Nov 22, 2017: Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge – NaNoWriMo Edition

Welcome to the NaNoWriMo edition of the Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge! I know not all of you participate in National Novel Writing Month, but I do. So my focus this month will be on writing a novel in 30 days.

To that end, I’ve selected a bit of inspiration to help myself and other writers through the madness that is NaNoWriMo.

Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.
Neil Gaiman

Look how far you’ve come! You have piles of words you’ve already written. Don’t lose faith in your story now. Keep writing. Trust in yourself to finish this!

Check in below with your current NaNo word count, or share your favorite writing affirmation. Let’s write more words!

Happy writing!

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Nov 15, 2017: Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge – NaNoWriMo Edition

Welcome to the NaNoWriMo edition of the Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge! I know not all of you participate in National Novel Writing Month, but I do. So my focus this month will be on writing a novel in 30 days.

To that end, I’ve selected a bit of inspiration to help myself and other writers through the madness that is NaNoWriMo.

It always seems impossible until it’s done.
Nelson Mandela

We’ve arrived at the midway point where doubt and discouragement begin to creep in. Don’t give in! As impossible as it feels right now, November isn’t over yet.

Check in below with your current NaNo word count, or share your favorite writing affirmation. Let’s write more words!

Happy writing!

Nov 8, 2017: Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge – NaNoWriMo Edition

Welcome to the NaNoWriMo edition of the Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge! I know not all of you participate in National Novel Writing Month, but I do. So my focus this month will be on writing a novel in 30 days.

To that end, I’ve selected a bit of inspiration to help myself and other writers through the madness that is NaNoWriMo.

Creativity is an act of defiance.
Twyla Tharp

Your challenge this week, is to defy the doubters and nay-sayers. Lock away your inner editor and all the self-doubts. Your story is important. Write your novel!

Check in below with your current NaNo word count, or share your favorite writing affirmation. Let’s write more words!

Happy writing!

Nov 1, 2017: Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge – NaNoWriMo Edition

Welcome to the NaNoWriMo edition of the Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge! I know not all of you participate in National Novel Writing Month, but I do. So my focus this month will be on writing a novel in 30 days.

To that end, I’ve selected a bit of inspiration to help myself and other writers through the madness that is NaNoWriMo. It seems appropriate that the week one writing affirmation comes to us from Martin Luther, in the 500th year since he nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany.

If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.
Martin Luther

Your challenge this week, as you begin your NaNoWriMo adventure, is to simply pick up your pen and write (or open your computer and type!). Be bold and write whatever is in your heart to write. All of us have a story to tell. Tell us yours.

Check in below with your current NaNo word count, or share your favorite writing affirmation. Let’s write more words!

Happy writing!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling: A Review

I first read the Harry Potter series several years ago. However, when I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I was surprised to find I couldn’t remember reading it at all. That’s probably because I have watched the movie several times since I last read this book, and while very well done, the details in the movie just aren’t the same as they are in the book.

Initially, I chose this book off my shelves to read this year as part of my “rainbow list” having recently watched the movies (again!) and deciding it was high time I reread the books. It then joined my 2017 Reading Challenge as #11, a previously banned, or controversial book. All of the Harry Potter books have been banned, or challenged at one time or another by schools around the world. Parents and teachers concerned that the stories glorify witchcraft and promote satanism. I’m not here to debate any of that. Odds are good, that no matter what I say about the Harry Potter books, I won’t be changing anyone’s mind on how they feel about them.

Let me just tell you then how this book made me feel reading it again for the first time.

I loved this book! It is tremendously fun, and makes me happy. I think that J. K. Rowling did a wonderful job telling a great story. I’ve also developed a whole new appreciation for the actors who portrayed the characters in the movies. They did an amazing job of capturing the essence of what Rowling created.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story (not sure how that’s possible!), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the opening book in a series of seven. It introduces the character of Harry Potter and the rather bizarre circumstances of his early childhood. We get to see Harry’s dreary life as an unwanted burden on his horrifyingly ordinary uncle and aunt who took him in after the death of his parents. Harry’s life is then transformed by a letter inviting him to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

What follows is a terrific romp through Harry’s first year at wizard school. Through friends, enemies, adventures, mishaps and no small amount of foolishness, Harry begins to learn who he really is and what his destiny might be.

What are your feelings on the Harry Potter books? Love them? Hate them? Let’s stir up a little controversy and have ourselves a good (and civil!) debate.

NaNo Prep for Non-Planners, Part Three: Plot & Structure

November is nearly here, and soon it will be time to begin writing this novel you’ve been prepping for this month. So far, you have a story idea you’re ready to run with and you’ve created some fantastic characters who are ready to tell your tale. Now, let’s put all this into a form, or structure. Here are some ideas about how to do that.

Two classic story structures
Two classic story structures are the Three Act Structure and The Hero’s Journey. While these aren’t the only ways to structure a novel, they are time tested methods, and work well for most any story you want to tell.

Others have already explained how to use these structures, and done a far better job than I could. See these posts for:

Your final NaNo prep assignment
We’re down to the final week before NaNoWriMo begins. You’re assignment this week is to begin putting together an outline if you haven’t already done so. Use one of the plot structures above, or simply write up a timeline of key moments in your novel.

As you work, consider the backstory of each of your most important characters. What elements of your characters’ past are relevant to the story you want to tell? Do the hero and the villain share a history? What sins in your hero’s past life might create greater conflict in the current situation?

Take a look back at the premise you wrote in week one. Now that you know your characters better and have a better idea where your story is going, does this premise still apply? Or has it changed? Rewrite this sentence if you need to. Now, post your sentence in your favorite writing place, brew yourself a pot of coffee, or tea, or whatever and get ready to write!

One last thought on NaNo Prep: Research
Originally, I had planned a fourth NaNo prep post on research, but I’ve run out of time. So I’ll include a bit of it here.

Are there things you need to know about your world before you begin writing? Are you writing historical fiction? Or a science fiction novel set on an alien planet or space ship? Learn what you need to know about your time period, or the technology critical to your plot. Spend some time this week finding answers to questions that have come up in your planning process so far. This will save you from losing precious writing time later.

Here are a couple of articles about research for fiction writers:

It is really easy to get lost in research, so take care to spend your time wisely on the most critical elements of your story. Once November arrives, avoid research unless it’s absolutely essential in order to continue. Make notes for yourself instead, and go back later to answer the questions that arise while drafting.

 

Ready or not, NaNoWriMo will be here before we know it. I hope this little series of posts has been helpful, or at least useful in kick-starting some ideas about the novel you want to write. Best of luck on your noveling adventure!

Happy writing!