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NaNoWriMo Plot Point Scrivener Template

NaNoWriMo Plot Point Scrivener Template

The Manuscript Shredder’s NaNoWriMo Plot Point Calendar is now a Scrivener Template

Monday Writing Roundup-August 20

Monday Writing Roundup-August 20

Monday writing roundup: writing exercises, book piracy, and more.

Citing Photos in WordPress from Adobe Spark

Citing Photos in WordPress from Adobe Spark

Why cite Stock Photos?

As writers we want and should get paid for our work. Photographers feel the same. So if this is true why do so many of them “give” their work away on sites like Unsplash and Pexels?

They do it for exposure.

We writers are also familiar with this scam. Giving away a free book in hopes of a review or to sell the sequel is one of the most common pieces of marketing advice for writers. How disappointed were you when 100 free downloads resulted in zero new reviews? Especially since posting a review would costs nothing?

Citing stock photos also costs you nothing.

How to Cite your photos

Citing Photos in WordPress is easy if you get your photos from Unsplash

When you download a photo, a popup appears with the citation information.

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 1.37.37 PM.png

There are two options, but the easiest and cleanest in WordPress is to click the “copy”

Now, upload your photo

Using the “Visual” editor, click on the photo to add a caption:

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 1.47.43 PM

Click on the speech bubble and paste the text into the box.

What if I am using Adobe Spark?

One of the best features of Adobe spark is the easy access to searchable stock photos right in the program, but the source information for these photos is a little hidden.

First step is to identify the photo that you are using for your graphic

At the top of each photo is a small oval with three icons

Click on the “i.”  This stands for info. An information box will popup:

Click “view original source.” This will take you to the photo’s page on Unsplash where you will be able to follow the steps above. If the photo comes from another source, there will likely still be citation information available with the photo. Unfortunately, many of these sites do not embed the links meaning you will have to add them manually if you want to include them.

Citing stock photos is a free way to support photographers, and it only takes a few seconds. Give credit where credit is due. Cite your stock photos

citing adobe spark stock photos in By Devanath Source pixabay

Let The Manuscript Shredder help with your next book. Order your copy of Your Novel, This Month today

Monday Writing Roundup-August 13

Monday Writing Roundup-August 13

Monday Writing Roundup. Links to five writing/publishing articles from the previous week that I have found helpful.

Outlawed openings: can they work?-author toolbox

Outlawed openings: can they work?-author toolbox

Most writing advice blogs will tell you to never use dreams, flashbacks, or waking up to begin your story. But can they work?

Your Novel This Month Release Day

Your Novel This Month Release Day

Cue Panic, It’s Release Day

So I’ve finally started listening to everyone and put out a book based on my website. Your Novel, This Month is a beginner’s guide to NaNoWriMo, or writing a novel in a month (any month. It really doesn’t have to happen in November.)

Your novel this

What’s different about this book?

I’ve taken the familiar contemporary plot structure (Save the cat, Story Engineering, etc) and mapped it out over 30 days, explaining what you should be writing about each day, as well as what mistakes to avoid.

Isn’t that a little rigid?

Frankly, yes, but this book is intended for the first-time novelist who needs a map into this uncharted territory. I wanted a guide that will introduce beginners to “the rules” of novel writing with the intention that once they understand the basic structure, then they will be able to more effectively break from those conventions as their own artistic style emerges.

Who should read it?

The first-time novelist or the veteran looking to learn more about plot structure or pitfalls to avoid in their next novel. This book is an expanded version of my NaNoWriMo series of blog posts with a few added chapters for getting started and editing.

Where can I get it?

Right now it’s only available at Amazon in ebook format. You can purchase it or read through Kindle unlimited. I elected to skip the print for now because the complex formatting required for the worksheets and tables.

Here’s the link

*If you’d like a copy, buy can’t afford one. I’m still looking for people willing to post reviews. Just email me michelekellerauthor(at)


Publishing Pitfalls IWSG

Publishing Pitfalls IWSG

August IWSG Today is a crazy busy day with the release of my book. Yes, it’s today!!!!! Here’s the link Ok, enough of that. The awesome co-hosts for the August 1 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover,Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery! August 1 question – What […]

Working with a Cover Designer

Working with a Cover Designer

What it’s really like to work with a Cover Designer This week I am excited to talk with the author P.J. Friel on her experience working with professional cover artist Damonza for her debut paranormal romance A Twist of Wyrd. Ms. Friel, who designs covers for […]

Using Enneagrams for Character arcs

Using Enneagrams for Character arcs

Enneagrams are a great tool for creating character arcs

Author P.J. Friel clued me into a great tool for developing character arcs: Enneagrams

The Enneagram is a personality test similar to the Myres-Brigg’s. While I personally have issues with summarizing the complexity of an entire being in a few letters/numbers, these personality evaluations are a boon to writers in their quest to create realistically flawed characters.

Why Enneagrams?

What is special about the Enneagram test is the breakdown of each of the nine personality types into various manifestations of healthy, normal, and unhealthy. The Enneagram reinforces the concept that people do not change their basic personality type, but they can move through the different manifestations of healthy, normal and unhealthy. This is the basis of every dynamic character arc. Whether it’s overcoming a flaw, learning to embrace it and turn it into an advantage, or the average person’s descent into darkness, the Enneagram maps this transformation for you.

How to use Enneagrams

While there is a test, there is no need to pay the fee. There is plenty of information on the website ( for you to browse. Or you could download P.J. Friel’s Enneagram Character Bible (Please do not post this file elsewhere but feel free to share the link to this article.)

  1. Start by reading through the 9 personality types and decide which one represents your character
  2. Use the three levels to identify where your character begins their journey: healthy, normal, or unhealthy
  3. Choose where you want your character to end the journey
  4. Use the descriptions as a map to plot the events that will take the character to their destination

Lets do the “Peacemaker” personality type 9: “The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type:Receptive, Reassuring Agreeable, and Complacent”

At the beginning of the story, the character is at unhealthy level 7:

Can be highly repressed, undeveloped, and ineffectual. Feel incapable of facing problems: become obstinate, dissociating self from all conflicts. Neglectful and dangerous to others.

There are multiple was this personality can manifest, but lets have an example of a teen girl with nagging, overachieving parents and now she displays these symptoms by being withdrawn from family and peers (ineffectual), obsessed with fairytales (dissociating self from conflicts), and forgets about baby brother (neglectful and dangerous to others.)

Toward the middle of the novel she can become more level 5:

Active, but disengaged, unreflective, and inattentive. Do not want to be affected, so become unresponsive and complacent, walking away from problems, and “sweeping them under the rug.” Thinking becomes hazy and ruminative, mostly comforting fantasies, as they begin to “tune out” reality, becoming oblivious. Emotionally indolent, unwillingness to exert self or to focus on problems: indifference.

Perhaps our teen has gone through the looking glass and been forced into an adventure. Now away from the negative forces that shaped her, she must start to take responsibility for the situation she caused, but when truly tested, she resorts to complaining that everything is unfair and resorting back to imagination and fantasy

At the end of her journey she moved to level 3:

Optimistic, reassuring, supportive: have a healing and calming influence—harmonizing groups, bringing people together: a good mediator, synthesizer, and communicator.

After learning to form true relationships based on trust, our heroine is ready to take on her adversary and use her innate abilities as a communicator to convince the Goblin King to give her back her baby brother.

Now that you have your main character plotted, lets add tension with some side characters.The Enneagram chart also displays prospective conflicts with other personality types. This can be a great way to balance your villain and your hero, or create tension in a love/hate relationship.

Choose secondary characters that will drive your main character insane.
For example, your enthusiastic visionary (type 7) main character will clash with her active controller father (type 8), and constantly disappoint her strict perfectionist (type 1) mother.
Enneagram can help you map out these relationships.

  1. Scroll down to the “compatibility with other types” section
  2. If you are still in the planning stages, read through these and find the personality types that will create the tension you are looking for
  3. If you already have your characters developed, find your secondary characters’ numbers and read those pages. Pay special attention to the “potential trouble spots and issues” section. This will help you add more conflict as the personality types cause friction.
  4. Plan you characters’ interactions to match up with these potential trouble spots, or check the scenes you have already written to see if the conflicts are in sync with their personality types. This will keep your characters consistent.

Using Enneagrams to map out your character arcs will help you create realistically flawed characters, keep their transformations logical, and make their interactions with other characters feel real.

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Hire The Manuscript Shredder

Hire The Manuscript Shredder

Get Shredded! The Manuscript Shredder is always looking for new pages to get her claws into.  Opening pages are the gateway to getting an agent’s attention. If these aren’t hitting the mark, your story will never get out of the slush pile. This is where […]