#Writober 2019 Day 10: Touch

soft

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Touch. Today was my first prompt for OctPoWriMo. I hope it inspired. I wrote a post about touch back when I started this blog and did a series on exploring the senses. Here are a couple exercises I created to explore touch, if you’re interested in exploring your senses for this poem:

Exercise 1: Wander though your house and find 3-5 objects with different textures. The objects should have special meaning to you. Put each object in a paper bag or box, so that you can touch it without looking at it, or you could blindfold yourself if you need to. Feel each object. If possible, touch the object with more than just your hands, try your toes or your elbow. Write down everything you think about. Explore texture words, but also emotions and memories. Be as specific as possible.

As with all of our senses, we have to pay attention to the input, or we don’t notice it. If we noticed every bit of sensory information all the time, we wouldn’t be able to think. This is especially true for touch. As long as we are at a comfortable temperature and not in pain, we mostly ignore all of the things we are touching or that are touching us at any one moment. Let’s change that.

Exercise 2: Write down and describe everything you are touching right now. Example: I am touching the keys of my laptop, my small folding table, a cushion, the couch, the table leg, the carpet). What are they touching? Explore those textures. Are any of the things you are touching hot or cold? Do you feel pressure points, or vibration? Does paying attention to the things you are touching change how you interact with them? It made me want to clean my little table and get some tea.

SOFT
silky
cat dander

Neighbor’s roaming pet
Always on my porch chair
His fur a gentle comfort

“A good friend cushions a hard fall.”

HARD
sturdy
unyielding

The cement is cold
Uninviting mornings
I forget my socks again

“Venturing into a new day.”

wood planks

#Writober4

The image for Day 10 on the Pinterest board is a picture of a detailed gargoyle looking down on a city.

My take: I especially like the ribs on this sculpture. It has the horns of a goat, the face of a large cat and the body of a human. I’m jealous of its view.

Micro-fiction: Raissa came up to the roof every lunch break to look over the city like the magnificent gargoyle. She loved to run her fingers over the detailed sculpture to feel its rough divots and scars. She sketched it every day. That was how she was the only one who knew it had an active life when no one was looking.

Writing Process and Tools

Hero’s Journey Plot:

I used Tarot for Beginners: A Practical Guide to Reading the Cards by Barbara Moore to interpret the cards from yesterday’s layout and here’s what I came up with:

A confident, experienced man who listens to his heart and is moved by the heart of others, recently received a material object of greater value to him than is readily perceived. He sees its potential. In his near future, things will not be as they seem.

He sees so many possibilities that he cannot focus until he makes a decision. He is called away from this quandary of possibilities by a need to create, but he is feeling vulnerable and feels he needs refreshment and cleansing after recent trouble. He has put all his passion and belief into something before and that cherished creation was utterly destroyed. However, he realizes that letting that go and learning from his failure can lead to a breakthrough.

He decides to create what he is passionate about, but a bad situation is made worse by a feeling of helplessness. He is tested by a wise advisor and becomes desperate to hold on to his material goods (his creation, his power over his creation).

He comes into conflict with a woman who exposes deceit. She plans to publicly humiliate him and destroy his life’s work. However, he finds that if he stops clinging to his material goods and shares them, they can work together, even find love. But she was only leading him on to get at his creation and now the people she works with are set on destroying him.

He doesn’t give up and comes back with even stronger conviction to do what is right. He realizes he was better off alone, not listening to anyone but himself.

Conclusion: I think it would take a novel to tell that hero’s story, so to answer my own question, I don’t think the entire hero’s journey is the plot form I want for these flash fiction stories. However, a number of these elements did inspire my story. As you might imagine, the conflict with a potential love interest was intriguing, so here’s the plot I came up with:

A scientist who had been discredited and embarrassed in his field, finds the one thing he needs to prove his theory and create something that will change the world. His previous scientific rival hears of his discovery and attempts to steal it, but she sets off a chain of events that leads to catastrophe.

Using the reading I did of the cards, what flash fiction plot would you come up with for our gargoyle?

Creepy verbs: slander, malign, denigrate, slur, smear

Story Cubes Symbols: house, airplane, key, sheep, monster shadow, book, eye, arrows every direction, cane

Woodland creature: owl

Horror trope: mummy

Oblique Strategies: Retrace your steps

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

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#Writober 2019 Day 9: Sight

sight

                                                                                                           photo by Maria L. Berg

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Eyes or What do you see? I wrote a post about vision back when I started this blog and did a series on exploring the senses.

A sight

What a sight
a sight for sore eyes
a vision
out of sight
out of mind
in the mind’s eye
or the eye in the sky
the eye is on you

Look
and you will see
seeing is believing
what lies beyond the veil
veiled truth
is veiled lies
in the eye of the beholder
all is but perception

#Writober4

The image for Day 9 on the Pinterest board is another painting by Daniel Richter. This one shows electrified looking human forms falling to earth.

My take: This image makes me think of a terrifying falling dream coming true. You’re suddenly falling from a great height and don’t know when you will land, but you’re sure when you do, you’ll die. It brings to mind the horrible choice to jump from a burning building, or souls descending into eternal damnation. It also makes me think of falling into another dimension. It could also be the opposite: gravity suddenly stops working and nothing holds us to the earth and people float away.

Micro-fiction: James pinched himself, bit his tongue, pulled a nose hair, but he wasn’t asleep, so he couldn’t wake himself up. He had taken his first sip of his morning Americano, burning his tongue, as usual, and then he was here, floating or falling, he couldn’t tell. He thought he was floating, but it could have been an illusion because everyone was falling faster than he was. His mind raced: biblical apocalypse, aliens, the earth stopped rotating? None of those were good for him. He was alone. No more people were falling around him. He felt tingly, light-headed like at the dentist, peaceful, sleepy. He saw stars.

Writing Process and Tools

Hero’s Journey with tarot:

Today, I thought we would look at another plotting technique with the cards (and I found some monster stickers I forgot about, so I’ve got more decorating to do). Two years ago for NaNoWriMo, I got the book Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book by Arwen Lynch and went through it step by step.

Recently, I’ve been approaching my short stories as the hero’s journey plot and also finding the Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need beat sheet a useful plotting tool.

Today, I want to see if these tools will also make my flash stronger. So first, let’s look at our characters. Keeping in mind the image of the figures either falling or rising I pulled:

characters

The first character I pulled was the King of cups. He’s my main character, but when I pulled a card for his past and future, hoping to get an idea of whether he’s falling or floating and why, I pulled two more court cards which made me think more of the figures  were hero’s in my story.

So I drew past and future cards for all three:

characters past and future

This gave me the idea that maybe my main character is rising and the other characters are falling which is a neat idea that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Cool.

Now let’s look at our hero’s journey:

today's hero's journey
1. Ordinary world:Seven of cups
2. Call to Adventure:The Empress
3. Refusal:The Star
4. Mentor:The Tower
5. Crossing the Threshold:Eight of swords
6. Tests, Allies and Enemies: King of wands
7. Inmost Cave:Four of coins
8. Ordeal:Queen of swords
9. Reward:The Lovers
10. The Road Back:Five of wands
11. Resurrection:King of Swords
12. Return:The hermit

We have a lot to work with now. I’m going to write my draft and see if the hero’s journey works for this flash story.

Creepy verbs: abominate, despise, hate, loathe

Story Cubes Symbols: apple, book, drama masks, shooting star, volcano, light bulb, turtle, postcard, cane

Woodland creature: woodpecker

Horror trope: vampires

Oblique Strategies: Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober 2019 Day 7: Tongue

tongue-flavors-300

physical sensations on the tongue

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Tongue, Tasting and Speaking. I wrote a post about taste back when I started this blog and did a series on exploring the senses. Today’s poetry form is Tongue Twister.

Bitter, Sour, Sweet

Flitter glitter emitter
jitter critter
transmitter
spitter embitters
sitter knitter

Deflower willpower
scour our shower
devour cauliflower
cower glower hour
in wallflower tower

Defeat deceit
complete browbeat
discrete elite cheatsheet
eat treat receipts
backseat heartbeat
concrete feet
meet, heat, repeat

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 7 on the Pinterest board shows two hands (the rising dead) reaching up the base of a tree that has a picture of a missing cat stapled to it.

My take: That zombie really wants a kitten, or perhaps the poor kitty got run over and the dead don’t want the owner to look for it anymore. Either way, the dead are rising and are interested in your business. It’s not a good sign.

Micro-fiction: Approaching the bookstore, I noticed a lost kitten poster on a tree. The kitten was so cute. My heart ached for the owner. Before I stepped up on the sidewalk, the ground shook. A warm gust flooded my nostrils with decay. Two large hands burst from the dirt and reached up the trunk of the tree as if reaching toward the kitten. I turned, got back in my car and drove home, vigilant for small creatures. One should pay attention to bad omens.

Writing Process and Tools

Plot-O-Matic: I thought we would switch things up today and use a different plotting tool. Follow the link to learn more about the plot-o-matic and how to make your own.

Today’s plot: A conspiracy junky–wants to be happy again–paints the kitchen at three a.m.

Creepy verbs: terrify, terrorize, bludgeon, force, dragoon

Story Cubes Symbols: padlock, flower, airplane, key, pyramid, sleeping person, die (dice), alligator, lightning bolt

Woodland creature: turtle

Horror trope: possession

Oblique Strategies: The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten

Sleep on it: This morning, “sleep on it” actually worked for me. I woke up with the idea I needed for my story and went straight to writing. Remember to always keep a notebook and pens and pencils next to your bed. Don’t get up to get coffee or anything first. Get the ideas down, then go get your coffee. I am so glad I did.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

#Writober 2019 Day 6: Blue

Quintessence of the abstract

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Blue. I liked all the different ways blue is used, especially “bluing the air.” I don’t remember hearing that before.

Blue Sidewalk

You yelled ’til you were blue in the face
while the blue clad woman just won the race
and the blues man played his bluest blues
without hitting a single blue note
which made you bluer than blue
but no one would know because your blue eyes
reflected the bluest skies.

#Writober4

The image for Day 6 on the Pinterest board shows a frightening head/mask floating in the corner of a kitchen.

My take: I find this image particularly disturbing. I think it’s the juxtaposition of the giant, disproportioned figure-are there shoulders there in the shadow?-to the mundane, every day, safe kitchen. Is that monster always there lurking and only showed itself in this moment. If you hadn’t looked in that split second would it have only been a chill or a shudder?

Micro-fiction: Brenda sat at her meager kitchen table, her tear dripped into her coffee. It had been their first night apart in ten years; she didn’t want to face this first day alone. But she wasn’t alone. She shivered and looked toward the stove. Through the blur of tears a distorted head floated near the ceiling. A shadowy hulk blocked her way from the room. She settled in with her tear-salted coffee. At least she was distracted from her other problems.

Writing Process and Tools

Celtic Cross Plots: How could we use yesterday’s reading for today’s plot?

What if: our character has been sick for a long time and has finally gotten out of bed and gone to the kitchen to get some tea. While she was ill, she reflected a lot on her life and has decided it’s time to quit the rat race and start a new project. Just as she is feeling like she knows what good she can do for the world and how to get others involved, she sees the haunting figure staring at her from the corner. She feels it judging her. It frightens her. She wonders if it will see the her of her past or the her of now, but mostly she fears not knowing what it wants. The creature won’t say anything, so she has to come up with a plan.

Did the tarot plot inspire or change today’s story idea inspired by the image? It brought up the idea that the character had been ill for a long time which I think goes well with the image and brings new meaning to the scene.

Creepy verbs: startle, jump, burst, jerk, seize, shiver, revive, resurrect

Story Cubes Symbols: bridge, arrow(bow&arrow), earth, keyhole, magnifying glass, rainbow, balance, question mark, fire

Woodland creature: frog

Horror trope: cabin in the woods

Oblique Strategy: Emphasize the flaws

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

#Writober 2019 Day 5: Doorways

conjoined twins

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is doorway- open or closed. Bop poetic form

Crossing the threshold

Inside
Flannel pajamas
covered in blankets
heating pad on my belly
alone in thoughtful silence
imagining a better world
Need a push to cross the threshold

Outside
People, places, things
aspirations and collaborations,
beauty, love fresh and new
expectations, disappointments,
together in thoughtful silence
peppered with communication
that can be misunderstood
Need a push to cross the threshold

Inside Out
Comfort or  adventure
alone together
creating more existence
forming bonds
entering or exiting
Need a push to cross the threshold

#Writober4

The image for Day 5 on the Pinterest board two women in masks, sitting at an upright piano, pointing guns at each other. A man’s head sits on top of the piano between two bottles.

My take: Two women are in a deadly stand-off. Will they continue to play duets, or can only one pianist survive?

Micro-fiction: Azealia couldn’t practice the duet with her sister anymore. She would rather die. She should have known her twin would pull her gun at the same time.

Writing Process and Tools

Celtic Cross Plots:

  1. Four of Swords 2. Ten of coins 3. Nine of cups 4. The magician 5. The Hierophant 6. Seven of coins 7. The Chariot 8. King of swords 9. Ace of swords 10. Three of wands

Today I’m using The Tarot Revealed: A Beginner’s Guide by Paul Fenton-Smith to interpret the cards for our plot.

A person in physical or mental retreat is in conflict with material success. S/he reflects on success earned, but it is time for a new project. S/he believes others will follow. S/he is at a crossroads pondering long-term needs of hopes. Others see him/her as clear-thinking, practical and honest. S/he puts these plans into action.

How would this plot work with a scary story? I’m thinking one member of a business partnership gets a conscience and wants to dissolve the business, maybe come clean about bad business practices. The other partner needs to stop him putting them at deadly odds.

Creepy verbs: awe, reverence, wonder, scorn, frighten

Story Cubes Symbols: cane, bridge, apple, light bulb, keyhole, rainbow, scarab, magnet, key

Woodland creature: snail

Horror trope: omens of death

Oblique Strategy: Use filters

Oblique strategies are creativity cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. I often like to draw a random card for inspiration. Today’s card “Use Filters” is an interesting one for me. I like to use filters in my photography: color filters and handmade bokeh filters. What kind of filters could we create for writing?

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober 2019 Day 4: Escaping the Cage

Escaping the Cage

Burning sculpture by Spencer Matthews photo by Maria L. Berg

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme “Cage – Pewter, Silver, or Gold” has to do with feeling caged, even in a beautiful, shiny cage. The poetry form Tetractys looks like fun. It is a form of counting syllables that can be used forward and backward.

Hem No More

Hem
inside
expecting
available
Not this time: without respect: I want more
Friendship isn’t a one way street today
I don’t serve you
I want some
equal
ground

#Writober4

The image for Day 4 on the Pinterest board is a painting by Berlin artist Daniel Richter. The painting shows two electrified looking silhouettes with frightened eyes.

My take: This image works well with the idea of escaping the cage. For some people, their whole world is a cage. If a portal to a new world opened up, that could be an escape from a cage. The figures appear to be running through an alien, unknown land that is unstable, perhaps erupting, crumbling, deconstructing. They appear frightened and look to be carrying weapons.

Micro-fiction: Dr. Haviaras pulled the plug and smashed the crystal of Havmillarium. She knew there might not be another speck left, so her life’s work could never be repeated. The glimpse of that world and the figures running toward her was enough to quash her ambitions.As she yanked the cord and raised the hammer, one of the attackers put a hand on the other’s chest as if to restrain their flight into her dimension, but she didn’t have time to ponder what that could mean. She had to stop them. She was the only one who could.

Writing Process and Tools

Celtic Cross Plots: Here’s another celtic cross plot

Writober plotting with tarot 2

  1. Four of Swords 2. Ten of coins 3. Nine of cups 4. The magician 5. The Hierophant 6. Seven of coins 7. The Chariot 8. King of swords 9. Ace of swords 10. Three of wands

Creepy verbs: slash, gash, pierce, slice, hack, flay, blister

Story Cubes Symbols: pyramid, flashlight, magnet, arrow (down, left), clock (four o’clock), crescent moon, question mark, flower, scarab

Woodland creature: hedgehog

Horror trope: monsters

 Using the October Planner Pages

Planner exterior

Last night, I posted the Fourth quarter opening pages and the pages for October. I started working with the pages this morning and found that the prompt for October 14th somehow moved up to the middle of the previous page. Sorry about that.

I typed in the names of my stories and poems that need homes. I needed to add text boxes to type inside the boxes. I highly recommend starting with this exercise. I found it inspiring to see all of the work I have done that is ready to be sent out into the world listed on one page like that. Fun and exciting!

Planner interior

Then I printed the planner. Make sure, when you select duplex printing, that you select staple on short side left. I took my little chisel (couldn’t find my awl) and quickly pierced the pages along the fold. I sewed them together into a book. I am really liking the look of things now.

Self-critique: At this size, I think the boarders around the sections are a little too thick now. The writing prompts need to come down a bit from the top edge on some of the pages and the fonts within the daily boxes can now be smaller. Next month I’ll definitely try a different color scheme which I plan to do each month anyway. Overall, I think it’s almost there.

This month, I hope to fill in every box on every page, so I get the full experience. I hope to try every prompt and hope you will tell me which prompts (written and visual) you like the best. Thank you for playing along. I hope you find inspiration in these pages.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

#Writober 2019 Day 3: Inside Out

DSC05671

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is Womb. I once went to a festival that had a “womb room.” You had to walk through stuffed fabric labia to enter.

My Womb

The lake is a womb I return to each summer
I am reborn

#Writober4

The image for Day 3 on the Pinterest board shows a yard flamingo that has not only lost its feathers, it lost its skin. It makes me think it might have irritated the witch it stands next to.

My take: Maybe our witch tried to raise the dead, but made a mistake and all the dead animals came to life. That would be terrifying: flocks of skeletal flamingos. My theme “Inside Out” made me think of the movie The Fog and of course Inside Out (Theatrical) the Disney movie. I think I’ll put on The Fog while I work to get in the mood.

Micro-fiction: Anjali watched as the live deer frolicked among the recently risen. Her longing for her lost love, the inspiration for this mistake, still consumed her, but she was also filled with wonder by this lone creature unaware or unafraid of those defying death while the other living cowered and hid.

Writing Process and Tools

Creepy verbs: alarm, worry, unhinge, forewarn, appall, carillon, toll

Story Cubes Symbols: crescent moon, erupting volcano, sleeping person snoring, rainbow, cell phone, parachute jumper, worried face, monster shadow, tall building

Woodland creature: deer

Horror trope: past lives

Other People’s Writober Prompts

I found these lists of daily prompts on twitter, in case you are looking for even more inspiration:

Inktober promptsWritober Writing Prompts

Happy Reading and Writing! I’ll see you tomorrow.

#Writober 2019 Day 2: Changeling

Contemplating the Other

photo by Maria L. Berg

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is Changeling. I can really related to this theme as I often said I must have been found somewhere as a baby. I did not believe I could have been related ;). I also like the example Minute poetry form. I don’t think I have tried it before. I’ll give it a try later since the poem that came to me does not fit the form. My poem was inspired by the definition given for Changeling.

When I Think of Me

I wonder where they took her
That me that might have been
Did they shrink her down
and give her wings
to secret among their kin

I wonder where I come from
and why they placed me here
Did they make me big
and break my wings
just so they could leer

Does she send the hummingbird
that flits among the flowers?
Or the squirrel
who sits and chits at me
as the summer fruit sours

What would be the purpose
of the changeling child
to never know
one’s true home
nature never reconciled

#Writober4

The image for Day 2 on the Pinterest board shows a group of five monsters standing in a row in a field.

My take: This group of monsters looks poised and ready, but ready for what? And what are they waiting for? Is there someone commanding them? Has someone conjured them? Each monster is unique, and appear to have different animalistic characteristics. They may each have different skills or powers, but they all have huge sharp teeth, so I would think they are all carnivores.

Micro-fiction: As she stared into their dead eyes, she wondered what they were waiting for. She was relieved that they hadn’t eaten her too, but that made her wonder if it was her rage that had invited them. She worried they would never leave.

Writing Process and Tools

Yesterday, I forgot to explain what I meant by Story Cube Symbols. I’ve added a link to a post I did about story cubes and different ways to use them. Recently, I’ve been using them a little differently. I’ve been rolling them to look for symbols, either in relation to a character during character creation, or as a way to think up theme symbols.

Celtic Cross Plots: Today I linked to a post from November of 2017 when I started plotting with tarot. It talks about the spread and how I interpret it.

Yesterday I showed this spread as an idea for some creepy flash stories:

  1. Queen of swords 2. Seven of swords 3. Two of cups 4. Death   5. Judgement 6. Page of swords 7. The Chariot 8. Two of wands 9. King of coins 10. Queen of coins

Today, I looked at my copy of The Ultimate Guide to Tarot: A Beginner’s Guide to the Cards, Spreads, and Revealing the Mystery of the Tarot by Liz Dean and came up with this interpretation:

A strong, independent, well-off, recently-married woman finds out her partner betrayed her. The partner dies of “natural causes,” but she fears judgement. She becomes alert and carefully observes what others say. People see her as a rising star and help her further her ambitions. She has firm boundaries and will not tolerate those looking to take what is hers and she ends with wisdom beyond her years and physically content in her physical world.

So can we apply this to today’s story? Is one of the monsters in the picture a strong independent woman who was recently betrayed by one of the other monsters? Or does our strong, independent woman command the monsters to do away with her new husband who betrayed her? Did the monsters kill her husband and no one believes her? Does she feel guilty because the monsters killing her cheating husband makes her happy? Or are those monsters perhaps aspects of her own psyche?

There’s a lot to play with there. This is why I enjoy combining different kinds of prompts to spark ideas.

Creepy verbs: frighten, scare, dread, curdle the blood, curl the hair, strike terror into, spook, startle

Story Cubes Symbols: postcard, hand, fire, apple, key, thought bubble, arrows in all directions, bee, arrow (up, left)

Woodland creature: squirrel

Horror trope: demons

I hope you find inspiration and do some fun writing today.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober 2019 Day 1: Dark Night of the Soul

Halloween writing fun

Fun tools are motivating even when approaching the dark night of the soul

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is Dark Night of the Soul. I really like this as the theme to start Writober because it gets to what flash fiction and poetry are all about: confronting the self, inspecting the human spirit, facing change and facing fears.

A Shudder in the Shadows

Is it that I finally see?
You that always follows me,
a shudder in the shadows,
a spark just out of sight
Or is it you who leads?
My silent guide through endless night,
the tiny hope at tunnels end,
or but a trick of light?
Scattered photons on the mist
perceived as wondrous sight
Are you of bad omen or fair?
Are you with tidings or but glare?
Do I face truth?
I do not dare.

#Writober4

The image on my pinterest board I chose for day one shows a person deep in the woods on a foggy night encountering a giant floating fish with glowing eyes. The person appears to be about catch a glowing orb, or perhaps forming a glowing orb in space. Is s/he receiving a gift from a spirit guide? Attempting to communicate using his/her own life force?

My take: I think this image is a great illustration for the theme “Dark Night of the Soul.” Today’s story is about a man who is given the opportunity to see beyond the veil. He has to choose if he wants to live a life with this new truth or go back to not knowing: a more comfortable, but less complete life.

Micro-fiction: Bertrand opened his arms wide to accept the gift of sight from the great fish floating in the misty wood, but at the last moment he put his arms down and ran back to his tent. He didn’t want to spend his days surrounded by giant all-knowing floating fish with glowing eyes. He wanted to curl up in his warm sleeping bag, go back to sleep and forget what he had seen.

Writing Process and Tools

To prepare for a month of writing a flash story every day, I opened one of the great little blank books (pictured above) and made some inspirational notes to use as needed. Feel free to use any or all of these elements in your story.

Celtic Cross Plots: A couple years ago I learned about plotting with tarot cards. It has nothing to do with divination, but everything to do with the symbolism of the cards and layout to inspire your storytelling. If you follow the link, you’ll see how I made my own cards. I had always intended to continue decorating the cards as I learned more about their meaning and symbolism. This year, to get myself started, I added Halloween stickers to the cards as they came up. Here’s a picture of the first horror story plot for this Writober:Halloween plot with tarot one

  1. Queen of swords 2. Seven of swords 3. Two of cups 4. Death   5. Judgement 6. Page of swords 7. The Chariot 8. Two of wands 9. King of coins 10. Queen of coins

Creepy verbs: paralyze, deaden, maim, demolish, destroy, petrify

Story Cubes Symbols: balance scales, arrows in all directions, tall building, alligator, postcard, monster shadow, shooting star, footprint, sleeping person snoring.

Woodland creature: bunny

Horror trope: The grim reaper

R.I.P. (Readers Imbibing Peril)

Since I am currently editing a thriller and planning a thriller for NaNoWriMo, I am reading–you guessed it–Thrillers. Since this challenge started September 1st, I can include the last book I read,
Blind Side by Catherine Coulter. She did a good job of keeping me turning the pages, though I did not find the sudden marriage aspect very interesting.

Now I’m reading Gone for Good: A Novel by Harlan Coben. I liked his book The Stranger and Gone for Good: A Novel was used as an example in Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass for creating tension on every page. The specific example was about creating tension even in friendly dialogue. I’m excited to give it a read.

Happy Reading and Writing!

I hope you are all having a great first day of Writober. I’ve got to go type up my flash story. Check back tomorrow for more poetry, inspiration and fun. I look forward to hearing about what you are doing for Writober and reading your poems over at #OctPoWriMo.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Writer Shed Stories for only 99 cents. Available today! I hope you enjoy my story “More Than He Could Chew.”

Plotting with Tarot: Interpretation for a friend-The Perfect Romance Plot

This is fun! My friend Diana Rose Wilson was having a bout of writer’s block, so I mentioned trying plotting with Tarot to get some ideas. She tried it, said it took her down a rabbit’s hole and gave up, but said I could go ahead and interpret her spread. I decided to give it a try, thinking it might be fun to see if someone else’s spread might inspire a scene for me as well since the cards are interpretive symbols with immeasurable possible interpretations.

awesome notebooks

I decided to make this the first entry in my I Regret Nothing Journal from The Mincing Mockingbird & The Fantic Meerkat (I love these journals) and wrote down each of Diana’s cards and positions. Many of the cards she pulled were reversed which I found interesting. While doing this, I noticed she was missing a card for a Celtic Cross which looked like her intended form, so I pulled out my hand-made Tarot cards and found the cards she had pulled, put them in order she would have pulled her spread and then started shuffling and cutting for her final card.

I shuffled and cut my deck three times while thinking, What would be the last card in Diana’s spread and What would the outcome be for Diana’s story? Believe it or not, the top card after the final shuffle and cut was The Lovers. Perfect.

 

romance plot spread.jpg

I grabbed my copy of Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo, turned to page 75 (Note: after I published this post, I found out that Mark Teppo’s book is in second edition with significant additions, so that page number may not be the same in your book) and started my plot interpretation. During my first exploration of the Tarot last fall, I found that I liked using Teach Me Tarot for online interpretations, so I went to the site and started with Diana’s first card, The Ten of Pentacles in the search bar. The great thing about Teach Me Tarot is it thoroughly explores the upright and reversed positions for every card. Because I am using this for fiction plotting, I can pick and choose which aspects of the card, in the given position, are exciting to me for a plot-line.

Now that you know the tools I used for my interpretation, I’m going to give you my interpretation of the entire spread as a story plot. If you would like further instruction of how I came up with this interpretation, I highly recommend getting a copy of Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo, Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book by Arwen Lynch, and reading my blog posts from November 2017.

Now. With no further build up . . . Drum roll please . . .

♥ Diana’s Most Amazing And Useful Romance Novel Plot! ♥

Your protagonist is wealthy on many levels: from a wealthy family and a well-known family name, may have old money or be “self-made” through hard work. S/he is from a close-knit, tight family unit and follows family traditions and customs. This protagonist starts out having it all, but something from the past threatens his/her happiness. Something from the past: a person, a document, a memory threatens to destroy this perfect life.

The story begins with the protagonist facing doubts and fears that something isn’t right. S/he wishes to let go and enjoy/reap the good life, but worries it is too good to be true. Whatever threat from the past has come to light (family, business, family secrets, blackmail, old business partner, old school friend, old lover, inheritance, current relationship falling apart, etc.), the protagonist has dug in his/her heels and stubbornly refuses to negotiate or compromise. There is a good chance that s/he is wrong, but pride/ego/family name is in the way. The protagonist becomes awkward and difficult, determined to keep the battle/conflict going. S/he will lose any honesty s/he had, willing to call black white to disagree on almost every item.

The protagonist wishes s/he could walk away, but because of original home/wealth/happiness, can’t. S/he wishes for space and time to think, to come up with a new approach, but is constantly pressured. S/he wants to find a way to be free from blame for every horror s/he is discovering created the wealth s/he enjoyed. And/or wants to know who is causing the unrest (blackmail/threats). And/or wants to come clean about past (family, business, secrets).

The protagonist makes an attempt create distance from the situation; makes a move from turbulent seas to calmer waters where s/he finds belief in self and sense of purpose. This is where the protagonist recognizes/discovers love for another.

No matter what this protagonist does, s/he is still a representative of the family s/he was born into, thus people see a person who: earned a place on the winners podium; earned success because s/he learned vital lessons of life; has balance in life and success that will be long term. This perception feels hypocritical and difficult through his/her changing reality.

The protagonist must overcome the past and transform into a lover. The love interest, met earlier, helps in discovery and realization with a sharp wit and intelligence. S/he sees through the wealth and prestige to her/his heart. This lover helps the protagonist to rise above the conflict and trouble. As lovers, they find the truth.

The protagonist finally finds real love–has changed from being selfish and entitled to someone who listens to needs, desires feelings, likes and dislikes and knows how to communicate his/her own. Through this change the protagonist finds balance and harmony in relationship and life.

The End

And there you have it–a delicious romance plot outline that you can use over and over again–from only one Celtic Cross Tarot Spread. Why do I think this is so fun? Because using this plot I already came up with these elevator pitches:

A young heiress, happily living in the lap of luxury, finds out she has been promised to her father’s business partner. Unless she can find proof that an accidental death that occurred before she was born wasn’t her father’s fault, she will have to marry a man she loathes, or her family will lose everything. With the help of a childhood friend, she delves into her family history finding more than her heart can hold.

A Pop-Star in the middle of a world-wide tour finds out that her manager has stolen all of her money and disappeared. Not able, or willing to return to her hyper-religious family who has “dis-owned” her,  she ends up in a dive-bar in a small southern town where she sings on a bar-stool for tips. When a disgruntled lawyer gets lost and finds her way to her arms, she promises to help her get her life back.

A young developer thinks he has it all: wealth, property, a thriving business and the best name to use as a brand all over the world. When his father dies, he expects everything to smoothly continue into his wonderful future, but the will is cryptic and suddenly he has to face the questions of how his immigrant grandfather made his money. The business runs itself, or at least stays still while he tries to follow his father’s odd clues that lead him to a mysterious woman and a new understanding of himself.

Like I said, this is fun. I came up with those in the last 15 minutes. They’re not great or anything, but they have what you need to start an intriguing romance novel (imho).

Diana mentioned she might read this interpretation and write a companion piece, so keep your eyes on her website.

Happy Reading and Writing!