These are the prompts and my responses to the NaNo Prep 2020.
|This is for "October NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge" .
OCT 1 ▼
Every good story starts with a 'what if'. What if a young boy discovers he's a wizard? What if a girl discovers a world hidden inside her wardrobe? What if there was a cemetery where pets came back to life if they were buried there? What if dinosaurs were real again?
In this exercise, imagine your story and your main character(s). Who is(are) the character(s)? Why do we care about them? What happens to them, and why is it a problem? (If it's not a problem, it's just life, not a story. *Wink*)
Spend at least 15 minutes imagining all the possibilities in your story. Make a list of every possible 'what if' you can think of. Nothing is off limits here - let your brain go.
OCT 1 Response ▼
- What if my MC (main character) wasn't a veteran?
- What if she didn't have any disabilities?
- What if I added in at least 1 humorous character besides the dog--a human?
- What if the dog was serious?
- What if the dog had worse PTSD than the MC?
- What if the MC was in a wheelchair?
- What if the MC wasn't white? (People get mad about white people writing non-white characters.)
- What if the MC was blind?
- What if she had some humorous disability like she faints whenever she sees beautiful art?
- What if the dog was really the hero and solved everything and she was more of a Barney Fife?
- What if there is another character that helps her sometime--her dad or niece?
- What if they live in a foreign country?
- What if they live on a boat?
- What if the MC has some silly phobia?
- What if the dog has a silly phobia?
- What if the cafe owners aren't Deaf?
- What if the cafe owners are mean?
- What if the cafe owners aren't a big part of the story?
- What if there were foreigners in the town?
- What if a lot of the town signed?
- What if the MC didn't quilt?
- What if the MC only pretended to like to quilt because of some reason? Socialization?
- What if the MC attended the quilting groups, but never actually quilted?
- What if the she hosted the meetings so she could busy herself with hosting and didn't have to actually quilt?
- What if there's a character named Bea who goes to the quilting bee?
- What if there is a quilting group called Bea's Bee?
- What if you can actually make the entire quilt at the end of the story?
- What if each block is a hint or somehow links to the story? (Find out if anyone else is doing this.)
- What if the dog loves to be mean to the quilt shop cats, but secretly loves them and is sad when they aren't around?
- What if she only has a dad and goes to the quilting bees to find mother figures?
- What if she is suicidal?
- What if she's allergic to dogs? (Maybe she gets shots.)
- What if she gets a tip or something from the doctor because she's been getting allergy shots so long?
- What if she goes to the doctor for info from time to time because she knows him so long from the allergy shots?
- What if someone has Tourette's?
- What if someone has Tourette's and they take a humorous approach to it?
- What if they curse and someone asks if something is wrong or if it was a tic and they say they'll never tell?
- What if someone has an eating disorder?
- What if the town is really a big city?
- What if she hates living there but is only there because of her dad?
- What if she's allergic to bees?
- What if one of the tics is wrinkling your nose?
- What if she's lying about going to war?
- What if she was sexually assaulted at war and is lying about what caused the PTSD?
- What if she goes to the gun range regularly to think?
- What if she goes to the gun range to work on her PTSD through successive approximations and whatever it's called when you get used to things?
- What if she can't drive?
- What if she was blown up and is afraid to drive or even ride in a car?
- What if that's why she's in this small town, so she can walk everywhere?
- What if her mom was murdered?
- What if her mom just disappeared and no one knows what happened to her?
- What if it happened while she was at war so she couldn't do anything? (Though she'd likely have gotten emergency leave for that. Maybe it was at the end and she wasn't allowed to leave because they were going home soon anyway.)
- What if she had a brother who was dead?
- What if she sometimes talked to her mom or her brother?
- What if she sometimes talked to a dead military buddy?
- What if she loves or hates a certain color?
- What if she always wears camo underwear because it makes her feel safe?
- What if she didn't think she had issues?
- What if her dog was a terrible service dog? (Discuss the importance of getting the best you can.)
- What if we gave a recipe in each book?
- What if the recipe somehow related to a quilt block?
- What if she sleepwalks and makes food at night?
- What if we include a fully homemade recipe and a quickie recipe (like flavored cream cheese) in each book?
- What if we included a pic of the quilt in each book? (Use EQ8 to design it.)
- What if they make a comfort quilt one time, a quilt for a charity another time (maybe the Sheriff's department or maybe a national one), a t-shirt quilt another time, a fundraiser quilt, etc.
- What if they didn't like her, but just pretended to?
- What if she knew, but pretended she didn't?
- What if there is a famous quote involving each chapter listed at the beginning of it?
- What if she wants to get a book published?
- What if she has a secret fetish?
- What if everyone has a dark secret? What are they? (One person is an unregistered sex offender from mooning someone in college. Another was dishonorably discharged from the military. Another is cheating on their spouse. Another wants to kill their spouse. Another tends to take things they want. Another has a drinking problem. Another hits their spouse. One is secretly super rich. One is secretly in deep debt. One has depression and is suicidal.)
- What if her dad had something to do with her mom disappearing...or she wonders if he did? Or this is another character's situation?
- What if he was cheating on her mom and that's his alibi, but he doesn't want to say anything since he didn't get into trouble?
OCT 2 ▼
Now that you've brainstormed the general story idea, let's identify some story elements:
(1) Setting(s). Where does your story take place?
(2) Protagonist(s). Who is(are) your main character(s)?
(2b) Flaw(s). What is(are) the protagonist's major flaw(s)?
(2c) Goal(s). What does(d) the protagonist(s) want (or want to avoid)?
(3) Conflict(s). What's keeping them from their goal(s)?
(4) Antagonist(s). Who or what is creating the conflict(s)?
Just for fun: Write a provocative one-sentence description of your story.
Example: ""A young, mistreated orphan discovers he is a wizard and must face the evil villain Voldemort to fulfill his destiny.""
*** Wikipedia's definition of Narrative Conflict
OCT 2 Response ▼
(1) Where does your story take place?
In a small town, mostly at a coffee shop, quilt shop, bed & breakfast, and a quilting friend's house
(2) Who are your main characters?
My main characters are an Army war vet and her service dog. Other rotating characters include Kathy and David, a Deaf couple who own a coffee shop in town.
(2b) What are the protagonists' major flaws?
She has PTSD and anxiety and her dog has ADHD.
(2c) What do they want or want to avoid?
She wants peace and quiet, but she also wants things to be right and just. Her dog wants to help her, but also wants to get with the police dog.
(3) What's keeping them from their goals?
The murder that is being possibly pinned on Kathy and David. The dog is distractable and also has to help his owner.
(4) Who or what is causing the conflict?
Some out-of-town people who murdered David's ex-girlfriend in the cafe storeroom.
Description: A war vet must fight her own demons while fighting to ensure her friends aren't charged of a murder they didn't commit.
OCT 3 ▼
CONTEST ROUND: Protagonist Background Story
Write a story about your protagonist that takes place outside of your novel. Make your readers relate to him or her in such a way that we would be devastated if he or she were to experience conflict (which, ultimately, sometime in November, he/she will.) The object of the contest is to make your judges root for your protagonist! Simply put: the character we like best wins. If your protagonist is a drug dealer or someone similarly ""unlikeable"" (a.k.a, an ""anti-hero""), never fear! I love Vlad Taltos, the professional assassin. You can make us love your character, too.
OCT 3 Response ▼
"Sergeant...Hey, Sergeant...Staff Sergeant (Whatever her last name is), are you okay?" Specialist Jones waves his hand in front of her face.
"What? I'm sorry, Jones?"
"I was asking if you were okay." Actually, I was asking if you were ready for the debrief, but you weren't answering me, so..."
"Sorry about that."
"You know, it's okay to be upset."
"Thanks, Jones. I know."
"We're here trying to help them and the b******s take every opportunity to kill us!" His voice gets louder than he anticipated and he stops.
"We're not trying to help them. We're trying to help the people they torture and kill, just like they do us. If they do it to their own people, why would we expect anything different? Because we're Americans? Because we're Soldiers? That's precisely why they're killing us. We're making a difference."
"What difference?" He sinks down against the metal wall of the CHU, the containerized housing unit his sergeant sleeps in.
"We make a difference."
"But do we really, Sergeant?"
"Yes, G**-d** it! We do!" Her eyes fall to the ground and she relaxes her tone some. "We make a difference. Little girls are allowed to go to school again. Women can have a job."
"Sometimes. It's not like America."
"It will never be like America. The point is to make it not like the Iraq Sadaam ruled with blood and guns."
"Isn't that exactly what we're doing?"
"We're trying not to. And when we kill someone, it's not some innocent civilian walking down the street with their family. That's why they're not afraid of our rifles or 50 cals," referring to the 50 caliber machine guns mounted on the top of the gun trucks. "But their terrified of our handguns--our pistols...our least powerful, least accurate weapon, and it scares the living s*** out of them because Sadaam's henchmen would walk through the streets and just randomly shoot passersby. And one of the lakes by his palace were drained at one point, based on intel. They found hundreds of bodies, people who just disappeared, never to be seen again. And it's not like there are dental records in Iraq. Their families will never know what happened to them. We can't even make sure they get that closure. But we can make sure it doesn't happen to another family ever again."
"Can we really?"
She gets up from the seat she'd been occupying. "We'll be late for the debriefing about today's...about today."
OCT 5 ▼
Character: Protagonist Profile
Draft a profile of your protagonist. Include detailed information such as name, age, physical attributes, occupation, education, culture, religion, family, relationship status, personality, likes, dislikes, strengths, weakness, motivations and desires. Use Google Images to find an image of your character. The point of this exercise is for you to get to know your character inside and out before you write your novel. If you don't know your character, how can you expect it of your readers? Flesh out your pre-story character in detail. Keep in mind that your protagonist will grow in some way during your story.
OCT 5 Response ▼
Jordon (don't remember last name at the moment), about 25 years old, slim build, brown hair, attractive, but not super hot, she has PTSD so she's jumpy and she has anxiety so she will often pace or shake her leg. She has a service dog named Hero. She's a former Soldier who lives off her disability now and she doesn't really know what to do with herself. She's got a college degree she got in the Army, but never did anything with. She's white, middle class, and from a small town. She used to consider herself Christian, but she now secretly feels like she's on the outs with God. She regularly makes excuses not to go to church. She's single and not looking. Her mom is gone, but she's close to her dad. She worries about him because he's getting older. She can't stand injustice. She's friendly, but not as outgoing as she was before Iraq. She still loves the Army and is sad to be out, but she knows it was for the best. She's not always in control of her emotions, but she has strong convictions and opinions of what is right and wrong and she will go to great lengths to right the wrongs she sees. She's motivated by keeping as much goodness in her corner of the world as she can.
OCT 6 ▼
Plot: Beginning (Where does your story start?)
(1) Describe your protagonist's life in the beginning (""Ordinary World"" or ""Stasis"") of the story. Brainstorm ways you could establish normality through action and dialog to avoid boring your reader.
(2) Describe the inciting incident or trigger (""Call to Adventure"") that prompts your protagonist(s) to embark on this story's journey (whether literal or metaphorical) and face the conflict. This incident could be large and obvious like a death or disaster, or it could be seemingly insignificant, such as an offhand comment by another character.
OCT 6 Response ▼
(1) She's normal in the beginning by being at a cafe. She can also go for a walk or a jog. She can run into friends. She can take her dog to the dog park. She can be chatting with her dad or delivering honey to the cafe to get her there for the action.
(2) She's at the Deaf Cafe and they find David's ex-girlfriend dead in the back storeroom.
OCT 7 ▼
Plot: Climax (Where is the story going?)
Where is your story going? Describe the climax, the point at which everything changes and the tension of the primary conflict is finally resolved. Use the ""What If"" brainstorming exercise to create a list of possibilities, remembering to consider the growth of / change in your main character(s) as a result of this event. The climax can be as hidden and seemingly tiny as that moment when your character finally makes that decision they've been dreading or avoiding for fifteen chapters, or it can be as huge and obvious as an exploding planet. Sometimes, the climax is a little hard to pin down. Was it the moment Ender won his game? Or was it the moment he realized the moving images on his screen were not a simulation, not the game he thought it was, and that he had just personally wiped out an entire alien race?
OCT 7 Response ▼
The climax is when she's at the hotel and discovers the strangers in town are the murderers.
What if she doesn't realize they are bad and helps them escape? How would that impact her?
What if someone else realizes they are bad instead of her?
What if they aren't at the hotel when she realizes it?
What if they aren't actually the killers, but someone outside the story is?
What if her dog knows, but she won't listen?
What if she gets kidnapped?
What if she gets murdered?
What if they take her dog?
What if they threaten her or her dog?
What if it was all a setup somehow?
OCT 8 ▼
Plot: Rising Action (How does the story get there?)
Review your notes from the ""Premise"" and ""Beginning"" plot exercises, and tweak the conflict(s) and inciting incident as needed before proceeding with the ""Rising Action"" plot exercise, as follows:
(1) Describe any initial refusals on the part of your protagonist(s) to face the conflict.
(2) Describe the moment when your protagonist(s) makes the choice to face the conflict.
(3) Describe the moment when your protagonist(s) crosses the point of no return and cannot change their mind.
(4) Fill in some of the blanks: How will your characters get from the point of no return to the climax?
OCT 8 Response ▼
(1) Initially, she might have some flashbacks or not realize things are real--thinking she's having a breakdown or a nightmare. She might be overcome with anxiety. She might have full faith in the system and not think there's any reason to get involved.
(2) I think there are 2 points--where she enters the storeroom and when she decides to go see them at the jail.
(3) Perhaps the point of no return is when she comes to visit them in the jail? Perhaps she sees things aren't as fair as she initially assumed they'd be and she can't allow them to be railroaded. Perhaps there is a police officer or detective from the big city interviewing them.
(4) She does some investigative work, but also the quilt group helps her come up with some ideas through discussing the situation and quilt blocks.
OCT 9 ▼
Plot Outline Revision #1
(1) Select a desired outlining strategy from the list below.
(2) Review your plot elements thus far and organize them into your outline.
(3) Flesh out your outline by adding more details.
- A traditional outline format with bullet points, numbers/letters, or chapters.
- Index cards (paper or electronic) which can be easily shuffled to change scene order later.
- The Snowflake Method.
- Use one of the following story models as a fill-in-the-blank outline template:
- The Five-Point Story Structure.
- The Eight-Point Story Structure.
- The Hero's Journey Story Structure.
- Any other appropriate model.
OCT 9 Response ▼
OCT 10 ▼
Contest Round--Antagonist's Background story
Write a story about your antagonist that takes place outside of your novel. The object of the contest is to make your judges understand and empathize with the antagonist's motivations.
If your antagonist is a situation rather than a person, write a background story about that. The Tom Hanks movie ""Cast Away"" famously features only one character (unless you count Wilson), and his antagonist is loneliness. Could you personify loneliness? Why does loneliness exist? What motivates it? How would a lack of loneliness affect survival of the human race? How did it drive main character Nolan to survive for years alone on a deserted island? Loneliness has a job to do. Make us believe it's a valid one.
OCT 10 Response ▼
Places of Interest: Unique Wedding Invitations for unique wedding needs. Color Copiers found here.
Baby Names can be hard to pick. Hands-free hygenic toilet seats covers. Dramatic Music rocks.
Vampires are people too. Write Poetry here. Try this Stock Market quiz.
Teaching is a noble job. Get info on Tax Refunds.