Writing Prompt: Blonde

coffee-1300181_1920.jpg“What kind of coffee should we get?” Sonya asked. Rod wasn’t paying her any attention.

“Rod?” he was staring off into space.

“Rod!”He jumped, like a sleeper waking from a dream.

“What?” he took a deep breath, as if he had been submerged in cold water.

“You okay?” Sonya placed a hand on his shoulder. He turned away from her, as slow version of an angry twist.

“I’m fine.” he croaked. “What did you ask me?”

“Are you sure?” he insisted he was fine. “All right. What coffee roast should we get? The French or the Blonde?”

“Can’t have both, can we?” he joked, a dead smile on his face. “Can’t have the french blonde?”

“No such thing in the coffee world.” Sonya grinned. His eyes were distand, his heart not fully invested in the joke or the moment.

“The french is fine.”

 

 

I notice that this is very white room, but I wanted it to be character focused and driven. I’m working on white room skills, now. How to describe the setting without going full Moby Dick on it.

Maureen Llomond.

#WritingExcusesChallenge Day 16

Hi.

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—character 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?"
     Silence.
     "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.

BOOM! NEXT.

#WritingExcusesChallenge Day 15

CONTINUATION!!!

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…

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!

#WritingExcusesChallenge Day 13

Look! I’m on time! Cheer for me! Be proud of me!

I SAID BE PROUD!

To be honest, I didn’t want to be here. I am coming down with the plague my inlaws gave me. I have a headache, and I have a cough. I want coffee and I want pepermint in the air to clear my lungs.

But I’m here anyway. You should be very impressed.

Writing Excuses Podcast 10.13

This is a good introduction Podcast, but it definitely jumps around. But that’s what the middle of your story does as well, you have to run around on side quests and do silly try/fail cycles before you can get to your climax.

I like the idea that you can have set peices and those moments that are moments of awesome. And all moments of awesome will be a set price, but a set price will not always be a moment of awesome. It was one of my favorite ideas from the podcast and the only one I will highlight today. My head is pounding. Appologies, April is usually when I get sick.

Take the reverse engineered outline from a month ago, and move a side plot to the main plot.

Oh, dang it. This was the one that I did about a basic episode of NCIS, Crap!

Well… The are several side story lines that are woven through the whole series. Gibbs and his wife and daughter, the McGee/Abby thing, the DiNozzo/Ziva thing. Those are all season long and even series long side stories that affect what’s happening in the story.

But what’s a good one to tackle?

Ducky and his mom.

Doctor Mallard, even though he looks quite old, his mother is still living. He lives with her and their three corgis. We see her in an actual episode a couple times, but she’s mostly just mentioned in passing.

Then she dies, and it effects ducky so deeply, he almost looses focus. But then he pulls himself out of it. And he pulls through. That try fail cycle, that’s how the writers build that stand up and cheer moment.

#WritingExcusesChallenge Day 12

Ha! This is the last one for today! I’m so excited! I think I finally have this in hand.

I may have to make a rule for writing prompts in the future; Sundays are my free day. I’ll see if I can get things shifted properly, or I’ll get ahead so things are still released on the correct day. That would probably be the better idea.

Writing Excuses 10.12- Story structure Q&A, with Special Guest Wesley Chu

These question and answer episodes have such a weath of information in them! If this blog hasn’t made you check out the Writing Excuses Podcast, I must be doing this all wrong! I’m not affilated with these authors at all. I’ve never met any of them, never done their retreats, never been on thier payroll for the podcast. I just love it! Please go check them out so they get the listens they deserve.

I’m just going to skip ahead to the prompt.

Prompt

Make a list of all the awesome things you want your story to accomplish. Then put them in the order in which you want them to happen.

These prompts just make it harder and harder to blog. Because some of them make it so I cannot do a blog post. Maybe I can tell you about a couple of them, and you will just have to take my word for the rest of them.

  

One thing I really need to have happen is Maya’s story arc. She needs to find out that she’s not as useless as she thinks. She’s not as bad at being good at things as she thinks. She makes an impossible sniper shot and uses her sweet talking for the good of the group, rather than getting Leora into trouble. 

There you have it, just a small list. I’ll order it tomorrow, while I listen to episode 13.