Is This Writer’s Block?

I should be writing…I know this. I feel the pressure to produce deep in my middle as a constant feeling that there’s something I’m not doing. YOu know that feeling that you’ve left the house and left the oven on or your flat iron on??? Yeah? That’s pretty much how I feel. ALL. THE. TIME.

Should I feel like this? Probably not because there are maybe 12 people waiting for me to finish this book – which to be fair guys, is going to be a while considering I have only 1400 words and no inclination to write. Its not that I just don’t want to write this book. It’s that I can’t get my brain in the right space. I haven’t been able to shave out the time to dedicate to this.

There are a lot of reasons I could give you that would sound like excuses. And they are. 1. I’m running around for Scarlett’s lessons. 2. I have all kinds of things to do around the house. 3. After I get home from work each, my brain is dead. 4. I’m just not that into it.

I don’t know how to get over this hump. This feeling has truly never happened to me. I’m the person who sees a task and just takes care of it. Just does it. I can’t seem to get my ass in gear and start writing.

How do you fix this feeling? How do I tackle this ambivilance that’s currently lingering over me like a dark cloud? Because this pressure of leaving the over on won’t seem to go away.

Ideas? Suggestions?

OR

Do I just need to pull my head out of my ass and do it?

HELP!

Duality

Ross and I, once again, got into a debate about who played a certain character better. This time it was Superman. The argument about Batman recurrs frequently and we only sometimes agree on all points.

This conversation, however, began with his question if I’d watched Superman & Lois on CW. I haven’t and said as much but that I’d seen the guy playing Superman on Supergirl before I gave up on it. It was too bubblegum for me. I like my DC stuff dark and gritty. Ross, in his turn, made fun of me for adoring Dean Cain‘s portrayal. I realize that I just said I prefer my DC stuff to be dark and gritty and that Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was anything but. I would like to point out that I was like 14 and Dean Cain was hot.

I mentioned Henry Cavill and then noted that he really only played Superman and wasn’t as well rounded. Not his fault, just the way the movies were laid out. I have every confidence that, given a proper chance, Henry Cavill could play an unassuming small town rube. Plus, I adore him.

Then we went through the list as discussed:

  • Christopher Reeves – Great Clark Kent/so-so Superman
  • Dean Cain – Cheesy but all around pretty good at both.
  • Tom Welling – Only played Clark Kent but did a decent job
  • Tim Daly (cartoon voice actor, because if we include Kevin Conroy in the Batman conversation, this one needs included too). Good Superman/so-so Clark Kent
  • Brandon Routh – He really only played Superman and did a decent Christopher Reeves impression but i’m not sure he did anything to make the character his own
  • Henry Cavill – AMAZING Superman/non-existent Clark Kent
  • Tyler Hoechlin – (my own personal choice) Meh Superman/don’t know about Clark Kent.

Here’s the thing. Portraying a character that has two distinct personalities is hard. It’s hard to make everyone happy in their expectations of the characters that have been in popular culture for eons. As an actor, the real question is which identity is the real one? Which half of the personality is the true self and which one is false?

I sometimes think that Ross and I should be having conversations about life goals, or shit like that. But no, we debate who was the best Superman or Batman. I’m not entirely sure what that says about us, other than we love to debate weird shit.

Click Bait and Feed Fodder

I am obsessed with videos online of people doing shit. Just shit. It doesn’t even matter what it is. I just watched a 3 minute video of someone tie-dying shirts. I HATE tie-dye.

There are a couple amazing video feeds that show up on my timelines and I can’t stop.

Cake decorating videos – these are like crack to me. I don’t know why but I find watching them soothing. Then I always think, I could probably do that. Long story short, I can’t and really…I don’t want to. I like the idea of being able to do that but I make like three cakes a year. i don’t need that in my life.


There’s this woman who puts on make-up while talking about serial killers and true crime. It i legitimately just her putting on make-up while she talks into a camera. This has me on a few levels. The first is true crime/serial killers. I cannot turn that shit off. The second is the process of doing something. Watching her put on make-up from start to finish, again is soothing.


There is a class of videos out there where people are cooking in the woods over an open flame. Some of them are Ukranian, Azerbaijani, Armenian, etc. They are some babyshka’s out in the wilderness cooking traditional dishes over a fire. Some of these people are using the BIGGEST knife I’ve ever seen. See below. Where do I get one of these? In fact, I think I want both in the picture. These ladies are out there dragging live chickens and such to the spot, slaughtering them and then prepping them for cooking. They are not playing around. I love them. Each and every one of them.


People making things. That’s all it takes for me. I cannot stop watching these videos. Making a guitar out of colored pencils. Making tables from driftwood and resin. Those weird 5 minute craft videos about absolutely nothing…I’m never going to do any of those things with a pool noodle or half a plastic bottle. I don’t have any of tha shit laying around the house, but it doesn’t stop me from watching them.

The algorithms have my number.

Birthday Week Celebrations

Its my birthday this week. I turned 44 years old. At least, I’m pretty sure I’m 44. Its an even year and I was born in an even year, so that sounds about right. And as a lovely birthday present, I got COVID.

All of my plans were canceled. My lunch date. My spa appointments. My 4th of July baseball game, and my #TreatYoSelf day. All of it canceled. In addition to this slap in the face, NO ONE ELSE got Covid in the house.

I took so many naps over the weekend and I passed the fuck out every night. To be fair, it was probably some of the best sleep I’ve had in a while.

I did make my own cake, as I usually do, and it turned out to be a shitshow. I was playing with my new Russian piping tips and I definitely need more practice. Also, there are sprinkles EVERYWHERE! I went a little nuts. Everytime we clean up the sprinkles, we take the cake out of the refridgerator and there are even more sprinkles. It’s like glitter in here only tiny little candy balls.

I made my little rosettes and then froze them. I didn’t really count them or have a plan. I was really just playing. When I was putting on the rosettes, I had a weird number and god dammit, I made them, so they were going on there. So, I got this:

Which now looks like a nipple. You’re welcome for that visual.

On the plus side, I’m old enough to have the money for a kickass present. Bahahaha! Happy Birthday to me! Thanks RPG!

So, what have we learned?

Well, I learned that being in my 40’s sucks. I’m never going to go to the spa and get my message because this is the second time it was canceled due to covid. However, being older and more secure financially means better presents.

All in all, I want a birthday do-over.

It’s Political

Welp, its been a hard week to be an American and a woman. I don’t usually use this platform to post political shit. I’ve heard it floated around author circles that doing so could alienate fans. I get it. However, sometimes something so egregious happens that speaking out is necessary. This is going to be a long post and its going to piss some of you off. To that, I say good. You should be pissed off.

I’ll get to SCOTUS overturning Roe v Wade and gun control in a moment.

First, watching the January 6th commission, I’m not really surprised by any of it. I’m not surprised by Trump’s actions, or by anything that has been said in these hearings. I said from the beginning that he was a psychopathic megolmaniac. Anyone who watched anything other than Fox news could have seen this coming. Fragile egos demand actions like this when faced with the reality that you have lost…anything but especially the presidency. What does suprise me, is that people still believe him and are screaming about ‘Merica and how patriotic they are. This man advocated and attempted to OVERTHROW a lawfully elected government. That is the antithesis of patriotic. That is treason.

Article III, Section 3, Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

§2381. Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

We all watched what happened on January 6th unfold on live television.

This was not an accident. If Trump or any of his minions claim that they didn’t know or didn’t understand what they were doing, that makes them either liars or incompetant. I guess which one would they rather be?

Stop enboldening him and hold him accountable. Grow a pair and do something about it. Appeasement didn’t work for Hitler and it won’t work here. We have to stand up as a country and say no, we will not accept this behavior or these beliefs as mainstream, because they are not. They are just the loudest.

Now, gun control. For those of you who don’t know the exact wording of the second amendment, it is below.

U.S. Constitution – Second Amendment | Library of Congress

https://constitution.congress.gov › amendment-2

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

 New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen this week, basically said that New York couldn’t regulate its citizens “need” to possess a firearm. This was a century old law that was overturned because SCOTUS interpreted the second amendment in the originalist context and said people had a right to bear arms. What they seemed to ignore was that this amendment was written in 1798 and everyone in 1798 had a fucking musket. If you want to make sure every american has a god damned musket, by all means. Let’s do that shit. However, unless you are part of a WELL REGULATED MILITIA, the government can and should dictate that you can’t have an AR-15. I just don’t get i,t when 80% of the country believes in some type of gun regulation. This is so far to the right to be ridiculous.

We have a problem in this country where we invest in the wrong things and then are suprised when our solutions don’t work. We don’t live in a society where you have to hunt for your food anymore, other than searching the local shelves for the can of olives because I’m not really sure why they keep hiding the olives. No one in this country who isn’t in, you know, the military and a WELL REGULATED MILITIA, needs a weapon of war. You just don’t.

People are getting shot in schools on a regular basis. I am scared every day my daughter goes to school that she may not come home. Because instead of investing in guidance counselors, nurses, social workers, and general social servies, we stick a cop in schools which has harmful impacts on low income families and areas of color more, and with detrimental results. The data is there. We just ignore it. We keep throwing guns or police at the problem and that’s not the answer. That’s never been the answer. The answer is investing in social services – and giving people the help they need. They’re putting this type of model into practice in Colorado and its working.

Now, on to SCOTUS overturning Roe v Wade.

Let’s not fool ourselves into believing that this is about babies. You’re smarter than that. It’s not about religious freedom either, because this ruling directly contradicts religious edicts in Judism and others. This is about putting half of your population in their place. This is about control. This is a bunch of old men saying that I don’t have the right to control my own body. Because if this was truly about saving children, we would have stricter gun laws, we would have universal health care, we would have free pre-k, we would have universal parental leave that is PAID, free maternal health care, we’d have more social services to support the mother (like lactation consultants and social workers) and the child like guaranteed after school placement. We would have mandatory sex education. We would have low cost contraception (or free) and birth control. We don’t have any of those things.

This isn’t about babies.

There are alot of people, including some in my own family, that are throwing around spurious arguments about putting those children up for adoption. The reality is that there are already 400K children in foster care and no one is adopting them because they are too old, too brown, or too broken for anyone to give a damn about them. This doesn’t even address the real medical need for abortions in certain instances. These aren’t reasons from a news source. They’re from fucking doctors and you should listen.

I think some of you don’t understand what the orginal ruling of Roe v. Wade actually did. The below summarizes it best.

For those saying things like “the Supreme Court didn’t outlaw abortion, they sent it to the states to decide,” I remind you that Roe gave the decision to individuals, not the Federal Government.

SCOTUS took an individual right to bodily autonomy away and told states it was ok to write a law against it.

Stop pretending it’s not oppression. -Nancy McCall

In truth, women will die because of this decision. They’ll die because even if you ban abortions, they’ll find a way to get one-sometimes with deadly consequences. They’ll die because this child has upset their hormone balance and no one noticed and now depression has set in and suicide is the only way out. They’ll die because the man their with doesn’t want a baby or can’t handle another mouth to feed and domestic violence is a real thing that happens everyday. They’ll die because pregnancy is dangerous and complicated and sometimes it kills you.

But here’s the bottom line, it doesn’t really matter why someone would get an abortion, its none of your god damned business. I get that some of you have a moral aversion to abortion. My response to you is don’t have one. You don’t get to dictate to other people how they live their lives. Home of the free, after all.

I’ve also heard the argument that it wasn’t banned, that decision was left up to the states. Um, the states have already proven they are taking this away from half the population, either banning abortions or making it impossible to get one. This just makes poor people poorer, and those people are primarily brown.

Some of these states have also made it a felony to help anyone getting an abortion. Which means your poor uber driver who is taking someone across state lines is now able to be prosecuted for taking someone to a state where it is legal to have a medical procedure. People are erasing their menstral tracking apps like crazy because in some instances a miscarraige requires a medical procedure to abort the remaining fetus. Doctors are already worried about this.

We don’t hold men accountable for shit. No one is requiring that men pay child support because there are too many cases where men have escaped the responsibility of the children they create. Women do not create these situations on their own but we continually penalize women.

I’ve never had an abortion. I’ve never needed to have an abortion. I know people who have and it wasn’t done lightly. But at the end of the day, its not my place to tell someone else what’s best for them. You all wouldn’t wear a DAMNED mask. You protested about getting a vaccination but somehow, you get to dictate to every woman in this country what he has to do with her womb. You dictate that a woman has carry a child that she may not want, cannot afford, or may have been concieved in trauma…that, you’re okay with. Please explain the hypocracy to me because I just don’t understand.

SCOTUS has proven with these decisions this week and generally the GOP has shown that the only people in this country they care about is white, evangelical, men. The rest of us can go fuck ourselves. They have proven that because I have a vagina, I count less than those white men and the religion they hide behind.

I’m tired of people telling me I’m too angry or that I’m overreacting. The fact that women across this country aren’t burning everything to ground is remarkable.

I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed of our government, our leaders, and yes, our president. Do something!!! You have the ability to change the make up of the court and to those that say, he can’t do that. Oh yes, he can. He doesn’t have the balls and that makes me sad.

We are supposed to be this shining city on the hill. A beacon to everyone else in the world. We are not. We went back 50 years this week. My daughter now has fewer rights than I did, growing up. If you think they aren’t coming for other issues, like gay marraige rights, segregation, voting rights, and all those other social strides we’ve made (flawed as they may be), you’re not paying attention.

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Martin Niemoller

Environmental Efforts and Local Sustainability

I think its important to do the things that help recycling efforts, environmental changes, and just make the world sustainable for everyone, not just my daughter. Some of the shit that is going on now; water shortages, rising temperatures, wild swings in weather, make me more than a bit nervous for what’s to come. So, i’ve been making small moves, what I can to produce less trash and use less plastics. Ross likes to give me shit about it, calling all the things I buy “hippie” whatever. Hippie detergent. Hippie toilet bowl cleaner. All of it. I don’t care. It may cost a bit more but I feel like its worth it to make sure my daughter isn’t melting from all the holes in the ozone layer, or swimming in the ocean from the new coastline right outside my house in Columbus Ohio once the ice caps melt completely.

I’ve made changes around the house that have an impact, not a big one but every little bit counts. Right?

  1. We’ve stopped using disposable straws and instead use metal or bamboo straws.
  2. We stopped buying water bottles and moved to metal canteens. I have given Corkcicle a lot of money. I don’t care though, I love them.
    • We have WAAAAY too many Star Wars canteens. There’s no excuse, except that I just love to buy them.
  3. I started composting. I haven’t quite figured it out and gotten the mixture quite right, but I’m working on it.
  4. I’ve stopped using shampoo and conditioner in bottles and instead moved to bars from Kitsch. I like them so far and I don’t see any real difference in the state of my hair. The same goes for body wash. I’ve gone back to bar soap.
    • I really wish there were more things in bar soap options, like my face wash. I would love for Panoxyl to have a bar soap. I might try the Neutrogena facial soap. I have acne issues, so I need the salicytic acid in the acne control washes and those are hard to come by in bars. There’s a clinique bar that may work. Has anyone used this? What are your thoughts?
  5. I stopped using dryer sheets and instead have wool dryer balls from Friendsheep. They are adorable and really work well. I have the penguins and piglets. I’m not going to lie to you. I kinda want the ladybugs and the bees. Plus, my cats LOVE the little wool balls they have.
  6. I’ve moved away from disposable cotton facial pads and now use reusable cotton pads for my toner and to remove oil from my face.
  7. I’ve stopped using ziploc bags for lunch items and we now have reusabel sandwich/snack bags. I’m definitely going to need more before the school year starts up again.
  8. I’ve moved to Blueland products for several things

There’s so much more I could do. I would love to get solar panels but I don’t think that’s in my near future. That requires a large investment up front and I’m not sitting on a stack of money. I would also love to be able to take public transportation but I don’t live in a place that has good public transportation. Columbus could really use a train. That would be amazing. I intend my next car to be electric, hybrid at the very least.

What are some things you’re doing to make your life/household more sustainable?

The Long Road to the End

I’m working on finishing Brittany’s trilogy, Blood and Bone Legacy, and I realized that I forgot what I wrote. I was plotting everything out, putting post-its up on my wall and suddenly was like: Shit! Did I write that or imagine it. Right now, there are a lot of empty holes on my walls where colorful post-its should be. We’re not talking about the major plot points, at least those I remembered. It was the little things, like; did he tell here that thing? Oh wait…i have no idea. So, I decided to reread them. I picked up each book (not the digital file, because I would want to change it), but the actual paperback and broke those open.

The first thing I realized was that I write a damned fine story.

The secong thing I realized, and to my horror, was that there were some loose ends that needed to be cleaned up in the final book. Things that are kinda important too. Because, as I said, I forgot.

All of this stuff bleeds together in my mind. Thank GOD this was only two books. I almost feel like I need a murder board or two on my wall to keep things straight. I don’t have the space for that though. Could you imagine though? That would be amazing. When I become independently wealthy…ahem…I’m building myself a gigantic office where I can have all the murder boards I want.

The kicker is, that having gone through this exercise with the Blood and Bone Legacy, I already know i’m going to have to go back and read The Blushing Death Series and that’s up to 9 books. Keep me in your thoughts.

Right now, I’m reading Residual Magic which is the second book. I’m almost done with it which means I can get back to my list of loose ends and plotting and actually start writing this thing. While reading this book last night, there was an incident. I was sitting at a table at a restaurant waiting on a friend to show up. I got to a particular point in Residual Magic and i started getting teary. Its my own GOD DAMNED book! I’ve read it, edited it, and reread it like 10 times. This damned scene still got to me.

Now, I don’t know if its just that wretching of a scene or if I just hit my own triggers so hard that it doesn’t matter if I wrote because I will never be immune. Or, if its just an amazingly gut wrenching scene. I would like to think the latter but its mostly likely the former.

This will be the first book series that I finsh-like tie up all the loose ends and close the book on, so to speak. Wish me luck because I’m not sure how this is going to go and if i’m going to be okay.

See you on the other side.

Ears! Ears! And More Ears!

As previously discussed on this blog, I have a disney problem. We just got back from Walt Disney World . . . again. However, this time we did go to Epcot. It was my first time and I’m okay with that. I think the only reason you go to Epcot is to eat and drink. We did ride Ratatouille, which was cute. I managed to get on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in its first week of opening righ off the bat as the park opened, mostly due to my superior skills in joining the virtual queue. The key here kids, is using the naval observatory clock on a separtate phone or computer and matching that to hit join on the exact moment it turns over.

I do realize that sounds crazy and obnoxious but that’s what you have to do to win at Disney.

Here’s where I might have gone a little overboard. I have a thing. I buy a pair of ears for each day in the park. That’s my souvenir. I also bought one for my daughter for each day. To be fair, she bought herself a couple with some gift cards she had. Plus, since I knew we weren’t coming back for a while . . . at least not for the rest of 2022 or in 2023, I bought another one for each day. I had several rationales. The extra set in Magic Kingdom was because it was adorable and I had to have it. The extra set in Hollywood Studios was because it was cool. The extra set in Epcot was because it was macarons and I love macarons, and because I would most likely never ever go back. I just don’t know that its worth it. Although, Scarlett was oddly fascinated with Spaceship Earth. The whole non-world showcase part of Epcot had a very 80’s mall kinda vibe. I was not impressed.

Here is my haul:

Yes, I have small Mickey Mouse heads to hang my ears on. I’m not ashamed. I’m dedicated to a theme.

Did I go overboard? Yes, I did.

Did I probably instill an unhealthy habit in my daughter? Most likely.

Am I sad about any of it? Nope, I’m sure not.

Writing, Your Process, and You

When I first started writing, I was writing for me. I didn’t expect the things to go anywhere. I had a story to tell, and I worked on getting it down on paper. I had been writing since my teens in short stories and pseudo-novel length stories. None of them were any good but it proved that I could complete a thread from start to finish with a cohesive arc. That’s an important thing to be able to do when writing. I have to thank my English teachers for some of this. Not necessarily because they taught me how to write a story, because they didn’t, but because they taught me how to frame an argument. They taught me how to structure a paper to bring everything around to a close. So, in writing those early short stories-which are all gone now because this was in the time before cloud storage-the arc was there. it’s the detail where I get lost.

At this point, I’ve published 12 books and written close to 20 in total. Again, some of them are horrible and have been shelved never to see the light of day. Some of them are lost, literally. The pages are actually gone or the floppy disc is no longer readable with advanced technology. Some of them are in pieces, pulled apart and rewritten enough times to make me forget where I started. And others in line for revision when there’s time to get to them with life, work, and other obligations.

I’ve lived in the world of Dahlia Sabin, The Blushing Death, for almost a decade now. When she’s all said and done, Dahlia will have gotten 10 of her own books, 3 spin-off books and countless short stories. It’s been fun. Living and breathing in this world has taught me so much about writing. We all get better with each page we write. Editors, readers, and ultimately each and every review (good and bad) brings something else to the table that you hadn’t considered before. Afterall, each writer is only an individual and we mess up. But there are some things that you only learn from your own mistakes.

Like I said, when I started writing these books-well, the first book anyway-I was writing for me. I actually ended up writing Pool of Crimson from start to finish almost three complete times. This was my pantser style effort with no plan and no guide. This experience is something I also learned from. I learned that I do not like to do things multiple times.

The first draft was sloppy; a grouping of disjointed scenes that I couldn’t see didn’t make any sense until they were all together. The second was me trying to fix the first one which didn’t work. The third time, I threw almost everything out. I sat down and picked out the points of my story that needed to happen and finally figured out how the hell Dahlia was going to get there. This is where I learned to plot. No one sat down and told me how to do it. I didn’t sit in a class or lecture to learn the finer points of plotting. I was simply presented with a piece of crap, realized it, and in a more methodical way figured out a way to fix it. It was almost like a lightbulb going off in my head. I didn’t fly by the seat of my pants after that.

Another lesson happened when I was four or maybe even five books in before I got someone willing to even take a look at Pool of Crimson. She loved it. But, like I said, I was four or five books in already. I knew in book two that I took some drastic steps with my characters and maybe this wasn’t a road she would want to go down. I told my, now current editor, that I wouldn’t sign the contract until she took a look at book two. All of the rest of my work was based on what happened in the previous books, I couldn’t go back. That would mean starting over and my character was where she needed to be. I was willing to not be published to keep Dahlia’s journey intact. Within a week, I had a contract for both books.

It was about this time with my contracts in hand and book five almost finished, that I realized I hadn’t written down some of the pretty important details/descriptions/events/timelines/etc that happened in my earlier books. I was writing for me and my friends, I hadn’t needed a series bible.

LOL! I was horribly mistaken.

My husband once asked me why I couldn’t remember the details. “You’re the one who wrote it!” he’d said.

Yes, I did. I wrote it like 17 times through edits and rewrites. I don’t remember. Sure, I remember the big stuff and the plot points. I even remember in which books I mentioned it which has proven helpful as I leaf throw my own books searching for the paragraph I know exists. But as a general rule, I don’t remember the tiny little conversations that characters have or the throw away descriptions I add. You know, the ones I love reading and memorize in other people’s books.

But it was too late for Dahlia. I couldn’t go back and fix the bible-or in this case create it. I was too far in to go back now. Plus, I was being super lazy about it, if I’m being completely honest.

This was a mistake that I had to learn the hard way. For every book or series after Dahlia, I now make sure there is a bible. This has saved me a crap load time, not only searching for items I may have forgotten but keeping me on track for the outline. I like to use airtable now and my grids can get pretty complicated, but they have saved my life when dealing with looking at the structure, the journey, what a character’s eye color is, and all the little details you (aka me) forget as a writer. As an example, here’s the type of bible I have now for my books. This is a screen shot from one of my airtables:

This means that everything is laid out for me in plot, character, worldbuilding, and really any additional information I need to write the best book I can.

The third and probably most important lesson was adapting to how my brain works. I went to a lot of different conferences and sat in sessions that told me a myriad of way to do things, but they all said theirs was the right way to do it. They weren’t. I had to figure out what worked for me.

I’m a visual learner and it helps me to actually see the path. In addition to the upfront work I do on airtable and the colored post its I use for basic plot structure before I ever write a word, I also have a visual check at the end of the process. I go through and use color coded index cards to lay out the story and see the distribution of chapters/topics. This way I can see if I’ve been in a character’s POV too long or if there needs to be an additional scene added . . .  or several.

In this picture, the green cards are Dahlia’s POV. The orange cards are my villain. If you can see, there are wide lengths of the book that are just Dahlia’s POV which led me to notice that the villain’s motive may not have been developed enough. The yellow cards are the additions to fix that problem among others.

Writing a book is hard. Writing a good book is even harder. That doesn’t mean you have to make it hard on yourself. I can’t guarantee that everyone’s process is as involved as mine, especially with all the odd things I do as a writer. I have a notebook and write conversations and chapter outlines out longhand before I sit down at the computer. I don’t know anyone who does that but it helps me as I go. Plus, I always have a notebook to write when it strikes me. I don’t always have a computer.

Right now, I’m starting the last installment of the Blood and Bone legacy. This is my first step. There are alot of colored post-its involved and moving things around so that it makes sense. I didn’t write on my wall, by the way. Its all masking tape.

You have to figure out your process. We each learn and form our stories differently. My suggestion is, to find what works for you and work from there, instead of the other way around. You’ll be happier for it.

Kickass Women, Saving the World

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