Friday, October 28, 2016
1. Prepare your idea. You could simply as decided that your book will be about cats from outer space and then run about from there when the time to write comes. Or you could prepare an outline of what the space cats could do in their plot to conquer earth, and then use that outline when it comes time to write. Perhaps you'll even use a mix, and have a rough outline of things that might happen, and then let the cats run wild as the story takes on new shapes.
2. Decide how much you'll write each day. What is your goal? 2000 words? How will you reach that goal, and what are your plans for missed days?
3. Figure out what days you can't write on. Will your mother-in-law roast you if you miss part of Thanksgiving? What about that birthday party you promised to help chaperone? By figuring out now what days you can't write, you'll be better able to plan how much to write on the days you can.
4. Pick a writing time. If possible, plan to write at the same time each day. When that time comes, get comfortable and start writing. If you don't set aside the time, you might not write at all.
5. Prepare for complications. Problems with the plot, frustrations with characters, and all the twists that complicate normal life. How will you handle those difficulties and get back on track with your writing?
6. Set aside some fun time. Time away from your story is just as important as the time you spend writing. If all you do is fret about the your next word count update, then your story could suffer. You need some time to recharge, so be willing to take some.
7. Talk out problems. Talking with others (both those taking the challenge and those who aren't) can help you better work out the snarls in your story. They might even help you figure out a new way to look at your story, or even a better twist to use. Talking helps not only you, but the person you talk to.
8. Prepare yourself to ignore what you've written. Don't look back and agonize over every sentence. Leave those commas where they are. You'll have time later to edit. No matter how agonizing it may be to keep marching along from new page to new page, you need to do it. What you've written will keep for far longer than an ice cube in the desert, so just keep writing.
9. Get out all your doubts before you start writing. Take the time before NaNoWriMo starts to go through your doubts about your writing abilities and your fears that you won't finish. Answer each one, and then put them away. Yes, the idea of writing 50,000 words in a single month is kind of scary. Yes, you might not have ever tried something like this before, and the very thought of attempting it makes you want to hide in a cave and hibernate through November. Get these feelings out now. It's okay to worry that you might fail. Just don't give into these fears. Take the challenge one day at a time, and know that it is okay if you fall short of the goal. Writing even a single word for this challenge is better than convincing yourself you can't succeed and so writing nothing at all.
10. Have fun. NaNoWriMo should be fun. You're the only one who can decide if the challenge was a success or failure. So write without fear of spelling errors. Ignore the cardboard cutout pretending to be the love interest. Write what you want to write, and make it the best experience you can. Editing can wait. Just have fun creating the story you wish to write.
What is NaNoWriMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and is a challenge to write 50,000 word novel in a month, and takes place in November. It may seem a little crazy, but people all over the world take part in the challenge and have a lot of fun. So if you've ever wanted to write a book but haven't had the courage to begin, or simply want a challenge for your next completed outline, why not give NaNoWriMo a try?
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Burning. Bursting through the night,
engulfing all it sees in light.
Dancing, twirling round and round,
in a futile attempt to escape becoming one of the drowned.
Sputtering amongst the dying light,
their heat cools slowly as they try to continue the fight.
Flickering from where they flew to the outer edge,
from where they smolder comes their pledge.
To the fire and flames and embers they cry.
Their vibrant memory shall never die.
So long as there remains a single spark,
none shall ever forget their part.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
The plan began without much fuss. A few children set loose in the dining hall, while others were directed to where the adult had gathered in the library.
Much ruckus and mayhem began, with the adults and servants driven nearly out of their wits at how much trouble children could cause. Books sent flying through the air with inexperienced hover charms, fine silverware turned to toads and fluttering bats.
A spectacular distraction, greater than any other that had graced the walls of Wittingful.
With the adults fully occupied, the next phase could begin.
For that, the hounds were unleashed.
Along with one terrified cat.
Frightful yowls and tremendous barks brought chaos to the kitchen. Cooks were forced to abandon their fine delicacies in an effort to protect those same delicacies from certain ruin.
All might have gone well for the cooks, if not for one long-legged mutt with a penchant for chewing hats.
The short chief cook swelled in furious outrage as the kleptomaniacal hound leapt and snatched his tall white hat off the cook's meticulously groomed head.
"After that hat!" The chief cook bellowed, leading the charge out of the kitchen and after the hat-snatching mutt. The other cooks had little choice but to follow, for they had no desire to work with a chief cook who'd be enraged at them for not getting his hat back.
So the cat and the hounds were left to themselves in the kitchen.
Until a warbling whistle brought the hounds to a halt.
Quickly, a small figure shot into the kitchen and directly to the dessert table.
Cookies, cakes, glazed candies, and other delectable treats were sent flying down the hall and into the open dumbwaiter, carefully stacked to allow the most to fit without being crushed.
Once filled, the small figure closed the dumbwaiter's door and gave two more warbling whistles.
The hounds still in the kitchen resumed their rampage.
On the third floor, another figure with long braided hair saw a light flash twice out in the starlit garden. Moving to the dumbwaiter, she opened the door and began hefting on the rope.
Up, up, the dumbwaiter rose, until it finally arrived to the third floor.
Another hover charm saw the tasty treats again flying through the air, this time to slip into a dark playroom.
There, the desserts were skillfully hidden in various caches, until no trace of the pilfered delectables remained.
Much later, when the hounds had been herded, books shelved, and the toad and bats restored to silverware, a group gathered in the play room. Youthful faces displayed devious delight as the children of the house distributed part of one cache to each member of their little group.
"Excellent plan, Jack." The girl with the long braid told a small boy.
The boy smiled, a cunning smirk that would have any adult cautious should they ever see it. "'Twas child's play, Margaret. Training the hounds without their handlers catching on to the new commands was the hard part."
"Still, brother dear, the plan was a success." Margaret lifted her little cake, and the other children around the room lifted their treats as well. "To our next plot."
"May it play out just as smoothly." Jack said, lifting his cookie for just a moment before taking a bite.
Friday, October 14, 2016
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
What if every day you woke to a new world?
A world where everyone seemed to know you, but you knew no-one?
Could you live a life where nothing ever stayed the same?
Not even your name?
I have to. Every time I fall asleep, I wake to a new world. The only way to stay in a world is to stay awake.
No rest, not even a five minute nap.
If I do, I lose everything.
Right now I'm a girl named Sally Swell, who lives in a small town where everyone knows everyone. These places are some of the hardest to blend into, because of my lack of knowledge.
So instead of going to school, I played sick.
"Are you sure you'll be okay?" The woman I assumed was Sally's mother asked, wide brown eyes full of a love and concern I felt guilty receiving. I wasn't Sally, couldn't be Sally.
Offering a fit of hacking coughs that sounded horrible, I gave a feeble nod. "I'll try to sleep."
"I'll only be a phone call away if you need me." The woman said, brushing some of Sally's long blonde hair back tenderly before she turned and left.
I waited ten minutes to be sure she was gone, then got out of bed. Sally seemed pretty tall, and it took a bit of getting used to after having been a short goblin yesterday.
Moving through the house, I found a computer and turned it on. I didn't know if Sally would remember what I did during this day, or if there even was a girl named Sally Swell. Perhaps she wasn't real.
Perhaps none of the people I've been were real.
As a child, I'd hadn't had a hard time adjusting to being a different person each day. I hadn't realized there was anything odd about it. I'd simply wake up and do whatever the adult nearby wanted me to do. I'd answered to any name, because I'd thought everyone had multiple names.
Being in a different body hadn't mattered either, for I'd thought everyone changed what they looked like while they slept.
And the different locations didn't matter, for I loved being able to play in a new place every day.
But with age came realization.
As those around me stopped seeming amused at my vast imagination and began insisting I "act normal". As birthdays became something I realized were only supposed to happen once a year. As people stopped accepting that I didn't know their name.
I didn't know what I was supposed to.
I wasn't who they thought I was.
Who I thought I was.
Even now as I search the internet for something new to study, I don't know who I am.
Am I Sally Swell? Viperos Snaggletooth? Gina Clove?
I have memories of being hundreds of people, each a mere glimpse into a life I am denied.
People have looked at me with loving eyes, and shouted their rage from across a battlefield.
I've seen how people should act as a best friend, but never actually had a friend of my own.
All I seem able to take with me is knowledge.
And so for today, Sally Swell will study baking.
When I fall asleep, Sally Swell will be no more.
But I'll know how to make apple pie.
Friday, October 7, 2016
1. Bribe it. Bribery works pretty well once you figure out the cat's favorite food. But beware; for once the cat knows you control the food, it will constantly annoy you with pleas for more.
2. Catnip. This is a somewhat risky method, because while some cats are calmed by catnip, others go crazy around the stuff.
3. With a hair brush. Many cats enjoy being brushed, and can grow quite docile afterwards.
4. Talk to it. A cat is more likely to listen to a familiar voice than that of a stranger.
5. Be kind. Cats are smart, and remember when someone has hurt it (even if it was simply stattled from a nap), and will normally avoid contact with that person whenever possible.
6. With a string. Simply drag a sting behind you as you walk, and you may soon find yourself being chased by the cat.
7. Reward good behavior. If the cat does something you like, make sure the cat knows it. If you do, then the cat may be more inclined to repeat the behavior.
8. Make time for the cat. If you spend time with the cat, the cat may decide it likes your company.
9. Pet it often. Cats love to receive a good stroking, and so being sure to pet the cat is a good way to win its affection. Just beware of those spots that will make the cat decide to bite your hand.
10. Love it. A cat who os loved is more controllable than a cat who has only known fear.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
The cat was quick. Too quick to be caught in time.
Yet still the dog chased after it, paws pounding against the hard earth as he panted and tried to keep the orange tabby in sight.
The dog knew he couldn't afford to lose the cat. If he did, then the dog's world would be destroyed.
The entirety of canine kind was threatened by the thing on that cat's collar, and if it managed to get into the catacombs, then the dog would have failed.
Failed in a mission he should have even been on.
Failed to protect everything that he loved.
His fellow dogs, the amazing world he'd just barely been permitted a glimpse into.
And most of all; his boy.
His amazing boy, who didn't even know where his dog was right now.
Chasing a cat that could destroy everything.
The entrance to the catacombs was just ahead, and the cat self-satisfied tail flick spurred the dog to move faster.
Draw out every last bit of strength, and lunge.
The cat yowled.
When little Joey opened the door, and found himself facing a very stern-looking Mrs. Clementine.
"Your horrible mutt attacked poor Mister Snuggles again." The elderly lady said, her voice a frightening mix of grandmotherly warble and the crisp command of a general to her troops. A waggling puppy was promptly held out to Joey, who quickly grabbed it and started mumbling apologies. The old lady didn't seem convinced, but she simply gave a huff and left.
Joey looked down at his puppy. "You've gotta stop going after that tabby, Super. Next time Mrs. Clementine will demand that papa chain you up."
The Super the puppy wiggled in Joey's arms, opening his mouth and dropping a chewed-up bell as the boy closed the front door,
All was well. His boy was safe, and the cat defeated.
At least for today, the dog could rest peacefully and play fetch with his boy.