- Try writing the scene from a different character’s perspective.
- Try opening you book from a later chapter and see how it affects everything. Try from Ch 2 or 3. Many agents say there’s way too much backstory in opening chapters and the manuscript opens in the wrong place.
- Give your character a fatal flaw you haven’t previously considered. Make them as multi-dimentional as you can.
- Let your characters react in a big way. Let them get mad, hurt, angry, sad, hysterical, etc.
- Switch the setting. Place your character somewhere totally new and see how they react.
- Consider the emotional arc of the character. What’s the one thing that would break them? Then make that happen.
- Make sure your main characters all have a personal stake in the story. Don’t let anyone be there for convenience.
- Look for instances when characters agree on something. What will happen if a character says NO instead? Put as much conflict into every scene as you can. All your dialogue should have some degree of conflict in it: emotional conflict, people that are at odds with one another, different agendas, unspoken fears etc. Good Conversation = Conflict
I’m always on the hunt for anything fabulous and anything that makes life easier. That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about CHATBOOKS. I have a slight obsession with my Instagram account. Well really, my obsession is with pictures, and Instagram helps to fulfill my obsession. But now Chatbooks takes it one step further!
Chatbooks is an app that collects all your Instagram pics and prints them into 6 by 6 inch photo books. There’s one picture per page with your caption and each book is 60 pages. Then every time you hit another sixty pictures in Instragram, you get an email notifying you to look over your pictures (you can omit the ones you don’t want to print) and then they will automatically send you a new book.
Or if you aren’t into Instagram, there are two other options to upload photos into their books- the Chatbook series or the Custom book series.
Are you ready for the whopping price that might break your bank?? Six dollar per book. Yep, you heard right. Just pack a lunch tomorrow instead of eating out and we’ll call it even. And the shipping is FREE! Isn’t that awesome? I immediately ordered my entire Instagram feed.
Remember scrapbooking? As much as I love a finished scrapbook (let’s be honest… wasn’t it daunting? Being totally creative with fifty scrapbook themed pages with little decals and designs and notes and stickers…slightly overwhelming even for a crafter like myself!) I’m a huge fan of SIMPLE.
All I have to do now is snap great photos and be clever with my captions. Easy-peasy.
Here’s Chatbook’s Website.
And no, this is not a paid endorsement. But I haven’t been this excited about a product since my Britax Stroller and Car Seat combo from my my toddler was a baby. And seriously they could have hired me as their poster-stroller-mama.
You can also Follow Chatbooks on Instagram for flash deals. My books will be arriving any day!
See ya next week!
SUMMER is finally in full swing! Today I’d like to share 10 Ways to Have a Fulfilling Summer!
1) Spend Time OUTSIDE. Simply put, it’s good for the soul. Breathe in the fresh air, feel wind in your hair, get some sun on your face. Take off your shoes and feel that tickle of the grass or the soft grit of sand. I promise you’ll feel revitalized.
2) Take a Trip. Everybody needs a break from reality, something to look forward to, a reset of your capacity to deal with life. It doesn’t have to be and exotic location or an expensive get-away. But find a way to get out of town with someone you love this summer. You’ll come back with a renewed zest for life.
3) Participate in Local Activities. There’s something to be said for being part of your community. I bet you’ll be surprised how many events are offered between the city, local schools, libraries and recreation centers. The more you get involved, the more rooted to your community you will feel.
4) Do A “Summer-Cleaning.” Go through your closets, your garages and your kid’s rooms. See if there are things you no longer need or items you can donate to charity (Here’s a post I did about Sorting & Donating). Reducing the amount of clutter in your home will lift the mood of your house and give you peace of mind.
5) Spend 5 Minutes Reflecting at Night. Studies have shown that peoples who are consciously paying attention to the good things in their life are less prone to depression, they feel more fulfilled and live longer. Whether you do a thankful journal where you jot down one thing you are thankful for each day, use the Gratitude 365 App I talked about here, or even verbally share something you enjoyed about your day with someone you care about–find a way to focus on the good.
6) Commit to Less. Summer is a great time to scale back on your responsibilities. Guard your time and don’t be afraid to say NO. Make sure that if you’re participating in something it’s because you WANT to be there, not because you feel obligated.
7) Carve Out Time for Something You Love. Whatever it is that moves you and makes you feel alive… make time to do it! Be conscious to have at least one activity a day that makes your soul happy!
8) Be Active. The days are long and perfect for squeezing in something active to reduce stress, lose weight, tone up and find mental clarity. Go running, biking, hiking, waterskiing, jet skiing, golfing, canoeing, rappelling–just SOMETHING active. Go chase your kids in a game of tag, participate in a fitness boot-camp, take your dog for a long walk, jump on a trampoline, play a pick-up game of basketball, throw a ball around, go to an outdoor yoga class or swim some laps. Take advantage of the these longer days because Fall will be here before you know it!
9) Read! Being a writer, I may be a little biased here… but I also devoured 50 Books in 2013 and it enriched so many things in my life and broadened my perspectives. Here’s my list of the 2014 Top Ten Summer Recommendations. Even if you’re not normally a reader or can’t seem to find the time, try to read at least one book this summer. Here’s a few suggestions of how to make reading more convenient for you!
BONUS CHALLENGE: Create a Bucket List! I had so much fun putting mine together and it’s great to keep things I want to do in my life on my radar. Try it! What have you always wanted to do??
I hope you’re able to use some of these ideas to make your summer more meaningful. 2014 can be the best summer yet!
Have a safe and happy Independence Day tomorrow!!
Happy Valentines Day!!
Today is your day to revel in all that we’ve accomplished with the “30 Days to Love Yourself Project“ I designed. Thank you for taking this journey with me and for all your participation.
Here are links to each post to go along with the recap collage above. Sending all my love your way!
Happy Love Day!! xoxo Brooke
30 Days to Love Yourself Project
Day 30!!! YAY!
Put your best foot forward- Dress up, let the sun in, laugh as much as you can, turn up the music, spend time with loved ones, celebrate your uniqueness, acknowledge the strides you’ve made, appreciate your body, your mind, your heart and love with wild abandon.
Congratulations on making it to our 30th day in the project! I hope that you’ve been able to learn some things about yourself, stretch your limits and have some fun along the way. Tomorrow is Valentines Day. I love the idea to celebrate love by starting with yourself, which is the thought that started this whole thing. I designed this project to bring us full circle- back to the beginning.
My final thought I want to leave you with is this:
You are enough.
Everything in your being, exactly as it is right now- no more, no less, is as it should be. You are enough.
You have been though things. Hard things, that have changed you and left scars. You are enough.
You are loved. You don’t need validation from someone else for this to be true. Reach deep yourself and you will find it. You are enough.
You are beautiful inside and out. You are enough.
You have things to contribute to this world that no one else can. You are enough.
If there’s one thing I could etch onto your hearts after this month, it is that you are enough. You’re not broken, or ugly, or out of shape, or boring, or lazy, or unloveable. You are enough. Just the way you are.
Revel in that.
My friends, on this Valentines Eve, and at the end of this project, I hope you’ve been able to internalize the things we’ve done to help you appreciate yourself and all you have to offer. I hope you feel rejuvenated and ready for whatever you have planned tomorrow, feeling confident and happy.
All my love, Brooke
(If you missed any of the previous days of the 30 Days to Love Yourself Project” you can read the posts HERE.)
Day 24: Identify one thing you’ve wanted to make time to do and DO IT!
The Blurb: It’s Friday! You know that one thing you keep wanting to do but haven’t been able to do yet? Today is the day to do it! Things get so busy and it’s hard to let yourself have some ME TIME or INDULGE in something that’s just for you. But part of learning to love yourself is realizing the replenishing value of taking time to do things that make you happy!
Suggestions: Go to dinner with a friend. See a movie. Take a night off and just be lazy around the house. Try that new workout you’ve been eying. Reconnect with a friend. Skype someone you miss. Take that class. Plan a trip. Do something active. Order dinner in and read a book. Make your Bucket List.
Keeping It Real: You don’t have to justify this one to anyone. It doesn’t have to be fair. It doesn’t have to involve anyone else. You just do whatever you want. I give you permission.
Photo of the Day: I’ve been so busy lately that all I want this:
- Awesome movie- check
- Yummy dinner- check
- Comfy couch- check
- Super soft sweats- check
If you’ve just discovered this project and want more excuses to do things that will make you happy, you can view the previous posts HERE. If you love having an excuse to do something fun you’ve put off and want to do and want more things like this, here’s the lineup of what’s left:
See you tomorrow!
Day 17: Do something that makes you feel sexy.
The Blurb: It’s Friday night! Let’s do something that makes you feel sexy! We’ve been doing lots of things to help you feel good in your own skin, appreciate your unique assets, develop your best qualities, and let go of things that have been holding you back. Today you can revel in your success and do something that makes you feel sexy.
Suggestions: Here’s a fun and flirty list of 50 things you can do to feel sexy, by Redbook:
Or if that’s not working of you, Monica from Friends has a diagram of the Seven Erogenous Zones on women:
Photo of the Day:
I hope you have sultry, sexy Friday night.
Here’s the RECAP and here’s what we will be doing tomorrow:
See ya tomorrow!
Day 15: Allow yourself an hour to indulge in a guilty pleasure.
The Blurb: These last few weeks we’ve been putting in some work! Letting go of unrealistic expectations, cutting out negative eating habits, working out, scaling back toxic relationships, sorting and donating items you no longer use and even figuring out how to reduce stress. Today you deserve a break!
Suggestions: As I was looking for a funny picture to post, I realized that guilty pleasures seem to fall into one of the following categories: Men and Women, Food and Beverages, Favorite Books or Movies or TV Shows.
The word “guilt” implies a negative connotation as fas as making you feel like you’re doing something you’re not supposed to. As long as its not hurting or bothering anyone else, I agree with the statement above. You shouldn’t have to feel guilty about taking time for yourself or doing something you enjoy.
Which one of these categories would your guilty pleasure fall into? Remember, the whole purpose of the 30 Days leading up to Valentines is to be focused on yourself and to engage in activities that increase your confidence and give you peace of mind.
Keeping It Real: For the categories mentioned, my guilty pleasures would be:
Men and Women- My hubby (obviously)
Food and Beverages- Either Sushi or Mexican food/Wine
Favorite Books/Movies/Shows- My guilty pleasure books would be any Julie James book/I LOVE movies and don’t get much time to watch them lately so at this point ANY movie would be a guilty pleasure movie/My guilty pleasure show was Breaking Bad but now I’ve seen the whole thing and I haven’t found a replacement obsession yet (sad sigh).
An HOUR is so much time to do something! I’m so excited. I won’t be able to make this happen today until late tonight, but it’s happening! I’m going to watch something… not sure what yet, but I’m really looking forward to a great movie and a glass of wine.
Photo of the Day:
I can’t even tell you how excited I am to “have” to watch a good movie! Hope you all have a great evening doing something you love!
If you want to see what we are doing tomorrow see below and for a recap go to THIS POST.
Day 13: Allow yourself to indulge in your favorite treat.
The Blurb: You’re going to love today’s focus! I’m a big believer of All Things In Moderation, so I think it’s just as important to indulge once in a while as everything else. You’ve got to live a little!
Suggestions: Key Lime Pie, Creme Brûlée, Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, a good glass of wine, Cold Stone Creamery, Bryer’s Oreo Ice Cream, Bowl of Berries with Greek Honey Yougrt and Kashi Clusters, Sees chocolates, Golden Oreos, Banana Creamies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (confession: the ENTIRE list is made up of things I LOVE- each one tempts me!)
Keeping It Real: All day I was excited to have something that I LOVE and I wasn’t sure what to pick! I don’t have sweets very often so this is an extra fun focus. Aren’t you glad the maker-of-the rules has a sweet tooth and already did the post about cutting down the sugar?? You can totally blame me! You’re dieting? NO problem! You can tell everyone that you HAD to eat that hot fudge sundae because you’re participating in the “30 Days to Love Yourself Project” and it’s Day 13, and you can’t just stop! I’ll take the blame.
Photo of the Day: I was heading to the freezer section at the store to pick up my favorite Bryer’s Oreo ice cream, when something else caught my eye! I can usually only find these little delectable treats before Christmas. So you can imagine my excitement to see a whole box of them. Perfect bite-size happiness! YUM!
I hope you picked something that makes your day a little sweeter. Hopefully it helped you make it through Monday! I’ll see you tomorrow when we’re talking about giving one aspect of your appearance a little TLC.
If you missed anything, you can get caught up HERE!
You guys are awesome!
Day 12: Meditate for at least ten minutes. Focus on deep breathing and let go of negativity.
Keeping It Real: I’m switching up the order today so that Keeping It Real is first because of my own experience with meditating. I used to think meditating sounded relaxing in a sort of “oh that would be nice,” detached way. But I also thought it sounded a little… out there. I had no idea how to make it work for me.
But then I had this unexpected interaction with an energy reader that made me very curious about how she could do what she did. I found out she taught classes and so I decided to take her course on Meditation once a week for six weeks.
This is what I learned: I wasn’t doing it right before and… I love it! It’s incredibly cleansing and revitalizing. Once I learned how to let go and allow my subconscious mind take over, I was shocked at how much better I felt. There’s not a very good way to describe how it feels until you’ve experienced it. It’s like trying to describe the taste of salt to someone who’s never had it.
If you haven’t tried meditation or think it’s not for you (like I used to), just try to let go of those for the day and give it a shot. What’s stopping you? You only stand to benefit from it. Go into today’s focus with an open mind.
Suggestions: The following tips on how to get started are by Todd Goldfarb at the We The Change blog (I shortened a few):
Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Quieting the Mind
Meditation is the art of focusing 100% of your attention in one area. The practice comes with a myriad of well-publicized health benefits including increased concentration, decreased anxiety, and a general feeling of happiness.
Although a great number of people try meditation at some point in their lives, a small percentage actually stick with it for the long-term. This is unfortunate, and a possible reason is that many beginners do not begin with a mindset needed to make the practice sustainable.
The purpose of this article is to provide 20 practical recommendations to help beginners get past the initial hurdles and integrate meditation over the long term:
1) Make it a formal practice. You will only get to the next level in meditation by setting aside specific time (preferably two times a day) to be still.
2) Start with the breath. Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.
3) Stretch first. Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and brings added attention to the body.
4) Meditate with Purpose. Beginners must understand that meditation is an ACTIVE process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work, and you have to be purposefully engaged!
5) Notice frustration creep up on you. This is very common for beginners as we think “hey, what am I doing here” or “why can’t I just quiet my damn mind already”. When this happens, really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings go.
6) Experiment. Although many of us think of effective meditation as a Yogi sitting cross-legged beneath a Bonzi tree, beginners should be more experimental and try different types of meditation. Try sitting, lying, eyes open, eyes closed, etc.
7) Feel your body. A great practice for beginning meditators is to take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once the mind quiets, put all your attention to the feet and then slowly move your way up the body (include your internal organs). This is very healthy and an indicator that you are on the right path.
8) Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. Make sure it is not the same room where you do work, exercise, or sleep. Place candles and other spiritual paraphernalia in the room to help you feel at ease.
9) Read a book (or two) on meditation. Preferably an instructional guide AND one that describes the benefits of deep meditative states. This will get you motivated. John Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are is terrific for beginners.
10) Commit for the long haul. Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by NOT examining the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let it go!
11) Listen to instructional videos (*my tip- there’s a lot of Videos on Youtube).
12) Generate moments of awareness during the day. Finding your breath and “being present” while not in formal practice is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation habits.
13) Make sure you will not be disturbed. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not insuring peaceful practice conditions. If you have it in the back of your mind that the phone might ring, your kids might wake, or your coffee pot might whistle than you will not be able to attain a state of deep relaxation.
14) Notice small adjustments. For beginning meditators, the slightest physical movements can transform a meditative practice from one of frustration to one of renewal. These adjustments may be barely noticeable to an observer, but they can mean everything for your practice.
15) Use a candle. Meditating with eyes closed can be challenging for a beginner. Lighting a candle and using it as your point of focus allows you to strengthen your attention with a visual cue. This can be very powerful.
16) Do NOT Stress. This may be the most important tip for beginners, and the hardest to implement. No matter what happens during your meditation practice, do not stress about it. This includes being nervous before meditating and angry afterwards. Meditation is what it is, and just do the best you can at the time.
17) Do it together. Meditating with a partner or loved one can have many wonderful benefits, and can improve your practice. However, it is necessary to make sure that you set agreed-upon ground rules before you begin!
18) Meditate early in the morning. Without a doubt, early morning is an ideal
time to practice: it is quieter, your mind is not filled with the usual clutter, and there is less chance you will be disturbed. Make it a habit to get up half an hour earlier to meditate.
19) Be Grateful at the end. Once your practice is through, spend 2-3 minutes feeling appreciative of the opportunity to practice and your mind’s ability to focus.
20) Notice when your interest in meditation begins to wane. Meditation is
hard work, and you will inevitably come to a point where it seemingly does not fit into the picture anymore. THIS is when you need your practice the most.
Photo of the Day:
I hope you have a relaxing Sunday and that you give meditation a try! If you want to see what we’re doing tomorrow, the cheat-sheet is below! If you want to see what we’ve done so far, you can get caught up HERE.
Have a great night! See you tomorrow!