November Writing Prompts

1. a goblet of wine

2. growing love

3. dogs

4. servitude

5. quick exit

6. ethnic food

7. adventure

8. a red blanket

9. bright lights

10. the color yellow

11. migration

12. steam

13. intense flavor

14. doubt

15. been there before

16. a castle

17. whispering

18. small animals

19. flip a coin

20. loss of memory

21. a great discovery

22. moody person

23. clouds

24. in the mirror

25. watermelon

26. starry night

27. boiling water

28. Africa

29. the phone is ringing

30. street people

NaNo Prep: Free Write

NaNo on Facebook gave us a prompt a few minutes ago to free write for 5 minutes. I’m supposed to be writing for thirty minutes a day, but probably won’t get that far before work, so this will likely be very short. I’ve created a new account on the NaNo website, so I can completely divorce myself from the previous appellation I was using after my breakup. It’s a very freeing thing for me, to completely remove all traces of that name from my world. The next step I need to take for that is a burning ritual, but that can be done on the next new moon. I think a new moon is a better time for such a ritual, since it signifies new beginnings to me.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to write this year for NaNoWriMo. I’m considering something in the world I started in last year, but I’ve decided that that world needs a -lot- of building before I can write in it effectively. I need to know more about it in order to expand the stories. It’s possible to make the single novel into a series, and I tried to leave the ending such that it led to a second novel, though I’m not certain I did so terribly well. Perhaps I’ll practice writing series’ of short stories this month, in preparation for a longer series of novels/novellas.

Huntress: Waterfall

The weather was cool this afternoon as Sera trod silently through the forest bordering their new home. She could smell the changes in the season even, the heady aroma of already fallen leaves becoming fertilizer on the forest floor. So many think that Springtime is the most fertile season, but Sera argued that the Autumn was when that fertility began. She smiled when she came upon a small clearing in the trees where a herd of deer were grazing. They had not heard her approach, only lifting their heads in alarm when she came into view. The elf considered drawing her bow, but then thought We have stores enough for the coming winter. You don’t need to worry.” As if hearing her thoughts the deer put their heads down, resuming the urgent grazing to fatten themselves for the season of cold and scarce food.

Exploring their new world had been enjoyable for both the elves, their children now old enough that Sera and her mate could venture out without the entire clan in tow. Sometimes she left her husband to his tinkering though, and took paths through the woods on her own. She promised him she would not explore too far without him, that she would return if she found anything of interest. Zui often looked at her skeptically when she left alone, but he trusted her. She never explored too far without returning for him.

Leaving the deer behind in their clearing Sera moved on along the path she had found a few days ago while playing with their youngest in the woods outside their home. It was old, overgrown to be sure, but still noticeable to the huntress’ keen sight. As she walked she marked the path slightly, breaking branch tips carefully or gently lifting bits of bark away. It was a trail only the most experienced of trackers might find, and she knew her husband was among the best. If he came looking for her, he would be able to follow her path.

She heard the water long before seeing it, the soft rush of a stream moving lazily over rocks. Unable to gauge the time except by her own internal clock, which told her it was barely mid-morning, Sera decided it was late enough that she could pause for a small bite, and perhaps the stream would prove drinkable. Still following the path she found it edged toward the stream, and was delighted when she saw the sparkle of water through the old, mossy tree trunks.

Though now she had to veer from the path slightly Sera stepped through the trees and onto the stream bank. It was thick with lush green moss and edged with drying grasses. The stream itself was rather wide and shallow in this place, but her hearing could pick up the sound of roaring water not far upstream which meant it was likely deeper. Counting on her boots to keep her feet dry she waded a bit into the stream and found a stone she could mark this place with. The stone she chose was wider at one end, and somewhat flat, slick with the sort of algae that usually grew in moving water. She placed it carefully on the mossy bank, the smaller end pointing upstream, then headed along the bank in that direction.

She startled a few rabbits along the way, the small creatures come to drink from the stream where it formed small still pools. “No doubt the deer came here to drink as well,” she thought. As she moved upstream the roar of water grew louder and she began to recognize the sound: a waterfall. From the sound of it, she was either very close, or it was massive. She received her answer not long after that realization came to her.

Several huge stones remained immovable by the stream, and so formed a sort of pool where the water collected before becoming the stream which she had followed here. The stones were in a semi-circle, and where they ended the earth was higher than at the mouth of the stream, helping contain the water falling from the cliff at the back of the pool. The fall itself was not terribly high, perhaps four times her height, but it was high enough to cause the roaring sound water makes striking both stone and water. The pool was not still, but it was calm on the far end.

Sera peered into the pool and was delighted to see that while she could see the bottom it was not shallow. Likely it was deep enough to swim in. “That bears exploration,” she murmured to herself. She began to make her way around the edge of the pool, carefully after nearly slipping on the slick stones. The mist caused by the waterfall made everything damp, including her face and hair as she walked steadily closer. Gazing up, she saw the tall cliff where the stream above created this fall; perhaps caused by a shift in the ground ages ago – although in this world it could easily have been from a dragon attack, or a giant, or wizard’s battle too.

The momentum of the water pushed it outward from the cliff to fall at the edge of the pool, where rocks again formed a slightly less rounded ring containing the water. She found the fall itself hid an overhang of stone about eight feet from the edge to the back wall; it was almost a cave but not quite. She moved more carefully now, examining the site for any indication of inhabitants that were not creatures of the forest. Her bow would be useless, but she drew a long dagger from her boot and held it out at her side. Her brief inspection did not reveal anything that would alert her to a non-animal presence, but she decided to return home and not explore further without Zui’s presence. Retracing her steps to the far edge of the pool Sera looked back at the waterfall and smiled. “He will enjoy this place,” she thought.

Today’s fragment was inspired by the October 1 Fiction prompt from Creative Writing Prompts.

The Serpent Queen: Messages

Manasa sat upon her throne, turned to look at the carved stone seat beside her own. She smiled and reached to touch the lion carved into the armrest; her people had taken Siris’ heritage into consideration when they’d made their new King’s throne to accompany her own. She sighed, and looked to the scrolls that had been brought to her by the couriers. Messages from far-flung outposts of her people, stories of strange tribes moving in the mountains, and in one of the seaside cities there was some sort of gathering.

The former was of some curiosity for the Serpent Queen, for she herself had come from the mountains in her youth, but it was the latter that drew her concern most of all. There were old stories of the people of another kingdom, stories passed on to her from the Queen who had died to give her the crown, that told of them stealing ophidae children and enslaving them. Of course there was no indication now of any non-ophidae races living anywhere close to current settlements. The leonide were the nearest, and even they were several days travel from her clutch. Her ophidae kept themselves remote from other cultures, save for the few traders who ventured to their underground river.

“Royal Highness.” The voice was that of Desiran, one of her council. She was the representative of the craftsfolk living in her clutch. Manasa lifted her gaze to her and smiled, beckoning the woman closer. Desiran stepped closer, gathering the flowing silk that she wore around her waist and bowing low to her Queen. “Highness, I heard from Velash that you have word from the mountain clutch.”

Manasa nodded, putting aside the scrolls she’s been reading over. “I have a few tales, yes. You are from the mountains as well, are you not?” asked the Queen kindly. Some of the clutch in the foothills were from the mountain clutches like she herself was, though most had lived here in the main territory of the ophidae. The craftswoman nodded lightly, and the queen smiled. “They send word that there are strange tribes moving in the high mountains. Tribes not seen in almost a hundred years, perhaps more.”

Desiran frowned in thought. “I remember some of the stories, told by my ancestors, of a people from a land beyond the mountains.”

The queen touched a bangle on her wrist as she considered the message from her mountain subjects. “I heard some of them as well.” She too had come from the mountains. “I do not yet know what to make of this news. It could be nothing at all, or it could be the return of an ancient enemy.”

“And if that is true, Your Highness? If one of the ancient tribes is rising again?” asked Desiran.

Manasa inhaled slowly, tracing her fingers over the arm of her husband’s throne. “If they threaten our people, Desiran, I will put them down. We will put them down,” she said, her voice clear and firm. “The ophidae and the leonide will not allow our enemies to endanger our futures.”

The woman standing before her smiled warmly. “Our King is a good man, Highness. We are most pleased that you allowed him to live, that he became your husband, and father to your son.”

The queen smiled just as warmly, glancing to the passage which led to the royal chambers from the throne room. “I am as well. Allowing him to live was one of the best decisions I have ever made.” she said, laughing at the irony in her words.

NaNoWriMo 2014 Preparations

Yes, I’m going to do it again. I’m going to be crazy enough to write 50,000 words (or more!) in 30 days. On top of that, my work schedule is more hectic. I’m full-time now, training five days a week starting very soon. Luckily, I’ll have a month to get myself in a habit of writing daily again, and probably more on my days off. Unless things change, those’ll be Tuesdays and Saturdays, which are good for me. It means I’ll have a day I can spend with Jason when he does have a day off, and a day which I can devote to long bursts of writing. Plus my schedule will now be set, which means I can get up and write before work, knowing exactly when I’ll be working. This is what I wanted, a stable schedule in order to have more regular time to write.

I still have no idea what I’m going to write, though. I haven’t even edited last year’s novel. It desperately needs it, honestly, but I’m not going to ‘cheat’ and use NaNo 2014 for that. It’s going to be all writing, something new. Maybe I’ll finally get to writing Thirty-Three Days into something real, or maybe I’ll start the second part of the novel which I started last year for NaNo. Or maybe I’ll rewrite the concept I started last October. I really, really enjoyed the concept, it just became really disjointed, and I think I can take the ideas and write them more concretely now that I’ve had some time to think on it.

Of course that brings me to the dilemma of what to do in October.

I don’t want to run the risk of basically writing all my ideas for NaNo 2014 in October, but I really need to get into a writing habit again, since it’s been a long time for me. I love writing, and I feel like I’m happier and healthier when I’m writing, but after a year almost of not writing I know I need to get back into the habit. I also need to learn how to work it into my daily/weekly schedule. I suppose I can use the month to work through a backlog of writing prompts, and that will help me get into the habit of writing both for a word-count and on a regular schedule. Both will be good for me.

I found myself wanting to read through some of last year’s novel, and I noticed something interesting. I didn’t remember a lot of it. I don’t know what that means, really, but there were a lot of details I didn’t remember whatsoever. I guess that says two things: first, that I really need to sit and read the story so I can edit it, and that a lot of that story came to me in flashes of pure inspiration, but didn’t stick with me. Is that a good thing? Maybe not. If it wasn’t memorable to me maybe it wasn’t memorable at all. Though realistically, it’s a rough draft. It’s a first draft, and by no means a finished novel. It needs a lot of work before it’s a finished novel. I haven’t even considered really publishing it somehow. I think it has the bones of a series, but that requires work I haven’t been able to put into it yet. Yet.

TDP’s Writing 101 – Be Brief

I wasn’t really interested in yesterday’s prompt, so I didn’t complete it. I find I have to be moved by a prompt in order to complete it, which is something I perhaps need to work on. I might find writing a more viable source of income if I learn to write even when I’m not necessarily moved to do so.

Today’s prompt however did spark my interest. Despite my propensity for exploring language, I am always intrigued by prompts which constrain me to certain word limits, just as I am to prompts which give me unconnected words to blend together in a piece of writing.

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

Somewhere overhead I hear geese calling to one another on their South-bound flight. This morning is crisp; I wear a coat, but no hat or gloves. Halfway along the path past the cemetery I see a scrap of paper caught in a hedge. It’s a letter, handwritten on actual stationary; an archaic practice to most these days. The delicate script draws my attention, and I begin to read. It is short, just one page. By the time I am finished I am crying again.

I would give it to my father if I could; if I hadn’t just buried him.

TDB’s Writing 101 – Unlock the Mind, Commit to a Writing Practice

I’ve found myself with the itch to write again. I was doing so well last year, leading up to and then all through November and even December as I worked on my novel. The novel has now languished for nearly a year, unedited, and thus uncompleted. Part of it was that I wanted to let it rest, like letting the twist set in a yarn I’ve spun. Then work got weird. I got a promotion to full time and to pet trainer, and there was added stress from my coworker. This has resulted in me turning to more mindless forms of distraction in my off-time, like Minecraft.

But I’ve been feeling the itch again. I want to write. I found an article on Facebook (oddly enough, my main source of information) today about writing and health. It claims that there is a link between people who write 3-4 times a week for 15-20 minutes at a time, and their health and well being. That just seems intuitive to me. And in hindsight seems almost obvious: when I am writing, it seems to me I’m healthier, when I’m not, I tend to get illnesses.

The itch to write now has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve been sick for nearly two weeks, though it is helping my resolve to reclaim the writing habit. I’ve had to alter other habits in my life recently, especially my eating habits. I’ve discovered I am diabetic, and that I’ve been living with elevated blood sugar levels for probably years now. My headaches, certainly, were coming from high blood sugar levels and not from tension, as I’d assumed they were. I had to shift my eating habits, and learn to control my weight and my blood sugar much better. Certainly I can shift my writing habits, and see if there’s something to this writing/health connection.

If nothing else, writing 3-4 times a week for 20-30 minutes a day would give my brain something to do. Maybe I could vent my work-stress into something more productive instead of (as I suspect I have done) internalizing it. It might also develop into an every-day habit and then I could almost certainly edit and then perhaps even publish my novel. I have a dream of it being a series, actually, and have the imaginings of another novel already in my head. It would be nice to actually do something with my enjoyment of writing.

I’d also like to work on a collection or two of poetry. I have a hard time writing poetry with a specific theme, honestly. I write when I am moved to do so, and the themes tend to be quite emotionally charged. I’d like to break out of that, to see if I can write poetry that doesn’t have anything to do with intense emotions, that isn’t inspired by drama, effectively. My dream is to write some nature-based poetry, which requires me spending time in nature. Perhaps seasonal themes. Maybe a spiritual collection as well. I don’t know. I need to get in that habit as well, writing poetry more regularly. Perhaps practice with specific structures and styles. Nearly all of my previous writing has been free-verse, but I feel like I want to have some experience with more structured forms.

I think I need to develop some sort of plan, a schedule of sorts for writing. Perhaps nothing too structured, but something that gives me a framework. Like with my crafting, nothing too rigid that I feel as if I’ve failed if I cannot do something exactly as I have planned, but rigid enough that it keeps me motivated. I’ve been restructuring my lists with that in mind, so I can just extend that into the writing realm. I’m going to continue with that, and see if I can’t push myself over the course of the next month and a half, so that come November, I’m ready to write another novel for NaNoWriMo.