Monday, December 5, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway: THE BELLE STALKER by Minnette Meador



Hi Everyone. Please help me welcome Minnette Meador to the blog today! She is here to promote her book, The Belle Stalker. Today Minette is going to talk about her writing process and offer some great tips and tools for writers.


Monique asked me about my process for The Belle Stalker. That’s a tough question to answer without putting everyone to sleep. Writers are notoriously action packed inside their heads – but watching them work is like watching trees grow. I’ll give it my best shot…

The story starts with a question. For Belle Stalker: What if a mythical being were stuck in the human world for 2,000 years? 

I generally sit in a chair, put my feet up and daydream, or let my mind wander right before I go to sleep at night, or I take a long walk. Sounds weird, but that’s what I do. Then I just let the juices flow. Sometimes an idea comes to me very quickly, others not so quickly. With Belle Stalker it came right away.

I used to write from the hip, just letting the story and the characters guide me to where they wanted me to go. I still DO write from the hip, but now I have a bolt action, automatic holster that guides the gun to my hand. In other words, I outline everything. That doesn’t mean it ever comes out the way I’ve written it down (and it never does) but it does mean I have certain highpoints the characters need to reach, a timeline they have to keep, and an ultimate climax and resolution. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? It might be, but it keeps me on task, saves me hours of rewriting later, and makes the story tighter. 

So exclusively just for you, here are the magic tools I use to create a story. Don’t get too excited! Hope these might help those writers or wanttabe writers out there. All the links go to Google Docs and you might be asked to sign up. It’s free and a great resource if you want to share documents. If you don’t or can’t access, please make sure to drop a note to mmeador at minnettemeador dot com and I’ll send you copies. 

Characterization Survey - I use this chart for each one of my characters, but fill it out completely for the hero, heroine, and the villain. Then I write out a background story for each character in OneNote (see below). Note: The finished questionnaire gets copied into OneNote under the Characters Tab by Name.

World Building Survey - This little gem came to me from a wonderful writer Patricia Wrede. It is the quintessential guide for world building and I use it extensively for not only fantasy/sci-fi worlds, but for the modern one as well. If after filling out this survey you don’t know your world from every angle, then you haven’t done it right. 

OneNote - I use OneNote for all of my books and highly recommend it for writers. There is a screenshot of how I use it here. I use this extensively (make sure to check out the tabs under each subject) and cut and paste all my research there too. It has saved me countless hours. Character Sheets, Goals Motivations Conflicts Statements for each character, plotting, chapter/synopsis, research, and even pictures of characters and places go into this document. I keep the plot screen next to the word document I am writing in, so I can see what’s next. This is what it looks like.

Research – I do extensive research on the internet and copy and paste all my articles into OneNote, then categorize the research (see link). If you take a look at this document you’ll see on the right hand side of the screenshot a list of other subjects I’ve researched for this book. It also makes is amazingly easy at the end to do acknowledgements and bibliographies for my books. This is very handy especially if I’m writing a historical piece.

There are lots of other craft type tools I use and many of them are listed on my blog under Writing Resources if you’re interested. Note: I haven’t updated this list in a long time. If some of the links don’t work, my apologies. 

I will say this about my process: It is ever changing and differs from book to book. I’ve developed what I use over the last eight books, hopefully each time streamlining the process so that I write better and produce compelling stories ~fingers crossed~. I hope you get a change to read The Belle Stalker. The only thing I promise about the story is that it is different than most and is one wild ride… Minnette :o)

THE BELLE STALKER 
An Urban Fantasy Thriller
by Minnette Meador

The police have done all they can, but it isn’t enough. When Belle finds the mutilated body of her lover strewn across the furniture she knows only her ex-husband, Homicide Detective Mike Cranston can stop the maniac who has been dogging her steps for over a year. The only problem is the man who stalks her...is not a man at all. Belle plays a dangerous game and only hopes that Cranston can stop the monster before it’s too late.

ONE WILD RIDE

“Get down! Someone’s taking shots at us.”

It took a microsecond for that to register. Cranston instinctively crouched close to the wheel. A quick glance into the rear view mirror confirmed it. A black Pontiac, a man in a black ski mask armed with a high-powered rifle hanging out of the window and a masked driver.

“Are you okay?” he asked Mallory.

“Yeah, fine,” Mal replied bitterly. “I brought body armor. It’s in the trunk, nice and safe.”

Despite the circumstances, Cranston smiled. “Nice planning!”

Another shot whistled by his ear. He turned the wheel to the left then the right, making the car weave back and forth over the surface of the freeway. What little traffic there was took a cue and pulled over to the side, compelled by the wailing siren and the speeding bullets Cranston assumed.

A bullet careened off the street just in front of them. The gunman was getting sloppy.

“Would you please shoot that son of a bitch!” he shouted at Mallory.

THE BELLE STALKER – CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX


Here is where you can find Minnette and buy The Belle Stalker:



Giveaway:

1) Minnette's Daily giveaway is One hour of free tutoring in Writing Tools via Skype OR your choice of any of Minnette's eBooks in any format. 

2) She is also giving away a small Kindle ($79) plus a Portland tote filled with goodies to one one randomly drawn commenter during the entire tour.  

3) ALSO: Any reader who sends their name and address to Minnette will be sent a stack of signed swag. Just drop her a note at : mmeador@minnettemeador.com
 
The more comments you leave the better your chances of winning.
 
To Enter:
Leave a comment or question with your email address.
Be sure to visit the other blogs on this wonderful tour. Click on the tour button below for a list of participating blogs.



43 comments:

  1. That was some question you asked yourself. See, this is why you are the writer & I am the reader. Thank you for sharing the why's & wherefores of your writing. I found it fascinating.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  3. This cover is TOTALLY eye catching! Thanks for sharing this post today!

    Molly AT reviewsbymolly DOT com

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  4. Hello Minnette~ *waves* Nice seeing you today. Its awesome to see what you use to write with thanks for sharing.
    yamikokoro(@)gmail.com

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  5. Good morning, everyone! Molly, thanks so much for inviting us over here to play today. What a beautiful blog! I love it!

    Hi, MaryBelle! You are most welcome. I bet you'd make a great writer.

    Good morning, Yami! You're welcome!

    Don't forget to send your name and address to mmeador@minnettemeador.com for swag and the links for the book are above. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions. I will be over here again at noon and around 5:30 PST. Again, thanks so much for coming over! Minnette :o)

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  6. Hi, Minette.

    Your books covers are just wonderful. Do you work closely with the cover artists?

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

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  7. Hi Minnette-

    I can't wait to read this story, it sounds great! I was wondering who do you like to read? What your favorite genre was to read and also to write? Do you experience writers block? If so, what do you do to overcome? Coffee or tea? I guess I better let some other people ask questions. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

    your1chef at aol dot com

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  8. Thanks for sharing how you create your works Minnette.

    lauraalbert@hotmail.com

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  9. How fascinating to hear your process...and such good suggestions! Thank you so much for sharing!
    Jan
    jktreads at yahoo . com

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  10. Thanks for the post. I've often wondered at the "how" of writing a book, so it was an interesting read.
    mmbourassa(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  11. Dead lover, cop ex-husband (and probably hunky) and a paranormal element?!? Sounds super!

    The free tutoring is a great and unusual prize.

    Anne
    acm05atjuno.com

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  12. Just a quick drive by to say I'm being slammed at work, but will be back around 5:30 to answer posts... Some fabulous questions and I'd like to take my time... See you soon! Minnette :o)

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  13. Hi Minnette,
    thank you for the get links to these. i have been trying to do most of this by hand and some of it i am just trying to keep track of in my head. :)
    it is always so nice to get advice from such a successful author.

    trvlagnt1t@yahoo.com

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  14. Interesting post,very useful tips for writers. Thanks for sharing! cheryllynne(at)rocketmail(dot)com

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  15. Nice tips. I use OneNote for my research as well.

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  16. Just stopped by to say hi. These tours are such a whirlwind.

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  17. Almost didn't make it today. Had eyes dilated earlier today and it's only just now that I can see well enough to get back on the computer. Anyway, as I was reading your post today, I got to thinking about how much easier a computer has made the work of an author. Imagine writing out in longhand with pen and ink (or a pencil stub) everything involved in writing a book. I wonder if Jane Austen did this same detailed character backgrounds, etc. before she wrote P&P?

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  18. Still got to get my onenote running. Loved this insight into your writing process--and into the fact that the process is allowed to change.

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  19. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read your books. They sound really good. Tore923@aol.com

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  20. Finally made it!

    Hi, Tracey D - I give them general input about what I want, but honestly I don't really have a lot of say over the cover. The first couple of books I did, but the good news is I have fabulous designers. If I really don't like something they will change it. :o)

    Hi, Christine! I real just about anything I can get my hands on. I just finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, am reading a horror story about the Civil War and picked up Haunted America a couple of weeks ago. I also have Stephen King's and Michael Crighton's lastests, plus sever romances I'm trying to get to. I especially love mysteries, sci-fi and fantasy. I was a Tolien "scholar" before there was such a thing (back in the 70's... man, does THAT date me!). Favorite to write? It's usually whatever I'm working on at the moment. Right now my favorite is comedy, but I still LOVE those historical books too. The voices in my head fight all the time about it. I do get writer's block, but over the years I've had to kick it in the butt to meet deadlines. I just sit down and FORCE myself to write. Coffee, though I love a cup of peppermint tea from time to time. Thanks for all the questions and Merry Christmas to you too!.

    Hi, Bama... You're going to have to stop talking so much girl! LOL

    You are more than welcome, Laura!

    No worries, Jan. Thanks for coming over!

    ~Waves~Hi, Melissa! Every writer does things a little differently, so don't take mine as the norm! LOL

    Thanks, Anne... There a couple more twists in there too... :o)

    Tammy Ramey! My pleasure. I love sharing stuff when I get it. That's why I set up the "Resources" pages on my blog and my website. I know how long it took me to find stuff to help streamline the process, and other authors shared with me. So you are welcome to use what you can. I'm really excited to share the tool training with one of you writers... I think you'll get a big kick out of it!

    You're welcome, Cheralyn!

    There's my girl! How are you Christine? I know. I keep trying to get over to your tour and haven't had the time. For any of you here, Christine is also having a tour with Goddess Fish. Here's a link: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2011/10/virtual-book-tour-highland-honor-by.html - Good luck, darlin'! :o)

    Hi, Karen... Oh, I hate having my eyes dilated! OMG, I don't know what I would do without one! I don't have to imagine, girl. I wrote the first draft of Starsight longhand and then bought a Selectric typewriter. I was so thrilled when the first PC's came out! I've heard she did as did lots of great writers; Mark Twain filled whole notebooks with character sketches. :o)

    Hi, Sheila - Writing ALWAYS changes for me. It's part of the creative process. I guess that's what makes us artists, huh?

    Thanks, Victoria. I really hope you get the opportunity!

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  21. I love all the books of yours I have read, I sure would like yo get my grandaughter a kindle, I believe she would read more...Anyway, Good luck in all you do!!

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  22. Love the first two resources. I grabbed copies of both the Character Survey and World Building Survey Thanks for sharing!
    JL

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  23. Asked for access with my gmail address. I would love to take a look at your one note and surveys. My system is papers all over the place, then writing like mad. Suggestions from you mean alot, since you seem to have found "the" technique. Love your books, too.

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  24. Sorry I've missed you all day. I slept, the only problem working night shift is I miss all the afternoon fun!
    Yamikokoro(@)gmail.com

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  25. sounds great.
    r.d1@myfairpoint.net

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  26. Thanks for stopping by my blog today, Minnette. I really enjoyed your guest post & tools.
    ~ Monique

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  27. Hi Minnette,
    I'm late here, but thanks for the information. Tried to click on the link to see the OneNote examples, but it took me to a request permission page.
    I am tappitytaptap@gmail.com and I would love to see the OneNote, because I am trying to outline & be more organized myself.
    Thanks again.
    And btw... I just want to tickle his tummy *g*!

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  28. I've been learning so much about the different ways authors approach the writing process, since I started blog hopping. It's like a free course in creative writing techniques. Thanks so much for sharing your craft.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

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  29. Minnette,

    As always, I adore your insight and tips into the writing process. Being one of those wannabe writers, I appreciate every bit of advice I get, whether I use it or not. :D

    sh0mehardwork at gmail

    Monique,

    Thanks for hosting Minnette!

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  30. Hi Minnette, I am SO thankful I had time to stop by today...I truly am always learning from you !

    I really am looking forward to reading 'The Belle Stalker'

    Hugs~
    Kym

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  31. Thanks, Phillis! I think she probably would read more. I know kids are getting into ebooks in a big way right now.

    You are more than welcome, JL. I hope they help! I use them for every book now.

    Thanks, Shanon. I hope you can use them. I'm just lazy... I couldn't stand the notebooks and piles of pages, so when I got OneNote, I was able to put it all in there. It's an amazing tool!

    Hey, you're here now, Yami! Thanks so much for following the blog!

    Hi, RD!

    Oh, Monique, thanks so much for inviting me. This is an amazing blog and you have been so wonderful. Everyone, make sure to follow Monique's blog. She has fabulous guest and great articles!

    You are so funny, Pam! I've shared it now. Didn't realize it was set to private ~hits head~ Let me know if it doesn't work!

    You are so welcome, Kathryn. We still have a lot of places to go yet including my research on homicide investigations, so stay tuned.

    Thanks so much, Eli. That really makes it worth it to me. I had so many wonderful authors, Lisa Hendrix, Delilah Marvelle, Kristine McMorris, Piers Anthony, and Spider Robinson have been instrumental in keeping me writing. My brother, Roland Smith, has given me so much advice I am sometimes overwhelmed. That I can pay this back to other writers is what it's all about. Keep that in mind when you are rich and famous! :o)

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  32. I'm so glad you stopped by too, Kym! I hope you can use some of these tools... M:o)

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  33. I am trying to post hope this works! Xxx Hi Minnette dropping in to show my support for a wonderful lady with some amazing books. Higs Angel!!

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  34. Hi, Amanda! I'm so glad you could come over... Hugs right back at 'cha! xxxooo

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  35. thank you for the book sound great

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  36. Love the tips. I'm going to check out onenote! Thanks.

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  37. Thanks to everyone who dropped by yesterday! This was a blast... and a very special thanks to Monique for inviting us!

    And the winner of the writer's tool training is... JL Oiler! Congrats, girl! Send an email to mmeador@minnettemeador.com and we'll make arrangements.

    Now onto the next... http://traveltheages.blogspot.com/2011/12/please-welcome-author-minnette-meador.html

    See you there! Minnette :o)

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  38. What was your inspiration? :)

    lisagoneaussie (at) gmail.com

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  39. What a cool giveaway for writers. That so awesome! I am reader so I would love to read Belle Stalker!

    usignolc(at)yahooDOTcom

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Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate all of your comments.

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