#NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 2: Playing with all my prompts

fairy flying in the garden

Photo by Maria L. Berg              Fall is the perfect time for photographing fairies

Happy National Novel Writing Month! How did your first day go? Unlike last year, I’m healthy, relaxed and in a quiet state for writing.

Until this morning, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do here at Experience Writing during this NaNoWriMo. I took a look back at what I’ve done over the years and realized that I want to follow my 2017 prompts. I did so much work and research to create all of those prompts, I figure I might as well benefit from it.

This year, I’ll be posting every day with my own responses and ideas inspired by 2017s daily prompts. And, of course all my new discoveries as I wander through my writing experience.

Since I didn’t do this yesterday and Saturday’s a good day for a double dose of prompts, let’s take a look at both Day 1 and Day 2. They also go together because they are about the characters’ ordinary world.

Day 1 prompts:

Opening Image/ theme: My prep really helped me with this. I had already filled out a save the cat beat sheet, so I had an image in my head of what my opening scene would look like and I had notes about who would state my theme. I hadn’t done this in my previous novels, but this one worked in the opening scene when my detective was speaking to the county sheriff.

Sensory information: I brought in some distinct smells and plan to have smell bring up a memory in today’s scene, but I think I’ll go back to my opening scene and bring in some textures. It will be more of an observed visual texture, instead of a feeling of texture. Oh, I could also bring in how a disgusting smell becomes a taste. Ick.

#vss (very short story):  I looked at #vss365 lead this month by JD Stoxx @banjomediocrity on twitter. The prompt yesterday was fuse. My construction foreman in the first scene has a bit of a short fuse, I could emphasize that more.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey

Protagonist’s Ordinary World: Four of coins
What he loves about it: Four of swords
What he believes is lacking: Six of wands

My interpretation: This works for both the protagonist in my opening scene and the protagonist of the whole novel. He knows what it’s like to be poor both physically and emotionally and is holding on tight to what he feels he has earned through hard work. He likes that the battle is over and he can rest, but he feels that he is not given enough praise and appreciation for what he does.

Ask Your Character

These are great questions, but I worry answering them here, could give away something that becomes important later, so I’ll answer these in my notebook each day as part of my character’s backstory.

Word of the day:

The sheriff appeared to be an autodidact. Bill was finding him hard to respect.

8 Action Verbs:

Time accelerated. He wanted to hold onto the seconds, but they kept flying by.

Nothing felt balanced. Everything was off-kilter as if any moment something would fall and smash.

He consolidated everything in had left of his childhood in a small shoe-box that he had tucked in the back of his highest closet shelf. He looked up at the shelf. He couldn’t see the box. That was how he liked it.

They discovered the body on a Wednesday. The news had spread across the country by early Thursday.

A murder of crows had gathered on the rim of the huge, blue dumpster. They cawed angrily as he approached.

He didn’t need to be lectured about how bad this looked.

He presented himself to the county sheriff’s department as had been requested. They made him wait in a cold tiled lobby on a hard plastic chair.

He scheduled the earliest flight. He wanted to get to the site around dusk and no matter when he got in, traffic would be a nightmare.

Poetry Prompt:

I like that there are poem prompts and plan to write a poem each day, but because most literary magazines won’t take poems that have been published on a blog, and I can’t seem to write more than one poem a day, I’ll go ahead and write my poem in my notebook.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

My main character had a difficult childhood. His parents weren’t educated past high school and were crass and violent. So when he escaped and left his past behind, he wanted to disguise his upbringing. I think he over-compensates and tries to speak like he thinks really smart, wealthy people talk. But when he gets panicked or angry, he slips into crass, bullying language. He threatens and digs into others like the words in his head he can’t forget from his childhood.

Today’s Simple Task

I definitely described an important object in the opening scene, but maybe I can come up with another one or two. I forgot to bring in the press.  I could have the news van drive up in the first scene and have that be why my character leaves.

Warm-up Exercise: My character wants to put his past behind him. The first thing he will do to get that is to ignore the news reports and pretend he is not connected to his old family home.

Day 2 prompts

The ordinary world for the antagonist: Though I am mostly focusing on my protagonist today, my antagonist is in his thoughts, so thinking about and making notes about the antagonist’s ordinary world is a good idea for today as well. My antagonist is unstable, living in his truck, but returning to his childhood home often, so his ordinary world is constantly in flux. It’s about daily survival. A reactionary existence.

“My definition of my own art is experience. I think the scariest thing for an artist to do is stare at a blank canvas and think about what they’re going to say in their work. ” – Alex Rubio

The #vss365 prompt for today is cuff. This is definitely my antagonist. For him, everything is off the cuff, and since he wears all of his dad’s old clothes and his dad was much bigger than him, he is always rolling cuffs on his sleeves and his pant legs.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey

My antagonist’s ordinary world: Page of coins
What he likes about his world: The Lovers
What he doesn’t like: Judgement

My interpretation: I’m not quite sure what I think of that yet. I get that he is always looking for ways to meet his human needs, and that he’s sick of earthly judgement and is focused on spiritual judgement, but I’m not sure how the Lovers card fits. I’ll have to think on that.

Word of the day:

Oren always seemed to be in the middle of an imbroglio. He kinda wished he knew why.

8 Action Verbs:

Kirk was an accomplished director, of pharmaceutical advertisements. Not exactly the glamorous life in pictures he had imagined, but it paid the bills.

He believed he was there to be briefed by the sheriff, but he ended up in an interrogation room with a female detective answering questions for hours.

The manufactured home had been poorly constructed to begin with, but he hadn’t expected so much deterioration.

They hadn’t even distributed missing person posters.

The find had generated a lot of interest in the property.  Ghost hunters were flocking in from as far as Alaska.

The footpath led him behind the mobile home which on the far side looked like it had burned, and to an area of trees. He saw a fire pit and a torn sleeping bag. It looked like someone may have been sleeping here.

The way she presided over the questioning, he got the impression that she was really the person in charge.

She said they had thoroughly searched the property, but there was so much overgrowth, he doubted that was true.

Symbols:

The poetry prompt was about symbols. I need to think about symbols for each of my characters and how to use them.

Awesome Sentence Challenge:

Similes and Metaphors: I’m surprised I hadn’t really thought about this during my prep. I love good similes. This goes well with thinking about symbols. I’m definitely going to be using animals like rats, vultures, jackals and other animals that survive on death and carnage. I’ll also be thinking about the blind and naive, the symbols of a community that ignores the truth of what they let exist when they pretend they are too busy to see, like an ostrich with its head in the sand, like a horse with blinders on, like a person who can’t walk because he refuses to use a cane.

Today’s Simple Task:

I’ve been trying to figure out how to start today’s scene. I want my protagonist to be in mid-action when he gets the news. Maybe I can make it thrilling and scary. He is doing something dangerous and becomes distracted. This could still be so many things, but I have a better idea of how I want to introduce him.

Warm-up Exercise:

My protagonist wants with every bit of his being to not be who he was born. He wants to be the self that he created, but now his past has found him. He is choosing to continue as if nothing has happened as long as he can, but he has a couple of things he knows he has to do before they find him.

Scene Cards:

I have something to add that I didn’t have in 2017. I made scene cards for my editing process. This time I can fill out my scene cards as I write my draft. They will be ready for the editing process the moment I’m ready to start my re-write. I’m ready to fill out my first two scene cards, but I’m not sure how I want to color-code them. I have five colors. I have two or three POVs; I have two or three major settings; I don’t know. Any thoughts?

Read:

Something happened to me this year. I don’t know if it was all the journal reading for The Planner Project or all the rejections because of The Planner Project, but I haven’t been reading novels or any books like I usually do. It could also be that I don’t trust a book anymore because I overdosed on not-so-great novels and recommended novels. It could be that I’ve tried to learn from everything I read that makes it not fun anymore, but I don’t think so. My passion for writing came from the advice–Write the book that you want to read, but can’t find. That is what I do, but it also brings me back to my original dilemma of genre. I can’t find books in my genre that I want to emulate. Why? Because I want literary fiction with the fun characters and excitement of thrillers and mysteries. Will I finally get there? I can only hope.

Do you have suggestions that aren’t on the Best Thrillers/ Best Suspense lists?

 

 

F is for Frangible

frangible: adjective – readily or easily broken; brittle.

Blending skulls

 

Believe Your Eyes

Still
Blending
Fiercely striking
Color and shape
The straight and rigid
Reject the curve

Fill
Bending
Coyly tricking
Hue and line
The playful illusion
In frangible balance

Will
Bedding
Madly mimicking
Base and fore
Hidden in mystery
Beyond awed eyes

Skill
Besting
Wildly beguiling
Depth and space
Endlessly dancing
Connections in the mind

 

Today’s NaPoWriMo theme was line-breaks and speaking of lines, specifically blurring them, have you seen Emma Hack‘s art? She does amazing body paint illusions. I found her images inspiring today. I especially like the Geometric collection. If you like visual illusions in art you may want to check out The Museum of Illusions: Optical Tricks in Art by Celine Delavaux.

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

Gobolinks and Blottentots

You may recognize these inkblots from my last post. The image on the left looked to me like two teddy bears playing with a ball from the moment I made it. The image on the right, however, originally looked like an angelic figure or winged creature (turned 180°), but when I looked at it again, I saw a canyon carved by water flow. Because the original inkblots were made with glitter-glue, the blue watercolor flowed like water and did not soak into the paper, so it even acted like mountain lakes flowing into a river in a canyon. It was very fun to make.

More Fun With Klecksography

Gobolinks and Blottentots

At the turn of the 19th to 20th century,  people expanded on Justin Kerner’s ideas of Klecksography, the art of using inkblots in illustration and created works of their own. Ruth McEnery Stuart turned the creations of inkblots and verse into a game called Gobolinks and John Prosper called the inkblot creatures he created and described in verse, Blottentots. Both of these books of inkblots and verse are now available online through Project Gutenberg.

Project Gutenberg ebooks:

gobolinks coverGobolinks or Shadow Pictures For Young and Old by Ruth The Blottentots coverMcEnery Stuart and Albert Bigelow Paine 1896

Blottentots and How To Make Them by John Prosper Carmel 1907

Inkblots As Story Inspiration

I had a lot of fun creating a bunch of inkblots the other day. One of the great things about inkblots is they are a super-cheap, if not free (you can make them with things you already have in your house) art form and you can make them very quickly.

I did a little experimenting and found porous paper, like regular typing or printing paper works better than thicker paper. So any scrap paper you have lying about is the perfect canvas, and any drippable liquid will do. I used a cheap, hard-disc watercolor set with a lot of water. If you don’t have watercolors, you could use acrylics, or left over house paint. If you don’t have any paint, use mustard and ketchup. Use coffee or tea. Try mud. Why not? Make sure to protect your work area. I rolled out a bunch of butcher paper.

As I made more and more inkblots, my scrap paper got smaller and smaller. I found joy in the black and white blots that were about 2″ X 2″.  Many of them looked as if they could combine to become more detailed creatures, so I got out a metal board and some magnets and had some fun.

metal board and magnets play area

Looking at all these unique beauties made me ponder the stories they could tell. For those of you who have read Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo, what about using inkblots to inspire or illustrate your nine boxes?

Nine Box Plot

Or how about using your inkblots to access your subconscious ideas about your hero’s journey? Perhaps in a similar way to, or along with Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot.  The hero's journey in inkblots

You could also use inkblots to inspire setting and character:

spring garden

A spring garden

mantiss gnome


A garden gnome spinning on a spike

Character development: Use your inkblots with your characters like Rorschach tests to explore their psyches.

Group dynamic/ character interaction: Have your characters play a game of Gobolinks.

Since I am having so much fun with inkblots, I hope to find ways that they will help me enjoy my editing and revision process as well. I’ll let you know as soon as I do.

Further Reading

Inkblot: Drip, Splat, and Squish Your Way to Creativity by Margaret Peot

The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing by Damion Searls

The Inkblot Pack: Includes the 10 Classic Inkblots for you to interpret & a beautifully designed journal with thought provoking quotes

And Just For Fun

Rorschach mask

As a photographer and a costumer, I imagine many possibilities for The Original Moving Rorschach Inkblot Mask, so I bought one. I should have it in about 10 days and will definitely write a review.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

October Pairings (#OctPairs): Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles and Spooky Movies.

Little shop of horrors.jpg

I was writing my morning pages at the end of September (hard to believe that wasn’t even a week ago) and started thinking about things that go together with Halloween movies and books. I remembered an October when I manufactured artifact puzzles. I would put on scary movies while I separated the puzzle pieces and boxed them up.

I no longer work with the day to day of the business, but I still love the puzzles and recently designed the pieces for The Scream by Edvard Munch. So for my first October Pairing, I want to talk about which movies I think go well with my artifact puzzle designs. If you are a puzzle lover, like me, or are having a gathering for The Holiday,  you should have enough time to order a puzzle for Halloween.

starry nightArtifact Puzzles – Van Gogh Starry Night

Everyone knows this image. It’s a poster in a dorm room. So I tried to give it a twist. I swirled and whirled all of the signs of the zodiac into this puzzle then added the symbols, too.

If puzzling with the kids, I would pair this with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and once the kids have fallen asleep I would put on Zodiac and Suspect Zero.

garden of deathArtifact Puzzles – Garden of Death

I love this image. This puzzle was one of my early designs. It includes a multi-piece monster plant and a Jack-o-Lantern. It’s a perfect pairing with Little Shop Of Horrors.

My mom gave me a great Halloween noises CD that came with a DVD of the 1960’s version of Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and I was happily surprised by a young Jack Nicholson (as pictured in the lead image).

 

creature ladder

Artifact Puzzles – Justin Hillgrove Creature Ladder

This image makes me smile. It’s fun. It’s whimsical. And monsters. I designed some of my pieces to represent these monsters, then their neighbors became their own monsters, and so on . . . The puzzle is a monsterfest!

This is a shorter puzzle, so the first time, during family fun-time, I would pair it with the monster squad

then after the kidlets have gone to bed, how about going full Cryptid with laughably horrible films like: Loch Ness Terror and Abominable

Or a Bigfoot comedy like Strange Wilderness

Artifact Puzzles – Waterhouse Lady of Shalott

Waterhouse_Lady_of_Shalott_edge_1024x1024

The Lady of Shalott is a ballad by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Like his other early poems – “Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere”, and “Galahad” – the poem recasts Arthurian subject matter loosely based on medieval sources.

I find this image haunting. So while working this puzzle, after the kids have gone to bed, I recommend:
An American Haunting and my mate’s personal favorite The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Edvard_Munch_-_The_Scream_-_Google_Art_Project_1024x1024
And of course, The Scream – you can sign up to get an email when it’s in stock!

It’s not available yet, but I worked hard on it because I love it!

At first the movie pairing is obvious:
Scream
Scream 2
Scream 3
Scream 4

But then you’ll notice the symbolism and want to watch TrollHunter.

#OctPairs

There you have it. My first offering of October Pairings. I hope you find the same joy in movies and puzzles as I do. When I started making these puzzles, I was surprised how they became the center of every family gathering. They bring people together, and they’re fun to do alone.

What fun things do you think pair up well? Let me know at #OctPairs on Twitter. Or here in the comments.

 

Finding the Nearsighted Narwhal

A pod of narwhalsIt’s easy as a self published author to focus all of your promotion and marketing on the web. However, I recently experienced the joy of seeing my books on the shelves of a local bookstore and it feels great!

It all started with a facebook invitation to a Saturday night showing of local films. It looked like fun, so I looked up the location. It turned out that the films were being shown at a small bookstore called the Nearsighted Narwhal.

The store not only had a wonderful name, but the website said it took self published books on commission. It sounded like a great opportunity to get my children’s books into the hands of readers, so I took a look at their commissions contract.

logo for the Nearsighted Narwhal bookstore

2610A 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98406 253.301.4098 Sunday 10 – 6, Monday Closed, Tuesday 10-10 Wednesday-Saturday 10 – 7

As an artist and crafter, I have put items in stores on commission before–usually the store takes at least 60% of the sale price leaving the artist with 40% or less. The Nearsighted Narwhal only takes 30% of the sale price. So, I printed off the contract, signed a couple of my books and eagerly awaited the event.

I arrived a half hour early to conduct business before the show. I had expected the entire store to be crowded with books, with the amount of people self publishing these days, but there were three double sided free-standing racks at the front of the store, nicely organized with great visibility. There were some crafts in the middle of the store and the back of the store was filled with self published ‘zines.

I walked to the desk and introduced myself to the proprietors who put price tags on my books and walked them straight to the children’s book section at the very front of the store. It was wonderful.

The local films that were shown were entertaining and of high quality. I’m so glad I decided to look into this local event and that I found this great supporter of local authors.

Have you looked into places that might carry your books on commission? I’m thinking of looking into children’s clothing stores that take clothing on commission. They may also be interested in books.