Archive for January, 2016

When you are writing and you decide to add a super-creepy-spooky scene in the woods at night to really freak out your protagonists… and you realize you are writing this in a frail cabin in a dark and spooky redwood forest late at night. Plus all the animals out there are making all sorts of creepy noises. :(Still plugging away at NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. Due to the fact that this is a super crazy time of year for me (when is it not, for those playing the adjunct-game in academia) I’m not expecting to finish this month (I’m closing in on 20,000 words, maybe ¼ of the way through my tentative outline, and I believe the official NaNoWriMo goal is 50,000 words), but I think I’ve got a good chance of finishing a super rough draft by early January. :)Also, the creepy-cabin theme comes into one of my poems from a few years back that you can still read at Ideomancer. So I decided to give NaNoWriMo a go last November–I knew ahead of time that there was no way I would finish anything, and it’s true, I’m still maybe 1/3 of the way through my story, but it’s been going well, even if I put it on hold lately to make sure I could finish a short story in time to submit to Tor.com before they closed for unsolicited submissions. As I was gearing up for the marathon I did some searching online for writing prompts, because I knew the key would be to somehow just keep writing (and not filler, but actual story–plus I know that I am more of a “gardener”, letting the story develop organically, than an architect). I wasn’t all that happy with what I saw, apart from a bit here or there, so I wrote up my own on a page of one of my art journals. I thought I’ve give my list here–and to clarify, this is not “what am I going to write about?” prompts, but “how do I get this story unstuck?” prompts. I believe these are all original, but it’s possible I grabbed one from someone else’s list or remembered something from years before (this was originally just notes to myself, which actually went missing for most of the time I was writing…). I’ve included all the “why, how” questions as a reminder to myself that a prompt isn’t just a cool gimmick, but that every part affects the whole, and vice versa. These were meant to help me with Trying out NaNoWriMo for the first time.  Way behind,  but I’m encouraged by how many days the text has just flowed. I do feel sorry for my computer when I am on a roll though-I tend to be very percussive in my typing. Doing lots of late night writing on weekends as well.my epic-ish/sword and sorcery-ish fantasy novel, but I think these prompts are pretty applicable across the board.Feel free to share your own writing prompts in the comments!

1) What more can we learn about a particular character’s desire or motivation? What triggers our new awareness of this? Will this play out in the plot, or will it involve explicitly telling the story of the character in question?

2) Ecological factor–Complication emerges, violently or subtly, from the environment. Not deus ex machina, but it doesn’t have to be a crisis either–can just make things more complex. What new issues/insights must be considered? Or is it just a straightforward obstacle? How does it transform the story world, the narrative? How do we become more aware of the environment as character, as an agent in the narrative, rather than just a static, taken-for-granted setting?

3) Breakdown–one character suffers a panic attack, shuts down, freaks out, something along those lines. Why? Where does this come from (in the plot or the backstory), and how does it complicate things from here?

4) Change in affections–a good relationship with one person sours, transferred to a new person–or any change in how one or more people feel about one or more people. What causes this? What misunderstandings, or maybe revelations, are involved? Does this resolve towards reconciliation or is this indicative or a new normal? Or do things continue to worsen?

5) New story goal–for everyone, or a particular character? Again, where does this come from, and how does it change things?

6) Injury/Illness–a bit like the ecological factor, in that it is something from “outside” the main players that disrupts things. Since I’m doing a travel narrative in a Migration Era-style world, this is pretty relevant.

7) Surprise gift–from a person or from the environment. How does it help? How does it complicate things? What is the reason for the gift?

8) Something missing–was it taken? Lost? What was it important for?

9) New Perspective–character(s) gain new perspective/awareness regarding their situation. From an event or a person? What changes?

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As I’ve said before, Dayanna is by far the most qualified person in the universe to do a Viking themed coloring book. She’s a solid artist (her style is well suited for this sort of thing) and as an academic (she’s an archaeologist, and so much better qualified than myself for representing the material culture of the Viking age). Really excited about this!

Viking Specialist at Large

As promised, Reader, my Kickstarter campaign was launched this morning [PST in case you were wondering]. Here is the link for it:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1382432732/the-viking-coloring-book/widget/card.html?v=2” target=”_blank”>Viking Coloring Book Kickstarter


grubenhaus and longhouse Current work in progress!

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