Thoughts On Accepting Change

Do you easily accept change, or are you one of those folks who resist it until you absolutely have to accept it? Personally, I fall somewhere in between. When it comes to my work life, I’m not always fond of policy or procedural changes. When it comes to my writing or personal life, I can go either way. So, naturally, when I decided to put writing on hold, my brain wanted to give me all the new ideas. Isn’t that how it always happens? Just when I thought I’d accepted this change, and began implementing them here on this website, I began second guessing it all. That is something I’ve done my entire life: second guess. I have some inkling as to why I am the way I am, but that’s a blog post for another day.

For years I’ve tried to write. Any time a new idea came up, I’d throw myself into research, learning more about the process, and would follow more of those in the publishing industry. Then, as soon as I’d sit down to actually do work on the project itself, procrastination would take over. The thing is, I want to change. I’m just not certain if I’m disciplined enough to do so. I know exactly how I earned the reputation of “Leigh never finishes anything” in my family. I just want to break the cycle. I’m going on 36 years old. Why haven’t I broken my cycle yet?

It boils down to one word: fear. Fear of failing again. Fear of not living up to my own self-set expectations. Fear that no one would read what I write. Fear of failing before I even start. Fear of the knowledge that I’m not the only one who’s also trying to make it in the publishing industry. Fear.

I think that’s the biggest reason of all that I decided to put my pens and notebooks in a drawer. Not only that, but I’ve always had trouble getting past my initial story ideas. For me, the struggle is real. I absolutely adore the nitty gritty parts of the writing process. So much so that I often wonder if there’s a job like that out there somewhere. A writer’s assistant? Not in terms of answering phones or putting out press releases. But someone who loves the practical side of writing. Okay, so I know I’m not making much sense here. Or am I? I dunno.

In any case, I’m slowly coming to terms with the changes I’ve decided to make in my own life. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” they say. What about a 35 year old looking to reset her involvement in the great big writing and publishing communities? Have you any thoughts on fear, publishing, and resetting life goals? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.


Why I Don’t Write (All That Much) On Sundays

“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, source

“Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.”

Marilynne Robinson, source

“Happiness is a hot bath on a Sunday afternoon.”

A.D. Posey, source

“Sunday is a time when you sit back and reflect on all the blessings that you have received. Smile at all the good things that you are enjoying.”

Sera Train, source

An aesthetic I created for my WIP, Project Star and Sea

Sundays. Love ’em or hate ’em, we get them once a week. Like clockwork. Sundays have never been days off for me. Throughout childhood and into adulthood, my family and I have attended church and many a family event on Sundays. I tried having half day availability for work to include Sundays, but it became just too much to handle. So I know, for sure, that I’ll always always have Sundays off work.

Even though I mentioned family events and church, Sundays truly are the one day I have to myself for whatever I want to do. Yard work? Housework? Laundry? Yes, please, to all that and more! The one thing I’ve decided, however, is that I don’t really want to write on Sundays.

Does that sound weird to you? It kind of does to me. Let me explain my logic.

While I have been known to whip out a notebook or even my laptop in the sound booth at church (I run the sound board, and there’s not much to do while the minister’s speaking), I’ve found that I really can’t form a coherent thought when it comes to my manuscript. So Sundays are now reserved for everything BUT writing.

Honestly? I’m really happy with this decision. In many more ways than one, writing is work. Don’t deny it. You know that’s true. When I’m at work, I’m pulled in twenty different directions, and my brain is constantly thinking about my WIP. The mind itself needs a day of rest, not just one’s body. What do I do on Sundays, now that I don’t work on my WIPs?

1. Clean (trash day in my neighborhood is on Tuesday)
2. Laundry (I often wash my fabric masks this day)
3. Cook/Dishes (mass prep for meals for work)
4. Research (gotta continue learning stuffs for science fantasy)
5. Spend time with family
6. Organize (declutter declutter declutter!)

And so much more!

You know how there are all these popular blogs on how to schedule your writing time, or how to prioritize your work space to prevent procrastination, etc.? Well, this is one of my ways to keep my mind productive on a “writing day off.” If I can do it, so can you.

TL;DR – It’s perfectly okay to take a “writing day off.” Trust me – your brain will thank you for it!


Prioritizing My, Well, My Priorities

If you’ve read my blog for a long time, you’ll know this site has gone through several shifts in terms of content output, content type, and so on. It’s always, always had something to do with writing, and the lessons I’m continuously learning on my journey to publication.

Earlier this week I updated you all on Why I Will No Longer Blog About Star Trek, and my thoughts have, surprisingly, been very well received. I didn’t know there were others who felt the same way. I know – I can FEEL – that all these new changes are directly related to the post before that, Burnout // It’s Real, Y’all. All these thoughts on change began long before that with a post from a few months ago, The Social Media Conundrum.

Much to my parents’ chagrin, I’m slow to make decisions on anything in my life, and becoming a writer and doing writer things decisions did not escape that trend. I outlined my reasons for no longer blogging about Star Trek in Tuesday’s post, and that change dramatically freed my mind almost overnight. It’s strange – no longer having something constantly on my mind like that.

So I wondered – what other changes can I make to assist my writing habits? (or lack thereof) I took a moment this morning to browse old blog posts, and The Social Media Conundrum popped up. Huh – social media. That’s a whole other beast to deal with, if you even want to deal with it. Over a year ago I liberated myself from Facebook. I do, however, still have Twitter and Instagram. And, not ten minutes ago, I deleted my tiny Reddit and Pinterest accounts.

Can you imagine having an account for every social platform available? There are literally not enough hours in the day to browse/interact/post, then work your “real life” job. Then try to sit down and concentrate on your writing. It’s not gonna happen. Just thinking about having more than two social media accounts really stresses me out.

I’m a simple girl.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I know social media’s dramatically changed the publishing world. Apparently publishers like seeing numbers on SM accounts. In my humble opinion, if that’s the end-all-be-all deciding factor for a publisher agreeing to sign on a new author, then that publisher isn’t worth it.

Don’t let your desire to be publish be clouded by what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing. You’re not signing your life over to them. It should be an equal partnership. Of course, this is me: not published. I hope, however, that I can always hold true to this statement. Someone please point me back to this post if I get a big ego, okay?

What was I talking about? Oh yes. Priorities.

This week alone I finally, FINALLY wrote over 6,000 words for Project Star and Sea. I haven’t seen that many words since my very first novella attempt and lost steam after that. Resetting my priorities with finally dismissing Star Trek and two forms of social media have helped immensely. Y’all – if I can do that, anyone absolutely can.

I’m looking forward to a summer of productivity and, who knows? Maybe I’ll actually complete a first draft for once!


Burnout // It’s Real, Y’all

Online content moves at a pace akin to Star Trek’s “warp speed,” and probably even faster than that. That’s what content posting was like on this website for several months. Until it stopped cold. Today’s post is all about why that happened.

Just as with any creative outlet, blogging is its own beast. Any content creator can experience burnout (or insert-here-whatever-adjective-you’d-like-to-use to describe such a thing here), and that’s precisely what hit me a few weeks ago.

I was utterly, completely, equivalently burnt out. I saw the return – you guys really liked my voice! – and that encouraged me to compose several posts a week. Not only that, but I could barely keep up with all the random topic ideas which would crop up in the middle of the night.

My heart, however, just wasn’t in it this month. Every time I sat down to write something, anything, for this site, I’d move it to the trash bin a day later. Was I done blogging for good? Don’t get me wrong – I still love creating content!

We humans love to see things happen in real time. And it’s super satisfying watching stats, seeing the clicks and knowing I’ve somehow contributed something of value to our writing and reading communities.

However, at what point does that become selfish motivation? That, my friends, is the biggest reason I took some time for reflection. There’s no way I’ll ever win accolades with the writing presented on this forum.

Sure, it would be exciting to be featured in a NYT post, or a magazine, or on someone else’s blog. Let’s face the facts: I’m not even published yet. And that’s the second reason I took time off. I’m never going to finish any novel if all I’m doing is pumping out three blog posts a week every week.

And finally, here’s the third reason I haven’t blogged this month: I’ve found myself changing on the inside. I’m not the same person I was six months ago. I no longer love Star Trek (so, while I’m proud of the ones I’ve written, I’ll not be adding any more to that topic), I’m no longer enamored with k-pop, and I’m exploring who I am as an adult.

What do I want? Is this really how I want to live the rest of my life? How do I live more like Jesus taught us? (and I’ve never, ever said something like that in a blog post before). How do I show that love to others? How can I live it both online and at my full time job?

I suppose it wasn’t exactly burn out with JUST the blog. I burned out with life. And how I’ve been living up to this point. What does this mean for the future of this site?

It means things will slow down.
It means things will be done in a (hopefully) more thoughtful manner.
It means I’m reassessing my own writing and what I want to accomplish.

As in actually accomplish.

Not just wishfully accomplishing in my mind.

YES – blogging will still happen! YES – writing will still happen! YES – author interviews will still happen! However different it may be, I hope you’ll stick around.

Have a fantastic upcoming weekend, everyone. Please don’t be afraid to leave a comment. I could really use the encouragement.


Stuck On Your Story? Here Are Fifty Things to do That Have Nothing To Do With Writing

If you’ve spent any time in the blog-o-sphere, or even in any of the online writing communities of Twitter and Reddit, then you’ll know you’re not alone in being in a “writing rut.” The majority of us can’t travel for inspiration. Or do that once planned visit to research in the largest library in the country (my derailed plans from last year – thanks ‘rona).

Here’s the cold hard truth: you have ambitions, yes. But perhaps it’s time to step away from that computer/writing space/etc. and get out of your head. Do something mindless. Do something you used to love and try doing it again. Don’t know what to do? Here’s a list of Fifty Things To Do That Have absolutely Nothing To Do With Writing:

  1. Ride a bike
  2. Go ice skating
  3. Walk the dog (or cat?)
  4. Redo that troublesome closet
  5. Buy yourself flowers
  6. Plan this year’s garden
  7. Learn a new skill
  8. Cook a favorite meal
  9. Take a hot shower/bath (seriously)
  10. Declutter your workspace
  11. Visit a local home improvement store for project inspo
  12. Fix that thing that’s needed fixing for a long time
  13. Zoom with family or friends
  14. Start a blog
  15. Go through your old stories
  16. Watch soap-making videos on YouTube
  17. Get lost in social media (but not too lost. Save your sanity!)
  18. Reread a favorite novel series
  19. Try outlining your own work-in-progress for the first time
  20. Conduct interviews for your characters
  21. Offer to edit a paper or two for students you know
  22. Support small businesses in your area
  23. Find a local charity and see what they’re volunteer needs are
  24. Try your hand at freelance writing
  25. Learn how to use a graphics design program
  26. Build “mood boards” for your characters, or theme boards for inspo
  27. Have a “binge” day – eat the food you want, watch the shows you want
  28. Snuggle with your snuggle buddy
  29. Splurge on all those teas you’ve had your eyes on
  30. Find a new genre of music to listen to
  31. Learn calligraphy
  32. Consider caring for fish. Or plants?
  33. Make a #WIPAesthetic to visualize a character’s emotions
  34. Have a movie night where the film’s themes match your own WIP
  35. Pick a random topic and research research research
  36. Learn needlepoint or knitting
  37. Join a local writer’s group
  38. Plan your spring farmers’ market trips
  39. Clean out the basement or attic (or both)
  40. If you can, offer to shop for a neighbor
  41. Redesign a space in your home
  42. Power wash your drive/walk/siding
  43. Clean out the gutters (you know it’s probably time)
  44. Make a purchase from that shop you’ve been eyeing for a long time
  45. Donate to a food pantry
  46. Pick back up an old family tradition
  47. Create a playlist for your work-in-progress
  48. Go for a run/walk
  49. Find all those things you know relax you and just RELAX
  50. Write letters (yes, old school snail mail)

Looks like SOME of the suggestions have something to do with writing. Writing doesn’t always have to be a chore: constantly drafting, especially when stuck. I used to do needlepoint but often got frustrated and never completed them. Thus, wasting money. A few weeks ago, however, I decided to try again. This time, I bought a pattern where I don’t have to count my stitches. Why do I still enjoy it? It’s really freed up my mind, doing something mindless. You don’t always have to write at warp speed. Slow down. Give yourself a break. And perhaps, perhaps, you’ll find some story inspiration along the way!


My Writing Goals for 2021

In 2019 I gave myself seven writing goals to accomplish by this time, this year. I completed every single one of them! Ha, no. That would be a lie *insert clip of Maury reading lie detector results in front of a live audience.*

The shutdowns in early 2020 really put a damper on my earliest planned goals. Let’s revisit My Seven Writing Goals for 2020 real quick before moving on to what I’ve got planned for 2021.

1. Finish Project Firedamp

Considering the fact that Project Firedamp is now shelved and saved onto my external hard drive, it’s safe to assume I didn’t accomplish this particular goal. While I’m sad that my original project – this idea began my writing journey and encouraged me to launch this site – is a bit beyond my reach right now, it’s always an ever-present thought in the back of my mind. So, who knows? Perhaps I’ll revisit Firedamp in the future.

2. Tour More Historical Sights

I finally managed to tour the industrial, historical city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania back in September. Before everything shut down, I had local coal mines, area farms, a blast furnace, and a local observatory on my “to tour” list in late Spring. Every Forth of July, my family and I also take a steam train trip either within Pennsylvania or somewhere close in the tri-state area. I count myself lucky that we were still able to visit Johnstown. I hope more historical sights are able to reopen in 2021.

3. Bring More Story-Themed Decor Into My Home

Shortly after writing the original post I realized something about myself. I prefer practical, vintage elegance over Victorian-esque objects that may not even work. What changes have I made this year? I no longer watch television, so my living room’s now a library. Yay!

4. Visit the Library of Congress for a Day

Okay. This one hurt more than all the others. It was to be the first trip I’d ever take by myself. I was going to get an AirBNB close to the Mall and work on a manuscript in the Library of Congress. And, perhaps, reenact that one scene from the first National Treasure film. Maybe I still can this time next year?

5. Build a Paper Organizer

I nixed this idea around June or July as I had the opposite problem with all the shut downs – I was working way too much due to my company’s status as an essential business. As a result, my DIY and crafting projects got pushed to the wayside. Instead, I now have plans to build a baking area. We’ll see how that goes…

6. Write in Tennessee (aka go on vacation)

This turned into the aforementioned Johnstown trip. I still need to go back to Tennessee

7. Hand Copy a Novel

Yeah – I didn’t complete this either. 2020 wasn’t a good year for me and I really lost momentum with my writing…

My Writing Goals for 2021

If I learned anything in 2020 it’s that life can throw us unrelenting curve balls. I spent much of these past twelve months disappointed in my sudden inability to write.

1. Work on my Self Doubt

For some reason I found myself in a state of denial for much of 2020. I thought, “Naw. I’m fiiiiiiiine. This covid thing isn’t affecting me. I’m just going about life all normal.” When August hit, and I still hadn’t written a thing, I became incredibly discouraged and almost deleted absolutely everything. While I did accidentally delete EVERY BACKUP FILE FOR THIS SITE from my hard drive with no hope of getting it back, I did safely store everything I had concerning Project Firedamp on Google Docs for future use.

In the meantime, two new ideas came to me in recent weeks. And each of them are polar opposites of them. I know many authors dabble in multiple genres; but I’ve yet to complete one project. So my first writing goal for 2021 is to tackle my self doubt head on.

2. Set Aside Actual Writing Time

This goal will be a tricky one to work out. Why? My work schedule follows the trends and rules of the retail business. It’s never consistent. I can close one night only to go back in eight hours later and do it all over again the next morning. How the heck is someone like me supposed to find a logical time to write?

Even though I pride myself on being a chameleon of sorts when it comes to varying schedules, I often wish I could become a creature of predictable habits. The other thing I need to learn to balance is how much time I spend blogging. Blog posts ≠ a completed manuscript. (Except, according to the Insights page, I’ve so far written 59,949 words for anotherhartmanauthor.com). That’s practically a novel right there!

So this goal is two fold: set aside time for novel writing, and time for blog writing.

3. Go On Those Historical Adventures

Of course this goal will all depend on what reopens in 2021, but I still want to write for a day in the Library of Congress, stare at the heavens from a local observatory’s telescope, and take that steam train trip again on the Forth of July. I still want to return to Tennessee, go spelunking in a Pennsylvanian coal mine, and tour a sight that plays an integral role in my very first novel concept.

4. Finish. That. Manuscript.


Everybody I’ve talked with recently has said they look forward to 2021. And the feeling is quite mutual. I think four writing goals is a manageable, attainable list, don’t you? Seven was definitely far too many, especially for a year like 2020.

This website’s first series will begin Wednesday, February 3rd. I love doing these writing community interviews because, not only do they give me something to look forward to during the slow crawl to Spring, but I get to meet many new faces. So while the Five Question Interview series isn’t exactly a goal, it definitely will help my ever-present self doubt. Will you try something new for yourself in 2021?

What is it?

You don’t have to tell anyone.

Just do it!


The Social Media Conundrum

Social media slowly came into existence in the early 2000s. The first to enter the online world was MySpace in 2003. Facebook: 2004. Reddit: 2005. Tumblr: 2007. Pinterest came about in 2009 and Instagram in 2010. Message boards predated all of those. I have fond memories of my days discussing the franchise on the Star Trek dot com message boards, and a few others whose names I can no longer remember. Just as message boards had their time and place, so does every social media platform.

They say that one of the ways to be a successful, published author, one should have a super strong social media presence. While having loads of followers does help, and I’ve seen it work out quite well for many, I’m not entirely positive this absolutely has to be the case. Do your readers actually want to interact with you? Do you with them? Should having a online presence be a qualifier for publication?

That’s what this blog post will be about. I’ll either talk myself into or out of a specific platform as I reassess my involvement online for 2021. 2020 was a brutal year in the online world. It’s no longer a safe place for opinions – if it ever truly was. There’s a “herd mentality” that comes along with social media and, if one goes against the grain, they’re ostracized. Okay, that’s a strong word. If you’ve spent any length of time online, I think you get what I mean. Here are my thoughts on the top four big platforms, and if I’ll continue using them in 2021.

I don’t know about you, but throughout the course of 2020, all forms of social media have lost their charm. My feelings about the online world began to change back in February with Facebook, during the first rumblings of COVID-19. I hadn’t had an account for nearly a year and a half at that point and thought to start a page again because we didn’t know what the future would hold in terms of seeing family during Pennsylvania’s shut downs in March. When I saw just how ferociously my family argued with one another over (what felt like) every little thing, I threw caution to the wind and deactivated that newly made account. I want to keep on loving my family without the inclusion of politics.

Will I continue using Facebook? No

“An open Facebook page is simply a psychiatric dry erase board that screams, “Look at me. I am insecure. I need your reaction to what I am doing, but you’re not cool enough to be my friend. Therefore, I will just pray you see this because the approval of God is not all I need.”

― Shannon L. Alder, source

On Instagram (which is now also under Facebook), if you don’t have that “aesthetic,” or don’t have the same views as those who are also popular, their algorithm won’t favor you and you’ll be in the Tiny Account Trenches. No matter which hashtags you use. I used to think it was just because I didn’t want to take the time to type out descriptions or include something fanciful to get noticed. No. I think, once I realized Facebook bought out Instagram, that killed that app for me. Occasionally I post on IG, but it’s main use now is to keep in touch with an old school MMPORG friend from my college days.

Will I continue using Instagram? Yes

“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson, source

Pinterest is the only social media platform I’m still trying to figure out. And because I’m still learning how to use this platform, I find myself enjoying it more. Things are less instantaneous, you don’t see the politics that Twitter loves to throw at everyone, and one can curate their experience. This is how Facebook used to be, way back in the early 2000s. Back then users had more control over what they wanted to see. Now it’s “here’s what a friend of a friend of a friend” liked or posted. Because you know so-and-so, surely you know these folks as well!” Not so with Pinterest. I love that users can not only share images and links, but create “mood boards” for practically any reason. It’s a platform of more practical use.

Will I continue using Pinterest? Yes

“People who smile while they are alone used to be called insane, until we invented smartphones and social media.”

― Mokokoma Mokhonoana, source

Here’s the platform I struggle with the most: Twitter. Many times this year I’ve wanted to “rage quit” Twitter. The platform thinks every topic is political. And people are just angry in general. While I love the fact that it can connect you with other writers and individuals in the industry, and what it’s done for my website this past year, I find myself lonely more often than not. I see everyone else chatting with each other and, even though I try adding something to the conversation, I feel oft ignored. Not only that, but the constant online contests stress me out (I’m a slow writer, what can I say?). As such, I’ll be following as many blogs as I can in January 2021, and I’m permanently deleting my account the first week in February. It’s all become just a little too much.

Will I continue using Twitter? Maybe

“Social media not only snatches your time, but it also teaches you attention deficiency.”

― Neeraj Agnihotri, Procrasdemon – The Artist’s Guide to Liberation From Procrastination, source

Huh – so it looks like the decision to leave Twitter was a lot easier than I thought it’d be. I’m one of those “all or nothing” individuals, and I’ve found myself a little too into Twitter and not so much into my writing. I very strongly feel that if I can remove one of the last modern barriers that continuously distracts me from my goal of being a published author one day, then I’m going to do it. Heck, if I can get rid of all streaming services AND not even have a tv plugged in for nearly a year, then I think I can detox from social media. It’s time to focus on the art of writing once again, and step away from social media in 2021.

*This post was updated December 31st, 2020


A Comparative Review of CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS for Golden May Editing

We don’t read action scenes for the action. We read to see how hard a character will fight for what they desire most.”

FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW TO PAY THEM A VISIT

If you’ve never been to AnotherHartmanAuthor before, then hi! My name is Leigh Hartman. I’m in the fourth year of my writing journey with an intense interest in Pennsylvania history. I realize the title for this post reads as though I’m part of Golden May. I am not. But I am honored they trust me enough to review their workbook, CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS.

Reviews. Whether they’re posted up on Amazon, Goodreads or here on my blog, a funny feeling washes over me each and every time. Did I say the right things? Who is this review really for – the writer? The reader? The publisher? In truth, reviews are for everyone. And that is a terrifying thought.

Why? Because reviews are incredibly public opinions concerning another’s work. Not only that, these days, opinions are picked apart and, if the individual on the receiving end doesn’t like what you have to say, the very real possibility of your review magically disappearing isn’t all that far fetched.

Why, then, am I reviewing CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS for Golden May? The answer is simple: I love non-fiction. Okay, I love non-fiction and fiction. In my never-ending quest to find new resource materials, you better believe I jumped at the chance to review and see if another method of creating believable characters could work just as well, or better, than my current one.

In today’s blog post, I’m going to compare this guide with that of author KM Weiland’s character interviews to see which better matches my style. Because, in the end, you’ll never know what works best unless you try it out.

CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS can be broken down into three key parts:

01


Advice

02


Activities

03


Completion

Plot twist!

When Emily Golden and I connected over this opportunity, I told her initially that I would be using this to work on my WIP’s antagonist. However, upon further reflection, I realized I didn’t want to give anything away anything for Project Firedamp, especially anything about my story’s baddie. I will touch upon all four of the above points as this post progresses, working with my newest character named Lady Irene. She will appear in a new web story series I’m writing for this very site.

PART 1. The Advice

“All stories make a point, beginning on page one. Which means that as a writer you need to know what that point is, long before you get to page one.”

-Lisa Cron, Story Genius via workbook pages

Have you ever read a self-help book and thought, “Okay, get to the point. This is too much information”? Another thing a reader needs to consider is how they’ll receive what’s presented. What I first appreciate about this guide is its straightforwardness. There’s no beating-around-the-bush or anecdotes. The second thing I like about CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS is it was created by two editors with years of experience in the biz. Not only that, Emily confirmed the status of my grammar. I’ll gladly take that advice any day of the week!

PART 2. The Activities

Call me stubborn if you’d like, but I sometimes have a difficult time accepting change. After working with the character interview pages for Project Firedamp for so long, it was hard to switch gears. But did I liked the idea of activities over a list. Let’s begin.

The First Activity

Draft your story point. Consider why you’re writing this story, and who you’re writing it for. […] You’re aiming for a one-line statement: the message you want to share about how the world works.

Lady Irene’s heart is in turmoil. Her life, turned upside down the previous year, still affects her daily life. Stuck in a rut, she believes she’ll never go back to normal. Okay. This isn’t a single statement. Let me give it a real whirl:

Hope always follows fear.

Hmm – I think that’s actually pretty good! It matches the story’s overall arc which will, hopefully, be pertinent to 2020’s conditions.

It’s also at this point I’ll begin world-building. The opening scenes will play a very important later on in the story.

The Second Activity

Let’s take a look at the seven (or five, whichever you prefer) stages of grief. They are:

Shock
Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Testing
Acceptance

Lady Irene, in deep grief, absolutely refuses to acknowledge she’s passed any of these stages. She’s alone in her journey – though perhaps not as alone as she thinks. Irene’s setting herself up for a spinster existence, one no one else wants her to experience. She believes she’ll never escape this, nor the expectations placed upon a Victorian woman in 1853.

What beliefs can you think of that are in direct contrast to your story point? List them out and consider which which one is the most succinct, holds the greatest emotional impact and stakes, and will provide your character with the most intriguing struggle.

The Third Activity

What internal and external goals can you give your character that are incompatible with their inner obstacle?

Internal Goal: Our lady wants to get out but hasn’t realized just how desperately she needs to figure herself out before it’s too late.

External Goal: She wants the strange happenings and her tears to end, and things back to what they were.

The Fourth Activity

Lady Irene feels her time slipping away. Everyone abandoned her… including her Julian.

If Lady Irene cannot solve the mystery behind things which never happened before in her home, she fears she’ll go insane before her twenty-fifth year. She must discover whatever the messages left behind for her mean, lest she remain in her grief stricken state forever.

Okay , this needs some work!

What dire thing does your character fear will happen (whether real or imagined) if they don’t achieve their internal and external goals? Are they serious stakes? […]

The Fifth Activity

Now this is where I’ll end things because
No writer wants to reveal too much!


PART 3. Completion

Within the last pages of the guide there are charts you can work from to build your own. It shows how each of the previous parts works together to clearly showcase your character’s main motives.

While I may have done these pages differently from the intended results, the guide did force me to look past the interview style of building up a character.

Now you’re probably asking yourself, “Where’s this duel? Where’s the comparison part she promised us?”

So how does CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS
differ from KM Weiland’s character interviews?

Craft Complex Characters

1. Looks at motives from the smallest to overall
2. Focuses more on the protagonist’s obstacles
3. Guides the writer to zero in on why they’re writing the story

Character Interview Method

  1. Details character’s mannerisms, demographics, personality, etc
  2. Can be used for protagonists, antagonists and secondaries
  3. Easily modifiable to fit your characters’ needs

Do I think they’d make great companion resources for creating well-rounded characters?
Absolutely!

As it turns out, both guides were created with very separate goals, but still the same overall one in mind: to help you finish your story and finish it well.

With all that being said, keep your eyes peeled for a Victorian ghostly tale coming next month to this site –
THE GILDED CONSPIRACY, featuring our Lady Irene.

And don’t forget to check out CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS by Golden May Editing, available for purchase this weekend. Be sure to vote in the poll below, and feel free to let us know in the comments below what tools you use to create your characters


Music That Drives My Writing | The Joe Hisaishi Edition

It’s no secret that music breathes life into my writing sessions. I am very much driven in my craft by a song’s flow. For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this method has yet to steer me wrong. In today’s musically charged post, I’m sharing all my favorite Joe Hisaishi scores. I hope you’ll also check out other posts in the “Music That Drives My Writing” blog series:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3: the Kpop Edition, Part 4: The Film Score Edition, Part 5: The 1940s Edition, Part 6: The SyFy Edition, Part 7: The James Horner Edition, Part 8: The Hans Zimmer Edition, Part 9: The John Williams Edition, and Part 10: The Michael Giacchino Edition. This is Part 11: The Joe Hisaishi Edition. Perhaps you’ll find some new music to love!

Today I am cheating. Why? Because all my favorite songs are rolled into one giant concert. I don’t mind taking a short cut this week, because this is my absolute favorite video of all time. It’s the 25 year anniversary for Studio Ghibli, and Hisaishi wrote many scores for Miyazaki’s fabulous films. The scores I adore the most are from Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away.

This video is nearly two hours long, and I’m jealous of absolutely everyone who got to be there!

This week’s Music That Drives My Writing post will be the last in this series. As much fun as it’s been to put all my favorite songs in one place, it’s time to move on to bigger and better things! Check out the announcement here for the next blog series.


Music That Drives My Writing | The Michael Giacchino Edition

It’s no secret that music breathes life into my writing sessions. I am very much driven in my craft by a song’s flow. For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this method has yet to steer me wrong. In today’s musically charged post, I’m sharing my favorite Michael Giacchino scores. I hope you’ll also check out other posts in the “Music That Drives My Writing” blog series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3: the Kpop Edition, Part 4: The Film Score Edition, Part 5: The 1940s Edition, Part 6: The SyFy Edition, Part 7: The James Horner Edition, Part 8: The Hans Zimmer Edition, and Part 9: The John Williams Edition.
This is Part 10: The Michael Giacchino Edition. Perhaps you’ll find some new music to love!

1. “Main Theme” from Star Trek: Into Darkness

This was the first score I ever heard – or the first one which caused me to look him up – of Giacchino’s. Love or hate this version of Star Trek, its score is certainly one of my favorites.

2. “Life & Death” from Lost

Lost is another one of those shows you either love to death or love to hate. I stopped watching it because college in 2005 > television. But I remember loving its score.

3. “Night on the Yorktown” from Star Trek: Beyond

Fight me if you will, but I firmly believe this to be one of the most gorgeous themes in all Star Trek.

4. “If You Don’t Make It, It’s Your Own Damn Fault” from Land of the Lost

This film came out in 2009, but this score gives me early 1990s vibes.

5. “Commitment” from Jupiter Ascending

If you want to indulge in a really weird, confusing film with bad sound editing, watch Jupiter Ascending. The budget was all in the film score and CGI. Certainly not writing a coherent script… But I like the music, so it has that going for it, I suppose.

6. “As the Jurassic World Turns” from Jurassic World

How can you not love this epic piece of art?

7. “Peter’s Lament” from The Book of Henry

I’ve never seen this film, but the beginning of this lament sounds similar to Night on the Yorktown and I love it.

8. “Declaration of Indo-Pendence” from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Looking for something to write a great action sequence to? Look no further than the scores for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!