Thursday, December 5, 2013


Well, NaNoWriMo is over. I didn't win this year having completed only a little over half the word count and me not writing the last two weeks of Novemeber, due to my unexpected early trip to visit family (which was wonderful by the way.) But, I had started my novel before I worked on it for NaNo and I am just shy a few hundred words of a total 50,000 words for my novel! That makes me feel some better, but I do have a little twinge of guilt that I didn't finish, only because I hate not finishing what I start.

But, I'm getting back into the swing of things now that Thanksgiving is over and will start trying to do my creative things more now! My husband and I ended up waiting a few more weeks to save money and instead of buying the new Rebel Canon we ended up getting the new Canon 70D!!! I love it so much and I've already taken at least 400 pictures with it if I'm calculating correctly. It was so nice to have it around the holidays and capture so many beautiful memories than I otherwise would have never been able to record.

To kick off my lovely creativity again, I sat down and drew a portrait today. It took me around two hours which may seem slow, but for me was actually pretty fast. No, I don't know who the woman is. The reference picture I used was of a woman I don't know, but her picture was on Pinterest and I liked it. I usually use a grid when I start a drawing because I never had much luck free-handing without the guides, but this time I didn't! For a first try I think it came out fairly well.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have fun getting ready for Christmas! Take advantage of the time and be creative!

Saturday, October 26, 2013


It's official! I'm participating this year in NaNoWriMo! My amazing sister-in-law has participated in it before, and I was inspired by the fact that she was able to complete it. I'm very excited and will be using it to get the word count I need for my novel. Fifty-thousand words in one month... Goodness.

I am nervous about being able to complete it, but I love a challenge and I'm very competitive, even if it's only with myself, so I'm looking forward to it. I've been doing as much preparation as I can by filling out my character development sheets and working on my plot structure. It's coming along! I already have about six chapters of my novel written, but I'll just start doing the word count from what I start writing in my book on November 1st.

Is anyone else participating or has anyone participated before? What kinds of things are you doing to prepare? I'm finding myself feeling more comfortable the more I flesh out my plot, so we'll see how it goes. For those that are also doing NaNo, I'll hopefully be able to post some encouragement on my blog to help get us through the process. Good luck everyone!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pumpkin Carving

Happy Saturday, everyone!

So last night my husband and I had a ton of fun carving our first pumpkin together! The last time I did any pumpkin carving was when I was about nine years old and I did it with my sister, mother, and aunt. It wasn't as difficult a process as I remember it being. I guess because I was younger. But the crafting was very successful, so I decided to post some pictures of our creation!

Here are some pictures of our work-in-progress.

Here is our final product!!! My husband did a great job carving out the guide drawings I penciled onto the pumpkin. We decided to go with a moon and stars theme because we don't really celebrate Halloween and we thought it would be pretty to make it more of a fall decoration that would be nice to look at off our bedroom deck.

It was really a lot of fun! I highly recommend going out and picking a pumpkin or even just going out to the store to get one. It only took us about an hour and a half I think from start to finish. We just put a little tea  light in it and it looks beautiful.

Have fun being creative this fall! Take all the opportunities you can.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Character Development Questions

Hello readers!

I thought I'd post the questions I use to help develop my characters. I did not come up with these questions on my own. I found a bunch of great questions from a website a while ago, but of course, I can't remember from where. I changed some of them and got rid of a few and added a few. They have really helped me out. I'm still going to try and complete one of these character sheets for almost every character in my book if I can. Let me know if you can think of some other good ones and I'll add them to the list! Have fun developing your characters!

Character Name

Does the character have a nickname?

What is your characters hair color? Eye color?

What kind of distinguishing facial features does your character have?

Does your character have a birthmark? Where is it? What about scars? How did he get them?

Who are your characters friends and family? Who does he surround himself with? Who are the people your character is closest to? Who does he wish he were closest to?

Where was your character born? Where has he lived since then? Where does he call home?

Where does your character go when he’s angry?

Does he have a secret?

What makes your character laugh out loud?

When has your character been in love? Had a broken heart?

What is in your characters kitchen right now? On his bedroom floor? On his nightstand?

When your character thinks of his childhood kitchen, what smell does he associate with it? Sauerkraut? Oatmeal cookies? Why is that smell so resonant for him?

It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. If he’s eating breakfast, what exactly does he eat? If he’s stretching out in her backyard to sun, what kind of blanket or towel does he lie on?

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

What is your favorite occupation?

What is your most treasured possession?

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

What has been your favorite journey?

What is your most marked characteristic?

When and where were you the happiest?

What is it that you most dislike?

Which living person do you most despise?

Which talent would you most like to have?

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

What do you most value in your friends?

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Whose are your heroes in real life?

Which person in your life do you most admire?

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

On what occasions do you lie?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

How would you like to die?

What is your goal?

What/Who stands in your way? (Why can’t you reach your goal from where you are standing? What do you need in order to get there?)

What do you do for a living? Do you like it? Are you good at it?

What is your secret dream?

What does your home look like? Where do you live?

What is your education?

What are you secretly embarrassed by?

What are your hobbies?

What was your family like growing up?

What is your biggest fear?

What is your best strength?

What do people like about you?

What are you most proud of?

What event changed you/your life the most?

What are your talents?

How do you react to adversity?

What music do you like?

What is your religion?

How do you feel about love?

Hope these help. Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Just a Little Update

Ideas to give more depth to my book have been coming to me constantly! It's the best feeling, and I only wish I could write faster. Lately, I've been creating more back story for my character's other than my main characters. I find that it is easier to write about how they would react in interactions with my main characters to know where they have been in life, even if my main character doesn't know it.

Besides writing, I am really looking forward to next week. My husband and I are buying a Canon Rebel t4i camera!! I am so excited to get back into my photography addiction!! I'll finally be able to take pictures of our first apartment together and take creative pictures. I'm excited to start adding photography to my blog, so expect some photos in the future.

A little side note, a friend of mine has a wonderful blog where she talks about beauty, cosmetics, and being a person who loves themselves and makes the most of life. She gives some great encouragement. Check it out!

Belle Fleur's Blog: Be Empowered

Be creative today!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall Photoshop Painting

Today's creative endeavor was completing a piece of work in Photoshop. I was in the "autumn" mood today which is what inspired the content.

I am so happy with it. I finished it surprisingly quicker than my normal pace! I usually spend so much time over every tiny detail, being my natural compulsive self when it comes to being creative. But I decided that an imperfect look was good for this picture. I used a reference photo that I found on a stock photo site that I like to start my painting from.

Here is the link to it if you ever have a need for stock photos: FreeDigitalPhotos

I painted the trees and the ground by using the eyedropper tool to pick color pixels from my reference photo. I then used a styled brush to paint the color on top of my reference picture.

I switch back and forth between my brush and the eyedropper tool every time I feel like I'm painting over a different color. I just hold down the "I" key on the keyboard, select my new color from the photo, and continue painting.

I used the eyedropper tool for the leaves as well, but I switched to a maple leaf scatter brush that I have before I painted them.

When I created the hills, I took the forward most ground layer I had and multiplied it a few times. I did some free transforming and changed the positioning of the copied layers to create the different hills in the background.

To get the foggy effect, I just created a blank layer and chose two different color grays for my foreground and background colors. I filled the empty layer with one of the grays and applied the "render clouds" effect. After putting a gaussian blur on the layer, I copied it and placed one layer on top of my hills that are farthest away the last one on the hill in the middle. I changed the opacity to make it look like it gets foggier deeper into the picture.

Well, that's that! Hopefully it puts you in the autumn mood, too!

Voice It

The most amazing thing happened last night!

I often talk to my husband about my book and tell him current frustrations I find myself in. Recently, I've been considering my plot. I had a basic idea of what I wanted to do, but was having trouble adding a good amount of depth and substance to the story. I wanted my book to be richer, but I couldn't think of anything. I figured I'd try the "fly by the seat of your pants" method, where you just write, write, write, and let the story develop as you go.

But, last night something wonderful happened, and as I was voicing my thoughts, amazing plot ideas began coming to my mind as we talked. My husband was very patient as I continued brainstorming out loud. I typed everything down as quickly as I could, and when I read it back to myself, I found the interesting story I've been looking for so desperately, laid out before me. I am so happy and am more excited than ever to continue writing.

Have any of you had any amazing epiphany moments?

If you're having trouble, try telling someone about your book! Voicing it out loud and trying to explain to someone what your book is about could trigger ideas in you head. It has helped me a lot to be able to talk with my husband about it and also my sister-in-law, who I'm very close with, who also writes.

I suggest to try and find someone you can really talk with about your book. My experience with having people like that has only helped me stay motivated and keep me excited about what I'm doing. Feel free to comment here about your own thoughts, too.

Be creative today!

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Happy Sunday!

One of my recent creative endeavors was drawing a Disney character. I adore Disney, and I like sketching. When I sit down to draw, it often takes me a long time before I actually put my pencil on the paper. The white space can be very intimidating to me! Also, I spent the longest time looking for the perfect picture that I wanted to try and copy. I finally found one of Meg from Hercules that I liked. It took me all of three hours to draw it, which is probably a little ridiculous, but I can be so compulsive!!! Here was my result.

The picture quality isn't the best, but you get the idea. I was actually surprised by the result and happy with it. It just proved to me that people really should try doing something that they want to do, even if they think it will be a disaster, like I believed this sketch was going to be. I usually don't try to free hand my drawings. I like using the grid method when copying from a photograph, but I figured since it was a cartoon I could try it. It's too bad I couldn't find my blending sticks or I would have tried smoothing out the lines in her hair more. I had a blast, so I think I'll try drawing more Disney characters in the future!

Here are some random things that I have taught myself when sketching.

  • When the white space looks intimidating, just draw a random line on the paper (lightly) and erase it! It makes it easier to get started when I trick my mind into thinking, "The paper has already been messed up so it doesn't matter if you mess up and have to erase anyway." Ah! The insecurity!
  • When I just started drawing, I always tried to start by drawing the shape of the face or an eye, but I have recently found it much easier to start with the nose! It helps me keep everything proportioned more correctly by working from the inside out. I don't do this when I'm using the grid method though.
  • I also used to find myself afraid to draw dark. My pictures used to look as if they were faded, but my first drawing class in college helped with that. Every time my teacher would come over to whatever assignment we were working on she would always say, "Make your shadows darker!" I've been working on that and can see improvement in the depth of my drawings.
Do you have any tips that you feel have helped improve your drawing?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

For the Love of Writing

Progress on my book is coming along! I am so in love with writing my book. I'm a new writer I guess you could say. I've been writing since I was sixteen but haven't written this consistently in a long time. I finished the first draft of chapter two. It might not seem like much, but I have already done so much brainstorming for my book that I feel like finishing chapter two was another giant leap ahead.

My book is about a seventeen year old boy, looking for purpose in his life, a precious stolen family heirloom, and best of all, pirates! I feel as if I learn more about about my characters every day I write. Diving into the secret thoughts, feelings, and desires of my character makes me feel as if my book is truly coming to life. I am always looking up fiction writing tips to improve my book. One simple tip that every writer always hears helped me. I've always heard, "Use all the senses!" But, until I read through what I had written did I realize that I was sometimes only using two or three of them. I've been trying to put in more description to help my book breathe. I'd love it if I could write a book where the reader truly felt like they were in a real world every time they opened the pages and felt like they knew my main character intimately.

A great blog I've been reading from is DailyWritingTips. There are so many amazing articles on writing! If you're writing a book, too, check it out!

One thing that I've also been enjoying is filling out character sheets. I'm still working on creating the perfect one, but I've compiled a lot of different questions from other sites that should help you learn more about who you are writing about. If I continue editing it and make it the way I want it, I think I'll post it on here for other people to use. It has helped me feel closer to my characters and understand more how they think. It takes me a while to fill them out, but I'd love to be able and have a complete character sheet for almost every character. Maybe it's crazy, maybe it's not, but I'd love to try it anyway.

If you're writing a book for the first time, too, just try and keep up your motivation! It often seems like a daunting task but imagine the beautiful product you will have when you finish. Let your creativity pour from you and decorate the pages. If you love what you're writing, there is going to be someone out there that would love to read it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thoughts on Creativity

Have you ever felt the aching in your chest that means to draw you out of your humdrum self, telling you that you can do something amazing? I feel it almost daily, and I like to call it my lovely creativity. There's really nothing more freeing to me than being able to create beauty in some sort of way that makes people really stop and appreciate what they see. We can all live similar lives and go about our days performing the same tasks over and over again, but creating something that's beautiful in your eyes is leaving a small piece of you with the world that can always be remembered.

I'd love this blog to be an expression of me, my thoughts, and my life, hopefully inspiring people to explore their unique creativeness. Likewise, I hope to be inspired, too, and continue growing in my love for beauty and people. Creativity is within everyone, and everyone is unique. Be creative! If you don't, the world could be missing out on something only you could give.