Michaeline: A Tarot Spread for a NaNo Writing Prompt

Nine card spread of tarot cards, explained in text

This is the Smith-Waite Tarot Deck (Centennial Edition) in a tin. It’s a very traditional deck full of tarot symbols. (Image by E.M. Duskova)

I created a tarot spread to help spark a new story for National Novel Writing Month, and I thought I’d share it with you. The spread is quite simple. The left side represents my protagonist, the right side my antagonist, and the bottom concerns the plot point.

Layout:

2    5

1    4

3    6

7 8 9

1. This is the heroine of my story. The seven of cups suggest many choices. The Waite-Smith Little White Book contains the keywords of: fairy favors, imagination, through a looking glass. Also, with that many cups, I thought my heroine might be a bartender. And because my imagination is a little perverse, I thought a tee-total bartender would be a lot of fun to write.
2. This card represents her goal, or the overlying theme of her existence. Bad news, censure or conflict are the key words for the eight of swords. She’s bound by a lot of different ties. (To be honest, this is a difficult card to work with in the position of “goalz!” It suggests a heroine with no agency – which is a constant problem with my work!)
3. This card represents her motivations, or the underlying theme of her existence. The wheel of fortune’s key words are Continue reading

Elizabeth: NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

My Knight in Shinning Armor is doing his best to keep me writing.

As I write this post, it is Day 5 of National Novel Writing Month.  According to my trusty calculator, that means that everyone who is playing along should have somewhere around 8,335 words on the page.

How’s that working out for you?

I am just wrapping up a 5-day weekend.  When I scheduled this time off from my day job months ago, I had visions of long productive hours of writing and a substantial word count.

You’d think I’d have learned by now.

For some odd reason, the more time I have, the less time I actually spend writing.  On the plus side, I got a tremendous amount of other things done during my time off, clearing the way for great bounds of productivity in the coming days.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Continue reading

Michille: Planning a Novel and NaNoWriMo

NaNoWith NaNoWriMo fast approaching (as in TOMORROW), I am trying to nail down my approach for this year. I’m not writing, I’m editing. I plan to work on my story scene by scene for 1 1/2 hours per day. But for those of you planning on doing the real deal, which is 1,667 words-per-day,  I’m sharing a page I found a while ago on a site I visit regularly: Creative Writing Now.

The subject of the post is “How to plan a novel.” Nancy (not sure who Nancy is exactly but there is a video of her explaining her approach) starts off with the basics: set a writing schedule, come up with an idea, a main character, a problem facing that character, etc. Then write down the scene ideas for the character and the problem. This is often how I start. Although, I tend to start more the main character’s goal, and then have difficulty with the conflict lock. Nancy goes on into a description of a plot outline. I don’t usually get this far in the early stages. I tend to just start writing and then have to do the outline later when I’m figuring out where I am and where I’m going. Continue reading

Michille: Unusual Strategy for National Novel Writing Month

NaNoAs the title of this blog post suggests, I plan to have an unusual strategy for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or just NaNo), which commences on November 1. The typical NaNo goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s about 1,667 words per day. I am taking a different approach this year and working on the words I got on the page last year and trying to incorporate them into the overall manuscript.

I started with a skeletal story of about 40,000 words that was my master’s thesis. Then last November wrote 50,000 more words to flesh it out. I wrote the first 40k in a coherent order and the NaNo 50k in random scenes. Right after NaNo ended, I made excellent progress on inserting scenes where they should go and re-figuring the plot to make some other stuff fit. In working so diligently through November and probably through about January/February, I made great headway.

And then Life interrupted. As I’m sure at least one or two of you have experienced that, I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say work stalled and then I got so far out of the story that I could never get myself motivated to get back into it. I’m going to use NaNo to hopefully get back in my story. Continue reading

Michille: Get Ready to NaNo

NaNoIt’s that time of year again, folks. Time to get ready to NaNo. Next month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a “fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.” It starts on November 1 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in that timeframe. I’ve done it several times and was actually successful last year. After November and my 50,000 word success, I kept working on the book for a month or so, then life interrupted and I haven’t gotten back to it at all.

I plan to NaNo again this year, but I’m thinking I’m going to edit instead of write. If I force myself to edit a scene a day, I should get back into my story and back into the habit of writing. If, between now and November 1, I have a brainstorm for a new story idea, maybe I’ll write instead. Continue reading

Michille: 50,045

NaNo-Shield-Logo-Web

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month is over. And for the first time since I’ve started participating, I DID IT! 50,045 words. 32 scenes (plus a blog post). 24 days with words on the page. Fewest words – 0 (6 days of no writing). Most words – 5,307 (on November 30). Fortunately (or unfortunately) I ended up with a severe case of insomnia for the last week of NaNo so I was up at three or four a.m. making up word count from the previous weeks/days of missing the mark.

How did I do it? I wrote. A lot. I didn’t stop and go back and edit. One day, I wrote, ‘she grudgingly pushed the cell phone across the table to him’. I started to think of what that would look like instead of using the word grudgingly. How does one ‘grudgingly’ push a phone? Then I told myself to stop that nonsense and just keep writing. I could fix that later. Every line of dialogue had a tag. There are lots of adjectives, adverbs, filler words, inane conversation, and side bars. Continue reading

Michille: Recipe for Writing

Maple Glazed Turkey DinnerSpecifically, writing for NaNoWriMo. And I have discovered a couple of things while using NaNo to get back into the habit of daily writing. The biggest discovery is that I can’t do it without changing my routine. I have had some very successful writing days, which for me is about 3,500 words, but every one of those days this month have either started at 4 a.m. or the family is scattered so I don’t have to bother with dinner. I’m not a fan of getting up at 4 a.m., but I work full-time and exercise (and make dinner most nights) so there’s not a lot of free time in my day.

I was on a writing roll on Sunday morning. I got up early. Not at 4 a.m., but around 6 a.m. and everyone was still sleeping so I wrote about 1,700 words and planned to get back to it in the afternoon. But there was the planned 6-mile hike with my cousin, a trip to the grocery store, football which I combined with prepping some Thanksgiving side dishes, then dinner prep, dinner, and clean up. And THEN I could sit down again to write. The roll had turned into a lump and I struggled to put a couple hundred more words on the page, but was too tired to do much more than that.

Let me get back to my successful days. Continue reading