#Writober Day 16: Shiny, Shiny Lure

writober day 16

‘Drowning Salvation’ by Matt Dangler

I love the concept of this image, a creature that evolved to trap its prey by appealing to their impulse to help someone. Kind of like the Ted Bundy of water monsters. This image makes me think of Jaws. It also makes me think of the angler fish in Finding Nemo.

The monster looks like a jolly sort with a nice personality. Maybe he or she wants to tell his or her side of the story.

#vss very short story

The monster was having trouble finding food. No one was willing to help someone drowning in this lake anymore.

#OctPoWriMo

Losing Your Fears and Tears

Today’s prompt is perfect for #Writober and pairs well with the image prompt.

Pick one of your fears and have a conversation with it. I think I’ll contemplate what my sea monster fears, after exploring some of my own fears: like helping a drowning person who turns out to be only a lure for a hungry water monster.

Conditioned Fear

Why do you haunt me in the darkness
Make it impossible for me to sleep
Why do you linger at my pillow
Keeping me from rest that’s sound and deep
Why am I conditioned now to fear you
Images of life enjoyed before
The dreams that always bring me near you
Are a torture that my waking self abhors

Your over-active mind, it calls me
Wanting things to return to before
You hate the pain when you awaken
But in the silence you beg me for more
It is not me that you’re fearing
But whether your soul he will keep
And if your tired eyes that are seering
Will close and get stuck in the deep.

 

#FlashFicHive

flashfichive day 16

graphic by Anjela Curtis

If I do write today’s story from the perspective of the monster, how would I fill in the blanks? Let’s try a few:

Apathy was the main reason I left Lake Eerie. People just turned away from my lure like they didn’t see that hand begging for help.

Nessie was the main reason I left Loch Ness. That girl needed her space. She did not like to share.

Raw sewage was the main reason I left the waters of Victoria, B.C. I mean, who’s going to dive into that, even to save someone. It was gross.

How will you fill in that sentence?

Have a great day of reading and writing!

 

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#Writober Day 15: The Hill Has An Eye

An altered photograph of an eyeball looking out of a hill.

Joan Fontcuberta

This image, as my title suggests, made me think of the horror classic The Hills Have Eyes. It also makes me think of the wonderful faux documentary Troll Hunter and that super creepy mind-altering underground man-eating mushroom X-files episode Field Trip (Season Six episode 21).
How would your character or characters react to coming across a giant eye in a hill, in the ground, in the forest? Or is the hill with an eye your character?

Wanna try your hand at pairing some isms with this eye? Join me over at #pessimisticmoustache.

#vss very short story

Today was different. Today, Earth’s eye had opened and she did not enjoy her view. The ground began to quake and the oceans boiled.

#OctPoWriMo

Theme: Fighting The Urge To Vomit

The suggested form for this provocative prompt is a storytelling poem. I think this could probably work with our visual prompt. One might feel the urge to vomit when they encounter a disembodied eye in a hill. I really enjoyed the storytelling poem The Croft and Dalton Cats. I’ll use it as inspiration for today’s poem.

The Eye

The earth quivered with a sigh, when
From the hill emerged an eye, then
It moved to stare at me and
I stood still as a tree.

It moved slowly without sound, when
I felt a signal through the ground, then
I thought I knew its voice and
It said I had a choice.

It warned me of a comet, when
I fought the urge to vomit, then
The eye became the hill and
The wind tickled wild dill.

The choice the monster gave, when
It emerged from deep its grave, then
Showed me all life’s fate and
Sunk away to mitigate.

Was to join it in its bed, when
All life on earth was shed, then
Repopulate the earth and
Eternally give birth.

Or watch as the comet comes, when
Life’s destruction total sums, then
Be no more of eternal matter and
I clearly chose the latter.

I am so glad I’m doing #OctPoWriMo. I wasn’t sure how I was going to write a poem with Fighting the Urge to Vomit, but with my #Writober image and the inspiration of Edward the Killer Carney‘s storytelling poem, I came up with something unique and fun. Thank you everyone for all the inspiration!

#FlashFicHive

flashfichive day 15

graphic by Anjela Curtis

This is a great prompt to get some words out into the world. For those of you that have been reading these #Writober posts, you know I write a #vss very short story for each of the picture prompts. I post most of them on twitter with the hashtag #vss but there are other places to post your #microstories as well.

is posting his tweet-long stories at #vss365 with a word prompt. Today’s word appears to be “signal”.

Here are some more you can try:

#microfiction        #140novel        #tinytales        #microtales        #nanotales

I hope you’ve found some inspiration for today’s writing.

We’re already half-way to Halloween. Got your costume ready?

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 11: Shoeless into the storm

writober day eleven

To and Fro by Teun Hocks

This is such a great story image. I have so many questions. Why did this man rush out of the house in the night with only a candle. Why didn’t he put on shoes? How is that candle staying lit?

You can see more of Teun Hocks‘s work in his books.

#vss: very short story

Fred always left his shoes on the porch. He never imagined the wind stealing them, forcing him to chase them through the storm.

#OctPoWriMo

Theme: Motion And Transfomation

I love that today’s alternate prompt is to use poetry magnets or words from a newspaper. I have an art book, actually it’s a copy of Mary Joe Frug’s Women and the Law (University Casebook) (Univerisity Casebook) that I found at a garage sale. I’ve been wanting to use some of the pages for black-out poems. I’ll try my first one for today’s poem.
Interesting side note: Women and the Law (University Casebook) (Univerisity Casebook) was published posthumously. Mary Joe’s murder has never been solved.

Women and Work

women and work poem

#FlashFicHive

Create a storyboard of images/words for a story.

day 11 fic hive

graphic by Anjela Curtis

This should be fun. I can do a pinterest board with the image prompt, poem, mind map, very short story and other images. Since I’ve already written today’s story, I’ll choose one of the previous images I haven’t written a longer story for yet.

Hmm, I think I’ll do a storyboard for Day 7 since today’s #OctPoWriMo prompt is about dancing and my very short story from Day 7 is about dancing.

Sorry this didn’t get out earlier. I have a cold and everything took forever today. I hope you find some inspiration here.

Happy Reading and Writing!

What are you planning for #Writober?

#Writober – a writing and reading extravaganza leading to Halloween

September is flying by too quickly. I haven’t even posted my giant Summer reading review yet, but it’s already time to start looking toward October. October is a great time for writing, especially creepy fantasy and horror challenges. I’ve decided to use J.S. Nagy’s challenge name from last year #Writober to describe the whole month, because of all of the fun writing and reading challenges I’ve found to enjoy. I hope you’ll join me for a spooktacularly productive #Writober.

The Pinterest Board #Writober 2

Last year, I happened upon a great writing challenge called #Writober. The organizer, J.S. Nagy a.k.a @BrassGoblin, created a pinterest board and challenged himself to write a 101 word story inspired by one picture each day. He asked other writers to join him and read each other’s stories on Wattpad. Though I did not post my stories, I did read the other stories. I didn’t end up writing a story for each image and I collected some images of my own, but the stories inspired by the challenge were fun. One of them was even published!

This year, I got excited to add some of my own images to the #Writober board, so I contacted J.S. Nagy to see if he had started planning #Writober for this year. Sadly, for me, not him, he is headed to Japan and does not have time for it this year. So I have taken on #Writober 2 and hope you will join me. Here’s the #Writober 2 pinterest board. I have numbered each image in its description and hope you find inspiration for each day in the array of images I collected.

You don’t have to use the images to inspire daily 101 word stories as @BrassGoblin suggested. Last year, I used the images as inspiration for flash fiction of any length under 1,000 words. I also used them to inspire tweet length #microstories (#vss – very short story). This year, I plan to add poetry, a twitter flash fiction group, a reading challenge and #pessimisticmoustache to the mix.

Poetry

I took a CalArts poetry workshop online through coursera.org last month and got a lot out of it. I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to continue writing poetry with a daily poetry writing challenge. This will be the 6th year of #OctPoWriMo  poetry challenge. They have a poetry prompt for inspiration on the website every day. I wonder how my #Writober 2 images will interact with their inspirational prompts. Could be interesting. I’ll be posting my poems here on Experience Writing.

#FlashFicHive

FlashFicHive

This is a group challenge that comes up every two months. I’m glad it corresponds with #Writober. I’m hoping they will doubly inspire me to write flash fiction every day.

R.I.P. – Readers Imbibing Peril

This is the twelfth year of  Readers Imbibing Peril #RIPXII. This reading challenge has lots of different perils to choose from. It began the 1st of September, but I arrived late to the party and plan to participate for October. I’m planning to be in a lot of peril, including:

In peril the first:

The four books I want to read are:
What the Dead Know: A Novel – Thriller
Small Town: A Novel (Block, Lawrence) – Mystery
Gwendy’s Button Box – Horror
and a surprise that I’ll tell you about in about a week. I’ll be reviewing a book that isn’t released yet.

In peril of the short story:

I recommend looking for stories to read and linking your stories to #Writober.

There are also great stories at:

The Evening Theatre, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Sick Lit Mag, Five on The Fifth, Fictional Pairings, and many, many more great online literary magazines.

Peril on the screen:

For this peril, I thought I would watch Horns based on the Joe Hill novel and that made me think of Swiss Army Man which I also haven’t seen.

And Peril of the group read:

I already have my copy of Slade House by David Mitchell

#PessimisticMoustache

I created a creative description game based on a great line from Agatha Christie. Author Diana Rose Wilson and I play it sporadically on twitter. We post pictures and GIFs and challenge ourselves to come up with an ism to describe a feature. For #Movember it’s full of mustaches, and December was full of creepy Santas, but for #Writober, I’m thinking of using the images from the pinterest board. Here are the rules of play with links to lists of isms. I hope you’ll head over to Twitter and join us. Last year we had a lot of fun through November and December as well.

Enjoy #Writober!

So there you have it. A selection of fun writing and reading events I plan to enjoy this October. From experience, I know life will get in the way, and some days, I might just run out of time, but my #Writober is all about inspiration and creation, so I hope you’ll join me in any way that works for you. Please check back here at Experience Writing for my daily poems and flash fiction ideas and I hope you like the #Writober 2 pinterest board. I look forward to hearing about how you will be spending #Writober.

#NaNoPrep – Tips and Tricks

NaNoWriMo 2016 Banner

Getting ready for National Novel Writing Month in every way

Last year was my first November observing National Novel Writing Month. I had an idea for a novel and had done some research on my topic, but didn’t prepare other than that. I won, but it was really hard and came right down to the wire.

If you’re still not sure if NaNoWriMo is right for you, I wrote a post about my experience last year #NaNoWriMo Yes or No? The Pros and Cons of Participating in National Novel Writing Month that you might enjoy.

This year, I have a fresh story idea that has been running through my head since a newspaper article inspired in April. I’m using all the tools at my disposal to do some plotting and planning. Prepared, this year should be rewarding AND FUN!

Whether you’re a plotter, pantser or planster (like me) you should find some of these tips and tools helpful.

Declare your novel

Once you set up your account at nanowrimo.org  it’s time to declare your novel. This is the fun part where you type in your title and your summary.

Writing your novel summary is a great exercise to organize your ideas and will be a tool for down the road, when you have a finished novel that you want to pitch to agents and share your amazing story with the world.

Try this exercise: Imagine that you’ve already won NaNoWriMo. You’ve written your amazing story from beginning to end. Quickly write down everything that happens in your story. Great! Now look at what you’ve written and pick out your main character, what they want more than anything, what/who stands in their way and how they overcome the impediment. Try to get that all into one sentence. You have your logline. You’re ready to pitch your novel.

Now that you’re ready to pitch, head over to 30 covers for 30 days and submit your novel for the cover contest. Graphic designers volunteer to design covers for 30 lucky winners. It’s only a NaNoWriMo souvenir, but could get your writing some attention.

Once you’ve entered your novel for the cover contest, look over the rest of the forums, there is a ton of great information in the forums. Then, make sure to hit the Regions tab on your dashboard and introduce yourself to your local MLs (municipal liaisons). Your home region site should have events to put on your calendar and people to be your writing buddies and support. Here’s a chance to reach out and make friends.

You may want to hit the NaNoWriMo shop to get yourself the T-shirt you’re going to live in and a coffee mug to attach to your hand/face.

Set up your files

Last year, I used the NaNoWriMo discount to buy scrivener. I didn’t end up using it very much because I hadn’t gotten used to it. This year, I’m using the Scrivener’s note card view to outline my chapters. I’ve also set up character pages using character worksheets and character interviews, setting pages, word substitution and theme word sheets and name idea sheets. Having everything in my project file will save me a lot of time and keep me on the page.

You can set up files for any program you plan to use. The fun part of prep is thinking about your characters, your settings and themes. There are tons of fun downloadable worksheets and questionnaires around the web to help you flesh out your ideas. Explore and have fun, but remember to keep everything organized.

I recommend creating one file folder named for your project that you keep on your desktop. You can put a million different folders inside it, but put everything, EVERYTHING to do with your novel in that folder.

Tools

Websites

Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com – I played around at thesaurus.com to create word pages for my major themes. I also have word selection pages for my overused words.

Your local library’s digital library – kcls.org is one of my favorite websites. I’ve been using it to try out African, Arabic and Worldbeat music for my writing soundtrack. It has a variety of newspapers and magazines, videos and e-books for research.

Google News Archive – This is a wonderful site full of old newspapers you can peruse just like microfiche. I wrote a post about it last month: A great tool for research, inspiration and hours of fun if you’d like more information.

Social Media

Facebook – My local region already had a writing group page to join. It’s a great place to meet other people planning for NaNoWriMo and to find out about upcoming events.

Twitter – Other than the obvious hashtags #nanoprep and #nanowrimo, there are a lot of great hashtags for writers. You may want to try them out during prep. Turning your favorite lines in to tweets is  great practice for creating succinct sentences with emotion and meaning. You may want to check out my previous post Twitter #Hashtags That Motivate Revision to find the hashtags and writing challenges that are right for you. Twitter will also be a great way to keep yourself motivated throughout the month. There’s nothing like a few likes on a sentence you just wrote to keep you writing more. Make sure to read and retweet your fellow writers to keep them happy as well.

Pinterest – I’m using Pinterest to create vision boards: one for characters and the other for themes and settings. I’ve recently found a lot of writing inspiration from images I collect.

WordPress – If you’re a wordpress blogger, you can use your blog to tell your readers that you’re participating, creating a promise to yourself and others that you will do the work. You can also type nanowrimo or nanoprep into the search bar of your reader page and find other writers who are participating and will be going through the same things you are.

Tumblr – NaNoWriMo.org has a Tumblr blog. I have found many fellow Nano writers have Tumblrs and I’ve filled up my reader quickly with tips and advice.

Youtube – last year I really enjoyed the NaNoWriMo write-ins on Youtube. I got a lot out of them and wrote some fun scenes I might not have written otherwise.

Your Personal Arsenal

Though there are a ton of tools available to you, only you know what’s best for you. Take a minute to reflect about your writing process and make a plan.

Do you journal? Do Morning Pages?

Gather up your journals- take a look at what you’ve been writing and organize your notes. What are your themes?

Where do you write?

Now is the time to get your writing space just the way you like it. Vacuum, dust, clean the windows, get some plants and candles. Put up motivational posters or seascapes, whatever works for you. If you like big visuals like I do, put up your big piece of paper for your timeline and plot point post-its. Make sure you have tons of colorful, big post-its. Have fun. Make your writing space a place you want to be and don’t forget your Keep-Out and Beware of Deadly Plague signs for the door. You may want to install a lock if you don’t have one.

Set up your play lists

Now is a good time to scour your music collection, your friends’ music collections and your library’s music collection. Think of your themes, your characters, your scenes. Do your characters have theme songs? Think of your settings. What music would be playing there?

You may want to make collections on Youtube, stations on Pandora, or playlists on Spotify.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, now is a good time to plan it out. Give it a test drive and see what really gets you writing.

Make exercise easy

One thing that can get pushed aside during NaNoWriMo is exercise. But getting some fresh air in the lungs and circulating it through that brain will help those ideas churn. So plan ahead.

Make sure to take a walk every day. Start the good habit today.

Keep exercise equipment like small weights, a mat, mini-trampoline, etc. near your writing space and use them when you take a break.

Don’t Procrastinate

Been wanting to paint your office? Do it now! You know the evil procrastination monster will hit hard during NaNoWriMo, so anything you can do now to head it off. Do it! Seriously, some of you know you’re suddenly going to need to clean out the crawl space in the attic in the middle of November (or November 1st). If that’s you, go clean the crawl space and paint your bedroom now. Just to be safe.

Everyone wishes they had more time to write.

What if you could just buy some?

You can!

Have you ever thought about having someone come in to clean once a week or just twice a month. Use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to try it out. It doesn’t have to be terribly expensive. I had cleaners come for a while and for a large house, they charged $70 each time they came.  It was so worth it.Not only did you just buy yourself hours to write, you bought peace of mind. You’ll feel better and  write better.

Hate yard work, but can’t leave the lawn for more than a week, let alone a month? Try hiring a lawn service or maybe a kid in the neighborhood. If your yard work is anything like mine, you just bought yourself at least six hours of writing time!

Have you ever thought about ordering your groceries to be delivered? Some large grocery chains will let you order your groceries online and deliver them to your home if you give them at least twenty-four hours notice. If you set up an order, don’t change it much to save time and  re-order each week instead of grocery shopping, you could add at least 4 hours to your writing.

Another way to add some time is to stock up on prepared foods and healthy snacks. I just did a shop at my local Grocery Outlet. They have started stocking Amy’s frozen meals. I am in LOVE with the gluten free, rice crust pizza. It is shockingly good. I stocked up on those, her spinach enchiladas and veggie burgers. I also grabbed dips for veggies and dried fruit and nut mixes. Having low-prep foods and easy, healthy snacks will keep you energized, out of the kitchen and at the keyboard. Adding at least an hour and a half of writing time every day.

If you splurge on all of these options for just the month of November (I’m estimating having a cleaner saves you 2 hours a week could be much more), you have 63 hours to write that you didn’t have before. If you write a reasonable 800 words an hour, you have all the time you need! 50,400 words

 

Want More Tips and Tricks? Grab one of these books on the subject!

Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook

NaNoWriMo: A Cheater’s Guide: Tips, Tricks and Hacks for Winning This November (Write Better Books Book 1)

No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

How to Win NaNoWriMo: 11 Steps to Writing Your Novel in 30 Days

When Every Month is NaNoWriMo

Have more great tips? Need a NaNoWriMo writing buddy?

Please leave a comment. And Happy Writing and Reading.