#NaNoWriMo Day 12: Character Comparisons and Sunday Summary 2

Day 12
Word count: 23,791 words
Word count goal: 24,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Test/Allies & Enemies
Save The Cat: Fun & Games

#vss very short story

Harold couldn’t make the pieces fit. All he could do was listen to his heart. His heart kept singing, “Go beat the crap out of that idiot.” It wasn’t a very good song.

Plotting with Tarot

My next scene is a confrontation from the antagonist’s point of view, so I decided to do a Test, Allies and Enemies reading for the antagonist.

antagonist test, allies, and enemies

Test: Page of Cups – the muse

What antagonist learns from the test: Knight of Cups upside-down – a fight for the heart or soul, once won quickly forgotten; reversed

Allies: Ten of Cups – a supportive community or group of friends

Who antagonist’s main ally is: Wheel of Fortune – luck- both good and bad

Enemies: Eight of Pentacles – diligence and craft, hard work

His enemies’ motivations: Ace of Swords – an intellectual breakthrough, the moment of truth.

My interpretation: This was a fun reading. It holds insights and predictability. My antagonist and his allies are all about the Cups. I think, in today’s scene, this represents their music. Perhaps my antagonist’s test is the muse because he is having trouble finding inspiration ever since the horrible event that led him to meeting my protagonist. Maybe today’s encounter leads him to searching for long-term redemption instead of trying to cover up what he did. I see his allies as his band-mates, but his true ally is luck. Some sort of luck, be it good or bad, will lead him to this better decision. The enemies card obviously represents my protagonist and his motivations for today’s scene have to do with needing answers. His moment of truth is confronting the antagonist.

This reading provided a lot of insights into my antagonists emotions and motivations. It also gave me some ideas for the effects of the encounter. I think this was the most helpful reading, in terms of plotting, I have done so far.

Ask Your Character

  • What traditions have been passed down in your family?
  • Who were your favorite relatives?
  • Do you remember any of the stories they used to tell you?

Word Of The Day

recidivist: n. repeat offender

8 Action Verbs:

allocated          checked          coordinated          enlarged

immunized          mediated           raised          specified

Poem prompt

Compare your protagonist to your antagonist in rhyme.

No More Time For Doubt

What is that old, wrinkled mess doing here?
I start to shake as bleak future draws near.
A life without long, luscious hair is my fear.
How does he look at himself without tears?

His stringy long hair makes him look like a fool.
Up on that stage, he thinks he’s so cool.
I can tell that his band-mates think he’s a tool.
Wasting his time, he should go back to school.

He looks so weak with his skin hanging off
Does he think he can fell me with one sickly cough
I’m here with my boys, a cocktail molotov
Whatever he wants, his words will get scoff.

Look at him preening and looking around
I can’t wait to throw that foul smirk to the ground
I’ll shock him with muscle. I won’t make a sound.
One hit and he’ll leave all that pride in a mound.

You think you know me?
Got me figured out?
Come at me. I’m waiting.
No more time for doubt.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Look at the last paragraph you wrote yesterday, or a paragraph you wrote this morning. For each sentence in the paragraph, write ten different sentences to say the same thing. You can use different words, but don’t change the meaning. Choose your favorites of the new sentences and combine them to reform the paragraph. Compare and contrast.

Today’s Simple Task

MC compares self to other characters in story – false sense of achieving goal

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 15 minutes. What problems are coming for your protagonist that s/he is not aware of yet?

Recommended Word Crawl

Fallout 3 Word Crawl – Part 1

If you haven’t played it yet, but love post-apocalyptic adventures, you might want to get yourself Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition as a reward for winning NaNoWriMo.

Sunday Summary

So how did your week go? Did you use some of the prompts? Which ones are your favorites? I found a combination of the tarot reading, action verbs, poetry prompt and either the simple task or the warm-up, got me focused on aspects of the day’s scenes.

This week, I had a couple days that writing did not come easy. It was tough for me to see that my sweetie was so excited about his story that he finished a novella, and my writing buddy on twitter’s words are flowing like a river to the ocean when I was not having the same experience. My words are a steady trickle making me push and prod the stream along like kicking at puddles. However, everyone is different, and I’m right on track to reach my goals.

I may not have reached my daily writing goals every day, but I have written every day and that is what NaNoWriMo is about; the practice. Some days, some scenes, will be easier than others. Speaking of practice, I hope you’re trying out some of the Awesome Sentence Challenges. Not only do they help you write better sentences, they inspire creativity.

We have an exciting week ahead on our Hero’s Journey. We’re going to hit the half-way point in our own NaNoWriMo adventure and we’ll be ratcheting up the suspense and conflict as our hero approaches The Inmost Cave or the Supreme Ordeal. I know you’ve fallen in love with your characters, but you’re about to get really mean, making their lives harder and harder until they may even be staring death in the face. Like I said, we have an exciting week ahead of us. Buckle your seat-belts.

Happy Reading and Writing!

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#NaNoWriMo Day 11: Tests, Allies and Enemies

Day 11
Word count: 19,569 words
Word count goal: 22,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Tests, Allies + Enemies
Save The Cat: Fun & Games

Happy Veteran’s Day. It is a nice coincidence that our theme today, for The Hero’s Journey, is: Tests, Allies and Enemies. To observe the day, I took the time to read “Please Don’t Thank Me For My Service”, a piece from the New York Times that interviews veterans. I recommend reading  it. It’s a meaningful piece that’ll get you thinking.

Even if your story has nothing to do with war or the military, the conflicts between countries are based on the same conflicts in all relationships. Your main character may face territorial, economic and ideological conflicts and will need allies and make enemies (or just people who get in her way or don’t like him).

You may want to take a look at the news and think about the motivations behind the conflicts going on in the world today. How might they relate to your story? Think about the veterans in your family and community. What conflict were they involved in? Who were their enemies and allies?

#vss very short story

She thought Andy loved her until he dragged her through Ape cave. At one point she was ready to give up and die in there. When they finally emerged, Sarah startled a family of skunks. Andy was never heard from again.

Plotting with Tarot

Today’s reading, following Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book by Arwen Lynch, is a little different. First, you pull three cards: one is the Test card, one is for allies, and one is for enemies. Then you place a card under each of those cards. The one under Test card is the most important thing your MC learns from the test throughout the story. The one under the Allies represents the most important ally in your MC’s world and the card under the enemies shows what motivates his enemies against him. There’s a lot of information to unpack here which is great because I need to do a little extra writing today.

Tests, Allies and Enemies

The Test Card: High Priestess- Wisdom, secrets and ritual

What MC learns: Knight of Cups upside-down- a fight for the heart; reversed

The Allies: Two of Cups- a balanced relationship that is good for both parties

Most important ally: Two of Pentacles upside-down- take on a new task that is a complement  and a diversion; reversed

The Enemies: Nine of Swords- anxiety, keeping him up at night. When fear overwhelms us, we are alone.

Motivates MC’s enemies: Ace of Pentacles upside-down- The beginning of making something through work; reversed

My interpretation: This is a pretty clear reading for my character. My character’s test is to find answers to an odd mystery that he stumbled upon. What he learns from the test is not to lose interest in love once he’s won it, but to continue to fight for it. The test renews his interest in fighting for his relationships. He has good working relationships and his most important ally is someone very like himself that he has known for a long time. His sudden on-slot of enemies, unpredictably reaching into his life, are causing him anxiety and keeping him up at night. These enemies are motivated by finding new ways to create wealth quickly and easily without having to work for it.

The anxiety caused by all the odd characters suddenly harassing my MC is an aspect of the story I haven’t explored yet. I will definitely attempt to incorporate the idea into my writing today. Sounds like a good day to grab my copy of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi and turn to Anxiety. I think I’ll look at Anger and Doubt as well.

Ask Your Character

  • What was your first serious relationship?
  • Do you believe in love at first sight?
  • What lessons have you learned from your relationships?

Word Of The Day

guisard: n. a person who wears a mask.

8 Action Verbs:

aided                  chartered           convinced          engineered

illustrated          measured          questioned         specialized

Poem prompt

Write a monorhyme poem about tests and trials.

The News Today

measured threats
questioned assets
publicized gets
engineered jets
mastered bets
convinced cadets
specialized vets
illustrated brunets
advised outlets
encouraged forgets
chartered regrets
solved debts
aided mindsets

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Grab a book by an author you would be proud to be compared to; a book that you think has a similar tone to the writing you are working on. Open to a random page and start reading out loud. Write down your favorite words on the page. Does this author use a lot of sentence variety?

Emulate the sentence structures of one paragraph, using your own words.

Today’s Simple Task

Something happens that is out of your MC’s control.

Warm-up Exercise

Your MC is having a conversation, in person, with two people. One s/he considers an “ally” and one an “enemy”. Write the dialogue.

Recommended Word Crawl

The Orange is the New Black Word Crawl seems appropriate for today.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 10: All About Having Fun

Day 10
Word count: 18,450 words
Word count goal: 20,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Crossing The Threshold
Save The Cat: Fun & Games

 

Today’s focus is on fun! As you can see from the images I chose for inspiration, fun makes me think of childhood and being child-like.  Try doing something fun today-dressing your pterodactyl like a baby duck, for instance. Think about what your characters do for fun. Put a fun scene in your story. Have fun writing today.

#vss very short story

Herman thought Dee Dee would be less homesick if she had a baby duck around. He wrapped himself in yellow feathers and fashioned a bill out of cardboard and fabric. Dee Dee found it offensive.

Plotting with Tarot

Today, I’m doing something different. I’m going to read for my MC and do a Celtic Cross focused on what he does to have fun and how that will influence his story.

Fun Celtic Cross

Following the instructions in Mark Teppo’s book Jumpstart Your Novel, this is how I read the cards:

  1. Protagonist having fun: Temperance- finding the middle ground of two extremes
  2. The opposing factor: Ten of Wands- over-burdened
  3. The root cause: Wheel of Fortune- events out of one’s control
  4. The past: Ace of Swords upside-down – a fresh idea, a new start, a break-through; reversed.
  5. The alternate future (vision): The Fool – faith in its good and bad forms
  6. The immediate future: The Lovers – the calling; allow something to be scary and overwhelming, follow it knowing it will change you.
  7. The mirror (why I’m writing about my MC’s idea of fun): Two of Cups upside-down- an equal relationship that brings goodness to each party; reversed
  8. The eye (how others see my MC when having fun): Ten of Cups-  a happy ending, a promise of prosperity to come. A loving family.
  9. The guide (influences the outcome): Eight of Pentacles- diligence and craft, hard work
  10. The outcome (the result of my MC having fun): Two of Wands upside-down- in a position of power and ready to expand your horizons; reversed.

My interpretation: I thought it was pretty funny to ask the cards about how my main character has fun and how that influences the story and draw Temperance. It’s so perfect for my character. He would think finding the middle of the road was fun. He would like taking extreme things and combining them to be less extreme. So my character normalizes his world for fun. The fun is opposed by the amount of work it takes becoming burdensome. The root cause for this being his form of fun is that he doesn’t like events to be out of his control. Perhaps he finds ridding himself of extremes fun because of habits created in his childhood. Strict structure and repeated expectation in his up-bringing. He imagines a world without extremes where he can adventure without fear. In the immediate future he is finding his calling fun. He is having fun following clues and drawn to the new purpose even though it may cause changes in his routine.

I think the mirror card is telling me that I want to have fun and write fun scenes to balance the relationship between work and play.

When other people observe my MC having fun, thy see someone who has it all: a loving family, a nice home and a prosperous life. They don’t see that for him it is constant work to maintain what he has. He feels like fun takes away from prosperity and future possibilities to expand one’s horizons.

Ask Your Character

  • How would you describe yourself as a child?
  • Do you have any siblings? What were they like growing up?
  • Did you get into trouble? What was the worst thing you did?

Word Of The Day

elysian: adj. blissful, delightful

8 Action Verbs:

advised          changed           conveyed           encouraged

identified           mastered            publicized          solved

Poem prompt

Write an Ottava Rima about what your main character does for fun, or as your main character having fun.

What is fun?

Getting an engine to run
After it refuses to start
Now that’s what I call fun
Taking the pieces apart
Then the diagnosis is done
Which reveals the real art
The roar of success
Brings warm pride to my chest

Note: I ignored the syllable count, so the form ended up being an inspiration. Since I like the poem that came to me, a true Ottava Rima will need to be attempted another day.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Free write for 5 minutes. Write anything that comes to mind. After 5 minutes, look over the sentences you wrote. Did you write a variety of different sentences; different lengths, different forms? Or were all of the sentences very similar: He did this. He did that. Try re-writing what you wrote with a focus on sentence variation.

Today’s Simple Task

Highlight a symbol, icon or image

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. What is the rock and the hard place that your MC is wedged between? What funny thing can he do to get out of it.

Recommended Word Crawl

Since today is all about fun, I thought today would be a good day for The Princess Bride Word Crawl

Once you’ve reached your writing goal, you may want to celebrate by watching the movie The Princess Bride.

Though writing a novel is hard, writing is fun.

Let yourself have fun today.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 9: Sub-plots and Secondary Characters

Day 9
Word count: 15,847 words
Word count goal: 18,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Crossing the Threshold
Save The Cat: B-story

#vss very short story

Business trademarks finally reached right into Brenda’s life. She could no longer see the colors gold or black or say the words “Brenda”, “food” or “happy”.

Plotting with Tarot

crossing the threshold 2

Subplot Crossing the Threshold: Ten of Cups – a promise of prosperity to come

What secondary character risks losing by Crossing the Threshold: Eight of Cups upside-down – we have to leave what we have to go searching for what we lack; reversed. You may fear intimacy and have difficulty making and keeping your commitments.

Most compelling reason to cross the threshold: Eight of Pentacles – diligence and craft

My interpretation: My secondary character decides to travel across the country to try to clean up his subordinate’s mess. In attempting to fix a business relationship, he could reveal that his business is not above board.

Ask Your Character

  • Did you enjoy school?
  • What kind of student were you?
  • How would your classmates remember you?

Word Of The Day

rapprochement: n. establishment or re-establishment of harmonious relations.

8 Action Verbs:

administered          chaired          converted             elicited

highlighted          marketed          publicized           solved

Poem prompt

Turn on the radio to any channel. Write a poem inspired by the first thing you hear. – from Kelli Russell Agodon at agodon.com

This is similar to the creative writing assignment that inspired my flash fiction story Your New BAM-AG Home.

“Beside myself with excitement”

Beside Myself

With excitement I observe
Outside of the physical
Free of sensual bombardment
Floating free of pain and pressure

With myself beside

Awesome Sentence Challenge

from Spellbinding Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Achieving Excellence and Captivating Readers by Barbara Baig

Revise for phrases: Take a look at yesterday’s words; the thousands of words you were inspired to write yesterday. Are there any ways in which you could replace single words with phrases, or add phrases to your sentences to make them clearer or more powerful?

Today’s Simple Task

Secondary character – sub-plot. Make a list of possible sub-plots. Come up with at least five ideas for each secondary character.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write in first person from a secondary character’s  perspective. Have that character talk about their relationship with the MC.

Recommended Word Crawl

Stranger Things Chapter One

Don’t Forget To Read!

There’s a great chapter in Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron titled “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch that discusses subplots.
There’s a good section on subplots in The Plot Whisperer: A Groundbreaking Approach to Story Structure That Any Writer Can Master by Martha Alderson in the chapter called “The of the Journey.”
And there’s a whole chapter on subplots in Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen. I found this chapter to be the most informative.

If you would like to continue reading about subplots, her are some links to what other writers have written about them:

Lessons from Lucy: subplots from Dan Alatorre (make sure to read the comments)

How to Write Subplots with Author with Author Kristen Martin from Benjamin Thomas (starts at 1:55 in video)

On Sub-plotting from Thomas Edmund

“But I Wanted To Tell That Story, Too”: When A Sub-Plot Is Really Just Another Plot (Lesson Learned)from Matt Frick

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 8: Crossing The Threshold

Day 8
Word count: 14,783 words
Word count goal: 16,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Crossing The Threshold
Save The Cat: Fun & Games

These images from different excursions I’ve taken, make me think of leaving the ordinary world, having to cross the threshold and embark on a physical and existential adventure. Where will your characters wander today?

#vss very short story

The brisk morning encouraged her to turn back to her comfy bed, but the slanted sunlight beckoned her to adventure. She pulled her scarf up around her nose and ears and trudged on.

Plotting with Tarot

Crossing the Threshold

Crossing the Threshold Card: Four of Swords upside-down –

Introduction: When the 4 of Swords reversed appears in a reading, you or someone very close to you is exhausted, on every level. This is not a time to push yourself beyond your limits, to do so now is to risk all that you have worked so hard for: your health, your work, your relationships. It’s more than okay to take a break. It’s critical now.

General: Generally, the reversed 4 of Swords means that in addition to feeling tired, you may be feeling a bit isolated. Do not look at this as a permanent situation. Allow yourself to rest, and know that the relationships and friendships that you need are coming. Take one step at a time. – from Psychic Revelation

What MC risks losing by Crossing the Threshold: Nine of Pentacles upside-down –

In its reversed position, the Nine of Pentacles suggests that you may be suffering from financial setbacks or you have experienced a loss due to unwise decisions or foolish actions. Your foundations may be about to give way. If they do, learn from your mistakes and build a more solid and secure foundation next time. – from biddytarot.com

Most compelling reason to cross the threshold: Queen of Wands – Desire. If she wants something, she draws it into her life. If she wants information, she’d go out and get it.

My interpretation:

I’m having a little trouble with The Four of Swords reversed for a Crossing The Threshold card. Since it’s reversed, maybe it means this is not a time for rest, that my character needs to take action. When he does take action, he risks losing his foundation. He may experience loss do to unwise decisions and foolish actions. The third card, The Queen of Wands makes total sense for this reading because my character has a mystery on his hands and is driven to find answers.

Ask Your Character

  • What is your worst memory from grade school?
  • Are you still friends with anyone from that time?
  • Was there a teacher or teachers who had a particularly strong influence on your life?

Word Of The Day

sanguine: adj. cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident 2. reddish; ruddy (complexion)

8 Action Verbs:

adjusted            caused           convened           effected

helped           managed           protected           simplified

Poem prompt

Run around your house and grab 5 items that all begin with the same letter. Write a poem as an ode to one of these items or that includes these items. – from Kelli Russell Agodon agodon.com
poetry prompt
I found the letter p: purse, pickles, paring knife, pot and pincushion. I think I’ll pair them with some action verbs like protected, produced, processed and play.  I’ll also add some emotions like passion, pride and patience.
Ode to a Pincushion
This is the pincushion that belonged to my mother
Its dangling strawberry escaped long ago
The pins in its flesh protected with pride
A motley collection of proof of trade plied
A hand-me-down tomato filled with love
Memories filled with patient instruction
Needles of creation, processed reflection
Holding textiles in place to be molded perfection
This is my pincushion, I won’t use another
It somehow stayed with me when all was lost
Holding together the edges that fray
I return to it daily, my passion at play

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Free Play with Phrases:

In separate lists, collect some noun phrases,some adjective phrases, some verb phrases and some adverb phrases. From each list, pick a phrase and put them together to make a sentence.

Here are the lists I collected:

Noun phrase Adjective phrase Verb phrase Adverb phrase
The sight of his face Very pricey but really beautiful Crossing boarders With ease
His roiling emotions Quite small but cheap Seducing and performing In a minute
The foolishness of her actions Covered in mud Running yourself ragged After the game
A person of passion Cowering in the corner Take it easy Every day
A pause in the battle Older than dirt Get some rest On the count of three
The agony and the ecstasy Exquisitely graceful Mastering the beast Over the lake
The headline entertainer Heaviest of all Conquering fear Under the sea
The grunting of the engines Neatly pressed Marshalling your forces Through the window
The noises of the tires High overhead Pick up the reins and drive After the sun set/ before sunset
The clock on the mantelpiece So low only she could hear Pulled one way or another Only two days ago
The belt of her robe Rattled like loose teeth Leveled at my temple As if he understood
Her father’s eyes Dotted with strip malls and gas stations Tripping an alarm system Down the road
The back of her neck Open all the way Considering the situation In the forest
The glass creatures Facing the light Developing a rapport Whenever he remembered
Old people Pressed tight Deployed about the room Through the garden
A piece of trash Floating in the air Gone out for a walk With needle and thread
The neighborhood that bordered the park Like kings Wasn’t parked Back and forth
The darkened room Like a motorcade Read the article and cursed Under his breath
The grandmother Ashleigh never knew The color of the margins of the Declaration of Independence Folded her arms Across her chest

So let’s see what kind of amazing sentences come out of this mess:

  1. His roiling emotions, so low only she could hear, picked up the reigns and drove across her chest.
  2. The agony and the ecstasy, rattling like loose teeth, tripped an alarm system under his breath.
  3. The back of her neck, the color of the margins of the Declaration of Independence, pulled one way or another with ease.
  4. The belt of her robe, open all the way, leveled at my temple after the sunset.
  5. The clock on the mantelpiece, quite small but cheap, considered the situation on the count of three.

I can see how this could be a great tool for coming up with some interesting sentences. My collection appears to be leading me toward the naughty. Maybe my character has other plans than the ones I intended.

Today’s Simple Task

Have your MC observe something from a different perspective physically (from above, from below, through a filter) and/or emotionally.

I was inspired to write this prompt by a Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt on Mundus Media Ink by Michelle Rene Goodhew

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write in first person from your MC’s perspective in your MC’s voice. Your character has been grossly betrayed by a close friend or family member.

Recommended Word Crawl

Bookshelf Word Crawl A little extra encouragement to explore your TBR (to be read) pile.

Don’t Forget To Read!

For today’s Awesome Sentence Challenge, I collected phrases from:

Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book by Arwen Lynch

Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel. I am loving this novel. It’s a fun read about two people who are thrown into one crazy misunderstanding after another.

The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life by Jessa Crispin

The Hiding Place by David Bell. I found this one when I started research for this year’s NaNoWriMo novel. I’m hoping it will be a good comp (comparison novel) when I finish and start to query.

Extra Challenge

Write a scene that demonstrates a flaw your main character has.

Today’s an exciting day. Today, the adventure begins!

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 7: The Mentor

Day 7
Word count: 13,308 words
Word count goal: 14,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: The Mentor
Save The Cat: Act II

 

#vss very short story

After digging for hours, it dawned on Brandon that even his best friend was lying to him.

Plotting with Tarot

mentor reading

Mentor card: Magician upside-down – the creator dictating from the heavens. Reversed, the Magician can indicate greed, deceit, manipulation and using one’s skill and ability for negative ends. It can reflect trickery and cunning, untrustworthiness and mental confusion. – from biddytarot.com

How the hero sees the mentor at first: Two of Swords upside-down – requires that a decision be made. Reversed, Be sure that you are dealing with the right people and until you are absolutely sure – put off making any decisions. Your balance has been lost – you have been knocked over by the people and problems charging your defenses. The blindfold has been removed so that you can see the truth and communicate. This has been an emotionally shattering experience for you – you will need outside help. -from crystal-reflections.com

Most important lesson the hero will learn from the mentor : The Star – A time of rest and recovery. You are exactly where you should be and doing exactly what you should be doing. You have reached a state of balance.

My interpretation: It doesn’t look like my MC has a good mentor. He probably shouldn’t listen to his advice. The lesson he learns from his manipulative and untrustworthy mentor is that he’s on the right path and doing things right on his own.

Ask Your Character

  • Do you have a love of your life?
  • When did you first fall in love?
  • Can you tell me about your first kiss?

Word Of The Day

petrichor: n. a distinctive scent, usually described as earthy, pleasant, or sweet, produced by rainfall on very dry ground.

8 Action Verbs:

adapted          cataloged           controlled          educated

handled          maintained          prosecuted          showed

Poem prompt

Theme: learning and teaching – Who were your mentors? What was the most important lesson they passed on to you?

Today I’m going to attempt an Italian form called Rispetto.

The Mentor and Mentee

She volunteers to educate
Her art from years of practice show
To translate plans as patterns state
Important skills to cook and sew

Combining all the lessons learned
Early habits overturned
To leave mistakes to plague the past
An exponential knowledge vast

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Try sentences with these three different types of Verb phrases:

  1. Add two or more finite verbs together: verb+conjunction+verb
  2. Add a finite verb and an adverb: verb+adverb
  3. Add auxiliary verbs to the main verb: auxiliary verb+main verb

Today’s Simple Task

Raise another question for your MC to answer.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Your MC receives an unexpected package. What does he do with it? Does he open it? What’s inside? – inspired by Kaori Leosarka (NaNo poster)

Recommended Word Crawl

Today feels like a good day for The Fall Crawl by Azombieatemyshoelace. It made me think of the great fall pairings I wrote about last month in my October pairings posts:

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

October Pairings (#OctPairs): Halloween Candy and Books

October Pairings (#OctPairs): Movies & Drinking Games

Time to get a nice hot beverage and introduce my MC to his mentor.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 6: The Point Of No Return

Day 6
Word count: 11,446 words
Word count goal: 12,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Refusal
Save The Cat: Point of No Return

Plotting with Tarot

I did a reading a bit off the book. Today, I focused on The Inciting Incident:

Inciting Incident Day 6

The Inciting Incident: The Empress Upside-down – the emotional world, the sensual world, and the possibility of new life. A tremendous potential to take an idea and turn it into a finished product; in reverse.

What is going on when The Inciting Incident happens: Ten Of Wands – Carrying a burden

How the Inciting Incident forces my MC to act: Four Of Cups Upside-down – ignoring potential, inspiration in the reverse.

My interpretation – My character’s inciting incident is a reversal of his idea that his quest was finished. He feels burdened by the knowledge that he has found. The inciting incident forces him to stop ignoring the information that has dropped in his lap.

Ask Your Character

  • How would you describe a perfect day when you were young?
  • What did you think your life would be like when you were older?
  • Do you have any favorite stories from your childhood?

Word Of The Day

quixotic: adj. extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical, or impracticable. 2. impulsive and often rashly unpredictable.

8 Action Verbs:

activated          calculated          contracted          edited

guided               lobbied              promoted            shared

Poem prompt

Theme: The point of no return

The point of not return
Return to my regimen
Regimen of daily responsibilities
Responsibilities give my life meaning
Meaning guided by principals
Principals shared through relationships
Relationships I must protect
Protect from outside forces
Forces that wish us harm
Harm guided by evil intent
Intent calculated by selfish will
Will lobbied to tear me from safety
Safety the promise of my daily prayers
Prayers of thanks with wants folded in
In hopes that I would never reach
Reach the point of no return

Note: I’ve wanted to try one of these poems since I saw one of the other poets in #OctPoWriMo write one. I think it’s a non-rhyming form of Loop poetry. It was fun and flowed well. I think the themes and motives of my MC are becoming very clear and his motives are clear in this poem. Using some of today’s Action Verbs helped guide me along.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Explore connotations: Choose a word (may I suggest one of the active verbs or the word of the day) and look it up in your thesaurus (thesaurus.com). Pick one synonym that has positive connotations and choose one that has negative connotations and write a sentence for each one. Read the sentences aloud. Do the particular connotations of your chosen word influence how you write the rest of the sentence?

Today’s Simple Task

Show your Main Character’s greatest weakness. Put him or her in a moral dilemma.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write about the last thing your character would ever want to do. Then write a scene forcing your character to do the last thing they would ever want to do. – inspired by prompt from Josie (NaNo poster)

Recommended Word Crawl

The Nightmare Before Christmas Crawl

I tried this crawl last year and enjoyed it. Like they mention in the crawl, the movie Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is great for watching anytime between Halloween and Christmas.

And Don’t Forget To Read!

A great writer reads and reads and reads. It may be harder to feel like you Cover of A Long Walk to Waterhave time to read during NaNoWriMo, but it’s still important. Yesterday, I finished reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, based on the true story of Salva Dut. It is the story of his young life fleeing the war in Sudan and his efforts as an adult to bring water to the people of his home country. The book is well written and a good read. I enjoyed it in little bites during the commercials of the Seahawks game.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 5: The Refusal and the First Week Sunday Summary

Day 5
Word count: 9,270 words
Word count goal: 10,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: The Refusal
Save The Cat: Debate

Today, I dove into my surreal images folder on Pinterest. Today my character will be convincing himself that his ordinary life is better than the call to adventure. He’ll be considering the structure he has created that constitutes his home and relationships.

Plotting with Tarot

Today’s Hero’s Journey reading is The Refusal. The center card is The Refusal card, the one to the left is your MC’s biggest fear about the Call to Adventure. The card to the right the responsibilities that can’t be abandoned. It is why he can’t refuse.

The refusal.jpg

Page Of Cups – Deep personal relationships

Six of Cups Upside-Down – represents a relationship you’ve had since very young or a soulmate connection

King of Wands Upside-Down – Inspired creativity

My interpretation – This reading makes sense for my Main Character. He does not want to answer the call because he wants to stay home with his family and enjoy his retirement. The Six of Cups in the reverse position represents his fear of hurting or losing these relationships. The King of Wands in the reverse represents his daily responsibilities to others, not wandering into creative solutions, but the repetitive and expected behaviors that create trust in these relationships. His refusal has to do with maintaining what is expected of him, but he will have to respond to the call of adventure to maintain this daily life and protect his relationships.

Ask Your Character

  • What words of wisdom would you like to pass on?
  • Is there something you’ve always wanted to know, but never asked?
  • Is there something you’ve never told anyone, but want to?

Word Of The Day

eldritch: adj. eerie, other worldly, weird, spooky

8 Action Verbs:

acquired          built          continued          earned

grouped          litigated          produced            shaped

Poem prompt

Write a Constanza about doubt.

Threats to Fear

I sit and ponder deepest doubt
To lose the ones that I hold dear
For them to turn from me, my fear

I protect them, day in day out
If I should go who will fix things
Resist decay and loss time brings

And who will tend the little sprout
A stranger’s hand won’t be the same
A different voice his rage to tame

What if the soil dries up from drought
Wells of wishes not to be found
Who will tend the fertile ground

Too far away to hear the shout
I will not know when dangers near
Impossible these threats to clear

I linger here and ponder doubt
But know I have no choice to stay
I hope my heart will know the way

Awesome Sentence Challenge

noun (or noun phrase) + verb (or verb phrase)
Write a page full of two word sentences. Try to convey as much information as possible with only two words by using specific nouns and strong, active verbs.

Today’s Simple Task

Think of your favorite scene from any movie or TV show. What makes it so great? Try to incorporate its strengths into a scene you write today.

Warm-up Exercise

Have your MC write his or her will or manifesto.

Recommended Word Crawl

Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy crawl.

Sunday Summary

This was a short week. Hard to believe we’ve only been at this since Wednesday. How’s it going so far?  I hope everyone got a good start, but if you didn’t, there is no time like the present. Grab a prompt and write a scene.

Have you found any of these prompts particularly helpful? Is there something you would like me to add? What do you think of plotting with the Tarot?

For me, I’m finding that doing the reading and writing my daily poem, get me focused on the day’s scene(s). They help me focus on the characters I’ll be writing about, really diving into their feelings and motivations. Then, when I open up my story and start writing, the words flow. I feel more prepared and organized than I have in the past.

This week, in The Hero’s Journey, we’ll be hitting The Inciting Incident and heading into Act II. We’ll meet mentors, allies and enemies. Exciting! So many fun things to explore.

I hope you’ll continue to join me in 2017’s National Novel Writing Month adventure.

Happy Reading and Writing!

NaNoWriMo Tools

Novel in 30 Days Worksheet Index

The Character Name Generator

Mood Fuse

Cliche Finder

Free Writing Workbook

Random number generator

Virtual dice & coin flip

Pound-O-Dice

Waterproof PVC Playing Cards Set Pure Color Black Poker Card Classic Magic Tricks Tool ,54pcs/Deck

Oxford Extreme Index Cards, 3 x 5 Inches, Assorted Colors, 100 per pack (04736)

Post-it Super Sticky Notes, 3 x 3 Inches (Blue Monster)

#NaNoWriMo Day 4: Antagonist’s Call to Adventure

Day 4
Word count: 6,350 words
Word count goal: 8,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Call To Adventure
Save The Cat: Debate

I’m really enjoying meditating on the works of Akiya Kageichi for this project. They are so full of story inspiration. The second top image by Andrew Ferez made me think of the Chekov’s Gun exercise (like the Simple Task on day one) to make sure that objects described in a scene are important to the story. I love detailed journal image Fossil Boy by Chris Rush. When I saw it, I thought, which of my characters might keep a detailed journal? How could I incorporate this into the story?

Plotting with Tarot

Where do my antagonist’s motivations come from? What was his Call to Adventure?

Today’s scenes include three different antagonists, so I’ll be doing a few different readings. I’ll include all three pictures and you can see if any seem to apply to your antagonist (s).

Okay. Something very strange happened when I chose the first set of cards. The layout you see is exactly how I set them on the table. I turned on my DSLR camera and took the picture the same way I have each morning, but the camera took the picture upside-down. Without changing a single setting I did the next two readings and the camera took the pictures right-side-up.

The interesting thing about the camera deciding that my first reading should be upside-down is not only does that change the meaning of the cards, it also changes the position. Thus, an upside-down Queen of cups would be what my antagonist is up to when he gets the call to adventure and the upside-down High Priestess would be why he would consider it.

I have a lot to think about. Not only about the electronic interference of poltergeists and the unseen powers in the universe, but also whether there’s a hidden or unseen aspect to my character, a dark underbelly if you will.

Ask Your Character

Ask your antagonist –

  • Who has been the kindest to you in your life?
  • What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
  • What is your earliest memory?

Word Of The Day

bellicose: adj. aggressive, hostile

8 Action Verbs:

achieved          budgeted          contacted          documented

governed          listened            processed          served

Poem prompt

Today’s poem has a form prompt. Write a rondelet about your antagonist’s motivations.

Motivation

I need to achieve
To finally get what I deserve
I need to achieve
Smiling faces blockades meant to deceive
But I’m quick to swerve
Because my needs I serve
I need to achieve

Awesome Sentence Challenge

A sentence can do one of four things:

  1. Make a statement:declarative sentences
  2. Ask a question: interrogative sentences
  3. Make a command:imperative sentences
  4. Make an exclamation exclamatory sentences!

Practice writing the four kinds of sentences. Then try the same sentence all four ways.

Today’s Simple Task

Show antagonist’s goals, needs and desires.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer to 20 minutes. Write a scene where your protagonist and antagonist share a meal. – from Anna C. (NaNoWriMo poster)

Recommended Word Crawl

Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along crawl. A great way to study bad guy motivations and I wanted an excuse to watch it again.

 

More Prompts From Twitter

Twitter is a treasure trove of writing prompts. #prompts is a good place to start.

It led me to @sempersum which led me to #NovemberFalls poetry challenge

NovemberFalls poetry challenge

There is also a take a prompt/ leave a prompt thread in the forums of the NaNoWriMo site.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 3: Call To Adventure

Day 3
Word count: 4,393 words
Word count goal: 6,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Call To Adventure
Save The Cat: Set-up, Catalyst, Debate

I love these images. The one on the left makes me think of the fool card from the tarot, jumping into his new adventure without worry of what’s ahead. The other two images make me think of going on a group quest. Each character’s strengths adding to the others’ to conquer every conflict thrown their way.

#vss very short story

The hinges creaked as he opened the door a crack. There was a whole world of unknowns out there. A gust of wind forced the doorknob from his hand and flung the door wide. He stepped.

Plotting with Tarot

nov 3.jpg

For today’s reading, I’m back to focusing on my main character. Today he gets a call to adventure. Something happens to draw him out of his Ordinary World.

Call to Adventure: King of Cups – an intellectual approach to love

What is happening when the call comes or your MC’s goal before the Call to Adventure: Ace of Pentacles – a new sense of security found through work and determination

Why your MC would consider the Call to Adventure: Nine of Cups – self-sufficiency, doesn’t need an outside source to tell him his work is good

My interpretation: My character’s Call to Adventure is a need for answers. He worries that his family is in danger and has a driving need to protect them. He is working on fixing a fence when the call came in the form of a piece of paper found in his garage. He considers answering the call because he is self-sufficient and feels responsible for everything that happens on his property.

Ask Your Character

  • What are the funniest stories your family tells about you?
  • What are the most embarrassing stories your family tells about you?
  • What’s a story your family tells about you that you hate?
  • What’s a story your family tells about you that isn’t true?

 

Word Of The Day

susurrus: n. whispering, rustling

The susurrus of dry leaves was like writhing snakes.

8 Action Verbs:

accounted for          brought           consulted          documented

governed                  licensed           printed              selected

Poem prompt

Write an ode to change. The change can be a change of scenery as in going on an adventure, an adventure into a new life, or any kind of change.

Twists of Fate

Our stories are but arrays of change
The joys and suffering these turns have brought
Hills and valleys as fate will arrange
Deliver conflict and suspense to every plot
Jealous hearts may wish to exchange
But they fill their minds with tortured thought
Fantasies malign to derange
When contrasts to one’s reality is sought
Happiness and self-worth may estrange
When forced revisions are wrought
Metamorphosis may feel strange
Along the path with dangers fraught

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Nominative Absolutes (also known as absolutes): is a noun phrase used as a sentence modifier. Try these five different ways of constructing nominative absolutes:

  1. noun or noun phrase + adjective: He sang, his voice low, while he pushed Billy on the swing.
  2. noun or noun phrase + present participle: He jumped, his jacket billowing like a parachute, into the mud.
  3. noun or noun phrase + past participle: The window, glass fogged from the heat of his breath, rattled in the wind.
  4. noun or noun phrase + prepositional phrase: Hands reaching out, Billy said, “up.”
  5. noun or noun phrase + noun or noun phrase: The woman, her grin a menacing rack of knives, motioned for him to join her.

Today’s Simple Task

Write a scene where your Main Character acts selflessly to help someone else (saves the cat, or dog or hamster).

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. What was the last lie your Main Character told? Who did he tell it to? Why did he lie? How did he feel about telling it? Would he tell it again?

Today’s Recommended Word Crawl

Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party crawl

This crawl is based on a really cute show on YouTube featuring many classic authors. Each episode is about 10 min. long.

 

Other Blogs With Daily Writing Prompts

Putting My Feet In The Dirt:a list of prompts for each day

5 Fun and Useful Books of Writing Prompts from Rachel Poli

Day-by-Day NaNoWriMo Outline: Your 30-Day Cheatsheet from Christine Frazier at Better Novel Project

30 Daily NanoWriMo Prompts from K.L. Whightman

Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge from TA Writes

Weekend Writing Prompts from Dave Farmer

Happy Reading and Writing!