Tag Archives: character development

Monthly Journal – September 2018

Hello, everyone!

Welcome to my blog series, Monthly Journal. This post is late too…I know. I’m trying to catch up. Thankfully, it’s only a few days late. If you haven’t been following my blog series, and you’re seeing this for the first time, you can check out the other posts here.

https://melindamariealexander.com/monthly-journal/

Unpacking is so not fun! I’m exhausted, not to mention hurting all over. There is such a mess in my workshop right now. Everything is everywhere. I think it’s going to take me awhile to fix this mess. I really hope I have enough room for everything. Fingers crossed! I really wish I was Samantha on Bewitched right now, just twitch my nose and be done already.

After eight days of unpacking, my whole body was hurting really bad and I had a migraine all day. Having Fibromyalgia, really sucks! I just want to get my workshop unpacked and organized, so I can start making pottery again. It feels like every step forward I take, I end up taking two steps back. I had to take some time off to rest.

While I was resting my arms and shoulders (I have arthritis in my shoulders) I spent some time researching on ancestry, more glaze research and worked on my characters a little. I had a few empty journals lying around, so I decided to use one for my main characters and minor characters that are nice. I started listing all the important information about each character, this way I don’t have to go get my huge series bible, or go upstairs in my office when I need some information, while working downstairs. I can carry them with me, wherever I go. Another journal will have the antagonists, villains, and people who are not nice (haven’t started on that one yet), and the other journal is a catch-all notebook, for things I have to do, ideas about my story etc.

After some much-needed rest, I had to go back to my workshop and do more unpacking.

  I’m plowing through it!

Because I can’t wait to feel clay squish through my fingers again. I can’t wait to make something, glaze it and open the kiln when it’s done. Every time I do that…it’s like Christmas.

So, my book has taken a back seat, because I’ve been busy with my workshop. There’s so much to do! I haven’t worked on my book in a while. I think my characters might be mad at me. Not to mention, all this unpacking and moving things around is taking a toll on my body. I think I’ve been over doing it. I ended up having to take more time off again, because I was in so much pain. Seeing how difficult it’s been for me, my son Nick came up with a really good idea, so I don’t over do it all the time. I kind of think I’m Superwoman, and then I pay for it after. He told me that I should set a timer, and when it stops, I need to stop. So that’s what I’ve been doing. It still causes me pain though, but not as bad. Thank you Nick, your idea was brilliant!

I swear these boxes keep multiplying at night. It doesn’t look like I’ve made any progress. I had no idea I had so much stuff! The other day I was so overwhelmed by the mess and all the boxes, I just wanted to stop. But then I took a deep breath and continued unpacking. This is so not fun! I’m not a fan of unpacking…just saying!

On September 24th, I took another day off from unpacking, and decided to clean my office. I’m not sure why I wanted to clean my office? I could have done so many other things. However, I’m so glad I did. I found some notes for my book, stuck between a pile of papers I needed to file. Not really sure how they got there? My notes seem to disappear sometimes.

On September 28th, I finally started unpacking my inventory. Looks like everything made it through the move…so far. Suddenly, I can see some progress. The boxes are disappearing, and my inventory is on the shelves, along with all my other stuff. It won’t be long now, I’ll be able to make pottery soon. Just a few more boxes to go and then more organizing. Then I can order some clay and new glazes, and start cleaning up…vacuum the floor and wash it etc.

Thanks for stopping by!

Hopefully, I’ll have more time to write, plot and edit in October

 

 

 

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Monthly Journal – August 2018

Hello, everyone!

Welcome to my blog series, Monthly Journal. I’m late again…I know. Doing a monthly journal is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I keep hearing my mother’s voice, “Melinda, time waits for no one.” I still want it to wait for me, I always have.

August started out really well, I decided to do some editing. It felt really good to get back into my story, instead of focusing on plotting, which always seems to pull me away from it. I’ve decided to embrace what I am and how I do things. I’m just going to keep doing what comes naturally to me. I’ll never be a plotter and that’s okay with me now. I tried, but it just didn’t work for me. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop using the Snowflake Method, I’m just doing it my way. I’ll do a little plotting, what I can see with my headlights on. As I go further down the road, I’ll see more. What I really need to work on is making sure that I write everyday, even if it’s crappy. I need to make it a habit. As far as editing goes, I’ll probably still edit as I write…I can’t help it! I’ll try not to, but I can’t make any promises.

I was doing so well, then on August 3rd, this happened! We had a very bad Haboob (dust storm) My husband was caught in it. He was on the highway, he couldn’t see anything except the tail lights of the car in front of him. He said the sky was black. I was in my office at home, and even though I put towels under the doors, I’m sure some dust got inside the house. The next day my husband and I had really bad sinus headaches. Stupid dust storm! My sinus headache lasted for days. I couldn’t write or even think, so I did some research on ancestry, researched some new glazes and trending colors, and sketched some new pottery designs.

On August 11th, while researching on ancestry, my characters started whispering in my ears. A new character decided to join the cast of my story. She totally came out of nowhere. The moment I found my 4th great-grandmother, on my father’s side, I knew my new characters first name…Theodora. I love this name. I wish I could have met her. Shortly after she had her name, I already knew what she looked like, and what she did for a living, but I didn’t have her last name yet. Sometimes my story has a mind of its own! This character was never meant to be in my book. I was going to mention him in my book series somewhere ( my character has always been a male, since I started my story) but, this character had other ideas. So did another one of my characters, who has been very stubborn. I could never come up with the right name for her, she’s had many names, I can’t even remember them all. Fortunately, she had a last name and a maiden name. She’s already in my book, I’ve been calling her Mrs. Reis. So, while researching on ancestry again, a few days later, I found the perfect name for her. Her name is Roslyn Reis. I had to change her occupation though, because I gave her job to Theodora. So now, Roslyn Reis is the owner of Miss Roslyn’s Dance Studio and Theodora is the Librarian at the Public Library in Seaside…perfect! I’m going to have to make some changes to chapter 9 and 10, and flesh these two characters out more.

On August 20th, my new pottery workshop was ready for me to start unpacking…Yay!

OMG…there’s a zillion boxes to unpack. When I wasn’t unpacking, I was researching on ancestry while I had some time, before I was knee-deep in making pots. The very same day, Theodora got her last name…Theodora Price. I like it! The more I unpacked in my pottery shop though, the more I focused on pottery designs, color, glazes and glaze combinations. Like these glaze-combination inspiration boards I made.

I had so much fun making these! Which color do you like?

By August 30th, I was getting a little frustrated and overwhelmed with the unpacking. Everything was everywhere, it was such a mess and I don’t like messes, not to mention my allergies were not happy and I was wearing a mask.

Unpacking is not my favorite thing to do…just saying!

Wish I could twitch my nose and everything would be in place…if only!

The very next day my Fibromyalgia flared up…big time! This is why I didn’t do my August Monthly Journal post on time. I needed to rest. I’m not as young as I use to be either!

Fibro slows me down but it ain’t stoppin me!

Thanks for stopping by!

Gonna work on my September Monthly Journal now. See you soon!

Monthly Journal – June and July 2018

Hello, everyone!

Welcome to my blog series, Monthly Journal. This month, I’m posting about what I accomplished in June and July. It wasn’t much, unfortunately. I didn’t post in June because I did have to have that second round of broad spectrum antibiotics, to get rid of my stubborn sinus infection. They were 875 mg each, twice a day. I’ve never had that high of a dose before, the highest I’ve ever had, was 500 mg. Needless to say, they totally wiped me out, I had no energy…at all!

I felt like a rag doll…

and my Fibromyalgia flared-up…big time!!!

I hate the way antibiotics make me feel. I spent most of June trying to feel better, researching and looking for organic, certified gluten-free, liquid vitamins (it’s recommended for people who have Celiac Disease. I have this too), that doesn’t have night shade veggies (they cause me severe pain), or have glucosamine (I’m severely allergic to shellfish)

So far, I haven’t found any. The only vitamin I’ve found, is not in liquid form, but it has everything else on my list. I think I might try it, and grind it up (maybe that will be easier for me to absorb) I don’t know? It doesn’t hurt to try it, I guess.

The Burning Pain of Fibromyalgia

Every morning, I wake up with this awful burning pain all over my body. My back and my arms…all the way down to the tips of my fingers…that’s the worst. I hate this feeling! I just lay in bed for a few minutes after waking up, hoping it will go away…but it doesn’t. So, I get up, get ready, get dressed, and head to my office down the hall. I don’t know how to get out of this flare-up? I haven’t had one this bad in a long time. I’ve spent so many years trying to get rid of this monster, I battle with everyday…18 years to be exact. I’ve been focusing on it, for so long, but nothing I try works for very long. It rears its ugly head, just to remind me that it’s still there…still with me even though I don’t want it to be. I think, I’m just going to ignore it. I don’t know what else to do anymore. I’ve spent so much precious time reading, and researching…for what!!! I’m so sick of dealing with it!!! So many people think they know what to do, how to fix it. There are so many books about it. You should see my bookshelves…I have them all.

The thing is, they really don’t know

So, I didn’t do any plotting, or writing, or anything that was remotely related to writing, other than posting a few photos on my writer, Instagram account. When I get like this, and have this much pain, I run to my happy place…Pottery. My new workshop isn’t finished yet, but there are things I can do in the mean time. I’ve been sketching new designs, looking for new glazes and glaze combinations that I want to try, editing pottery photos, and posting on my pottery Instagram account. I really don’t have to think…to do these things. I can override the brain fog this way, and still be very busy. Staying busy, and being creative helps me to ignore the pain.

My writing Instagram account…

https://www.instagram.com/melindamariealexander/

My pottery Instagram account…

https://www.instagram.com/ravenhillpottery/

The first part of July was basically like June. I was still struggling to gain some energy, to get some relief from the intense pain, and feel better. By the middle of July, I saw a little light at the end of the tunnel. I started to have a little bit of energy. What a relief! The intense pain started to lesson as well…small signs that I was starting to feel better, and the brain fog was starting to clear. My body takes a long time to heal, because of Celiac Disease.

That’s why I need liquid vitamins

This month, I haven’t done any plotting (at least not on paper or on my PC), I haven’t been writing either, but since the middle of July I’ve been able to think about plotting. I’ve come up with a stronger mid-point for the first book, and a few other changes I’d like to make. Everything is still simmering in my head right now. I’m still stuck on #2 of the Snowflake Method, because…

I hate endings…that’s my Achilles heel!

I can’t see my ending, because I haven’t gotten there yet! 

I’m a headlight writer.

I can only see what my headlights show me as I drive down a dark, foggy, twisted road. The further I go, the more I see. I’m a strange mix of plotter (I plot a little) and pantser (because I can’t wait to start writing and be creative) and I can’t see past my headlights.

Structure, actually drives me nuts! I don’t like structure, especially when I’m trying to be creative. I’m an artist. There are no rules in Art! I’m also a Scorpio, that means I like freedom, I don’t like being told what to do, and what not to do, or how to do it.

I’m an ENFP…ENFP’s don’t like having limits placed on their freedom, they have big visions of what they want to experience in life. They need freedom to see possibilities and be creative. This is why it’s so difficult for me! I’ve been trying to fit a square peg in a round hole for so long, and it’s just not working. I need to do what comes naturally…to me. I really need to stop stressing about plotting. I need to stop trying to be something I’m not. The more I force myself to plot, the worst it gets. The end result is, I stop writing completely. It doesn’t do me any good to just sit in a parked car, and go nowhere! I need to drive down that road, and get to where I want to be. I need to turn on my headlights and just go.

So, no more listening to what anyone else says. I’m going to do what comes naturally to me, a little plotting, some writing, some editing, a little more plotting, once I get a little further down that foggy, dark road…more writing. I’m still going to do the Snowflake Method (because I’m stubborn) but, I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to do it my way.  If I get stuck on a step in the method, I’ll just go around it, and keep going. I can always go back and change things.

To get around step #2, I’m just going to write something down for the end, it doesn’t matter what it is, and move on. I can change it later. What good is it doing me, if I’m stuck there and never move forward. It’s time for me to work on step #3: Write a summary sheet for each character. I’m looking forward to this step. I really like character development. I’ve already dug out some of my books, to help me go deeper with my character development.

The Emotion Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus, The Rural Setting Thesaurus, and The Urban Setting Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

I love these books!

I already have index tabs on two of them.

Hopefully, I can get out of this Fibromyalgia flare-up soon.

I’m going to end this post with this quote, because it gives me some hope.

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

E.L. Doctorow

 

 

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

 

 

 

It’s all a blur…

Where has the time gone?

I blinked, and six months flew by.

Wasn’t it July 4th, just the other day?

It’s all a blur, at least that’s what it feels like to me.

I’ve never been good with time.

Ever since I can remember, my mother would say, “Melinda, time waits for no one.” she was always in a rush. I’d say, “It waits for me,” I don’t like to be rushed. When someone rushes me, I move slower. Maybe it’s a Scorpio thing, or an ENFP thing…I don’t know?

Right now, I feel lost. I’m in the woods, and I have no idea where I’m going.

I’ve been a little overwhelmed with plotting my book series ( I’m not a plotter or a pantser ) so, it’s not so easy for me. I feel like I’m forcing a square peg into a round hole. I’m working on a series bible, because even though I’m not a plotter, I need to know where I’m going. When I don’t know where I’m going, I tend to stop writing…which is not a good thing. So, I’m working on getting organized. I thought plotting and getting organized was going to help, but I feel more confused than ever. It’s like when you first start cleaning, you end up making even more of a mess than you started with, but after lots of work it’s clean. I’m still at the…I made more of a mess than I started with stage. Which is why I’m overwhelmed.

I need to find my way out of this mess! Where’s the end of the tunnel?

I don’t know how I’m getting out of this mess? I haven’t found the end of the tunnel yet. I know one thing, every time I look at the overall plot…the big picture. I get overwhelmed and when I get overwhelmed, it stresses me out. So, the other day I decided I was just going to focus on one step at a time.

And focus on one thing at a time.

Since I started thinking about plotting the other books in the series, I’ve made a few changes to the first book. Some characters have had name changes, because I stole their name for someone else, and some have had name changes because the name they had, just wasn’t working. My characters tend to not talk to me, if they don’t like their name. I’ve come up with several new characters (some very important ones) that I have to insert into the first book which is half way done. But, before I do that, I have to flesh them out first. I have so much to do…right now I feel like I’m in a fog.

About six months ago I found out that publishers want the first book completely finished, and an outline of all the other books in the series.

What?

For some reason I thought I could do one book at a time, I don’t know why I thought that? Then I heard that publishers wanted the first book and a synopsis of the other books. Then I found out from a published author, that they want an outline of all the other books.

That’s a whole different ballgame.

When I first started writing Raven Hill, I had no idea what I was doing, or what I was getting myself into. I was and still am a potter, an artist. I didn’t know how to write a novel, as a matter of fact, English was my least favorite subject. I liked Science, Biology, Psychology, History and Art…of course.

So, how and why did I start writing? Let’s just say…due to unforeseen circumstances, it sort of found me. I basically started at the very bottom. My early writing wasn’t very good, but with hard work, help from some awesome writing books and my husband (my editor), I’ve come a long way. When I started to write, I had no idea that my story would turn into a series. I planned on writing a standalone book, but the more I wrote, the more complex and complicated my story became. I had no other choice but to turn it into a book series.

Now I feel like I’m starting it all over again.

I really hope that once I master this plotting thing…the next book series will be easier. Please tell me it gets easier! Anyway, right now I’m getting to know my old characters again and getting to know my new characters. After that I’ll be spending a lot of time with my villains.

Yes, there is so much to do, but I’ll keep working…one step at a time, one scene at a time.