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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!

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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

 

 

 

Super Cute Notebooks

I love these notebooks!

These notebooks are super cute! I’ve been using legal pads for years…for everything. Legal pads are great, but they all look-alike ( unless you get different colors ), they have different colors on Amazon. I just use the yellow or white ones. I end up having piles and piles of white and yellow legal pads…in my office, downstairs, and in my bedroom…just in case I get an idea while I’m getting ready for bed, which happens often. But, I end up spending valuable time looking for information I need, which ends up taking me forever to find. So, I purchased these cute notebooks. Each book in the series will have its own ( different ) notebook.

I picked “Let Your Imagination Take Flight” for book one. Last night, I started filling it with the information I need. I have to say that the quality of the paper is wonderful. I can write on both sides of the page without the ink bleeding through. I love it!

Each book will be filled with the info I need quickly. Whenever I get an idea, I’ll be able to write it down in the appropriate notebook and then I’ll able to find it fast…Yay!

I think I like getting organized. Hmmm…Why didn’t I do this sooner?

I think I need to buy more of these, just in case I run out of room.

P.S. I purchased these on Amazon

The other day, I had an idea!

The other day, I had an idea!

After my last blog post, It’s all a blur…I realized, that I needed to do something to motivate me to blog more often. If left to my own devises, I will procrastinate. I alternate between procrastination and perfectionism all the time…another ENFP personality trait.

https://melindamariealexander.com/2017/12/19/its-all-a-blur/

So, I’m kicking off a new blog endeavor

My goal is to blog more often, be more organized and disciplined, and to let you know what I’ll be working on…while I pull apart my first book and nail down my ending. Then put it back together and plot out the other books in the series. I’ll share what’s working for me, and what’s not working for me. I hope whatever I find…will help writers who are struggling like me.

I still feel quite lost. My ideas and thoughts are all mixed up right now. This one little flame, is the only light…guiding me in the direction I want to go in.

I am way out of my comfort zone!

There’s only one way I want to go, there’s no turning back now. I need to find this elusive ending I’ve been struggling with in book one. It’s been just beyond my fingertips, I haven’t been able to grab hold of it yet, and I don’t know why? Maybe I just don’t like endings, or maybe I’m just not good at endings…I don’t know?

All I can do right now, is take one step at a time and keep working.

My new blog endeavor is…a Monthly Journal

It’s starting in January. Hope you take this trip into the unknown with me. Together, maybe we might learn something that will help us Plotser’s (somewhere between a plotter and a pantser), become more like a plotter.

If it goes well, maybe it will become a weekly journal? 

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.