#NaNoWriMo Day 29: Tie Up All The Lose Ends-Don’t Leave Any Danglers

Day 29
Word count:52,758 words
Word count goal: 58,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Overview
Save The Cat: Finale

#vss very short story

Trying desperately to finish her draft, Tatiana’s hand fluttered across the page. The flutter turned to a buzz, which became a blur. She never finished, but her story took flight.

Plotting with Tarot

Tie up lose ends. Shuffle and pull a card for each of your story questions (plot and subplots). This is your story solution card.

Tie Up Loose Ends

This exercise was good for me. I needed to map out all of my subplots and connections between my primary, secondary and tertiary characters. In the image above you can see the card I drew for my MC, my secondary characters’ story lines and my tertiary characters’ stories.

Ask Your Character

  • What are you thinking about right now?
  • In what part of the world do you imagine being happiest?
  • What one thing do you hope people will remember about you?


Word Of The Day

expatiate: v. 1. to speak or write at length or in considerable detail 2. to move about freely; to wander

8 Action Verbs:

assisted          conceived           developed           foresaw

judged           perceived          revised          verified

Poem prompt

I like the prompt from Day 24 of the PAD Chapbook Challenge for today:

Write a “how I’ll be remembered” poem. It’s an interesting question: How will I be remembered? My amazing looks? My incredible personality? My charitable nature? My goofy jokes? The cranky guy who’s always telling people to stay off his lawn? Dive into this introspection today.

I wrote it as my MC.

Remember Me

I always thought I wanted to be remembered
For my works
For my contributions to aeronautics
My daily contributions to safe travel
Through mechanical engineering

I always thought I would be remembered
As a provider
My labor exchanged for a paycheck
Exchanged for food and clothing
For shelter, warmed into home

Sometimes I panic I won’t be remembered
When I am gone
That nothing I did mattered
To ungrateful children
And a self-involved community

I want to be remembered
As a good person
A loving family member
An honest promoter of truth
And someone who contributed to the betterment of the lives of others.

Today’s Simple Task

MC is a new person: gained skills, understanding and insight about the world. The MC uses this to enhance another character’s life.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. List all of your story points and sub-plots. How does each story arc end? Look for any plot holes or danglers. Brainstorm how to tie up all your lose ends.

Recommended Word Crawl

Pick your favorite word crawl that you attempted this month. If you’re behind on your word-count, pick the one that made you write the most words.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 28: Clear Themes


Day 28
Word count:51,225 words
Word count goal: 56,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Overview
Save The Cat: Finale

#vss very short story

The notes whispered in on a chill breeze. Hanna shivered. The hair on her neck stood up as if death himself had blown her a kiss.

Plotting with Tarot

Before this NaNoWriMo adventure started, when I decided to explore plotting with Tarot, I imagined spending time getting to know the cards and decorating the cards I made as I went. Surprise, surprise, I did not get around to putting much time into really exploring the cards.

Yesterday, when there were moments of waiting during my whole hot water tank leak clean-up and tank replacement, I started looking at Mary K. Greer’s 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card.

For my story’s theme cards I chose:

Justice and the Seven of Cups. My goal for my Plotting with Tarot today is to decorated and study these cards in the 21 different ways outlined in Mary Greer’s book.

Ask Your Character

  • When was the last time you visited your childhood home? Have you ever?
  • Who was your favorite babysitter and why?
  • What do you not miss about childhood?

Word Of The Day

quondam: adj. having been formerly; former; sometime or one-time

8 Action Verbs:

assigned           computed            determined         filed

joined               participated         reviews               used

Poem prompt

Take a look at a map. Randomly select a town or city you have never been to. Write a poem about what you think it might be like visiting that place for the first time. – from litbridge.com


Morocco’s blue city
In the Rif mountains, so pretty
Near one of the deepest caves in Africa

Blue washed walls
The tourist calls
Representing the sky and heaven

Stunning contrasts of color and light
Orange cats on blue steps against stucco white
Visually drawing the heart to yearning


Awesome Sentence Challenge

Write dialogue between two people with very different agendas. Think about your themes. Use dialogue to make these themes clear. In my story, I would have one character talking about justice while the other is focused on not being able to achiever his/her desires.

Today’s Simple Task

Clarify your themes: Make sure your themes are clear. Express them in as many ways as possible.

Warm-up Exercise

What does your story say about human nature?  Set your timer for 10 minutes. Try to sum up how your story expresses universal themes of the human condition.

Recommended Word Crawl

Pirate Adventure Crawl

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 27 and #CyberMonday Sale at #RedBubble!

Day 27
Word count:51,225 words
Word count goal: 54,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Overview
Save The Cat: Finale

Happy Cyber Monday! Are you one of those people who takes advantage of online sales  to get a jump on your Christmas shopping? If so, you may want to take advantage of the 25% off sale of my art products at Red Bubble.


Use Code CYBER 25 for 25% off EVERYTHING!

It may be hard to believe, but these designs, like many of the images I’ve shared this month, are created from photographs. This year I’ve been working very hard to master bokeh shape photography. I have hand-cut many unique filters for my camera lens and use different light sources as my color pallet. The movement of the monsters and dragons above, is the result of shutter speed and slight movement of the camera while taking the picture. If you would like to know more about bokeh, this is an informative article: Bokeh for Beginners.

#vss very short story

Meredith knew the elves in Santa’s workshop couldn’t compete with her eye for design, so the day after Christmas, to give them plenty of time, she started sending designs and patterns to the North Pole. Next year, her kids would be trend setters.

Plotting with Tarot

I may have passed the 50,000 word mark, but my draft is not finished. Today, I did a reading for my MC’s New World. He has risked his life and been betrayed by everyone he loves. Nothing will ever be the same. What will his New World be like?

New World Card.jpg

New World: Two of Cups- balanced relationships

The worst part of the new world: Nine of Pentacles upside-down- living beyond your means

The best part of the new world: Seven of Swords- tempted to sneak away from a particular situation that is not working for you any more, rather than dealing with it head on. As you do not feel ready to deal with the issues, you are aiming for a solution where you can just escape and not have to worry about it all

My interpretation: This is an interesting reading for my upcoming scenes. Because of the betrayal my MC faces, to help his family, he may lose everything he worked so hard for all of his life. He may want to go it alone after all of the betrayal, but his family is what he cares about most. If he ran, he would have nothing left. To get to his New World of balanced relationships, he will have to resign himself to his new situation and though he will get back to working too hard, he has a new understanding of who he’s doing it for and why.

Ask Your Character

  • Do you have, or have you ever had any tattoos or piercings?
  • If you got a tattoo what would the image be and why?
  • What is that image or symbols special significance?

Word Of The Day

sinecure: n. an office or position that involves little or no responsibility, work or active service; a cushy job

8 Action Verbs:

Assessed           composed            detailed           extended

involved           oversaw            retrieved            tutored

Poem prompt

Write a poem about your shadow. (Some ideas for brainstorming: How does it change when you move? What does it look like in different kinds of light, in different situations? What would happen if you lost it? Does it have a secret life?) from Creative Writing Now


Elongated, stretched
Tall and proud

Crossed, oblique
Awkward and askew

Short, squat
Distorted and underfoot

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Free play- Make two list: A list of nouns and a list of verbs. Play with combining nouns and verbs that you don’t think you have ever combined before.

Today’s Simple Task

MC clearly reaches goal.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write a scene in which your character does something impossible.

Recommended Word Crawl

Feel like you need a magic potion to finish NaNoWriMo on time? Try The Witch’s Brew Crawl.

Happy Reading, Writing and Shopping!

#NaNoWriMo Day 26: Puzzles From Childhood


Day 26
Word count:51,225 words
Word count goal: 52,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Encore
Save The Cat: Finale

Today is an exciting day! I became a NaNoWriMo 2017 Winner yesterday, surpassing the 50,000 word mark in my novel. That makes today the first time I have continued NaNoWriMo after reaching my goal. I still have many scenes to go before this story comes to an end.

Please don’t feel discouraged if you have not finished. There is still plenty of time! Pick  a prompt, a warm-up or a challenge and get those words on the page.

Today is also very exciting because-drum roll please-it is the cover reveal for Gator McBumpypants in Shelley Comes Out Of Her Shell. And here it is!

To celebrate, the kindle editions of the last two adventures, Gator McBumpypants Doesn’t Say Goodbye and Gator McBumpypants in Dee Dee Makes Three, are only 99 cents through the end of November!

#vss very short story

Cathy hunted everywhere for the last piece. She dug through the carpet, searched under the bureau and was about to write a complaint to the manufacturer when her cat spit-up the half-chewed, missing piece. Instead of a complaint, she begged the manufacturer for a replacement, if at all possible.  This was the third letter like this Petra had received this week.

Plotting with Tarot

Yesterday, we took our first look at the entire hero’s journey.

my hero's journey

Using the method of adding up the card values, we came up with a theme of Justice. However, novels have many themes, so today, I used the other method suggested in Mapping the Hero’s Journey. I removed all of my Hero’s Journey cards from the deck and Justice, I shuffled and drew : Seven of Cups

The Seven of Cups- This is an interesting theme card for my novel. It represents that what you desire has no relationship to your ability to actually get it and that temptation offers temporary pleasures that can bring permanent damage. This is an important theme seen through my antagonists, but also something to make clear to my protagonist. It sometimes takes the rug to be pulled out from under our feet in order to wake up and take stock of our lives before it is too late.

Ask Your Character

  • What is the main thing you and your partner or spouse argue about?
  • Why is s/he wrong?
  • Why do your opinions on this issue differ so much?

Word Of The Day

plenary: adj. n. 1. full in all respects; complete; absolute 2. fully attended by all qualified members

8 Action Verbs:

assembled           completed              designed             expressed

investigated              outlined               retained            translated

Poem prompt

Write a poem about assembling a puzzle or playing a game from your childhood. Focus on the imagery, the pieces, intention and focus. from litbridge.com

I recognize the design as I pull the box from the shelf

The familiar outline of the challenging uneven edge

As the pieces we assemble create an image of the past

The moments here resemble a joy that didn’t last

Hours of cooperation this puzzle to complete

Due to years of lost, discarded pieces only lead to defeat


Awesome Sentence Challenge

Verb collecting: Pick one concrete noun. Perhaps the closest object to you. Now list all of the things it can do; all of its verbs.

Example: pen: write, scribble, draw, ink, snap, point, letter, word, press, scratch, flourish . . . twirl, swish, click, break, dry, fly,

Get creative. When you think you’re done, come up with five more.

Today’s Simple Task

MC conquers antagonist. Self-revelation.

Warm-up Exercise

Choose three different emotions. Pair each emotion with a different animal. Write three scenes. In each scene, use only attributes of the chosen animal to show your MC expressing the paired emotion.

Recommended Word Crawl

Since I wander beyond 50k for my first time during NaNoWriMo, I thought I would attempt the Beyond 50k Word Crawl.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 25: The Quintessence Of The Abstract

Day 25
Word count:47,267 words
Word count goal: 50,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Encore
Save The Cat: Finale

#vss very short story

Finding herself lost in abstraction, Kara began losing definitions. Sure, she had her beliefs and all the time in the world, but she lost her cat, her shoes and her fingers.

Plotting with Tarot

my hero's journey

Here we enter an exciting day in our journey: The whole journey out on the table.

  1. The Ordinary World: Ace Of Pentacles
  2. Call to Adventure: King of Cups
  3. The Refusal: Page of Cups
  4. Mentor: The Magician reversed
  5. Crossing The Threshold: Four of Swords reversed
  6. Tests, Allies and Enemies: High Priestess
  7. Approach to the Inmost Cave: The Empress reversed
  8. The Ordeal: Page of Swords
  9. Reward: The Emperor
  10. The Road Back: The Tower
  11. The Resurrection: Seven of Wands
  12. Return With The Elixir: Knight of Cups

In Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book Arwen Lynch says Mary K. Greer’s book Tarot for Your Self is one of the most significant Tarot books of her life.
She outlines Mary K. Greer’s method for finding the quintessence card or theme of your story like this:

  • Lay out your arch of the Hero’s Journey. (pictured above)
  • Write down the numbers for each card. Use 1 as the value for the Ace.The court cards and the Fool are numberless.
  • Add up your cards. If you get a number higher than 22, add those numbers together. For instance, 102 would be 1+0+2 = 3. Your number is one of the cards from the Major Arcana.

Let’s see what our theme card is using this method: 1+1+4+2+3+4+16+7=38>22 so 3+8=11

11 is Justice so my story theme by this method is Justice. theme justice

The Justice Card: alignment and balance; negotiation and truth. Getting exactly what you deserve; reaping what you sowed. I like this meaning from teachmetarot.com

It is a time for you to sit down and think about your lot and what you have said and done. Be honest with yourself first and then be honest with those around you. It is time for you to account for your actions.

This is a great theme for a story about a man who has recently retired and thinks he’s lived a “correct” life only to find he has been deluded. I have a lot to think about.

Ask Your Character

  • Is there someone to whom you have something to prove?
  • What are your favorite family traditions?
  • What topics do you try to avoid in conversation?

Word Of The Day

frisson: n. a moment of intense excitement; a shudder; an emotional thrill

8 Action Verbs:

articulated           compiled           described          explored

invented            originated          restored          trained

Poem prompt

inspired by a prompt from litbridge.com

Have your MC write a love poem to his or her favorite book.

My Service Manuals

As I have stated clearly
Though you cannot seem to hear me
I would never write a poem
A love poem to my favorite tome

Not that I won’t read a book
I’ve got one now, a thick one, look
I’ll tear through the newest Lee Child
Anything not dull or mild

But if you want to know the truth
The books where I can sink a tooth
The work of words that fully attracts
Is a service manual thick with facts

The one most wrinkled and thick with grease
Pages browned with coffee and creased
Covered in phone numbers to parts shops
These books aren’t table props or doorstops

They are the books I read again and again
I turn to them for advice like a friend
My favorite book, I have to say
Is the one on fixing this car today

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Collective nouns:

Collective nouns are a collection or number of people, places or things. An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton is a wonderful book that is a collection of collective nouns. For today’s challenge, study some collective nouns then make up you own. Here’s the formula: A (or an)______________(singular) of _______________(plural).

Example: A growling of monsters.

A suitcase of travelers.

A cavity of candies.

Have fun with it. Where can you use collective nouns in your stories?

Today’s Simple Task

MC recognizes his or her fatal flaw.

Warm-up Exercise

Your MC is being irrational. Set your timer to 15 minutes. Write a scene where your MC acts irrationally.

Recommended Word Crawl

Today feels like a good day for The Self-Care Crawl.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 24: Fear of Failure

Day 24
Word count:43,248 words
Word count goal: 48,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Return With The Elixir
Save The Cat: Finale

#vss very short story

Henry realized his magic elixir was in his dictionary all along. However, as he wrote with confidence, he became the villain of his story and stole a boat. The return home would have to wait.

Plotting with Tarot

Today, I tried pulling only one card to see how my MC would respond to the revelations of family secrets in today’s scene.

MC response

A spread out the deck and drew The Seven of Pentacles- fear of failure and fear of success. This card makes sense for my MC today. He worked hard to cultivate healthy relationships, or so he thought and now he finds out it was never enough. He fears he has failed and he also fears what is to come. How will these fears manifest in action?

Fear of failure is a great card to contemplate, not just for my MC, but for myself as well. I got behind in my goals this week and have another deadline looming. However, I have just enough time left, so it’s time to re-double my efforts and get things done. Through hard work, this fear can be fugacious.

Ask Your Character

  • What event from the past had a strong effect on you?
  • Do you think an event from the past influenced your personality?
  • Did one of your relatives other than the ones who lived in your home have a profound impact on your life?

Word Of The Day

fugacious: adj. something lasting for just a short time; fleeting

8 Action Verbs:

arranged           compared          demonstrated            explained

introduced            organized             responded            tested

Poem prompt

Although holidays have deeper meanings, we like to truss them up with a lot of decadence and nostalgia. All that food! All those presents! Oh, what fun it is…Write a poem about the holidays. -from Writing Forward

Oh, What Fun

Decadence and expectations
The chill in the air, overwhelms
central heat, the same songs again
lie in the background, the lyrics
lost in commotion, sentiment
yelled overhead, red faced
gluttony to exhaustion and
discomfort reigns the day.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Synesthesia (blended feeling): Use the vocabulary of one sense to name something perceived with another sense. Example: sweet song, a bitter cold.

Today’s Simple Task

MC’s reward makes life better.

Warm-up Exercise

Pick an emotion, any emotion. Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write about a memory that emotion brings to mind.

Recommended Word Crawl

In honor of everyone traveling home after Thanksgiving, I thought today would be a good day for a Road Trip Crawl.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 23: The Return

Happy Thanksgiving!

Day 23
Word count:44,308 words
Word count goal: 46,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Return With The Elixir
Save The Cat: Act III

#vss very short story

After losing most of his friends and allies on his harrowing journey of discovery, the star in his pocket finally led him to the mermaids’ dimensional portal pool. They allowed him to capture their magic song, but warned him he could only return home with one of his rewards. He had to choose between fire to heat and light his whole village, the guiding star he carried in his pocket, or the mermaids’ magic song which he knew was the goal of his quest to save the world though he didn’t know what it did or how to use it. The hero never returned home.

Plotting with Tarot

This reading for Return With The Elixir feels appropriate for the day.

Return with the Elixer

As I shuffled, Temperance upside-down came out and felt like it wanted to be part of this reading, so I put it over the Return With The Elixir Card. Temperance reversed can mean not learning from lessons and experiences that come your way. An interesting card to come up at this point.

Return With The Elixir: Knight of Cups-  loyalty to family and deep relationships

Moment in The Sun: Six of Pentacle- success and achievement through willing to take a risk, being committed, trusting one’s own intuition and using clear communication.

New Problem That Arises: Queen of Pentacles- The Queen of Pentacles represents prosperity and security. She suggests that you have worked hard to generate a level of financial or physical security which, in turn, gives you the ability to be generous with others and to share your wealth and prosperity with those you love. You have used your financial prosperity to build a comfortable home environment and you are focused on investing in your family, as well as your personal wealth. – from biddytarot.com

My interpretation: My MC’s elixir is what he learns from his experience and a change of heart. He learns that what he believed was showing love- hard work to provide for physical needs like food, clothing and shelter, and showing strength- were perceived as being uncaring and aloof. His elixir, therefore, is learning how to form deep relationships with the people he loves. His moment in the sun is when he finds that the risks he has taken through his adventure have paid off. I think the new problem card refers to the body count in my story. My MC will find that his deeper relationships will include consoling loved ones through grief and providing more physical and emotional support than he did before. Though he has a new outlook, he will still find this challenging.

Ask Your Character

  • What’s your favorite form of exercise?
  • What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
  • What physical activity to you try to avoid?

Word Of The Day

assiduous: adj. 1. constant in application or attention; devoted; attentive 2. performed with constant diligence or attention; unremitting; persistent

8 Action Verbs:

argued                   communicated          delivered           experimented

interviewed          ordered                       resolved            taught

Poem prompt

From PAD Chapbook Challenge Day 19:

For today’s prompt, write an abundant poem. There are so many instances of abundance in the world: Abundant sunshine; abundant happiness; abundant evil; and in November, abundant poetry!


Abundance is relative
For those without water, a faucet
For those without electricity, a light bulb
For those without food, a meal
For those without shelter, a cave
For those without heat, a fire
For those without love, a friend

Abundance is relative
For those with a faucet, a swimming pool
For those with electricity, neon signs
For those with food, feeling uncomfortably stuffed
For those with shelter, ten more rooms
For those with heat, central air
For those with love, friends

Abundance is relative
For the creative, a ton of ideas
For the organized, a hoard of containers
For the scientific, hypotheses and data
For the handy, new useful tools
For the curious, exciting questions
For the social, friends

Awesome Sentence Challenge

from A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker

Use commas to set off nonrestrictive elements. Do not use commas to set off restrictive elements.

A restrictive element defines or limits the meaning of a nouns or pronoun and is therefore essential to the meaning of the sentence. Example: For camp the children needed clothes that were washable.

In this example, if you removed the restrictive element that were washable, it would change the meaning of the sentence.

A nonrestrictive element describes a noun or pronoun whose meaning has already been clearly defined or limited. Example: For camp the children needed sturdy shoes, which were expensive.

In this example, if you removed the nonrestrictive element which were expensive, it would not change the meaning of the sentence.

Spend some time writing sentences with restrictive and nonrestrictive elements. Try to identify examples of both while you read.

Today’s Simple Task

Give Thanks for your fabulous story. Enjoy your words.

Warm-up Exercise

Focus on the senses. Note down the smells, tastes sounds and textures throughout the day. Try to come up with many different ways to describe each smell, taste, texture and sound.

Recommended Word Crawl

Crawl For Slower Typists

for those who are sluggish due to consumption of tryptophan. 🙂

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 22: The Final Act

Day 22
Word count:42,128 words
Word count goal: 44,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Resurrection
Save The Cat: Act III (A and B story combine and reveal solution)

#vss very short story

Patrick felt eyes on him, following him, as he connected his senses to the forest. He had listened to the wind through the branches, smelled the needles and loam, felt the rough texture of the bark and craned his neck to take in the trees’ majesty. It wasn’t shown on the educational sign, but there was one more sense to explore. He looked around to make sure no one was watching and stuck his tongue to the tree. The forest was watching.

Plotting with Tarot

A Celtic Cross reading for Act III

This was a very productive reading for me; not because of the cards I pulled, but because, during the shuffle I thought about the scenes left to write and what was coming up in Act III. I wrote out a list of what needed to happen before the climax of my story and everything clicked. I think preparing for this reading produced my “eureka moment” for this draft.


Following the guide in Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo this reads as:

  1. The Heart of the Matter (protagonist):Seven of Wands reversed
  2. The Opposing Force: Six of Swords reversed
  3. The Root Cause: Ten of Wands reversed
  4. The Past: Queen of Wands
  5. The Alternate Future (vision): Wheel of Fortune
  6. The Immediate Future: Ten of Swords reversed
  7. The Mirror: The Hermit reversed
  8. The Eye: The Fool
  9. The Guide: Two of Cups reversed
  10. The Outcome: Two of Wands

My interpretation: Entering Act III, my MC feels he has lost everything. He has been betrayed by family and friends. Through theft and manipulation, he could lose his property, his security and his home. He feels like the world is against him, but he has to resist it. The root cause of his problems is he holds on too tightly to his burdens because he wants control over his environment, but soon he will be unburdened. He uses his basic instincts to face his problems because they have served him well in the past. His goal is to live peacefully when his fortunes change and all this has passed. A painful ending must occur in his near future for his growth and regeneration. I’m afraid somebody has to die. For the first time in his life, other people see him as the fool. He has to face the truth about his relationships-they are not and have not been the perfectly balanced, mutually rewarding relationships he thought they were-to take his new ideas and turn them into a successful plan for the future.

Just yesterday I was contemplating The Hermit card. I found it interesting that it hadn’t come up this month though I am living, essentially, in hermithood. But these readings are about my characters, not about me, usually. Card 7 in this reading is about me. It’s about my intent in writing this story. More than that, it’s about the story’s purpose; its theme. And there is The Hermit, only he’s upside down. So what is he telling me? Here’s what it says over at TeachmeTarot.com

When The Hermit Reverses, it is time to come down from the mountain, time to come in from the cold. You have learnt all you need to at present by going within and it is now time to return to the land of the living and apply your new-found knowledge and wisdom and put it to the test.

Does that apply to me, or to the theme of my story, or both? Something to ponder.

Ask Your Character

  • On what occasions do you lie?
  • Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Word Of The Day

halcyon: adj. calm, tranquil, peaceful, happy  n. a mythical bird related to the kingfisher

8 Action Verbs:

arbitrated          commented          delegated          experienced

Interrogated           operated          researched          targeted

Poem prompt

From PAD Chapbook Challenge Day 20:

For today’s prompt, write a “what I learned” poem. Funny thing about being human is that we’re constantly learning, whether the lessons are being taught in school, on the streets, or even in grocery store checkout lanes. This poem should focus on something learned, regardless of the arena.

What I learned

value glows from within
shines through every nervous grin
returning to the arms of kin
taking each hit on the chin
every error a guilt to pin
marring everyone with original sin
the judging voices a lesser din
their reasoning becoming thin
after release, every day is a win

Awesome Sentence Challenge

from Purdue OWL

Transitional Devices: Transitional devices are words or phrases that help carry a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another, or from one paragraph to another. There are several types of transitional devices:

To Add: and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what’s more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)

To Compare: whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile, after all, in contrast, although this may be true

To Prove: because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is

To Show Exception: yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes

To Show Time: immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next, and then

To Repeat: in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been noted

To Emphasize: definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation

To Show Sequence: first, second, third, and so forth. A, B, C, and so forth. next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon

To Give An Example: for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, to illustrate

To Summarize or Conclude: in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently

While writing today, use some of these transitional devices to connect and expand ideas.

Today’s Simple Task

Show that the ordinary world is no longer ordinary.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Describe the oddest coincidence you’ve ever encountered.

Recommended Word Crawl

It’s Your Lucky Day Crawl

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 21: The Dark Night Of The Soul

Day 21
Word count:41,008 words
Word count goal: 42,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Resurrection / Dark Night Of The Soul
Save The Cat: Darkest Moment


#vss very short story

Death was tired of pursuing Brent who had wriggled out of his grasp for over a year now. He decided to take a day off and relax. Meditation was supposed to be good for relaxation, so he lit a candle, sat comfortably, took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He had forgotten that was how he traveled to other areas of the universe. Brent would live a long, long life.

Plotting with Tarot

darkest point

MC’s Darkest Moment: The fool- embracing folly

What has led to this moment: Ten of Swords upside-down- indicates a painful ending which must occur for there to be growth and regeneration

How the MC will be transformed: Four of Wands upside-down- a period of transition where there is little stability and security

My interpretation: In my MC’s darkest moment, he realizes he’s been a fool. He has been ignoring family secrets and betrayals, but he can’t do it anymore. He has been confronted with his own ignorance and if he wants to keep his home and his family he will have to go through a period of transition.

Ask Your Character

  • Do you have a box for keepsakes? If not where do you put small things that have sentimental value?
  • Where do you keep it?
  • Do you still put things in it, or did you stop at some point? When and why?

Word Of The Day

dross: n. 1. The waste slag or scum that forms on the surface of molten metal 2. waste or foreign matter: impurity 3. something base, trivial, or inferior

8 Action Verbs:

approved              combined          defined             expedited

interpreted          obtained             required           synthesized

Poem prompt

Take 5 minutes to write a series of paired sentences starting with “I am . . .” and “I am not. . . .” Choose the most interest, or the ones that seem to group together and write a poem.

Pieces of Me

I am content, not sated
whole, not apart
I am introverted, not shy
lone, not alone
I am feeling, not hysterical
loving, not naive
I am frugal, not cheap
resourceful, not wasteful
I am curious, not passive
active, not avoidant
I am bold, not brazen
brilliant, not shameless

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Use your thesaurus to collect all the best words for “dark.” Come up with as many metaphors and similes as you can for dark. Then write as many sentences as you can to describe your MC’s darkest moment, never using the words dark, darkness, or darkest.

Today’s Simple Task

Dark night of the soul: Does someone die today?

Warm-up Exercise

Throw the book at ’em: This is the lowest part of the story for your Main Character. Make it as bad as you can, then make it worse. Make a list of 20 things that would be worse than you have planned. How many of them can you throw at him or her at once?

Set your timer for 15 minutes. Start with something your MC does every day, but today everything s/he makes things worse. How bad can one day get?

Recommended Word Crawl

Dinosaur Apocalypse Word Crawl

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 20: Approaching Climax


Day 20
Word count: 39,387 words
Word count goal: 40,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Resurrection
Save The Cat: Darkest Moment

#vss very short story

Once Harry shed his husk, he thought he could go home again. He was sure his family would get used to his new form over time, but when he arrived, there was a bigger problem. There was no home to go back to.

Plotting with Tarot

The Ressurection Card

The Resurrection Card: The Seven of Wands upside-down- when you achieve a position of leadership, there will always be others who crop up to challenge you.  You will have to face the jealousy of those who want what you have.  You will encounter situations when it will “appear” that everyone is against you – be realistic about the odds you face.

What MC feels he has failed at doing: Six of Swords upside-down- your emotions are stirred up and your physical or spiritual journey becomes stormy.  Trying to “attack” a long standing problem – especially one that has been accepted by others – only agitates the situation.  Unsatisfying or oppressive situations can go quietly along for years until someone decides to do something about it.  Trying to remove the swords from the boat will sink it – they are plugging up the holes.  When “swords” symbolize unhappy memories where “silence” has become the defense, communication will be painful – but it will also begin the healing process.

How he will be transformed by this event: Seven of Cups upside-down- Allow yourself to experience your emotions – KNOW what you really want.  Look at your deepest desires and recognize which goal has enough meaning and power to sustain you – then focus all your energy on it.  Focusing on all of your desires and allowing them to break your attention will eventually tear you apart.  Experience your determination to create something from your dreams and do something with them. An unexpected event will take place now – it will be beneficial and improve your attitude, for it will be a definite change for the better.  Believe and always trust that you are on the right track – continue to pursue your goal without wasting time, for success is yours in time.  Watch for any glimmer of success and follow it through – never give up your ideas – even when it is hard to carry them through.  Ignore any opposition – offer your insecurity up in prayer and it will be replaced with spiritual strength.  Persist in studying and you will reap great rewards. – from Crystal Clear Reflections

My interpretation: I feel like all of the cards being upside-down shows that my MC’s life has been turned upside-down. Because of the light coming from the window, I had to take the picture from the other side of the table, so the cards were right side up (I rotated it in Paint), so I may need to think about the cards upright as well.

My character is coming to a point when he feels the whole world is against him. This stirs up emotions and unhappy memories that have created silences in his relationships even put wedges between himself and the people closest to him. He learns to re-assess his priorities and instead of always fretting over his long to-do list, to put his passion into one thing at a time. The most important goal, what matters the most.

Ask Your Character

  • What future inventions do you hope for?
  • What would you not do for a billion dollars? Why?
  • What gifts would you enjoy receiving?

Word Of The Day

panoply: n. 1. a splendid or impressive array; 2. ceremonial attire; 3. a full suit of armor; a complete defense or covering

8 Action Verbs:

appraised          collected          defended              expanded

instituted           observed         reproduced          supported

Poem prompt

Today’s prompt is inspired by Day 5 of the PAD Chapbook Challenge:

For today’s prompt, write a self-destruct poem. I come up with these prompts before the month starts, and I admit I’m not sure what my original thought was with this. But now, all I can think about are those self-destruct messages from Inspector Gadget and Mission Impossible. Of course, many things and people can self-destruct, including athletes, politicians, and about everyone else on the planet–in large and small ways. I hope this prompt does not self-destruct in 5 seconds.

One way to build suspense and conflict in your story is to add a ticking clock. This poem prompt made me think of writing a poem ticking down to an event.

Five Miles in Five Minutes

Five miles from his home
They ordered lattes topped with foam
in a swirl, From a girl in a bikini
Whose breasts plopped out of
The drive-thru window
When collecting her tip

Four miles from his home
He took a sip and burned his lips
And tongue, The searing pain
Made him loose his grip
He jerked back as the cup fell
His flailing caused the driver to swerve

Three miles from his home
The swerving driver hit a cat
In the road, Which made him sad
He had loved his flabby tabby
And recently had to put him down
Someone’s beloved pet lay dead
He stared at the road
With burning read eyes

Two miles from his home
The road turned to gravel
then dirt, jostling the passengers
The trees grew taller and closed-in
The car became quiet and pensive
The passenger turned on the radio
The driver turned it off

One mile from his home
Guns began to click
Safeties turned to off
Bullets in the chambers
Everyone knows the plan?
Grunts the only answer

At his home
An old man tends his garden
In neat rows, He does not recognize
The car coming up his drive
Approaching quickly raising dust
He hurries inside
To grab his shotgun
To defend his home

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Exploring the quality of words:

  • formal/informal
  • general/specific
  • abstract/concrete

Write sentences using these different qualities of words. Write a formal sentence or two. Then make the same sentences changing the formal words to their informal counterparts. Write a couple of very general statements, as general as you can make them, then write the same statements using most specific words you can find. Do the same exercise with abstract to concrete.

Today’s Simple Task

Increase the stakes: Show your Main Character’s growing strength.
Training Day: make self better, find new ally

Warm-up Exercise

from Daily Warm-Ups in Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer edited by Bret Anthony Johnston.

Today you get to make a choice. Spend 5 minutes describing (choose one, or more):

  • A strange experience in a car.
  • A strange experience in a restaurant.
  • An unmerited award.
  • A good deed that backfires.

Recommended Word Crawl

The Egyptian Tomb Crawl

Happy Reading and Writing!