#WritingExcusesChallenge Day 17

And we are trucking along… trucking along…

Writing Excuses Podcast 10.17

I’m not going to take forever carving out my answers to the questions with this one. Seriously. I’m just not. I need to get to the good part, the prompt. SO lets cut to the chase. Really, if you want to know all the answers, just listen to the podcast and support these awesome people.

Writing Prompt

Take the world-building you’ve done, write your beginning, and then secretly write down your “gee-whiz.” Now run that beginning past some alpha readers, and have them attempt to identify the “gee-whiz.” Compare their answers with your own.

I’m not even joking, JUST did this with my Dad and my friend Astrid (HAAAAIIII STRIID!!!) I will update you in the morning with the text convo that they send me!!! I’ll even send it past my mom, perhaps.


***UPDATE*** (Literally Five Minutes Later)

This is what my lovely friend Astrid told me when I sent her my beginning.

Honestly, no. It’s good but it’s almost formula, doesn’t feel natural enough. The genre and tone make me feel interested but I want something new, something engaging, a mystery or a lead, something that makes me question my worldview or morals or something bizarre. I love the style of diving right into dialogue. But as someone who has watched every action film on the planet, (like many of your readers may have) I want you to SHOCK me. I mean, hardcore. Death isn’t shocking anymore, scandals don’t necessarily intrigue because it feels normal. Give me something INTENSE to grab my attention. ūü§ď I don’t know what that is haha. But you can do it!!!!!!

#WritingExcusesChallenge Day 16


I know. It’s been like a week. I’m sorry. I fell off the band wagon and have about 4 days worth of content to get caught up on. And… I’m sorry. And I love you guys. All five of my subs. I love you, I promise.

I’m not gonna lie, I had a weird depressive down swing. I don’t know if I actually have clinical depression, but I wouldn’t be surprised. That rant and story will have to come another day. I’m going to chalk it up to many things, more stuff I won’t get into now. But I did have one.

So I fell off the band wagon HARD, rolled into the ditch, and had to lie there crying about it for a while. But, I’m back now, and going to work crazy hard (emphasis on the crazy) to get back on track. But if we never catch up, we are not going to beat ourselves up about it, because if we do that, then we will feel more and more stressed and then quit. And we cannot have that. We have also been using the royal we all this time and we don’t care because REASONS.

Writing Excuses Podcast Episode 10.16

The funny thing is, I took copious notes on this several days ago, but my son decided that writing was never going to happen while he was awake. That’s the first push-off the bandwagon I had. But I can’t blame him entirely.

Beginnings are still really hard, and I like that they say don’t write the first pages first. I often write the end before I write the beginning. The end often gets changed by the time I get to the end, but that’s fine. It’s a good ride to get there.

Mary gives us a good example of how the opening pages feel, like we are in a dark room and we are only shining around a flashlight to figure out our tone and our promises to be made.

Howard also talks about taking the paragraph and flipping the paragraph upside down. The last line needs to be first, often times. It’s an interesting problem that I hadn’t ever though about, and I may do this more often.

I also really like the idea that you should stress the first page and not necessarily the first lines. Specifically what’s important to the character, what they want.

This keeps getting stressed and I feel like I should stress it, too. Everyone wants something, and that’s what we focus on.

I want to write, more so, I want to write for people. So everything I do aims toward that goal. But I’m more complex than that. I also want my son to be happy and my husband, so I do everything in my power to make that happen. Even forgoing what I want to do (sit at my computer and write all day) to do things for them. Play with my son, cuddle my husband, or cook dinner for them that they enjoy. All things that makes them feel loved and happy and full fills what I am striving to do.

Writing Prompt

Write your first thirteen lines, and see how much you can fit into that space‚ÄĒcharacter attitude, point-of-view,¬†mood, genre, conflict, setting, and more.

The reason they give this prompt is because standard manuscript format means that the first page will only be thirteen lines. My Scrivener application will compile manuscripts like this, so I can easily see how the first page of my manuscript will look.

So, what does the first thirteen lines look like in my book?

"Normally, I never question your orders. I kill when you
tell me and when you are paying me. But this time it's too
risky. Convince me."
     "Ha! You're speaking like one of my clerks. You're sitting
in my office, drinking my bourbon, asking me to justify my
actions for the betterment of this world to you?"
     "I'm drinking a fine drink offered to me, along with a
comfortable chair, asking you to justify my actions to me."
     "Are you getting soft?"
     "I'll take that as no. We're shaping the course of events,"

So, what does this tell us about the book we are about to read?

  1. This is very spy like.
  2. There is conflict going on before we even get off the ground.
  3. The author isn’t going to tell us everything up front.

I’d say that hits all the marks it’s supposed to.


#WritingExcusesChallenge Day 15


Because we are getting to this episode.

Writing Excuses Podcast 10.15

World building how your wilderness works in a fantasty peice!!!

This is a wildcard episode and while it has some good questions for my fugitive story, the prompt has nothing to do with it. SO, I will not be doing the prompt for this episode, and will be posting the prompt for 10.14 separately, because it’s going to be LONG.

But let’s get to the notes and thoughts, shall we?

When we consider how your wilderness works, we are really asking, “How in the world would my character go camping in the world that I’ve built.” This is to make sure we don’t do a white room thing, where everything is improbable and we explain none of the trial fail cycles that usually go along with camping.

I grew up here in Alaska, and if you don’t hunt and fish and camp, you’re kind of not a true Alaskan. So wilderness survival is something I’m very familiar with, at least in the comfort of my own geographic area. If you dropped me in the middle of the Sahara, I would die.

This is point that they make in the podcast, but another good question to ask is “What is your character’s relationship with the great outdoors?” A computer tech will probably not be very competant in the outside (although a really great twist would be a techie who is SUPER prepared because they watch Bear Grylls while coding.), meanwhile big mean Lone Ranger archetype knows exactly what to do.

Basically the whole podcast episode can be boiled down to the question of, “If I threw my character into the middle of the woods, how would the ENVIROMENT effect them?”


#WritingExcusesChallenge Day 14

I know this was supposed to go up yesterday; but I have an perfectly reasonable explaination.

I fell asleep.

I know, probably not a good enough explaination for a college professor, but there is a reason I dropped out. Not that I didn’t turn things in on time; I had a baby. Duh…

So, time to sum up the work of somebody else!

Writing Excuses Episode 10.14

Beginnings. They can be fickle. They often catch us up. Many people have a great story running around their heads and can’t get past the word “The” on the first page. They let the cursor sit and blink them into submission.

Our friends at Writing Excuses help us get past the dreaded one word writers block with some good ideas on how to start. First we have to set up expectations and promises of our peice. You have to make a ton at the beginning of the episode and then have to full-fill them all by the end of the peice. If you don’t, you hd better have a sequel in mind or a very good reason it wasn’t fulfilled.

Howard refers to this as “Body Language” and Brandon calls it “Tone Promises.”¬†Prologues or first chapters will accomplish this and it doesn’t HAVE to have a prologue. We like prologues for back story, but I often find them to have too much exposition and not enough story. They feel clunky. But first chapters work wonders.

I tried to write a prologue for my book “Keep Running” for SO LONG and they all felt clunky. So I decided that I wouldn’t. It didn’t need to be explained that my world was in an economic appocalypse, I could do that with tone and description. The key was to give the reader something to latch on to. So, it opens with an assassination. But we never see the assassination take place, all we see is a mansion with dogs, hear gunshots, and then we meet our characters.

That promises my readers that this will be a mystery novel. Mix that with some action hero stuff, and we’ve got a good thriller on our hands. Edge of your seat kind of stuff. If that’s my promise, that this is a thriller, then I have to fulfill other things as well. Car chase, check. Shady weapons deal; check-aroo. And finding out who framed our good protagonist; check.

Now, this brings us to the characters. If I have characters, there must be a development of those characters. A character arc. Non-satisfactory characters have no character arc, the character changes in no significant way.

Then there is the plot, we have to set that up. What’s gonna happen. One particular formula they kept referring back to is the M.I.C.E quotient.¬†and the Hollywood Formula. As I’ve been listening to Season 11, they have referred to both of these principles quite often.

I listened to both of those episodes, linked above, and ¬†encourage you to listen to them along with today’s¬†episode, as they help explain what they are talking about in those principles. I’m going to do a couple posts on what I think of those episodes after this one, so stay tuned.

The Prompt

Today, it’s a long one. Luckily, the next episode is a wild card. No worries.

Start writing your story! Write 500 words, focusing on just one of the promises you’ve identified for your story. Then stop, and start writing another 500 words with a different promise. Aaaand then do it a third time.

Yep. 1500 words. A day late.

Oh, I’ve done worse. I’ve tuned in a 6 page paper an hour before the deadline. Done it. No worries. This won’t be a problem. But, I’m going to take my sweet time on it. Because…



18th- Writing Excuses 10.14: How Much of the Beginning Needs to Come First?

19th- Writing Excuses 10.15: Worldbuilding Wilderness with Wes Chu

20th- Writing Excuses 10.16: What Do I Do With All This Blank Space?

21st- Writing Excuses 10.17: Q&A on Beginnings

22nd- Writing Excuses 10.18: Build an Entire World? Are You Crazy?

23rd- Writing Excuses 10.19: Intrigue


25th- Writing Excuses 10.20: How Do I Write a Story, Not an Encyclopedia?

26th- Writing Excuses 10.21: Q&A on World Building

27th-¬†Writing Excuses 10.22: Project-in-Depth‚ÄĒOf Noble Family

28th-  Writing Excuses 10.23: Can You Tell Me How To Show?

29th- Writing Excuses 10.24: Hooking Younger Readers

30th-Writing Excuses 10.25: What Makes a Scene?

AAAAANNNDDD We’re back!`

Hi! I got the plague! Do you want some? FREE HUGS!!!IMG_5012.gif

That being said, I have had to re-evaluate some things that go along with this self-administered challenge. Such as; Sundays.

I’m freaking taking Sunday off. My husband does, my family does. Sunday is no workee day. Not really as a religious thing, just as a mental health thing. We hang out, rest, and just get our brains back. It’s a good time, and I don’t want to worry about skipping a day.

So, I will be releasing a new April #WritingExcusesChallenge Schedule and I will be modiying May’s, just for fun. This could put us beyond two months for this series, but I’m not too worried about that.

Another peice of housekeeping, I see that a few¬†people are reading, but no one is commenting and only a couple are liking. Please, it’s great encouragement if you all jump in on the conversation!

Thanks for sticking with me!