#OctPoWriMo Day 20: We’re All Part of the Decor

The New Me by Maria L. Berg 2021

For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge, “decor,” I thought it would be a great inspiration to put up my decorations early, but it’s supposed to rain for a week, so I thought I might make some decor inside instead. Decor makes me think of lamps and wallpaper and carpets, but once I got started appreciating the things my friends and I have made over the years, I was exhausted. I definitely need to appreciate my decor more.

Our Cabin in the Woods Fell on the Witch by Maria L. Berg 2021

OctPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is being part of a community. The 2018 prompt was “Time Stands Still.

In This Still-life

Things brought out from corners, corners created by entertainment “systems” or pianos
Things covered in dust and cobwebs gathered, brought into communion, become a community
of treasured objects, electrified, let, no longer in shadow, creating their own shadows, playing
together in foreground, in background, circling, layering, finding their place so I will see them
like I have seen them with love before and as I arrange them, the dust scatters, the webs break
the bulbs warm and they glow, wax flows, and surprises me with unexpected beauty of planned
destruction. If I had saved that candle, left it contained and whole; I would have ignored its purpose
and plan. These days of creating are expanding, building one on the next, finding ways to combine
find each other, another word inspires connections, overnight multiplying into multitudes, overlapping
concepts grow and spark searches in more dark corners.


The Witch’s Grasp by Maria L. Berg 2021 sculpture by ES3Creative

Happy Reading and Writing!

#OctPoWriMo Day 19: Warning! Delicious Gore Story

For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge, “desserts,” I looked at some fun Halloween desserts and found a vegan “white chocolate” recipe. I also loved the idea of putting raspberry filling in the center of my chocolates as blood, so I gave both ideas a try with my Halloween candy mold. The photos tell a Halloween horror story.

Mr. Skeleton offers us candy.
One pumpkin has cute little eyes.
The horror!
There’s blood everywhere.
It’s a plate of cute pumpkins and skulls.
Oh no! Watch out little pumpkin!
Here’s a happy little skull.
Why, Mr. Skeleton, why?

OctPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is storytelling. The 2018 prompt was “What Do You Want?” I think the suggested form Palindrome Poetry will be fun with sonic surrender.

Fireside

flickering fire gathering
filling our mouths with sweets
after dinner treats while
dark encroaches and dreamtime
closes firelight fading
stages for frightening storytelling
fiction milling, smoke smelling manipulator
spinning lore, remaking before, and later,
savor thrills and chills from tales of killing
shivering because we fear taboos
breaking rules even nightmares beware

in the dark

beware nightmares
even rules breaking
taboos fear we because
shivering killing of tales
from chills and thrills
savor later and before remaking lore
spinning manipulator smelling fear
milling fiction storytelling
frightening for stages
fading firelight closes dreamtime
and encroaches dark while treats
dinner after sweets
with mouths our filling
gathering fire flickering


Zombie Kitty Eats Dessert Maria L. Berg 2021
Tasty Brain by Maria L. Berg 2021

NaNo Prep

Yesterday’s obligatory scenes brainstorm was fun. It led me to starting the exercises in The Breakout Novel Workbook (affiliate link) by Donald Maass. I took a look at the novel’s public stakes and making them worse.

Then I took a look at the worksheets from Writing &Selling your Mystery Novel (affiliate link) by Hallie Ephron. Today I’m going to make a second copy of the protagonist worksheets and fill them out for both my detective and my MC. Once I’ve done that deep-dive into my main characters, I’m going to explore their internal and external conflicts as I continue through the Plotting chapters of The Breakout Novel Workbook.

I just remembered that I bought a copy of The Emotional Craft of Fiction (affiliate link) by Donald Maass this summer. I turned to chapter 5: The Emotional Plot and read:

Many authors motivate their characters with external circumstances. I must do this, because if I don’t, that will happen. The stakes in such stories are also external. Things need to come out right or, gosh, life will be terrible for everyone. There’s nothing wrong with what I call public stakes; they just don’t have automatic emotional effect. Personal stakes are the more reliable way to make a story matter to readers. Personal stakes are why protagonists must act for themselves. It’s the drive that comes from inner need and yearning. It’s what would propel a protagonist toward change, even if the events of the novel weren’t happening.

Maass, Donald. The Emotional Craft of Fiction (pp. 82-83). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

And just last night I started plotting in my workbook with exploring public stakes. 😉 So today, I’ll be adding personal stakes to my plot brainstorming.

Happy Reading and Writing!

I Always Thought He Was Planning to Eat Me by Maria L. Berg 2021

#OctPoWriMo Day 18:Once Upon a Bloodsucker

Monsters in the Closet by Maria L. Berg 2021

For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge, “vampire,” I created a fang filter and found the monsters in my world.

Coffee Vampire by Maria L. Berg 2021

OctPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is an empty pot. The suggested form is Double Exposure. I like this type of poem-within-a-poem form. It provides the opportunity for more than one speaker, or combining two different related images (like vampires and empty pots 😉). The 2018 prompt was “Once Upon a Time.”

A Bite Out of Life

I wake before the dawn this once and make   
              looks sharp like stakes that pierce upon the lake
some fangs to bite the day and suck its ache
                   the thirsty smiles of dreamlike life to take
I wander filtered searching out my foes
            blue blood filled veins that pulse my presence known
and find them lurking everywhere I go
                           I am but juice a lifeforce to consume
there was a time I had a foggy view
                           Nocturnal beasts eternal feast infer-
no light to guide this urge of daybreak to-
                                nal damned immortal aortal portal


Monster House Across the Lake by Maria L. Berg 2021
Blue-head is a Vampire! by Maria L. Berg 2021

NaNo Prep

Today I’m going to have some fun exploring possible plot points. First, I’ll skim through the scenes from the 2019 draft. If I find any scenes that I want to keep and re-write in the new draft, I’ll fill in a scene card for that scene. Then I’ll look at the Story Grid obligatory scenes for a thriller:

  • Inciting Crime indicative of a master Villain
  • Point of no return
  • Protagonist’s initial strategy to outmaneuver the antagonist fails
  • Protagonist discovers and understands the antagonist’s external object of desire
  • Protagonist becomes the victim
  • Hero is at the Mercy of the Villain / All is lost
  • False Ending

For each scene, I’ll quickly list 25 possible ideas then choose my favorites. Then I’ll fill in scene cards for each of my chosen plot points.

In my plotting post from NaNo Prep last year, #NaNoPrep 101 Week Three – Construct a Detailed Plot, I laid out a lot of plotting resources and tools. This year I’m adding the great worksheets from Writing &Selling your Mystery Novel (affiliate link) by Hallie Ephron. This week should be a lot of fun.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Sabertoothed Kitty by Maria L. Berg 2021

#OctPoWriMo Day 16 & #SoCS: If Caught When I Fall

For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge, “spider,” all I had to do was step outside to find plenty of spiders. There was I giant wolf spider on the ceiling in the shop too. But I wanted to do something more creative. Though I really like creating scenes in the space in my bookshelf, I found there isn’t enough space to also do the bokeh the way I want, so today I cleaned off the area in front of the fireplace and began exploring its potential. Inspired by Tourmaline .’s witch fingers yesterday, I pulled out my witch fingers and some other craft supplies and made this little beauty.

Creation by Maria L. Berg 2021

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Today’s stream of consciousness is to start with “If.” I like that it’s “if” and not “what if.” “If” gets me thinking about action, “if/then” instead of maybes. Here’s an excerpt from my journal:

. . . if they actually cared not to disturb the fine wonder of the perfect beauty of this day: A hummingbird zooming to blow the pink trumpet flower then off again, the bee spider sprinting to bat at the air to my left then back to the shadows. If I filmed it all, and could produce the light, warmth, smells, sounds, taste of the vodka-lemonade everything the same, somehow immerse myself in the depth, trick myself to believe, would I be able to relive this whenever I wanted? Would I want to? Very often? Or is it really the unexpected surprise of it when it as equally could have snowed? Isn’t it the unexpected chance of this warm, sunny, quiet, joy of alone yet shared moment that makes it so wonderfilled?

Maria L. Berg 2021

OctPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is Sonnet which made me think of John Peale Bishop’s modernist sonnet “A Recollection” that we studied in the fourth week of ModPo (hint: it’s an acrostic 😁). The 2018 prompt was “Catch Me When I Fall.” The suggested form was the Terzanelle which has some interesting repetition.

Catch

When I fall, remember
not if, then the catch me
When I fall, remember

we are a spinning species
despite gravity’s writer releases
not if, then the catch me

describer I tell you these teases
because a rebel’s treble has legs
despite gravity’s writer releases

enough web will hold the dregs
but not catch me when I fall
because a rebel’s treble has legs

let my catcher quiver tall
with a finely spackled spine
but not catch me when I fall

the rind lined and intertwined
with a finely spackled spine
when I fall, remember
when I fall, remember

Screen in the Screen by Maria L. Berg 2021

NaNo Prep

Last night I got through my first skimming of the draft and listing all the characters. Wow that was a shitty first draft! Good for me, but I’m also glad I’m coming at this work as a complete re-write. Today I discovered the one thing I do not do enough in my work: sitting still with my eyes closed in the sun. I needed and wanted new names for my characters. I wanted to see what they look like and get to know them. It only took trying to sit still in a chair on a surprisingly warm sunny day to come up with all sorts of ideas and have to get up and write them down. I have always been bad at sun bathing. If the sun stays out, I might have my new writing technique: force myself to sit in a lounge chair and try to relax!

Happy Reading and Writing!

#OctPoWriMo Day 15: If Umbrage Were an Umbrella

The Spooky Forest by Maria L. Berg 2021

For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge, “spooky,” I created a spooky forest for my skeleton witches to lurk in. I had fun bringing the outside in to create this little world.

An Eerie Glow by Maria L. Berg 2021

OctPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is “leaves.” The 2018 prompt was “If __________ Were an Umbrella.”

If Umbrage Were an Umbrella

over a dark wood
spooky, haunting
look there, be aware
near fear’s edge
jump scares come–
banging cupboards
footsteps creek
floorboards weeping
moaning whispers
stale cigars linger
something scrapes the panes
incomprehensible sound
movement unfounded
unseen forces pushing
and pulling the ethereal–
even when expected make
shudder quiver shiver
spine tingling
gut clenching
skin-jumping scares
eerie dreary swampy
fear clings wavering
on wheezy breezes
leaves leave
dried and dreary
bleary and weary
tree-cast shadow
cover me, from
feelings of hostility
vague doubts
bouts of suspicion
of foliage affording
shade, colors vainly
display a crisp
mockery of time

Ghosts on the Wind by Maria L. Berg 2021

NaNo Prep

I think I’m done with Writober for this year. I’m going to focus in NaNoWriMo prep instead. I started reading through my 2019 draft yesterday and I’m getting excited for my complete re-write. I’m already planning big changes including the names of the main characters and the POV of the opening scene.

I’m looking forward to joining my first NaNoWriMo write-in of this year this afternoon. I usually enjoy them and get some good work done.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Here’s What’s Working #NaNoWriMo2020

A Beautiful Misty Morning by Maria L. Berg 2020

My first day of November started with this lovely scene of a conflicted sky. Dark vs. Light: Thick fog fighting clarity: All the makings of a great story.

What worked on day one:

Prep really helped me out on day one. For once, I have a physical timeline, an outline and a Scrivener file full of ideas, so when I was feeling frustrated about life in general on day one, I still had plenty to type away, slowly, all day and made it to over 2,000 words.

Waking Up Early Was Worth It by Maria L. Berg 2020

Not pushing too hard on day one and going to bed early-ish paid off on day two. I woke up early to this amazing morning and went straight to my morning pages as planned.

What worked on day two:

As I said plenty during NaNoPrep, publishing my goals here on Experience Writing helps me focus on them and accomplish them. That really worked on day two: I woke up early; went straight to my morning pages, had my butt at my desk by 9:30am; took a walk; and read: wrote 2200 words.

Because I hadn’t been as excited and motivated on day one as I would have liked, I started by going back through what I did on day one and added as much sensory detail as I could muster. By doing that, I discovered a new scene I hadn’t imagined before. I like how that inspired me.

Another thing I did was type some scene ideas in orange text within my writing as I went to get to the next day or later.

How is your writing going? What is working for you?

October 31: Happy Halloween!! #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

OctPoWriMo

It’s the last day of OctPoWriMo. Thank you, Morgan Dragonwillow, for hosting and for your inspiring prompts. Thank you to everyone who participated for your camaraderie and sharing your poetry.

It was a productive and creative month. I’m very excited about finally making the step in my exploration of klecksography to draw on my inkblots and write my poems on the inkblot page. I’ve wanted to get to that point for a long time. I’m also excited to continue exploring my new poetry form Tappswave and see where it takes me.

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Two poems by Ocean Vuong

Online journal: the Paris American

Poetry prompt The final OctPoWriMo prompt this year is light, dark, and shadow–pretty much my favorite topic.

Forms Parallelogram de Crystalline or Florette #2

For my final poem, I’m going to try an idea I had over a year ago. When I read (amazon associate link) Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, I was intrigued by his numbered poems in which the top half of the page had numbers typed in space as if notes or labels to the unseen and then those numbers were footnoted. The spacing of the numbers made me think of markers at a crime scene which led me to create my own crime scene photos with the intent to make poems that go with. I hope you will see what I mean below.

Into the Night by Maria L. Berg 2019

Into the Night
1. howling and yowling pull me from my bed into the moonlight
2. tufts of fur, ripped and torn bring worries of death
3. Don’t look up. I hold my breath as my ankle painfully turns
4. rustling leaves bare nerves aware I am not alone
5. on high alert, I do not turn around, but hurry, limping into the shadows

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this apocalyptic image

micro-story : When TV preacher Pat Robertson made his prediction I laughed and laughed. Watching Cthulhu rise from the waves in the light of a nuclear explosion, I have to ask myself: Whose laughing now?

NaNo Prep

Here we are. The insanity begins tomorrow. The time has flown by and though I am probably more prepared than I have ever been, I still don’t feel ready at all.

Tonight, my region is doing a costumed countdown to midnight. Since I doubt I’ll have any trick-or-treaters, and I’m not going anywhere, it’ll be nice to have an online Halloween with fellow writers.

For my final prep, I mowed the lawns and went to the Grocery Outlet where I stocked up on Amy’s frozen meals and a huge bag of coffee beans. This evening I plan to clean the bathrooms and vacuum, so I can start with a cleaner house.

One thing I learned throughout Nano Prep this month is putting my plans in these posts really helps me get things done, so here are my goals for the first week of NaNoWrimo:

  • Wake up early and go straight to my notebook for morning pages
  • meditate
  • butt in seat in office by 9:30 a.m.
  • take daily walks
  • read

I still haven’t decided what I’ll do here on this site during NaNoWriMo. I don’t plan on doing intensive daily posts like I have in the past. I want to get to my draft and write, but I also want to check in here.

What would you like to see on Experience Writing during NaNoWriMo?

I was thinking a daily photograph and something I find inspiring, motivational, or surprising while I’m writing. Other ideas?

Here’s hoping we all write great novels and have a lot of fun doing it.

October 27: A Magical Night #OctPoWriMo #Writober

OctPoWriMo

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Magical Halloween

Forms Terzanelle or Decuain

When the veil is thinnest

yearning for power
over fear of the unknown
chant into the night

ancient recipes
to command earth’s forces
and fight the unseen

something from nothing
symbols of knowledge reveal
the boundary torn

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image by Anton Semenov

micro-story : Mikey had tricked the guardian into opening the portal to the depths of nightmares. He was starting to regret trapping his little brother down there. If he couldn’t bring him back, Mom was going to kill him.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story An Advocate for Nearly Any Situation by Hayley Ilso

Speculative online magazine Asymmetry

October 25: Breaking the Rules #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

Since I finally got started drawing on my inkblots, I continued and made this two-headed gator creature.

OctPoWriMo

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: An Approach by Roger Lewinter

Online journal: BOMB Magazine

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 24

Anxiety by cie
I liked how the two Joseph’s stars fit together to tell the challenge of facing fear.

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Breaking the Rules

Forms Create your own poetry form

A sprig of parsley

I bite into a parsley sprig and as its slightly bitter flavor reaches my tongue
I remember a time full of possibility
of juice bars and homemade fashions
utopian ideals of altruism
heady philosophies, discourse and exchange
I nibble at tasty lacy leaves and remember easier beliefs

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this epic fantasy landscape

micro-story : As his canoe rounded the bend, he gasped and pulled his oar to slow his approach. The recent earthquake must have caused a mudslide, revealing that what he had always believed to be large white stones was actually a giant skull. He heard a rumble and his canoe rocked. He couldn’t help but personify the quaking of the earth.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story Autumn Leaves by Paul Kindlon

Horror online magazine Mystery Tribune

NaNo Prep

This certificate may say I’m prepared for writing my novel, but I’m not feeling it. Luckily, I still have time.

My main goal for this week is to read. I’m going to read as many of the novels and stories I’ve selected as comps as I can. I also want to finish up my futurist thinking classwork.

October 24: Daring #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

OctPoWriMo

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: In the Dark Times by Andres Rojas

Online journal: Diode Poetry

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 23

I Still Believe in Magic by Esther Jones

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is doing something you’ve always wanted to do

Forms Joseph’s Star or LaJemme

Ever since I started playing with klecksography, I intended to draw on my inkblots and put poems on them, but I couldn’t get myself to do it. I even made photocopies of a lot of my inkblots, but still couldn’t get myself to draw on them. So to go along with today’s theme, I grabbed one of my inkblots, drew this happy creature on it and wrote my poem on it. I dared to try a poem form I’ve been wanting to try as well: a grid in which the poem can be read in rows, columns, and/or diagonally.

Writober

For today’s visual prompt, I chose this still from The Double by Richard Ayoade

micro-story : She was tired of running up the stairs only to stare into an empty room. What did she think she would do if she saw the source of the banging, the footsteps? Her nerves were quickly fraying. What could she do?

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror fiction story each thing i show you is a piece of my death by Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer
An entertaining epistolary work.

Horror online magazine Apex magazine

NaNo Prep

Today I have a regional prep workshop. I’m excited to see what they have to say and to get to know the participants in my region better.