Tags: acts, advice, am plotting, am writing, clothesline, clothespins, color code, ella douglas, fairytale, fantasy, game of thrones, help, highlighter, lord of the rings, nevermore, nevermore november, niche, notecards, One Year Adventure Novel, pinterest, plotting, scenes, spotify, template, timeline, writer, writer tips, writing
My question for you writers or comic book artists or graphic novelers, is how do you find that special moment that you begin flowing with all kinds of ideas and plots and scenes that you cannot physically restrain yourself to just a mere scribble in a notebook? You’ve got to find your niche and for that, every single writer is different.
My brain compartmentalizes oddly. I cannot do anything productive in my room if it’s dirty. Call it what you will but if I decide to get busy on some work, everything around me can’t be screaming out for my attention first. To focus, I must eliminate all distractions and all of the nagging responsibilities that I have to accomplish. Thus, my most productive days are either spent inside a coffee shop away from the cleaning I have to do or without the mound of clothes staring at me and waiting to be either discarted (because let’s face it here, y’all, I have way too many clothes and hardly wear the amount I should) or folded up where there isn’t much room. On the off chance that I did this entire overhaul of my room the night before and wrote a myriad of letters that had been awaiting me and had the interruptions of dinner and chores taken care of and had a sufficent kick in the butt about the plotline of my newest story, I finally got around to doing something it. I compartmentalize my train of thinking into a large graph to be easily moved around, thus my timeline was born. At the foot of my bed, I have two of my four posts completely unhindered by anything so I strung up ropes from a different project left over from my room redo and created five long clothelines if you will for my story. Clothespins and notecards decorate it until I run out of both and have to resort to white notebook paper torn into little pieces and staples and tape and sticky putty to tack them up. Now clothespins are easier to use and easier to move around-such is the point of my timeline- and I’ve found that all will finally do if I just have a little patience and several hours at my own disposal like I had today. I sat down and grabbed my Adventure Novel In A Year book and used the template provided to map out the highlights of what needs to be in my book. The author sections them into three separate acts, and thus my three color coding system was born out of the remaining notecards. Green is for The beginning act, very roughly the first three or so chapters; Reddish pink for the middle act, the main meat of the middle of your book; and finally blue for the third and final act, roughly the last three chapters, all totalling twelve chapters which I went over last time and most likely will again this time.
That’s okay. It’s just a rough template to help me get my bearings and get the essentials down.
I finished the majority of my story plotting tonight, scrawling in my fancy purple gel pen all of the major highlighted scenes that I could think of and imagine from visualizing it from Pinterest.
And that’s where I will bring you to my next novel helper: Pinterest.
Pinterest will allow me to visualize whatever I search for and create an entire world within my head and provide an enormous help with prompts to inspire huge story twists and different ideas that brilliant authors thoughtfully put on there for anybody to use.
And finally, I turn my speakers all the way up on my phone and blast Spotify’s Game of Thrones and Lord of The Rings soundtrack blends for my book and let the creative juices flow.
That is how I find my niche. How ’bout you?
my pinterest page name to search for is @charliesmithers if you want some idea of what a storyboard looks like.
The beginning is something I’ve always wanted to write about on here. My beginning definitely ties in with my name and for any of you paying attention, my username Ella Charlotte Douglas is my penname. My real name is Charlotte Elizabeth Smith but let me tell you about the origins of my pen name. It isn’t anything to do with the sound of it really-although if we are really keeping track, Ella Douglas sounds so much better. Ella is a nickname for Elizabeth which my parents decided early on to call me until my dad changed his mind and reverted back to my first name Charlotte. He and my two brothers ganged up on my mom still calling me Elizabeth and won! Charlotte, the middle name, is obvious since that’s my given name now and I wanted to put a little piece of what I am now in there. Douglas, the surname of my pen name, was actually going to be my last name. Legally, Smith is but my father was adopted by his stepfather, thus changing his surname (the direct tie to our Scottish ancesters) from Douglas to Smith. Thus, if I had only a slightly different past, my name would have been Charlotte Elizabeth Douglas or going by Elizabeth or Ella Douglas. There you have my origin story, now I will continue with my story. My brother is an amazing writer-both of them actually can write very well. Only the oldest wanted to make something out of it and reading was instilled into me at a very young age. You will often hear me quote or reference Harry Potter for that is the main reason why I wanted to write my own books. I wanted to inspire a generation of children and make them love reading as much as I did as a child. I wanted to rewrite imaginations to remember my vivid stories and reflect on how much they could relate to my character.
When I was quite a bit younger, I loved to pace my backyard near the backyard pasture fence and just tell myself stories. It first began with my toy Webkinz then evolving into my Build-A-Bears and then on into remaking my American Girl backgrounds. Over time, I began branching out into ideas developed over a particular book I had read and didn’t quite want to die just yet in my memory. It was infectuous and soon, I had quite a collection of fictional worlds that I was too lazy to type or write up so that I could document them. Perhaps my first book “series” had to be the Winged Goddess series based on some Greek goddess story that I had found in the library earlier that year. My characters were poorly written but my zeal for getting work out there was undiminished for such crappy work. Gradually, that “series” ended and I branched off to medieval worlds based loosely on the Bible’s revelation and my own construction of cast with powers to destroy demons. All in all, that’s still one of my favorite fantasy book ideas and one day, I want to go back and rewrite all of those to fit my original idea of demon hunters and how God kicked all of their butts :)
My writing and drawing drastically changed with the knowledge of a website called DeviantArt. I could emulate my favorite artist’s style and through the help of another user, had a reality check on what made a real character into a believable person. That and tons of writing and constantly reading help pins from Pinterest and displaying my work for critique to some of my writer friends, most especially one of my oldest friends Chloe, who runs multiple blogs and wrote a guest post for me not long ago. She encouraged me above all others, always wanting to hear every single story and idea or see what sketch I wanted to finish. That among several writing dates with friends kept me accountable and frequent art delves into other genres and types kept me interested and not burnt out.
My favorite hobbies include basketball, ballet, wandering around in bookshops, reading, writing, drawing, shopping for clothes, working out, watching movies or shows and eating. I love hanging out with people and observing human behavier at its best and worst and plan on becoming a hair stylist and makeup artist when I get out of cosmetology school in a year. One day, I plan on becoming published and settling down and all that, but for now, I’m going to settle for my final month without some type of schooling as I’m a high school graduate and focus on writing to my heart’s content. I hope to be frequent on here but the posts may get more spread out than they are now.
My favorite inspiration is usually music or my surroundings. My favorite kind of music is typically soundtracks to other movies or shows of a similar genre as my book. Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings have the best soundtracks, typically because I’m more interesed in medieval fantasy. Whenever I feel the particular need to go somewhere to get into, I mean really get into, writing, I find a hipster little hole in the wall or some cute cafe or Starbucks. Rain is also very soothing, creating a sort of rhythmic hum while I type or scribble. Typewriters are also fascinatig to write on. It almost transports you back into another time.
I love to branch out into different genres and characters to mix it up and change my comfort zone. My favorite is medieval fantasy but little chick flicks are an easy release of some cute ideas and historical fiction is mostly fascinating from the work involved in researching and creating a story within the historical boundries. Murder mysteries are my favorites to read, the twists and trying to figure out the mysteries incredibly intriging and hold to some of my history with my father as we love to watch old murder mysteries like Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, and Columbo. I even had a murder mystery party for my birthday this past year.
And finally, I am a Christian. A born again believer in Christ who believes in the Holy Trinity and that Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day. This affects every single thing thing I think and say and do. This affects my writing and my drawing and my speech and my genre and what I decide to support and read. Being a Christian isn’t a noun or adjective. It’s a verb. I live out being a Christian; it’s not just something to describe me. It’s my way of life. I don’t have life without my Creator and I certainly don’t have any ability to do what I love and write about on here without Him.
Tags: christopher paolini, eragon, fiction, nevermore, nevermore november, publish, publishing tips, rejection, writer, writer tips
I’ve done a post about this before and it certainly won’t be the last time I ever touch on this subject, but the real question for writers after they’ve finished their rough drafts and polished their work is this; how do I make it?
This all inevitably leads to the publication of your work, whether you choose to self-publish or take the long and arduous journey to get published by a real publishing house. My older brother who is a writer was given advice by a woman that had published several books by a publishing company. She said that certain writers have to conform strictly to what the publishing house wants to publish. They had a list of genres and requirements they wanted more of, but that wasn’t entirely what I had in mind for writing. Yes, certain houses have a type of genre they look for, but I didn’t want to write merely so I could get published. I wanted to write to tell a story. Also, she pointed out that it took her ten years to get published by this house. The only author I know to have been published by a house at an early age was Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon, and he had his parents as publishers in the business long before he even thought about writing.
Now to my point.
Is rejection really the end? Do you write after? Is there an afterlife for the writers that didn’t quite make it and still feverishly type away on their keyboards? Rejection can make or break you. It can fuel you to write the best story you’ve ever written and demand to be heard. Or it can crush your spirit and wilt your ego into a mere speck that whispers feebly whenever that burning desire runs through your fingers, thus extinguishing your match long before it was lit.
Don’t be the soggy, limp, little piece of splintered wood not able to catch a spark. Burn. And burn brightly.
Tags: ella douglas, finish line, laptop, nevermore, nevermore november, notebook, pool, short piece, starbucks, writer, writer artist blog, writer tips
It seems as if my posts get farther and farther apart and shorter and shorter. Ha, oops. I have a lot more free time on my hands without school getting in the way; I’ve been writing like a crazed maniac over the past few weeks whenever I’ve had time. And one of the most notable things that I’ve finally accomplished: my rough draft of my book, The Nightingale’s Crown.
A friend is helping me edit as we speak, taking it slow over each paragraph and fixing every little detail. I’m excited for what this will bring which also brings me to my post topic for today-the Finish Line.
Are you one of those writers that goes on a high after something inspirational hits them with a book idea and then starts plotting sporadically the next few chapters only to plunge into it by writing all those chapters and then just falling behind as your interest fades and you begin to realize just how hard it is to complete something? Don’t give up.
Seriously now. Don’t be the writer who is only spurred on by inspirational bursts and then shuts the book away in some obscure word document never to be touched again until you read a book or watch a movie reminding you of the fact. Be the writer that you want to become. Be the writer who completes the story they’ve set out to tell.
Get your paper, your Pinterest Storyboards, your real timelines hooked in between the bed posts at the end of your bed, your cork boards decked in little pictures or phrases or plot scenes you want to flesh out and remember. Get out your laptop, your marker board, your notebook and sit in Starbucks, the park, in some cases, by the pool, and just write.
It doesn’t have to be good. That’s why it’s a rough draft. It’s okay to make mistakes. I guarantee you that all the other authors have to rewrite just as much as you do. And be bold with it. Don’t dillydaily about having too much to do, not having enough ideas, or any of that nonsense. You can see the Finish Line. Don’t be the kid who can find time to eat fourteen donuts while browsing their phone but complaining about not having time to workout. The same concept applies here.
Like working out, you must find time. There’s even a movement for this with their own special hashtag: #tenminutewriters
Now stop the whining. Stop the excuses. And just buckle down and do it.
I found that carrying a small notebook around with me can easily fix my problem. It can fit easily in my purse and still allow me a place to write my book out undisturbed whenever I want it. Perhaps you head to your doctor or the dentist and you are sitting there waiting for your appointment.
Get out your mini notebook and write.
Maybe you’re picking up your kid from soccer or basketball practice and they run into their coach or friend and they start talking. Instead of impatience, get out your notebook and write.
And that’s all I have to say about it. There is a Finish Line and it feels so good to reach it. So get out there and write!
Tags: accountability, buddy, ella douglas, inspiration, nevermore, nevermore november, november, starbucks, typewriter, writer tips
Ever heard of accountability partners? The first thing you may think of (if you are a Christian) is an accountability partner for resisting a certain type of sin that you know you struggle with. The second thing you may think of is a workout buddy. You wanted to shed those extra pounds or get toned but you have zero desire to go through with your goal and thus get your friend to pester you until you can’t ignore it any longer. This same idea can apply to writing. Don’t keep yourself at a standstill. Don’t start a book only to leave it for years until you finally get off your butt to do another chapter or two. Keep yourself accountable. It is a good deal harder to let down your friend than it is to make excuses to yourself.
Write until your fingers cramp.
Write until your pen runs out of ink and then go get another pen or pencil.
Get a partner and keep them on top of you, nagging you and pushing you to try harder when the inspiration just isn’t there.
Change it up with different materials and different writing utensils.
I once had a writer friend tell me that she switched up each time she wrote with a different writing pad. One day, she used a dry erase marker and a white board. Another, she used her notebooks and colored pens and another, she used her ipod to type notes.
Type on your keyboard. Type in Starbucks. Change up your environment. Change up the font that you use. Use a quill and ink. Use parchment. Use a typewriter.
But just write.
And when those fail, your friend won’t. If nothing else, go read your friend’s work. Go read a book in your free time. Listen to music that matches your story and get scribbling. Go on Pinterest and make a story board to get inspiration for the clothes, faces, and environment for the story. Just get accountability and write.
Social media is one of my favorite distractions. In this day and age, the user is constantly in their phone, whether it’s checking Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, email or some other app. A user roughly checks his phone over 150 times a day. It’s addicting and time consuming when you find something interesting to look at or read. Still think that social media is a bad idea to promote yourself?
Very recently, I discovered that getting your name out there doesn’t solely rely on you writing a book, reading over it once or twice, fixing little mistakes like spelling or changing a word every now and then, and then sending out to publishers to become famous and solely rely upon them to make you a star. You’ve got to be willing to put in the same time and effort that you painstakingly (and frustratingly) stuck into the making of your glorious masterpiece into getting your name out there.
Publishers want to know if you’ve been seen before. They want to know that you are a good investment. Recently, a friend of mine told me that through Wattpad, she has managed an enormous following of over five million reads on her book, Marriage to An Adult. I never really realized how powerful gaining such a following could entail.
The next day, I set about setting up a Facebook page for my writing; made a Twitter account to help gain a following; and created a Wattpad to further post snippets of my novels and to let loose the little prose and fluff that I had accumulated over the years. Some of this, I’ve already posted to my DeviantArt page that I’ve kept running for several years. I’ve gained some attention on there as well as become more comfortable with drawing and finding tips on there. During one of my fanfiction prose that I had posted, a person contacted me about getting published in his email chain magazine that he showcases anyone who wants to participate in the pictures, stories, short stories and poetry that grace the digital pages.
Social media can be used to further the popularity and awareness of your book and self as an author. And, for those of you who draw, it will showcase your talents and hopefully get the attention of other authors looking for a graphic designer for the cover or art inside the book.
Best of luck to all you lovely people who take time out of their day to read this. Use this infatuation our generation has and post, post, post!
Facebook: Ella Charlotte Douglas (author page)