Plans for 2019

Plans for 2019

As I do every year, I like to tell you what I plan to get done during the next year. You can do the same below. I would love to see what your plans are and we can encourage each other to complete our goals for the year.

Let’s get to it… I’ll be breaking things up into different categories so it’s easier for me to get down.

Books

Series

Since I’ve come to my senses and realize that I need more eyes going through my stories before they are published, I’ve decided to re-launch my series.

They are getting a whole new look, run through with betas and hopefully an editor before they are launched again. All seven books in the series are written and are in need of read throughs, so if you are looking to start a new series and would like free books I’d love to have you on my beta reader team!! Click Here to get started!

Books

Stand Alone/Possible Series

I have two other stories I’ve been working on. One is a stand alone while the other may become a series. I haven’t decided yet. The stand alone is written and a bit longer so it needs to be read through yet.

The second one I’m still writing and should be complete by the end of January.

My main series will be revised and published as I get them done, hopefully one a month until they are complete and published. The other two will hopefully be complete by the end of August, so keep an eye open for those.

To Be Read

I have a list of books I’ve been trying to get through and my plan for 12 throughout the year worked out last year, so I’ll continue that this year. Have any book you would like to recommend? I’d love find new authors to read.

I also have been reading at least three that are non-genre or educational related, so I’ll also continue that for this year as well. With all the things I want to do this year, I don’t want to overdue myself like I did last year.

Short Stories

Here is something I would love to provide. I tried last year to provide some, but things got out of hand and I had to put it on the back burner. My plan for these is to bring one out every other month, so the first one should be out by the end of February! Check out my Patreon Page for more and to support me if you wish. Every little bit helps to provide awesome products to you, the reader!!

Beta Readers/Arc readers

Ok, so I have a few beta readers who have started reading through my stories and I’m getting responses, but I would like a few more. You would become an important part of my publishing journey as you are given my manuscript for free and in return you would give me your suggestions on how to make the story the best it can be.

Reading

If you’re interested in becoming a beta reader, please head Here and I’ll get you started! Thank you in advance to anyone willing to read and provide feedback! You are Awesome!!

I’m not quite ready for ARC readers, but hopefully soon. I’ll put out a call for those as the time comes, so keep a look out for that.

Editor

I’m in search for an editor. I’ll be honest, I haven’t done much here because we just did’t have the funds, but it’s essential so we’ll do what we can. Investments of the trade, right? It’ll pay off and we’ll move forward as we always have.

Edit

Know a good editor who might be interested in paranormal romances? I’d like to get an editor soon so I can provide the best books for you, my readers.

Communication

Blog

If you are on my newsletter, you know that I plan to up my blog posts to weekly instead of by-weekly. My desire is to bring you even more awesome content than I did last year. There will be bi-weekly posts on an inspirational word while the other bi-weeks will relate to a writing topic.

Have a word or writing topic you would like me to write about? Go ahead and leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my list! Tell me what you would like to see here!

Communication

Connections

Social media is a big platform for me and I’ve been posting daily to those I want to keep active on. I plan to become more active and provide you with more inspiration, discussions and the like. You can even leave me a question and I’ll answer them on my FB and Twitter pages. Want to see images of what I do or my five cats? Tell me what you would like to see and I’ll put them on my instagram.

I love connecting with others so let me know what you’d like to see and I’ll do what I can get you a peak into my life as a writer!

Business

New Products

So, I’ve been thinking of expanding my business to more than just novels. I would like to provide items that would be fun and helpful for writers and readers alike.

I have some digital products in mind as well as physical products. I’ll be doing an extra blog post on those as they become available. Expect the first one near the end of January and throughout the year. Right now I have four planned, with more to come as the year goes by. If you want to be notified when all that is happening, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE!

Business Products

Video

Unfortunately, this is still in the works and I’m hoping to get it up and running with regular videos as soon as possible. I plan to have it going by the end of March.

I know some like video better than reading a blog, so I would like to provide more ways to connect with you as readers than just written words. Again, I’ll let you know when that becomes available!

Other Items

Educational

Every year I try to complete a few education classes, courses, books that will help me to improve my writing and skills. This year is no different. So my plans for this year are to complete three as I did last year. If I’m able to fit more, I will.

Guitar

Art/Music

Two of the things I love, but haven’t planned the time to do is draw and play my guitars. These are the two things that get pushed to the back while I’m focused on everything else. This year, I plan to fit them in, even if it’s just an hour on the weekends.

Final Thoughts

So, now that I’ve told you what my plans are, what do you have planned? Do you think I’ve planned too much?

Let me know what you have planned for 2019 and we can keep each other encouraged and motivated as we journey though the year!

This Month’s Writing Theme: New Year, New Plans

It’s a new year and like most you may be making plans for the year or the next few weeks or months. Let’s make 2019 great and hold each other accountable. List something you are trying to accomplish this year below so we can encourage you on your journey!

Example: Some of the things I have planned for this year are… to relaunch my paranormal romance series. (All seven books are written) I also have some fun and creative things planned that I will keep as a surprise. I’m already working on one and you’re going to love it!! 

So what is one thing you have planned for 2019?

Favorite Writer/Author Gifts

It’s that time of year again where everyone is struggling to find the perfect gift or perhaps you haven’t even begun to think about the holidays.

Well, I’m here to give you a hand. I’ve written about Writer Gifts before and you can check those out here, but I feel I should add to that with some new items Writers and Authors may like as well as book lovers! Us authors would be nowhere without our lovely readers that keep us sane and encourage us to continue providing fantastic stories!

Note: No affiliate links are contained within this post. All thoughts and opinions are solely those of the author and provided for your benefit.

I’ve decided to create some categories this years for gift ideas so bear with me.

Let’s get started:

Tools:

These are things that every Author or Writer could use. You may have to do some digging for some of these, but it’ll be worth it. I promise you.

Subscriptions:

Find out discretely what they subscribe to in their business… writing programs, classes, etc and gift them some subscription time.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, If you, er, they haven’t tried 4thewords.com, they gotta try it. Fight monsters by writing words and collect awesome stuff. What could be more fun?!

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Check it out on me, enter this code to get a month free: OSUBW81786 

Software:

Has the writer in your life been hinting, or just plain out blabbing about a some new software or gadget they want?

Well, here’s your sign… you would make their day by gifting it to them!

Have they always wanted to get Scrivener? The Hemingway app? or even upgrade to Pro-writingAid? This is the perfect time to surprise them and show them that you do indeed listen when they talk. 😉

Books

Have they been raving about a specific book? Have they been telling you, you need to read one they thought was awesome?

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Buy them the paperback to add to their library. Even better… get it signed by the author! Bonus points!!

Or you could just look at their amazon wish list, they always have books on there. Whether it’s books they’ve saved to read or ones they want to learn from. Go ahead, take a look.

Small Tools:

Now, you may think the author/writer in your life has plenty of these, but I’m telling you right now that they could always use more. No matter how large that bin of pens is.

Us authors and writers are picky when it comes to our writing utincels. Sometimes one pen will work and the next time we pick it up, it just doesn’t feel right. We’re crazy like that. So here are some things we are always looking to get more of…

Pens/Pensils:

Like I mentioned, the more of these the better. Make them colored and you add more bonus points! Anything to make our dark and dismal lives in front of the computer a little more colorful.

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One thing I found interesting is this Attachable pen case! They can use on just about anything. Any writer would love this!!

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Markers/Highlighters:

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Again, the more the better and the more colors the better. If you can get scented ones that would be awesome too! Let them write with their favorite scent permitting the air. They’ll find a reason to write if they could write with their favorite scents!

Journals/Notebooks/Spirals:

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Like the others these are a must have for any writer/author. The more the better. We may never fill one completely, but we’ll feel better knowing we have plenty of space to write those random notes, inspirations, story ideas and more.

Comfort:

If the writer/author is anything like me, they want to be as comfortable as possible whenever they can. Why not help them out with that? And If they are even more like me… the warmer the better.

Foot Hammock:

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What better gift than to allow them to put their feet up while they are working, right? This is just the thing!

 

Book Rug:

The best thing to add to any writer/author’s office. What could be better than a rug they’ll love?

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Travel Bag:

The perfect thing for the author/writer on the go. Something to hold everything they could ever need AND keep it organized. It’s a dream come true!!

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Mugs:

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There are SO many mugs out there for writers/authors. Ones about writing, ones about books, ones about popular novels, but you could take this a bit deeper and scan their FB. See which authors are providing some awesome swag and purchase one from their favorite author!

Touchscreen Gloves:

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I’ve seen a lot of people use fingerless gloves, but if your writer/author is anything like me, their fingers are the first to go when cold. So get them something that will keep them productive and a bit warmer with Touchscreen Gloves! I SO need a pair of these.

Fuzzy Socks:

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Dude I am all for fuzzy socks. We have all hardwood floors and man they get cold. Someone just wanna buy me some more? I could really use some. My feet are always cold.

 

Shirts/Sweaters:

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Like the mugs there are so many shirts and sweaters out there that have awesome writer quotes and sayings on them. Any writer would love one!

 

Extras:

Stockables:

Anything they can stock up on to make their lives easier would bring them joy.

Snacks:

I love munching when I write. I always have to have something next to me, so getting a stash of whatever your writer/author/reader loves to snack on would make their day. Especially if it’s their all time fav treat!

Drinks:

Do they love tea? hot chocolate? Monster? La Croix? Get them some to stock up their fridge and if you want to be that ultimately awesome person in their life… add in the mini fridge while you’re at it! 😉

Jewelry/Accessories:

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You’re not going to hear this from me very often, cause I am totally not the whole wears jewelry/make up kind of person, but I may wear jewelry more if it related to books or stories in any way. Look up some awesome ones and add to that girl’s collection. Or guy, you never know, right?

Signs/Decorations:

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One thing we all love are quotes from and about writing. Find some your writer/reader friends love and either purchase them one/some or make it for them. They will love you for it, I swear!

Unconventional:

Those gifts you never would think of as gifts but are THE BEST ones you could give to an author/writer.

Reviews/Compliments:

What every author/writer wants for their career/business are more reviews. Be that awesome person and do something that only takes a few moments of your time and no money. Yep, it’s completely free! Write a positive review on one (or all) of their books.

Go ahead and screenshot it to them, print it and put it in a card, but make sure you show them that you’re thinking of them and appreciating their work.

Critiques/Suggestions:

Offer to beta read or critique their work. Even if you’re a loved one, they will appreciate the gesture and your interest in their work. Offering them some constructive and helpful critiques will keep them on the path they’ve chosen, and show you care for what they believe in. Good going you!!

Purchase Their Book(S):

Now this is probably tied with reviews, but purchasing their books allows them to continue what they love. Providing amazing stories to readers just like you. Add the review and they will love you forever!

 

So, what else could we add to this list? What are you getting your writer/author/reader friends/loved ones this year? Go ahead add to the list. 

 

Ways to Plot a Novel

There are plenty of ways to plot a novel and the way each author plots is completely up to them. Every author is different with different thoughts and ways of organizing them.

The way I plot could be, and probably is completely different from the way others plot their novels.

Plotting your novel is unique and special process each author must discover for themselves. This is where one process doesn’t fit all. When deciding how to plot your novel, there are many processes to choose from.

Plot Structures:

Character – Driven

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  • Your characters are the main reason the story moves along. Their motivation and drive to complete their mission, journey or quest is what keeps the story going until the very end.
  • Your characters through decisions, actions, and the journey itself, face their deepest fears and change as a result.

Snowflake Method

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  • This one is a bit more dynamic. You begin with a statement, just one statement
  • Then split that statement into two
  • Then into four statements and so on
    • It’s best to begin with a deep theme/premise
    • Then expand it to 2-3 sentences
    • Then expand that to 4-6 sentences and so on until you get a full plan of action for your book.

The Hero’s Journey

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  • The hero’s journey is a complex set of points along which the hero travels to complete his/her journey
    • They are (but not limited to) as follows
      • The Call to Action (They begin in their know world and receive call for adventure)
      • The Denial of the Quest (They ignore the request for some reason or another)
      • Acceptance After Debate (After inner turmoil and possible debate with mentor, they agree to journey)
      • Enemies and Allies, Who’s who (Journey leads them to many types of trouble as well as friends along the way)
      • Journey to the Beast
      • Facing Demons (hero defeats bad guy but not without consequences that change the character on a deeper level)
      • Reward/Success
      • The Return Journey (They strive to atone for past mistakes)
      • Conclusion
      • Life Continues/Next Journey (Return to live out days/Continue to the next journey of life)

 

The Fichtean Curve

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  • This type of story begins immediately with rising action
  • Framework for the story is scatter throughout the first half of the story with multiple crisis following.
  • Each crisis is followed swiftly by its own mini falling and rising action.
  • At last, the story reaches its climax conflict around two-thirds of the way.
  • Leaving the remaining pages for falling action, loose ends are tied up, and a new normality is established for characters.

In Media Res (thrillers, mysteries, horror)

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  • This type of novel begins in the middle of the story, usually at the 2nd-3rd crisis, though sometimes in-between the action
  • The plot still contains an upward trajectory with storyline sprinkled throughout (The beginning of the story is often told through flashbacks or in character conversations)
  • Several more crises occur to move the story along
  • The protagonist faces the climax
  • Followed by falling action
  • Resolution.

Combinations

You can combine any or all of the above to create your own plot structure that suits your needs. It’s really up to you, how your mind works, and what would be best for you as a person and author.

Snowflake with 3 Arc Structure

  • Snowflake with structure that points to important events while connecting those events to create an amazing story

Emphasis on Inner Plot

  • This contain a list of events containing a variation of the hero’s journey
  • Emphasis is held within the inner and outer plot, relating most outer story points to acts 1&3 leaving 2 as inner plot points

Major Midpoint Change

  • This is a form of the Hero’s Journey where there is a major change at the midpoint of the story. The character faces a shift in viewpoints or active goal.

Writing in Scenes

  • Plan your novel in Scenes, but be sure to include all the major plot points necessary to create a great story with emotion, action, adventure, and more.

Visual Mapping

  • Visual graphing/outlining of plot points, events, characters, emotion, and more. A picture of your character/story’s journey throughout the tale may be exactly what you need.

Things to Keep in Mind

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  • Does the beginning set up the end? Do all parts match up?
  • Think deeper, create a story that if the reader were involved it would feel real no matter the setting or events.
  • Write your ideas down, create an outline even if you don’t follow it completely. This will help you flesh out your plot points, events, crises and more.
  • Keep the reader in mind. Catch them on an emotional level – make them laugh, make them cry, make them feel hurt when a certain event happens. Make them FEEL.

Final Words…

The way you plot your novel is completely up to you as an author. One of these ways may work for you and then again none of them may work. You must travel your own journey to discover what works best for you. 

Me, I’m still on that journey. I’ve combined some of these to suit my creative mind, but there are still tweaks that need to be made. This is my plotting journey. What’s yours?

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August’s Writing Theme: Writing Process

The writing process of an author/writer differs from person to person. Some will plan, outline, plot, and develop their novels down to the last quirk, research piece, aim, goal, setting detail, motivation, conflicting action, etc. Files, folder, documents, mind maps, aesthetic board, Pinterest board, Social Media polls all in place and filled with information for their novels, while others fly by the seat of their pants. Those are the ones who don’t plan, don’t map; they sit down and start writing. Then there is revising, editing, and publishing to worry about.

This month is all about your writing process and sharing what you do with others who are endeavoring to write, but have no idea where to start. Share yours below.
Writing Process

Example: When I first began writing, I would outline my story and then start writing. After taking a course by Nick Stephenson called Story Engines. I’ve found that fleshing out story details have helped me immensely with my writing and my storylines. He and fellow author Joe Nassise take you through their process on creating phases, answering questions,  scene list, and so much more. 

I’ve tweaked it to suit me and I’ve haven’t looked back. It’s a bit pricey, but well worth it. They also have a program called Your First 10K Readers that takes you through getting your first 10,000 readers. Although, I haven’t implemented all of there methods, it may be very helpful to you. 

Here is the basic categories for my process: 

  • Premise Worksheet
  • Final Premise
  • Initial Scene List
  • Single Sentence Summary
  • Scene Questions
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Rough Story ArcPreparation Phase
    • Mini Goal
    • Reactive Phase
    • Mini Goal
    • Proactive Phase
    • Mini Goal
    • Conclusion Phase
  • Synopsis
  • Product Description

I also have a very detailed worksheet I use to flesh out my characters that is three pages long. 

Now, even though I do this, my characters ~ like small children aways seen to veer from the path I choose for them. So, yes there are some things that aren’t in the finished product that are in my plans, but that’s the way writing it. 

Just for fun, let’s add in what changed throughout your story as you wrote it.

Example: I had one of my characters change occupations a quarter of the way through, not like she quit and changed, but out of the blue, one minute she’s a secretary and another she’s a nurse. I’ve also had new characters join the story when I had no intension for another character to enter the book at all. 

What does your writing process look like? What changed throughout your story that wasn’t intended? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below!

Planning the Rest of the Year

Half of the year has gone… And it’s time to revisit, adjust, and plan the rest of the year.

With all that’s happened this year, my goals and plans have changed drastically. Things in life highjack the scene where you tumble down a rabbit hole so big you feel there is no end. But I’m determined to salvage what’s left of this year!

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I sat down a few days ago and looked at my plans realizing I’m months behind schedule for which I am eternally apologetic. We as authors never intend for life to throw curve balls, tornados, tsunamis, or earthquakes that swallow you whole to where if you decide to climb out your emerge bloody, sore, and exhausted, but victorious.

Writing/Editing/Revising/Publishing…

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After revamping the rest of my year I realized if I work hard, I can still publish the books I planned if I can keep focused and push through the difficult life of being a mother, wife, animal parent, and author at the same time. 😉  Writing, editing and revising are my top priorities as far as writing goes, right now. Don’t worry, my regular posts and newsletter are the few things I’ve been able to stay on top of.

4thewords.com

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I cannot recommend this site enough. Since I love fantasy, quests, and stories this site has done wonders to keep me going the last few weeks. I know I’ve mentioned it before and I’m mentioning it again, cause it’s freakin’ worth mentioning. If you haven’t checked it out, you must do so now!!

Climbing from the hole and emerging from the train wreck that’s been my life the last few months.

I’ve now created a schedule and so far I’m on track to do as my plans are laid out. I’m very happy with my progress these last few weeks and will continue to strive for my goals as I provide quality content and fantastic stories for you, my readers.

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Since I’ve been traversing this long tunnel, trying to find the light at the end. I’ve been a bit slow at posting, but my goal is to keep trudging through the sludge that has taken over my brain. It’s time to forge ahead, find a better way and keep going.

So if all goes according to plan; I’ll have another book out with updates to previous and a surprise at the end of the year. We shall see, so keep an eye open for that. 🙂

In the mean time, enjoy the Conquer the Darkness Series; join my newsletter to get bi-weekly updates, writing fun, and more.

Book Lineup

What about you? What have you been up to?

Reply and tell me how your writing has been going. Has it been a total train wreck like mine where even wizards and giants need help putting it back in line or are you cruising smoothly along enjoying the scenery and cocktails? In which case, I’m completely jealous and perhaps you can stop to pick me up on your way?!

 

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Where Did the Time Go… Half the Year Gone!!

Half of the year has gone… Where did the time go? It’s definitely going faster than I would like…

We are now one half of the way through the year and I thought it would be a good time to review my goals and see where my progress is at. So let’s get right into it…

Books

Book Lineup

Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • I’ve finally gotten back into a rhythm of sorts. Book One is now revised and published for your reading pleasure. Free as well as the Prequel
  • Book 4 is is now also revised, edited and published.
  • Book 5 is being written, though slower than I would have liked, I am getting somewhere with it now.

~ It took so much time to get back into things after all the run around in the first quarter. I’ve since made some changes, gotten back into rhythm and I’m off writing daily again!

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • So far I’ve read 6 books of 12 and I’m reading two right now, so I would say that I’m ahead on this one!

~ I’m having a bit of trouble reading these two as it is hard to stay with the story. I have faith I’ll get through it though and keep moving forward. One page at a time, right?

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • One down, one in progress and four to go! Yeah, I’m behind here. I need to pick up another book.

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • I have been in contact with two wonderful people willing to beta read for me as I return the favor. Would you like to be a part of my team? Gain free ARC of my books? And read some awesome fiction? Click Beta Readers if interested and lets go on an adventure!

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Uh! I haven’t even thought about this for more than two seconds! Still one of my goals, but my writing comes first and since I’ve lost time on that all my thoughts are on catching up. Hopefully, my next report will be better on this front.
  • Update: Still no editor, but I’m looking. Go some advice or know of an editor that won’t break my wallet? Please comment below and help a girl out!

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • I’ve lost some much time I haven’t even been on Scribofile in a while.
  • I have traded work with two great people who are willing to keep the relationship going.
  • I’ve also started a Wattpad account and have submitted a short story. Head on over to check it out and tell me what you think!
  • Otherwise, that’s as far as I’ve gotten on this. Comment below or click Critique Partner if you’d be interested in being a critique partner for Paranormal Romance/Fantasy books.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • Oh my goodness! Does the chaos never cease? Hopefully, I can get my butt into gear since I took nearly a month off for family reasons. One more thing to add to my list of things to do and very soon. If interested please sign up below!

           

Communication

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Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • Luckily, this is one area I’ve excelled at. I haven’t missed a post yet!
  • I’ve begun to expand my posts to be writing related one week and the next is an inspirational word. You can check out my blog HERE!
  • Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • I’ve started posting irregularly on my social media accounts, but I’m starting to get better at being on there regularly. More to come!

Business

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I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

~ Going Up!

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

~ Still Working on! You’re going to love these!

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

~ Lots of video training, hit a road block, but hopefully will be up soon!

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

~ Research and development are underway!

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Want to visit my store, click HERE!

~ No where even close to 100 products, so I’m doing what I can and I’ll keep moving to gain more.

~ I may try a new storefront to get things out faster and easier, more to come on that!

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

~ Working on and progressing well! So many ideas to implement!! I’m sure you’ve seen a few if you follow any of my social media!!

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

~ New site is up and most pages are complete, just a few more pics and tweaks to go! I have pictures but the SD card isn’t compatible with my computer so hopefully I’ll have them up in a week or two!!

Extras/Other

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What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

~ I’ve completed three in the first four months! Still learning, but working on words more now to catch up!

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

~ This was going well in the first quarter, the second not so much, but I hope to get back into it soon!

What About You?

What About

Are you reaching your 2018 goals? 

Are you completing and accomplishing the tasks you set out to do? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s keep each other accountable and encouraged!

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A Story Grows as a Plant Grows

Spring is upon us and we are beginning to ready our garden for seeds/spuds. Yep, we are adding potatoes to our garden this year!! I can’t wait!

Since my little man loves gardening and all things that breath life, I am dedicating this post to him. Not to mention it’s his birthday today, so Happy birthday buddy! If not for him, my thought process would have skipped over this topic and on to the next.

Anyway, as we are deciding on seeds and what to plant where, my author mind took hold and contemplated as I often do… how a story is similar to a plant and how it grows.

Here is what I’ve noticed:

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The Seed:

The seed in the story is, and you’ve probably guessed this… the spark of inspiration. That first initial thought of “Wow, this could be something great!” or “I’ve got to write this down, this would make such a great story!” And you’re probably right! 😉

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Germination:

This is where your story gets interesting, where it takes root as you write notes, plot, gather ideas for characters, settings, plot, conflict and the journey your characters will explore. The story will stretch it’s roots creating the beginning of something awesome!

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Growth:

As plants need nourishment, so to does the author. As a plant battles nature with weather, animals, and even humans, you to will discover the hardships of writing your story. Doubt, distraction, writer’s block, discouragement are all things we face as writers, but as the plant holds firm, you will too.

Find encouragement in others, inspiration in words and enjoyment in your characters, your setting and your plot twists to keep you motivated. Some plants may take days to flower while other take months or even years, but they WILL flower.

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Polination:

This is the part of your story where you get down to the nitty gritty. As bees pollinate the flowers, you must go from place to place researching your story further with interviews, history, occupations, folklore, or whatever topic is in need of researching for your specific story. Enjoy this journey and have fun with it!

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Reproduction:

Reproduction is the act of bring things together to create a new and exciting being. In the same sense, you bring all the components together from your notes, research, interviews, and more to create a new and fascinating tale. The journey of the characters, the realism of the settings, relationships and conflict as they move along their path create something people are dying to read!

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Spreading the Seeds:

Spread the seeds! Are you ready to enter the realm and start again with a series or did you discover a new tale while writing this one? Keep going with characters your readers love and create their story. Create your tale so that readers are coming back for more and sparking that seed of inspiration in others writers who dream to be where you are.

 

What do you think? Ever sit and think, “This is so much like writing!” What have you noticed around you that you could relate to the writing process? Comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

 

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Creating and Planning Characters

I posted on social media last week about how you come up with your character’s names and that got me thinking how I create and plan my characters. And because I love to share, I thought I would post it here to provide an inside to my thought process and possibly help those who are struggling in some areas.

So, let’s dig in.

Naming my Characters:

When I start a new story, I tend to have an idea for the main character in mind before the story actually starts or is planned out. What they look like, their personality, etc. Whether the character is timid and will grow in strength, or they are strong, but realize that showing weakness makes them human. Or maybe something different all together.

So, then comes naming my character(s). I really don’t like writing a story and not knowing my character’s name. It seems so impersonal. So, I think of a name and I tend to use the same technique to come up with their identity.

Letter(s):

I tend to, well I can’t say tend to, because I alway have a letter or a few letters in mind for the beginning of the first name. It’s hard to explain how that works, but I think of the characters, how I want them to be portrayed throughout the story, and a letter usually presents itself.

I will use the characters of my Conquer Series for examples:

  • R – Raylynn
  • B – Blessing
  • J – Jazzmine
  • B – Brandon
  • J – Jynx
  • K- Knight

Syllables:

As with the letters, I usually know how many syllables the character’s name will have. Most do have two syllables with a nickname, while others have one or even three. Again, I can’t explain this, but I know how I want the names to work, so why not know their syllables? 😉 I didn’t realize it, but most of the names fit the characters so well they actually tell something about the characters.

Examples:

Raylynn, who’s nickname is Ray can be a “ray of light” (You’ll have to read it to get that one 😉 )

Blessing, who doesn’t realize she is not a nuisance or burden, she is a blessing

Jazzmine, well her personality fits her nickname.

And these were totally unintentional!

Visuals:

My next step is to find a visual for my characters, a picture to put with the name. I use sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels to find my photos, because most likely I’ll be using them to create their covers and photos from those site are completely royalty free.

Here are some example of photos I’ve found and how I used them:

Raylynn:

 

Ray of Light Final         pexels-photo-247203

Jazzmine:

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I may change their features a bit to fit the character better, but usually there isn’t much that needs to change. They are quite similar to what I’m looking for in my characters.

Physical Description:

This is one area I do stick to the norm and fill out a list of descriptive qualities such as:

  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Build
  • Skin tone
  • Distinct feature(s)
  • Clothing
  • Age

Visit my Writing-Education or Writing- Character Inspiration pinterest page for great ideas to help in these areas!

Personality:

This is another area I have a list for:

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Personal Goals
  • Struggles/Challenges
  • Accomplishments
  • Future Expectations
  • Future Reality
  • Internal and External conflicts
  • Quirks
  • Flaws
  • Secrets
  • Pet peveves
  • Personality type (I use the list from 16personalities.com)
  • Character archetype (I use The 12 Common Archetypes by Carl Golden)
  • One more thing I add to this category is their Ability. Most of my characters have some sort of power that makes them who they are so I mention that here.

Now the characters may not fit the personality or archetypes exactly, but that gives you a chance to use that as weaknesses or lessons they’ll learn throughout your story.

Habits/Mannerisms:

This is where I list quirks, things they do that make them… them. Make them real. (Link previous post) Things like running their hands through their hair, tapping their chin, tapping their fingers when their arms are crossed. Maybe they carry something with them always or rely on something for security.

Background:

Here is where you can add things like:

  • Family
  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Brief Life History
  • This is where I like to give a little about how they ended up where they currently are when the story begins as well.

Looking Forward:

This is where I like to give a little about the Character and where they will end up at the end of the book. It’s not a bad I idea to know where your characters will be by the end of their tale.

 

So, what are your thoughts? Anything I don’t have you think I should? What do you have and how do you plan your characters? I would love to hear from you!

How Writing is Like a Puzzle

I received the best birthday gift from my husband last month and after putting it together I thought about how it relates to writing. Obviously, from the title you would guess what it is my husband got me, but you’re probably thinking, “Really, Kelly? You couldn’t possibly be that excited over a puzzle.”

Well, I am about to prove you wrong. This wasn’t just any puzzle. It was a 1000 piece Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band – A mystery jigsaw puzzle. This was the best gift because for one, I love Sherlock Holmes and two, not only was it a puzzle; it contained the story and required you to put the puzzle together in order to solve the mystery of the Speckled Band! The best part… the puzzle was not that of the image on the cover so we had absolutely no idea what the picture was. Of course we had some clue from the story, but no picture to go off of. Three of us, my sister, husband and I spent eight hours straight putting this puzzle together so we could solve the mystery! We had a blast!!

Now, why am I blabbering on about this puzzle and how much I enjoyed it? Well, as the title suggests, it got me thinking about how writing is like a puzzle. So, let’s get started.

So, how can writing be related to puzzles?

Buying and Opening the Puzzle:

In this case the puzzle was a gift, so even better! Anyway, this would represent that moment of awe inspired revelation that you found a new idea for your next great novel. That initial excitement and enthusiasm for the newest story growing in your mind. Now that you have it home you open it to find it neatly packaged, but in a mess of pieces. What to do next?

Preparing the Puzzle:

Now, if you are anything like me (and I know some of you are), you open the pack and the sorting begins! The what seems like endless searching for edge pieces while the rest are filtered back into the box for later. Those edge pieces are your guide, your starting point to the finished product. Much like writing a story, the outline or planning stage comes first. You construct the base or starting point for your puzzle or story to begin and then take off running.

Proceeding With the Inside Pieces:

Now, it’s time to dig in and start forming the puzzle with the inside pieces, but where to start? Do you organize the pieces by like object depictions or do you dive in looking for whatever fits along the edge where you are currently sitting? In this case since we originally began with four people, (my nephew ducked out to play video games before to long) we each took a side. Unfortunately, I took the side with really dark pieces and had a really hard time finding the right pieces, so I decided to look for all the pieces to an object in the top corner and was able to gain momentum. As you move through your story, you start with a flourish of excitement and enthusiasm for the new ideas brewing in your mind as you do a puzzle searching for those first few pieces that will start you on your journey to the finished product.

Ugh, Those Annoyingly Frustrating Pieces:

You gain momentum and for a while you cruise along finding piece after piece, but then you hit a snag an you get stuck working on a section that is all floral carpet and every piece you need looks the same! As with puzzles, you may hit a snag in your writing with a difficult scene, event or even chapter. You struggle to find the right pieces to keep your momentum going or the right action, words or story arc. You syphon through the rest of the pieces to search for the ones you need, but it is no use. Your brain is just to worn staring at this section of the puzzle and you need a break to you gather your thoughts.

New Perspective:

So, you decide to take a break, switch spots (to which your sister finds all the pieces I was struggling and frustrated with within a few minutes :/) or ask for advice from a trusted ally. Taking a break and coming back will give you the rest you need to return with a fresh mind, and a new perspective. You could also move onto another area of your story and work there, then come back when you are ready to tackle it again or ask for advice. You could post your situation on forums and discussion sites to get suggestions and thoughts from others. This is where, when you are finished with your manuscript, beta readers are immensely helpful.

Finishing the Puzzle:

After eight long hours of working to find the right pieces, switching spots and perspectives several times, we finally finished the puzzle! The accomplishment was a collective sigh of relief. The same goes for finishing that first, second, fifth, or twentieth novel, a sigh of relief and elation. It is finally done, finished and the puzzle was ready to be solved. Your manuscript ready for the editor or if you added your editor to the last phase of a new perspective, ready to publish! Now, on to the next puzzle… I mean story!

Looking for a puzzle to enjoy? Try this one from my store. Or see others here as well.

So, what do you think? Could a story be similar to a puzzle? Let’s here your thoughts. Comment below!