March’s Prompt

March always starts as a busy month for me; my daughter’s birthday is the first week. And now, she is on spring break from school, so I am trying to keep her busy. (Today she cleaned and organized the toy room).

Without further ado, here is this month’s prompt:

Harry shuffled the deck of cards and pushed it across the table. “Deal,” he said. “One more hand,” I agreed. It was a way to pass the time. More importantly, it was a way to avoid talking about…

Happy reading and writing this month!

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Why am I writing a book?

This month, as I am getting closer to finishing my novel, I have been reflecting on why I am writing this book. What do I hope to achieve?

Here are the reasons I want to write a fiction novel:

  • It’s one of my life goals. I don’t know why it’s important to me, but it is. I want to have written a book length story.
  • I want some one else to read and enjoy my story, even if it’s just one person.
  • It might be nice to make money on something I’ve written. Who am I kidding? It’s always nice to make money, but making money doing something you enjoy is even better.

In addition to examining my motivations, I have been thinking about how my own writing will stack up against other novels that are out there. It’s an unfortunate habit of mine. As a writer, I know this is not a good idea because I will just fill my head with doubts. I do it to other writers too though; I compare them to each other. I can’t help it. Even though I have been comparing my writing to what I’ve been reading, I have come to one conclusion:

IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW GOOD IT IS RIGHT NOW.

Right now, I just need to get the first draft done.

Keeping this in mind, happy writing and reading this month!

Writers are weird…

Over the course of the last couple of months, I have discovered that writers and people who want to be published authors are weird, but in like the best possible way!

(And I should warn you that I am going to talk about NANOWRIMO again…)

The reason I say that writers are weird is because I learned some things about myself and other writers during my pre-NANO and NANO month.

First, I joined the NANOWRIMO Facebook page, and I find it amusing and reassuring.

It’s reassuring because there are other people who are going through the same struggles as a writer that I am, and it’s nice to be able to discuss it with someone who gets it. It’s also nice to “shout into the void” that is the internet and have someone get where you are coming from.

I say that it’s amusing because of the hilarious questions, comments, and memes that are posted about writing. I can’t tell you how many NANOers have posted about their questionable google search history. (The things you have to research as a writer are strange and horrifying).

Secondly, some things I learned about myself during NANOWRIMO:

  1. I write best between the hours of 8 – 11 pm. If I sat down to write during any other time of day, it was like pulling teeth. But during those hours, I could churn out words like a bad ass.
  2. I get more writing done if I have shoes on. WHAT! Apparently I don’t write well if I’m TOO comfortable.
  3. I don’t actually like to write at my desk; I prefer the dining room table.
  4. The tv can be on, people can talk, but NO MUSIC.
  5. I am not a planner. I am not a panster. I use what someone else called the “flashlight method.” I outline about 3-4 chapters at a time, and when I get to the end of that, I write another 3-4 chapter outline. Basically, shining the light into the dark so I can see, but only a little bit.
  6. I don’t like to talk about my story as I’m writing it to most people. When people asked me what I was writing about, I gave them a very vague answer. Only a few lucky ones get real details.
  7. I like to write dialogue, but have to struggle to write description.
  8. And the most important thing I learned — I can write a book. It’s not done yet, but it’s A LOT closer than it was.

Happy writing and reading this month!

November’s Prompt

November is here! Or as I am calling it because it is consuming my time right now, NANOWRIMO is here!

Even though I am trying to write 50,000 words for my novel this month, I am still doing the short story of the month. I might even try to incorporate it into my novel somehow.

Without further ado, here is November’s prompt:

Until that day, fear had been an idea, a concept. Now it was real: a feeling I would carry inside me for the rest of my life. The day began innocently enough, with….

Happy reading and writing this month! And if you are participating in NANOWRIMO, best of luck to you!!! YOU GOT THIS!

muse

Zak: The Unicorn Hunter

What happened to our world?

A few years ago, the veil failed. All the mythical beings that we were so sure were fictional turned out to be real. They have lived alongside us all along. In the past, they would show themselves to someone on rare occasions and another story would be born.

What the stories also got wrong was that most of the mythical creatures only crossed the veil that hid them from us so that they could go hunting. Most of them live on flesh, not necessarily humans, but they found it easier to gather food when they were fully in our realm. Now all that has changed.

Now they live in our realm, and they hunt us all the time. Most people have moved into walled cities. It’s really the only way we can survive. Our society has been plunged backwards in time; there is magic in our world now, but we have suffered for it.

***********

Zak: The Unicorn Hunter

The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before night fell completely and the guards started their rounds. After dark things came alive across the wall. All the magical beings came out to hunt in the dark.

Zak wanted to go hunting too. He wanted the fame that went with it. He wanted people to know his name. He wanted to be one of the rockstars of this age – a unicorn hunter. He needed to start small though.

He was thinking maybe a fairy or leprechaun first. They were notoriously hard to catch, but nabbing one would earn him the respect of the hunter’s guild.

They sanctioned hunting the bigger creatures like dragons. And you didn’t go after a unicorn without their permission.

Zak looked very quickly up and down the street to check for the guards one last time. He made his way to a section of the wall that looked stable but was actually loose. If the town council knew, they would flip their lids.

Joining the hunter’s guild was worth the risk.

The one’s who actually bagged dragons or unicorns lived liked gods. They had the best of everything, but what’s more, people listened to them. Their opinion mattered.

unicorn

 

Prepping for NANOWRIMO

How is October going for everyone else? I feel like it has FLOWN by. I have been using some of my free time this month to prep for Nanowrimo. Most of you who are reading this probably know what that is, but for the few who don’t, I will explain briefly.

NANOWRIMO = National Novel Writing Month.

During November, people from all over the world dedicate themselves to writing 50,000 words in one month. Most people try to write a fiction novel of some sort, though there are certainly others who write non-fiction, short story collections, and other things.

The idea behind this is simply that the hardest part about writing something is getting the first draft done. For me, this is definitely true… I get easily distracted.

For my novel, I am continuing one that I started as a short story on this very blog from earlier this year – UNICORNS ARE REALLY VAMPIRES. So, you may be wondering, what have I been doing to prepare for writing an entire novel in a month?

ready-set-novel-small

Some things that have helped me prepare:

  1. Resources
  • In particular, the book Ready Set Novel
  • Worksheets from other writers that I found on Pinterest. Here is my pinterest board with some of the writing links I’ve found helpful: https://pin.it/d6dn4e73z666vm.
  1. Write-Ins
  • I attended two of the prep season get togethers, which are called write-ins. I didn’t do much writing at either, but I met some of the people who run things in my region.  Plus, I was able to ask questions about the process from real life people. (Some of them have been participating in NANOWRIMO for more than a decade!)
  1. Revising
  • I have already started this project, but I haven’t worked on it since July, so I dusted it off and reread what I’ve already written. It’s surprising after time has passed that I didn’t remember writing some of the scenes. I am actually funny on occasion.
  • I looked through for small errors and large plot holes so I have a pretty good idea of where I want to start in November.

Now after all that prep, I feel ready. I can’t wait for November 1st.

Happy writing and reading this month!

Quiet

Present Day — St. Louis 

It flashed through the sky and then was gone. Lucy was sure she had seen a UFO and was equally sure aliens were here to secretly make contact with a human being. Maybe they would choose her. Maybe she would get to visit their ship. Maybe she would finally get away from this place. She was tired of being lonely and isolated. She was tired of talking to herself.

Even an alien encounter would be more exciting than her life. No matter what the outcome.

***********

20 years ago

Lucy woke up late — again. Her boss would be furious. She quickly dressed and headed out the door. Her new job was exhausting. It was all the interacting with people that was wearing her out.

This was her third job this year — and it was only April. So far this one was lasting longer but she could feel the toll is was taking.

“Have a nice day.”

“Thanks for visiting the zoo.”

“Here’s a map.”

She said those three things so many times every day. Why couldn’t a recording do it?

The one redeeming factor for her new job was break time. On her breaks she would sit and watch the hippos. She wanted to watch them all day.

It was odd because before starting at the zoo, she’d never even seen a hippo. Her parents never took her places. They’d both worked so much on their rare days off, they just wanted to be home.

Perhaps that’s why all her jobs were places that families tended to visit together.

If she had a therapist, she might have asked her that.

**********

Present

Lucy walked through the grocery store selecting what foods she might eat this week.

After she’d collected enough, she went back to her house.

Two years ago she’d finally gotten up the nerve to move from her old apartment into an abandoned house.

She’d picked one in a nice neighborhood within walking distance of a grocery store, a home depot, and several clothing stores.

**********

20 years ago

It was already turning into another typical day.

“Thanks for visiting the zoo.”

She’d gotten lucky though. Her boss was out sick so she didn’t get yelled at for being late.

She tried to focus on that to get her through the day.

On her break, she put a hoodie over her zoo uniform. She’d learned to cover up as much khaki as possible or people would ask her a thousand questions. Her first two days she’d spent her breaks answering inane questions.

As she sat by the hippo habitat, she longed for quiet.

She tried to ignore the sounds of children and families. She tuned out the city noise in the background.

She longed for silence.

As she sat there, she watched the hippos. One female hippo waddled towards the water and dove in.

Lucy caught her breath.

hippo swim

This was her favorite part. Hippos were amazingly graceful in the water.

If she’d ever seen Fantasia, she might have imagined them wearing tutus.

Her alarm beeped reminding her it was time to return to work. As she stood up and stretched, she noticed how quiet it was.

She looked around. She was utterly alone. Not a single person was in sight.

All she could hear was the animals in the zoo. No cars. No airplanes. No people. Nothing.

**********

Present

20 years of quiet. 20 years of being alone. As far as Lucy knew, no one was left but her.

Was that even possible? Who knew? It’s not like she could ask anyone.

It was better to focus on what she did know.

She’d seen something in the sky. She should get to higher ground and watch for it.

Maybe she could signal it.

As she sat in her house, she heard something outside in the yard.

She looked out the window and couldn’t help herself. Her laughter startled it away.

It was a flamingo — in St. Louis.

After the first few days of being alone, Lucy had gone to the zoo and set the animals free and then never returned. She didn’t want to know which had survived and which sat in their cages without the will to seek freedom.

Freedom.

She had that in spades. She wanted someone, anyone, to talk to.

Make a signal. Right. She could do that.