Sunday, April 26, 2015

Organizing and Focusing

The last few days I have mostly been focusing on getting things organized so I can make the official layout of my plot. With how scattered everything is it's probably a good thing I didn't push myself to participate in Camp NaNo this time. I have lots of ideas written down and even a little fleshed out, but haven't ever finished writing each scene name/idea into an outline. So that is where I am planning to put my energy. I have been entering stuff (scene names and descriptions, characters, items, settings and plot lines) into Hiveword and I didn't realize how many characters I planned on having in my novel.

ROW80 Rundown:

1. Write at least 500 words per day on plotting or blogging.
Thursday: I wrote 631 words in Hiveword describing/plotting a scene.
Friday: Not sure exactly how many words I added because I was adding characters and items to be used in scenes.
Saturday: I was feeling really sick so didn't do much except read and sleep.
Sunday: 397 words on this post.

2. Check out at least 3 A to Z posts per day.
I made it to 6 so far, but there is still time left in the day for today's visits. So much interesting stuff out there to read.

3. Check out at least 5 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
I did this on Thursday and Friday. Yay for making a goal!

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
I have no idea what the heck I'm doing with the Twitter thing. I have basically been ignoring it. I really like Twitter and am not sure why I have been not even looking at it. I will have to try harder.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 2 times per week.
I am back to just posting check-ins and am on track with this goal.

6. Read 5 books in round 2.
I'm reading my new book, The Wahls Protocol by Terry Wahls, M.D. This is the first nonfiction and not funny book I have read in a while. The information is interesting, but her writing style is repetitive. If I wanted to read the same thing 10 times I would reread the chapter.

Photos by Pixabay.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Crazy, Stress and Baby Steps

Craziness and stress has been the name of the game for the past few days. Our car broke down Sunday and we had to tow it to the mechanic Tuesday. My amazing brother drove 100 miles to take me to a doctor appointment and shopping Monday. I fought for several hours with my doctor's office on Tuesday. I did manage to make time for writing, but it wasn't much. Sill I have to remind myself that this month is probably trying to kill me and baby steps are still progress.

ROW80 Rundown:

1. Write at least 500 words per day on plotting or blogging.
Monday: I was sad after stepping out of the A to Z fast lane and had doctor appointment and a lot of running around to do which lead to no words.
Tuesday: I wrote 642 words in my Hiveword working on characters.
Wednesday: 300 words on this post. So I fall short.

2. Check out at least 3 A to Z posts per day.
I made it to 4 since the last check-in. So not a win, but not a loss either.

3. Check out at least 5 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
I only made it to 4, but I'm going to go check out 1 more and call it good. 

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
Oh goodness, I completely forgot about Twitter. I must work on that, too.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 2 times per week.
As long as I get this one out I will be squarely in the win category with this one. 

6. Read 5 books in round 2.
My new book just came and I'm working on it. I'm hoping to get this one done soon.

Photos by Pixabay

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I'm a Quitter so I Won't Win

OK, it's over. Not A to Z of course, but my ability to participate in it. If you somehow found your way here from A to Z I am sorry to waste your time. If you're here from ROW80 I've got some adjusting to do.

ROW80 Rundown:

1. Blog every day in April. (A to Z and ROW80 there are NO brakes.)
I will be dropping this goal because too much health stuff is going on and I just can't get it done.

2. Check out at least 3 A to Z posts per day.
I was making it to less than 1 per day. I am going to keep trying to visit people because this is my favorite part anyway.

3. Check out at least 5 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
I was able to get to these. It's nice to have one success. 

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
More nope. There have been some rough days and Twitter has not been on my mind at all.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 2 times per week. 
Technically I did this.

6. Read 5 books in round 2.
Started reading some again and quickly dropped the book on my head falling asleep. If I can't stay awake I may have a much harder time with this goal than I anticipated. Also, I'll probably give myself a black eye. 

Photos from Pixabay.

Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Opening

The first page is a powerful tool and should be used to tell readers what kind of world they've just landed in.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.-JRR Tolkien from The Hobbit
One of my favorite openings. Already you know you've landed in a magical story with non-human creatures and that there are comforts to be had. The opening section of your book has a few objectives. To hook your readers, introduce your hero, establish stakes, foreshadow future events and then to get the show on the road.

First stop your hook. Larry Brooks over at Storyfix teaches that you need a hook within the first 20 pages of your book. What exactly is a hook? It's something to get your readers attention and pull them into your story. It can be blatant or subtle as long as it packs an emotional punch. The best way to get someone's attention is to make them feel. Immerse your reader in what is happening now. Until you have your hooks in them the time is not right for backstory.

Another opening task is to introduce your hero. Don't tell your readers her whole story, but do let them get to know her. If she spends a lot of your story angry let her throw a tantrum now to set the stage. Show her character flaws, we all have them and so should your characters. Also, let the readers see what your hero's life is like. Is she a rock star who only eats green M&Ms? Is she a humanitarian working to feed and cloth children in a poorer neighborhood? What has she been doing and what are her goals?

Now please tell me why I should care. What does the hero have at stake? Her family, career, love or even the fate of the world could all rest on her shoulders. Show don't tell when it comes to, well everything in your story. It is important to show the readers what will be in jeopardy for the rest of the story. Of course you can and should up the stakes later, but there must be a compelling reason for your hero to jump into the meat of the story.

Foreshadowing future events is subtlety or blatantly hinting to your readers about a plot point or issue of characterization. The purpose of foreshadowing is to prepare your readers for something important that is coming. If readers aren't prepared when a big event occurs it can leave them feeling jarred or worse lied to and cheated.  Most of the first quarter of your story should be a huge beautiful tapestry of these hints woven together. If it's supposed to be an obvious hint give it emotion. If it's supposed to be subtle it's a little trickier and you can let it pass without much notice. Subtle is usually better because you don't really want to give away your plot twists. Once you planted the hint make sure you give them the yield. Not bringing the hints to fruition will leave your readers just as confused as a big event without foreshadowing.

Now if we've done our job all that's left is to get the show on the road. The inciting incident, also known as the first plot point, brings the opening of your story to a close. It launches your hero into a different world where their goals and dreams have just been rearranged by the antagonistic force.

What do you find as the hardest part of the opening to write? What is the easiest? Please leave a comment and don't forget to let me know where you came from so I can follow you back.

Photos by Pixabay.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for NaNoWriMo

I was supposed too be telling you all how my Camp NaNo novel was going, but I wasn't able to get to it because of health issues. I am hoping to start again in the next round, which I believe is in June. So I've been using this A to Z to identify and answer questions and problems that plotting has brought to my attention.

NaNoWriMo is an amazing event held in November where you attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That's 1667 words every day. It is a very interesting organization and you can read the history here. It is worth the read if you have a few minutes.

My favorite part is the camaraderie. I have met some of the most amazing people and they have been unbelievably supportive. I have never made it across the NaNo finish line, but plan to keep trying.

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? Do you like extreme challenges to get you moving? Or do you work better at your own pace? Please leave a comment and don't forget to let me know where you came from so I can follow you back.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Magic

I'm trying to figure out exactly how the magic in my story works. I know it's biased in the elements and each group is working with a different element, but that's about as far as I've gotten.

I found this WikiHow about building your own magical system that was helpful. I need to decide why the magic in my storyverse works. It suggests the magic should be capable of a lot more than is shown in the story and there should be mystery about the magic as far as the characters are concerned.

Next it recommends deciding who can use magic. If everyone can do it then magic would be common place. Since necessity is the mother of invention it is possible many technologies would not have developed if people already had magic to made their labors easier. Which won't work for my story. That leaves me with a select few who can wield magic. I already know that the magic is passed down from parent to child. Other options include the magic decides, like the force. You have to read and prepare from a book, often this type forgets the spell after it's been used. Then of course you could go with a divine source of magic. These priests can be paragons of good or an archetype of evil depending on where in the spectrum the god they follow falls. I am sure you can think of many other ways magic use could be decided, but I'm out of ideas.

How is magic used? Does it require a wand like in the Harry Potter series? Are the practitioners using material components that will be consumed to cast spells? Is the process more of an internal thing that you really can't see except for the raised hand or concentrating eye? Is there an object that the power is channeled through? Are there objects or talismans that are used to increase power? There are so many things to consider. I think I am going to use a combination of internal process with no focus object, though I can see the characters using some spell components to augment their magic. So maybe I am not good at making decisions.
The trouble with writing fiction is that it has to make sense, whereas real life doesn't.”
-Iain M. Banks
The Wiki goes on to say that you should create a personal guide of how and why everything works even if you don't share it all in the story. I think that is a good idea, but they lost me at their insistence that the magical system has to be logical. I have always felt that authors are hemmed in by something life never has to follow. If there were logic behind everything that happens good people wouldn't suffer and criminals wouldn't get away, but this may not be the place for this discussion. I do think it will be easier for readers if you don't break your own rules. 

It will take a while perfect, but getting it all down will be helpful when you are writing your story. Have you ever created a magical system? Do you have any tips that could help me? I was supposed to to a ROW80 midweek check-in, but the whole production seems unnecessary because I missed all my goals except for posting my A to Z. Though they are getting later and later in the day which is upsetting to me, but what can you do when real life attacks? Hey, I guess technically I just did a check-in. Sometimes it's the little things. Please leave a comment and don't forget to let me know where you came from so I can follow you back.

Check out other ROW80 bloggers here!

Photos from Pixabay.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Luxury, Living, Learning and Leisure

I wonder what my characters do for a living? How can they afford to do all the awesome things they need to get done?

It would be easy to make them independently wealthy. Of course it leaves me to figure out how they came by that money and how it has effected them. Maybe that isn't so easy.

When you meet a new person they often ask what do you do. I can say from experience they don't mean when you're at leisure or the community service your family participates in. They are looking to categorize you by your working life or lack there of. The same is true for our characters. The readers want to know them and knowing their work history is a helpful clue to where, in our societies fabric, characters fit. Even if the characters are not at work during the story I think it's important to know where and how they work. It doesn't have to be super in depth, but the more I know about my characters the easier it is for me to write them.

My main character is in school and working. Her job doesn't pay well and she probably doesn't even get 40 hours. Her school and choice of major are other clues to help feel her out. Since this is an urban fantasy I have planned on using an actual school. I am going to contact the school admissions and find information about courses offered and when a student would usually take certain classes. I was thinking about scheduling a tour, but since none of the scenes will actually take place at the campus that would probably be a waste of time. What is your opinion on using a real school or business for that matter? My main characters goal is to be a dancer so I know that a lot of her time would normally be eaten up practicing and such. Maybe it would behoove me to talk to someone who dances for a living.

The things we put our free time into also tells a lot about us. Someone who fixes cars for their hobby is usually good with their hands and able to figure out how things work. A few of my characters hobbies will be revealed in The Most Magical Place, but I want to focus on something that will further the plot or help the characters in the final confrontation. I found this huge list of hobbies. Do you have any hobbies that you might want to give a character? Have you ever used a characters hobby as an excuse to learn something new?

How important do you think it is to know where a characters money is coming from and their time is going? Please leave a comment and don't forget to let me know where you came from so I can follow you back.

Photos from Pixabay.

Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Kill

We discussed the things to consider before you kill a character a while back. I never did get to how I was going to do the deed and I feel K is forcing my hand. Remember that killing this character is necessary and hits all 4 of the good reasons to kill a character. There are so many ways to off someone and so may decisions to be made.

I found a helpful list of over 400 ways to kill a character. It's even all divided up into categories to help you focus your decision making process. I never even considered half of them and this list really got my mind cranking. I don't want to say the actual way the character dies because, you know, surprise. I do want to talk about the things I need to consider. The general idea in this case is murder where the character is sacrificing herself for the cause and the main characters. I am not sure if she also kills the killer at the same time or they get away and have to be tracked down. However, murder automatically rules out a few categories:

Nature’s Revenge
Animal Attack (Unless they were using an animal, but that seems hard in this story.)
Everything Goes Wrong

I don't see seriously organized, heavily propped, broad, lasting or easily traceable methods as effective in this situation, which rules out more categories:

Methods of Execution
Unusual Methods of Execution
Poisonous animals
Poisons in chemical warfare

That leaves a couple categories for me to consider:

Weapons (So many to choose from)

Then I realized in my excitement, is that the right word, at picking a death incident I wasn't being true to the story. It's an urban fantasy and they have magic powers. Why wouldn't they use them for this endeavor? I think the murder would.

I also wanted to be sure my doomed character is fleshed out and preferably that the readers are attached to her. I want my readers to feel for the victim and the surviving characters. In my research I discovered that there was originally supposed to be a pilot flying plane in Pixar's The Incredibles. He was slated to die when the plane crashed, but Pixar realized they would have to spend too much screen time on his life and story to make his loss meaningful. I mean when the red shirted ensign dies no one is surprised or really all that upset. I know I don't want my spectacular death scene ideas to be waisted on a character that doesn't even pay off with the audience.

Now we know the who, why and how decisions have been made. I'm left with the question what exactly am I trying to try and make the readers feel? That is a hard one. I want my readers to like the character and feel sad when she dies. In this case I also want to make the readers mad at the murder while simultaneously making them worry about the 2 main characters. The character on the chopping block is powerful and very close to the main characters so I expect it would effect them similarly. I am planning to use this murder to raise the stakes and show just how much influence the bad guy has.

The victim is going to leave a hole in the story dynamics. Every character has a part to play. In the case of The Most Magical Place the timing of the death won't require that the role is filed again. In other words the characters job is done.

What tips do you have on killing characters? I'm sure I'm missing something, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Please leave a comment and don't forget to let me know where you came from so I can follow you back.

Most photos by Pixabay.
Murder girl photo credit: ; via photopin (license)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Writer Energy Level Low

Working on the Blogging From A to Z Challenge is taking all the writing energy I have. I am happy with my progress on this check-in, but there's always room for improvement.

ROW80 Rundown:

1. Blog every day in April. (A to Z and ROW80 there are NO brakes.)
So far I've missed F, but have gotten the others out and I like most of the posts so that is something.

2. Check out at least 3 A to Z posts per day. 
I have only been making it to 2 per day. My favorite part of A to Z is finding all the new blogs. I need to do more hoping.

3. Check out at least 5 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.
This did not happen at all. Again I cry more hoping.

4. Use Twitter at least once per day.
I have been tweeting my A to Z posts so mostly doing this, but I have been neglecting retweeting and checking out the cool stuff that has been posted.

5. Post on my author Facebook page at least 2 times per week. 
Again, I've been posting everyday so another win.

6. Read 5 books in round 2.
I don't even anticipate starting this until April has come to a close.

Photos from Pixabay.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Jinxed

A short and convoluted post, but I think it may have been jinxed because it was quite a bit longer and my phone or the interwebs ate it. I'm too tired and frazzled to completely recreate it. So I offer you the bullion cube version.

Sometimes I wonder if the poor main characters are jinxed. It seems that so many things happen to them. Sometimes over their whole lives, but especially during the story. I know that we want our readers to sympathise and identify with our characters and beating them up a little is a good way to summon that emotional bond. I just can't help but feel like I'm torturing these people and what's worse is I'm attached to them.

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. -Ian Fleming

Of course there is someone plotting against them, it's me. Does that make me the enemy? I can't just off them or poke them with a giant pencil when I need the story to move forward. This isn't Monty Python. So I have to use the bad guys and coincidence.

Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.-Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling

We've all been there. People use the phrase, "When it rains, it pours," for a reason. So we pile it on and test out hero's mettle. What better way to prove to our readers that the characters are worth their love and attention than to have them dig themselves out of a huge pile of...uh problems?

What was the most difficult problem you heaped on a character? Do you ever look down at what you've created and feel sorry for one of your characters? Please leave a comment and don't forget to let me know where you came from so I can follow you back.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Inspiration

Or perhaps a lack there of. I have no inspiration for my 'I' post. There are a million recommendations of what to do, but I find myself balking at all of them tonight even the ones that have been useful in the past. Let's go through a list of the things I have tried or at least tried to try.

First I tried turning to Google. I often Google my topics especially when I already have one in mind and just need some help fleshing out out. There were a lot of suggestions, but not much I hadn't already come across in the course of life.

 Then I tried meditation. Well mostly relaxing and calming, but that required too much concentration. I was quickly irritated and lost interest quickly. It always seems that I could benefit most from calming meditation when I am not able to get there.

So I attempted to listen to music. It is a tried and true way to get my brain flowing. Of course I tend to listen to rock a little too loud for the late night hours in a typical home. In a reversal of rolls my 14 year old daughter came out and asked me to please keep it down. We were unsuccessful in finding my ear buds and the music had to go.

Next up was free writing. I usually do this on One Word. They give you one word and you write for 60 seconds without editing or stopping to think. Then you can read other people's and post yours. Tonight I was just trying to associate the word 'inspiration'. Let me tell you it is a bunch of gook that I don't even feel comfortable sharing to be silly.

A change of scenery is often helpful. Though the difference between the livingroom and the bedroom isn't all that inspiring. Some other people recommended that you could even change your desktop to reflect another local if you can't really get away.

Writing with pen and paper is one of my favorite things to try. Shortly after I felt like a teenager all curled up and anxty. Maybe I'm doing this one wrong. I should have taken a stab at this one before the change of scenery and lack of a table.

Concentrate on something different for a while. I took a break to watch one of my favorite shows, Charmed and that was refreshing and I felt less stress when I went back again. Unfortunately I didn't find anything other than distraction.

Make your muse jealous. After trying all the things that appeal to you here or where ever you find other ideas. If still nothing is working, just start. It will probably not be your best work, but your muse will wonder what you could possibly be up to without her. After a while she will start to push you toward more inspired work and before you know it the project will be done.

Stuff I haven't tried tonight:

Going for a walk out in nature. So many people recommend this no matter what you are trying to do. It is said to lower stress and we can all use that. I don't do this often, maybe I should consider it.

An idea book is another great tool. I used to have one that I cherished. It was lost in a move and I can still remember how sad I was the day I realized it was gone. I have started replacing it in Evernote, but the file is thin and doesn't have the same magic as a handwritten notebook.

Playing or spending time with kids. They don't even have to be yours. Some of the most creative and entertaining things I have ever heard came from my children or their friends. Of course they're all in bed while I try to write this.

Get some sleep. I mean really how often are writers sleep deprived. If you are having trouble and the things that usually get you going aren't helping,  maybe your brain is begging you for a little break and rejuvenation.

Where do you turn when your wellspring of inspiration is running dry? What tips can you offer a crazed writer? Please leave a comment and don't forget to let me know where you came from so I can follow you back.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Humor

In my life I use the funny. Some have said to me that I'm always "ON". I don't know if this is true, but I can't imagine writing without humor. Most of my favorite moments in books or movies are the comic relief between the big and hard scenes. Clever use of humor makes you more accessible and helps to cement your bond with readers. It is also one of the big factors that decide if I will bother with a second book from an author.

One of the best ways to coax a smile from someone is to be specific. A million years ago, in debate class we had to present our arguments as an animal. It was silly and one of the most engaging classes that teacher taught. I was assigned to be a squirrel, which is humorous, but lots of others had that task. I decided to present in the persona of an irate French squirrel. This was highly effective and became a running joke for years. I believe the specifics made it easier to visualize and thus funnier.

Another thing to consider when injecting humor into writing is that people often find the unexpected hilarious. I don't like to be thrown too far out in left field, but if you have something heading one way and you can take a believable hairpin turn you will often find yourself landing in a humdinger of a sweet spot.

A question I was worried about is what do you poke fun at without hitting a nerve. Your answer is all around you, the mundane. So many situations in life are side-splitting because we've all been there and it was a little awkward. Watching our heroes squirm is always fun.

One of the best topics for your comical fire is yourself. Be the joke you see in other places. If you present your joke as something internalized people can choose if it applies to them or not. This is especially helpful when you are skirting trickier subjects. Stand-up comedians use this technique often.

What do you guys think? To joke or not to joke? Are some stories too dark or serous to have a place for humor? Don't forge to leave a comment with a link if you can and let me know where you're from so I can follow you back.

Photos from Pixabay.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Get Back Up

I missed F, which makes me sad because I was looking forward to that one. I was going to talk about fan fiction. I know if I try to make up the missed letter it will put me in a perpetual game of catch up and I have no desire to go there. So today I'm getting up, back on the horse and moving on.

G is also for grammar. Wait, stop, don't leave! I'm actually not one of the grammar police. I try very hard to make well informed grammar decisions in my writing and everyday life. However, that is not where I was going with this post. I  have realized that I spend a large amount of time worrying about grammar, so much so that it often inhibits my writing progress. To myself and others who are still working out the kinks in this writing thing I am recommending grammar light. If your not sure exactly how something is supposed to be written, in your first draft, do the best you can and move on. You will have other passes when you move on to the editing phase.

If you are looking for grammar tips delivered in a smart and funny way Grammar Girl is an awesome resource. What do you think about grammar? Do you feel that stopping to answer grammar questions while writing is distracting or will it drive you batty until you know how it's supposed to be done?

Good luck to all those taking the April challenges and thanks for stopping by. Please leave me a comment and let me know where your're visiting from so I can follow you back.

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Exempt From Perfection

Update on me: My heart is still in A Fib and the Dr. has told me that it is more likely to drop back into it's regular rhythm if I get a full nights rest. At home this would mean working until I'm done and then sleeping in, but everyone knows you can't sleep long in a hospital before someone needs to poke or prod you. I still have some time, but if it gets too late I may put it down and just post afar I have. You have been warned, TMI concluded.

E is also for experience! The only way you can get experience is to just do it. It's like a Nike commercial, but with less sweat and more chocolate or coffee or both. This is something I am really bad at. I seem to always have a billion things that distract me from actually sitting down and putting pen to paper or pixels to cloud. However it goes these days. Usually it is mundane life stuff, which I will never complain about again because the Fates keep showing me it could always be worse. For the record I believe them.

Another thing that seems to distract me is research. There is so much great stuff out there that you could probably spend a lifetime researching and never move to the next step of starting your story. So of course that leaves me here preaching about experience when I am far from this magical creature called the experienced author.

How am I going to get this much coveted experience? I have a few plans. First, challenges like A to Z help me immensely. I just like the feeling of moving toward a measurable goal with a bunch of other people. Being able to pick your brains has led to some ingenious solutions.

Second, dedicating a set time each day in your routine is reported to help you transition from mundane you to writer more quickly and easily. I have no experience easily becoming writer me, but I have seen the power of the routine in my children's lives. I will apply those principles to my writing and see how far I get. The only way it could get worse is if I don't try.

Another piece of advice I have used with success is setting a timer and just writing as much as you can in the allotted time. Write or Die offers a word processor equipped with a timer and warnings that tell you if you have stopped writing for too long. The settings are customizable, so the penalties range from an annoying reminder to deleting your work if your inactive for too long. It is available as a program you can purchase or a free web version with fewer features.

Lastly, I am going to be kinder to myself. We all try to be kind and supportive of our friends and writing groups. We go out of our way to make helpful comments and listen as others vent. We have proven we posses these skills so why do we not practice them when dealing with our selves. I am guilty of negative self talk and usually talk myself out of even trying because I'm convinced that what is in my head will never measure up. I can not allow this to go on. Doubt is trying to kill my dreams and I need to resuscitate them and then nurture them.

I showed you mine now you show me yours. What are your best tips for motivating yourself or others to just do this writing thing? Let me know where your visiting from so I can follow you back and see what your up to.

Photos by Pixabay

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rounded Down Already

Today is the ROW80 goal reveal day for round 2 of 2015. ROW80, A Round of Words in 80 Days, is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. The goal set challenging yet attainable goals and cheer each other toward achieving them.

This post has been rounded down before the round even began. I wrote a post I really loved, but in light of my recent health problems I know I can't make the rigorous 12 goal schedule happen. I will be lucky to get to half of what I had planned.

Looking over my new and improved goals I'm wondering if I should have cut more deeply. However, I gutted my lofty goals and ended up with 8 categories. Of course 2 only apply to April's Blogging From A to Z Challenge and that leaves 6 which is exactly what I was originally planning.

ROW80 Round 2 Master Plan:

1. Blog every day in April. (A to Z and ROW80 there are NO brakes.)

2. Check out at least 3 A to Z posts per day.

3. Write 500 words per day on any project May - June.

4. Blog at least every Wednesday and Sunday May - June.

5. Check out at least 5 posts from each new ROW80 linky before the next one comes out.

6. Use Twitter at least once per day.

7. Post on my author Facebook page at least 2 times per week May - June.

8. Read 5 books in round 2.

Photos from Pixabay

Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Discovery of Destiny

What do you even say when you discover your destiny? For many characters no thank you and your crazy you've got the wrong person are common knee jerk reactions. It's my goal as the writer to help  my hero at least understand their destiny even if they choose to ignore or walk away. Of course if they walked away from the destiny I've hoisted on them permanently it would never turn out to be a great story.

At least I wouldn't want to read a story where a mad woman was attacking and winning because no one was able to stand up to her and no matter how bad it gets no one ever does. This little story needs your hero. What do you do to convince him to don the power bequeathed to him at birth?

Larry Brooks says that you have to give them the chance to be human before they can ever become the hero you see in them. What does that entail? There are 3 phases. I am actually talking about 3 of his 4 story boxes he discusses in his 10-part tutorial on the fundamentals of story structure.

In the first phase your hero is anything but a hero. Everything he does is in response mode. He's scared and unsure of what to do. I mean who wouldn't be a little freaked out to discover the fate of the world resides on their shoulders. He is a wanderer and is doing any number of things to try and solve his new and unexpected problem. From Storyfix2.0:

The hero is running, analyzing, observing, recalculating, planning, recruiting or anything else required before she or he can move forward.

Alright now that he's finally done stumbling about and looking for answers. He has a plan and has entered the attack phase. Our hero takes his plan and his allies and off they go to kick some ass!  But what else has been going on while our hero was hard at work? Storyfix knows:

Meanwhile, the plot thickens – the antagonistic force is moving forward, too –  and what the hero thought would work isn’t quite enough.  They need more.  More courage.  More creativity.  A better plan. 

What the hell does our hero do now? The attacker must up his game and become the warrior. Just before you move along to the next phase something, known as the second plot point, will happen to rock your hero's  world all over again. Entering the last phase Storyfix says:

Part 4 shows how the hero summons the courage and growth to come forward with a solution to the problem, to reach the goal, to save the day or even the world, to attain the fame and riches associated with victory, and to generally beat down and conquer the story’s antagonistic force.

One very important thing to remember about the last phase is that no new information can enter the story. Our hero must draw on and use things and people that are already in play to solve the problem. Also, while he may need help the ultimate success should rely on what our hero has learned.

Update on me: I had more tests, yes it was shocking. Then I took a pretty bad fall and am now a fall risk. I also landed in a cardiac unit with Atrial Fibrilation. So it would seem that I am falling apart.

Good luck to those taking on the April challenges. Please leave me a note and say hello I will try to follow you back to see what you're up to.

Photos by Pixabay