In like a ferret

Best NaNoWriMo analogy so far, courtesy of Chris Baty:
“For some background on all the 2008 records that we are currently demolishing like a ferret in a Lego museum…”

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Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts: Nov. 27

Some more NaNo-inspired words for today:

Theme: Pass/Fail

Words:
struggle
desperation
triumph

Good luck to all the erstwhile novelists out there, as you enter the home stretch!

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.

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts: Nov. 20

Theme: Midway

Words:
dappled
fearsome
firefly

For any of the NaNoWriMo novelists out there struggling to stay on track, despite increasinly unweildy plots and unruly characters, here are some suggestions to get your characters out of a rut. These don’t have to end up in the finished book, but they might teach you something about your characters
along the way, and besides, they’re far more fun than following a pre-planned plot:

  • Dream Sequences – great for wordcount, these can be written in pure freefall, stream of consiousness mode; best of all, you don’t have to worry about them making any sense (although you can feel free to pack them full of meaning and symbolism if you really want to)
  • Flashbacks – not sure where your characters’ motivations are coming from? Take a trip back in time. What were they like as kids? Did they experience any life-changing, momentous events (tragic or otherwise)?
  • Unexpected Encounters – How would your characters react if they were thrown into completely unexpected circumstances? How would they handle themselves if, say, the world was suddenly attacked by aliens? Invaded by giant pink mushroom-eating alligators? Or if the town they lived in inexplicably became a circus overnight?

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.

Sat. Scribes & NaNoWriMo Writing Prompts: Nov. 6

November is novelling month for all the NaNoWriMo writers out there, so for each Friday in November we’ll be posting special novel-related exercises along with the usual word and theme prompts.

Having trouble fleshing out your characters? Wanting to get to know them better, without taking time away from that frantic push towards 50k? Set up an interview with your characters. Sure, it’s a bit of a detour from the story, but it’s amazing how much more you’ll know about your characters once you’re finished. Best of all, you can write it right into the story! MC lost in space, or wandering through medieval Germany? Not a problem.  It’s NaNoWriMo, after all, where spontaneous purple elephants and other random gear shifts into ridiculous improbability abound – who says Oprah isn’t waiting around the next corner, just dying to interview our famous hero?

To help get you started, I’ve compiled a list of interview questions over the past couple of years, many of which were gleaned from a forum on that very topic over at the April Fools NaNo-spinoff site. Clicking on this link here will get you to a PDF version of the interview questions.

For those of you who are in poem or short-story mode, consider the most unlikely interview you can imagine having (think of how much success Anne Rice had running with that idea!).  For the traditionalists, the usual weekly prompts can be found below.

Theme: Complicated

Words:
curvaceous
latitude
beneath

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.

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts: Oct. 30th

Hallowe’en and NaNoWriMo are both just around the corner.  Which one are you more excited about?

In honour of All Hallow’s Eve, we’ve got another spooky prompt for this week:

Theme: The stranger by the side of the road

Words:
barefoot
pale
suspicion
promised

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.

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompt: Oct. 16

Only 17 days until the start of NaNoWriMo. Get your poetry and short story writing fix in now, because come November, it’ll be nothin’ but novel for 30 days.

Theme: Versatility

Words:
chameleon
fickle
trump
promise

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.

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts: Oct. 9th

On time this week!  Don’t forget to sign up for NaNoWriMo if you haven’t already. Only 23 days to go…

In November, along with the usual Saturday Scribes prompts there will be special novel-development prompts and exercises, for those working on their 50k-novel-in-30-days.  Participants are welcome to post links to their NaNo novel excerpts during the month of November.

Theme: Preparation

Words:
scramble
brag
human
factory

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.

Home Stretch

The finish line is in sight at last – you can see the banner stretching across the road, hear the roar of the crowd as they urge you on. You may be in the final sprint, or you may be stumbling, feeling like your legs are made of lead. Whatever the state of your NaNoWriMo word count, we all have goals we can reach by the 30th. A lot of writing can get done in four and a half days.

If you’ve had one of those months where everything conspires against you, and find yourself still in the doldrums of the measley ten’s, aim for the twenties. If you’ve only got a few pages, aim for a nice round 10k. Finish that chapter. Find your MC’s long lost twin sister (or brother). Destroy the world with a blazing comet, or haul it back from the brink of destruction at the last minute. Heck, why not jump to the end? You can always write more middle bits later.

Chris Baty’s mini-challenge for all those who are breezing along, and starting to feel that warm glow of anticipated victory: to be at 50K by bedtime on Friday, two days ahead of time. For those (like me) who are still lagging behind, the second mini-challenge is to reach 45K by bedtime on Friday. That means you’ll have the whole weekend to wrap up the 5000 words you need to win.

As for me, I’m going to be aiming for 3k today, which should get me caught up, and then a minimum of 2k per day after that. Wish me luck! See you at all the finish line on Sunday, if not sooner.

31672: Gene banks, coolers on Mars, and Oracle Errors

When, out of sheer procrastinatory foolishness, I Googled the number 31672 (the number of words we’re all supposed to have by midnight tonight for NaNoWriMo), the results were mostly dead boring – lots of bug and error reports, work manuals and bylaw entries.  Ugh.  But my imagination is a resilient and determined beast, and began to see stories in the oddest placest.  A particular phrase would jump out, and I could envision an entire story spooling out behind it:

Unigene’s EST ProfileViewer – Definitely a Gattaca-type future, where you can look up anyone’s gene profile.

Used Reach-In Drink Cooler Commercial – What, exactly, would constitute a used commercial?  I suspect it’s one of those that has been played so many times you are well and truly sick of seeing it (the kind that plagues you despite having the mute on, because it even looks stupid), and are bound and determined to boycott any product that company puts out from now until the end of time.  But for someone living on Mars, well, it might be fresh and new!  Yours for only $316.72.

An ad for China Massage Chairs, by a “Hairdressing Implement Company”.  Aside from potentially spawning interesting visual images for those in possession of a dirty mind, I found myself musing on the awkwardness of the phrase “hairdressing implement”. Okay, maybe that one’s just me.

And finally (ending, I’m afraid, on a rather tragic note)- Coming to us via Oracle Error 31672: “Worker process string died unexpectedly.”  The cause: A Data Pump process model worker process died unexpectedly, so PMON is cleaning up the process. (I picture PMON as some kind of sophisticated AI, in a future where AI’s are sentient and don’t always do what their creators tell them to; I mean, if you had a brain the size of a planet, and they kept relegating you to clean-up duty, wouldn’t you get restless too?)  A TRON-esque world comes unbidden to mind (and yes, I realize that dates me.)

See how easy it is to come up with ideas? Now, if only it were equally easy to weave them into something ressembling a coherent story.  Which reminds me, I should really stop fooling around and get back to my loom.  Keep at it, folks!  Only eleven days to go!

NaNoQuotes

Meant to post this last night, but was distracted by actual story writing (which is a good thing, considering I’m still a bit behind).  This quote comes to us from Philip Pullman, via the weekly NaNoWriMo pep talk.

When asked, “Where do your ideas come from?”, he replies:

I don’t know where they come from, but I know where they come to: they come to my desk, and if I’m not there, they go away again.

So get ye off the evil temptress that is Internet, and back to your writing desk – or wherever it is you write best. That’s where I’m off to now – the living room couch, with my trusty laptop and a fresh pot of coffee.  Remember, there’s really only one iron-clad rule when it comes to novelling – and that’s to KEEP WRITING!  Good luck heading into week three, everyone.

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