A Bit of #CampNaNoWriMo Inspiration

Camp NaNoWriMo Pompts

Camping out!

 

First, a little update. It’s been an interesting 11 days of writing for #CampNaNoWriMo. I started out with the idea that I would write one short story a day, no matter how short, on a different prompt. (Witness my last two posts on this blog of prompts gathered from Pinterest.) Instead, I found myself after two or three starts, writing an Urban Fantasy novel that keeps expanding with each prompt.

Everything that I see or think of seems to get applied to this story and the writing is going as fast as I have time for. I am about 6,000 words behind but I have 12,000 to call my own and a lot more ideas for scenes to write. It is positively exhilarating and I don’t know where it’s coming from!

A few things this past 11 days have inspired me. I came across a link to some excerpts from an interview with Chinua Achebe on a writer’s ability to inspire society. You can find it here – http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/07/11/chinua-achebe-meaning-of-life/

Then there are these great sheets of lists that can be applied to your writing from Anika on her DeviantArt page. I’m thinking to use the sheets on Common Character Habits and Character Flaw Reference Sheets to help round out my characters. (Can’t be having those heroes and heroines too perfect!) She also offers a Character Hobby Reference Sheet, Character Fear Reference Sheet, and Character Motivation Sheet.

As usual, my writer’s group last night was both relaxing and inspiring.  I sure need the laughs and I go home fired up to write even when I’m not feeling my best.

I’m not even sure where I came across the information at this point but I have to confess that I never knew Eudora Welty had written a book on writing called, well, On Writing. My sister had given me her autobiography, One Writer’s Beginnings some years ago and I fell in love with it. (I have a strong tendency toward autobiographies by writers.) I went to look for On Writing in our library system and found only one library owned it. I ordered it and it arrived today but, sadly, it has been so heavily underlined and annotated that I don’t think I can read it without my brain exploding!  *grumblegrumblegrumble*

Feeling like procrastinating? If you’re doing #CampNaNoWriMo, how is it going?

Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts: Part 2

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Pompts

Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts

 

Here they are, prompts for the second half of Camp NaNoWriMo in July, or whenever you want to use them.  I’ll be using one a day for July. Enjoy!

 

  1. “The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained.” – Write about losing someone where there is no goodbye, be it intentional or unintentional.
  2. “Expect anything from anyone. The devil was once an angel.” - Write a character who seems one way but turns out to be another way, or even really is how they seem but does something unexpected.
  3. “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin – Write a scene from a character’s point of view and work on investing it with their perspective rather than being objective.
  4.  “The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.” – Write about a character making a choice between two options.
  5. “Doing something weird and thinking ‘this is why I don’t have a boyfriend.” – Write it.
  6. “I think a part of me will always be waiting for you.” - Write about when he/she comes back.
  7. “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.” – Write about a character who thinks their life is going to be one way then something happens to turn that on its head.
  8. “Although we never said it to each other, I think we both knew.” – What? What did they both know that they weren’t saying? Where the body was buried? That they loved each other? What?
  9. “Life is about using the whole box of crayons.” – Write a character that is totally different than you would usually write and put it into your story. See what happens!
  10. “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis.  – How about believing in them, or even living them? Write a fantastical tale in which the main character is an older person who has lived a life doing exactly what they should.
  11. “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” William Shakespeare – Write a character is diminutive but fierce.  How little and how old is up to you!
  12. “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” – Write about trying to tell the truth when someone, or everyone, doesn’t want to hear it.
  13. “Once I catch you in a lie, it makes me question everything you said.” – Write a story about betrayal.
  14. “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Write a fearless character, either foolishly or because she/he has nothing left to fear.
  15. “I love how coffee tricks me into thinking I’m in a good mood for about 27 minutes.” – Write about a day that starts out nicely then goes downhill.
  16. “Actually, I can.” – Can what? Write about a character who does something everyone tells him/her they cannot.
  17. “I got a war in my mind.” – Write about a character who has a war going on in their mind, either they are trying to decide something or more literally due to mental instability.

 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts

Camp NaNoWriMo Pompts

Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts

Here comes Camp NaNoWriMo! Are you participating? Are you going to try to win? Or, like me, are you just planning to write and see where you go? This July my plan, so far, is to write to a new prompt each day, shooting for a full story that is anywhere between 50 and 2,000 words. At the same time, I will be editing Biomalware, my work in progress, and plotting a novel that I want to write in August. Crazy, you say? Why, yes, thank  you for noticing. Care to join me? Aw, heck, here’s half my prompts for July, help yourself. I think they work whether you are writing short stories or just want to work one or more of them into your story. I’ll post the other half next week.

  1. “Finally, a lie too big.” from Doctor Who – Write a story with a lie or series of lies and one that is simply too big to be believed.
  2. A shaved bear is a scary creature, looks nothing like a bear and much like a werewolf in a modern fantasy/horror film. Have you seen that picture going around? Put one in your story somehow.
  3. “In vain I have struggled, it will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must let me tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Obsessive or passionate? You decide, then write it into your story.
  4. “Why don’t guys ever look at me like that?” “Because, you’re never looking when they do.” Also, “The best feeling is when you look at him and he is already staring.” Two memes, don’t know where the quotes really come from. Perhaps lots of the first then the latter?
  5. “Every villain is a hero in their own mind.” Write a story about a villain who truly believes he is doing the right thing.
  6. “May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten.” Irish blessing. Work forgetting and/or remembering into your story.
  7. “Imagine meeting someone who understood even the dustiest corners of your mixed-up soul.” Is that good or scary? Put it in your story.
  8. “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology that you never got.” Sometimes people apologize without saying the words. Refusing to remember what they did so wrong, re-writing the past as in “I would never do that, or say that!” is agreeing with you that what they did was wrong and is an apology in a way. What other ways might people apologize without saying the words? Write it into your story.
  9. “I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.” Write about a person who you never noticed or thought were one way then you find out they are totally different than you imagined. (Yes, I have someone particular in mind.)
  10. “You and I are more than friends. We’re like a really small gang.” Thelma and Louise? Earl Had to Die? Write about two friends who decide to take the law into their own hands. Do they go too far?
  11. “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Lena Horne. Two characters, same “load” – carrying it very differently. Go.
  12. “I am the designer of my own catastrophe.” What mistakes can your character make? Make ‘em BIG and messy.
  13. “Always wear your invisible crown.” Someone attempts to humiliate your character but they hold their head high.
  14. “Forgiving someone is easy, but being able to trust them again is a totally different story.” Can your character do it? Is the person worthy of being trusted again?
  15. “I got hurt. Really hurt. And sometimes when that happens, something inside me shuts off.” I actually have had this experience, have you? Whether you have or haven’t, explore it in a story.

The Rise and Fall of the Phoenix: a flash fiction

Phoenix_detail_from_Aberdeen_Bestiary

 

A silly little 50 word flash fiction for Chuck Wendig’s challenge, but at least it’s something new. Feeling the need to write today.

The Rise and Fall of the Phoenix

The Phoenix rose into the air, shaking off ashes.

Gross.

Up and up it climbed until at last it could soar on zephyrs. It swallowed the urge to crow like a rooster.

How inappropriate.

The bird never knew what hit it. The 747 never realized either, as it went on its way.

Happy Wizarding, Harry, um, I mean Writing

MamaAndBaby

I feel like I have nothing to say today. My munchkin got me up at 4:30 this morning. I just want a nap. So, I give you a poem I wrote when she was a new baby that seems rather appropriate and a link to a favorite inspiring LiveJournal post from Jim Butcher on The Most Important Thing An Aspiring Writer Needs to Know. May the weekend find you time to write.

A Mother’s Weary Vigil

Just after midnight

small heels beat a Morse code

of defiance into the mattress.

I am not tired.

I will not sleep.

Even though

mere moments before

or perhaps after

chubby cheeks and hands

folded in repose on mama’s lap

angelically spoke of

sweet dreams.

Oh, but what transpires

between the rocker and the crib?

Eyes and mouth pop open,

screams or laughter,

legs kick.

I am not tired!

I will not sleep!

Mama returns to the rocker

her weary vigil to keep.

The F in the Blue Box: a very short story

Happy Friday everyone! Here’s a little bit of humor to start the weekend off right.

CoffeeCup

 

Alex,

Your last roommate’s name was Mary, right? I found this note wedged behind the bathroom mirror. (It was a little crooked.) What exactly happened to her?

Alex – They’re here! In the hallway outside the apartment. They say they’re from the department of health and my coffee this morning may have been contaminated but I know who they really are… they’re from Facebook! This is all because I tried to close my Facebook account this afternoon – they’re trying to take over the world!

I have to write quietly or they’ll suspect and look for the note. I don’t think I have much time. I realized what was happening this morning on my way to work. There was this guy on the street corner outside the coffee shop and he was trying to warn people about Facebook. I didn’t believe it at first but when I came out of the coffee shop after I got my latte, he was gone! A limo was pulling away from the corner and, I swear, I think the license plate said Facebook!

Then I started seeing it – everywhere! It was on the coffee shop door, on my coffee cup, on the side of the bus!!! That little f in the blue box. It all means Facebook! When I got to work it was even on Jenna’s sneakers! She said they had a pedometer that sent the info to her Facebook account but I don’t know.

The boss said he thought I was running a fever and sent me home but I know the real reason – I was asking too many questions!

I tried to delete my Facebook account this afternoon – but it wouldn’t let me! So I tried deleting everything but it was taking too long so I had to smash my computer. (I’m sorry. I had to smash your computer too, but I couldn’t risk them watching me through your web cam. And the T.V. too!)

The phone kept ringing all afternoon. I’m sure it was Mark Zuckerberg. He’s the head of it all! You know, they eat lima beans for dinner, don’t you? Everybody knows but nobody says it! They want people’s brains. Maybe they’re zombies!

I’m running out of time. The super is here and he’s going to unlock the door! I’m going to hide this note. I hope you find it. Good luck! Don’t let them get you too!!!

Your friend,

Mary

Alex folded the note in half then tore it into strips. Some things were better left unanswered. He started the car and headed out to his first day on a new job at Facebook.

 

He Came Home Today: Poem

I wrote this a few years ago when a local boy came home, I post it again in memory of all who have served.

800px-US_Army_52445_Military_Funeral_Honors_color_guard

He came home today
but not to a ticker-tape parade.
Instead, a horse drawn wagon
processed to where he will be laid.

An improvised explosive
near his armored car
took the life we held so dear
and left us where we are,

standing at graveside,
with his flag draped coffin
after the twenty-one gun salute
waiting for Taps to begin.

They shared those bright blue eyes.
Now his mothers are closed, too sad.
His will never again look up to the sky.
There’s no comfort to be had.

Tornado Run: A Flash Fiction

I wrote this as a 50 word flash fiction a couple years ago, a couple years after the event it is based on. I’ve written an essay on it and just fleshed this out for Chuck Wendig’s latest challenge.

Seymour_Texas_Tornado

 

Vibration, air pressure, a sound? Mama snatches baby up and runs for the cellar. A roar – the house lurches.

Through the kitchen door – toward the windows and cellar, or drop and cover baby with her own body? A moment’s hesitation then down the stone steps into an old coal bin.

Baby cries.

“Shhh… mama’s gotcha.”

Lightning flashes, water pours in the corner of the foundation, subsides. They venture upstairs and she opens the kitchen door. Smoke? No, plaster dust from falling ceiling. Grab car seat, purse and cell.

“Something’s happened. We can’t stay here.”

“We’re on our way.”

Biomalware: A Short Story

Here’s a very short Science Fiction story for a slow Friday afternoon. This is a story that I wrote several years ago which started me on the novel I am trying to finish now.  The story has gone through quite a bit of changes, but this is still the basis.

Potager_en_plate-bande

“Daddy,” Maddy whispered. Derek looked into the two year old’s dull eyes. “I hurt, owie.”

Derek’s stomach clenched. “I know, honey. The doctor’s going to give us something to make it better.”

“This should do it.” The doctor handed Derek the prescriptions. “One dose of each before a meal will help get her eating again and control the IBS symptoms.”

“Thanks, doc.”

The doctor nodded. “Wait here and Stephie will be in.”

Derek hugged Maddy tighter. This nightmare had to be at an end. Maddy always seemed to be in pain, either from hunger or from trying to digest the food.

The nurse, Stephie, came in. She had taken care of Maddy each time she’d been at the doctor’s since she was born. Despite the fact that she had to give Maddy shots, the little girl liked her. She took Maddy from Derek and bounced Maddy, cooing.

It took Derek a minute to realize that Stephie was waggling a note in the hand under his daughter.

“Wha?”

She gave a short emphatic shake of her head so Derek tucked the note in his pocket. Was she hitting on him?

“Let’s get you scheduled for an appointment, shall we?”

*****

In the car, Derek pulled out the note.

“Before you get the medicine, take her to John Garrett. Trust me, he can help you.”

There was a map below the instructions.

“What the heck?” The doctor had prescribed medicine. Wouldn’t that take care of it? He looked at Maddy’s listless face in the mirror. “What would your mother do?” And he knew, she would have gone to any lengths to care for Maddy and she would have trusted another woman.

Derek started the car and headed out of town, following the map into the hills.

It took about half an hour to reach an access road, which led to a farmyard. The house was plain but neat, with a flower box at the windowsill. Derek got out and opened the back door. As he unbuckled Maddy from her car seat, two kids came running around the barn. They stopped when they saw him but as he straightened up with Maddy in his arms they came forward.

“Is this where John Garrett lives?”

The older girl nodded. “Dad’s inside.”

She led the way. “Dad, somebody here to see you!”

Derek stayed on the front porch, unsure of his welcome. A bearded man in jeans and a flannel shirt came to the door. His face was impassive but as he took in Maddy, it softened.

“Stephie, at Dr. Cole’s, sent me.”

The other man nodded. “I’m John. You’d better come in. She having trouble eating?”

Derek nodded. “How’d you know?

“That’s who Stephie sends me. Have a seat.” John indicated the table near the kitchen area.

Derek stepped inside. The floor plan was open, with doors to the right, leading into the rest of the house, a kitchen area in front of him and a family area to the left.

John opened the fridge, pulled out a bottle of green juice and poured a little into a cup.

He put it in front of Derek. “Try to get her to drink some of this.”

Derek picked it up and sniffed. It smelled… green, but a little sweet, like juice.

“It’s just fruits and vegetables – apples, kale, lemon, some parsley, and the like.”

Derek offered it to Maddy. She was hungry enough to take a few sips but then she pushed it away and Derek set it down. “Thanks, but it’s hard to get her to eat.”

John nodded. “Because it hurts, I know, but this won’t. Just give her a few minutes.”

They watched for a minute and Derek was amazed when Maddy actually reached for the cup and picked it up. He laughed as she drank the cup down. “What’s in this? Chocolate?”

John smiled and shook his head. “Just fruits and vegetables grown from open-pollination or heirloom, non-gmo seeds.”

“Are you saying I just need to buy organic food?” Derek was incredulous.

John shook his head. “Not quite, your little girl’s having a reaction to the genetically modified food. It’s like lactose intolerance or inability to digest soy, but on a larger scale. Genetically modified seed has become ubiquitous in our farming. For the most part, you’re getting organically farmed food from genetically modified seed. Crops have been contaminated by pollen from GM foods.”

Derek tried to make sense of it. “Her mother died six months after she was born. Maddy seemed to do well when she was breast feeding but when we started formula it started and got worse as she started eating more solid food.”

John nodded. “Her mom’s body was filtering out a lot of the bad stuff, which helped your girl but overloaded her system. I lost my first wife the same way. That’s how I got started in this type of farming. One guess as to who holds the patent for the medication the doctor prescribed for your girl today.”

“The same people who hold the patent on the genetically modified crops?”

“Bingo.”

John excused himself and returned with a bag for Derek.

Derek opened the bag and found envelopes, hand labeled with tomato, corn, peas, etc.

“These are heirloom seeds. They’ll get you started and you’ll be able to grow more plants if you save some seeds from these guys. I’ll be able to supply you with safe food for her for a bit but we need to get you producing your own food.”

It was hard to take in but Derek looked down at Maddy. She smiled and held up the cup “More?”

He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen her smile.

“Okay. What do I do?”

The April Countryside and Narrative Magazine’s Sixth Annual Poetry Contest

Thought I’d share a poem for a Sunday morning. I don’t write poetry much but occasionally my mind turns to it, like it did one April day this Spring while driving along. If you write poetry or know someone who does, you might want to be aware of the Narrative Magazine Sixth Annual Poetry Contest. Check it out for yourself or share it with someone you know.  Thanks for reading!

The April Countryside

Gray April skies shower an inconsistent drip.

Follow a winding ribbon of gray

up the hill then down as it drops away.

Matted yellow grass, freed from blankets of snow

fills the pasture, greening at water’s edge.

Last year’s corn stubble dots the muddy field,

bare limbs move restlessly as

clinging dried orange leaves shudder-shake.

Old out buildings stand slant-sided,

unable to resist the ravages of winter

while, older still, a barn that could

squats solidly in the middle of a field.

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