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.

#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.

 

New Gator McBumpypants Picture Book Now Available!

Gator McBumpypants in Shelley Comes Out Of Her Shell is a sweet story about the challenges of making new friends. It also covers themes such as empathy and knowing when to ask for help.

Last year, I designed and made a little box turtle. I had an online contest to name the turtle and the winning name, contributed by Amy Chesler–Thank you again, Amy–was Shelley. Shelley first appears at the very end of Gator McBumpypants Doesn’t Say Goodbye. If you haven’t read it yet, it is a story about Dee Dee the duck flying south for the winter and having to part with her friends.

In this new book, Shelley gets her own story. She is finally convinced to go on an adventure with Gator McBumpypants and Herman, but she gets a sliver and then is stuck in her shell! Shelley was very fun to work with. Her fabric has a little shimmer when the light is just right. I also designed her so that she tucks into her shell.

For those of you who have been following along with my writer’s journey here at Experience Writing (and Maria Berg’s Writing Life before that), you may recall that Gator McBumpypants was inspired by a photography assignment. I needed models and didn’t have anyone readily available. I grabbed a couple of my stuffed animals and took them outside. While I posed them and photographed them, the story of how they met and became friends came to me. That was the birth of Gator McBumpypants Hears A Scary Noise.

Since publishing that first picture book, I have designed and made two new characters, Dee Dee the duck and Shelley the box turtle. Creating the characters and stories is fun and challenging, but I also continue to use these books as photography projects.

Each year I focus on a specific technique. Last year I tried out colored filters, a wide angle/fish-eye lens and a difficult setting. Though the images using the colored filters and fish-eye lens did not make it into last year’s book, the techniques may be incorporated in the future. The setting was too beautiful to distort and the fall colors did not need a bit of enhancement.

This year, I learned bokeh shape photography. The word bokeh comes from Japanese and literally translates as “blur”. Using a hand-cut filter, I am able to create shapes with every point of light in the unfocused area of my photograph. I incorporated some of the bokeh images into the book and I think it brings another dimension of magical fantasy to the already fun mix of photography and play.

As the characters and stories progress and grow through the series, I, as a photographer, grow as well. Each year is a new adventure. I hope you will think about bringing the joy and play of Gator McBumpypants books to your family this year.

Happy Gator McBumpypants Day!

Another First: McKenzie’s New Boyfriend

bokeh photography experiment with a wide angle attachment on a zoom lens

Galactic Unions                                                                                                    photo by Maria L. Berg

McKenzie’s New Boyfriend is my second story published by Fictional Pairings. They paired my story with a song called Recover by Second Still. I’m listening to it while I write this. It feels perfect for my story–spacey road trip–and on Second Still’s site it says the album was released on my birthday this year (coincidence?).

This is another first in my writer’s journey because this is the first time I have published twice in the same magazine.

When building a publication history, why the same magazine?

When I first submitted to Fictional Pairings, I had two stories that I thought might work. I chose the shorter and more obviously sci-fi because I thought it was a best fit. The moment I received my acceptance letter from Fictional Pairings for BAM-AG Home, I shot off an email saying that I thought I had another piece that would be a good fit. I asked if they might be interested and how long I should wait before submitting again.

Why did I do this? Because I love the musical pairings with flash fiction. It is a great fit for me and I think it will grow. It also shows a growing readership that your first piece was so good that the magazine wanted another.

Like I said in New #LitMag+, finding the right place for your stories can feel elusive, so once you find a good match, I recommend submitting more than one best fit.