#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 litbridge.com


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

Blue washed walls
The tourist calls
Representing the sky and heaven

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


Awesome Sentence Challenge

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

Today’s Simple Task

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

Warm-up Exercise

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

Recommended Word Crawl

Pirate Adventure Crawl

Happy Reading and Writing!

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

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

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


Use Code CYBER 25 for 25% off EVERYTHING!

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

#vss very short story

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

Plotting with Tarot

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

New World Card.jpg

New World: Two of Cups- balanced relationships

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

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

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

Ask Your Character

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

Word Of The Day

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

8 Action Verbs:

Assessed           composed            detailed           extended

involved           oversaw            retrieved            tutored

Poem prompt

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


Elongated, stretched
Tall and proud

Crossed, oblique
Awkward and askew

Short, squat
Distorted and underfoot

Awesome Sentence Challenge

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

Today’s Simple Task

MC clearly reaches goal.

Warm-up Exercise

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

Recommended Word Crawl

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

Happy Reading, Writing and Shopping!

#NaNoWriMo Day 26: Puzzles From Childhood


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

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

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

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

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

#vss very short story

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

Plotting with Tarot

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

my hero's journey

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

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

Ask Your Character

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

Word Of The Day

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

8 Action Verbs:

assembled           completed              designed             expressed

investigated              outlined               retained            translated

Poem prompt

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

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

The familiar outline of the challenging uneven edge

As the pieces we assemble create an image of the past

The moments here resemble a joy that didn’t last

Hours of cooperation this puzzle to complete

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


Awesome Sentence Challenge

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

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

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

Today’s Simple Task

MC conquers antagonist. Self-revelation.

Warm-up Exercise

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

Recommended Word Crawl

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

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 25: The Quintessence Of The Abstract

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

#vss very short story

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

Plotting with Tarot

my hero's journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask Your Character

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

Word Of The Day

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

8 Action Verbs:

articulated           compiled           described          explored

invented            originated          restored          trained

Poem prompt

inspired by a prompt from litbridge.com

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

My Service Manuals

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

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

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

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

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

Awesome Sentence Challenge

Collective nouns:

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

Example: A growling of monsters.

A suitcase of travelers.

A cavity of candies.

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

Today’s Simple Task

MC recognizes his or her fatal flaw.

Warm-up Exercise

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

Recommended Word Crawl

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

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 24: Fear of Failure

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

#vss very short story

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

Plotting with Tarot

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

MC response

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

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

Ask Your Character

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

Word Of The Day

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

8 Action Verbs:

arranged           compared          demonstrated            explained

introduced            organized             responded            tested

Poem prompt

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

Oh, What Fun

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

Awesome Sentence Challenge

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

Today’s Simple Task

MC’s reward makes life better.

Warm-up Exercise

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

Recommended Word Crawl

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

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 23: The Return

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

#vss very short story

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

Plotting with Tarot

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

Return with the Elixer

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

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

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

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

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

Ask Your Character

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

Word Of The Day

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

8 Action Verbs:

argued                   communicated          delivered           experimented

interviewed          ordered                       resolved            taught

Poem prompt

From PAD Chapbook Challenge Day 19:

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


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

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

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

Awesome Sentence Challenge

from A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today’s Simple Task

Give Thanks for your fabulous story. Enjoy your words.

Warm-up Exercise

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

Recommended Word Crawl

Crawl For Slower Typists

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

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo Day 22: The Final Act

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

#vss very short story

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

Plotting with Tarot

A Celtic Cross reading for Act III

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask Your Character

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

Word Of The Day

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

8 Action Verbs:

arbitrated          commented          delegated          experienced

Interrogated           operated          researched          targeted

Poem prompt

From PAD Chapbook Challenge Day 20:

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

What I learned

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

Awesome Sentence Challenge

from Purdue OWL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today’s Simple Task

Show that the ordinary world is no longer ordinary.

Warm-up Exercise

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

Recommended Word Crawl

It’s Your Lucky Day Crawl

Happy Reading and Writing!