The hero is frustrated on #NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 18

Ex

#NaNoWriMo Day 18 (2017): Frustration and Breaking Through Negative Thinking

This is the perfect theme for both my MC and for me. My MC is stuck in a town he no longer recognizes and doesn’t know what’s going on with the case. And I would like the words and ideas to flow faster and with less effort.

#vss365: jive

When Mama wasn’t performing, she really liked jive music. She tried to teach Kirk to dance to it when he was big enough, but he never got the hang of it. She would pull on Daddy’s arm, but he wouldn’t get up from the couch.

Today’s Simple Task

MC’s frustration: Another character breaks his or her trust. How will your main character overcome his or her mounting frustration?

The only person who kind of has my MC’s trust is the detective. How would she break that trust? She could get him to come into the station under false pretenses. She could come onto him to get him to let down his guard. She could say they found something on the property when they hadn’t, just to get his reaction.

His partner back home could break his trust and take his job out from under him. Or Oren could break his trust once they re-establish their relationship.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. You have taken a picture of your Main Character. You hand it to him or her. Have your MC respond to the picture in their own words. Do they feel it is a good likeness? How do they feel about how they look?

This is a good exercise for today. I could have Kirk see his mug shot. I also have a photograph that Kirk brought with him that I don’t think I’ve described yet, so he could be thinking about that picture and compare it to the mug shot.

Extra Prompt

I really like a prompt from November 16th 2017. I think it goes well with today’s theme and will help with my story.

 Setting through your character’s perspective
Consider the room you’re sitting in right now. Take 5 minutes to describe that room from the point of view of someone who is blissfully happy. Now, take another 5 minutes and describe the room from the point of view of someone who is frustrated and angry. Notice how the descriptions are different?
Now, think of a setting in your book. How does your character feel while they’re there? Nervous? Relaxed? In a hurry? Take 10 minutes to describe that setting from the perspective of your character, taking into account their emotional state.

Word Of The Day

importune: v. to plead or beg for persistently

Oren importuned to accompany him, but then when he acquiesced, Oren appeared bored and wanted to go home.

8 Action Verbs:

Kirk anticipated that she would be in a hurry to finish interviewing him, but she didn’t call.

The area had been cleared. The clothes and the sleeping bag were gone.

His lawyer counseled him to stop answering their questions, but it was a little late for that.

He examined the page. He recognized their secret language they had used as kids. He compared it to the journal. There were similarities. Things were starting to make sense.

He increased the zoom. He was right. There was someone over there.

She monitored his reaction carefully. He really didn’t appear to know her. She pulled the sheet back from the second body. This time he reacted.

He rendered an impressive almost photo-realistic likeness of her face.

She usually structured her time. Spending two days in bed was something she hadn’t done since college.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

I also liked the Sentence Challenge from the 16th better than today’s so I’m doing it.

Inspired by Crafting Dynamic Dialogue: The Complete Guide to Speaking, Conversing, Arguing, and Thinking in Fiction (Creative Writing Essentials) by The editors of writer’s digest.

Create a dialogue exchange in which information is being revealed. Try adding an interruption to the scene so the most important information is delayed, perhaps even to another scene.

I’m trying to think of which of today’s scenes this will work well with. I think it would most likely be a conversation between Shawna and Kirk. Perhaps the scene when Shawna has identified the body and thinks the identity will be a  real shocker for Kirk, so she tries to break down his defenses before the big reveal.

 

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises.

The Midpoint #NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 15

inmost-cave

Truth is I’m not into this today

I set my alarm for 6 am so I could watch Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony and to be honest, I don’t give a crap about writing fiction today. I have tried to keep this site a-political, but I cried on Wednesday when Ambassador Taylor talked about being on the front lines, knowing the aid was being withheld and being thanked for assistance and then today, I cried when Ms. Yovanovitch thanked for the question, but refused to talk about how it affected her family.

I was a Washington State senate page in high school. I thought I was going to be a leader and believed I could be president if I wanted to. I learned too much about process and politics in a very short time, but still believed things could change. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa– I had that green passport. They made me swear that oath.– and almost died there. I cannot stand the idiocy of the Republicans on display. I feel sorry for everyone that believed traditions and norms could withstand one bad TV president (including me because I had faith in the Republican Senators to respect their oaths to the Constitution at least!).  It took me all day to come up with my very short story and that’s the best I’m gonna do. Have a great weekend. I’ll see you on Monday.

#vss365: pound

This time, she #pounded her water, wiped her lips, crumpled the plastic bottle, tossed it across her body, and hit the trash can in the corner without ever shifting her gaze from his. Last time, she was intimidating. This time, he was scared.

Today’s Simple Task

Imagery: The most shocking or devastating thing that could happen to a symbol, icon, or thing.

I was thinking yesterday about what would happen if Oren’s journal was destroyed. I still need to discover my protagonist’s symbols so that I can explore what the most shocking or devastating thing that could happen to that symbol. I’m going to journal about this and I think I’d like to do some arts and crafts/ painting and drawing around these symbol ideas to see what comes through. Especially since Oren communicates symbolically.

Warm-up Exercise

Have your protagonist write his or her will or manifesto.

This has come up before and I still haven’t done it, so looking at what Kirk values that he would put in a will would be a good exercise. Also, having him write a manifesto about his views of the world and his beliefs might also be a good exercise. However, I don’t think these exercises will help with today’s scenes, so I may save this one for another time.

Word Of The Day

opprobrium: n.  1. something that brings disgrace or reproach; 2. public disgrace from conduct considered outrageous or shameful.

8 Action Verbs:

answered

classified

corresponded

evaluated

incorporated

modified

reduced

stimulated

Awesome Sentence Challenge

From The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers (6th Edition) by Chris M. Anson.

Avoid unnecessary Nominalizations: When you create a noun from some other kind of word. Example: the verb complete becomes the noun completion, or the adjective happy becomes the noun happiness.

As you write, pay special attention to nominalizations that:

  • Draw readers’ attention away from a sentence’s proper focus
  • Lead to vague sentence subjects or objects
  • Cause you to leave important information out of a sentence

Examples: Using the action verbs above I made the nominalizations: classification, correspondence, evaluation, incorporation, modification, reduction, stimulation. Now I need to come up with when these would be “unnecessary nominalizations” to avoid.

I went back to The Longman Handbook and found some examples:

Vague: Dissatisfaction among employees often leads to shoddiness in products. (nominations: dissatisfaction and shoddiness)

Revised: Dissatisfied employees often make shoddy products.

Those were nominalizations of adjectives. Here’s an example with verbs:

The committee held a discussion of the new regulations for airplane safety. A limitation on flammable seat materials ow is necessary.

Revised: The committee discussed the new regulations for airplane safety. Airlines now must limit flammable seat materials.

So let’s try it:

She created a classification system for an evaluation of the evidence. This modification produced a reduction of necessary labor and a stimulation of connections.

Revised: She classified and evaluated the evidence. Her method reduced labor hours and stimulated connections.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey:

Approach To The Inmost Cave (The emotion your MC feels as he has to traverse this last corridor to the cave): Eight of swords

Leap of faith your MC must take: Two of wands

Old angst that MC revisits: Four of cups

#Writober Day 31: Happy Halloween!

Tentacles crop on side

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Finding peace. There were a couple of new-to-me forms this OctPoWriMo that I really enjoyed. On this final day and with the theme Finding Peace, I decided to revisit the Clarity Pyramid.

PEACE
at rest
no conflict

uncomplicated
not searching anymore
no need or want while writing

“Stay in the moment and find joy.”

PEACE
no pain
quiet breath

no expectations
left alone to my thoughts
Creating new images

“I imagine a playful world.”

PEACE
cool breeze
bright morning

accepting each bump
physical reaction
is but chemical exchange

“I try to be true to myself.”

As a Halloween treat, here are a couple of my favorite Halloween themed poems I’ve written during past OctPoWriMos:

T.M.I.
The Horned Flying Monkey In The Room

#Writober4

It’s our last day! Did you write a bunch of short, scary stories? I hope so. If not, you have a ton of prompts for when you do want to sit down and write a creepy story. And you still have today to catch up. What could be better than writing some creepy flash while waiting for trick-or-treaters?

As a treat, here’s my creepy contest-winning flash story The Wilson’s Old Place.

The image for Day 31 on the Pinterest board shows a lit jack-o-lantern in a glowing forest.

My take: Though at first this looks like a serene autumn scene, at closer look it is quite sinister. How did this jack-o-lantern get deep in the forest? Who lit it? What is that ominous orange glow in the distance? And why are we here, deep in a dark forest, stumbling upon a lit jack-o-lantern?

Micro-fiction: When I couldn’t run anymore, my breaths burning, my heart pounding so my head would burst, I found myself deep in the forest. I listened and only heard the small brook gurgling. I had escaped. But then I saw the lit jack-lantern and knew that there was no escape.

Writing Process and Tools

I have enjoyed that during the course of the month, through writing these stories, I’ve discovered some new tools to incorporate into my approach to drafting flash.

Emotion: excitement

Creepy verbs: slink, lurk, prowl, skitter, skulk, slither, undulate

Story Cubes Symbols: castle, clock (1:45), apple, cane, magic wand, drama masks, die, magnet, tepee

Woodland creature: cicada

Collective noun: a drunkenship of cobblers, a load of cobblers

Horror trope: Psychokinesis

Oblique Strategies: Decorate, decorate

All of these prompts and exercises are to inspire better writing and I feel like flash is a great way to sharpen our skills. There are many literary magazines that are looking for experimental writing. Flash fiction is a great place to dance along the line between prose poetry and prose, to discover new plot forms and inventive story techniques. Now that you have so many story ideas to explore, play with how you want to tell that story to readers.

If you are interested in submitting your stories to literary magazines, get your free November Daily Planner. Each day features one literary magazine to help you explore and find the best fit for your work.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 30: Who am I?

last year's costume.jpg

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Who am I?

An artist in creation

creator of tales
alchemist of thoughts and words
vivid life afire

#Writober4

The image for Day 30 on the Pinterest board is a painting I did on my friends’ house. It shows three creepy little boys. The theme of their party was strange brood.

My take: These triplets are definitely up to no goods. Are they demon babies? Were they born evil or were they possessed or cursed after birth?

Micro-fiction: At first she thought one of them had fallen and skinned his knee, but when she got close to see if she could help she saw it had been a trap to lure her in.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: amazement

Creepy verbs: distress, harass, pain, strain, stress, trouble, grieve

Story Cubes Symbols: light bulb, building, fountain, crescent moon, volcano, postcard, fish, scarab, cane

Woodland creature: bat -cauldron of bats, a cloud of bats, a colony of bats, a hanger of bats

Collective noun: a bank of circuits

Horror trope: cockroaches

Oblique Strategies: disconnect from desire

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

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 29: Lightness of Being

eagle in the light close up

photo by Maria L. Berg                     The eagles were out playing in the wind this morning, providing the perfect illustration for today’s theme.

 

 

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Lightness of being.

Playing in the morning light

Heady
The burden gone
No expectation, judgement
No pain

Ready
For the next adventure
Open to suggestion, surprises
No shame

Unsteady
The tethers loosened
Ground shifting, tilting
No blame

Eddy
Swirling in light
Vibrating energy, electric
Not tame

Excitement
In a moment of discovery
Defies gravity’s hold

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 11 on the Pinterest board is a watercolor painting by Indonesian artist Dinan Hadyan. It shows two people with multiple animal masks around their necks.

My take: I imagine these masks having the power to turn the wearer into the animals they represent, or at least pass on an aspect of that animal when the mask is on.

Micro-fiction: After the fire, Suho and Woojin sneaked past the crime-scene tape and sifted through the rubble by the light of their headlamps. Suho found the masks unscathed under a pile of broken sheet-rock. The depictions of the different animal heads were so realistic, he thought they might bite. Woojin grabbed the fox mask from Suho’s hand and put it on. He transformed into a small, red fox and scurried away. Suho collected all of the masks and hung them around his neck. His mind raced with possibilities.

Writing Process and Tools

Let’s look at one more Celtic Cross Plot  for our creepy flash fiction:

  1. The hanged man  2. Seven of coins 3. The Devil 4. Queen of coins   5.Knight of swords 6. The Lovers 7. The Sun 8. The Hierophant 9. Eight of cups 10. Nine of wands

Emotion: Conflicted

Creepy verbs: condemn, doom, frame, judge, reprehend

Story Cubes Symbols: cell phone, airplane, parachuting, tree, light bulb, fountain, magnet, scarab, bridge

Woodland creature: wolf – a herd of wolves, a pack of wolves, a rout of wolves

Collective noun: a mob of wombats, a wisdom of wombats

Horror trope: power-outage

Oblique Strategies: Go slowly all the way round the outside

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 28: Mending the broken places

first ghost

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Mending the broken places. The suggested form, Pantoum, looks interesting.

Mending is only temporary

Pierced, torn, unraveling forms a hole
Reunite them with needle and thread
The fabric can never again be whole
This tear requires a tight zigzag instead

Reunite them with needle and thread
When left too long the gap needs a patch
This tear requires a tight zigzag instead
I’ll have to find thread and fabric to match

When left too long the gap needs a patch
Hours spent mending can’t fight destroyer time
I’ll have to find thread and fabric to match
Wasted effort or recaptured moment sublime

Hours spent mending can’t fight destroyer time
The fabric can never again be whole
Wasted effort or recaptured moment sublime
Pierced, torn, unraveling forms a hole

#Writober4

The image for Day 28 on the Pinterest board shows a ghost I helped make for my friends’ party in New Orleans.

My take: I love how the perspective of the photo makes the ghost look taller than the buildings. How frightening would it be if a specter with glowing red eyes rose up out of your back yard and grew to gigantic heights?

Micro-fiction: Petra knew she had no business messing with Voodoo, but the lady at the shop in the quarter had said burying the gris gris in the garden would change her luck. Her luck had been so bad lately, she had assumed that meant for the better. Cowering under the glare of the red glowing eyes of the rising, giant specter, she knew better than to assume when messing with Voodoo.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Conflicted

Creepy verbs: sluice

Story Cubes Symbols: clock (1:45), padlock, apple, arrow up, pyramid, magic wand, drama masks, key, magnifying glass

Woodland creature: snake

Collective noun: a flourish of blossoms

Horror trope: witches/warlocks

Oblique Strategies: Would anybody want it?

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 27: How did I get here?

Getting here

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is How did I get here? Today was my last prompt for this OctPoWriMo and I wanted to try a new form, so I chose Ottava Rima.

Today’s theme had me pulling out my old philosophy books: Neitzche’s Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents, and Does the Center Hold?: An Introduction to Western Philosophy.I’m excited to see where this poem takes me.

Getting Here

In a vision of the ideal future
a clear view of an unattainable dream
I couldn’t imagine a complete fracture
or my path veering to such an extreme
I will need to retrain my embouchure
to make a sound that is not sobs or screams
Everything ripped by a force not a choice
The desire didn’t show the cost was my voice

(Note: The framing of the rhyme scheme and syllables helped me narrow my scope approaching this vast topic. Sometimes putting rules and limits on your work can have exciting results.)

#Writober4

The image for Day 27 on the Pinterest board shows a human form backed into a corner.

My take: This image, though a simple human form, is super creepy to me. It makes me think of other dimensions, time not working correctly, not being able to trust my senses. The bare mattress makes me think of torture and abuse. This could be a possession story, a Hell-Raiser type story, something psychological-torturey. It can also fit with the OctPoWriMo theme. How did the character get here?

Micro-fiction: Carl followed Jasper into the abandoned building and up the creaking stairs. He trusted Jasper, but had a sick feeling in his stomach. Jasper led him down a hall of peeling paint. He thought he heard faint scratching in the walls. He felt it on his skin and shivered. They entered a room at the end of the hall. It was empty except for a gray, stained, bare mattress on the floor. Jasper stripped off his clothes and crawled onto the mattress, pressing his squatting form into the corner of the room. Carl was embarrassed, but couldn’t look away. Then it happened. He started jerking, moving so quickly he became a blur. Carl couldn’t see the features of his face anymore. It was as if the moment and the room were bending, shimmering and waving and then . . . he was gone.

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Remorse

Creepy verbs: defame, discredit, disgrace, scandalize, scorch

Story Cubes Symbols: world, long shadow, pyramid, arrow (left), padlock, fish, tepee, bridge, clock (10:30)

Woodland creature: bob-cat

Collective Noun: a glorifying of liars

Horror trope: cults

Oblique Strategies: Be dirty

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 26: What has been unspoken

what lies beneath

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is What has been unspoken. The suggested form is Joseph’s Star.

Sitting with anger

ire
vexation
exasperation
the attempt to negate me
animosity
resentment
gall

huff
conniption
disapprobation
bubbling below the surface
infuriating
impatient
stew

sweat
physical
labor will release
a flashlight beam in the dark
let the light shine through
sleep on it
gone

#Writober4

The image for Day 26 on the Pinterest board shows an array of human forms. This Daniel Richter painting has all the creepies: a cloaked figure, a naked person squatting, vultures, a caramel figure covered in candy, a clown.

My take: This looks like a moment after a Halloween party when a group of people are beginning to make some very bad decisions.

Micro-fiction: “Hanna, thanks for giving Tad your cape, but I didn’t realize you didn’t have anything on under it. It’s raining. You’re going to catch your death. What are you doing? You can’t pop a squat right there. I think I saw a port-o-let. . . .Too late I guess. I’m not ready for this to be over. What do you say? Cemetery? We could break into a mausoleum, see if any spirits are about. Or, Chuck’s clown here is looking pretty homicidal. We could go to the woods and scare people heading home. A cemetery with woods? Perfect. Let’s go!”

Writing Process and Tools

Emotion: Eagerness

Creepy verbs: punish, incarcerate, oppress, exile, blacklist, whip, scorn, brand

Story Cubes Symbols: fire, tent, tree, fish, flashlight, turtle, house, arrow (right), magic wand

Woodland creature: porcupine – a family of porcupines, a prickle of porcupines

Collective noun: a quiver of cobras

Horror trope: slasher

Oblique Strategies: Always give yourself credit for having more than personality

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 25: At the heart of it

Turns out at the heart of it I found ghosts and love 🙂

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is White. The suggested form is Musette.

Blank page

vacant
with potential
wakens

nothing
glaring light blinds
reeling

bleached bare
marks to be made
a flare

Note: I found this poem form more challenging than expected. I like it and think I’ll try some more musettes.

#Writober4

The image for Day 25 on the Pinterest board shows a red, glowing orb structure hanging in a swamp. Someone has traveled far to get to it.

My take: My first thought of this image was that the thing in the swamp had to be alien, but today I’m thinking that it’s more of a mutation, the swamp’s heart.

Micro-fiction: The throbbing became deafening and as I watched in awe the mound lifted from the swamp as if the cypress were a unified body drawing up their roots. There, before me, was a huge heart that glowed red with each beat. I felt that this was an ancient truth that only now wanted to be known.

Writing Process and Tools

How to Write Flash Fiction from Wiki How

Emotion: shame

Creepy verbs: malign, befoul, bespatter, vilify, villainize, revile

Story Cubes Symbols: rook/castle, die (dice), all directions, arrow, cell phone, lamb, fountain, worried smile, book

Woodland creature: skunk

Collective noun: a raffle of turkeys, a rafter of turkeys

Horror trope: werewolf

Oblique Strategies: Is there something missing?

 

Happy Reading and Writing!