NaNoWriMo: Is The Verdict In Yet?

Well, you’ve had two days to recover from the NaNoWriMo experience. Are you awake enough to tell us how it turned out?  I have to admit that I’m curious.

Although I haven’t tried the challenge personally, I remember when I first started trying to write a couple of hours a day. It was a shock. I’d worked on different novels before, but I’d never worked on any of them so regularly. I might get in a few days in a row, but then, it might be weeks or months before I got back to it.

After a week or so of writing daily, I was addicted. So many of the biggest problems for new writers (consistency of voice, continuity and flow, finishing instead of constantly editing, etc.) are made easier by writing every single day. In a 24 hour span, your brain retains a lot more of where you were and where you want to go than it does with a few weeks in between. The more time between working on a project, the more you can change your mind on where the story’s going (and whether what you’ve written is ok or not).

Did I mention that the first novel I actually finished was the one I worked on every day?

That’s why I’m curious about how those of you who tried NaNoWriMo feel about it. Did it work? 50,000 words or not, did it get you hooked on writing every day?


A Writing Prompt: The Super Challenge

A super challenge! Da da da da daaaa!

A super challenge! Da-da-da da daaaa!

Think of a super power that would not only be practically worthless in a battle with a super villain but is also super inconvenient in the hero’s normal life. Then, find a believable way for the hero’s power save the world (the hero does not have to be male).

If anyone comes up with a solution to this prompt that works, I want to read it! Share, please!


50 Word Stories: Another Way to Challenge Yourself

Whenever you restrict yourself to a specific form or word count, you’re going to have to work your brain and flex your writing muscles. One of the most famous examples in writing legend (true or not) is the story of Ernest Hemingway writing a short story in 6 words as a bet.

The result?

For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

How can 6 words convey so much information and evoke such strong emotion?

If you’re not quite ready for 6-word stories, 50 words makes a much more reasonable start. Here’s an example by Richard Ankers: “50 Word Stories: King of Fools.”


Writing Prompt Game

This is a story-telling game I used to play in college with friends. It’s been used in movies. I’ve seen songwriters use it as a challenge for each other. It even gets pulled up from time to time as an icebreaker.

Yeah, I know, the last one isn’t helping my case. But give it a chance. This is both an effective brain stimulator and writing challenge.

The main idea is that you or someone else picks 3 different things: people, character types, careers, places, animals, situations, etc. Whoever is writing the story has to use all three things together. Most often, the three choices are almost completely unrelated, which makes it quite a challenge to turn them into a cohesive story.

Now, in a game, the more ridiculous and awkward the story, the better.

For the writing challenge, you try to make it work. You come up with a world or a situation that makes the combination of things make sense. And if you succeed? If you not only make a logical story but also a good one? You will not believe the rush of accomplishment. It’s pure magic.

When that gets too easy, you make it harder by adding more choices. Maybe, you put a bunch of ideas on little pieces of paper and draw them to keep your subconscious from picking things that link together. Maybe, you ask friends for their picks. Maybe, you start putting qualifiers on it – it has to use these words, this method, or that world. There are infinite ways to make it a challenge again once you master the first version. The endless variety possible is what makes it a continuing challenge.

Here’s one for you to try – 1. tiny decorated hats, 2. submarines, and 3. pigs.