’s working, what’s not working.

Last month, I posted about being in Step two of the

Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson

https://melindamariealexander.com/2018/05/03/monthly-journal-april-2018/

Step two is to write a one-paragraph summary with five sentences. 1) Explain the setting and introduce the lead characters 2) Explain the first quarter of the book, up to the first disaster, where the hero commits to the story. So far…so good, I did this part and then I froze. 3) Explain the second disaster, where the hero changes her/his mode of operations. 4) Explain the third quarter of the book, up to the third disaster. which forces the hero to commit to the ending.

I’m still in step two, but I’m happy to say that on May 4th, I found #3. I found my second disaster. I’ve actually had it all along. I just wasn’t sure about it. Wasn’t sure if it was strong enough, powerful enough. My ending has been getting clearer also.

I can move forward in my story now.

I think I just might see the end of the tunnel!

This blog post is getting long, so I’m dividing it up into two blog posts…part one and part two. If you haven’t seen all of the Monthly Journal blog posts, I’ve made it easy for you. Just click on Monthly Journal at the top of my blog, there’s a link to each blog post.

Here’s part two!

https://melindamariealexander.com/2018/05/31/monthly-journal-may-2018-part-two/

Monthly Journal – April 2018

Hello, everyone!

Holy Moly…I’m late again

Blogging once a month is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It’s the second month in a row, that I’ve been late with my blog post. I should have posted this on April 30th. I’m not very good with time management. I’ll try and do better this month. As I type this…I keep hearing my mother say, “Melinda, time waits for no one!” I would always say, “It waits for me,” as I would continue to go at my own speed. I think, she said that to me every single day, as I was getting ready for school. Looks like, not much has changed since then. Mom, was right…time doesn’t wait for me, but I wish it did. I seriously wish I could control time, or better yet…

I wish I had a time machine.

I hate to admit it, but I didn’t write anything down in my journal…for the whole month of April. It’s completely blank, just like this photo. I’m really not sure why, I didn’t write anything down? The month just flew by. That’s been happening a lot lately.

In all fairness, I started behind the eight ball in April, because my March blog post was late. For some reason, I had no desire, or ambition to write or plot or do anything where writing was concerned. I know I’m suppose to write everyday, but sometimes, I just don’t want to. I really need to work on that. I think there was a reason for it though.

Step two in the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson…

is to write a one-paragraph summary with five sentences.

1) Explain the setting and introduce the lead characters

2) Explain the first quarter of the book, up to the first disaster, where the hero commits to the story. So far…so good, I did this part and then I froze.

3) Explain the second disaster, where the hero changes her/his mode of operations.

I’ve been stuck in the middle for so long, I’m not sure where I’m going? Writing and plotting is so far out of my comfort zone. Sometimes, I feel so unsure of myself. I never feel like this with pottery, or photography or anything else in my life. Why does writing and plotting do this to me? I don’t really know the answer to that question. I do know a couple of things…I don’t like to plot, I’ve never been a planner or a plotter, and I don’t like not knowing where I’m going, only when it pertains to writing. I’ve been going on joy rides (that’s what my Dad would call them) ever since I can remember. We’d get in the car, and my Dad would just drive. We never knew where we would end up. The same thing happened after I got married, my husband likes to go for rides. We’d get in the car almost every weekend, and just drive. It never bothered me, that I didn’t know where we were going, or where we’d end up. So, why does this bother me?

When I’m stuck, I stop writing and sometimes, I even stop working on my book entirely. I tell myself, I need some time away from my story, so I can come back with fresh eyes. Sometimes that actually works, but sometimes it doesn’t

So, how do I fix this?

I’ve read so many books on plotting, story structure…you name it, I’ve read it. The more I read, the more confused I get. I’ve been unsure about my second plot point for a while now, not sure if it’s good enough, powerful enough. Sometimes brainstorming, or just talking to someone about it helps. I asked my husband about it a few days ago, and he reassured me that it was a good plot point. So, I think I can move on now…phew!!!

4) Explain the third quarter of the book, up to the third disaster. which forces the hero to commit to the ending.

OMG…I’m stuck again! I don’t know this part. It’s so hazy, so foggy…just out of my reach. I think step two in the Snowflake Method is going to take me a while.

5) Explain the fourth quarter of the book where the hero has the final confrontation and either wins or loses or both.

Crap! I don’t know this part either. I’m lost in the woods somewhere.

Someone, please come find me!

I do know one thing though, my hero is going to win.

Yikes!!! I have a lot of work to do, and I can’t let it scare me. I have to push through this step, even though I don’t want to, because I can’t wait to get to step three…Write a Summary Sheet for Each character.

That is going to be so much fun! I love working on my characters. I really wish I could skip step two, but I can’t, because it’s exactly what I need help with, what I need to work on. If I can figure out the second half of the book…I can finish it.

Wish me luck, because I’m going to need it!

In other news, I found some really cool copyright free photos the other day, on pixabay.com that I can use for inspiration for my book series.

Love these!

Well, I hope this month will be my breakthrough month. The month that I finally know where I’m going, so I can finish book one and move on to book two.

May, please be good to me!

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

 

 

 

Monthly Journal – March 2018

Oh my Ears & Whiskers…I’m late!

Alice in Wonderland quote

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

Alice in Wonderland quote

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my new blog series…Monthly Journal

Sorry, this blog post is late.

This month has been a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs…and up again. I started out so good too. I worked on my series bible. I actually changed the name of my town, I like the new name so much better!  But, then I had to changed the name of the town on all of my character profiles and print new ones. But, that’s okay…the new name was worth it.

I purchased my new kiln…Yay!

That very night, my husband started to feel like he was coming down with something. We were hoping it was just his allergies. But, just in case…I talked him into calling the doctor first thing in the morning to get an appointment. It’s a good thing he went to the doctors…because he had the flu. It was Friday afternoon, and all I could do was hope and pray that I wouldn’t get it.

However, Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat and felt horrible!

It’s a good thing my husband remembered that we have teladoc included in our insurance. I was planning on going to urgent care…even though I really didn’t want too. I just couldn’t wait until Monday to get Tamiflu. He kindly called for me, even though he felt terrible, and went to CVS to pick up my prescription. What a wonderful husband!

Having the flu really stinks, but having the flu when you have so much to do, stinks even more. Just when I was starting to feel a little better, my kiln arrived. No time for resting, that’s for sure.

We had planned everything out…two months in advance, for the electrician to get everything hooked up and installed, so my hubby can build my shelves and my workbenches. Even though we still didn’t feel very well, we couldn’t reschedule our appointment. Our electrician was going to have surgery. We were his last job, before taking time off. So, we had to do it.

My new pottery workshop is coming along very nicely. The electrical outlets, track lighting, ceiling fan and some of the shelves are done.

I’ve been so preoccupied with my new pottery workshop renovation, I haven’t had that much time for writing and plotting. My head is full of pottery designs and I’m getting excited about working with clay again. Three years, has been a long time to be without a workshop.

On March 23rd, I started reading…How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method. I’m so glad I bought this book. I’ve put lots of removable index tabs on the pages, and highlighted the important stuff. I think, this just might be the method I need to plot my series. I’ve been looking for the right fit… the right way to plot for me…for so long. I’ve tried so many things, so many ways of plotting and nothing seems to stick for very long.

I finally wrote my tagline…my one sentence summary for the first book, before I was even finished with the book. This is so huge for me! I’ve been avoiding this, for so long. It just seemed so difficult. How in the world do you summarize a whole book in one sentence? I didn’t even try to do it…until last week. It really wasn’t that bad, actually. I don’t know why I was avoiding it. I guess I thought I needed to know my ending, before I could write my tagline. My ending is still very fluid. Things keep changing in my book, my characters seem to be taking over. While reading this book, I realized that I don’t need to know my ending, and my tagline doesn’t have to be perfect. I can always change it, whenever I want to.

This is what I have to deal with everyday…being an ENFP. Alternating between procrastination and perfectionism. I’m working on it though.

It doesn’t matter which way you choose to plot a book. You just have to find the right method that works for you. Fingers crossed, that this is the right method for me. I’m very methodical when I do things, so I think the step by step instructions will work for me. It’s like baking, you have to follow the recipe. So, if you’re having problems plotting like me, check out this book. It might just work for you too. I’ll let you know how step 2, in the snowflake method works out for me in my next blog post.

Hopefully, April will be a much smoother ride for me.

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

Monthly Journal – February 2018

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my new blog series…Monthly Journal

Ummm…what happened to February? Where did it go? How is it even possible that…it’s time for another blog post. I’m not ready!!! Time is going by way to fast for me.

This is why I need a time machine.

On the first day of February, I started reading my new book, Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I couldn’t wait to read it. That night, I didn’t want to go to bed, because I didn’t want to stop reading. I think I should have stayed up, because life got in the way, I got distracted, and didn’t finish reading it. Now I’ll have to start over, and refresh my memory.

I worked on more character profiles

I finally finished my blog series on Character Development using Zodiac Traits. I’m super happy about that. I’ll be starting two new blog series soon, one on Chapter Names and the other blog series will be Character Development using Myers Briggs.

I actually didn’t get as much done as I wanted to, this month. I didn’t write anything down in my notebook, so I can’t remember everything I did do. I was naughty! I was very distracted by the Winter Olympics. I could not resist watching all the figure skating and the ice dancing. I love it! Hopefully I’ll get more done next month.

The most important thing that happened this month, was that we started on my new pottery workshop. I’m so excited!!! I can’t wait to dig into a fresh bag of clay and make something awesome. But, there’s lots of work to do first. This is another reason why I’ve been distracted, and not getting a whole lot of plotting done this month. My mind is going from writing, to pottery, to writing and then back to pottery. Being distracted by pottery is a good thing though.

If you didn’t read last months Monthly Journal here is it…

https://melindamariealexander.com/2018/01/31/monthly-journal-january-2018/

Okay, that’s about it for February

At least that’s all I can remember right now.

#notetoself…Remember to write everything down!

Character Development: Zodiac Traits – Capricorn

Hello!

Well, it’s finally here, the last blog post in my series…

Character Development using Zodiac Traits.

It’s one of my favorite writing tools…to create living, breathing characters that jump off the page and it helps me know my characters…so much better. After giving my characters a name and finding images of what my characters look like (not necessarily in that order all the time.) I give them a birthday.

Then I start searching for Zodiac Traits. Pinterest is a great place to get information on Zodiac Traits. Check out my board…

Writing Tips: CAPRICORN Character Development – Zodiac Traits

https://www.pinterest.com/MMAlexander15/writing-tips-capricorn-character-development-zodia/

I start with negative and positive keywords for each Zodiac sign. 

These negative keywords are very helpful for character development. Especially for developing your antagonist or a character that’s not so nice. You can use several of these negative keywords or all of them, sprinkled with a few positive keywords to create a living, breathing antagonist. People are complex, no one is all bad or all good. Creating an antagonist that has some good qualities makes them scarier…in my opinion.  

Characters need layers, depth…that’s what makes them real.

These positive keywords are very helpful in developing your protagonist, side kicks and mentors, sprinkled with a few negative keywords and you have a living, breathing character with flaws. Someone people can relate to.

Then I dig deeper with this book  “The Power of Birthdays, Stars & Numbers – The Complete Personology Reference Guide by Saffi Crawford and Geraldine Sullivan.” 

I love this book!

It has information, on every single birthday.

Hope this series helped you with your Character Development.

Thanks for stopping by!

My next series will be Character Names

And I think I’ll do a series on Character Development using Myers Briggs

See you soon! 

 

Monthly Journal – January 2018

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my new blog series…Monthly Journal

I decided to do this for several reasons.

1) To let you know what I’m doing every month, and how…plotting my book series is going. Plotting is not easy for me. I feel like a square peg being shoved into a round hole. It’s not quite fitting yet and I’m definitely not comfortable with it, but I’m working on it. I’m a plotser…not a plotter, or a pantser, and definitely not a planner…not yet anyway. I usually take a few notes, then start writing, and somehow those notes seem to get lost in the piles and piles of notes I have. So, I’m working on getting organized. I write like I’m driving down a dark, and twisted road, in the rain. I can only see what my headlights show me. The further I go, the more I see. However, when I got to the middle of my first book…I stopped writing. I realized that I didn’t like not knowing where I was going. That’s when I knew my husband was right. Crap!!! He bugged me about outlining all the time, and of course, me being an ENFP, Scorpio girl…I didn’t listen.

I don’t like outlining

FYI…I just bought my very first planner today.

2) I’m hoping that this will make me more accountable.

3) I’m hoping that this might help someone else, who might be going through the same thing.

4) I’m hoping that this will help me get more organized, and help me to keep track of what I’m doing. I even bought a notebook, so I could write everything down each month ( well, almost everything. I forget to write in it sometimes )…baby steps.

5) And last by not least…to give me something to blog about.

Okay, here we go…This is what I did this month

I organized my secret boards on Pinterest. Made new secret boards. Deleted what I didn’t need and moved stuff that I wanted to keep, to a different board.

I worked on some character photo pages, especially the new characters that are showing up for future books. I like to know and see what my characters look like. I need to see their faces.

I worked on my series bible. Here’s a sneak peek inside my series bible.

Every character has a photo page. Sorry, I can’t show you his face…it’s for my eyes only. I have a page with information on where each character lives, their birthday, hair and eye color, height and information about them from this awesome book I have. The Power of Birthdays, Stars, & Numbers The complete Personology Reference Guide by Saffi Crawford & Geraldine Sullivan. I’m so glad I bought this book…years ago.

I love this book

Each character has a page of Zodiac Traits from my Series…Character Development using Zodiac Traits. I also added three small photos of them at the top, but you can’t see that either…sorry!  https://melindamariealexander.com/character-development-using-zodiac-traits/

Each character has a character archetypes page. I covered up this characters name. I can’t give away all my secrets. Each character also has a character quirks page.

I have a section for maps. I’m using a real town, but changed the name in my book series. Each character has a real address, and because I know where this is, I grew up not far from this town. I can walk down the streets with my characters. I know where their houses are, where the school is, and the library. I also sketched the main streets, where all the shops, stores, bakery, book store and places to eat are. This section is fictitious.

I have a section for character development

There’s a section for plotting info, like Beat Sheets and info on Villains

And I have a worksheet section. Got these from Pinterest. I’ll let you know when I add more sections or more information to my series bible.

And last but not least…I’ve been reading. Here are all the books I want to read. Right now, I’m reading Writing the Fiction Series. I really want to read, The Juggling Author. I haven’t finished Save the Cat. I probably need to start that book over. I need to read, Creating Character Arcs, just got that one and the workbook. I also want to read Plot & Structure for the 4th time. It’s my favorite writing book, my go-to-book when I feel lost. Oh, and I really want to read Writing About Villains. I need all the help I can get in that area.

Okay, that’s about it for January.

Hope you enjoyed my first monthly journal and I really hope you come back every month.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and spending some time with me.

Feel free to leave a comment

See you next month