#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!

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#NaNoPrep – Tips and Tricks

NaNoWriMo 2016 Banner

Getting ready for National Novel Writing Month in every way

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

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

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

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

Declare your novel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Set up your files

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

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

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

Tools

Websites

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

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

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

Social Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Personal Arsenal

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

Do you journal? Do Morning Pages?

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

Where do you write?

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

Set up your play lists

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

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

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

Make exercise easy

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

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

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

Don’t Procrastinate

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

Everyone wishes they had more time to write.

What if you could just buy some?

You can!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook

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

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

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

When Every Month is NaNoWriMo

Have more great tips? Need a NaNoWriMo writing buddy?

Please leave a comment. And Happy Writing and Reading.

Revision: Exploring my characters’ motivations

A nice sunset

A nice sunset

And after a few revisions in Windows Photo Gallery

Sunset with revisions

I love playing with simple photo editing software. All of those fabulous colors were in my photo just waiting for me to draw them out–slough off a bit of brightness, delete a bit of shadow, redefine the contrast and saturate the hues. Now, to apply the same principal (drawing out the good stuff) to my manuscript.

This morning I approached my task in a new way. My goal is to make the motivations of my characters clear to my readers. I had planned to read through my manuscript and note my characters’ motivations for each major action in the margins (and I am still planning on doing that), but as I wrote my morning pages, I started exploring some of the hermit’s major motivations: Abandonment, Rejection, Betrayal, Judgement. Then I explored events in her childhood that would have led to these feelings. I quickly filled my morning pages with ideas. One of the ideas for betrayal seemed to be a better motivation for my other main character.

Looking at the origin stories of my characters’ motivations, I saw a common theme–Perception. Specifically, how incorrect perceptions both internal and external can negatively affect one’s life. At first it felt like a revelation to define this underlying theme, but really, it is no surprise. I got my M.S. in perception, be it the biopsychology (behavioral neuroscience) of visual perception and memory, but I am obviously (though somewhat subconsciously) writing what I know.

Now, I’m daydreaming about quoting my own journal articles and bringing in quotes about the physical aspects of perception and anxiety. It could be a fun tie-in for chapter titles. I’ll see where it takes me.

Today, I’m excited to be making some progress toward taming the beast named First Novel.

Anyone have revision tips? Every idea is welcome and appreciated.