How do you do that thing you do so well?

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It’s a common question asked by those who want to write a novel. I hear this all the time on Quora. Where do you begin? How? Where do you get your ideas? Do you plot? Do you ‘wing-it?’ How do you do that thing you do–so well?

Let’s talk about my latest release, SILK ROAD Code Raven 6. It’s a great example of my personal writing process and may help you to get started on yours!

It starts with a word. I asked a friend, fellow author, to give me a country. In this case, it was Kyrgyzstan–a country that had no meaning to me. If you’re familiar with the Code Raven Series, you would know that not only do I love my characters and develop them further with each story, but I also love to take them to different countries around the globe to get into–and out of–trouble!

In my research about Kyrgyzstan, I came across the history of how this country was once a part of the Soviet Union. I already had a rough idea of the Russia/Asia part of the world but didn’t know much about the terrain. If you are anything like me, once you go on the world-wide-web, one search turns into another, and another, and before you know it, you’re off on a tangent for no particular reason. In my case, my interest was piqued by the crime lords who moved in to fill the void of a legitimate government. Corruption of all types runs rampant in this predominately Muslim country.

At this point, I became intrigued by the historical implications of this centuries-old area and the original Silk Road–the trading route moving through Asia from the East to the West.

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Without giving away the plot, let’s just say that I became intrigued by the human condition and in particular how turmoil and greed affect women and children around the globe.

HERE’S MY PROCESS:

  1. Out comes the excel spreadsheet. 
  2. Usually, I reprint the Characters names across the top of the sheet so I don’t mix up attributes, history, or activities, timelines, etc. This is important when writing a series. You would work the same way as you introduce new characters in your novel even if it’s a stand-alone book. I also used this process on my memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On
  3. Chapters numbers down the left side column.
  4. Next column a key phrase to summarize what will happen in that chapter.
  5. The next column will give more detail, possibly a paragraph of key events.
  6. In the planning stages, I might color code the chapters. If it’s fiction and action, I might color code an action event RED, something that moves the plot along in YELLOW, and a relatively soft aspect, emotional, resting chapter might be soft green. This way you can make sure you don’t lose your reader by dropping the pace. Inevitably all my reviewers say this series is ‘fast-paced.’ You want that when writing a mystery. Otherwise, your fans will get bored and put your book down! We want them to read it in “one sitting!”
  7. The chapters continue down the page until the end.

Why a spreadsheet?

I use this concept if I’m writing Action/Adventure/Mystery or Contemporary Romance or Non-fiction like my memoir. Why?

  1. It’s easy to cut-and-paste therefore changing the sequence of events, or slotting in a new chapter!
  2. You can see the entire story in one place. 
  3. The spreadsheet allows you to edit the events along the way inserting, expanding where you find your plot to be weak.

My process is always fluid. I never set a rigid plot.

Sometimes I start with one idea and watch the following events move down the page. The thoughts, ideas I have may never make it to the final story. But here’s the key: one idea leads to another, and another, and another. And my story starts to take shape from that original one word. Example:

Silk Road. Trade. Smuggling. The new Rail service from the coast of China all the way to London, England! Think about the potential here. Imagine all the events that could happen along the way! And that’s how the story moved along. And then I found activities in the Maldives that I decided to connect. And one of my main characters, Zach was summoned to Washington DC by the frightening pleas from a SEAL friend he served with in his Afghanistan/Bin Laden days.

Here’s a couple of teasers so you get a feel for the final story:

A former Navy SEAL gets a terrifying message from his estranged daughter. “I’m desperate! I need your help, Dad. Bring your friends!”

“They stole my baby Daddy! They’ve got my boy!” Will a team of ex-SEALs break US law to exact revenge?

A teenager is abducted in Kyrgyzstan. Has she become one of many kidnapped brides? Or is something far more frightening going on? The corrupt authorities ignore the parents’ pleas for help.

A new Silk Road train stretches from the eastern shores of Yiwu China to London, England. Its precious cargo is not what’s written on the manifest.

When two young children are abducted in the middle of the night from Raven’s sanctuary in the Maldives, Luci, Luke, and the Raven Group will stop at nothing to get them back.

Are all these horrific events linked?

If I’ve peaked your interest and you want a great read, written in the style of Lee Childs, David Baldacci, or Clive Cussler, get your copy on Amazon: Silk Road

 

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You can literally control your mind.

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It’s amazing the conversations and exchange of ideas and philosophies we can have with strangers from around the world if we only open to the connections. I LOVE this video. It’s so simple and explained so beautifully.

Thanks, Rohith, for bringing this video to my attention.

Have a week filled with wonder, joy, and happiness. My gift for you to begin your week.

 

What things should one be good at in order to become a good writer?

Lynda Filler
Lynda Filler, Top Quora Writer 2018 Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC at Writers and Authors (2009-present)

Be Brave. You have to be able to open your heart and pour out your feelings. It doesn’t matter what genre you’re in. Let it flow. Be Brave.

Be Bulletproof. Some people choose not to read their reviews. I read them and on Goodreads thank the writers. But I still remember words used to describe my first JET, an action ex-Mossad female assassin. A reader said I’d turned her into a “horny slut.” Today I laugh, then, it wasn’t funny. I thought I “humanized” her. Don’t let the haters get inside your head.

Be Curious. It doesn’t matter what. It’s curiosity that has kept me traveling the world in my stories. I LOVE taking my characters to different places in my work whether it’s action or contemporary romance. They live in my mind and I live in their worlds. It’s great fun and takes me to places I didn’t know exist. My current WIP starts off in Kyrgyzstan, moves to Paris, then the Maldives… and on and on. Research, photos, travel, it’s all part of my curiosity about people, places, and issues.

Be Passionate. Don’t write it if you aren’t enjoying the words and the process. A friend recently told me he trashed 87 chapters. Now for me, that would be 100k but for him, it could be 250–300k words. That’s a lot of work and love to decide it’s not worthy of finishing.

Be Gentle. Writing is not for the faint of heart. Believe in yourself. Love what you do. Let no one be a bully to your talent or your belief in you. Self-talk is key in any work/game/sport/job.

And most of all, remember the Little Engine That Could, if you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t…you’re probably right.

21 inspiring Paulo Coelho Quotes for Entrepreneurs

 

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© 2018 Lynda Filler Photography

 

Thank you: Posted by P. Charitha

Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian lyricist and novelist is best known for his widely translated novel The Alchemist. A successful writer with the highest number of social media followers reaching over 29.5 million fans through his Facebook page and 12.2 million followers on Twitter, he uploaded his personal papers online to create a virtual Paulo Coelho Foundation.
Check out these inspiring quotes from his Blog which will motivate and keep you going steady in your entrepreneurial journey! We start with this quote.
“Fortunate are those who take the first Steps.”
So pat yourself on the back and move forward with your new idea and start the journey!
 
Believe in your Dreams
 “People are capable at any time in their lives of doing what they dream of.”
“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Do it now.”
“You are what you believe yourself to be.”
“When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
And
“Miracles only happen if you believe in miracles.”
When you Fail
“Never give up.”
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”
“Don’t give in to your fears, if you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
Keep the positivity Flowing
“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.”
“If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule: never lie to yourself.”
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
It’s not an easy Journey
“Sometimes you have to travel a long way to find what is near.”
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”
“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”
Take that Risk
“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.”
“A life without cause is a life without Effect.”
In those many moments of ups and downs where you have been told that it’s too risky or it’s not worth all the trouble & money keep fighting for your dream  because if you :
“Fight for your dreams and your dreams will fight for you.”
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine: it is lethal.”
re-blogged from Paul Coehlo Blog

as Coelho would say… imperfections

 

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© Lynda Filler Photography 2018

“A sunset (or sunrise) is always more beautiful when it is covered with irregularly shaped clouds, because only then can it reflect the many colors out of which dreams and poetry are made.” Coelho on Beauty

Coelho says beauty exists not in sameness. So why do we seek perfection in all we do? As I go through my creative life, I’ve learned to love my imperfect looks, my aging face and body, the words I write that editors feel the urge to correct, a poem that makes sense only to me, a story that has no ending and no beginning but has meaning at the moment for me, and love, yes, love… which is, and will forever be, impossible to explain!

Perfection in the imperfect from the Diary of a Creative Life.

 

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© Abandoned. Rescue Me                  Lynda Filler Photography 2018

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© Shy Nude 2012                                          Lynda Filler Photography

 

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© I’m on to you, don’t even try                Lynda Filler Photography

 

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© If I trust you with my heart…             Lynda Filler Photography 2018

 

More of Lynda’s life in her Memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On

 

“If You Don’t Have TIME, You Don’t Have PRIORITIES!”

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First of all, thanks to Evan Carmichael and his #Believe network for Tim Ferriss’s 10 Rules for Success Vol. 2. Find Evan on YouTube with new motivational/inspirational videos daily. This site is my first stop every morning before I begin my day!

Let’s take a look at what Tim Ferriss has to say. Many of you will know him for his book The Four Hour Work Week Escape 9-5,

These are Tim’s Top 10 Rules of Success

  1. Ask Great Questions
  2. Start Small
  3. Be Focused
  4. Unplug and Reset
  5. Accept the Collateral Damage
  6. Try the Five Minute Journal Method
  7. Schedule Your Time
  8. Get Feedback
  9. Simplify
  10. Do Acroyoga

 

See the full video here. I know you will be intrigued by his simple concepts. I #LOVE  #5 Accept the Collateral Damage.

Thanks, Evan Carmichael, you are my hero!

 

I’m in love…Coelho

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A review or a reviewer’s musings? You decide…

Sometimes a story/book/novel seizes your heart and refuses to let go. Such is my love affair with this book, Manuscript Found in Accra.

Let me share a few of the highlights from the book. I imagine when I allow myself to finish, I will have underlined at least one hundred sections. I’m savoring every page.

“As far as Coelho is concerned, this “Manuscript Found in Accra” is not in 1099 or 4859, much less at the end of 492. The Copt believes only in the present moment and what he calls Moira–the unknown god, the Divine Energy, responsible for a single law, which if ever broken, will bring about the end of the world.”

“I am not here to tell you that defeat is part of life; we all know that. Only the defeated know Love. Because it is in the realm of Love that we fight our first battles–and generally lose.”

“Wait patiently for the right moment to act. Do not let the next opportunity slip by you. Take pride in your scars. Scars are medals branded on flesh, and your enemies will be frightened by them because they are proof of your long experience of battle. Often this will lead them to seek dialogue and avoid conflict. Scars speak more loudly than the sword that caused them.”

“In the silence of the night, they fight their imaginary battles: their unrealized dreams, the injustices to which they turned a blind eye, the moments of cowardice they managed to conceal from other people–but not from themselves–the love that crossed their path with a sparkle in its eyes, the love God had intended for them, but which they lacked the courage to embrace. And they promise themselves: “Tomorrow will be different.” But tomorrow comes and the paralyzing question surfaces in their mind: “What if it doesn’t work out?” And so they do nothing. Woe to those who were never beaten! They will never be winners in life.”

“Solitude is not the absence of Love, but it’s complement. Solitude is not the absence of company, but the moment when our soul is free to speak to us and help us decide what to do with our life.”

“If you are never alone, you cannot know yourself. And if you do not know yourself, you will begin to fear the void.”

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“For those who fear the solitude, it’s important to remember that in life’s most significant moments we are always alone. Take the child emerging from a woman’s womb: it doesn’t matter how many people are present; the final decision to live rests with the child. Take the artist and his work: in order for his work to be really good, he needs to be still and hear only the language of the angels. Take all of us, when we find ourselves face-to-face with the Unwanted Visitor, Death; we will all be alone at that most important and most feared moment of our existence. Just as Love is the divine condition, so solitude is the human condition. And for those who understand the miracle of life, those two states peacefully coexist.”

 

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THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

 

 

 

 

 

Manuscript Found in Accra is a novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. The action is placed in 1099 in Jerusalem while the city awaits the invasion of the crusaders. Inside the city’s walls, men and women gathered to hear the wise words of a mysterious Greek man– known as the Copt. The people begin with questions about their fears, true enemies, defeat, and struggle; they contemplate the will to change, and the virtues of loyalty and solitude; and ultimately turn to questions of beauty, sex, and elegance, love.

What is something you find easy that most people find hard?

 

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I have many things I think I find easy but the first word that came to mind is Entrepreneur.

When I was young I think I was shy. Everyone laughs at me when I say that. I was/am a military brat. It’s a lonely world out there if you’re shy and don’t make friends easily. I learned very quickly how to introduce myself and make new friends every three years.

I started selling clothing from my home at twenty. It took guts. But I never thought twice about it. It came naturally to me to go for something I wanted. Later I moved to a retail location in Toronto. I found three small investors and it never crossed my mind that they wouldn’t invest in me! When I moved to Montreal and began a manufacturing company after working as an International Fashion Buyer for the largest company in Canada. I had no formal training but I had confidence and I was innovative and good.

Over the years I’ve learned countless skills—all self-tough—that have allowed me to be fluid in career choices. I’ve always been successful. That doesn’t mean it’s always been easy. Absolutely not.

I love to make money and spend it! I’m creative and have a gift for business. Now I’m following another passion. I’ve been writing for years. Now I write full time and have 12 books on Amazon.

I think most successful people will tell you it’s more than one thing that accounts for their success. I think most successful people will tell you it’s more than one thing that accounts for their success. I’m also a great leader. People will follow me and success is not necessarily a solitary journey.

I’ve given you a path but you can be sure I fell down, lost my faith in myself countless times. But I’ve always believed in myself and that has made all the difference.