3 Tips To Brainstorming Through Blank Page Paralysis

Photo by Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

Photo by Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

A story is a complex structure with multiple elements, each key to the overall success of a novel. Many key parts of story structure I learned through My Book Therapy’s coaches Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, and Lisa Jordan.

Their instruction helped me understand the spine of a novel and the elements required for a novel to be publication worthy.

Once all of the key elements are in place, an author still must put flesh on the bones of the story. It can be an overwhelming task. Is it any wonder that sometimes along the way writers get lost?

Do you struggle from Blank Page Paralysis?

Staring at a blank page, waiting for brilliance to strike can be frustrating. Instead of staying stuck, try the following strategies.

3 Tips To Brainstorming Through Blank Page Paralysis:

*Brainstorm From Setting. Determine the setting for the next scene. Brainstorm the sensory details and what is present in the setting. Determine who is there and what the mood is of the scene. As the setting begins to come to life, it becomes easier to visualize your character there and what their goal is next.

*Brainstorm From Character. Identify the Point of View character for the next scene. Brainstorm how they are feeling, what the goal is for them in the scene, and how the setting reflects their mood. Then brainstorm who and what is in the scene with the POV character that could cause obstacles to them reaching their goals.

*Brainstorm From Plot. Focus on what will happen in the coming scene that moves the plot forward. Determine where you need to be at the end of the scene and how the objectives of the Point of View character feeds into the plot. Brainstorm what could happen in the coming scene. Put no filters on the possibilities. When you are finished, select the one that best moves your story forward.

Need A Brainstorming Coach?

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December 6~16th

*Register for a brainstorming session between December 6-16th and get a $15 discount (Session may be scheduled to occur before January 31, 2017)

*Session sale price of $35 can be submitted through PayPal.

*To Register send a message through the contact form below. Use Sale Code: Holly616


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How Do You Get Out Of Blank Page Paralysis?

Music Monday: Holiday Romance

I love Christmas and I love holiday romances. Here are a couple of holiday songs that really make me feel like lighting the fire, fixing a cup of cocoa and snuggling with  my man.

Phil Wickham’s rendition of this classic Christmas song is soooo romantic. I just love it.

Francesca’s song is so soft, beautiful, and yes romantic in tone. I actually kept this song on repeat for days as I wrote the ice skating scene in my Christmas novella, Hope Under Mistletoe. It’s available for .99 right now!

Hope Under Mistletoe - High Resolution cover (1)

Which Christmas songs make you want to curl up by the fire and watch the lights from the tree twinkle while you sip cocoa or cider?

3 Words Of Advice That Can Revolutionize Your Writing Journey

Photo by Stancu Alexandru

Photo by Stancu Alexandru

The journey of an author is never easy. There are the ups and downs of rejections, contest critiques, and writer’s block.

The profession itself is full of potholes, not to mention the crazy roadblocks that come with everyday responsibilities. Family, faith, friendships, holiday shopping, buying skiis for your high schooler. . . yeah, okay, that last one is all me.

My family has also struggled with health concerns and I deal with chronic pain. Sometimes writing seems next to impossible, but there are 3 Words Of Advice That Can Revolutionize Your Writing Journey.

Don’t take my word for it. Nope. These amazing words come from one of my writing mentors that has helped me along the journey.

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times Bestseller with several books under her belt. Here are just a few:

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Rachel is a brilliant writer. I absolutely love her metaphors and rich stories that tug at your heart. All of her craft expertise has brought her great success, but there is one thing she taught me that is pivotal to our writing journey.

Without these three words all of her Bestsellers would have remained an idea, unrealized. It seems simple, but without this no writer can be successful.

What are these 3 Words Of Advice That Can Revolutionize Your Writing Journey?

Simple Really.

BUTT IN CHAIR

When you don’t feel like writing and you want to play candy crush. . .

BUTT IN CHAIR

When you want to give up and burn your rough draft. . .

BUTT IN CHAIR

It may sound trite, but the truth is that most of my ideas waiting to be published are only going to be accomplished if I constantly commit myself to writing.

Everyday.

No matter what.

Even if it is just for a little while, the words add up to whole manuscripts and eventually I finish a book. It is the small moments, the two hundred words here, three hundred words there that push me forward.

Rachel has given me a lot of advice. Her craft teaching and spiritual encouragement have been a huge part of my journey, but these 3 words. . . if I follow this advice, I will finish books.

What do you do to help you keep your BUTT IN Chair?

 

 

How To NaNoWriMo Through the Holidays – 3 Cold Turkey Plans & Strategies

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo by kindhelper

So you’ve signed up for this crazy thing called NaNoWriMo and the holidays are staring you down, threatening to derail your whole plan. Take heart, there are ways to keep on track, even during the holidays.

It won’t be easy, but it is completely doable. Groan, right? Well, NaNoWriMo is not for the faint of heart. You’re a warrior writer, right?

During this holiday you can do some cold turkey writing to keep you on your word count goals for the month. The key is to plan now and pick the plan that works the best for you.

How To NaNoWriMo Through the Holidays –

Photo by Vaughan Willis

Photo by Vaughan Willis

3 Cold Turkey Plans:

  1. Prewrite your goal. This one is just like it sounds. Divide up the writing you would normally do during the days you will be vacationing for Thanksgiving to do in the days ahead of time.
  2. Schedule writing for your strengths. If you write earliest in the morning, ask someone else to prep the turkey. If you write best in the evenings, ask someone to clean up after the meal. Plan your writing time by your strengths. If you know that you will not want to write after the family comes over because you want to see them and chat until late into the night, then plan to write in the morning. Be purposeful to avoid failing to meet your goals.
  3. Post-write your goal. Take the word count you would have had during the holiday and divide it over the few days after the holiday is over. Try to get this all done within a few days after the holiday, or you will feel the task to finish the month is insurmountable.

3 Cold Turkey Strategies:

  1. Write crazy family dynamics into your story. Be inspired by the crazy family dynamics during the holidays. Use a quirky family member to build on a character. Use someone’s dialogue patterns to make one of your characters more unique. Let the characters you interact with, even that crazy lady who almost ran you over on Black Friday in the Walmart parking lot, inspire uniqueness in your story.
  2. Add a festival or community activity into your story. Community is built in your story through its culture. Add a touch of what makes your story character unique by adding a community activity or festival to your novel. It can be the May Day Parade, or Cat Fish Days, as long as it is part of what makes your community unique.
  3. Build the sensory details in your novel. Scientists have discovered that smells are the strongest memories. What does your character’s story world smell like. Think of all of the wonderful holiday smells and foods. Add some of these sensory details into your novel to expand your creative pallet.

What is your favorite part of the holidays?

Music Monday: Autumn Leaves

by Jill Kemerer

Thanksgiving is almost here! I love this American holiday. We eat a ton of yummy food, watch a little football, and hang out with loved ones. Pumpkin pie with loads of whipped cream is a must-eat dessert. Seconds? Yes, please!

And since this time of year just fills me with happiness, I’m listening to Vince Guaraldi’s beautiful jazz music. Most of you know Vince Guaraldi’s pieces from A Charlie Brown Christmas, and the song I’m sharing below is not as well-known, but lovely all the same. Give “Autumn Leaves” a try. I hope it brings a smile to your face!

What are you listening to lately?

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There is still time to enter my month-long giveaway! (US only, 18+) The easy entry options are below!

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Yuletide Redemption

A Mother’s Christmas Wish 

After an accident leaves Celeste Monroe to raise her baby nephew, all she wants is to provide one-year-old Parker with a happy life. She hopes taking a job caring for injured Sam Sheffield will help fulfill that goal. But Sam’s determination to avoid the world throws a wrench in her plans. Despite his best efforts, Sam can’t take his eyes off the pretty caretaker. Her strength and her loving nature has him falling for her—and her baby. But he refuses to burden them with a man who’s not whole. Can Celeste convince Sam he’s daddy—and husband—material in time for them to celebrate Christmas together?

For purchase links, click HERE!

What Are You Thankful For?

Since Thankvintage-1772596_1280sgiving will be in exactly one week, I thought I’d do a post asking what we’re thankful for. But not the usual thankfuls. I’d like to know what you’re thankful for that someone else might look at you like WHAT?

I’ll go first. One Spring day I was driving to Atlanta and it was dark and stormy.🙂 And I had to go through Birmingham, Alabama. And in fact, needed to stop at a particular place. That I had no idea of how to get to.

But I’m an intrepid traveler, bumbling my way around, often stopping to ask for directions. (This was before GPS became so popular.) Anyway, having gotten directions over the phone, I took the exit, keeping an eye on a line of storms just ahead. I took a left off the Interstate, like I’d been instructed, and drove into the heart of not-so-nice Birmingham. After driving around for fifteen minutes, I finally stopped at a convenience store (with iron bars on the front) and discovered I should have taken a right when I exited.

Anther ten minutes and I finally found my destination. I spent thirty minutes there, and as I was leaving, someone came in. “Did you hear about the line of tornadoes just east of here? Hit about fifteen minutes ago.”

If I hadn’t gotten lost, I would have been in the middle of the storms. So for once, I was very thankful that I’d lost my way.

How about you? Do you have any stories of unusual times you’ve been thankful? Let us know in the comment section.

And HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Super Sleuth Wednesday: All In the Name of Thanksgiving!

turkey

Oh the yummy holiday of Thanksgiving is coming upon us. Turkey, sweet potato casseroles, dressing…pumpkin pie. It’s a time to celebrate with friends and family. A time to reflect on the things you’re thankful for…

Or it’s time to be act like a turkey and steal some holiday goodies. From Safeway. Yes. It happened.

Riddle me this: What did he steal?

A: A 24lb turkey (the legs for Tiny Tim).

B: 8 boxes of Stove Top Stuffing (You know, instead of potatoes).

C: A turkey fryer (Because it just woudn’t quite fit in the French  Fryer).

photocredit by Seeman