Tests, Allies and Enemies on #NaNoWriMo Day 11

red crank

Image inspiration: This morning I continued my search for things that could be found on an abandoned property that make me say: What is that doing there? And what is it for?

How’s everyone’s writing going? I hope you’re enjoying your story and getting to know your characters no matter what your word count.

I made a lot of progress yesterday and had a lot of fun. I accidentally wandered into a bonus writing exercise: Have your MC wander through each room of a house s/he used to live in. Each room triggers a memory. What triggers it, a site, sound, or smell? Is the memory pleasant or unpleasant?

Day 11 (2017) Tests, Allies and Enemies

This is the perfect theme for my writing today. My MC has had a difficult first interview with the detective and now has agreed to walk the abandoned property with her. Neither character is sure if the other is an ally or enemy, but at the moment, they know they can’t trust each other and the stakes are high. So let’s see how the prompts work with this idea.

#vss365: march

The last few days had felt like one endless march uphill in wet socks with blisters. He was exhausted. Everything ached. He was covered in cuts and scrapes and itched from nettles. He wanted to go home, but the worst was still ahead.

Today’s Simple Task

Something happens that is out of your MC’s control.

→ This is a given since everything is out of his control right now. He’s used to being in control. I’ll need to narrow this down to something very unexpected. And/or think of things he does to feel like he is in control.

Warm-up Exercise

Your MC is having a conversation, in person, with two people. One s/he considers an “ally” and one an “enemy”. Write the dialogue.

→ This is a tricky one. My MC doesn’t feel he has any allies where he is. He did mention that she seemed like two different people during his interrogation. Or the detective could bring someone with her and they’re doing a good cop/bad cop thing. Or there’s the stray dog on the property that he could see as an ally.

Word Of The Day

guisard: n. a person who wears a mask.

At first he believed a silent guisard stared at him from the corner, but it was a half-burnt mannequin. He recognized it now. Oren had brought it home from a going out of business sale and started dressing it up as the characters in his stories.

8 Action Verbs:

He said it aided him when imagining body language.

He chartered  a sea plane, a lake plane really, to fly him over the lake. He had always wanted to see it from above.

She almost had him convinced he was guilty.

Someone had engineered an elaborate warning system, but what did it trigger and who did it alert?

The way the pages suddenly came to life made him think of the old movie The Illustrated Man.

She was always so measured. Did she have any life outside of her job?

He questioned her motivations. She did not appear to be listening anymore. Was she trying to find any other suspects, the real murderer?

He specialized in watching other people physically gather the clues and puzzle them together, so he could make the arrest and take the credit.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Grab a book by an author you would be proud to be compared to; a book that you think has a similar tone to the writing you are working on. Open to a random page and start reading out loud. Write down your favorite words on the page. Does this author use a lot of sentence variety?

Emulate the sentence structures of one paragraph, using your own words.

For this exercise, instead of looking to the authors I already know well, I decided to check out three books off of my Thrillers to read list. I don’t know what happened to me, but I have not been reading novels like I usually do. I’ve been in pick-em-up and put-em-down mode for too long, but I’ll keep trying. I checked out:

  1. The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky
  2. Gone for Good by Harlan Coben (I didn’t get far last month)
  3. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

 

Mapping the Hero’s Journey:

Today’s reading, following Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book by Arwen Lynch, is a little different. First, you pull three cards: one is the Test card, one is for allies, and one is for enemies. Then you place a card under each of those cards. The one under Test card is the most important thing your MC learns from the test throughout the story. The one under the Allies represents the most important ally in your MC’s world and the card under the enemies shows what motivates his enemies against him.

Test card: Ten of swords
MC learns from test: Three of coins

Allies: The Magician
Most important ally: The World

Enemies: Seven of cups
What motivates the enemies: Two of cups

My interpretation: My MC is facing ruin. That is not to say death and destruction exactly, but something that seems like a sudden event which has a history. It is the natural culmination of a series of events that will bring change. This ending clears the way for new possibilities. What he learns from this trial is how to let his talents show to the public.

His ally turns out to be The Magician. I had already associated the Magician with his brother, so this is an interesting turn. I’m thinking that his most important ally lies within his brother’s world and remembering the world they had together. His enemies are his choices and confusion. At the moment it’s not clear what is feasible and what is fantasy and everything is up in the air.

His enemies are his circumstances and insecurities. However, this enemies card can also show the beginning stages of a new project. I could also interpret this as the detective is his enemy because she doesn’t know what is feasible and what is fantasy.

The enemies’ motivation is harmony, peace, partnership and love, so that could be why the detective wants to solve the case, something to do with harmony and peace in her life or it could be my protagonist’s motivation to get over his internal enemies to find harmony and peace, perhaps to finally be able to create fulfilling relationships.

Word Crawls

Since today’s Save The Cat beat is Fun & Games, I think I’ll do a Word Crawl. I found a really cute Bob Ross themed one on the NaNo site The Joy of Painting Crawl, so I’m going to get my words in while painting some imaginary puffy little clouds and happy little trees.

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises.

Crossing The Threshold on #NaNoWriMo Day 8

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises. Have a great weekend writing!!

These posts are a lot and I still have the planner pages and Gator McBumpypants to get to, so I may not post again until Monday. See you then.

The Mentor of #NaNoWriMo Day 7

perfect flame

I woke up this morning and went straight to my manuscript. I had a bad dream, but it made me think of a scene for my story and I didn’t want to miss it. It has been foggy and cold the last few days, so I decided to have a fire in the fireplace. The neighbor’s cat came over to see what I was up to and cuddled with me as I typed for a bit. Gotta say, it has been a great morning.

I’ve already done my morning pages and have half my words for today!! And it’s a good thing too because I have found a major distraction in my fireplace inspired by the high shutter speed photos I took. I could honestly just feed that fire and take pictures all day. But then I selected a couple to illustrate this post and they reminded me of my bokeh filters. I can’t believe I never tried bokeh with fire.

It’s challenging. I’m going to have to play around with my camera setting a lot more. I may need to add some Christmas lights to the front of the fireplace to get some unblurred shapes or shine a light into the fireplace so I can use lower ISO settings, but a new palette has emerged and I’m excited.

a new idea

A new idea by Maria L. Berg bokeh in fire.

Back to NaNoWriMo Day 7 The Mentor

As you may have guessed fire is my mentor today. That would mean I see my mentor as a muse, a giver of creative ideas, a non-corporeal entity. However, the mentor can be many things. I found a good post at Thought Co. The Hero’s Journey: Meeting with the Mentor 

The article mentions Jung, so I thought great, I’ll just grab my copy of The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious and Man and His Symbols, look up mentor in the Index and soon have a complete understanding. No such luck. The word “mentor” wasn’t indexed in either one. Since I have already been distracted by photography today and did not feel like reading hundred of pages to figure out why “mentor” wasn’t index and yet “menstrual blood” was in both. I let that idea go.

The mentor is usually an older, wiser person who helps your hero get past the refusal and get on with the adventure. Thinking about that this morning, I easily came up with a mentor for my detective: her father (memories of) and an instructor from the police academy. I also easily came up with a mentor for my antagonist: an imaginary guide he calls “the oracle” who is actually his memories of his older brother who always looked out for him when he was a kid. But I’m not sure who my protagonist’s mentor is.

He doesn’t for long lasting relationships and is always hiding his true self. Who would he turn to for advice. He wants to direct movies, so maybe he would turn to the films of his favorite director for advice. Or watch interviews with his favorite director. Maybe he would just go see a movie or read a book his favorite director wrote. I like this idea because it parallels or mirrors the imaginary world of the antagonist’s mental state. They both think they are perfectly sane, but neither really relates to the real world.

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises. See you tomorrow.

How to write the point of no return #NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 6

DSC01777

Day 6 (2017) is The Point of No Return

My protagonist definitely wants to refuse his call to adventure. How will he try to wriggle his way out of a request from the police? I highly recommend working through today’s prompts. They inspired me to explore new areas of character development.

#vss365: trim
He had feared this call would come, but trimming the budget wasn’t as bad as losing the job all together. He would have to lose the new hires, but where else could he cut corners? In this business, if he cut the corners too sharply, someone could die.

Today’s Simple Task

Show your Main Character’s greatest weakness. Put him or her in a moral dilemma.

What is Kirk’s biggest weakness? The guilt he feels over his brother’s accident? Or is there something else?

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write about the last thing your character would ever want to do. Then write a scene forcing your character to do the last thing they would ever want to do. – inspired by prompt from Josie (NaNo poster)

This is a great prompt for me today. The last thing my character would ever want to do is set foot on the property where he grew up, but that is exactly what he has to do.

 

Word Of The Day

quixotic: adj. extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical, or impracticable. 2. impulsive and often rashly unpredictable.

His movements appeared quixotic, but he was controlling his world.

8 Action Verbs:

Receiving the coroner’s report, didn’t add much new information, but it finally activated an official murder investigation.

Shawna felt he was telling the truth, but his answers were stilted, calculated. He was leaving something out.

Kirk appeared to have contracted something flu-like on the plane. His throat was burning. Until he could get some throat lozenges, he was sucking down breath mints.

He had often wished life could be edited.

Her questions guided him closer to the dark place he didn’t want to face.

She lobbied for more time, but the sheriff was ready to move on. “Wrap it up,” he said.

She told herself if she could just hold on until he retired, she would finally get promoted.

They shared a history, but their memories of those times couldn’t be more disparate.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Explore connotations: Choose a word (may I suggest one of the active verbs or the word of the day) and look it up in your thesaurus (thesaurus.com). Pick one synonym that has positive connotations and choose one that has negative connotations and write a sentence for each one. Read the sentences aloud. Do the particular connotations of your chosen word influence how you write the rest of the sentence?

I chose contracted because it has a lot of different, interesting meanings.

As they tore down all of the trees and developed every acre of land, they forgot to widen the roads.
His thoughts were disordered. He had trouble putting events in a timeline that worked with  his reality.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey:

I didn’t get to my refusal scene yesterday, so I’m going to explore the refusal again.

The refusal card: Strength
MC’s biggest fear about the Call to Adventure: Five of swords
The responsibilities that can’t be abandoned. It is why he can’t refuse: Six of wands

My interpretation: My MC’s refusal is rooted in his idea that he has overcome his inner challenges and obstacles and found his inner strength. He fears facing what he left behind and worries he will find conflict, hostility and aggression awaiting him. But he can’t refuse his call to adventure because he has found strength and is confident and proud of what he has become. He needs to face where he came from to completely win his battles.

Because my example from 2017 went off-book, I went back to the book and took a look at the Refusal section. There, I took a look at the Story Template and decided to fill it in. Here’s what I have so far:

My hero, Kirk Bumke, started out in a world represented by the four of coins. Now he has been called to adventure by the five of wands. But he refuses because he doesn’t want his fortunes to change. He has finally overcome his challenges and found his inner strength. The worst thing that could happen if he goes is he could lose the natural gifts he has used to tame his world . The worst thing that could happen if he doesn’t go is his past could come back to bite him.

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises. See you tomorrow.

#NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 5 – The Refusal

lamp ring

Continuing yesterday’s exploration of things that make me say, “What is that and what is it for?” I’m going to go with part of a lampshade? There’s gotta be a story as to why it’s in the lake, right? I hadn’t thought much about stagnant water on my abandoned property, but in this area, I can picture this image somewhere on the property in a low-lying area.

Day 5 (2017) is The Refusal

My protagonist definitely wants to refuse his call to adventure. How will he try to wriggle his way out of a request from the police?

#vss365: haze

He squinted, trying to cut through the haze. Movement caught his attention. A dark figure, growing larger, coming right at him, burst through the fog.

Today’s Simple Task

Think of your favorite scene from any movie or TV show. What makes it so great? Try to incorporate its strengths into a scene you write today.

This is a tough one for me. I’m not one of those people that has a favorite scene and memorizes it or anything. Hopefully something will come to me as I do my morning pages.

I took a look at Hot Fuzz and realized that the scenes I like the most are because of interesting edits and sound choices. I’ll be thinking about how I can use quick cuts, or stylized breaks to make my scenes more exciting.

Warm-up Exercise

Have your MC write his or her will or manifesto.

I think my antagonist would have some sort of manifesto, but my MC? Maybe when his mom died, he decided to write a will. I’ll play around with that.

Word Of The Day

eldritch: adj. eerie, other worldly, weird, spooky

Kirk hadn’t remembered a well on the property.  He pulled back the heavy, fir wood lid. Warm air rushed his face with an eldritch wail.

8 Action Verbs:

How they acquired the deed was never explained.

He could see now why they never built here. They only put things on top of this uninviting land.

She continued to stare directly into his eyes without blinking until he felt like he owed her something.

They earned it. They all did for taking away her boys.

He grouped the wrappers by color and only burned like colors at the same time. He imagined it made for less pollution from the smoke.  When he saw a rainbow, he thought that was because of his attention to detail.

It was never litigated in the courts because no one ever responded to the notices. No one bothered to even find out if the owners were still alive.

The art he had produced would have disgusted his parents, though as they aged they had probably discovered legal pharmaceuticals to add to their concoctions.

He had noticed the dung heaps upon his first visit, but had dismissed them as part of an abandoned property overtaken by nature. This, however, smelled fresh and was shaped like a cross. Kirk meant church, and because his Mom was always yelling random scripture about damnation, when he was younger mean kids called him church boy. Could this be a coincidence, his imagination?

Awesome Sentence Challenge

noun (or noun phrase) + verb (or verb phrase)

Write a page full of two word sentences. Try to convey as much information as possible with only two words by using specific nouns and strong, active verbs.

I really like this challenge. One of my goals for this draft is to use very specific nouns and verbs. I wrote a short story last year that was about an ornithologist and used specific names of birds, including the Latin names, to describe his world.

Since this novel takes place in Pierce County, WA, I want to use specific plant, flower and tree nouns that are in the area.  I also want to use specific anatomy nouns, specific tool and machinery nouns. A cat can be a Siamese or a Persian, a hat can be a beret to a fedora. So let’s see how I can use this to create interesting two word sentences that I can put in today’s scenes.

Shawna balked.
Oren spun.
Kirk paced.
Shawna bit.
Oren scratched.
Kirk lied.
Shawna stewed.
Oren left.
Kirk acquiesced.

Nature overcomes.
Ivy survives.
Nettles encroach.
Dandelions multiply.

Plums squished.
Pits stuck.
Robins feasted.
Crickets chirped.
Grasshoppers flit.

This is a great exercise. I could do this for hours. Short, precise sentences can help with pacing and emotion. The ones with my character’s names are the easiest to come up with, but I’m also enjoying the others. I think I’ll have some fun with my dictionary and other reference books.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey:

The refusal card: Wheel of Fortune
MC’s biggest fear about the Call to Adventure: Seven of coins
The responsibilities that can’t be abandoned. It is why he can’t refuse: Temperance

My interpretation: My MC’s refusal is rooted in his idea that his past was bad and by escaping it, he could change his fortunes. He fears that going back to where he grew up will turn all the good things he’s been able to build back to bad, that people may discover he’s a fraud and though he may be able to claw himself out again, just facing his past would be a big set-back. The reason he can’t refuse in the long run is because he knows he can’t avoid the truth anymore if he wants to find balance in his life he needs to recognize that what he sees as the opposing forces do not need to be at war with him. He will need to tread carefully.

Word Crawl

I found the Welcome to Nightvale crawl on the wrimo wiki. I remember enjoying it in the past. I thin I’ll do it today.

Preparing for editing along the way:

Inspired by Pat Verducci’s post Break Your Story- Index Card Style, I decided on how to color-code my scene cards. They are now color-coded by Story arc.

Blue: Main story line of my main character and his family present and past.

Red: My detective as she is working on the case.

Purple: Oren’s story

Yellow: My detective’s distractions in her personal life

Green: Other (& red herrings)- so far I used this for the opening scene because it establishes the setting, and the inciting incident, but the MC isn’t in the story yet.

Now that I’ve got my color-coding, I started my Story Grid using the same colors for the rows. I was very excited when I started doing this today. It feels good to be organized this year.

Master Class NaNoWriMo Group

Yesterday, after I finished my words, I thought I would head over to Master Class and watch some thriller writer videos while I worked on December’s planner pages. When I got there I was happily surprised to see that Danny Elfman has a Master Class. I was so excited that I started wandering around looking for the promo link to share it with everyone. While I was unsuccessfully doing that, I found that Master Class has created a NaNoWriMo Group. If you’re already enjoying classes on Master Class, you can cheer on other NaNo writers while you’re there. If you haven’t joined Master Class yet, I highly recommend it. It’s worth it for the Neil Gaiman class alone, but there are so many great classes to enjoy.

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises. See you tomorrow.

#NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 4: Exploring the antagonist

What is that shiny liquid

This morning, because my story is about an abandoned property, I had some fun taking pictures of settings and things that make me say: What is that and what is that for? Like above: What is that pan for and what is that shiny liquid and what is that random hose for? If these objects were described in my story, how could they be used by my characters later on?

Changing things up

Yesterday, I enjoyed doing all the sentence exercises. I put them straight into my draft and figured I would write around them. That did not go exactly as I thought it would. It actually took extra time to reorganize things, extra time that took away from writing, so I’m going to approach this a little differently.

First, I’m reorganizing the prompts. I know me, I get started and then get side-tracked, so I’m going to start with the main prompts: Today’s simple task and the Warm-up Exercise.

I try to do Morning Pages (inspired by The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron)  in my journal every day, and I tend to come up with new ideas more readily when I’m writing by hand, so I’ll combine these prompts and my morning pages to use my time efficiently. Then, with my scenes for the day already started, I can move on to the sentence exercises and hopefully focus them toward today’s efforts instead of all over the story like I did yesterday.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey isn’t as interesting to me this year because I already have a pretty good outline, so I’ll move it down to the bottom of the list. I may still find unexpected ideas in the cards.

So here’s day 4, starting with another exploratory image:

What is that chicken soup can for

What is that can? Chicken soup? What is it doing there hanging out with a short piece of PVC and some great gnarly branches?

Day 4 2017 is the antagonist’s call to adventure. Set-up, catalyst, debate.

My antagonist’s call to adventure is the discovery, but also that his brother has come back to town.

I like the idea that my antagonist would keep a detailed journal and that his brother finds it.

#vss365: crop

He was startled by voices and gravel-kicking footsteps. He hid behind the shed. A new crop of the morbidly curious had arrived, phones out, talking, but not to each other.

Today’s Simple Task

Show antagonist’s goals, needs and desires.

I started listing my antagonist’s goals, needs and desires and ended up writing a very important scene that defines my antagonist’s behavior. This was a great exercise.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer to 20 minutes. Write a scene where your protagonist and antagonist share a meal. – from Anna C. (NaNoWriMo poster)

I’ve written this scene in all of my novels which makes sense because my protagonists and antagonists tend to be in the same family unit. Today’s meal is going to be different, however. I’m thinking fast food in a car.

Word of the day: After the accident, his temperament completely changed. He became bellicose, angry at the smallest perceived slights.

Action verbs:

What had he truly achieved by running away? He could have made commercials here. He might have even found real director’s work across the border. No he had achieved stability, sanity, the bit of normalcy he had always longed for.

Kirk hadn’t budgeted for an over-priced plane ticket and an extended stay, but he would have the pay for the last commercial when he got back, so a little debt wouldn’t hurt.

The last time Oren had contacted him, he had begged him to come home. He had said something about finally defeating the shadow man, so now he could come back. Kirk had blocked the number even though it was probably not Oren’s phone.

Oren had documented everything. Kirk could see that now, but it was some sort of visual, personal language he couldn’t decipher. He would need Oren for that.

He governed his temper, but Kirk could see anger boiling behind his eyes.

He listened. This time, he listened. But he didn’t hear anything new.

She processed his story like an inspector on a factory floor, diving in to pull out the flaws before they passed by on the conveyor belt.

He could see now that he had served a purpose in the family and when he left, he broke it. It couldn’t work anymore. Not even for one day.

Awesome sentence challenge: Sentences do four things

  1. Make a statement:declarative sentences
  2. Ask a question: interrogative sentences
  3. Make a command:imperative sentences
  4. Make an exclamation: exclamatory sentences!

Let’s explore this a bit. I’m going to start simply then try to expand on the idea. A basic statement: The water was shut off while they still lived there. His parents didn’t seem to care. They sent him to the lake to fill the tubs twice a day. First, simple.

  1. The water company shut off the water.
  2. Did the water company shut off the water?
  3. Pay your bill or we’ll shut off the water.
  4. Shut it off!

Now, instead of using the same sentence concept, let’s try them in a series to get the whole idea across.

  1. Oren was used to not having running water.
  2. How did he get water to drink and bathe?
  3. Stop prying into our business.
  4. Answer the question!

I’m finding the difference between the command and the exclamation a bit thin. So I went over to Grammar Revolution and did a refresher. So I think my exclamations were actually commands. The noun is the understood you. In the first set I could exclaim, “I want hot water!” and in the second example I could exclaim, “How rude!”

Let’s try one more in a series:

  1. His parents didn’t care that the water was shut off.
  2. Were they insane?
  3. Go fill up the tubs in the lake.
  4. I hate cold water in the morning!

Though I would need more declarative sentences to turn those into paragraphs, it is a good exercise in varying ways of getting an idea across. Using commands and exclamations is also a good way to show emotion instead of telling it.

Word Crawls

Today I thought I would do a Word Crawl. Sadly, when I clicked on my link to Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Crawl, it went to an error page. The new NaNoWriMo site did not preserve the old forum topics, and that particular one does not appear to have made it to the wiki either. That got me thinking about creating personal word crawls. I need crawls that get me moving during breaks and crawls that get me practicing and working on my sewing projects, so I may try my hand at creating a couple word crawls this month.

Until then, I chose a new one to try: The Hunt for your Muse

Mapping the Hero’s Journey:

Call to Adventure: Judgement

What is happening when the call comes or your MC’s goal before the Call to Adventure:  Nine of cups

Why your MC would consider the Call to Adventure: The Hierophant

My interpretation: This reading works for my antagonist’s call to adventure. He thought he had conquered his demons and moved on, but then the family secret is found and he believes he will face final judgement. He considers his call to adventure as a sacred quest to defeat an evil presence that has resurfaced. He may have a confused history with religious symbolism that could come up in his journals.

Preparing for editing along the way:

I mentioned filling out the scene cards as we go. Today, I thought about filling in the Story Grid (by Shawn Coyne) as we go as well. I already have a Story Grid spreadsheet. I can take a minute to fill in each scene I finish. How great will it be to have a finished spreadsheet to glance over at the end? I can make sure I hit the mandatory scenes for my genre as well.

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises. See you tomorrow.

 

#NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 3: Playing with my prompts

mermaids

Day 3 2017 is the call to adventure. Set-up, catalyst, debate.

My main character has to decide if he’s going to run and hide, or head back to his childhood home.

#vss365: grate

Kirk saw something sparkle under the grate. He got down on his knees and pulled aside the rusted metal. He recognized the pendant. It had belonged to his high school girlfriend. He hadn’t heard from her since the night before he left. He had always believed she had moved on.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey:

Call to Adventure: Five of wands – a miscommunication or misunderstanding will pose obstacles.

What is happening when the call comes or your MC’s goal before the Call to Adventure:  Three of wands – moving forward, growth and expansion

Why your MC would consider the Call to Adventure: Two of coins – there will be challenges, but the best outcome is one that can be reached through careful planning.

Word of the day: The susurrus of the tall grass was like whispers from his past.

Action verbs:

She thought of the 558 other missing in this county alone. She hadn’t accounted for bodies hiding in plain sight in quiet neighborhoods just like this one. This changed everything.

He brought the picture. The only one he had of the four of them together.

She consulted her timeline. Something wasn’t adding up.

The sale was documented and legal, but the overgrowth and decay made it look like it had been abandoned long ago. Why had the original owners waited so long to sell?

She also couldn’t understand how the money-grubbers who governed this area would let the property taxes on such a large lot pass them by for so many years. How had they not looked into this place?

The dog wasn’t licensed. He wondered who it belonged to.

He printed his name carefully. It didn’t look right today.

He selected an overly-ripe banana, covered in dark spots. He didn’t know why. He didn’t like them mushy. It was like he was punishing himself.

Awesome sentence challenge: nominative absolutes

  1. He approached, his stride stilted, down the long hallway.
  2. She typed, her fingers pounding loudly on the keys, her notes into the form.
  3. The broken pane, jagged pieces held in the wood frames, glinted in the light.
  4. Pencil held hovering over the page, she said, “Your name?”
  5. The man, his fingers gnarled like winter branches, beckoned him to come closer.

Today’s Simple task.

I need to come up with “save the cat” moments for both my protagonist and antagonist, I think I’ll do this as a timed exercise in my journal before I tackle the 10 minute Warm-up about my MC’s last lie.

This was a good warm-up for today’s writing. I like the sentence challenges because I can write around each of these sentences and have a lot to write about today. Already almost 300 words for today!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises. Happy writing. See you tomorrow.

 

Planning for #NaNoWriMo? Here’s a FREE Daily Planner for November!

NaNoWriMo 2019

November is almost here and for a lot of the writing community that means it’s time for National Novel Writing Month. Since I’ve been trying to focus on revisions and actually finishing a novel, I told myself I wasn’t going to do it this year unless an exciting story that I couldn’t refuse fell in my lap. Well, the universe threw me a story idea and I’ve already come up with my characters, my setting and a story beat outline, so I guess I’m doing NaNoWriMo 2019. I’ll be working on another thriller, yet again inspired by real events.

The Planner Pages

I started the Planner Experiment at the beginning of this year to create the daily planner that will inspire writers to write, submit and get published. For me, this experiment has been about getting to know all the opportunities available to get my stories out into the world. After ten months of designing and making changes, the planner is really coming together and I think the pages I created for November can be of use for NaNo writers as well as people submitting short fiction.

The month-long daily planner includes:

  • A page for your weekly goals and an action plan
  • Daily writing prompts
  • Daily image prompts
  • An hourly plan for finding every minute of writing time
  • A literary journal of the day – many literary journals accept stand-alone novel excerpts. You can start a list of journals to look at when your novel is done.

Success with NaNoWriMo is all about finding time and staying inspired. The Writer’s Daily Planner isn’t just a calendar; it can help you with every aspect of daily time management and is full of original writing prompts in case you get stuck.

You can use it to:

  • create checklists for daily writing goals
  • keep track of your word count
  • remind yourself to do some journaling
  • keep track of your best story ideas for later
  • make sure to read each day
  • plan healthy, easy meals
  • make sure you exercise
  • evaluate what’s working and what isn’t
  • and more

So without further ado . . . Here it is!

Fourth Quarter 2019 Planner Pages November

I designed these pages in open office, a free use word processor, so everyone can use them for free. They are designed to be printed as a booklet, or typed in using open office, so you can manipulate the file to fit your personal needs.

All I ask is that you Follow Experience Writing (this site) and either let me know what you think in the comments, or send your thoughts and ideas about the planner to mariaberg@experiencewriting.com.

Thank you so much and enjoy.

Have a great NaNoWriMo! Let your story into the world.

#Writober Day 22: Broken Pieces

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Broken pieces. The suggested form is Loop Poetry.

Some pieces were too small to find

Destroyed in an instant
instant change from whole  to schism
schism grew to a frightening ruin
ruin came with a clack, clatter, crash!

Shattered into tiny shards
shards hiding from the light
light glistens from sharp secrets
secrets stab surprise slivers

Fractured into tiny fragments
fragments scattered by force
force, so unexpected and unfair
unfair doesn’t matter once it’s done

Find a replacement in time
time for an intermission of sort
sort through the rubble for the salvage
salvage a frail fragment of hope

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 22 on the Pinterest board shows a series of evil thought.

My take: This image makes me think of reincarnation or the idea that evil passes from one person to another through the ages. It could be showing that power is in ideas that are passed from one person to another.

Micro-fiction: Madame Yazima could feel the power surging. After all of these years, she had mastered her connection to her muse and would finally see her destiny clearly. However, the pure knowledge came with a horrible understanding: power corrupts. She could see the many powerful her muse had corrupted before her. They had all met terrible ends. She knew there was no going back; her fate awaited.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: defeat

Creepy verbs: terrify, terrorize, haunt, follow, lurk

Story Cubes Symbols: fish, hand, tree, clock (10:30), alien, flash light, question mark, sheep, book

Woodland creature: mole – a company of moles, a labor of moles, a movement of moles

Collective noun: An ohm of electricians

Horror trope: mutants

Oblique Strategies: Once the search is in progress, something will be found

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 21: Screaming into the wind

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Screaming into the wind.

A Voice in the Leaves

air
pushed
blown with
force and speed
I felt them even saw
them in the movement
of the trees’ branches and leaves
listen to them whisper and rustle
they scream their truths in the wind
holding my weight against the storm
debris tossed and twirling
susurrous echo fades
without the
w
i
n
d

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 21 on the Pinterest board shows a small boy with a stick. The boy appears to have abused a large stone monster with horns and command a group of others.

My take: Last year’s Halloween party theme was “strange brood.” There’s something about evil children in films and stories that is so creepy, and this guy looks like the leader of the pack. Did he turn the tables on the monster in his closet and under his bed? Or is he really a monster that has taken human form?

Micro-fiction: Gerald was darkly frustrated. What good was having the command of an army of monsters when they only wanted to scare for fun? He was going to have to trick them into doing his bidding. They would scare his sister to death, one of these days.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Rage

Creepy verbs: offend, befoul, sicken, repulse, foment

Story Cubes Symbols: fish, hand, tree, clock (10:30), alien, flash light, question mark, sheep, book

Woodland creature:hawk – a cast of hawks, a kettle of hawks, a leash of hawks, a molting of hawks, a schizophrenia of hawks, a screw of hawks, a stream of hawks
Again, from all of the collective nouns, one would think hawks hung out in bunches at all times, but every time I see a hawk, he’s hanging out by himself, usually in a dead branch overlooking the freeway.

Collective noun: an ooze of amoebas (I just said, “Nice” out loud to no one).

Horror trope: mutants

Oblique Strategies: What are the sections sections of? Imagine a caterpillar moving

 

 

Happy Reading and Writing!