Don’t Let Your Mind Derail Your Plot #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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“I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.”

~Venus Williams

Thoughts come and go. Topics often change like the wind. Depending on where we sit in any given moment, we might be completely focused on a task thinking about a scene and a character in this scene that has to get from A to B when before we know it, we get lost in the picture we’re seeing, the action we’re creating, or the back and forth dialogue unfolding as we type. We finish it. Maybe we reread and think, “Yes, this is it.” Maybe we have time to tackle another scene and we begin to … but a problem arises. The scene we just wrote didn’t happen like the plan. Suddenly the plot is derailed. The characters have shifted all out of whack. Now we have two different stories with thousands of words we’ve just written and we don’t want to cut them.

Ever been there?

Today, I’m sharing what I am doing to maximize my time with my new work in progress and stick to my goals. I’ve always been one to outline, but I’ve also been easily derailed by the shifting images in my head as I write.

  1. Note Cards. I started this technique this time with color coded tabs for each ACT. Each card has the Act and scene number at the top. A quick external or internal line is written on the front. On the back side I have listed the time, date and place, all the majors characters in play, and a two or three sentence plot summary. The last line on the card lists the impact whether I’m revealing a clue, leaving with a cliff hanger, or a question the protagonist must face. I can shift these cards. I can touch them. NEXT, I generate the digital outline.
  2. The Pages APP. Currently, I have retyped my outline from my note cards into this app. It gave me time to reprocess. I also came up with a few add-in scenes I missed the first go-round. I can also pull out my phone and take a peek on a lunch break or after work when my computer might not be handy.
  3. The 3-Ring Binder. This time, I’m printing my outline. I’m also printing off my character notes and keeping them handy right next to me as I write. I hope by keeping these pages in front of me and glancing at all the details before I start to write, I’ll eliminate distraction and focus on the end goal.
  4. Streamlining New Ideas. If a new idea happens to sneak in, I read about an APP to use: Remember the Milk. I came across it on an article on planning your novel. I’ve downloaded the app and I hope to use it and capture new ideas then compare them with what I currently have before I get lost in them. I’ll let you know next month how it pans out. 🙂

Question: Do you have any other great tidbits or ways to organize your writing that helps you stay on track? I’d love to hear them.

One last thought:

Celebrate the Small Things: Finding Beauty Everywhere I Go #FridayFeeling

Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.

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Have you ever stopped in a moment and let go of your mind just to study the colors and lines of everything around you? Have you ever watched the wind catch a flower and pondered the beauty in the ruffle of the breeze against the soft petal or leaf? When was the last time you walked barefoot just to feel the earth underneath your skin? Watered the plants and let the cool silk rush over your fingers, or listened to someone laugh and let that sound carry you too?

This week, I am thinking about beauty in all things and in some of the strangest moments. Sometimes when life feels overwhelming the best way I know to get my ground back under my feet is to let go, breathe and take in all that is good in a moment.

So what do I have to celebrate this week? Here are my updates:

  1. I found beauty in the language of a new book I’m reading. Caraval, by Stephanie Garber. WOW!
  2. Wednesday evening, I sat outside on my patio chair with my feet perched on the table, reading, then watching the world flutter by. I spotted a funny little humming bird, zipping around my hanging basket flowers. Can you see him? Her?
  3. Snuggling my kids and letting them read a book to me. Not thinking. Just listening. Currently my daughter’s favorite read is Hop on Pop, by Dr. Seuss.
  4. In the writing world, I enjoyed reading over my outline and finished it. Now all I have left is the review each scene and decide which ones are external, which are internal and ponder if I’ve varied them up enough to hold attention.
  5. I am purchasing a couple of cute inspiration swag items from my amazing support group, The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. If your a writer like me, we all need friends who love the things we love. And what’s better then waking up each morning with a sweet cup of believe?

Doris Day is my motivational quote for the week. I wish you a lovely Friday and if you have the chance, stop and breathe. Take in the world. See beauty in the littlest thing and remember, there is good to be found somewhere. 🙂

 

 

Capture My Mind: Excellent Books Paint Character. #IWSG #AmWriting

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are, Christine Rains , Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!

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Words are beautiful.

When put together just right, they build a painting in my mind and I’ve always been in love with these word paintings. They show me different worlds where I can see, feel, and smell everything as if I were standing on that boat, sandy beach, rocky mountain or whatever world unfolds. And recently I was drawn to a really great book at a local library because of the excellent title and captivating cover. I didn’t even bother to read the book jacket. I was so convinced it would keep me going from the first perfect sentence to the end.

Later that night, I opened the book. The first sentence read just the way I love them. The first scene drew me right in and it was fun and different. The dialogue was great. The characters really set off my mind. But then, page-by-page, I kept yearning for something … just a glimpse of the face, the eyes, the hair, or even a messy shirt or a fun pair of shoes. I kept going. It might have been 90 pages in when I finally realized the nationality of the main character. My interest was falling apart by then no matter the high caliber of dialogue or the action writing. My painting was a landscape of a pirate ship on the waters, but the captain at the wheel had no face, no height, no fun mustache or a cool costume. My magnificent painting had a glaring white blank blob of canvas. It didn’t feel right.

This month, the IWSG question asked me to reflect on my pet peeve in reading, writing, or editing. I know. I’m bringing up a controversial topic. I’ve read opinions on both sides where some readers and editors prefer no detail. They might think the imagination should create the look. I say, it’s your world you’ve written for me to believe. I want more. I want to see the face in your head the way it should be. I think humans in general, even animals, stop and ponder a reflection in the water, or a mirror. I think we all have self-reflective moments about matching our look with our mood or where we are going from time to time. As I read, I want to see all of these things. That’s the difference for me whether I am drawn in full force, or feel casually nonchalant about a book.

One last thought:

Begin to Write Again #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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Back in May and really early in June, I had a fantastic new idea for a contemporary fantasy in the works. I was following the 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet. My mind was churning and my fingers were flying. I watched videos to build scenes, found the perfect tunes to create moods, and had my outline done and everything. Then I decided to buy a home. Ouch. Chaos erupted and I couldn’t find the concentration to write in my usual routine. I couldn’t even pick up a book and finish it.

So this month, my topic is what I’m doing to jump back in. It’s been slow, like one toe, leg and finally I might be up to my waist in that water, honestly, this is the first time in years, I couldn’t push my brain or turn on the fuse. So what am I doing now? What do you do when your life explodes and you’re finally ready to start the momentum again? I also found a couple of great articles on the web from Writer’s Digest and JaniceHardy.com.

  1. Revisit your writing routine. Time of day? Minutes per day? Before my stress exploded, I woke up religiously at 4:00 a.m. I’d have my coffee ready and I’d sit down for almost a good two hours. So this is where I started. I set my alarm again. I had no pressure or goals. I just wanted to condition my brain and body to the early rising once again.
  2. Binge read. If your mind is open and ready for that sort of activity again.  I have finally calmed down quite a bit and I am enjoying a few good reads. They are true to my genre and definitely where I want to be. Reading the competition for where I want seems to get my mind all conditioned again.
  3. Reread all the manuscript notes, scene developments and character outlines/maps.
  4. Listen to music and watch videos that remind you of your story.
  5. When you see the pictures again, push the words around without too much pressure. Right now, I added on a couple of paragraphs to my first page. Don’t be afraid to add on to current scenes. There’s no harm in deleting, and eventually, I believe the voice will come again.

There is a good side to stepping away from your work of course. I fine tuned a few scenes in my outline.

One last thought: