Saturday, December 9, 2017

Andora Paperback + Snow Shoot

I'm thrilled to be sharing with you all that Andora's Folly is now available in paperback! It snowed at my house (?!?!?!?) giving me the perfect opportunity to get you in the Christmassy mood and stun you with the beauty of my books among the snow. There's still time to get them before Christmas!

Andora's Folly was published on Kindle back in July. I simply didn't want to mess with jumping through all the hoops that only come with a paperback. It was just as well because this one did prove quite tricky to get all the details right on. Victoria Lynn was super patient and helpful with working out the full cover and interior formatting quirks. I couldn't be happier with the teency end result!

Here's the cover and blurb for you one more time since it's been a while.

A Pandora's Box retelling

Andora is a beautiful young woman with insatiable curiosity. Raised in splendor, she is spoiled by her privileged life. When a love letter is slid under her door, her life takes a drastically unromantic turn. Nothing makes sense—her arranged marriage, the gifts her parents bestow on her wedding day, or her new husband’s temperament. \

As Andora begins to unravel the mysteries around her, she ignites a chain of events that have the power to sabotage her entire village forever. Only her new-found wisdom as a desperate peasant's wife can save her from her folly.

Annnnd here are all the links to click: 

Is it worth buying in a paperback? ABSOLUTELY! Yes, it's tiny. Perfect for a stocking stuffer xD It's petite and adorable and has lovely interior formatting and a matte cover that I never want to let go of. So YES. You know you want the paperback. It's affordable, I promise!

If you've already read the book you should still buy a paperback can leave me a review on Amazon! Already got one up on Goodreads? Just copy and paste. Yes, Amazon's weird about purchase verification and who they let review. Use your parents' account if you have to! (I do.) And thank you guys SO much for the 14 reviews that are already up. That's actually more than Martin Hospitality!

In case I have failed at my self-promotion attempts and have yet to convince you of the necessity of my little novella, just ... just ...

I still can't believe my eyes. My books. And SNOW. In December. Inches of it. (Forgive me, I live quite south.) It was like going to Narnia with my children. xDD Yes, MH got pics, too. But I'm hoarding those for now ^.^

Thank you guys immensely for the support. I'll be sharing this post around on social media, so if you feel lead to comment, reshare, or write that review I'd be super grateful!!

If you want a chance to get to know more about me and/or my books, I'm participating in TWO Facebook events this coming week! The Twelve Writers of Christmas hosted by Laura A. Grace and featuring interracting with 12 awesome authors and 2017 New Writers' Showcase hosted by Annie Twitchell featuring 7 authors works. I promise great giveaways at both events. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Recent Happenings + a Glimpse into 2018

Hey, everyone! This post is going to catch you up on a couple things that have happened recently. Serves as a kind of November wrap-up post, I suppose ;)

The only reason I quit doing wrap-up posts is because I transferred most of the life and update type stuff to my monthly newsletter (sign up in the sidebar). BUT, there are a few things I want to make sure everyone knows so there's no confusion. I haven't begun my Nov newsletter yet, either, so ... you're actually getting first scoop this time. ;)
First, the exciting thing: Andora's Folly has a paperback release date! December 9, 2017. ONE WEEK!! I already have a teency little paperback proof in my hands which you can watch me unbox in a video here. (Forgive the meh quality. xP)

I still have to work on that back cover and add a finishing touch to the updated Kindle edition. Then you guys will have a snazzy paperback option or at least a more current version of the Kindle. ;)

I'm not doing any huge release or anything. But I will announce on Dec 9 that the paperback is available. Of course, it would be awesome if you guys wanted to spread the word. Or for all of you who've been waiting for the paperback, grab yourself a copy for Christmas!
Some health issues exploded for me this month, so I think I only wrote around 15k for NaNo? I find that very pathetic. I wrote that in about two weeks, which isn't bad. But I really lagged the second half of the month and got almost nothing done D: I've had a head cold off and on for about six weeks and a cough for two. I went to the doctor and I have walking pneumonia and overuse syndrome in my wrist. Thank God it's not full-fledged pneumonia or carpal tunnel!! I was still told I needed to take it easy, down lots of drugs, and for my wrist: stop. writing. *cries* The only cure for overuse is to ... stop using. So I'm looking into dictation or a more therapeutic keyboard or something. Because we all know I can't completely stop.

Basically I feel really lazy and may kind of disappear from everywhere. For now, I'm going to keep posting every week. But I might have to take a hiatus before long, because blogging is a lot of typing ;) Since all my work requires typing, I need to limit the bits that don't make me money. Sounds horrible, but it's a reality at the moment.

Anyway, I just thought you guys should know that. :)
Being behind on drafting Behind the Act (the matinee book), meant I was also behind on editing chapters for the agent who was interested. I hit a bit of a roadblock the other day when I realized that there were no proposal guidelines on the agency website, only query guidelines. So using the more direct email I'd been given, I emailed the agent a query and asked for the proposal guidelines if he was still interested in moving forward.

He was and he wasn't. With this new trend in traditional publishing houses to only consider manuscripts from authors with a "significant" platform, I'm still too tiny to be considered. I don't blame the agent at all, because there's not much he can do about industry standards. But it does seem to be a futile cycle. I want to traditionally publish to get more following and reach more people. However, I can't do that until I have enough following. See the problem?? It's because larger publishing houses, in particular, are scaling back the marketing. They don't want to start with nobodies.

Don't let that discourage you, though! I doubt this is the case with all publishing houses (espeically not the smaller ones), and it means that self-publishing is only becoming more respected and viable. Traditional publishers are almost requiring authors to be self-published first because building a large following otherwise is a little hard ...

So I don't know if I'll look at more agencies or if I'll work toward self-publishing Behind the Act ... If I'm going to run into the same wall everywhere, there's not much point. I need to keep building here with you guys :) But at the same time, I feel like I should try at least once more. Because who gets signed with their first agent? Basically no one.

ANYWAY!! I'm not crushed by any of this, so you don't have to pity me xD And I am making some progress in the Andora's Folly department. Up next on my list is going to be merchandise for my already published books, I think. *shrug* Who knows. Everything's changed this month and I have no idea what's next. It means so much to me that you guys stick with me. Tiny platform or not, you guys are much more than numbers to me.

2018 basically has a clean slate now. I don't know what it holds. But December's going to be crazy, so I guess the first thing is to survive that. ;) I actually do consider this the most wonderful time of the year even with my life turning upside down in November, so I shall rest up with Netflix so I don't miss out on the holiday season!
Enough about me!! Tell me what's new with you :D How was your Thanksgiving? Did you do/win NaNo? What does 2018 hold for you?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

My Must-Read Blogs

I don't know about you, but the longer I've blogged, the less I read my friends' blogs ... o.o Not good, I know. But I realized that there's still a handful that stand out as my "must-reads."

I'm subscribed to 49 blogs on Blogger (because 50 is obscene). 20 by e-mail. And yet my list of must-reads consists of ... nine.

A Glimpse of Starlight // poetry + inspirational words + format
A Little Southern Grace // lifelong friend + pictures + fun artsy things
A Writer's Faith // my first blog to follow + pizza + words + nano + TBR
Feels Like Hope // deep thoughts + blunt words + superheroes + punk opinion
Fishing For Ideas // faith + mostly nonfiction + sour patch + ninjas + masculine
Lakeside Publications // writing + struggles + self publishing + VAVC + critique partner
My Lady Bibliophile // reviews + classic recs + amazing WWI WIP
Nadine Brandes // bookstagram + ninjas + YA books + traditional publishing
Writer Emily Mundell // Canada + life experiences + LOTR + fellow INTJ

Special mention:

Please note: if you did not make this list, that does not mean I hate you or your blog. I promise. You all know that I would read every post by each and every one of you if I had the time!

Those of you who did make the list are probably surprised ... because I comment maybe 50% of the time I read a post? -_- I know, I'm a horrible example. Let that be your takeaway from this post.

So for all of you who faithfully read and comment on my blog, I really appreciate you. It's a big deal. Even if I take two weeks to reply, please know that I read all the comments and would. not. be. here. without you.

For all of you who blog, keep going!! You have something worth sharing. :)
The signature contests are still going on! I've received four entries for Tiffany thus far. And the next edition will be coming Tuesday! But you have all year to submit them, so please participate!! :D

ALSO, Martin Hospitality is on sale today and tomorrow in e-book form! If you've been waiting to read it, now's your chance to do so without breaking the bank.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! How many blogs do you read? (And I mean really read.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! // Title + Sale

This is a quick update post to give you all the consensus for Matinee Regular's new title and a Black Friday sale for Martin Hospitality!

First up is the title reveal (is that a thing?)! I ran this intricate poll to see what you guys wanted for the title. I got some really awesome feedback ... but it's all a little irrelevant now that I've made my decision xD Because 1) I forgot to ask for names, 2) feedback actually conflicted quite a bit, and 3) some epic person suggested the title I chose. Whoever you are, I am in your debt. So speak up!! :D

I really did value all the feedback I got, though, so thank you to everyone who took time to give me their thoughts. This decision would not have come to be without you all. The new title for Matinee Regulars is ...

Behind the Act

No, this was not one of the poll options. Someone suggested it, and I fell in love with it. Tell me if you suggested it!! It fits so well! You have no idea how good it feels to have this named unless you also have a really hard time titling things xD

For all of you who are still attached to the title Matinee Regulars, that's okay. This is still my matinee book. :) But for hashtagging and all other glorious purposes, Behind the Act is the new official title. And you can all help me smooth the wrinkle over as people learn that it's one in the same. ;)

NOW! I'm running an e-book sale for Martin Hospitality to cover Black Friday. So if you're not a huge shopper on that day (like me), no worries! You don't even have to leave your house!

Martin Hospitality in e-book format is usually $4.99, but I've got an incremental special running that goes like this:

That's right! On Black Friday, MH is only $0.99. The price increases a dollar a day, jumping back up to full price on Monday.

We all know the cover is pretty enough that everyone deserves to have my firstborn in a paperback. ;) BUT, if you want the chance to make sure the content meets your standards and have a fun read over the holidays, now's your chance! And while you're at it, convince one of your friends to get an electronic copy as well. You can read it on any device with the Kindle app.

As always, thank you guys so much for your support!
Thoughts on the new title? Are you going to share news of the MH sale far and wide?!

As a quick update, I have received FOUR ENTRIES for the signature contest! I'll be posting another character this week, but please remember that all characters are open for the rest of the year! The more the merrier!

P. S. Ivy Rose has surgery today. Scheduled and expected, but keep her in your prayers. Recovery is no fun, especially over a holiday! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 Discoveries

I am totally mooching off Katie Grace today!! She wrote this epic, gorgeous post about her findings of 2017, so this post is springboarding off that because I've been sick all week and am hard up for ideas ...

Before we get started, please note that I'm not guaranteeing a 100% clean and happy media. Just things I really enjoyed overall, often with some self-editing. Only the ones I'm featuring are actual recommendations from me to you, complete with warnings. Be careful with the { A L S O } sections ;)
{ A R T I S T S }

Ludovico Einaudi // Nicholas Yee // Audrey Assad // Imaginary Future // Shawn Mendes

{ S O U N D T R A C K S }

La La Land // Imitation Game // The Village

{ S O N G S }

By Night ~ Sophie Hutchings // Thy Will ~ Hilary Scott // One Call Away ~ Charlie Puth // Monody ~ The Fat Rat + Laura Brehm //  // I Choose You ~ Sara Bareilles
{ Wonder Woman }

Let me first make it clear that I'm more of a Marvel person than DC person. Actually, I'm more of a Captain America person than anything else ;P But this movie. Oh. My. Goodness. I had such high hopes, I was afraid to even watch it. HELLO, it delivered.

It did not push feminism or "girl power." It had the Greek mythology element and seemed pretty historically accurate. 

I was afraid Wonder Woman would be unbelievable, but she's not human. So I bought it ;) Ares was an actual character, which kinda pops any Christian bubble, but the messages were spot. on. Diana is pretty naive and she's appalled at the evil Ares has caused (the war). The points about love and human nature as she grows were really excellent.

And it came this close to making me cry in the theatre. Totally loved it. So don't believe all the media flack the actress and her role are getting. That's because she did a nice job without being pushy.

{ Murder on the Orient Express }

I freely admit I have not read the book. But I did see the original "classic" movie, so I had certain expectations. While you didn't get to know this incarnation of Hercule Poirot as well, I really enjoyed this movie. Kenneth Branagh always does an excellent job. The acting from everyone (even actors I don't really like) was superb. And the scenery and cinematography was pretty epic. The story hold pretty true to the other movie, so I'm guessing it holds pretty true to the book? This one was a little more fast paced in the unravelling of the murder, so a little more captivating of a drama. And that's all with me knowing the outcome as I went into it. I would definitely watch it again!

{ A L S O } 

Beauty and the Beast // Age of Adaline // Zootopia // Safe Haven // The Zookeeper's Wife // Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
{ The Crown }

There's not even much I need to say here. It's Queen Elizabeth II gaining the throne and the sacrifices that requires. Often it's the country or her family as she struggles to balance being a wife and queen. When she can tell Parliament what to do, it's hard not to treat her husband like a subject. ;) It's a slow drama, but I was shocked at how much history I learned and the acting is absolutely phenomenal. It's the Netflix Original that has redeemed all the other Netflix Originals. xD

Read a parent's guide before watching this one. You'll want to avoid some brief nudity in the first two episodes. After that, it's relational stuff and perhaps some mild language. Worth the watch for sure, but you've been warned. ;)

{ The Good Doctor }

My sister and I are watching this one as it airs on ABC through Hulu right now. I can't believe how much we enjoy it! What am I saying? It's Freddie Highmore (only the best child actor on the face of this planet) is now grown up, autistic, and American. Two of those are a put-on, but I could watch him act for forever. As an autistic surgical resident with quite the past, you'll learn medical things and become greatly attached to all the sweet characters. Pretty sure at least five of the seven episodes so far have made me cry? Yeah ... But it's worth it! xD

As for content, there's been one pretty gory episode, but I'm the world's most sensitive person. And there are some extramarital relationships going on behind the scenes in a few episodes, but I think they might actually be going good places at this point. There's also been one episode that was just pretty gritty in the nature of the diseases.

{ A L S O}

A Series of Unfortunate Events // Anne with an E // A Gifted Man // Suits // Lost in Austen // Agents of Shield Season 2
I picked six of my 5 star reads from this year to share with you here. (I promise I don't rate every book that highly. I hit the jackpot this year.) 

I'm not going to discuss any of these at length since I've already done that in my monthly newsletter. (Yes, you're missing out. The sign-up is in the sidebar. xP)

The images link to Goodreads where you can find my reviews.




And there you have it! What are some of your favorite watches and reads of the year so far? Give me all the recommendations!!!

ALSO: If you were the awesome person who suggested the title Behind the Act as a replacement for Matinee Regulars, I love you xD Because I'm seriously considering that one. For all the rest of you, honest thoughts on that option?? Thanks!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Signature Contest + A New Title

I am so excited about today's blog post! I've got two announcements in store for you guys, neither of which will work without your participation!

First off, we have a signature contest. This idea came to me a few weeks ago, when I was randomly doodling one of my character's names over and over. As much as I might try to write it differently, it always looked like my handwriting.

Well, I have this thing for staring in awe at all the ways different people write the same things! (Don't ask, it's a quirk.) So that led me to thinking: why not have signature contests?

I think handwriting says a lot about a person. So I'm going to give you my characters "profiles" telling you how I perceive their handwriting (and therefore signature). They will be released one at a time throughout my social media accounts. But it's up to all of you to sign the names! You can do as few or as many as you'd like. It doesn't have to be a work of art, although you're welcome to do fancy lettering if you want to. All I need is a photo of your signature of the character's name.

There is no right or wrong here, as it's a matter of your style matching my character's style! So please don't get self-conscious and refuse to join in the fun!

As much as I'd like to give you all my characters for every story I've ever thought of ... I shall refrain. ;) Instead, I'm going to be releasing one profile at a time through my social medias (like the one above). You can reply with your photo in the comments, send them to me through a Google Hangouts chat, or through email (abiclaire98 at gmail dot com). If you want to post it on social media, please use the hashtag #sigcon and tag me @abitheauthor to make sure I see it! :)

My goal is to release one new profile each week (not sure how many I'll do yet) and announce my selections around the new year.

I know, I know. What's the prize? The prize is that you and your signature will get featured in the back of my book once it's published as a little extra for the reader.* And I will send you a handwritten thank you note signed by me for your effort!

*I guess I can't guarantee this if it becomes traditionally published. But you will at least make it in the acknowledgments and get a thank you note!

The second event of the day is much simpler. All you have to do is vote on a new title for Matinee Regulars. If you're particularly attached to that one, I would like to know, but at the moment I think it's too obscure and cryptic to actually catch a reader's attention. (It doesn't tell you much out of context.) I've been tossing lots of ideas around and I'm not 100% sold on any of them. But if all my potential readers are, then we're set! :)

The book has a smalltown, old-timey vibe in a modern world with a disgruntled young adult. Or at least that's the goal. So the title could hint at that? Or the cover alone could make it clear. So many decisions!

Below are just a few options I've come up with. Any other suggestions or feedback would be extremely welcome! I absolutely despise titling things. -_-

If the embedded form didn't show up, then click here. I'll take your thoughts for ten days (through Nov 21) and then make a decision!
Thank you for reading! Are you going to participate?! The more the merrier, so please feel free to share this around with any of your friends who might be interested! Be looking for my first character profile this Tuesday, November 14. :D

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bound by Victoria Lynn // Blog Tour

Today I bring you a blog tour from a good blogging friend of mine, Victoria Lynn. This is her second novel to be published, the first being London in the Dark.

Two souls don’t find each other by simple accident. ~Jorge Luis Borges~

Levi thought he was making this journey alone. But when he meets an eight-year-old girl at the train station, that plan is turned on its head.

Casey is running away and finds out that Levi is too. They decide to journey together and their lives are suddenly bound together in a journey they will not soon forget.

Both children come from abusive situations and are running from the dangers of their previous life. Levi is confident he can handle this on his own, but when Casey is injured on the journey, he must seek help from the first person that comes into his path, or rather people. Mr. and Mrs. Bellworth are simple farm folk with a heart for kids and a passion for serving God. When their unconditional love and gentle care surrounds Levi and Casey, the troubles of their previous lives melt away and they start to flourish. But when Casey is dragged back into the abusive world she came from, the emotional trauma, pain and distrust resurfaces. Will they be forever bound by their past? Or will God answer their prayers?
Victoria Lynn is in her 20s and if she's not writing, she is probably sewing, singing, playing the piano, washing dishes, creating something with her hands, or learning something new. She has a passion for serving her Creator, encouraging others and being creative. She blogs at about writing, fashion, modesty, her walk with God and life. She lives in Michigan with her parents and 8 siblings.

Find her on social media at:

There's a quote and a giveaway!

(^ Love this quote!!! ^)

I'm sure Victoria will appreciate all your support and excitement! Have you read her first novel London in the Dark?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

To-Do-Listing Your Life Away // Guest Post by Kellyn Roth

Today I bring you a guest post that hits pretty close to home for me. I'm not the only writer who makes, to-do lists right? Let's see what Kellyn has to say on the subject!

Today I’m going to be talking about To-Do Lists.

I know you’re either rolling your eyes or hiding your notebooks behind your back. I’ve noticed that a lot of people think to-do lists are dumb or nerdy. Well … that’s okay. Go live in your non-accomplishments and be non-accomplished. ;)

But … many of you do write to-do lists.

It doesn’t make you overly-organized. It doesn’t make you boring and predictable. If it helps you get things done, then why not? Who cares what other people think. Getting things done is important. God didn’t make us to sit around on the couch all day and not accomplish anything! He made us to get up and move!

However … there are some dangers to these beautiful little lists.

I spend a lot of time writing to-do lists. Generally, while my mother’s reading to us in the morning (I’m homeschooled), I’ll start my to-do list for the day (either that or scribble my name over and over again in my notebook; that happens much more often, to be honest).

My average list will contain things like this:

  1. School
  2. Chores
  3. Instrument practice
  4. Exercise (P.E.)
  5. Write a chapter of Adae

I can definitely do all those things in one day (have to, in the case of everything but writing)! I’ll probably have some time to actually live after that. But ... the thing is … I don’t stop there. I keep going. And going. And going.

Before I know it, I have a solid page of “things I want to do today” … and you know what? It’s not feasible for me to do so. I sometimes end up using every moment of my day worrying about all the things I have to do. And nothing that actually needs to get done gets done. And I’m constantly stressed.

Now, like I said, nothing wrong with to-do lists or planning. And I’m not one to judge if you’ve got a lot of your plate. However, being worried doesn’t solve anything.

I mean, I’m not usually one of those people who likes to go on about how you should stop worrying and just be happy, but … the more I worry about all the things I have to do, the less things actually get done.

So … what’s the answer? To-do lists can be a help … but they can also be a hinder! What’s the healthy balance? How do you even find the healthy balance? Here’s my answer.

Limit yourself.

“Today, I am only doing three things. When I do those three things, I’m done. I will rest. I will read (for fun!). I will concentrate on God, on real life, on whatever I need to relax.”

For me, that’s hard. I mean, I tend to relax too much already (at least in my way of thinking), and I feel like I accomplish so little! But, really. Here are some tips.

Evaluate the things you need to “accomplish.”

  • Do you really need to finish that chapter today?
  • If you don’t write that blog post, is it the end of the world?
  • How much of your time is taken up by mindless social media?
  • What really is a priority … and what is something that just doesn’t matter?
  • How can you do less (instead of how can you do more)?

Kellyn Roth is a Historical & Christian fiction author from North-Eastern Oregon. She lives in the country with her parents, little brothers, adorkable border collies, and psychotic cat. When not writing, reading, or blogging, she has a life, although it’s become somewhat of a minor hobby.
I thought Kellyn made some excellent points! How do you find the balance between stressing yourself into inactivity and spending all day on the couch? Are you a to-do list person?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

13 Bookish Costume Ideas

My family doesn't really celebrate Halloween, but we all know the best part is dressing up, right? Actually, it's the food. Even I like to do that sometimes, so I've compiled a list of bookish characters that are good enough for me to actually dress up as ... if I was dedicated enough.

Prepare yourself. Some of these have spoilers, but no order or numbers. XP

Mary Poppins {Mary Poppins}

because a parasol, flowy dress, red lipstick, and hat

Maria Von Trapp {The Story of the Von Trapp Family Singers/The Sound of Music}

hello, her party dress and a captain, please?
also, super simple in the hair department
bonus points if you use drapes

Parvin Blackwater {A Time to Die}

a little dirt, fur skirt, and hiking boots
bonus points for the missing hand

Aleah Valinor {Sentinel}

silver hair and green eyes are a must
after that you can go in scrubs or fox pajamas if you feel like it
an orange kitten is also suggested

Odette Menkels {The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest}

aka female Robin Hood/swan princess
blonde fishtail side braid

America Singer {The Selection}

perfect for redheads who want poofy dresses
or jeans on a Saturday

Anyone {The Mysterious Benedict Society}

Any character would work here!!!
Kate - red striped shirt and a bucket
Sticky - bald with glasses and a dictionary
Reynie - green sweater vest and logic
Constance - rain gear and fit throwing
Mr. Benedict - you're going to need a wheelchair

The Dread Pirate Roberts {Princess Bride}

Buttercup's great and all. But Zorro-esque is better

Pollyanna Whitaker {Pollyanna}

basically, go shopping with a rich aunt for new dresses
maybe don't fall out of a tree ...

Anne Shirley {Anne of Green Gables}

another good redhead option
a slate and puff sleeves complete the look

Scarlett Blaine {Chasing Jupiter}

wavy hair, freckles, a bicycle, and peach pie!
(guys can go as Grandpop Barley with peanut butter and a red tie)

Cassandra Mortmain {I Capture the Castle}

hand-me-down 20s fashion is the goal
it won't matter how out of style you are

Eliza Doolittle {Pygmalion/My Fair Lady}

black and white, ridiculous bows and hats, and a parasol
it doesn't count unless you talk properly!
Okay, so some of these outfits were from movie versions ;) This post goes to show the importance of detailing outfits in your writing! Otherwise, they're really hard to cosplay! Who would you dress up as?

On a much more important note, it's the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the Whittenberg Cathedral. You're all invited to my church for a fun celebration/history lesson this Sunday! ;D

Saturday, October 28, 2017

5 Abi-Invented Plotting Methods to Try

In the true spirit of NaNo, I shall try to win you all over to the plotter side today!!! Just kidding, I'm really more of plantser, but I almost always end up using all five of these plotting methods per story. Only then am I confident enough to begin the first draft.

(These are in the order I usually do them, but it doesn't actually matter!)
Okay, so I have this adorable little notebook that I got from T J Maxx a while back (obviously, where else?). It was like $3 and I loved it. It's tan with rounded edges and says "Shakespeare never tweeted a sonnet" on the front. *heart eyes* It has become my official jot down place for new story ideas and developments. Whenever something brilliant comes to me about an undeveloped story idea, I create a new little entry. Nothing fancy, but I love having it in one little place.

So it's got Kansas research for Martin Hospitality and stories from my grandfather for the book I'd like to someday write on his ancestors. Name lists and random new plot twists corresponding with my many Pinterest boards.
Okay, so this isn't a real method, nor is it strictly mine haha xD But yes, Pinterest storyboards! They are the best. And no they are not girly. Even guys can do this. I suggest you make your storyboards public if you care a thing about followers, because that doubled my following pretty quickly. And who doesn't want to see what I will someday write about ... right? Don't be selfish and do this just for you; share the love ;)

Anyway, you should have a place for any serious story idea/WIP in you have so that as pins drift across your feed, you can save them to your boards! Some people go all aesthetic, but I'm a mix of character faces, sayings that fit the story, settings, and aesthetic images. :P And I'm enough of a maniac that when I first get a story idea ... I actually hunt for pins through a gazillion different searches to get me started. It's like having all your inspiration in one little place.
I'm not the only one who does this either, but I decided to do this all on my own! In short, I use a shortcut to personality type my main characters so that I understand them better. Do not use the actual test (it will take you hours to do this). I use this chart from Pinterest instead ;)

If you're anti-Myers-Briggs, move along. But if you want to know my entire process for this step, I wrote an article about it on Project Canvas that you can read here. :) #selfpromotion
This is a new thing for me! I've only done it with my WIP Matinee Regulars. 

It's all organized because I put some categories up in a blank Google Doc and go to town rambling about anything I've thought up that falls under that heading. The point is to have all my thoughts and ideas on paper, but under headers that categorize the themes and flow of the plot. Having all of that in the back of my head gives me stronger writing, and I often have to look back at it to remember what big point I had coming next.

(Sorry, I feel like this is really hard to explain without showing you one of my pages, but #spoilers.)

The first header I use is PLOT. I decide which type of plot I have using Step 2 of this pin and make their breakdown mine. Then I commence rambling under each so I can see the flow of events, but also throw out all the details in my head. This narrative arc pin is also helpful, but I have a hard time combining the two ... so I usually check to make sure the flow of this is woven in. I usually have an "other details" section, too just to make sure everything floating around in my head lands on paper.

CHARACTERS is my other main header. Using the same pin, I choose my hero type (Step 3) and make a list of which characters might fit which type listed in Step 4. Then I have a romantic relationship section where I pull the 5 steps from this pin. I go ahead and consider points for each step, although the pin is really designed to help you think about different options with relationships.

It's kind of hard to explain rambling in an orderly fashion, but ... there you go! Definitely take a look at those pins and see how you can use them to your own purposes. They're the best I've found!
If you are super anti-plot and don't care about anything I've said so far ... this is the method for you. It has saved me so many times! And it's super simple. Before you start drafting a chapter, make a quick bullet point list of things you think should happen in that chapter. This helps me keep threads going and gives me a general pattern to follow throughout the chapter. Sometimes I need to write more than that, and sometimes I don't get that far because ... pantsing :P

For Martin Hospitality my lists would have looked something like this:

  • feed/mention the cat
  • include Farris development
  • mention apartment noises
  • go to church (sermon on forgiveness)
  • nursery with Clair
  • lunch with Bradley
  • have Hollie's car break down

The first three are things to weave in so the themes keep running through, and the others are actual plot points to keep the story going. A simple key to sanity. ;)
Okay, so are you a plotter (plot things), pantser (fly by the seat of your pants), or plantser (mix)? What methods do you use to plot? Which one of these appeals to you the most?