A gentle reminder that you are deserving of the love you so willingly give. Remember that a big part of experiencing love is by allowing yourself to receive it, may it be through someone giving you a really cute coffee mug, your best friend sharing their dreams with you or simply by staying at home in bed with the love of your life on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Those little bits of love are there to let you know that you are so special to those around you and how every once in a while, it’s okay to be at the warm center of it all. Let yourself be loved to the point where you once again believe that this is what it means to be truly alive.
Last year, I wasted hundreds of hours fearing what others were saying about me, hundreds of hours wondering if I was good enough, hundreds of hours putting myself down.
And then I thought about all of the art I could have made during that time instead. All of the joy that I could have had. All of the happiness I missed out on.
This year my only resolution was that I would spend less time worrying about the things I couldn’t change and more time finding the joy I missed out on last year. Maybe that in itself is what they call growth.
What is true love? True love is when a bird learns how to fly and is given the freedom to be anything it wants to be no matter the color of the sky. True love is what happens naturally without tension, guilt or struggle because it is based on how your chaos becomes beautiful together with someone else’s storm. True love is when friendship becomes everlasting and there’s a feeling of warm acceptance for all the seasons you’ll be spending with the person and spring has always looked so wonderful each time you see yourself reflected in their eyes and there’s hope. It’s as if you were sleeping for a long, long time and finally, you rise with a flowing sense of courage to be a better person every day for just thinking about the way they drink their coffee is enough to make you smile and grow and live. True love is kissing your beloved’s feet as you gently say, “What an honor it is to walk home with you.”
To all the storytellers, suffocating on fears that their words are imperfect and therefore unwanted:
Harnessing your gift is not a simple feat, although it may seem so when you look at your brothers and sisters. Words begin clumsy, and sometimes they remain clumsy, but that does not revoke their power nor their meaning.
Your mind holds worlds that others could not conceive, and only by your command may we be privy to their mysteries and delights.
Hold on fast, my dear storytellers, for you do not know the strength of your own might.
I think just talking about everything under the sun is sexy. Talk to me about your why you have a scar on your hand, why you stopped playing your favourite sport, why you always wear your left shoe first, why you hold my hand in the dark and why you’re scared of loving someone. Talk to me about real things, about things that matter and not things like the weather. Not enough people talk to me. But everyone wants to buy me a drink and remove my shirt. Talking is sexy, I don’t know if you get that. I wish more people had the guts to bear out their souls and just talk to each other.
Me cuesta mucho para mi expresarlo, pero es la verdad cuando digo que un tiempo eras todo lo que yo tenía. Pero no me dí cuenta. ¿Entiendes? Yo sólo me desespere y escuché a las personas en lugar de escuchar a mi corazón, que a gritos de latidos me decía que te necesitaba. Quedé como el malo de esta historia, con una diferencia, el malo también quedó completamente destrozado. Debo vivir con ello.
There’s a girl out in the prairie dog fields. You see her every now and then and stop and wonder what she’s doing out with those yipping rats. It’s not right to sit out in the dirt and sun all day. You get along with your business though because you’ve got skins to tan and saddles to shine and meager food stuffs to make last for miles. There’s a girl in the prairie dog fields and, they say, she’s listening to them. You never thought the rodents had much to say, but the serene look on her face suggests otherwise.
Sometimes you stop and look at her a little longer in that field. ——— There’s a girl out on the bluffs. It’s the same one you think, it’s the same pretty daughter of the minister that wasn’t quite right in the head. You follow her up the cliff side and right over to the edge where the sky starts. She doesn’t turn around, she asks if you’re the daughter of the saddleman and you say you’re nobody’s daughter since they can’t marry you off.
You’re nothing to nobody. And maybe you followed her up the bluffs because you were a little angrier than usual about the state of hungry bellies at home and the bad looks in your direction.
She grabs your hand and says “listen.” She whispers it real close to your ear, “the wind blows hard up here. Listen.”
You close your eyes and don’t know what you’re trying to be hearing. But your breathing does even out and your thoughts stop storming. You both wonder down the bluffs together that day. ——- There’s a girl out at in the night. She howls with the coyotes, they say, and whispers to the tall grasses. She’s not right in the head and funny in all the wrong ways. You sometimes follow her out into the dark yourself, out into the moonlight and whisper things of your own to her.
You sit out where the light doesn’t touch and try to understand what she’s trying to find in the fields and the bluffs and on the prairie. She says she ain’t trying to find anything.
She listens to you though, even if you’re angry and no good to anyone. She pats your hand and sometimes her touch lingers a little longer than it ought to and you don’t say nothing about that either. ———- There’s a girl out in the center of town. They are whispering about her, hissing this time, not letting her in the shops no more and cursing her name. The girl is crying and backing up to the closest wall, she says she doesn’t want any trouble and some of the meaner folk are getting close.
They say one of the misses lost a baby. They say there was a mark on the stillborn that had to mean something. Did she know anything about that?
The girl goes backing up right to the wall and says again she doesn’t want no trouble. She doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
That was the wrong thing to say since these are the meanest of ‘em and the hardest to make less afraid.
You see all this from on top of the family horse with your eyes narrowed. You’re supposed to be picking up some canned peaches in town and figs if you can find ‘em, but there are wet streaks on the girl’s face and a wobble to her lip.
You turn that horse right around and kick the old mare into a gallop. You’re no good to no one, you’ll stick by that, but you stop by the girl and put your hand out. “Come on.”
She takes your hand and you swing her up in back of you and tell Flare to hit the horizon as fast she can. There’s some yelling and shooting behind you, but you’ve been riding horses since before you could walk and none of the men are a good shot.
You’re gone soon, out into the emptiness before they can stop you.
The girl is still hiccuping behind you and holding on tight. She stammers: “you shouldn’t have done that.” She says it like a death sentence. “They might not let you back there.”
You shrug and straighten up a little bit, “it was never worth going to anyway.”
You finally slow to stop and try not to think about your family and stealing the horse and the future. You are breathing pretty hard when you do start to think about it. Word travels fast and no one might let you back after that.
You both get down and the girl takes your hand, kisses you hard on the mouth, and leads you into a prairie dog field.
You both lie down in the dirt and the sun and listen to them yip. You stop breathing as hard now, and the little creatures are singing in their own way while you hold hands with the girl and things seem to slow down and get a little wider. A little bigger.
There’s two women out in the prairie dog fields, they say, they live in a cabin they built themselves and survive by listening to all the big wide world around them.
Building a story or series from the ground up with the help of templates!
This is how I approach planning. It covers what I do up to the point of opening a blank document and typing the first word.
Despite the tags this isn’t going to be ‘how to’ or advice based because who am I to tell you how to plan a story? This is only an option:) I engourage you to steal liberally but also question whether or not this method will work for you. If you don’t vibe with something, throw it out!
*you don’t have to answer these questions in order.
Genre/Sub-genres: Picking a genre can help you find ideas/tropes faster. If you’ve written or read a book before you probably know the types of stories you like.
AgeCategory: This can help you find themes for you story. I like to sepate genre and cataegory since you can have a young adult or an adult romance.
Point Of View: Pick who will tell the story. Will there be more than one?
Tense: First, second or third person? Past or present?
Formatting: How will the story be split up? Through chapters or parts. I also like to put whether or not I’ll have a playlist, any quotes or epigraphs, prologues or epilogues, anything like that.
Tone: Will your story be serious, light hearted, sad, satirical…etc
Atmosphere/Color palette: I like to use this for when I’m writing description. Using specificities to elevate your writing can bring a world together and make it feel real.
Overall Concept: As vague as you’d like it to be! I usually give a few sentences.
Comparison Titles: I love to use comparison titles in the beginning when nothing has been solidified. It helps me know what came before me while still generating lots of inspiration.
Series Title: I usually base it off the first books title or a significant thing that links all the stories together.
Number of stories you want: I don’t always know how many stories will be in a series but it’s good to have a rough esimate of how many you’d like to write.
Number of stories realistically achievable: But we all know that sometimes an idea just isn’t sustainable for a 10 book series but works rather well as a trilogy instead.
Story that will kick off the series: All of your stories should fit a purpose in the series but this book will take the roll as a set-up (not to be confused as ‘filler’) for the rest of your series. It’s just something to have in mind when planning. This way you can plant twists and foreshadowing for the rest of the books.
Story that will close out the series: This story has big shoes to fill since you’ve probably been amping everything up to an explosive finish but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if it’s bigger and better than what came before, it only matters if it’s a satisfying close to the whole series.
Summarize each story
Story # 1 summary …you get the idea
Timeline: I like to know what year the series starts and when it will end. It might sound complicated but it’s so helpful. You don’t want a character to be pregnant or something for three books if the the stories have spanned more than nine months.
Spin-offs: You might find that you’ve got some ideas that don’t quite fit in with the others but they have some common elements. A spin-off is a cool way to explore those other ideas.
Naming conventions: I like to name my individual stories similar things to keep a theme. Example: J. R. Wards Black Dagger Brotherhood series has book titles with the word ‘Lover’ in them. There’s also naming conventions like the ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas that go “A Court of Blank and Blank”
Historical Background and Events:
What might the town be hiding to the average passer-by?
*You can definitely add more questions depending on your story. I write mostly within our world but I do like to create fictional towns.
* Again, you can add any more questions you’d like to. These are just the ones I like to use to get going. Some of them are super vague, so in Daily Life I’ll put their living arrangement, transportation, pets or anything like that. I also add loads of stuff in their Description such as sexuality, how they dress, tattoos or scars, etc.
*this is for anything like a fictional club, cult, company, evil organization or something like that.
Council Members (include roles):
Other Members (include roles):
Working Title: Sometimes I use something concrete but if I need to get it out of the way I’ll put something like Project Black.
Estimated Length: Word or chapter count you’d like to achieve.
Order: Which book in the series is it?
Premise: I like to refer to this as the summary’s skeleton.
Story Theme Song: This is just for fun but sometimes it really helps me capture what the whole story might be. I can also use it when I’m low on inspiration.
* I’d recommend googling an explanation of story beats or purchasing Blake Snyder or Jessica Brody’s book on Save The Cat beat sheet. But on the other hand, you don’t have to use a beat sheet at all. And if at any point during planning you feel like you’re ready to write then go for it!
Opening Image: An image that catapults your audience into the look and feel of your story
Theme Stated: Typically the theme of the story is communicated by someone fairly early on. This is dialogue spoken to the protagonist that he doesn’t quite grasp yet.
Set-Up: Show the protagonist in their “old world.” Let the audience know what the status quo is for them, then hint at the adventure that follows. This is also a time to introduce secondary characters.
Catalyst: Sometimes called the “inciting incident,” the catalyst is the event that disrupts your protagonist’s status quo. But they’re not ready to make the choice that catapults them into the story just yet.
Debate: This is where the protagonist has doubts about setting out on their perilous journey.
Break into Two: Inevitably, your protagonist will overcome their doubt and make a choice to set out on their adventure. This is the choice that sets the plot in motion. Your beat sheet will be filled with obstacles and twists resulting from making this choice from here on out.
B Story: A subplot ensues. Some would say that this is usually a romantic subplot.
Fun and Games: Plot structure requires a stretch where your protagonist wields their new power, and does cool stuff with it. I’ve also heard this referred to as the Promise of The Premise. So in Hunger Games by Susanne Collins this would be Katniss actually fighting in the games.
Midpoint: At some point, your protagonist will either get what they’re after… or not. But there will be consequences either way.
Bad Guys Close In: After your protagonist gets what they want, or not, there will be consequences. These forces will tighten their grasp, and throw the protagonist off balance.
All Is Lost: The dire circumstances your protagonist endures will lead to an inevitable loss. Which can be anything but it most commonly a character death.
Dark Night of the Soul: At this point of the Save the Cat beat sheet template, your protagonist has lost hope.
Break into Three: In plot structure, this is where your protagonist claws around in the darkness, only to find or remember something useful.
Finale: Treat the finale as the Act 3 summary. The Save the Cat beat sheet template is at its end, so it’s time for the protagonist to take on their foes. Armed with new tools and self-discoveries, the protagonist often synthesizes what they’ve learned (in Act 2) with values they’ve always had (Act 1).
Final Image: Along with the opening image, the final image creates the bookend that encapsulates the journey. This is the last thing the audience is left with.
*Closing thoughts: I have never used just a beat sheet because they don’t resonate with me for every story. I always add stuff or take away. I think there is a special beat missing between the Finale and Final image and that is where the characters slow down, take a breath and reflect on everything they’ve experienced. I also think Romance is the hardest genre to use the beat sheet with but I do a hybrid of the Beat Sheet from Save The Cat Writes A Novel! By Jessica Brody and Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes for the most part.
NOW JUST WRITE! :)
I hope this was helpful in some way or another! DM me or reply with any questions or for clarification. I have many more posts I’d like to create (on my process) but if you have any ideas or topics I should make posts on let me know.