The Midpoint #NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 15

inmost-cave

Truth is I’m not into this today

I set my alarm for 6 am so I could watch Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony and to be honest, I don’t give a crap about writing fiction today. I have tried to keep this site a-political, but I cried on Wednesday when Ambassador Taylor talked about being on the front lines, knowing the aid was being withheld and being thanked for assistance and then today, I cried when Ms. Yovanovitch thanked for the question, but refused to talk about how it affected her family.

I was a Washington State senate page in high school. I thought I was going to be a leader and believed I could be president if I wanted to. I learned too much about process and politics in a very short time, but still believed things could change. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa– I had that green passport. They made me swear that oath.– and almost died there. I cannot stand the idiocy of the Republicans on display. I feel sorry for everyone that believed traditions and norms could withstand one bad TV president (including me because I had faith in the Republican Senators to respect their oaths to the Constitution at least!).  It took me all day to come up with my very short story and that’s the best I’m gonna do. Have a great weekend. I’ll see you on Monday.

#vss365: pound

This time, she #pounded her water, wiped her lips, crumpled the plastic bottle, tossed it across her body, and hit the trash can in the corner without ever shifting her gaze from his. Last time, she was intimidating. This time, he was scared.

Today’s Simple Task

Imagery: The most shocking or devastating thing that could happen to a symbol, icon, or thing.

I was thinking yesterday about what would happen if Oren’s journal was destroyed. I still need to discover my protagonist’s symbols so that I can explore what the most shocking or devastating thing that could happen to that symbol. I’m going to journal about this and I think I’d like to do some arts and crafts/ painting and drawing around these symbol ideas to see what comes through. Especially since Oren communicates symbolically.

Warm-up Exercise

Have your protagonist write his or her will or manifesto.

This has come up before and I still haven’t done it, so looking at what Kirk values that he would put in a will would be a good exercise. Also, having him write a manifesto about his views of the world and his beliefs might also be a good exercise. However, I don’t think these exercises will help with today’s scenes, so I may save this one for another time.

Word Of The Day

opprobrium: n.  1. something that brings disgrace or reproach; 2. public disgrace from conduct considered outrageous or shameful.

8 Action Verbs:

answered

classified

corresponded

evaluated

incorporated

modified

reduced

stimulated

Awesome Sentence Challenge

From The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers (6th Edition) by Chris M. Anson.

Avoid unnecessary Nominalizations: When you create a noun from some other kind of word. Example: the verb complete becomes the noun completion, or the adjective happy becomes the noun happiness.

As you write, pay special attention to nominalizations that:

  • Draw readers’ attention away from a sentence’s proper focus
  • Lead to vague sentence subjects or objects
  • Cause you to leave important information out of a sentence

Examples: Using the action verbs above I made the nominalizations: classification, correspondence, evaluation, incorporation, modification, reduction, stimulation. Now I need to come up with when these would be “unnecessary nominalizations” to avoid.

I went back to The Longman Handbook and found some examples:

Vague: Dissatisfaction among employees often leads to shoddiness in products. (nominations: dissatisfaction and shoddiness)

Revised: Dissatisfied employees often make shoddy products.

Those were nominalizations of adjectives. Here’s an example with verbs:

The committee held a discussion of the new regulations for airplane safety. A limitation on flammable seat materials ow is necessary.

Revised: The committee discussed the new regulations for airplane safety. Airlines now must limit flammable seat materials.

So let’s try it:

She created a classification system for an evaluation of the evidence. This modification produced a reduction of necessary labor and a stimulation of connections.

Revised: She classified and evaluated the evidence. Her method reduced labor hours and stimulated connections.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey:

Approach To The Inmost Cave (The emotion your MC feels as he has to traverse this last corridor to the cave): Eight of swords

Leap of faith your MC must take: Two of wands

Old angst that MC revisits: Four of cups

Already almost halfway through: #NaNoWriMo Day 14

useful things

I can’t believe we’re already almost halfway through. I hope you’re NaNoWriMo writing is going great! If you have any questions about any of these prompts or my writing process, please let me know in the comments. It would be nice to hear what kinds of prompts and exercises you use to keep your ideas flowing. What is your writing process (during NaNoWriMo or anytime)?

Day 14 (2017)

My MC is about to face the inmost cave. What about himself is he afraid to face? What and who will make him face it?

Today, I wandered about exploring some new things. The #vss365 word led to an entire exciting scene. The Amazing Sentence Challenge led me to explore Parallels in fiction which led me to explore Coincidence in fiction. So today is an exploring and filling the well of creativity kind of day today. Recognizing that this is also an important part of my writing process, I’m going to hurry up and finish my words for NaNoWriMo today and see where the whimsy of today takes me.

#vss365: drill

The long drill bit burst through the wall spraying drywall dust over the pillows and bedspread. If he hadn’t run to the door, thinking the creep from last night was trying to get in by taking the door off its hinges, it could have gone through the back of his head.

 

Today’s Simple Task

Your MC feels self-doubt and abandons his/her main objective for a lesser goal. S/he explores some regrets.

→ When I left my MC yesterday, he needed to go shopping because exploring the property had ruined both pairs of pants he brought. Is that what he will abandon for a lesser goal? Or will I be looking at his main objective which is not being convicted of murder and going home. I don’t think he’ll be abandoning that main objective for a lesser goal, or will he?

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 15 minutes. What will your hero do to resist change? What will your hero do to fight the biggest battle he must overcome – himself? – from SavetheCat.com

→ This exercise really helped me get to some points in my MC’s character arc. It always amazes me how the ticking of a cheap kitchen timer helps me break through my inner editor and get words on the page.

Word Of The Day

spendthrift: noun- a person who spends possessions or money extravagantly or wastefully; prodigal. adjective- wastefully extravagant; prodigal.

Kirk had never that himself a spendthrift, but after meeting that man who had nothing, he couldn’t pay these prices for a pair of pants. He decided to find a charity store.

8 Action Verbs:

To clear his head and make sure he could still read words, he grabbed the Bible from the bedside drawer. Guests had annotated the pages in the margins, sometimes all over the page with their names and dates of stay, weird things that had happened in this room. After flipping through a few pages, he shut it and put it in the back corner of the bottom drawer of the dresser where he would not have the chance to see it again.

She clarified her position by handing him his keys and walking away.

They correlated his arrival in town with every bad thing that happened in the area.

He estimated he now had hours, not days to prove he couldn’t have done it.

Their ability to communicate improved after a couple of days.

He moderated his emotions by counting backward in his head.

He recorded sounds of the lake, waves against the bulkhead, burps and pops of water under a dock, splashes of fish jumping.

He started. He was so jumpy these days.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

As you develop your antagonist and your secondary characters, you want to show parallels between them and your protagonist. Parallelism is also important in your sentences.

If two or more ideas are parallel, they are easier to grasp when expressed in parallel grammatical form. -from A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker and Robert A. Schwegler

a. Balance parallel ideas in a series: Hooked on thriller novels, I learned that there is nothing more important than being rich, typing code, and to have having more than one gun.

→Watching Ida Lupina, he felt he needed to harden his heart, sharpen his wit, and tighten his belt.

b. Balance parallel ideas presented as pairs- these ideas are usually connected with a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or); a pair of correlative conjunctions (either . . . or, not only . . . but also); with a word introducing a comparison (than, as): It is easier to speak in abstractions than grounding to ground one’s thoughts in reality.

→He found it harder to ignore the house than to enter it.

→Not only was he finding his footing but also enjoying his evening.

c. Repeat function words to clarify parallels- Function words such as prepositions (by, to) and subordinating conjunctions (that, because) signal the grammatical nature of the word groups that follow: In an attempt to stop her thumb-sucking habit, her parents tried painting a noxious substance on her thumb to change the taste or making her wear gloves changing to change the texture.

→He thought he could distract her by changing the subject, by pointing at something, or, if he had to, by touching her hand.

While you write today, look out for places to use parallelism for clarity in your sentences.

Extra Exercise for today

I’m going to take a look at that first part of the Awesome sentence challenge and make it a prompt. To do that, I thought I would look at how other authors approach parallelism in their writing and found some different takes on the idea.

The prompt: What does parallel mean to you in your writing? Look for parallels between your protagonist, antagonist, and secondary characters (traits, backgrounds, interests, events). Look for parallels for foreshadowing. Look for parallel and perpendicular character development.

Research

Speaking of parallels, I decided to start diving into the work of Ida Lupino since I made her my hero’s mentor. She was the only woman to direct an episode of the original Twilight Zone and since I like that show I decided to start there before diving into her movies. The first episode I watched was one that she acted in called the 16 Millimeter Shrine. The story is about an aging actress that cuts herself off from the world. The parallel’s to Ida’s real life were incredibly apparent, perhaps the cliche of the aging actress, it also, in a way predicted her future, like an episode of the Twilight Zone. Ah, the circle of life.

The second episode I watched was the one she directed. Episode 25 from season 5 called The Masks. It takes place in New Orleans during Mardi Gras of course (because in the cinematic universe it is always Mardi Gras in New Orleans). I almost didn’t watch it. The coincidence of her episode being in New Orleans was a bit too much, but I went ahead and put it on while I wrote.

This made me think of coincidences. How do coincidences affect my MC?

Coincidences

I don’t think I’ve really explored this topic, so I found some interesting articles.

Now I’ll be scouring my reading and writing for coincidences.

Recommended Word Crawl

Alice in Wonderland Word Crawl

Need a break from all this writing, but still want to be working on your hero’s journey? You could watch Alice In Wonderland and compare her Hero’s Journey to your Hero’s Journey or plot out the Save the Cat Story Beats and compare them to yours. Have fun with it!

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises.

Building toward the midpoint on #NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 13

buckets

Image prompt: I love this idea that rusted and broken useless buckets gather together and still collect things. Where do buckets gather in my story? What do they collect?

On Day 13 in 2017 I was ambitious and already at the midpoint, looking at the Inmost Cave. This year, I feel like I’m still very much at the beginning. So today, I decided to make a day to hit the scenes I need, to build toward that midpoint.

Brainstorming Exercise: There are a few ways for me to do this. I’m going to create four checklists that all overlap.

  1. Save the Cat beat sheet
  2. The hero’s journey
  3. Three act structure
  4. Story Grid essential scenes

I’m going to check off each of the scenes I’ve written so far for each of these plot/scene checklists and brainstorm what scenes need to happen to build to my mid-point.

This exercise was great!! Seeing my scenes in the different plot structures helped me see where things have already changed from my original beat sheet and where I would like to made changes. It opened my eyes to areas that will need higher stakes and more conflict, and I was able to see where my essential scenes are. I was excited to see I’ve already planned all of them. I’m feeling good that I’m on track to hit the important scenes and building tension and intrigue as I approach my midpoint.

#vss365: Wind

I love the quote used in this prompt:

If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. -Khalil Gibran

She liked to #wind her up. She flushed and her eyes lit up when she defended her opinions. Sadly, she caught on and stopped taking the bait.

Today’s Simple Task

Reversal of yesterday. Show that whatever your MC discovered yesterday, the opposite is actually true.

→ I love this prompt, especially for this WIP (work in progress). This could happen almost every day for my protagonist and antagonist. Where to begin?

Warm-up Exercise

Try this prompt from Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne.

Answering Machine: Your character is troubled as usual. What is today’s specific problem? Write about it. Now, he has a voice mail message and is surprised to learn that the message solves his problem, alleviates his trouble. Play (write) the message.

→This is kind of funny: When I first looked at the exercise and saw Answering Machine, I imagined that the message would cause a conflict. I imagined that if my MC received a message from home, it would be something he couldn’t solve because he was so far away and would make things very difficult for him. Then I read the prompt and the message is supposed to alleviate his trouble. Do I want to write both ideas?

Word Of The Day

sonorous: adj. loud, deep or resonant as a sound.

His anger exploded as a sonorous boom.

8 Action Verbs:

She analyzed her notes. What hadn’t he said? What was he avoiding?

He chose to change direction while they walked. She hadn’t noticed at the time because he said he thought he had seen something, but now she wondered if he had done it on purpose.

She corrected her timeline. They may not have abandoned the property when she thought. If true, that would be even more disturbing.

His established routine needed to stay intact.

He implemented his plan. It had to work.

He modeled his plan after one of Oren’s stories.

He received a package at the front desk.

The man spoke strangely, as if within one sentence some words were meant for you and some were not.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Identifying Independent and Dependent Clauses

Using serial descriptive clauses, try to write the longest sentence you can.

Each of her questions felt like a trick, leading yet digging, boiled down to yes or no but expecting so much more, asking for subliminal clues, triggering micro-expressions, an eye movement, a nostril flare.

Happy Reading and Writing!

I hope you find some of these exercises inspiring. I’ll see you tomorrow.

The Antagonist’s Tests, Allies & Enemies on #NaNoWriMo Day 12

abandoned ball

Day 12 (2017) The Antagonist’s Tests, Allies & Enemies

The antagonist is on his or her own hero’s journey. Thus, he or she would also have people who help and hinder along the way. Today, I’ll be taking a closer look at how my antagonist(s) are seeing and responding to the story events.

#vss365: crank

(odd coincidence: I took a picture of a crank and put that crank in my novel yesterday)

He understood it now, the crank, the chain. That sound, that horrible sound, clanking and grinding in his head. It had been there all this time and it had a terrible purpose.

Today’s Simple Task

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

→  I like this prompt for my scene today. As Kirk walks the property with Shawna and she tries to get him to give her clues, he constantly talks about how he was different from the rest of the family, trying to portray himself in a good light, but over-doing it. Turning himself into a saint in contrast to the devils. Then he catches himself and tries to make them not look guilty either.

Warm-up Exercise

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

→ Since this is very similar to how I looked at the simple task yesterday, I’m going to change it to “What problems are coming for your antagonist?”

Word Of The Day

recidivist: n. repeat offender

He was becoming a recidivist. He had heard it was a slippery slope. One lie leads to another lie to another lie until you can’t keep track anymore. He was sliding quickly now.

8 Action Verbs:

She had done her research. They allocated one percent of the budget to missing persons and only one percent of that budget went to persons that were missing more than a year. No wonder he wanted this case closed now.

When last he checked, no one had noticed he was gone.

She coordinated a surprise birthday party for the sheriff. It would give her one more afternoon, maybe even the weekend before he noticed she hadn’t stopped her investigation.

She enlarged the image. She had been right.

She had long immunized against chauvinism. She almost didn’t hear it anymore.

She would have mediated the argument between the two brothers if she could understand them at all. She knew Kirk was speaking English, but it still didn’t make any sense.

She snagged the book and raised it above her head. That got their attention.

She hadn’t specified the details for which she searched.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

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

Before paragraph: He didn’t need any of this. He wanted to take white out to everything he had thought and seen today. He had often wished life could be edited. He looked around for the dog, thought he would give it a good thank you head scratch or belly-rub, but it was gone.

Example of ten ways to write first sentence:

  1. This visit was unnecessary.
  2. He found these emotions extraneous.
  3. Facing his past was non-essential.
  4. Kirk’s psyche was too fragile to dive into his past.
  5. This house had no claim on him.
  6. He was committed to moving on.
  7. Visiting his past was a frivolous activity.
  8. The memories this visit dug up were not what he needed.
  9. He felt overwhelmed by the burden of this place.
  10. He wished he had found a way out of coming here.

After paragraph: The memories this visit dug up were not what he needed. He craved the ignorance of yesterday. He had often seen life as a bad movie that needed a good edit. He thought he would give the dog a good scratch as a thank you. The dog was gone.

Compare and contrast: Without the context of what came before, the second paragraph is clearer. The first sentence was too vague before. I like the visual of erasing or blotting out what he had seen and felt in the first paragraph, so I might go back to something like that. I really like the third sentence in the after paragraph, but then had a bunch of trouble with the dog sentence out of context. I would need to add something to make it smoother, I think.

Overall this is a great exercise and something I plan to bring to my editing.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey:

Today is about the tests, allies and enemies of the antagonist.

Test card: Judgement
MC learns from test: The Empress

Allies: Eight of coins
Most important ally: Queen of cups

Enemies: Seven of cups
What motivates the enemies: Two of cups

My interpretation: It’s very interesting that I pulled the same enemies cards as yesterday.  So let’s see. My antagonist’s test is about trusting her judgement and whether she can reconcile with her past (interesting parallel to the protagonist). Through this test she will learn resourcefulness, generosity, and creativity. She finds allies in her apprentices, people who are learning her trade. Her most important ally is an intuitive woman. Her enemy could be her own indecision, or the protagonist.

 

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises.

Tests, Allies and Enemies on #NaNoWriMo Day 11

red crank

Image inspiration: This morning I continued my search for things that could be found on an abandoned property that make me say: What is that doing there? And what is it for?

How’s everyone’s writing going? I hope you’re enjoying your story and getting to know your characters no matter what your word count.

I made a lot of progress yesterday and had a lot of fun. I accidentally wandered into a bonus writing exercise: Have your MC wander through each room of a house s/he used to live in. Each room triggers a memory. What triggers it, a site, sound, or smell? Is the memory pleasant or unpleasant?

Day 11 (2017) Tests, Allies and Enemies

This is the perfect theme for my writing today. My MC has had a difficult first interview with the detective and now has agreed to walk the abandoned property with her. Neither character is sure if the other is an ally or enemy, but at the moment, they know they can’t trust each other and the stakes are high. So let’s see how the prompts work with this idea.

#vss365: march

The last few days had felt like one endless march uphill in wet socks with blisters. He was exhausted. Everything ached. He was covered in cuts and scrapes and itched from nettles. He wanted to go home, but the worst was still ahead.

Today’s Simple Task

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

→ This is a given since everything is out of his control right now. He’s used to being in control. I’ll need to narrow this down to something very unexpected. And/or think of things he does to feel like he is in control.

Warm-up Exercise

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

→ This is a tricky one. My MC doesn’t feel he has any allies where he is. He did mention that she seemed like two different people during his interrogation. Or the detective could bring someone with her and they’re doing a good cop/bad cop thing. Or there’s the stray dog on the property that he could see as an ally.

Word Of The Day

guisard: n. a person who wears a mask.

At first he believed a silent guisard stared at him from the corner, but it was a half-burnt mannequin. He recognized it now. Oren had brought it home from a going out of business sale and started dressing it up as the characters in his stories.

8 Action Verbs:

He said it aided him when imagining body language.

He chartered  a sea plane, a lake plane really, to fly him over the lake. He had always wanted to see it from above.

She almost had him convinced he was guilty.

Someone had engineered an elaborate warning system, but what did it trigger and who did it alert?

The way the pages suddenly came to life made him think of the old movie The Illustrated Man.

She was always so measured. Did she have any life outside of her job?

He questioned her motivations. She did not appear to be listening anymore. Was she trying to find any other suspects, the real murderer?

He specialized in watching other people physically gather the clues and puzzle them together, so he could make the arrest and take the credit.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

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

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

For this exercise, instead of looking to the authors I already know well, I decided to check out three books off of my Thrillers to read list. I don’t know what happened to me, but I have not been reading novels like I usually do. I’ve been in pick-em-up and put-em-down mode for too long, but I’ll keep trying. I checked out:

  1. The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky
  2. Gone for Good by Harlan Coben (I didn’t get far last month)
  3. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

 

Mapping the Hero’s Journey:

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

Test card: Ten of swords
MC learns from test: Three of coins

Allies: The Magician
Most important ally: The World

Enemies: Seven of cups
What motivates the enemies: Two of cups

My interpretation: My MC is facing ruin. That is not to say death and destruction exactly, but something that seems like a sudden event which has a history. It is the natural culmination of a series of events that will bring change. This ending clears the way for new possibilities. What he learns from this trial is how to let his talents show to the public.

His ally turns out to be The Magician. I had already associated the Magician with his brother, so this is an interesting turn. I’m thinking that his most important ally lies within his brother’s world and remembering the world they had together. His enemies are his choices and confusion. At the moment it’s not clear what is feasible and what is fantasy and everything is up in the air.

His enemies are his circumstances and insecurities. However, this enemies card can also show the beginning stages of a new project. I could also interpret this as the detective is his enemy because she doesn’t know what is feasible and what is fantasy.

The enemies’ motivation is harmony, peace, partnership and love, so that could be why the detective wants to solve the case, something to do with harmony and peace in her life or it could be my protagonist’s motivation to get over his internal enemies to find harmony and peace, perhaps to finally be able to create fulfilling relationships.

Word Crawls

Since today’s Save The Cat beat is Fun & Games, I think I’ll do a Word Crawl. I found a really cute Bob Ross themed one on the NaNo site The Joy of Painting Crawl, so I’m going to get my words in while painting some imaginary puffy little clouds and happy little trees.

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises.

Crossing The Threshold on #NaNoWriMo Day 8

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises. Have a great weekend writing!!

These posts are a lot and I still have the planner pages and Gator McBumpypants to get to, so I may not post again until Monday. See you then.

The Mentor of #NaNoWriMo Day 7

perfect flame

I woke up this morning and went straight to my manuscript. I had a bad dream, but it made me think of a scene for my story and I didn’t want to miss it. It has been foggy and cold the last few days, so I decided to have a fire in the fireplace. The neighbor’s cat came over to see what I was up to and cuddled with me as I typed for a bit. Gotta say, it has been a great morning.

I’ve already done my morning pages and have half my words for today!! And it’s a good thing too because I have found a major distraction in my fireplace inspired by the high shutter speed photos I took. I could honestly just feed that fire and take pictures all day. But then I selected a couple to illustrate this post and they reminded me of my bokeh filters. I can’t believe I never tried bokeh with fire.

It’s challenging. I’m going to have to play around with my camera setting a lot more. I may need to add some Christmas lights to the front of the fireplace to get some unblurred shapes or shine a light into the fireplace so I can use lower ISO settings, but a new palette has emerged and I’m excited.

a new idea

A new idea by Maria L. Berg bokeh in fire.

Back to NaNoWriMo Day 7 The Mentor

As you may have guessed fire is my mentor today. That would mean I see my mentor as a muse, a giver of creative ideas, a non-corporeal entity. However, the mentor can be many things. I found a good post at Thought Co. The Hero’s Journey: Meeting with the Mentor 

The article mentions Jung, so I thought great, I’ll just grab my copy of The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious and Man and His Symbols, look up mentor in the Index and soon have a complete understanding. No such luck. The word “mentor” wasn’t indexed in either one. Since I have already been distracted by photography today and did not feel like reading hundred of pages to figure out why “mentor” wasn’t index and yet “menstrual blood” was in both. I let that idea go.

The mentor is usually an older, wiser person who helps your hero get past the refusal and get on with the adventure. Thinking about that this morning, I easily came up with a mentor for my detective: her father (memories of) and an instructor from the police academy. I also easily came up with a mentor for my antagonist: an imaginary guide he calls “the oracle” who is actually his memories of his older brother who always looked out for him when he was a kid. But I’m not sure who my protagonist’s mentor is.

He doesn’t for long lasting relationships and is always hiding his true self. Who would he turn to for advice. He wants to direct movies, so maybe he would turn to the films of his favorite director for advice. Or watch interviews with his favorite director. Maybe he would just go see a movie or read a book his favorite director wrote. I like this idea because it parallels or mirrors the imaginary world of the antagonist’s mental state. They both think they are perfectly sane, but neither really relates to the real world.

Happy Writing!

I hope you find some inspiration in these exercises. See you tomorrow.

#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!

#NaNoWriMo Recap and December Writing Plans

 

We did it! We survived National Novel Writing Month. It’s time to put away that draft, but not time to give up the daily practice. So what’s next?

For me, it means continuing this momentum into editing. This month, I’m going to dive back into last year’s NaNoWriMo draft and work through revisions to a finished second draft.

This month I will continue my daily poems, #vss very short stories and will participate in December’s FlashFicHive, but the main focus will be inspiration for a daily editing practice.

Here’s the bibliography of books I plan on working through this month of editing:

Revision And Self-Editing (Write Great Fiction)

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore

The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know

Getting the Words Right: 39 Ways to Improve Your Writing

To keep the poetry going, I looked up December poetry challenges and found the MoSt (Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center) 10th Annual New Year’s Poetry Challenge.

December Flash Fic Hive

graphic by Anjela Curtis

It starts on December 8th and runs through the new year to January 6th. For this challenge, I had to sign up with my e-mail and they will send me the daily prompts.

Anjela Curtis who graciously runs #FlashFicHive has pre-posted the daily Flash Fiction prompts, so everyone participating can plan around social obligations.

I have a Christmas story I wrote a while back that needs a re-write. Hopefully, I will find some Christmas flash fiction inspiration.

 

 

Conflict & Suspense

One thing you’ll be thinking about during revision of your novel is how you can increase the conflict and suspense. It’s how you keep the reader turning pages. I did a lot of study in this area and created a guide based on what I learned. I’ve made it available, for free, when you sign up for the Experience Writing Newsletter.

The monthly (or quarterly) Experience Writing Newsletter is just that: News from Experience Writing. You’ll get a quick overview of what’s going on here at Experience Writing including book reviews, great links, and writing challenges.

I hope you’ll take advantage of this FREE opportunity!

People walking in a rocky sky

November Review

How was your month? If you participated in NaNoWriMo, I would enjoy hearing about your experience. What was your favorite thing that happened during the month? What was your least favorite? Please let me know in the comments.

My favorite part of my NaNoWriMo experience this year was  including a poem and a very short story in my daily writing practice. Writing the daily posts here helped me focus my intentions for the day’s writing. For the first time, I reached my word goal early and did not feel rushed.

My least favorite part was not finishing the complete draft. I still have some scenes to write and I will try to finish those this weekend, but it’s hard not to want to take a break. I feel like I worked hard and met the challenge, but I also want to have a complete draft. Thus I write on.

I’m excited to take a look back at all the poems and very short stories I’ve written over the last two months. I will be looking over the Poem A Day prompts and putting together my Chapbook for the Chapbook Challenge. I’m also planning to upload my very short stories to Hit Record in hopes to inspire collaborations and find projects for them.

I hope you’ll continue to join me this month for daily poems and very short stories along with prompts and inspiration.

Welcome to the last month of 2017.

Let’s end this year with great Writing and Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NaNoWriMo Day 30: The Final Image

Congratulations! You made it to the last day of the challenge! Did you finish your draft? Did you get your 50,000 words? Either way, you still have today, and tomorrow, and all the days after that. Push hard today, but remember, this is only the beginning of the writing adventure. The adventure of finishing, editing and publishing your novel is still ahead.

Day 30
Word count:55,001 words
Word count goal: 60,000 words
Mapping the Hero’s Journey: Overview
Save The Cat: Final Image

Sunset Aug 09

#vss very short story

Ben sat on the dock watching the sunset, finally at peace. The odd cloud formation over the mountain was growing at an alarming rate. Then the edge of the ship emerged. “Not again,” Ben yelled.

Plotting with Tarot

Final reading: Celtic Cross

final celtic cross

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

  1. The Heart of the Matter (protagonist): Ten of Pentacles – physical prosperity
  2. The Opposing Force: Five of Pentacles- physical concern, anxiety
  3. The Root Cause: Two of Swords- unification of dualities; resolution of two issues
  4. The Past: Temperance- taking the middle road, avoiding extremes
  5. The Alternate Future (vision): Justice- ability to to see what can be made whole
  6. The Immediate Future: King of Swords- judgement, command, leadership
  7. The Mirror: Ten of Swords- fear of ruin (financial)
  8. The Eye: Seven of Pentacles- fear of failure; feeling of having failed
  9. The Guide: The Lovers- relationships are an issue
  10. The Outcome: Queen of Swords- cut through roles, masks, or defenses

My interpretation:My main character has worked hard his whole life and has recently retired to enjoy the fruits of his labor. However, a strange object crosses his path which when he asks about it brings people into his life that threaten to take away the security he has created for himself and his family. He has always lived within societal norms, but he feels he must take justice into his own hands. He feels that he must take matters into his own hands and confront the people threatening his way of life. People see the changes he makes as failure, but he sees more value in strengthening his relationships and letting down his defenses.

I thought the mirror card, which represents why I’m writing this story, was exactly correct. I commented recently in a twitter writers’ chat, that my biggest fear as a writer is becoming destitute and homeless. However, the way to combat that fear is to write great stories; then to finish those stories, edit those stories and sell those stories.

 

Ask Your Character

  • Are you glad you followed the call to adventure?
  • What have you learned along your journey?
  • Do you feel you have changed from your experience?

Word Of The Day

fulsome: adj. 1. of large size or quantity; generous or abundant 2. insincere or excessively lavish; flattery to an excess degree

8 Action Verbs:

assumed           conceptualized          devised           formed

justified             performed                 rewrote           wrote

Poem prompt

Today’s prompt is inspired by the PAD Chapbook Challenge prompt for today:

For today’s prompt, write a “back in the day” poem. You might also call this a “good old days” poem or a “bad old days” poem. To me, back in the day is synonymous with history–but a kind of personal history (even if shared among a community).

Have your MC reminisce about the ordinary world from the beginning of your story. Does s/he recognize how much s/he has changed? Does s/he look longingly back to before the adventure or is s/he glad for the change and hopeful for this new life?

A Life Well Lived

What happened to The American Dream?
Why does it feel like a rich man’s scheme?
Work hard. Buy a house. Carve out your piece.
You were the cog. I was cheap grease.
Meet a girl in college. Get married. Have kids.
We built a better product while he made bets and bids.
Wasn’t that the human condition, what every red-blooded American did?

Today’s Simple Task

End with hope and forward momentum.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 10 minutes. Where is your character’s safe space. What specifically makes him or her feel safe in this space.

Recommended Word Crawl

Git ‘Er Done Crawl

Happy Reading and Writing!