The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part VII (Last Part)

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, on April 28, and the second part followedThe third part was published May 26, 2022, part #4 was published July 11, 2022 and Part 5 you can read here since July 25, 2022, part 6 I published August 11, 2022, and this one here will be the last part in this series. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them once more:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]

Today we are trying to determine how much fun creating a world is…

I’m writing a mix of Fantasy and Paranormal Romance with my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series. That means, creating worlds isn’t (yet) a big part of my writing skills. The ‘Council members and their consorts are splitting their time between Heaven, Earth, and Hell.

We all know Earth, and many of us know Heaven and Hell exist, but nobody alive has ever seen either one, which means, I can ‘create’ the part that exists differently in each of our imaginations.

Does Hell look like a vast mine with a fire in the middle and everybody down there is either dancing around the flames, or shoveling coal? Not in my imagination… Not even the inferno part, which is only one area of hell. Another site, for example, has been reserved for the houses, palaces, and castles of the Hellish-Elite residents, in my books, it’s the Demon Kings and the self-proclaimed ‘Emperor of the Nine Thrones Of Hell’, Lucifer. Needless to say, despite the fact he built his palace himself, he still doesn’t like it. ‘Not homey enough’, as he says. And he doesn’t like the constant twilight in Hell. There’s neither night nor day, no light or sunshine… It’s just constantly pale and gray, with the occasional foggy day, mostly, when Lillith is cooking.

Heaven is another part of my imagination, all light, sunshine, green pastures, forests, walkways, troop housing, and areas for the angels to live in… formerly there were ‘towers’ with penthouse lofts, where the Archangels lived. But since they practiced an ‘open door’ policy, it got too much to be disturbed at any given time, and with their ‘Creator’s’permission, they moved out and built their own area, precisely twelve breathtaking houses, where they live with their consorts (or alone), depending on their state of a relationship.

Is this ‘creating a world’? Not in my opinion… I’m just ‘extending’ what is already there, just the way I dream it could be perfect for me.

There are far more experienced writers in world-building than I am!

One of them, one of the ‘ultimate’ best examples, is, of course, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, author of ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ books, and the famous creator of ‘Middle Earth’.

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Tolkien went even further for his stories, his characters, his people and his books. He became the very gifted creator of languages! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_constructed_by_J._R._R._Tolkien).

All that, in my opinion, is the epitome of ‘fun’, but I could imagine, it wasn’t all ‘fun’ for him, all the time. It needs an enormous amount of work, concentration, imagination, fantasy, but most of all, skill, to go over this kind of length for the readers.

Of course, the success proves him right! Until this day, his books and stories are of enormous success and incomparable. He has my utmost respect and admiration.

But that doesn’t mean, there aren’t other highly skilled and talented writers and world creators around!

Let us hear your experience, please, in the comments! Tell us, where the fun is, and where the difficulties are! We are curious!

Hello, Mr. Vegetarian! – A Riddle

There are two of us, if you want to compare

You can’t tell the difference, even if you stare.

One of us is bigger, but you won’t see it live

Since we never are together, even if you strive.

**

The only way you could tell is the way we talk

Otherwise, we are the same, when we eat and sit and walk.

Maybe one of us is slightly bigger, but that is hard to tell

Only one thing is absolutely clear, we all are pretty swell.

**

We only live of plants, herbivores we’re called

We normally are calm, unless we’re badly galled.

We spend the days with family, we eat, we sit, we sleep

And when there’s something happening, we can cry and weep.

**

We are plucking flowers, we pay court to our girls

We give them pets and kisses, because we can’t give pearls.

We use tools to help us get to meals

We have two legs, and two arms, but our ladies wear no heels.

**

We all live on one continent, in warmth and sun we thrive

Some of us grow in the swamps by the desert, that is where we drive.

The others live higher in the mountains, still warm and nice

We wouldn’t change it where we live, for no treat and for no price.

**

We look peaceful and also lazy, but hey, make no mistake!

To protect our loved ones, we fight, we kill, we break!

We’re strong, and big, and underestimated on the first glance

But threaten us and our families, no man can stand a chance.

**

We’re nearly extinct, our kind is endangered, which is sad

We’re worth being saved, believe me, without us the world goes bad.

The Earth is cruel, a place of miracles, currently our dying, it is stalled.

Who are we? Yes, you are right, Gorillas we are called.

*****

(Copyright, August 2022 – Aurora Jean Alexander)

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.com

The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part V

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, April 28, the second part followed. The third part was published May 26, 2022, and part #4 was published July 11, 2022.. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them again:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]


Today we are looking into ‘plot twists’. When I looked at that ‘phrase’ I had to laugh loudly. Now, there are as many plot twists as there are stories. And, of course, I am unable to mention all plot twists today, or ever, when it comes to that. Important at this point is, that our story, in fact, has a plot twist.

Let me describe it that way: Reading a story without any plot twist is about the same excitement as listeing to someone reading the phone book.

I’d like to start with a simple example: Boy A separates from Girl A, to be together with Girl B. Girl A decides to continue her life without Boy A, despite thinking, he was ‘the One’. While she gets over the separation, she meets Boy B. When Boy A sees her with Boy B, he’s jealous and tries whatever he can to get Girl A back. While trying to do that, he hurts Girl B horribly… – And here it gets thrilling. (Or, it could get thrilling, if it’s done right.) Why don’t we check out different possibilities?

Romance:

Girl A finds out she was right, and Boy A is ‘the One’ for her. She forgives him, and they get back together… Girl B is hurt, but she understands. Boy B ‘disappears’ from the story, but he has always only been an unimportant side character and nobody misses him…

Chick Lit:

Girl B is sad, but is contacted by Boy B, and they both get together. A Happy End for both couples is ahead. Additionally, Girl A meets Girl B at the shopping mall and they start talking. They find out, they have quite a few things in common, and they become really great friends.

Western:

Boy A and Girl A settle down and work together on their ranch, with huge herds of cattle and they also successfully breed horses, they have two babies, a boy, and a girl. Boy B is a bit disappointed. Girl A would have been perfect for him to settle down, but this wasn’t his path. He composes and sings a really sad song and rides into the sunset. Girl B moves to the next big city and opens a brothel.

Horror:

Girl B is actually a ‘Mormos’, a cruel supernatural monster, which has to mate with a human, kill him, and give birth to the spawn, before again, disappearing for three centuries, while the spawn spreads evil in the world. Boy A’s jealousy has ended their relationship and she couldn’t fulfill her plans, which makes her kill everybody in the story, including the mermaid and the gargoyle (don’t ask me why, I had no idea they were even in that story)… then she uses Boy B for her purpose, which is ending up really badly, since he’s a werewolf.

Thriller:

Girl A gets back together with Boy A, which leaves Girl B to meet with Boy B, who is actually a serial killer and starts with her… then Boy B goes over to kill a few others on his way to kill Girl A as he had planned all along, Boy A is the only one who can save the girl (and the story, too).


Four characters, five possibilities, only from one simple example. Of course , there are endless possibilities, and I’m sure, if I thought about it somewhat longer, I could come up with a few more examples.

What we have here, at the moment, are five examples, two of them don’t really have a ‘twist’… Romance and ‘Chick Lit’ just go from A to B, nothing exciting or thrilling happens. These stories are, most likely, as lame as watching a fly cleaning itself. (Even though, I’m always under the impression, a fly rubbing its first two legs against each other looks like their incredibly smug about something and I imagine them giggling maliciously, only that the frequence is too high for me to hear… But then, that’s different, and a subject for another time)

What’s important here is, that the story has to take a different turn than what’s ‘expected’ from the reader. Generally, there is nothing wrong with the first and second examples, if it were the real life. Their uncomplicated, easy, and without any further challenges, which we, of course, would want for everybody. But for a reader, it’s the lamest story one can imagine.

We want ‘adventure’, or we want to be scared, or maybe we want to bite our fingernails while reading, because the story is so thrilling, we can barely sit still. We want to cry, to laugh, or to yell, maybe even to scream, but we want to feel something! We want emotions in our book, and we want to read about them and feel them. What would we feel if everything always goes smoothly? Nothing… boredom, mostly. And that’s when our readers say: ‘That book was a waste of my time’… and that’s exactly what we don’t want.

One of the fun parts to write our story is, to add unexpected turns the story takes. Maybe it’s fun, maybe it’s scary, but it has to lead our story into a direction the reader wouldn’t think of… and that’s going to be a good story.

Tell us in the comments, if you have another idea to take Girl A, Boy A, and Girl and Boy B… or if you would like to add something else, when it comes to plot twists? We’re happy to read about your experiences!

Church Bulletin Bloopers – Reblogged

(This post was originally re-blogged on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ 7/20/2015 – from ‘Nutsrok‘. The blog still exists, but hasn’t been publishing new posts since October 2020)

Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:

1. Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

2. Announcement in a church bulletin for a national PRAYER & FASTING Conference: “The cost for attending the Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

3. The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.”
The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”

4. Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall – Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

5. Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.

6. The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.

7. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say “Hell” to someone who doesn’t care much about you.

8. Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.

9. Miss Charlene Mason sang “I will not pass this way again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

10. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

11. Next Thursday there will be try outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

12. Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.

13. The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing: ” Break Forth Into Joy.”

14. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

15. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

16. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What Is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.

17. Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

18. Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

19. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

20. Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

21. The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

22. Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.

23. The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind.
They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

24. This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

25. Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

26. The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

27. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

28. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

29. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

30. The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday:

“I Upped My Pledge ! – Up Yours!”

Picture courtesy of Google.com (and I love it, because it’s so bubbly, bright and friendly!)

A Smiling Acquaintance – A Riddle Poem


I live in the Americas, in Central and the South

I am a happy mammal, with a constant smile upon my mouth.

There are two families of my species, named after our feet

And also we are different, in what we hunt and eat.

**

Eleven thousand years ago, a few of us were living on the ground

The size of elephants we were weighed in tons, and not with pound…

But the arrival of humans made us easy targets, eaten and extinct

What stayed was our mini-version, the one that smiled and blinked.

**

Also, we are easy target, that means we moved us to the trees

Where we do all, eat and sleep, and slowly move, breed and pair and sneeze.

We don’t have much energy, we don’t do well with others too

Normally, we all are loners, unless we are playing peek-a-boo.

**

We haven’t much developed lately, we stay frozen in our form

We smile, we eat, and we move slowly, to us that is the given norm.

Once a week we might come down from our favorite living tree

Fertilize the soil below it, before climbing up again to be.

**

Our fur is brown, sometimes beige, always straight, and never curled.

We are breeding a very special, unique moth within the insect world.

Our name comes from our movement, sluggish, lazy, very slow.

The name is program, you might guess, we are a ‘sloth’, that is to know.

*****

(Copyright, Aurora Jean Alexander, April 2022)

Picture courtesy of Google.com

The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part I

I have been asked numerous times what the best part of being a writer is… I usually reply that it is the start, when the page is still blank and waits for the words to show up on the monitor. But, to be honest, I’m not really sure that’s true. In fact, I think, there are several steps that are just as much fun than starting to type…

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]


Of course, crime story writers work differently than fantasy writers do. Now, since I write fantasy, but wrote a crime story out of my fantasy series, let me start with the fun part on both…

Part I – Drafting A Plot

‘The Council of Twelve’ series generally starts with a new charkacter being introduced to the readers. Since I just started to draft a new book, I would like to be careful not to give away too much. But imagine my thoughts are going into the following direction:

A New Consort

What Is She?

How Does She Meet The Council Of Twelve?

Why Does She Meet Them?

What Complicates The Situation?

Who Is Her Consort?

How Are The Problems Going To Show Up?

What Does The Council Of Twelve Do To Solve The Problem?

What Is The New Consort’s Part In The Fight Good Vs. Evil?

How Is This Story Going To Open A Spot For The Next Story?


When it comes to drafting a new crime story, my first draft was lighter and only contained a few questions:

Who Is The Victim?

Who Is The Perpetrator?

What Is The Motive?

Who Are The Suspects?

Who Is The Investigator?


Before these questions are not answered, I won’t start to write. There are a whole lot of notes to take, and during the plot draft, more questions will inevitably show up. A book rises and falls with the plot, and it has to be worked out very carefully. If the reader at the end is left with too many lose ends, the book is either no good, or it’s part of a series and the questions are supposed to be answered in the next part.

Saving time on the plot draft is not the best time saved. Of course, I can only talk about myself and what is fun for me, but this is the first fun step of telling a new story for me.

If you’re a writer and have something to add, or if you’re a reader and would like to ask questions, the post is open to comments.

The Oscars 2022 – Fashion Post

Welcome to my annual Oscars-Fashion critics a la AJ. As usually, I’m not discussing movies, performances, or anything else for that matter. I looked at the participants and their gowns, and I’m presenting my personal opinion here, nothing more. Your taste might very much differentiate, but we know this will happen. I hope, you’ll have a little bit of fun with this post.

What to wear What not to wear

Mila Kunis rocked the red carpet in a silk Zuhair Murad, elegant, stunning, flattering. Now, H.E.R. is a bit different… what on Earth happened here? It looks like the designer grabbed some fabric and draped it around her, somehow. She looks a bit like spilled lemon juice.
Reba McEntire in Pamela Rolland is the epitome of feminine. The emerald green makes her positively beam. Venus Williams is nicely dressed, but her overly revealing cleveage makes her look cheap. A little more would have been well adviced here… and I’m talking about a bit more fabric around the ample bosom…
Sofia Carson reminds me very strongly of Audrey Hepburn in this breathtaking Giambattista Valli dress. Maria Menouos, in my opinion, looks more like a lime colored rubber boot with the most senseless decoration ever seen. She’s a beautiful lady. I have no idea what her stylist had for breakfast…
Alana Haim looks stunning in her silver colored Louis Vuitton dress. Simple, beautiful, ladylike. (And I hope she’ll forgive me the typo below the picture) Jada Pinkett Smith wasn’t that lucky. Her stylist made her look a bit like a moss covered tree stump. Far too much fabric… What for? She doesn’t need it!
Jessica Chastain looks radiant in her lavender Gucci dress. She really glows with the flow. Now, Maggie Gyllenhaal… The cut and style of this dress would be elegant and figure flattering. But the gold applications, unfortunately, make her look a bit like a royal tea cozy.
Wanda Sykes looks cool and stylish in her ivory suit, feminine and impressive, while Ariana DeBose looks a bit like she decided on something that was made for a far bigger person. She almost falls out of her trousers and I’m not sure about all that extra fabric around and behind her. It doesn’t visibly serve a purpose. Too much red, too much everything.
Uma Thurman wears an accentuated ensemble in black and white, elegant and feminine. Zendaya, I believe, tried the same with her Valentino deux-piece, but to me, her design looks incomplete, and makes her look a bit sloppy and pale.
Rachel Zegler looks all the classic beauty she is in her black Dior gown. And then, there’s Billie Eilish… Billie, Billie, Billie… really? You look like you’re wearing the bed canopy from Dracula’s castle. Even a scarecrow has better taste than that!
Kristen Dunst in Christian Lacroix is glowing, a classic beautiful lady in red. I’m, in fact, a bit shocked about Nicole Kidman, who is rumored to have impeccable taste. In that gray ballooning frock she looks a bit like an 18th century lampshade.
Zoe Kravitz in Saint Laurent looks elegant, beautiful, simple and cute. I’m not sure about Julianne Hough though. I consider her one of the most beautiful women in every room, but that yellow gown makes her look a bit pale, and the dark red lipstick ages her. In my opinion she looks drawn and tired.
From what rumors say Kristen Stewart got quite a few negative headlines for her Chanel outfit on the red carpet. In my opinion, unjustly. Kristen Stewart was never one known to be traditional, and I think, with legs from the ground to the neck, and her positive radiance, she looks sexy and stylish. Well done!

I hope, you’ll permit me a few words about the gentlemen on the red carpet. I’m very much for unique individuality and the freedom to express yourself. But I’m also one who considers some traditions useful – even tasteful. I, therefore, hope, you will forgive me my comments on some ‘individual’ taste…

Bradley Cooper, in a classic, elegant tux as usually. It gives him positive glow and he looks attractive, handsome, and sexy. Wesley Snipes? Not so much. In this purplish/burgundy ‘something’ he reminds me a bit of a three week old radish that got forgotten in the vegetable section of a refrigerator… Oy…
Jason Momoa wears a classic all-black tux, his long mane is tamed, as I hear, in a french braid, and he wears glasses. he looks strong, masculine, and charismatic. And then, there’s Timothee Chalamet…. *sigh* Please, Timothee… you look like you had a hell of a hangover Saturday night and forgot half of your clothing. Get yourself a few muscles, and we’ll talk about this style, but chicken chest and no shirt don’t go well together. Huge fail!

I hope, you had fun with this post. Let us know your thoughts in the comments. We are curious about your taste!

(All pictures are curtesy of Google.com and usmagazine.com)

Book Of Love Movie – And A Writer’s Nightmare

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Unsuccessful English writer Henry’s novel sells to no one. But when his book is suddenly a surprise hit in Mexico, his publicist insists he travel there on a promotional tour. Upon arrival, a confused Henry discovers the reason behind his novel’s popularity – Mexican translator Maria has rewritten his dull book into a steamy erotic novel. As tempers flare between them, the sparks begin to fly.

As writers we can only imagine how confusing it would be to find out that our translator has turned our work into something we barely know anymore.

That’s exactly what happens to writer ‘Henry Copper’. What sounds like a nightmare to us writers, turns out to be the hilarious plot to a very cute movie. I watched ‘Book of Love’ today, and had a lot to laugh. There are quite a few sparks to fly between reserved Englishman Henry and enthusiastic and extroverted Maria. To people with a ‘flair’ for romance, please, watch the movie.

But this is not a movie review. I decided to prepare this blog post looking at the movie’s plot from a writer’s point of view.

Imagine your publisher tells you, nobody wants your book, but it’s very famous in another country, one, whose language you don’t speak. You are invited on a book tour in said country, and find out, your translator actually changed your book. Suddenly you sit there, your wonderful, thoughtful, considerate and logical characters had turned into passionate irresponsible hot-blooded lovers, without regrets.

As a writer I have to say: please, translator, whoever you are… don’t change my book! That’s not your job! As funny as it sounds in this movie, I’d like to have my characters the way I wrote them!

Let me make an example: ‘Soul Taker’, the first book in my series. The main characters, Katie and Raphael… I write Young Adult fantasy. And even though they do fall in love, I wouldn’t want anyone to turn them into wild sex-maniacs. It would be completely off. That’s not what I had planned. However, I figure, I would have to make amends, I expect. Another language means often, that a ‘word-by-word’ translation isn’t possible. The translator knows how to interpret my book without effectively changing it. But how do we trust that person’s work? If someone translates ‘Soul Taker’ to German, Dutch, or French, I could follow easily… but Spanish, Russian, Chinese? (And yes, of course, I hope, one day, ‘The Council of Twelve’ series is going to be loved globally).

How can we trust the respective translations are correct and leave my story the way I wrote it?

I have never translated an entire book. I translated short stories and a few articles and blog posts into German, and I was always making sure I kept everything the way it was written, including the tone, which wasn’t always easy. But not in a million years I would have even considered changing anything. I consider that unethical. I wasn’t actually thinking twice how the authors of the respective pieces felt about trusting me. Did they? Or did they just ‘accept their fate’ and hope for the best? I can imagine it’s quite a risk!

If someone has experience with their books being translated, would you let us in on the secret in the comments? We’d really appreciate it! Thank you!