Thursday, July 30, 2015

How to Build Your Storyline

Do you ever feel like this caged lion when you are trying to put together your story?  (That's editing for me.) To me building a story is fairly easy.  The editing is what consumes most of my time!  That's why Meg goes over everything I do with regards to editing.  But story line??? I've got this...

So I thought what could I write as a 'how to'?  Try something different.  I'm always doing opinion posts.  Let's try a 'how to'.  Then I met a couple different writers that weren't sure how to pull their stories together.  That gave me an idea...

So here's the scoop on story line...

1. I always start at the end.  Even when I read a book I always start at the end.  How do I want my book to end?  If you can get the ending right then you can back build, or even start the beginning at that ending point (as you will see in one of my next books--- but I am not telling you which one.)

2. Make a timeline.  What happens when?  This helps me decide my order.  In another of my books (again not saying which one because want some surprise when I publish it.) I work with a dual timeline.  Part of it is memory and part present story time.

3. If you've already started writing, make an outline of each chapter and detail what happens in each.  This helps me see where I have gaps and if I need to change it I can write the changes I want to make on the outline in a different color then change the color when I rewrite it in.

If you haven't started writing, still make an outline.  You can build it more as you are writing.

4. This should probably be number 1... I have to really know my characters.  They are like real people to me and I am telling their story.  Even evil evil Wolffe I know exactly what turned him evil and just what would happen if his intentions were complete and what would happen if he won his battles with Anna.  One time Meg and I were brain storming on a scene because I was having such a problem with it.  So we started saying "Well what would happen if he got his way?".  From there we developed an alternative scene where Wolffe wasn't stopped, and that opened the door to realize what the problem was with that scene.  It also made me understand his motivation so much better!  You should know everything about your characters even the stuff that never gets written-- the back story...  It is more important than you think.

5. Figure out how you are going to proceed.  Only real life is linear.  Fiction can go in any progression you want. Once you figure this out it will be fairly easy to write your beginning.  Then you have both the beginning and the end...  The middle though is the hardest part for me.

6. Go back to your outline.  Look for your gaps.  Does your story jump?  Think about the progression you would like.  Write details into your outline then try them.  If you have to delete then save the old copy of your story until you've tried it out.

7. Read your story to someone you trust, or if it is close to being finished have them read it and tell you what they think.  I use to read The Key To Her Heart to my older teens and get their feedback and thoughts.  Then I would have a better idea of how it sounded, and it would help me see the problems and figure how to fix them.

8. Where is your climax?  You should have 1 or 2 real big turbulent events, but then at least another 1 or 2 smaller climatic events.  The first part of your book is build up, but it should not be boring.  Your reader needs to feel the tension.  Otherwise what reason should they keep reading?  Around a third to half way through should be your first big problem.  The second should be close to the end.  Then the smaller ones stick right in the spots it's starting to drag-- A little surprise, you know, to wake everyone up!

9. Do you like what you are writing?  If you don't then figure out what is bothering you.  You need to be passionate about your story.  Except don't ask me about chapter 6 in The Key To Her Heart-- I hate that chapter with passion!  You don't know how many ways I tried to avoid writing that scene and leaving that scene in there!  Oh my goodness!  Meg had to convince me after deleting it twice and me rewriting it more times than I can count that it had to stay for the sake of the story!  Believe me I wanted it gone.  But when I finally could sit down and read the whole of my work I realized it was a very necessary scene.  It makes Wolffe's threat real which the whole story hinges on.  So in the end I am still passionate about chapter 6-- I passionately hate it!  But it is still there.

10.  KEEP WRITING!!!!  Never give up!  Even when you feel like you are going in circles WRITE!  You will get something good even if you have to delete 100 pages for 1 (I've done that before!).  That 1 page was amazing!  The more you write the better you become and the better your story becomes.  So never give up.

So there you go.  Hope you liked my 'how to'.  If you did please subscribe to my blog or visit me on Facebook, or on Twitter.  Tell me what you think... I like trying new things.  I also like to find what others think.  Anyway this is Cat out... Hopefully I helped a few other struggling writers and gave some thoughts to those not struggling so much.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Alright here is my answer from the last post 'Just Questions'.  I don't know how well this will go over, but someone has to start someplace.  If I don't venture then I don't know if I can trust.  I already know I cannot trust anything I hear because most times especially in the media people just give us what they think we want to hear.  First I open the floor for any comments that you feel need to be said, and the worst I will do is not respond, but if I respond I won't condemn you because I want to be trusted, and so I am going to venture the same.  If you ask me to answer, then I will answer with my real thoughts.  I won't lie because that does nothing to further these ends.

My goal is to see if a community can be built where ideas can be shared along with thoughts and feelings without worry of condemnation or retaliation.  It is not that I expect everyone to be of the same mind.  It is that I hope for each of us to accept the other as another human being deserving of enough dignity to be open to listen and tell each other the truth in as much love as possible. Also that we all could be a support to each other when things are going tough, and when things are going well.

So here is my transparency. I would like this to be a Christian nation.  I realize it is not.  I am watching as we are asked to accept everyone, but as we do that what really is happening is we accept no one unless they conform.  I don't conform. I never have.  I doubt I ever will.  I believe in God and his Son, Jesus.  I believe in morals and values which we no longer have in this country.  Sometimes I think I would like to go live in Russia because at least they do have a standard which we have negated.  Still I am at heart a patriot, just not of this country as it is.  I am a lover of freedom, but I realize freedom with no standard makes chaos.  I am not a fan of that unless there is some control.  I believe in community reaching out to those that need help instead of the government taking over everyone's life.  I believe in families helping their own as much as possible.  I believe in strong churches and making friends within that community so that trust can be built and people can know they have a place.

This is everything that I feel like we have lost in the last twenty five years.  That's as long as I have been watching it happen.  I started watching as a young mother within my church group.  I had the things I spoke of above, and yet I heard older people than I seeing the changes that were already happening, and I listened to what they were saying.  So I started taking notes of what was happening around me.  By the time my oldest daughter was a mother I saw that it was almost completely gone.  I asked her to get involved and make a group of friends, but that was done on Facebook instead of at a bible study or event.  So I wondered if trust could be built on this medium, but have found everyone has a mask and it is never taken down.  We have personas that we build and fit them with others of the same persona.  Within that group we are fed lies to make us happy or content or angry depending upon the group we choose.  Where is the truth?  That is what I am trying to find.  I guess this is my way of trying to rebuild.  I am a writer.  That is my strength, and so I use this to call out to others that may have the same questions that I do, and are looking for an answer.  Maybe looking for a friend to just share with them and that they would feel safe sharing with.  I don't know if this will work, but after asking the questions on here, I thought going out on a limb wouldn't be a bad idea... hopefully.

I could be disappointed.  I could find out that everyone just likes the drama and the mask.  I think there are some like that.  Personally I like calm and being who I am.  I don't like being censured.  It use to be crudeness was closed down.  Now people of faith seem to get shut down.  So I am not sure what will happen, but never give up.  I don't mind the Confederate Flag by the way.  I see it as part of our history and a reminder that states have the right to secede when they are troubled with what the federal government is doing.  I see it as a reminder that we are a collection of states loosely united, but that bond can be changed.  In some ways I wish there were some states willing to break that bond, and then there would be a 'Christian' nation...Maybe.

As for me personally.  I attachment parent, do not vaccinate, am not politically correct, and am so far from perfect. I worry about everything I put in my body, do not use medicines, and am even careful what nutritionals I use.  I am like that with my kids too.  Gluten Free, don't drink milk, vegetarian, almost all organic, except when I get frustrated and go out to eat.  Panera is my favorite because I trust I am not killing myself when I eat there! But I have had surgery-- eight years ago.  All my good stuff only went so far because I had a genetic oups that caused all kinds of problems I couldn't fix.  The thing that blew every one away was I didn't have cancer when I should of.  Even now doctors are amazed my good cholesterol is high.  They don't usually see that.

I was a single Christian parent for five years, then married my husband and gave birth to my third daughter.  We adopted our son in 2004, and then in 2010 both my oldest girls became pregnant. My oldest decided to parent her son and the younger asked my husband and I to adopt her daughter.  We did.  She is four now.

Religiously... I am a Christian.  Actually to be technical I am an Eastern Rite (or Byzantine) Catholic.  Originally I didn't know what I believed.  At seventeen I was baptized, but accepted Jesus at eighteen and made more mishaps after I 'accepted Jesus' than before.  Those around me wondered if I was a Christian.  I had issues, but I will not apologize for that time because it made me who I am.  I learned to trust God even when I couldn't trust myself.  It was during this time I had my first daughter.  It was seeing my faith while I was pregnant with her that caused my mom to come to God.  I thought I should clean up my act and so I rashly married a man that was a 'Christian', and found after I was pregnant with my second daughter that he was abusive.  Then I went through a divorce.  As I said I am not perfect.  Three years later I married my husband that I am still married to... We are going on twenty years.  We went to so many churches, and yet for whatever reason I had a problem with each one.  He stood by me, and supported me on my quest-- not for perfection because let's face it if I found the perfect church I better not go because it would cease to be perfect the moment I walked through the doors.  But a truly biblical church is what my search was about.  For more than three years I studied what scripture said and compared that to whatever denomination we were at and found it lacking.  So I turned to studying the history of the church along with scripture.  Then I searched for the oldest church that had not changed.  That was nearly impossible too.  I finally came to the conclusion that the oldest church was the Catholic church or the Orthodox church which I went to both for a while as I tried to understand the extreme differences from the Protestant churches I had been a part of.  Then my best friend invited me to her Byz church.  Long story short I walked inside and I knew.  That was nine months before our adoption with our son was final. I have been Eastern Rite ever since.  There were many thoughts that went into that decision but that would take me writing volumes.

So here I am telling you all these details that I usually don't say.  I could go on, but for the sake of your eyes I will stop the litany here.  To sum up everything.  I am still not perfect, still temperamental, and still have more off days than on days.  I am not always a good parent.  I drive myself crazy and probably my husband too.  We have things we disagree on.  Sometimes I would like to have a place to talk about these things.  I'd like to be able to say I think I would have been a Southerner if I lived in the eighteen hundreds!  Or talk about escaping to Russia!  Or talk about the prophecies I have for this country...  Even if no one agrees with me.  I'd like to meet a few people that are willing to share their real thoughts too.  Is this something that anybody else wants too?

If you do then contact me.  Ask questions.  Tell your thoughts. Even if they are different than mine. I don't care if you agree with me or not.  That is not what this is about.  It is about being real-- even if it is scary or not politically correct or maybe if it is. I'm just tired of the facade and the lies.  Want to talk to those that are willing to be real.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Just Questions

Do I dare tell anyone my inner thoughts right now?  Is this a space safe for sharing?  Do I say everything I am thinking or just a tidbit?  Where is the space to be transparent anymore?  Am I too frightened to speak about what is really bothering me today?  Will there be a sympathetic ear to say 'hey I hear you.'?  As the tears fall does it even make a difference? 

When someone just needs someone to hear them is there room for that anymore?  Must we hire a counselor to have room to speak what we are really feeling?  What about a friend? What about social media?  Must we always keep our best face on?  What if we post how we are really feeling?  Who would listen?  Who would de-friend us?  What if our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs go against what's trending?  Is there a sacred space where we can just be ourselves anymore?  What if we parent different?  Will we have human services called on us because we do things different?  What if in our life we feel at crisis point?  Is it alright to say we are hurting?  Is it alright to say that things in our life are pretty screwed up?  Does anyone really care?  Or are we just looking for our next drama fix?  Why are we even part of this rat race known as social media if we can't even use it to reach out to others?

Where are the flesh and blood people we can open up to?  Am I asking the wrong questions?  Or are these just questions that I can find no answer to? 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Thoughts on June 26th of 2015

This is my husband Todd
 at one of our many trips to the zoo.
I was raised in a very liberal family.  My grandfather manipulated the system to get food stamps.  Divorce was okay in my family.  Being a single parent was alright, and my family did hire illegals to help in the family business. To name a few of our 'liberties' if you will.

On the other side of the spectrum, my grandmother first introduced me to God.  I lived in a conservative pious community that was nothing like my family where I learned what biblical holiness meant. My great aunt taught me about prayer. My dad is still one of the most hauntingly honest people I know. Some of my early mentors showed me a whole different way to live.

I was raised in the middle of two extremes.

Some members of my family were openly 'alternative' in sexual orientation. No one in my family had a problem with it.  Even now there are those close to me that have chosen that lifestyle.

Rebecca and Tory on Tory's 4th birthday.
Yes I am talking about the Supreme Court decision about Same Sex Marriage not my family of origin, but it does remind me very much of the split within this country over this issue.

Honestly same sex marriage goes against everything I believe (I'll come to what I believe in a little bit.), but I am under no compulsion to push my belief system on anyone else.  There are many members of my family that have been elated with the decision of the courts.

 I was far from it, but not completely because of the issue they decided on.

My biggest problem with this whole thing is the Supreme Court decided to tell states they don't have the right to allow their people to decide on a matter of conscious.  Since when does our Constitution give them that power?  What happens to the states where 80% to 90% of the voting people already made a decision about this issue?  Is their voice just negated by our highest court?  What about the next issue presented to the court?  What if it is about education or parents rights?  Are they under compulsion to decide for the states again  and so for all the people without any kind of vote?  Who gave them that right?

This is Meg & Alex
I believe in government 'for the people by the people'.  I read the Constitution and see states have the right to govern themselves for the most part.  That people can vote for what they want in their state and also have the right to speak up. Our court negated that fundamental right. That alone burns me.  It doesn't matter what they used as their basis.  It was the fact they took away freedom on June 26th.

Then I really began thinking about June 26th-- partially because I knew I would write about this issue, and I knew many of my family do read my blog.  Beyond that it was really bothering me. It still bothers me...

This whole issue of defining marriage I would take further, I don't believe that states nor government should be involved in deciding for anyone what marriage is or is not.  They should not be issuing marriage licences nor anything of the kind.  Like it or not-- marriage is a very private and a very religious issue.

If we are not a religious democracy our government has no business deciding by a piece of expensive paper who is married and who is not.  

A seven year old Peter.  He's doubled in age since then.
There is also another issue that comes up, and one that even my husband and I differ on. The last couple years I've read about people being fined by cities, counties, and states for consciously objecting to participating in a same sex marriage.  Whether it be by a religious leader refusing to perform the ceremony or a cake maker that can't bring themselves to agree to make a cake for the couple, and several other similar situations.

If business is free, then it is free to decide who to serve and who it won't.  I would not expect a priest to be under compulsion to marry a pagan couple.  It is against his core beliefs.  That same priest should be under no compulsion to marry a couple that had been divorced before, an Islamic couple, or a couple that is of the same sex.  I would also expect the same right to extend to the cake maker, the seamstress, and/or any service that has to do with marriage.  No one should be forced to go against their beliefs.

Maybe I will be stoned for saying this, but so be it.  Choosing a relationship is as much a matter of conscious as me choosing my belief system.  The government whether federal or at the state level does not have the right to define what marriage is at all.  That is between the individuals and what they believe.

 --If we are not a religious democracy.

Boycott the businesses that don't serve the people you agree with, and choose your side with your money and allow those others to choose their side.  It will be a very divided system, but finally it will be free instead of everyone feeling like they are a target of hate.

Ever heard the adage 'Live and let live'?  Don't try to change me or the community I live within, and I will give the same dignity.

I don't hate anyone.  I love those around me no matter where their persuasions lead them.  I am tired of being looked at as a bigot because I don't agree.

This is me with Hope & Tory last year.
I am a Christian... A Jesus follower... By denomination Eastern Rite or 'Byzantine' Catholic... Most people have no clue what that means.  Let me explain it simply.  I love God with all my soul, mind, body, etc. I love Jesus because he died for me, and I am doing my best to follow him as he wants me to.  I believe there is good and evil, and I believe the Devil is real --not some terrible fairy tale. I believe prayer changes lives, and doing good makes life better. I believe the Bible is true and the inspired word of God the Father.  I believe Jesus came to the Earth and was perfect and died for my sin even though no one else is perfect. I believe Mary his mother was a virgin and remained so after his birth. I believe the saints pray with us and help us, but we should worship the Trinity only.  So I do talk to those that have gone ahead of me to Eternity and I do ask them to pray for me or situations or other people.  I ask the angels to intervene and also to protect us. I believe miracles are real and possible, and the spiritual realm is just as real as the physical realm.

These are my core beliefs that make me who I am.  You can say that you don't agree, but that doesn't change who I am.  To go against these beliefs go against everything I am.
I realize I believe different than many, and this country is made up of many people. Many do not care what I believe.  Some see me as a heretic.  Some see me as their enemy.  Some see me as a conservative.  There are few that think I am too liberal (I doubt very many think that honestly, but in some ways I am.).

I cannot change their opinions.  I am not God!  And I don't want to be!

I make a practice of not judging others that do not agree with my beliefs.  Also I know many people that give me the same kindness.  That is part of loving others and giving them dignity. For the most part I am private and do not meddle in others lives or with their choices.

I am not scared of people that are different from me, nor am I angry with them for not being like me, nor filled with hate.  I love them.  I just am not them and should not be forced to go against what is part of my core belief system because the Supreme Court says so-- even when it goes against the Constitution.

My beliefs are part of who I am.  They make me me.  But they do not line up with my family of origin or many people I know.  I have no allusion that this is a 'Christian' nation. It is not.  From studying history, though it came with Christian roots and societal morals, it has never been.
 I like freedom.  But that means everyone has freedom.  I don't want to go back to England when Catholics were killed just because they were Catholics.  Or to France or Spain where the opposite was happening.

So I love freedom more than my words here can tell you.  That means, though, we need to stop 'benching it'.  It may get a little uncomfortable because I may make a decision that my city disagrees with or people of other persuasions (and I am not just talking about sexual orientation here) disagree with.  Our police need to stop being an army, and we need to allow the citizens to be armed.  And perhaps let the marriages be between the people and their choice of conscious instead of defined by any governmental agency.  That means some will have two wives and one husband.  Or any kind of strange combination that will make me sick to my stomach, but I will have my husband who I dearly love.  And if I get really sick I will move to a state where the people have decided on the Christian thoughts on the matter or I will keep away from businesses that offend my conscious.  If the bench keeps deciding then I might just move to a state that decides to object by succession.

That would solve it too...  Well maybe... This is Cat out hoping you weren't to horribly scalded by my thoughts.

Please feel free to share your own, even if I would disagree.