Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts: Oct. 31

This week our writing prompts just happen to fall on Hallowe’en, so we’re going for an extra special All Hallows Eve format.  For those of you who prefer the tried and true theme-and/or-words prompt, scroll down, you’ll find them below.  (Fans of the Lovecraft-inspired “Arkham Horror” board game will no doubt find our first three prompts eerily familiar.)

New Zealand man puts up his soul for auction

Environment (Weather):
Thick fog

Ghosts on all main streets

Theme:  Sacrifice


As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

NaNoWriMo Count-Down – The Final Three Days!

72 hours, and counting…

What, you thought you’d maybe try to sleep for  24 of those hours?  And perhaps, work for another 24?  Possibly even spend time with your family?  Wash some dishes?  Silly writer!  Sleep – and cleanliness – are for the sane.  Around this time, most of us are furiously hashing out last-minute plot ideas – in fact, I have it on good authority that a great many WriMo’ers are still in the “I’ve got a title – now what?” phase.   So if you’re still floundering for ideas, you know you’re not alone.  And if you’re among that rare elite who actually has a plan (a what now?), then you’re not alone either – just in a much, much smaller group (I bet you arrange your CD’s alphabetically too.) 

You may be surprised to know, that the only things you really need to have to write a novel in a month are:
(1) Something to write on.
(2) Something to write with.
(3) The ability to form basic sentences.

Although, technically #1 and #2 are optional.  You could, with the help of a great many throat lozenges and cups of hot lemon tea with honey, get by with a digital recorder and lots of spare batteries.  The only catch being, you’d have to find someone to transcribe your barely coherent mumblings, and send the transcription off to the NaNo-bots so your words can be counted at the end of the month.  But – doable!

 So you see, the only limit, as is so often the case, is within that bulbous cranium of yours.  Some particularly crazy people have, in one month, written two 50k novels.  Granted, I don’t think I’d be presuming too much to say, the prose was probably less than stellar, but that said – doesn’t 50k seem easy now?

There are, of course, a few extra things that can really help you stick with your new, shiny goal to the bitter end.  The most important being, some kind of support network – a cheering squad, if you will.  Hopefully you’ve found your regional group by now, and you’ve sat your family and friends down and broken the news to them.  But if you’re still feeling lonely, remember there’s always the NaNoWriMo boards, just chock full of people who are more than happy to cheer you on, root for you in hard times, and pat you on the back on days when it’s going well.  And if some of those words somehow manage to arrange themselves into surprisingly pleasing shapes, you can even post excerpts of your novel-in-progress in your author profile section.

To all the other writers who are, like me, still wide awake at midnight-thirty, billions of thoughts scurrying around their brains like hyper Skittles-fuelled ferrets, remember: This is only the beginning.  Once the writing starts, that’s when the fun truly begins!

See you on November 1st!

Weekly Writing Quote

Our passions shape our books; repose writes them in the intervals.
~ Proust, The Past Recaptured, 1927

Quote source:

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts: Oct. 24

Stolen soda machine’s tracks lead back to owner

Theme: Retribution


Have Fun!

As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

NaNoWriMo Countdown Continues

Less than ten days to go!  Got that plot outline yet?  It’s okay, a lot of people still have no idea what they’re doing.  In fact, a goodly portion of erstwhile novelists will be launching themselves into November with absolutely no clue how they’re going to write 50k in one month, or what they’re going to write about.  But that’s all part of the fun! 

If you’re driving yourself mad pacing in circles trying to come up with ideas, it’s time to take a break (because you’re taking this far too seriously).  There’s still lots of time – more than a week!  Which is plenty of time to get a head start on that oh-so-important aspect of frantic novel writing – gathering essential supplies.  If you’ve never done this before, you can find literally hundreds of NaNoWriMo Survival Kit suggestions here.

 When all else fails (or if you’re simply bored at work), you can always visit one of the many procrastination stations. You might even learn something along the way – like all sorts of interesting ways to save money (with potentially hilarious consequences).  Or you could browse the plethora of tips gleaned from the cumulative wisdom of previous NaNoWriMo winners.

Oh – and don’t panic if you go to the NaNoWriMo site for your daily fix and get one of those annoying  “cannot display the webpage” errors.  ‘Round this time in October, the forums are flooded with new arrivals, and the site can be a little glitchy.  Sometimes it might even sulk for a few hours.  But have no fear, there are many talented web-goblins working furiously in the background to get it back up and running at peak efficiency.  In the meantime, hey, I’ve got an idea – you could WRITE SOMETHING.  You may not be able to count any October writing towards your 50k, but it doesn’t hurt to get those fingers and brain cells warmed up for the Month of Madness.

Weekly Writing Quote

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
~ Gene Fowler

Quote source:

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts: Oct. 17

Theme: Overheard


As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

15 days and counting…

Posting the Wednesday NaNoWriMo update a bit late this week, due to being out of town all weekend. 

If you’re already panicking before you’ve even begun, rest assured that there will be lots of people cheering you on during the month of November to help get you through those rough patches, including regular pep talks by well-known authors.  This year’s pep talk celebrities will include the likes of  Piers Anthony, Philip Pullman, and Jonathon Stroud.

In the meantime, you can read the uplifting missives from last year’s pep talk authors, Neil Gaiman and Sue Grafton among others.

Hooking up with your local region is another great way to get that much-needed moral support – and to give some in return – from people that you might actually meet in person, no less!  Hundreds of groups around the globe are already scouting out friendly coffee shops and setting up launch parties for the weekend of November 1st.  Yes, that’s right – this year the beginning of November falls on a weekend, so I anticipate a great many all-nighters being pulled, to get a head start on that word-count we’ll all be pushing valiantly towards 50k. 

If you’re one of those rare hyper-organized types who’s way ahead of the game (or even if you’re just bored), there are plenty of ways to procrastinate over at the official NaNoWriMo site.  You can bide your time with perennial favourites like the vending machine game and the useless powers game, or you might stumble across something truly odd, like giving a fellow author tips on how a were-melon might behave.  Whatever you choose to do between now and November 1st, remember, it’s all about having fun – and reaching 50k! 

Speaking of which, you can find the latest and greatest NaNo wordcount widgets here, various NaNo desktop calendars over here, and links to NaNo report cards (Excel) here and here. Hooray for technically minded people with too much time on their hands!

See you all next week (when we’ll aim to have our Wednesday NaNo post up well before two minutes to midnight, i.e. Thursday).

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompt: Oct. 10th

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians out there!  Knowing that this will be a busy weekend for many, I’ll keep the prompts simple for today:

Theme: Consequences


As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

NaNoWriMo 2008

For those of you who haven’t heard of this fantabulous 30-day event, National Novel Writing Month is an annual writing challenge that brings together writers from around the world (despite its name, it’s really been the InterNational Novel Writing Month for some time now, but InNaNoWriMo doesn’t quite have the same ring to it).  The goal: to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.  50k in 30 days gives you an excuse to bind and gag that inner editor, and have fun writing with wild, mad abandon for the month of November.  Registration and forums are up for 2008, and you can find out all you need to know at

In honour of this awesome sribatious event (especially given how many of our regulars will be taking part), Saturday Scribes is going to be an (un)official hub for all stuff NaNoWriMo for the month of November.  Don’t worry, we’ll still be posting the usual weekly writing prompts every Friday, but we’ll also give participants the option of posting novel excerpts and NaNo-related musings.  As of November 1st, I’ll be putting up an open invitation for all things NaNo every Wednesday, although you can feel free to respond to it throughout the week.  I’ll ask that everyone restrict their NaNo-related comments to the NaNo post, so we will still have Fridays and Saturdays dedicated to the non-NaNo-specific prompts, for all the poets and non-novelists out there.

Things to remember: Be sure to warn your friends and family ahead of time if you’re participating, lest they think you’ve suddenly gone mad and decide to call the men in white coats.  Stocking up on writing fuel well in advance is also a good idea (whatever your stimulant of choice may be).  And finally – having some kind of plot laid out in advance, while optional, generally helps to reduce the madness somewhat.  October is the ideal time to plan out what you’re going to do, before the insanity hits with full force.

Happy writing, all!

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