Tourist Tuesday

These were taken last summer at one of my favorite ‘escape’ places. It’s a little mostly forgotten park about five miles from my house. Nothing like tons of wild flowers, animals, birds, and butterflies to spark murderous thoughts 😉

Something like this….Chloe stood at the trails edge. she should be admiring the deep green foliage, pastel purple flowers, and the vibrate orange wings of the butterfly but instead she stared at the lifeless body submerged in the undergrowth.

Where are some of your favorite escapes?

Monday Recap

lessonslearned
After 10 days off from the crazy day job (Spring Break), it’s time to go back. I tried to sit ‘realistic’ and balanced goals for the break. I did achieve all my household goals of decluttering my office, spare bedroom, and living area closets. I also did the final ‘weeding’ of my clothes for a minimalist wardrobe. Woot Woot. From this ‘decluttering’ exercise I learned I have developed some serious hoarding practices. Since I have no desire for my 10 minutes of fame to be on a hoarders episode, I need to stop.
spring-cleaning
My writing was something entirely different. I made my word goal which would have concluded my on the run story…the up side – I made my word goal – wait before breaking out the doughnuts. The downside – I had to scrap it. This story never found it’s rhythm but I had sort of ‘ignored’ that because I was trying some new writing practices. In the end, it just sucked. A lot. So I deleted it on Friday and restarted… as in from word 15. 19K gone. Even the events have to be done.
This lesson was the hardest for me. I don’t fit into a plotters cookie cutter. All day at the crazy day job, I tell people to stop trying to get my kids to fit into a cookie cutter. They aren’t cookie cutter kids. They are awesome individuals with their own cookie cutter shapes and personalities. Yet, I want my writing to fit into a cookie cutter. I want the neat notebooks with character details, setting locations, and the secret to eating doughnuts without gaining weight. Well, it’s not going to happen. Ever. Never.
Once I stopped trying to get my characters to fit into a cookie cutter, they rocked! I whipped out 4k on Sunday. I love the story. I love the characters. I have NO detailed sheets telling me where to go. NO subplot and plot outlines. It’s just me, my characters, and doughnuts that will make my hips grow if I don’t do the evil exercise trail. But this is writing for me.

Sometimes bad is just bad

Regardless if I’m writing a paranormal, a cougar romance, or a steamy romance, suspense will be an element and most likely someone will be murdered. So I know the importance of a ‘good’ villain and by good I don’t mean nice. My villains are evil…bad to the core. Few have had any redeeming qualities (my young adult does but that is the only one).

I enjoy writing villains that bad. I don’t my readers to feel sorry for him/her. I have talked to fellow authors who feel villains need a ‘good’ side to appear human.

cruellaHow about Cruella Devile? I mean, she kidnapped PUPPIES to make a fur coat – not a lot of good there.

 

Or Hanniabl Lector. That man had issues and none of them good.hannibal

Or the Batman’s Joker…Batman would not be a ‘super’ hero without a ‘super’ bad guy.joker

Even though your villain is ‘all’ bad he/she still needs layers to avoid being a ‘cardboard’ figure. He/she needs a goal, motivation, and conflict. There has to be a reason for them to be a villain – something besides a bad mother or they were raised in foster care. Yes, both of these are awful and can result in issues but in my opinion they are over used so they no longer provoke any real emotion from the reader.

While Cruella is a very simple villain and would not hold up well in adult fiction she still is a great example of a pure evil villain. Why does she do what she does? Cruella loved furs. Simple – no mention of foster care or a mother that made her go without clothes in the winter – it’s just a love. I have an explainable love for donuts – I don’t kill for them, however, my kiddos knew better than to take mine J Cruella’s love (motivation), however, drove her to attempt to do socially unacceptable things (goal – have a coat made of puppy fur). The conflict comes in the length she has to go to get the puppies and where to keep them. And of course, it’s hard to find good help when you are kidnapping puppies to make a coat. Not one of personal conflict, she feels no remorse for what she does, it’s all external conflict.

What are some of your favorite villains and why?

Writer’s Wednesday

The Inheritance…

Beth Larkson thought the neglected the farmhouse she’d inherited was a nightmare – that was before she found the serial killer’s graveyard in her backyard.

The Theme aka The story compass

The theme keeps me from  loosing my characters down a rabbit hole :D

The theme keeps me from loosing my characters down a rabbit hole 😀

All my stories have a theme sometimes it’s apparent but other times it’s a backdrop more of a compass for me. Last week I shared the story board I had started for The Inheritance, this week I thought I would talk about the theme because in this story it is a front player.

For The Inheritance I used a tarot deck for character development (I’ll talk about that next week) and for the theme. While ‘brewing’ the story, I chose three cards to use as possible themes.  The four of cups, the king of swords and the tower. I did a little brain storming on all three card and decided the tower is an ideal theme card for this WIP – it sums everything up nice and neatly.

The tower upright means ~ Disaster, upheaval, sudden change, revelation.

I don’t just use the meaning of the card but also the picture on card.

The Tower4 cups

king of swordsThe man and woman falling represent my hero and heroine being thrown off their game, while the lightening bolt and the number 16 both relate to my serial killer. I haven’t decided how the crown fits in but I’m sure it come to me.

These four words are a snapshot of everything in Beth’s future. The first chapter sets the upheaval into motion which leads to a sudden change that brings about a shocking revelation that brings her almost to disaster.

I placed the tower card on my story board and printed out disaster, upheaval, sudden change, and revelation to add to it. By making these elements center on my storyboard, I ((hopefully)) can avoid random dead end rabbit trails.

These four elements influence both my hero and heroine’s GMC. While the tower is much apparent in Beth’s life, it is also the driving force in Duncan’s life. He’s already been through the upheaval, sudden change, and disaster elements, it will be the revelation that shakes him up in the story.

Writer’s Wednesday

The Inheritance…

Beth Larkson thought the neglected the farmhouse she’d inherited was a nightmare – that was before she found the serial killer’s graveyard in her backyard.

The inspiration for The Inheritance

The inspiration for The Inheritance

My current WIP is moving along nicely 🙂 As the kickoff project of 2014, I hope this is a sign of the year to come. One thing I’m really really really focusing on this year (again) is better tracking of the details as I write. The massive spreadsheet I set-up has made it through the first 1/3 test. Turning this aspect over to the ‘project’ side of my brain has seemed to finally work…. The test will come at the end. Will I keep it up ALL the way through????

I’m not a plotter and until recently not a great detail logger BUT I love to make story boards!!! I collect all sort of pictures, slogans, and other visual aides as I write. (I’m a very visual person – never tell me how to do something show me if you want to understand). I’ve talked about this before and shared some of the ones I’ve done. While some of my storyboards, at least half, are on some form of poster board, I do often use something else as my foundation.

The Inheritance is only the second book I’ve written that takes place Michigan. I live in the cold, I don’t want to write about the cold. I needed a map of Michigan to reference as the killer, hero, and heroine move around. I wanted to make sure I had things ‘right.’ As I was cleaning out one of the closets for my 2014 things in 2014 Challenge, I found this map 😀 NOW it’s my reference AND story board. I’ll continue to add to it as I write of images I see that strike my ‘fancy’ for this WIP. I love that it’s lamented so I can write on it with dry erase markers.

DSCN0117

The back side of the map… yup that hotness in the bottom corner is my hero 😀

DSCN0118

I’m using the area on the bottom as a place to stick my random plot or subplot notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do any of my fellow writers make story boards? If so do you have a ‘standard’ format you work with or do you change?

Motivation Monday and Winners

First, I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by during the End of the Summer blog hop 🙂 And the winner of the gift card and Kick Start is JeanMP.

Now for Monday’s motivation. This week I’m talking about double Duty –

You know the old saying – ‘don’t work harder, work smarter’ well, I’m giving that a try with this month’s projects. October’s projects are a space opera Christmas novella and space opera full length. While they are in the same genre, they have none of the same characters nor are they in the ‘same’ world but I thought they would make good writing companions. And even though the worlds are different I thought I could do some borrowing in the world building.

I usually work on two books at the same time but they are usually one adult and one Young adult. I used the reasoning that the variety would help with my shiny object disorder but as I’ve settled into writing full time, I realize that I’m not getting the word count daily totals I need.

It should be interesting to see what the end of the month totals are. My reading theme for September was non-fiction and one of the books I read was Changeology (http://www.changeologybook.com/). I also read Healing Hands by Ben Carson. Both of these ‘re’stressed the importance of going after your dream full throttle and I possess all I need to make it happen.

What are some of the ways you ‘work smarter’ instead of harder?

Where do the ideas come from????

I know some writers cringe at bad reviews or rejections. To me this is a reader or editor that prefers Snicker candy bars and I write peanut M&M’s.  So while I’m sad they don’t ‘love’ it, I know it is all part of the business and can move along.

My biggest fear is that all the plot bunnies will run and hide where I can’t find them! Just last week, I was presented with an opportunity to do a short novella for an anthology. I would have loved to be a part of it but… not ((1)) plot bunny hopped along. YIKES!!!!

Oh plot bunny... come out of hiding I need a story

Oh plot bunny… come out of hiding I need a story

 

So where do I go to find the plot bunnies? I have several ‘tricks’ I use to lure the shy little bunnies out. . I know some writers exercise to coax plot bunnies out – doesn’t work for me mainly because I HATE exercising so I’m focused on how soon will I be done. I have three ‘carrots’ that will usually lure a few plot bunnies out for me to play with.

(1)    Character file. This is a manila file folder where I store pictures I’ve ripped out of magazines or printed of the internet of ‘interesting’ looking people. I find if I take the file and sit somewhere quite several of the ‘characters’ will shout at me – “hey, I have a really cool story. Let’s tell it.”

(2)    I have several decks of tarot cards and an oracle deck. I select several cards at random and then I begin to write down what elements I want to include in a story.

(3)    Pictures of scenery. If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I take a ton of pictures of places I’ve been. So if I can’t lure a plot bunny out with 1 or 2 then I shuffle through my pictures looking for a pivotal scene setting.

I have examples of how I use all 3 over on my ‘nice’ twin’s blog: http://www.tasarlaromaney.wordpress.com if you want to see an example of how I use them.

I’d love to hear from fellow writers on you coax the plot bunnies out.

Motivation Monday

Good morning! I’m back at the evil day job of herding frogs… which is going to crazy especially now that we are done with Spring Break. It’s the home stretch 🙂  Well, while I was off for 9.5 days I made some GREAT progress in my writing. I rough drafted a paranormal featuring these two ‘motivations.’

Not bad for a couple of centuries old ghost ;)

Not bad for a couple of centuries old ghost 😉

Let me introduce you to Kaden...

Let me introduce you to Kaden…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This WIP is different for me in that is has two hero POV’s. It’s not a ménage, which is why it’s different for me. I have really enjoyed working on this story. It has helped me develop backstory skills.  My characters generally begin their lives with my story unless a previous event is needed then that tends to be the only thing I have.

My goal for this week is to finish this WIP. I also need to rework my writing que some other interesting plot bunnies have showed up and I need to decide where or if they fit in. I mean after all it is spring – a time of new beginning. And finding new ‘motivation.’ 😉

 

Motivation Monday

February recap

While I didn’t make my over writing goals, it was a descent month for me:

    • Wrote, edited, and subbed short novella – Kick Start for an anthology call.
    • Finished my holiday suspense romance
    • Almost 1/3 of the way with young adult series
    • Finished line edits for naughty fairy tale
    • Blogged on a almost regular bases

Again the biggest area, I lacked in -again – is promo :”( Over all word count was only 400 less than my target. The short novella wasn’t planned so it threw off my individual word goal on my different planned pieces. I’m hoping to add the missing 8k to my young adult in March. We have several ½ days at the day job and spring break begins the first week of April. If I don’t then I’ll make permanent changes to my writing que.

Have your heard the saying if March comes in like a lion it will go out like a sheep… I’m hoping to be a lion all month. I have ‘big’ plans for March.

This is in one of the guys I get to hand out with my month :D

This is in one of the guys I get to hand out with my month 😀

My goals for the month of March ~

FINALLY - get to write his story :D :D

FINALLY – get to write his story 😀 😀

    • ~Make edits to naughty fairy tale and submit
    • ~plot cupid series (3 books) using the series bible worksheets and Rock your Plot (both new to me)
    • ~Start my ultimate fighter story~ word goal – 15k
    • ~work on young adult  ~ word goal – 30k

 

 

What are your goals for March?

 

Writer’s Wednesday

This will be the last Wednesday I highlight a writing prompt for 1,000 Character Writing Prompts, Villains, Heroes. I used the date formula to select this weeks prompt – 227 which is a prompt about character careers. She writes greeting cards.  The prompt gives the reason for her career as ‘her parents had major health problems when she was growing up and it had been almost a part of her nature to try her best to make them feel better.’ That I aspect didn’t tickle my muse BUT the ‘some of her cards had even been medically proven to increase healing’ did in a paranormal way.

What if she had some sort of magically powers that she used in her cards?

How would she decide who received her cards?

How could this element be used to make a heroine?

While she’s a feel good heroine, I struggled to see how she could be a strong main character. Once I moved her to a secondary character role, the plot bunnies hopped out from under the couch.

What if she decides to experiment with love cards and one them fall into the wrong hands? Her neighbor/friend, the heroine, is over using her computer and finds one of her ‘love’ cards. She reads it and falls in love with the first male she sees. The unaware male, the hero, is a high school science teacher/hockey coach. The heroine becomes obsessed with the hero.

My prompt character would then be faced with the challenge of making the heroine fall out of love with the hero but as time goes by the hero begins to fall for the heroine. So my ‘good’ witch finds herself sitting in a pot of boiling water… does she undo the magic and hurt the hero? Does she let the love blossom?

After playing around with this plot bunny and secondary character, I jotted down some notes and put it in my novella file. I think this is a short novella I would enjoy writing but I’ll give it a month to develop and see if legs grow.

 

I’m start sharing some plotting exercises from Rock Your Plot – A Simple System of Plotting your Novel by Cathy Yardley. I’m also taking an on-line class over the weekend about developing a series. I hoping to gain useful ‘tricks’ to apply to two three book series I have on my writing schedule for next week