Tag Archives: Characters

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

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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.