dialog

2017 November 24 Prompt

During the 2017 NaNoWriMo event in November, Writers in the Grove members offer these prompts to provide inspiration and incentive to keep you going during the self-competition to write 50,000 words in 30 days. You may find NaNoWriMo prompts from previous years and prompts from our weekly workshops.

Today’s NaNoWriMo prompt is:

We both had to admit that there was an elephant in the room that no one was talking about.

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, or wish to, Writers in the Grove offers an extensive range of NaNoWriMo tips and techniques to help you through the month long writing project.

Advertisements

2017 November 18 Prompt

During the 2017 NaNoWriMo event in November, Writers in the Grove members offer these prompts to provide inspiration and incentive to keep you going during the self-competition to write 50,000 words in 30 days. You may find NaNoWriMo prompts from previous years and prompts from our weekly workshops.

Today’s NaNoWriMo prompt is:

Ask your character a question and look them in the eye as you do.

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, or wish to, Writers in the Grove offers an extensive range of NaNoWriMo tips and techniques to help you through the month long writing project.

NaNoWriMo Tips: When Passive Voice Starts Winning

As you plow through NaNoWriMo, are you finding yourself writing with conditional verbs: should, would, haven’t, could, maybe, might? It might be time to redirect your energies because this is a symptom of running out of steam and inspiration.

This isn’t about editing your work during the NaNoWriMo month of November. It is about changing your writing tune midway if you find yourself using passive voice in your writing.

This isn’t about a character who uses passive voice when they speak and in their actions.

This is about being unclear and unsure about what you are writing. It is about you losing confidence in your writing.

Switch immediately to active voice using action and active verbs. Don’t let your characters wonder through a fog of uncertainty. Put them in a place and let them thrive there with your word choices.

Still finding it difficult? Consider passive voice as a symptom. Here are some solutions.

  • Return to your original premise, the concept that sent you down this path. Has it changed? Evolved? Lost its way?
  • Have you swung off the path and meandered down a tangent? Switching to passive voice could be a sign that you are losing confidence in this story line, not the entire story. Find your way back, or start a new tangent and follow that.
  • Are you losing interest in your character(s)? Consider making another attempt at their character personality and descriptions and find what’s missing. Have you fallen out of love with them? Find a way to love them, or change them into someone you can love again.
  • Leave the story and dig into the back story, the history, the politics, the society in and around your story. It’s called worldbuilding. Like a child playing with tinker toys or legos, build the universe in and around your story to find the passion again.
  • Ask yourself why. It is that simple. Why are you using soft, cautious, careful words in your writing? Is it your story? Characters? Self-confidence? Guilt? Procrastination? Something is getting in your way and this is a symptom. Identify it sooner rather than later and get our your mental bulldozer to clear the path so you can keep writing.

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

To Be a Bee in Their Bonnets

This is by Writers in the Grove member, Lorelle VanFossen, inspired by Prompt: The Party Conversation.

She stood up and walked over to the counter with the coffee, deftly avoiding the plastic smiles on watching faces. If I looked closely, I knew I would see white knuckles gripping her full cup, still warm from ten minutes ago when I’d delivered it to her hands. Relaxed, she’d floated across the room, not a care in the world, back turned to the thirty or forty people chatting away behind her. She set the cup on the counter, making no attempt to refill it.

I knew the moment the two sat next to each other that this was an oil meets flame moment. Side by side on the black leather couch, her swept-up blond hair back-lit by the orange glow of the porcelain lamp behind them, white silk blouse shimmering around her bare neckline, tinged gold in the amber lighting, contrasted against his dark curls, evening shadow along cheeks and chin above the freshly ironed, crisp linen long sleeve shirt. Beauty and beauty, I thought. That is what others will see. The perfect couple. But I knew them. Beauty and the beast with no happy love song or shared interest between them.

He was the gentle one, razor sharp on the outside, marshmallow opinions on the inside. Nothing Ray ever did in his life caused conflict or disorder. It was all about order, precision with self, never others.

She was all angles, knives and changes in her soul, soft and wispy on the outside. Her tongue left bloody slices on the delicate in her wake.

A small part of me was excited, intrigued to see the fireworks these two could spark, yet terrified a real showdown could happen right here in front of everyone. The only saving grace and commonality the two shared was decorum, spelled with a capital D. This wasn’t just a noun to them, it was a law.

“Let no one see you sweat,” was her motto, and she meant it in life as well as exercise. A hard-boiled attorney, she could make knees quake the moment she stepped into a court room.

“Never let them see your pain,” was his mantra, determined to not let anyone feel, see, or experience pain, and never to share his own as well. Pain was for wimps, those not strong enough to endure. As a doctor, he’d listen but never absorb their experience. Sympathy, yes, overflowingly so, but empathy was lacking in his psychic gene pool.

Introducing Callie to Ray, I stepped back, wine glass in hand, and watched, drifting back into the shadows of the party’s energy, my specialty. “Never let them see you,” was the invisible line on my calling card.

They were casual at first, toes dipped in the pool of conversational politeness. I knew Ray would never touch politics or religion, so they were safe there, but I also knew Callie hated small talk, not caring about weather, sports, modern entertainment, or gossip. She was a political body, a raging Democrat from hair follicle to toe nail. He was a soft Republican, not religious, not greedy, just determined to keep his own.

I couldn’t tell what lit the embers to a slow burn, and I thought a coffee interruption would part the stormy waters, but clearly it didn’t. Both had smiled at me, fury in their eyes, but welcoming smiles. I’d greeted both with an equally welcoming smile, passed the full coffee cup to Callie, then faded back into the crowd.

By the time she stood up to walk away, ten – I counted – minutes later, her cheeks flamed, hand gripped the coffee cup to breaking, and his face was white, teeth clenched.

Ah, to have been a bee in their bonnets. I watched and licked my lips, eager for more.

Prompt: The Party Conversation

The prompt this week was to imagine observing two people in a party or large social event having an emotional interaction, displaying physical signs of frustration, distress, anxiety, etc. It looks normal, but isn’t. Show us so we can tell what is going on.

NaNoWriMo: The Half-Way Point with the Tips, Tricks, Tools, and Resources to Finish

It’s the half way point in NaNoWriMo and our Prompt-a-Day project is also half way through, hopefully inspiring you to look at your writing and characters in a new way.

Writers in the Grove now has 10 members participating. One participated last year, so this is a huge leap and we are so proud of everyone.

Because our group is so diverse in writing subject matter, age, and skills, we’ve made a few adjustments to the NaNoNoWriMo guidelines. Those that are willing to stick with the word count as a score card are continuing to do so, report in to NaNoWriMo’s check in for the region. Those who are intimidated by such accounting have committed to write for a minimum of an hour a day.

The same challenges that face the word count writers face the timed writers. What to write, how to say it, self-doubt, self-worth, and the dark cloud of wonder about how this will ever amount to something. The challenge is to let all of that go and just write. Edit on December 1, but for November, just write and see what happens.

We’ve heard from several people that their goals of plotting first went by the wayside as their characters took over. Now they are pantsing it, just writing by the seat of their characters’ pants, as one described it. “I just hang onto my keyboard and hope they take this thing somewhere.”

In the Portland region, we are getting closer and closer to 16 million words for those keeping score. That’s amazing.

NaNoWriMo Day 12 Portland Regional Word Count Chart 2015

To keep the momentum going, we’ve put together some guides and helpful resources and wanted to share them with you.

Novels aren’t written by muses who come down through the ceiling and shoot magic through your fingers and out onto your laptop’s keyboard. Before NaNoWriMo, some teensy part of me still believed that because writing is a creative act, it should feel easy. But fairies don’t write novels. They’re written with one simple equation:

Time + Work = Novel

Stephanie Perkins on NaNoWriMo Blog on the rewards of not giving up on your story

NaNoWriMo Survival Resources – To Get You To the Half-Way Point

The following articles and guides should help you get to the half-way point, or help you through the rest of your month long writing experiment. It is an experiment. Sometimes you know where you are going, and sometimes you have no idea, and sometimes, both are true. Edit on December 1 but keep writing through the month and see where it takes you.

Along the way, hopefully the following will help, inspire, and motivate you.

Prompts and NaNoWriMo Ass Kickers

(more…)

August at the Vernonia Library

The Vernonia Library Writing Group met August 20 at 6 pm. We explored the writing practice of Imitation, that is writing about an object or experience in several different ways.

Seeing the moon as a perfect pearl, or a white balloon that had lost its string, or an owl eye without a pupil, or a saucer without a teacup all gave us ideas on different ways to describe a single thought.

The prompt for the group was a sentence of unknown origin, “I will never hide my talent, if I am silent, I am forgotten.” The group was given 15 minutes to free write.

A homework assignment was given to the group. Before the next meeting on Sept. 17, individuals will ‘eavesdrop’ on a conversation and write what they have heard. This practice is designed to focus on not only dialog, but nuances that can change a conversation. Writers are not required to copy the conversation as they heard it, but to see if they can discern and imitate the tone.

Assignments will be discussed at our next meeting scheduled for September 17, 2015, at the Vernonia Library, 7pm.

Prompt: Dialog

This is the prompt from Vernonia Library Writers Group prompt for July 16: Writing Dialog.

The introduction to the prompt began with reading aloud 10 lines of dialog that had no other information as to who was talking or how it was said, just dialog. It could have been a scene in a play or just a casual conversation. After reading the dialog, the group discussed if they could distinguish the characters by the lines they spoke. Male, female, young, old, local or from somewhere else, and if this was a current exchange, from days gone by, or from the future; the dialog created characters.

The class was given 15 minutes to write their own dialog. The class dissected each members dialog to reveal who the characters were by their dialog. Some were very precise to what the writer had in mind. One person had three people in their dialog. This led to a good discussion about ways to make the distinct characters have their own presence, their unique personality.