A to Z Challenge: Reflection

A-to-Z Reflection [2018]

When I first discovered this challenge, it was only a day or two before sign-up closed. I ended up making a snap decision to participate, hoping to build up my blog. It would be easy, right? After all, it was just a simple post every day except Sunday throughout the month of April. I could probably wing it. Maybe.

So signing up, I now had to chose a theme. Easy enough. This blog is all about writing, so I would make my theme Everything I Love about Writing. There! I was going to breeze through this. Then I stumbled over my first obstacle. I actually had to come up with subjects the fit this theme using every letter. Do you know how hard it is to find X and Z words? Neither did I.

My good intentions of getting all the posts written ahead quickly fell through and I was writing a blog post every day. That actually turned out to be fun as I could approach it from a fresh perspective. Also, as I mentioned several times during the month, I am a pantser, not a plotter. I had a master list of the subjects I had picked, but every new post was a delightful surprise.

For example, my theme was Everything I Love about Writing.  However, I realized that that was too one-sided of an approach to what I consider my writing journey. After all, how can you recognized good if you never see bad? So I expanded it to all aspects of my journey. Something that surprised me was my G post, G is for Grammar. I didn’t like that post, I don’t like grammar, it was the antithesis to my theme. It was one of the most popular posts from the entire challenge. Every post revealed something new to me, challenged me to change and grow.

A particularly fun part of the A to Z challenge was getting to blog hop to other bloggers. I only visited about ten consistently, but I was delighted to get to know them through their blog posts and A to Z journey.

So how can I sum up the A to Z challenge? I still don’t know what happened to April. I scrambled to keep up with the posting and comments. There were days when I felt like I fell far short and others that I felt like I’d won a gold medal. I got to met new bloggers and made some amazing friends over the course of this challenge. As my dad says, ‘Would I do it again?’ The answer is yes. I’m looking forward to next year.

My thanks to everyone who stopped by during this challenge, you’re the best!

 

C is for Characters

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Now this is one of my all time favorite parts of writing. Creating the characters. Every writer has a different method of creating characters. Some look at pictures and build from there, others start with character traits and then work outwards to their characters appearance. For me, it’s different with every character I create.

When I first met Aletta Sheridan, she was pouting. This intrigued me. For me, I want my characters to be real enough that I could meet them on the street. So when I sat down to write, all I had was the title name “In Search of Justice” and a general plot. When I sat down to start writing, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, then centered myself and looked for the main character of my novel. Instantly, I saw an agent sitting at a desk pouting with a slowly dying houseplant on the corner of the desk, benched because she refuses to accept a partner. Names mean a lot to me, I like to tuck hidden meanings into them, so imagine my surprise when she stubbornly insisted that her name was Aletta. I was able to convince her to use the last name Sheridan, which means seeker, but she was Aletta and that was that.

Every time a character appears to me, they are already fully formed physically and each one is distinct. Aletta is about 5’7”, has light colored skin, extremely curly blue-black hair that reaches mid-back, and amber colored eyes. She is typically dressed in practical clothes because she never knows what she’ll find during her time on-duty, but has a love for brightly dyed clothing. She hates high heels, but has a pair of high heeled boots that she absolutely adores.

They also have unique personalities and I never know what will appear as I get to know them better. I knew right away that Aletta was training to be an opera singer, but I didn’t know why she had left (more of that in book two of the series, coming soon). I know that she’s open hearted, which she gets from her mother, but that she has a temper as well. However, she finds fulfillment in her job as an agent for HSI, something that she hadn’t anticipated. She also has a chocolate addiction but loathes white chocolate. She loves her independence but can be a team player as well. She is at times a walking contradiction.

Lirim on the other hand, was a little more planned out. The supernatural to Aletta’s human, his name means freedom, while his last name Bosk means a small copse of trees. It is meant to allude to his connection to nature. He is fae but refused to be something as overused as an Elf, instead he is a Wild One, also known as a Sprite. When he and Aletta first met, I saw him as quite and reserved, never knowing that he has quite the mischievous streak and warmth to him.

Physically, Lirim is 6’2” and slender, but that slenderness is deceptive because he is very strong. He had deep green eyes, shoulder length straight black hair, tanned skin, and slightly pointed ears.

He is quiet but surprisingly frank about his past and the scars that he bears. He was trained to be a guard for the Glade (more about that to come in book 3) and he fought in the Outlander War. The Outlander War was a brutal conflict and it left him with scars, emotional, mental, and physical. He is the one that recognizes Aletta’s gift for what it is and he has a protective streak a mile wide. He is a terrible fry snob and his humor can occur at the oddest moments, but he has a gentle side as well.

The more time I spend writing these characters, the more facets of their personality I discover, much like the more time you spend with people, the more you find out about them. So how do you create your characters? Or what draws you to a character when you read? Let me know your thoughts on the matter 😊

B is for Bunnies… a.k.a. Plot Bunnies

So I don’t know if plotters deal with this, but for me as a pantser, I am well acquainted with plot bunnies. Everyone believes that bunnies are these cute, fluffy, little things that are the perfect companions for animated princesses. But don’t let the cuteness fool you. Plot bunnies are very dangerous creatures and one must be on a constant look out for them. So here are three ways plot bunnies can sneak in and how to deal with them.

 

  1. The subtle sneak

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So this is the first and hardest type of plot bunny to detect. These ones usually appear when the writing flow is going well. You’re in a groove and the words are just flowing onto the page, ideas flying at you so fast that you can barely keep up. This is where the subtle sneak plot bunny hops in 😉 They subtly throw you off track by subverting you to an idea that still belongs in the book but is not relevant. For example, my character Lirim is a terrible fry snob. So with a subtle nudge from the plot bunny, I spend half an hour writing about his fry ranking system before realizing that it has zero plot relevance. (Thankfully, this has not happened but this is the subtle terrible power that these particular plot bunnies wield).

 

So how can you counteract this evil scheme? When the writing is going well, every twenty minutes or so, take a quick break and assess what you are writing. I know that this can be hard when you are in the middle of a writing flow, but it can save you having to edit out irrelevant material that you spent literally hours writing. It may slow you for a minute, but it’s the only way to save time in the end.

 

  1. The ‘Let’s go find out what made that noise’.

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This is also known as the pointless plot bunny. For me, these bunnies especially like to show up when I’m tired or over-caffeinated. These are the ones where you go back when you’re well rested and wonder what in the world you were drinking to think that that was a good idea. These usually occur when the story is stalled and you’re looking for a way to get the story moving again. When you are desperately looking for a way out of the corner that you’ve written yourself into, this is when they whisper their insidious ideas. For the record, ideas like having the main character’s long dead Aunt Maeve appear to them in a dream or having them have an illogical amazing breakthrough while they are microwaving peeps is usually a sign of their presence. (Disclaimer: No peeps were hurt in the writing of this blog post).

So how can we avoid these soulless plot wreckers? One way is to simply avoid writing until you get some rest. They find it harder to prey on well rested minds. Also, consider having a sit down with your characters. When my novel is stalled, it is usually because I am trying to force one of my characters to do something out of character. Usually with a bit of backtracking and dialogue with my characters and I am able to write without any problems.

 

  1. The semi-helpful plot bunny

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These plot bunnies are like the brownies of the writing world. Although often kind and helpful, they can often have their mischievous streak. They help writers by letting them see things differently from what they have planned out. The quietest of the three, you have to listen for their whispers of “What if?” For example, what if Aletta was the one who was a food snob instead of Lirim? What if Lirim hated eating anything green, despite drawing his strength from nature? These can be helpful in fully exploring your story and sometimes bring critical breakthroughs.

So how are these creatures dangerous? Like in the movie “Gremlin” where the Mogwai turned into Gremlins by being fed after a certain time, these plot bunnies must be carefully monitored. Just as brownies can turn into boggarts, so can these plot bunnies become pointless plot bunnies if allowed free rein. (See number two above for how to deal with these.)

So, listen to them, but always keep your plot firmly in your mind. Most writers have a point A and a point B and a general idea of how to get there. These plot suggestions from the bunnies should help fill out some details, but should ultimately not alter the final destination that is point B.

Hopefully these tips help you deal with your plot bunnies. If you are overwhelmed, don’t give up. Remember, plot bunnies are easily bored and the odds are good that they will get distracted and leave you alone eventually.

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So how do you deal with plot bunnies when you are writing? (Even if its writing a blog post or an informative piece 😊)

 

http://knowledgenuts.com/2014/03/08/the-different-types-of-mythological-brownies/

NovelRama or 25k in 4 days

So on Friday afternoon, also known as day one of NovelRama, I found out about the event and decided to go ahead and jump in. After all, I’m a writer, so how hard could it really be? Of course, I’ve had writer’s block on my novel for three weeks, but no big deal, right?

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Day one: Because I joined late, I only reached 1,500 words. But that’s ok, because I had three more days to make it up. I’d be more prepared for the next day.

Day two: The morning was spent hanging with family, but I spent the afternoon and evening writing. There were hilarious llama memes and hourly sprints (where you type as much as you can as fast as you can and everyone posts their word count at the end of the hour). It was a good day and I managed to get about 8k words written. Woohoo, bye bye writer’s block!

Day three: This was a harder day for me as I had to get up earlier than normal for me for the second day in a row. I am one of those types of people that needs her eight hours of beauty sleep. So I hang with my family in the morning and then head for my computer in the afternoon. However, writing can be extremely mentally and emotionally tiring, so I called it a day after roughly 5k words. But hey, it’s better than nothing, right?

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Day four: I have 10.5k words left to do to reach my goal of 25k. I can do this! Right? At least I think I can. After warning my family not to disturb me or risk psycho writer wrath (We’re a strange kind of people, especially when abruptly pulled from our train of thought). However, alas and alack, it was not to be. Due to multiple interruptions due to animals and family members in true need as well as technical problems, my day did not go to plan. Add in a man hunt in our area for a man considered armed and dangerous and all of my finger joints aching from all the typing I was doing, it just wasn’t meant to be. The event ended at midnight MDT, but I called the end of NovelRama at 10 p.m. with a word count of a little over 23k total (8.5k for the day) and I was truly ecstatic. Did I hit 25k? Not quite. But I made such incredible progress on my novel over four days as well as getting to connect with several fabulous people. I truly do not regret a thing.

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Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is having another NovelRama in August. I seriously recommend if you are a writer that you check it out. It’s free and no matter if you do 2 words or 25k words, the experience is extraordinary.
So what is the craziest challenge that you’ve ever done spur of the moment?

 

Sadness

Well, the 7 pm deadline has arrived and I have not reached my goal of 25 followers, so no bonus content this week. However, many thanks to everyone who has already followed me. Happy weekend and I’ll see you next week!

A to Z blog challenge/Theme reveal

So, officially, the theme reveal is supposed to be on March 19th, but I just found out about this amazing challenge, so I’m I couple of days late to the game. However, the official blogging doesn’t start until April 1st, so I’m still good. I am excited to announce that I will be participating in the 2018 A to Z blogging challenge.

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For my theme, I shall be doing: All the things that I love about writing.

I can’t wait for April to start to I can start sharing my posts and also reading all the amazing posts by the other bloggers in the challenge.

What kind of writing topics would you like to see me cover in April? Comment below and let me know 🙂

For more info about the challenge, visit: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/what-is-blogging-from-to-z.html

 

 

 

Exclusive Content Challenge

Hi Everyone,

I have a challenge for you.

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This is a new blog and I don’t have very many followers yet. (Shout out to those who have already followed, you guys are awesome!)

So here’s the challenge. If I get 25 followers by Friday night, I will post exclusive content from my book “In Search of Justice” that’s available no where else. It’s entirely up to you, dear readers. Happy Wednesday!

 

Also, if you haven’t read my book, it’s free on Amazon if you have a kindle unlimited account. Check it out today!

 

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