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NaNoWriMo 2011: Writing Challenges

8 Nov

Need a writing prompt to get those writerly juices flowing? I’m here to help with Prompty Tuesday! Grab your drink of choice, strap yourself to that chair, and get ready to bolster your word count, because I have a few challenges for you.

Alphabet Absurdity
Use the following words in a scene: handwritten, harmony, hunter, hand-me-down, hedgehog.

Random Fun
Write a scene involving a dinner party, an anonymous letter, and a handmade quilt.

A waiter finds a kitten with a note attached to its collar that reads: “You’re in danger.”

Katamari Damacy Cat

I don't have a picture of Gambit with a note attached to his collar, but I do have one of his Katamari Damacy phase.

Have an itch to do more writing exercises? You can view all the Prompty Tuesdays here.

Happy Writing!


Day 2 of NaNoWriMo 2011: Theme

2 Nov

My friend posted this quote from Stephen King on her Facebook page today and it got me to thinking about themes.

If you are on track today (clocking in around 3,334 words), you’re waist deep in the novel’s “set-up.” Somewhere among those character introductions and launching the main plot line, lurks the theme of your novel. Someone, usually not the main character, will make a statement or ask a question that isn’t obviously important, but will mean everything later on (oh hai, character growth): be careful what you wish for; family is more important than money; things are not always as they appear.

For those of us who write by the seat of our pants (me) and don’t outline, it’s hard to pick out that one line of dialog at this stage and say most definitely THIS is the theme. I could point to a few completely differing statements right now. However, after reading Stephen King’s quote this morning, I’m feeling a lot better about the vagueness of my theme, because I do know my work-in-progress is about the importance of family, trust, and learning to ask for help. For now, as I race towards Act II, that’s good enough.

So, my fellow WriMos, which themes are in your novels?

NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 1

1 Nov

Project Firefly Status
Total word count: 6,356
Number of words written today: 1,201
Words remaining: 68,644
Total cups of coffee consumed: 4
Times my boyfriend scared me half to death, because I was in the writerly zone with loud music pumping through my headphones and didn’t hear him come home: 1

The time is now 10pm and I’m just now putting words on paper. I wanted to start off with a bang, but not so much. At least Gambit, my roommate’s cat, is saving me from myself. IE guarding the TV remote. He’s a real gentleman like that, which is why he wears a bow tie.

I’ll be up late tonight, bolstering my total word count and cups of coffee consumed. Who’s with me?

Batten down the hatches, NaNoWriMo 2011 quickly approaches.

28 Oct

Since January of 2007, I’ve toiled away at a project called Fireflies, making sure every interconnecting detail was just right. I did lots of free writing to develop the characters and the world around them. I tried to start writing it a few times. See also every NaNoWriMo/Camp WriMo between 2008 and today. There are a pile of chapter ones saved on my computer as proof. I did write other novels not related to the project and even managed to get one published, but it kills me that I can’t seem to write the story I’ve wanted to share with the world for over four years.

Not anymore, folks! I made it past the dreaded chapter one mark and am proud to report that I’m well into chapter three. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but for me this is a big deal. I found the POV (point of view), the tense, the voice, and more importantly I accumulated enough writing experience to do it some justice.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for me to batten down the hatches and attack NaNoWriMo 2011. Consider this post my declaration to the world and promise to myself to grab my white whale by throat and tell it who is boss. (It’s me, in case you were wondering.)

I had to do something while more coffee brewed.

Notebooks Anonymous

11 Jul
fancy journal and pen

fancy journal and pen for my work-in-progress

My boyfriend thinks I have a notebook “problem”, but what I have are notebook SOLUTIONS. Okay, maybe I have a special drawer or three full of journals, spiral notebooks, and pocket sized Moleskines, but I need all of these.

Something about scribbling down story ideas and snippets of dialog into a Moleskine makes me feel warm and happy inside. I know my smart phone could take over in the place of a pocket-sized notebook and pen, but it just doesn’t feel the same. I like having a solid object to symbolize my effort and I love the ability to flip through my random thoughts and pieces of description. Plus, there is something to be said for having a special, designated place for things.

Robin notebook

Whatever shall I write in you? Maybe about mobster fairies? Yessssss!

Since I started Camp WriMo / JulNoWriMo, I’ve almost exclusively written my work-in-progress in a fancy journal. It was super handy last week when I had a writer’s retreat at the beach. And while there’s still some sand trapped between the pages, writing by hand helped me clear my mind and silence my inner-editor. I’ve talked about this before, but sometimes switching up your medium can help things flow onto the page easier.

Today, I picked up a couple journal-sized notebooks. I couldn’t stop myself. First of all, I was in love with Robin in middle school. Batman Forever might’ve been a bad movie, but I LOVED Chris O’Donnell. He and I were going to run away together and fight crime. Don’t judge me.


Second of all: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye” – Miss Piggy. She is my number one diva. That pig is fierce.

I must write a short story in this about a sassy young lady. Maybe a southern belle turned zombie? Hellz yes! I can see the character forming in my mind already. Thus is the beauty of notebooks and why it’s totally okay for me to have piles and piles of them waiting in the wings. Besides, you never know when you’ll need a good notebook. 😉

Quick, corral the plot bunnies!

23 Jun

I hope your pencils are sharpened and your coffee supply is prodigious, because Camp NaNoWriMo begins July 1st. The official Camp WriMo website still isn’t live, but JulNoWriMo‘s forums are available for all your novel-in-a-month woes, cheers, and general solidarity.

If seven days aren’t enough time for you to corral the plot bunnies, don’t despair! NaNoWriMo announced via Twitter that you can get shipped off to camp in August as well.

Camp NaNoWriMo

15 Jun

A creative writing teacher told me about NaNoWriMo back in 2003; I’ve attempted and failed miserably every year since then. Between diving 650 miles to see my family, the holidays themselves, and the trip back, I can’t commit to writing 1,667 words a day. But now the people over at NaNoWriMo have something for folks like me. CAMP NANOWRIMO!

The rules remain the same: write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, which breaks down to 1,667 words per day. The month slated for the festivities is yet to be announced and the website for Camp WriMo isn’t fully functional, but don’t let this dishearten you. Watch out for updates and announcements on NaNoWriMo’s main page.

My prediction is Camp WriMo will take place in August. If you want something sooner, there is an unaffiliated JulNoWriMo to sate your novel-in-a-month needs. They are in their seventh year and would love to have you.

I’m torn between taking the July plunge or waiting for Camp WriMo later in the summer. Maybe I’ll do both. I have a newly started novel that could use the JulNoWriMo boost. Then I could work on something completely different for Camp WriMo.

What are your writing plans for the summer? Will it be one or the other? Both or neither?