Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Supreme World Dictator

The position of world dictator is open. Your favorite bad guy (or good guy who may think he or she can do a better job!) wants the position.

Write his or her resume. Here's an example, though there are loads on line.


NAME
Address -- Phone -- email


SUPREME WORLD DICTATOR


PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Company, Location
Position
Years

Some words that can spice up the achievements:
  • Commended by _____ for _____
  • Negotiated
  • Coordinated
  • Managed
  • Developed
  • Directed
  • Established
  • Monitored
  • Acquired
  • Cultivated
  • Delegated
  • Personally
  • Organized
  • Prepared
  • Planned


EDUCATION
College, Location
Degree, Year


SPECIAL COMMENDATIONS


OUTSIDE INTERESTS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bloggering

Take a bizarre happening (that later turned out to be extraordinary) and write about it with an eye for the absurd. Some suggestions: Visitor to some baby born in a stable. Neighbor watching Noah build a friggin' boat in his back yard. A couple of nerds named Steve thinking they can build a computer in their garage.


More contemporary world than usual, but the card still has me chuckling. You can see more of Dave Malki's cards. (Click on each one to open.) He also uploads a comic each Tuesday and Friday. You can also see just his Holiday Comics from Years Past.

And here's something from the Churches Advertising Network's 2007 Christmas campaign while you wait for people to get moving so you can open presents. Funny and irreverent but not offensive. (Well it was Church advertisement!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas songs for shrinks

Schizophrenia: Do You Hear What I Hear

Multiple Personality: We Three Queens Disoriented Are!

Narcissism: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing About Me!

Dementia: I Think I'll Be Home For Christmas

Paranoia: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town To Get Me

Mania: Deck The Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town

Depression: Silent Anhedonia, Holy Anhedonia, All is Flat, All is Lonely

Personality Disorder: You Better Watch Out, I'm Going to Cry, I'm Going to Pout, then maybe I'll tell you why!

Obsessive Compulsive: Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell Swing, Jingle Bell Swing, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell Swing, Jingle Bell Swing, Jingle Bell Swing Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell Rock

Suicidal: Thoughts of Roasting On an Open Fire

Passive Aggressive: On the First Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me (then took away)

- Unknown

If you'd like to play around with some Christmas song titles while you wait for relatives, or to play in your head as you listen to Aunt Bethelda's sixth retelling of her colonoscopy, Wikipedia has a list of Christmas Carols , non-religious Christmas songs , secular songs associated with Christmas . Here are the most common ones (or ones I recognize anyway):

"Angels We Have Heard on High"
"Away in a Manger"
"Deck the Halls"
"Do You Hear What I Hear?"
"The First Nowell"Go Tell It on the Mountain"
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
"Good King Wenceslas"
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
"Here We Come A-Wassailing"
"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"
"I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)"
"It Came Upon the Midnight Clear"
"Joy to the World"
"The Little Drummer Boy" ("Carol of the Drum")
"O Holy Night"
"O Little Town of Bethlehem"
"O Tannenbaum" ("O Christmas Tree")
"Silent Night" ("Stille Nacht! heilige Nacht!")
"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
"We Wish You A Merry Christmas"
"We Three Kings Of Orient Are" ("Three Kings of Orient")
"What Child Is This?"

"A Holly Jolly Christmas"
"All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth"
"The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)"
"Feliz Navidad"
"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
"I'll Be Home for Christmas"
"It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas"
"It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
"Silver and Gold"
"Silver Bells"
"(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays"
"Toyland"
"Up On the House Top"
"White Christmas"

"Frosty the Snowman"
"Jingle Bell Rock"
"Jingle Bells"
"Let It Snow"
"Winter Wonderland"

I will not suggest you try the games listed at Poop Wars where you replace one of the words with poop or add "in bed" or "under the sheets" after the title. That would be just too irreverent, regardless of the fact that a preacher's daughter told me she did the "under the sheets" one with hymns to entertain herself during services.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On Comet!

The idea of Santa has spread with humanity into space onto alien worlds. Santa was already taxed to the max trying to deliver all the presents to the earthlings. Now he finds the task impossible. In fact he frightens some of the children on other planets with his naked pink skin and the fuzzy white growth on his face. What's the solution? Pick one planet, or come up with a master plan.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter crime watch

Write a winter crime report about a snowman.
Paste it in at The Newspaper Clipping Generator or Create Fake Newspaper Clippings. (The second generated two different styles at one time, but only one works at the moment.)

Come up with a name for your newspaper, a title, then click Generate! and create a fake newspaper clipping.

Wing it or if you need some words to get started, try these:

chill
glittering
stab
mire

(There are several more generators at the fodey site. I especially like the clapboard. He also has The Generator Blog (over 1000, listed down the left side). Featured at the time of this post, the Self Cutting generator.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turkeyful

It's well after Thanksgiving and there's still 10 pounds of turkey left and you're thinking that if you ever see turkey on your plate again there had better not be sharp implements within your reach. For 5-10 minutes brainstorm ideas of what to do with leftover turkey (including the carcass if you'd like.) It doesn't need to be for eating purposes!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stoned troll


This is the end of the story. Or is it the beginning?

That's a full size Volkswagen beneath its hand. Was there anyone in it? Were the passengers victims of the troll or part of the plan to immobilize it. Have they been turned to stone too?

Who is on top of the troll? What are they up to?

Is the troll still alive?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Crazy ideas

When asked the eternal question: "Where do you get your ideas?" the science fiction writer Roger Zelazny always replied "Every night I leave out milk and cookies. In the morning they're gone -- but there are loads of crazy ideas in their place!"

So who is leaving the ideas? What kind of being is it? Where does he or she get them? Why do they trade ideas for cookies? Are ideas cheap and cookies rare where they come from? Is there a catch?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Threesome

Random words coming up! Here's some ideas on how to use them:
  • A description of someone or something.
  • An advertisement.
  • A poem of 3 lines, each using one of the words. Perhaps haiku.
  • A longer poem.
  • The title of a book, chapter, movie, song.
  • An opening paragraph.
  • A closing paragraph.
  • A cryptic note dropped by someone.
  • A headline.
  • A snatch of conversation.
  • A 15 minute story with beginning, middle and end. Perhaps the first word drives the beginning, the second the middle, the last the end.
  • A telegram.
  • The subject line of an email.
  • The description of a menu item.
If you're doing a story or poem and want to try to come up with a character or scene first, take a moment before reading on.


balance
dictate
wander


The words are from Three Word Wednesday. 3 new words every Wednesday. At the blog if you click on the submissions, you can see the variety of ways people used the words.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Quiz time!

Did your NaNo generate a lot of characters you'd like to find out more about? Do you have a collection of characters from past stories you're fond of and would like to work with again?

This character quiz is modified from one by Cat Bowen (~DrowElfRocker) on Deviantart. I liked the random comparisons she had going so replaced a few of the single character questions with more combinations.


First, list 12 of your characters in no particular order. They can be from one story or from several.


Then, answer the questions:

  1. Who would make a better college professor, 6 or 11? What subject would they teach?

  2. What personality trait do 4 and 11 have in common?

  3. 12 sends 8 on a mission. What is it, and does it succeed?

  4. If 5 and 9 were trapped in a elevator together, who would be the first to crack?

  5. Would it make more sense for 2 to swear fealty to 6, or the other way around?

  6. For some reason, 5 is looking for a roommate. Should he share a studio apartment with 9 or with 10?

  7. 2, 7 and 12 have dinner together. Where do they go, and what do they discuss?

  8. 3 challenges 10 to a duel. Why and what happens?

  9. If 1 stole 8's most precious possession, how would she/he get it back?

  10. Suggest a title for a story in which 7 and 12 both attain what they most desire.

  11. What kind of plot device would you use if you wanted 4 and 1 to work together?

  12. If 5 and 6 visited you for the weekend, how would you get along? Which would you most feel like killing off by the end of the weekend?

  13. If you could command 3 to perform any one task or service for you, what would it be?

  14. If 7 and 8 had grown up as siblings in a unstable home, who would have turned out the most different? Who would have survived the best?

  15. If 2 had to choose sides between 4 and 5, which would it be?

  16. Out of all the characters, who would win the beauty portion of the pageant? Who would win the talent portion? And who would win Ms./Mr. Congeniality?

  17. Who would make the best superhero: 3, 9 or 11? Who would make the best supervillain? What would their super powers be?

  18. 1, 6, and 12 are having dim sum at a Chinese restaurant. There is only one scallion pancake left, and they all reach for it at the same time. Who gets to eat it?

  19. What might be a good pick-up line for 2 to use on 10?

  20. Who is most likely to be arrested 4 or 10? For what?

  21. 6 finds out 5's secret. What happens?

  22. If 11 and 9 were racing to a destination, who would get there first?

  23. If you had to walk home through a bad neighborhood late at night, would you feel safer in the company of 7 or 8?

  24. 1 and 9 reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4's secret Organization. 11 volunteers to help them, but is later discovered that he is actually a spy for 4. Meanwhile 4 has kidnapped 12 in an attempt to force their surrender. Following the wise advise of 5, they seek out 3, who gives them what they need to complete their quest.

    -What title would you give this fic?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Top 10 Tabloid Headlines for December 2008

Though the Weekly World News no longer exists in print, here's the headlines from the archives of City Newstand in Chicago, for writing prompts or just for fun :-)

I haven't visited the City News Stand for a while but there was this report from The Spring 2008 MAGBAG at the City News Stand:

EVEN MORE NEW ISSUES OF THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS?
— Special to the MAGBAG
Unconfirmed reports of new issues of the defunct Weekly World News continue to proliferate. An unemployed farmer claims to have seen an issue on sale at a Piggly Wiggly in Pascagoula, MS and a truck driver says he saw an issue at a truckstop in New Madrid, MO.
The Pascagoula copy was said to have contained the stories, 'ST. VALENTINE & CUPID WERE SECRET LOVERS!', 'JOHN MCCAIN ENDORSED BY UFO ALIEN' and , 'ELEPHANT SHUNNED BY HERD... after making love to a rhino!', while the truck driver could only remembers seeing the headline: 'DOIN' THE JAILHOUSE ROCK... 73-y.o. Elvis had been allowed to fake his death so fans wouldn't know he'd been jailed on drug charges!'
Subsequent trips to both stores found different magazines where the WWN issues had been said to be.

Will the reports of sitings of WWW continue as long as the reports of Elvis?


Top 10 Tabloid Headlines from DECEMBER 1998
  1. Raging elephants eat town's mail! -- WWN
  2. Man chokes to death while eating his hat! -- WWN
  3. SHOW-OFF DROPS DEAD AFTER EATING TWO TELEPHONE BOOKS -- WWN
  4. WOMAN GETS BIZARRE PHONE CALLS -- FROM HER DEAD AUNT! -- WWN
  5. Man tracks down long-lost father -- & blows him away! -- WWN
  6. $10,000 TRAINED FROG HOPS INTO TOILET BOWL -- and gets flushed down the commode! -- WWN
  7. Millions of frogs invading Iran! -- WWN
  8. SADDAM HUSSEIN ORDERS 60 CASES OF VIAGRA! -- WWN
  9. Arab terrorists using suicide apes against Israeli targets! -- WWN
  10. ABE LINCOLN WAS THE FATHER OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING! -- WWN

Most Recent WWW News

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for minor disasters

If your character experienced just the worst parts of Thanksgiving day, he or she would need a week to recover from the holiday. But all ended happily.

What was the surprising good that came from each incident, or the really big good that came out of the whole series?

If you find a more inspiring order as you're writing, go for it, but make it easier on yourself by using the order given or choosing randomly rather than seeking some "best" order. Your character didn't get to choose! ;-)
  • lost keys
  • burnt dinner
  • missing relative
  • flooded basement
  • hail storm
  • broken finger
  • lost power


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dr Wicked


Do your fingers pause over the keyboard as you try to decide what to write next? Do minutes pass where words could have been pouring out and the cursor is still blinking in place like a caution light at 2AM?

Do you need five thousand words today to catch up and you know most of the day will be spent with your fingers in hover mode?

Then try Dr. Wicked.

Put in your word count and the time you want to spend and click Write. You'll get a box to type in. If you stop writing for more than a few seconds, there will be ... Consequences. What consequences? You get to decide what level:
  • Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
  • Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
  • Kamikaze Mode: Keep Writing or Your Work Will Unwrite Itself
Watch a demo on YouTube :-)

When you're done, remember to copy and paste from the box. (If you try to navigate away, a reminder will pop up.)

Great for NaNo crunch time as well as daily writing exercises. You can set it for 10 minutes to 2 hours.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Heavenly appeals

You're being sued by God.

It can, of course, be any god, past, present, made up. The Christian God has the story advantage of a good track record for patience in recent millennia and what you've done can be so over the top that God just couldn't let it slide. Or perhaps what you did is relatively minor but you're the final straw and being used as an example.

Or perhaps a god who realized years of plagues and pestilence and other Acts of God were just not getting the point across.

Or maybe Zeus, who just lost his last supporter.

Or a very litigious god and you're beginning to wonder what the upside of worshipping this god is.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Some kind of English

While's she's too easy to poke fun at, I was fascinated by the following quote by Sarah Palin that was in response to her apparent confusion over Africa being a continent or country.

"My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars."

And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”

Dick Cavett remarked in the NY Times, "It’s admittedly a rare gift to produce a paragraph in which whole clumps of words could be removed without noticeably affecting the sense, if any."

I think she was just doing verbal NaNo. But, even if she was, no matter how badly you write during NaNo, know that you can write better and have a better command of the English language than someone who was 8.5 million votes and a heart attack away from the presidency.

And when you have a few minutes after you've completed your day's words for NaNo, there's the Sarah Palin baby name generator where you find out what your name would have been if you'd been born to Sarah Palin whose kids are named Track, Willow, Trig, Bristol, and Piper.

I'm Lock Pepper Palin.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Beetles

The Beetles were formed at the same time as the Beatles and musically they were equally good. The problem was they were really bad lyricists and couldn't come up with a good song title to save their lives. And in fact they were held hostage by their record company to come up with some decent verbiage. Tragically they never did and they're still sitting in the conference room writing.

Here's a random list of best Beatles songs titles. Come up with the really bad title versions written by the Beetles.

Eleanor Rigby
Strawberry Fields Forever
All You Need Is Love
Let It Be
Hey Jude
I Am The Walrus
Come Together
She Loves You
Eight Days A Week
Drive My Car
Here Comes The Sun
With A Little Help From My Friends
Hello, Good-Bye
A Day In The Life
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Reprise
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Yesterday
All My Loving
In My Life
The Long and Winding Road

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fateful pizzas

"Is fate tied to a pizzeria in Wisconsin?"

That's the fortune in the cookie your character just broke open. It's confirmed the nagging feeling they have and they're off to Wisconsin to find that pizzeria.

Will fate lead them there? Maybe they should check in with another fortune cookie once they get to Wisconsin ;-)

What will they find? True love? The fate of the universe? Something less cliche?

(Can you work this into your NaNo? If it's too left-turnish for your main character, you could send off an annoying character on a quest. Or someone walks in with the fortune looking for their fate. A character could leave it on the table then the server finds it and gets wildly excited. Possibilities limited only by imagination :-)

(This is from an ad for Lucky Brand jeans and Wisconsin musician Cory Chisel. The back story is a bit more mundane than the quote but still interesting. It's in the comments if you want to read it when you're done.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A flood of consciousness

Begin with an event and then let the thoughts carry you where they will. Have your character start a story and let the story stray off to other stories and events. Let it take off on a walk about, straying and wandering from thought to thought. This can be one way to up your word count for NaNo and also a way to allow thoughts to stream out that might spark something unexpected.

This is from #123 in Unjournaling: Daily Writing Exercises that Are NOT Personal, NOT Introspective, NOT Boring! by Dawn DiPrince and Cheryl Miller Thurston. Here's a piece of her example of Uncle Milhouse's rambling stories:
Back in 1972, you wouldn't believe the tornado that hit our town. That was the year my dad got laid off at the factory ... the pickle factory, it was. They were called Fickle Pickles, and they were the best darn pickles you ever ate. Well, maybe my grandma's were a tad better, to tell you the truth. She said her secret was to add a little cinnamon to the jars ...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eating as a full contact sport

Your character is having a problem with another character. He or she wants to talk it over with a friend who used to know well or work with the problem character. They meet in a restaurant for lunch and the friend unexpectedly brought their very tactile child who not only touches and tastes but needs a full body experience with the world, especially food. The friend is used to this and seems oblivious to what's going on, only aware enough to keep the child from physical harm.

This is a one shot opportunity for this discussion so your character can't reschedule. ;-) Write the ensuing meal, either as a stand alone or as a scene in your NaNoWriMo novel.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A wild and wooly gallop

Challenge: to use as many descriptive words as possible. Play with them. Don't edit. Let the words flow.

While writing books will admonish you not to prop up weak nouns and verbs with modifiers -- eg, don't "walk quickly": stride, jog, prance, gallop, march, pace ... -- modifiers can bring life to a concrete noun. Hair is just hair, but "a white poof of lamb's wool that rested atop his head" is an image (and 9 more words for NaNoers ;-)

Try the exercise on some mundane words and see if you can paint a picture. (And a picture is worth a thousand words!) Feel free to use any words you want, but here's a sample to choose one or two from if you'd like to get started writing rather than thinking up words.

spaghetti
cat
cavern
path
candle
tattoo
truck
blanket

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Pink elephants

More lists? Yes, more lists! I got up a late and stumbled across this.

(5000+ words. I was trying to do 2000 a day but couldn't quite make it last night as my characters bumble into each other, trying to get sparks to fly and illuminate some secrets they aren't revealing to me yet.)

These are from the NaNo forums somewhere. If you're doing NaNo, use the first on your next page. Each time you start a page, use the next in line. Do that through out the book. Feel free to adjust as needed (add words, change tenses). (Of course, you can cut them up and draw from a bowl if you wish.)

If you're not doing NaNo, begin at the top and incorporate as many into your writing piece as you can.

If you haven't already...
Ten Types of Awesome.
the wind's will
We're without magic.
It's getting awfully cold.
Don't. You. DARE.
Stop That
if this is all
Uproar.
if all that matters is
make it through the past
walls falling down
of your dreams
if you want to
Did you try...?
In Triumph.
It'll be- wait...
the reason is I don't know why
That's Classified!
it's at least
in feeble hands
What are you gonna do?
hold still!
it all go wrong
Hang on for your death
so distracting
go forth
a matter of pride
Who stands before me
Unknown wisps
the dead dying
What's right is wrong.
I'd rather be
not a reason
because you can't.
wimps and posers
just take forever
a glimpse into the future
Invisible or alone?
refusing to lie down
I hope, but I know
if you've never
I fall apart
You're the only one.
a new day
died happy
What you've never needed
If you can, don't.
WHAT was I thinking?
don't think of a pink elephant.
if you want to
scare yourself.
make it or not.
to live forever, die.
empty mess
anything at all
let go and hang
stop only me
rocks fall, everyone dies.
we're not dragging the dragons.
Heck does that.
into the death
what a to do to die.
son of a marigold
anytime I want. Really.
eternity of metamorphosis
everything adds up to nothing
meek and bold
alone, the bold
I can't be you now.
At a loss for speech- not words.
one more outburst
go around again
Magic believes in you.
strong against yourself.
parade of trees
What you never wanted
live up to nothing
Hang on loose
you're still kissing him.
you can't always count on me
To be young, nervous breakdown.
Soul over heart
Dead again?
creature of light
walk on me.
leave my dreams behind
ensue a rebellion
The land's a survivor
wheel of strength
fight for wrong
let it die
unneeded puzzle piece
Gunning for Truth
stay whole, bleed the soul
his memory now
broken, not dead.
Incredible isn't.
smile against it all
Ignorance for hope
stop, turn, take.
everything away- I'll hurt it.
each other, alone.
God doesn't decide this.
take me for everything
alive in here
no is for those
oh yeah, HUGE success.
to save me, face me
all together, all alone
whatever you don't.
tomorrow is yesterday now
what you must, you can't
thunder from the trees
ask your questions now
gift, not competition
waste your precious
happy kick in the nuts,
seven stories in
the question- but.
uphill downhill sick
breathe for me
stay calm and PANIC!!!
none able to tell
when your all isn't enough
hold my soul
figure it later
light fears darkness
nothing's gonna change
the darkest light.
watch this time
As we knew it
rest is wrong.
I Will Rise Again.
When the spindle wheel turns
dying, not dead
I know a place where we can hide out.
You don't have to know the truth if you believe it.
This tiny voice in my head starts to sing.
Came along one day...
Looks a mile to my feet.
When I open my eyes I'm still taken by surprise.
You don't have to know the truth if you believe it.
Some people want to be heroes, others have to be asked.
My Body was not moving on it's own after all
inside mountains
nothing to say to each other
just take it!
Because it is my birthday!
Not close enough.
It's not peanut butter.
Just talk yourself up.
Try and stop me.
I'm just saying...
He knew there was a reason why he hated snow

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sparklers

Random words to spark your NaNo or other writing.

Most of these came from 15 Minute Ficlets, a site for writing fiction in 15 minutes using word and picture prompts. The site is no longer active, but there are other, similar sites around. (The rest came from 15 Minute Fic, though the words weren't quite as good.)

I like to think of these words as lenses. The word has colored how your character views his or her world and they're seeing or feeling or remembering something about the current scene you're writing that relates to the word. Unlike words randomly chosen from the dictionary, these have more flexible definitions. Feel free to play with word forms and tenses. They're supposed to spark creativity, not chain it :-)

I've divided them up into chunks of 8 if you'd like to spread them out over the next 30 days, but feel free to use them however you want. (Hmm, if each word sparks about 208 words, there would be your NaNo! :-)

farewell
discovery
deluge
renewal
fool
explosive
heritage
screen

thunderous
mystic
lovely
moon
mediocre
open
peppermint
anxiety

exhausted
brisk
knave
electric
congratulations
misled
sophisticated
gateway

ambition
envy
premature
memory
catastrophe
blush
hold
transition

addiction
scorch
rescue
piercing
independence
fight
honor
discord

mockery
impatience
justice
fatigue
gloomy
reunion
unexpected
absent

nurture
unknown
blessed
rushed
congeal
youth
sin
growl

gratitude
overwhelmed
whispered
routine
kaleidoscope
resolute
scared
gluttony

festive
tidy
feast
tired
silence
chocolate
flood
connected

thick
odious
legacy
jubilant
acceptance
glisten
fever
anticipation

pinnacle
fretful
linked
sentimental
savory
vacant
inside
tail

deaf
zaftig
young
xenophobic
wondering
mother
tattered
challenge

transformation
missing
searching
karma
gourmet
juvenile
undeniable
limp

vitriol
contagious
discombobulated
quest
strike
translation
anguish
true

complicated
interrupted
giving
painful
freeze
stretched
consumed
mimic

complete
elegy
haunted
deserted
jealous
oblivious
frustration
natural

harvest
empty
falter
extra
abstract
capricious
pause
pawn

devotion
impression
bathtub
bloody
redeem
aggravation
father
replacement

drenched
tender
noisy
practical
incomplete
evasive
disaster
solid

deeper
abandoned
spring
collection
quirky
competition
misdirection
unusual

intoxicating
disguise
submission
examination
flaky
obsession
chilling
tweak

perfection
marvel
nostalgic
cookie
snow
forgetful
surrender
chicken

broken
gathering
dream
forgiveness
unfinished
late
humorous
form

conclusion
dust
alias
match
bright
abomination
slowly
question

salvation
prison
vacation
desire
loss
expectation
sign
shiver

fantasy
baby
light
apology
uncomfortable
happy
bridge
essential

relief
daze
frantic
bathe
sink
disconnected
training
impose

burrow
sketch
unforgiven
vanquish
flair
wave
blue
spell

bear
refine
hassle
fire
wait
engrave
leech
unbidden

hang
guilty
bank
quirk
blatant
honey
destroy
messenger

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A really really big fish

Retell yesterday epically. Exaggerate. Take everything to the extreme and beyond. Tell how you had to wrestle the hot dogs into the boiling water. Everything is important and large. Or use a current or favorite character.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Alphabet cereal

Come up with cereal names for each letter of the alphabet. They needn't be nutritiously acceptible names. Go ahead and have Super Sugar Candy Crunchies. ;-) Of course if you do want a challenge, you can try making healthful cereals sound just as exciting as commercial cereals. :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"I am a galley slave ..."


Encyclopedia Baracktannica

From Slate Magazine:

The Encyclopedia Baracktannica

Now with more words and definitions!

By Chris Wilson

It's hard to imagine that Barack Obama would be as big of a phenomenon if his name were, say, Tom Smith. As numerous fans, detractors, reporters, and bloggers have demonstrated, it's a name that lends itself to neologisms—everything from Barackstar to Obamania to Omentum.

We present the unabridged Encyclopedia Baracktannica, a list of words that have been Obamafied by Slate. This is a widget, so you're welcome to add it to your site. To do so, click the "Get & Share" link below and choose a service.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

National Novel Writing Month

It's coming! Midnight next Friday, is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month: November 1 to November 30.

What is it? It's a month when people all over the world set aside time to churn out bad novels ;-)

The goal is to have at least 50,000 words by midnight November 30. Since you must write fast -- 1667 words per day -- there isn't time for editing or perfecting or even worrying over whether it's good or not. And that's the whole point! One of the biggest obstacles to writing is running commentary from our internal editors on how bad something sounds and how trite it is.

For NaNoWriMo you send your internal editor on vacation. It's not allowed to contact you at all. While the editor is away you let the ideas flow out of your fingers. There will be a lot of bad ideas! But mixed in will be some good ideas, even great ideas that would have been blocked by the critical voice of the editor.

The novel doesn't need to be complete. (Most commercial fiction is between 75,000 and 100,000 words.) It doesn't need to flow. You can leave scenes that aren't working incomplete to move onto another scene that's trying to get out.

No one will read it. You'll upload your final document to the automated counting bots at NaNoWriMo and they will count your words. If you have 50,000 words or more, you win! Win what? Win the satisfaction of being one of the elite who has completed a novel :-) And a nifty downloadable certificate that says you won.

My daughter Kat (now 17) and I have done it four times. And while insane, it's also a lot of fun and rewarding too. How long does it take? Basically it depends how long you give it! Most people are doing this while holding jobs or going to school and can only write in the evening or on weekends. Kat and I give it all day and have found it consumes whatever amount of time you give it. ;-)

While you can't begin writing until November 1, you can plan as much as you want. I've done it 4 times without a plan. An idea comes to me the week before or sometimes the day before and I just let it take me where it will. Some like to know where they're headed. Some like the adventure to unfold. Which is better depends on what you find works for you :-)

Most areas (even in other countries) have local groups that meet occasionally throughout the month for writing and moral support. They're listed in the Regional Lounges section of the forums at the NaNoWriMo website:

There's also lots of online support in the forums, tricks and tips, word challenges, even places to ask obscure questions (like, for example, whether someone could carry $1 million in $1 bills.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The dog that barked in the night

"Conscience is a dog that does not stop us from passing but that we cannot prevent from barking." -Nicolas de Chamfort, writer (1741-1794)

Your character's conscience has become an entity that only he or she can see and hear (and perhaps smell and touch). It doesn't need to be a dog but it should be annoying ;-)

Spark plugs or fuel?

For the past three years I've been throwing out prompts as the sparks for writing, just assuming that was the only way to use them. I stumbled across a 15 minute fiction site (now defunct) that sent out weekly words as prompts but they suggested coming up with a scene first and then using the word as fuel. Odd how the obvious can be not so obvious :-)

Which works better depends on your needs at the moment. :-) But if you've been finding your ideas limited by a writing prompt, try coming up with the scene first and see where the prompt takes it. Maybe take a previous scene and see where it takes you.

In fact it's what you need to do for National Novel Writing Month if you want to incorporate the prompts into your novel. If you haven't heard about NaNoWriMo, it's coming up November 1st and I'll be posting more about it this Saturday :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Recipe for disaster


Write a recipe for a dastardly dish. Include newt and eye and bone and spider and frog. It can be a recipe for soup or cake , a spell, a beautifying concoction, a potion. Anything you want.

As an extra challenge, make it a poem. No it doesn't have to rhyme! But the lines of a recipe are already short so make the descriptions short too. Play around with the sound of the phrases. Does eye of newt roll off the tongue (figuratively) better newt's eyes? (Shakespeare thought so!) (Maybe they roll better literally too.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A peek inside

Your character has answered the following questions. Below each question is a word or words that appeared in their answer. Fill in the full answer.

You have a box of things stashed away that you won’t get rid of. What’s in that box?
haven
burned
flute

You have an award on your shelf. What’s it for? Do you feel you deserve it?
moon

What one person do you most wish you didn't have to put up with, but feel you have to?
angel

Write about your worst birthday (or favorite holiday that went badly.)
ice and fire

Is there anyone you despise?
youngest

What is your secret dream?
first

List 3 things that could motivate you to kill.
silence
famous
royal

Describe the nature and intensity of your religious feelings?
ghost

What 3 adjectives best describe your inner nature?
taboo
hungry
sword

What 3 adjectives best describe your outer nature?
fog
change
separate

Who were your heroes as a child?
dagger

What was the biggest lie you ever told?
frost

What is the ugliest thing you've ever seen?
pink

Who refuses to speak to you and why?
acquire

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Help, 've lst t mny vwels!"

A constrained writing prompt landed in my mail box today in Anu Garg's Wordsmith.org's Word A Day. And it's a contest too.

We've done lipograms where you're forbidden to use a letter or letters in each word and anti-lipograms where you must use a letter or letters. (Click Constrained writing over on the right for more.)

A univocalic is a piece of writing that uses only one of the vowels, an example for e is: "Help the peerless letter e perfect sentences."

CONTEST: Imagine you are a headline writer for a newspaper back in the days when metal type was used. You have run out of all but one of the vowels in the large type size that is used for the headline. What univocalic can you come up with?

If you get stumped for substitute words, try the thesaurus at The Free Dictionary.

Email your univocalic news headlines (real or made-up) to (words at wordsmith.org). Selected entries will be featured in the weekly compilation AWADmail and the best entry will win an autographed copy of Anu Garg's latest book The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words.

Deadline is Friday Oct 17.

"Most notably, [Christian Bök's] 2001 Eunoia , seven years in the making, became Canada's bestselling poetry book ever -- an incredible feat for such explicitly experimental writing. No comforting fluff here; in the main portion, each chapter employs but a single vowel (e.g., "Enfettered, these sentences repress free speech"), a univocalic constraint." -- Ed Park; Crystal Method; Village Voice (New York); Dec 16, 2003.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Horse of a feather


Use as many of the following in a writing piece as you can, keeping their literal meanings rather than the meanings of the idioms. Feel free to change word forms and use the meaning of the phrase rather than the exact words, eg, you might have a character who is working hard not to be kept away by the wild horses.
  • To eat like a horse. To work like a horse
  • Straight from the horse's mouth
  • Hold your horses
  • To flog a dead horse
  • A dead horse matter
  • Get on one's high horse
  • Horse sense
  • A dark horse
  • A horse of another colour
  • Lock the stable door after the horse has bolted
  • A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse
  • Put the cart before the horse
  • A willing horse
  • You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink
  • Change horses midstream
  • Horses for courses
  • If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
  • Wild horses couldn't keep me away
  • Horse feathers!
  • Horse Opera
  • Horse player
  • Horse trading
  • A one horse town
  • Red horse
  • The iron horse
  • As scarce as rocking horse 'manure'
  • A war horse
  • Horse around
If, after you're done, and some of the idioms are unfamiliar, click on the comments to see the meanings.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Seriously

What if your pet could suddenly talk to you? After you both get past the amazement, it seems your pet has a whole list of things he's been trying to tell you for years and you've been apparently clueless. What's on the list?

It can be a current pet, a past pet or someone else's pet you know well. Or, of course, be creative! What would be the demands of a human who had been kept as a pet by some alien family?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Free range chickens

Why did the chicken cross the road?

She's been doing it for a long time so she must have some mighty compelling reasons. What are they? Come up with as many as you can in the time you give yourself. You don't need to write punch lines (though you might end up with some!)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Restless spirits

You're a spirit channeler, but instead of being hired by the living to talk to the dead, the dead hire you to pass on messages to the living. (What would the dead use for payment?)

Tell about some of the recent or more interesting channelings you've done. What unfinished business do they have? Is it for good -- to be able to say the good things they always wanted to, to aid someone still alive -- or for bad -- to finally be able to tell someone off , to send them on a wild goose chase? Was their death natural, accident, or deliberate? Did they take secrets to the grave that they can release now? Why now?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A chronobet

Write a time travel alphabet, past to present to future, anything and everything that pops into your head about time travel.

Rather than starting with A, you might brainstorm to get the ideas flowing. No need to tie yourself to linear time or linear order of words. :-)

For a real challenge, turn it into a story. Each alphabet line will be another line of the story. (The sentences don't need to begin with the letter, just have a word that starts with the letter somewhere in them.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sharp edges


How did this sign come to be?

What were the consequences?

Or maybe it's usual for this culture? Why? What other kinds of signs do they have that we might think odd?