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


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 Sept. 18

We’re back! Writing prompts are posted weekly, first thing on Friday, from September through June, with a break during the December holiday season. Once the prompts are up, you can feel free to post a link to your creative writing (whatever form it may take). Writers are also welcome to browse the site for earlier prompts, but if you want people to read your stuff it’s best to post your link in the most current Scribes posting. Contributions of writing quotes and links to news and articles of interest to writers are also welcome, as long as they’re not advertising anything commercial (links to writing contests and conferences are okay). Enjoy!

Theme: Precarious


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.

Fall Writing Prompts Start Sept. 18

Just a short note to let everyone know that the Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts will be starting up again on Sept. 18th. Prompts are posted on Fridays, after which point you can feel free to post links to your creative writing contributions any time over the weekend.

Hope you all had a good summer!

Some Writerly Tidbits for August

Saturday Scribes’ Opposite Day: May 15

Usually we’re all about giving you words to play with, but on opposites day, the challenge is to make due with less words. Last August, we challenged participants to write a piece of fiction without using the five most common words in the English language.

This week, the challenge is to write a piece of fiction without using any adverbs or adjectives. Metaphors and similies, on the other hand, are fine (everyone who just spent a month immersed in poetry can smile smugly now – but remember, the challenge is to use your recently honed metaphorical skills to craft a piece of prose this time around).

If you’re not already a grammar maven, you might want to review the rules for adjectives and adverbs. For instance, did you know: When the words this, that, these and those are followed by nouns, they are adjectives (e.g. This book is for sale), but when they appear without a noun following them, they are pronouns (e.g. This is mine).

If this all sounds too much like work, you can (as always) ignore the rules and just riff on the theme instead.
The Theme for this week is: Paradigm

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.

Weekly Writing Quote

i never think at all when i write
nobody can do two things at the same time
and do them both well
~ Don Marquis, Archy’s Life of Mehitabel, 1933


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.

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:

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!

Writing funnies

Chucklesome writerly tidbits courtesy of Nienke over on The Writing Life (her formatting is nicer than the site she magpied them from).  I think my favourite has to be the one about the double negatives:

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.”

A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”

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