Tag Archives: thriller

Monthly Journal – May 2018 part two

Hello, everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June, please be good to me!

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

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

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

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Monthly Journal – May 2018 part one

Hello, everyone!

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

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

It’s getting a little crowed!

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

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

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

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

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

Fingers crossed that this one works!

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

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

Writing a book series is difficult!!!

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

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

Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson

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

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

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

I can move forward in my story now.

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

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

Here’s part two!

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

Monthly Journal – April 2018

Hello, everyone!

Holy Moly…I’m late again

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

I wish I had a time machine.

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

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

Step two in the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson…

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

1) Explain the setting and introduce the lead characters

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

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

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

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

So, how do I fix this?

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

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

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

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

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

Someone, please come find me!

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

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

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

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

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

Love these!

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

May, please be good to me!

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

 

 

 

Monthly Journal – March 2018

Oh my Ears & Whiskers…I’m late!

Alice in Wonderland quote

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

Alice in Wonderland quote

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my new blog series…Monthly Journal

Sorry, this blog post is late.

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

I purchased my new kiln…Yay!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

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.