Approach to the moment of truth on #NaNoWriMo 2019 Day 19

abandoned in the rain

Image prompt: I imagined my main character revisiting the abandoned property on a rainy day, so I spent a little time taking pictures in the rain.

I like the title from Day 19 2017: Approach to the moment of truth. I’m feeling this on many levels. This week is going to be tough. I’ve already lost my momentum and I’m going to be completely distracted by the impeachment hearings, so I’m going to need to try some new things. I’ve cued up a Virtual Write-In for the break in the hearing. Virtual Write-ins have helped my word count in the past.

But it may also be that these prompts aren’t working for me every day. It was a good experiment and worked pretty well in the beginning, but this week I may need other inspiration. So if you don’t see these posts from me this week, I will hopefully find other inspiration to share.

#vss365: bust

He remembered small plastic busts of famous composers on the piano. Mama would play with them and arrange them. They became a clue into her mood. Kirk learned the connection and often consulted them as augurs.

Today’s Simple Task

MC micro-focused on today: What can s/he do in this moment? It’s time for arain in the bushes new and better plan.

→ This is a good exercise for me today. My MC is always hyper-observant and really exploring that will help develop his relationship with his environment. I also need to explore his plan before he left home and how it changes over time.

Warm-up Exercise

Set your timer for 5 minutes. Brainstorm all of your MC’s traits. Sort them into strengths and weaknesses.

Choose the trait you see as the main weakness. Set your timer for 5 minutes again and Cluster or Mind Map around that word.

Set your timer for another 5 minutes. Write a scene where this weakness becomes a strength.

→ This is a good exercise. Actually writing down traits and whether they are strengths or weaknesses and how, in certain situations, they can switch, helps add depth to the character and guide how he will act in unexpected situations. Doing this exercise helped me connect some of my MC’s backstory to his current perceptions and actions.

Word Of The Day

augur: v. to give promise of something to come later

I looked up this word again and am not quite sure why I chose the definition I did in 2017. Augur has all sorts of interesting definitions as both a noun and a verb (from


one of a group of ancient Roman officials charged with observing and interpreting omens for guidance in public affairs.
soothsayer; prophet.

verb (used with object)

to divine or predict, as from omens; prognosticate.
to serve as an omen or promise of; foreshadow; betoken: Mounting sales augur a profitable year.

verb (used without object)

to conjecture from signs or omens; predict.
to be a sign; bode: The movement of troops augurs ill for the peace of the area.

verb (used without object)

to argue, talk, or converse.


an excessively talkative person.

British dictionary definitions


Also called: auspex (in ancient Rome) a religious official who observed and interpreted omens and signs to help guide the making of public decisions
any prophet or soothsayer


to predict (some future event), as from signs or omens
(tr; may take a clause as object) to be an omen (of); presage
(intr) to foreshadow future events to be as specified; bode this augurs well for us

My sentences using augur:

It was possible that the break-in was an attempted robbery, but the missing picture augured more personal attacks.

He felt the runny yolks augured coming disappointments.

He hadn’t imagined her as an augur during the first time they met, but this morning she wouldn’t let him get a word in. Maybe she had had too much coffee.

They augured in a style that implied an inside joke. It made him uncomfortable.

8 Action Verbs:

He felt like the appointed translator. He wished Oren would snap out of it, talk like a normal person, but that was impatience. He would have to slow down to make this work.

When in the tree house, they had collaborated on many stories. Kirk needed to remember them now, but he felt like that part of his memory was locked.

Everything felt decided without him. These were his decisions. Who was pulling the strings?

He exhibited signs of anxiety. Kirk wished he knew how to calm him. What had he done when they were young. Stories, Oren needed to tell a story. Kirk needed to listen.

Oren inspected the page. Kirk thought maybe he was getting through, making a connection. Oren ate it.

Kirk negotiated a sit down by bringing the dog a bone. Oren sat with him and they both watched the dog gnaw on it. It was a start.

The drawings represented his reality. Kirk had to adapt his perception. He needed to learn the rules of how Oren translated three dimensions to two. Each of the symbols was drawn over. Each symbol had more than one meaning.

It often felt like she wasn’t supervised. Kirk wondered if the sheriff was paying attention to his case at all.

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Connotations: I love this quote from Barbara Baig in Spellbinding Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Achieving Excellence and Captivating Readers

If you imagine that putting a word into the mind of your reader is like casting a stone in a pond, then the denotation is the splash the stone makes as it hits the water, while the connotations of the word are like the ripples that follow the splash.

We did the first connotations exercise on Day 6, but exploiting the connotations of words to create ripples of meaning in the mind takes practice and skill, so lets do another one. Read your favorite author paying attention to words chosen for positive and negative connotations. Collect these words in a notebook and practice using them in your own writing.

Since today is full of impeachment hearings, I thought I would collect words from what I hear today and use the political partisanship as an exercise in the connotations and denotation of these words.

Collected words: hope, stakes, assistance, linkage, alarmed, investigations, inappropriate, sharp, rejected, credible, competent, professional, accusations, power, sometimes, full-throated, parallel process, relay, correct, accurate, separate process, understanding, receive-mode

I could do this all day and probably should, but receive-mode felt like a great ending. You can imagine how I’ll be playing with these words, their connotations and denotation.



Happy Reading and Writing!

Are You Ready for #Writober?

colorful skulls.jpg

photo by Maria L. Berg

October is almost here and I’m excited. I enjoy many fun writing events in October. And this year I’ve added the planning pages and submissions, and The Writer’s Games. It’s going to be a very busy month here at Experience Writing.

Writing Challenges

Short Stories

The Writer’s Games‘ second session is half over. I just submitted my story for the third event. I recommend joining in when the next session starts in April if you haven’t tried it yet. It is free to participate and you receive feedback from three separate judges on each entry. Each event provides a writing prompt on Friday evening and you have to send in a new story by end of day Monday. Each challenge has stretched my creativity and the feedback is encouraging and thought provoking.

Flash Fiction

I didn’t have time to do #Writober last year, so I’ll go back through the images I collected and choose the best ones to add to this year’s collection #Writober4. For those of you who don’t know, #Writober is a fun writing challenge that was originally organized by J.S. Nagy a.k.a. @BrassGoblin over on Wattpad. The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction (he wrote 101 word stories, I wrote stories under 1000 words) each day of October inspired by a spooky, creepy image. I enjoyed it so much that first year, I decided to keep it going. I created a collection of images on Pinterest. This year’s collection is #Writober4. I’ve numbered each image for the days of the month. I hope you will join me.


It’s also time for #OctPoWriMo,  fall’s event for those who enjoy National Poetry Writing Month. There are great writing prompts every day. This year I’ve taken my participation a step further and volunteered to take on three of the days. I’ll be your host on October 10th for the theme “Touch”, October 20th for the theme “Mountains or Oceans”, and October 27th for the theme “How Did I Get Here?” The overall theme for this year is “Diving into the shadows to mine for gold.” If you haven’t participated before, head over to and learn all about it.

Reading Challenge

Until I took a look at my post from #Writober2, I had forgotten about Readers Imbibing Peril. It’s a fun reading challenge to get readers in the autumnal mood.


And as if that’s not enough fun for October, it’s also the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year and I need to catch up if I’m going to meet my goal of 100 rejections this year. During my hiatus, I reformatted the pages in an attempt to use up most of the white space when printing it out as a brochure. I also decided not to use images of the journals, but to add my own photography and art as visual writing prompts instead. These next couple of months will be my final push to finalize my design. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

If you’re ready to send out stories right now, there are Oct. 1st deadlines at:

See you tomorrow

And so it begins. I hope you’ll join me throughout the month. There will be new posts here every day of October with poetry, micro-fiction, prompts and so much more.

April Is Coming: NaPoWriMo & A to Z Challenge & Me

Close-up of daffodils

Life Lessons: Always Learning

These last couple months, I have learned a few things about myself:

1. Joining the YMCA is a good way to pay money to inspire me to stay home and write.

2. In the Fall and Winter, I write stories that will eventually be called for on Dark Markets.

3. When Winter is over, I suddenly want to finish all my stories and send them out to get homes and readers. Guess that’s how I sow (I have plans to sew) my oats, so to speak.

4. I am good at physical (better than my self-imposed) deadlines, but I might as well stop telling myself I’ll start months ahead when I know the work gets done in the final week. It’s not procrastinating; I’m a thinker and I think better while doing other things.

5. And most pertinent to this post: I either blog once a day or once a month and there is very little in between.

Conclusion: I’m creative and like to be in the now of the creative process. I’m not a planner. Thus, starting my day with a blog challenge that includes creative writing is the most reliable way to get content here for you to read (Instead of, say, spending my time making klecksography–magnetic poetry with inkblot illustration–and posting it to twitter: My Klecksography Twitter Moment).

National Poetry Writing Month

With this in mind, I was happy to remember that April is NaPoWriMo – National (Global) Poetry Writing Month. It came to my attention when I did OctPoWriMo last fall. Since I enjoyed writing daily poems and continued to enjoy writing daily poetry through November and December, I am looking forward to doing it again.

Last Fall was an intense re-introduction to poetry for me. It started with the CalArts Poetry Workshop with Douglas KearneyI took (free) through The readings, examples, videos and assignments opened my eyes and inspired me to look for more poetry challenges. October Poetry Writing Month (OctPoWriMo) created by Morgan Dragonwillow( @MorganDragonwillow) was my first daily challenge and introduced me to a plethora of poetry forms.

After October, I wanted more, so even during the intense writing challenge that is NaNoWriMo, I joined another poetry challenge. Writer’s Digest offered the PAD (poem-a-day) Chapbook Challenge. I used the prompts and wrote poems from my characters’ points of view (mostly my MC) and it enhanced my NaNoWriMo experience.

When that challenge ended, I put together my first poetry Chapbook and entered it in the contest, but I wanted to continue and end the year strong, so I did the MoSt Poetry New Year challenge which offered prompts through the new year and part of January.


The Book

Journal: Carnet PAPERBLANKS modèle Nocturnelle Ultra 180x230mm – ligné by paperblanks

For Christmas, my sweetie got me the most beautiful hard-cover journal. I love the textured, embossed, old-world style with metal clasps and two attached ribbon bookmarks. To me, it is more than an everyday-morning-pages-stream-of-consciousness journal, or even a notes-for-my novel journal. So after writing in it for the first two days of 2018, I stopped. I thought I would use it for daily poetry, but I’ve been neglecting the daily poetry.  This beautiful journal will be one of my tools during the fabulous challenge that is April.

A to Z Challenge

When I joined Thursday evening’s #StoryDam chat, I was proud to announce that I had signed up for April’s National Poetry Writing Month, but then the second question of the evening was if anyone had signed up for April’s A to Z Challenge. The A to Z challenge is a challenge for bloggers to blog daily about a topic or topics starting with the letter A on April 1st and following each day (except for the following Sundays) with consecutive letters of the alphabet.

Now, I will admit, I had completely forgotten that April was also the month for this blogging challenge, but I quickly realized that it shouldn’t be too hard to combine the two. Since I am new to each of these challenges, this will be an experiment, but I see it being fun. I’m thinking for the A to Z challenge, I will challenge myself to a new word starting with the letter of the day. Then I will use that word in my NaPoWriMo poem.

I also want to continue my Craft Book Reviews. I’ve had a couple Jack Bickham books lined up for this week, but I guess you’ll get those on Monday. The letter B. I’ve also been enjoying a couple of John Dufresne books, so I’ll have to hurry and get those reviews ready for “D” day which will be next Thursday. Depending on how this goes, those may be all the Craft Book Reviews for April because I got excited and requested books by all four living Nobel Prize winning poets (before Bob Dylan; I already read his book Tarantula) from my local library and downloaded some e-books as well.

And if that wasn’t enough to keep you coming back to Experience Writing in April, I am going to see Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life speak. I hope I have a ton of writer wisdom to share after that!

Happy Reading and Writing!

See You Tomorrow.


#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!

#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


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

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

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

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!