Tag Archives: Characters

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 – 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!