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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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
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?
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
butt in seat in office by 9:30 a.m.
take daily walks
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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?