Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Favorite NaNoWriMo "Game"

Photo courtesy of JessicaCooper1321 on
Word Prompts. I only this year discovered them, but man, are they ever fun! Many WriMos know exactly what I'm talking about. But for those of you who don't, let me explain.

Each day someone posts a "Word Prompt" in the NaNo forums - i.e. they post a word you're to use in writing that day. You write a scene, or a piece of a scene, using that word then share on the forums how many words you wrote and how long it took. You can also share what you wrote if you feel so inclined. Many of us do.

This generally starts at the beginning of October. Since NaNoWriMo doesn't officially start until November 1st, I decided to try the October WPs and use them to write parts of other unfinished projects. (I don't start working on my November project until November 1st.)

I wrote nearly 9,800 words in the month of October. And that's just writing 21 bits and pieces (okay, some of them are more like CHUNKS) of 8 different projects. 4 fantasy and 4 inspirational contemporary romance. The smallest bit was only 59 words long, written in 2 minutes. The biggest chunk was 1,002 words, written in 30 minutes. Progress is progress, so I couldn't be more happy.

Here's a sample of what I did in October. This was for the Oct. 14th Word Prompt. The word to use was "collapse". 463 words written in 18 minutes. This scene is from a fantasy project I have in the works called "The Curse of the Kalamar". The excerpt below is exactly how it's shared on the NaNo forum, unedited and a bit rough. I've since edited it.
        Alaina turned over and reached for Jarn, but the other side of the bed was vacant and cold. She pushed up onto her elbows and looked around. He stood at the foot of the bed with a secretive smile on his face barely revealed by the fire’s light.
        “Come on. I want to show you something,” he whispered. “But be quiet. We don’t want to wake the others.”
        She pulled her shift over her head then reached for her cloak.
        He stilled her hand. “You won’t need that. It’s warm outside.”
        “But I thought it was snowing.”
        “It’s passed. That’s what I want to show you.” He gave a light tug on her fingers. “Come on.”
        Alaina smiled and followed him on bare feet, her hand tucked in his. She glanced back at the others as Jarn opened the cabin door. They slept on undisturbed. She smiled then followed Jarn outside. She drew up short in surprise as he closed the door behind them.
        Not only had the snow stopped, it had melted away. Green grass stood almost knee high around the cabin. The leaves had already returned to the trees, green, rich, rustling faintly in a warm breeze that delicately touched her face. She closed her eyes and relished the feel of it.
        “Come on.”
        “There’s more?”
        “You’ll see.” He grinned boyishly. Something she’d never seen him do.
        A shiver of trepidation rippled to the surface. She hesitated as he stepped into the grass. He glanced back, freezing mid-stride.
        “What is it?”
        “I’m not sure.” She shook her head. “Maybe nothing.”
        “Well, come on then.” His grip tightened around her hand, but he didn’t pull. His smile remained warm.
        She nodded and stepped off the small porch. The grass felt warm and soft under her feet.
        He led her through the trees to a clearing before stepping to one side to unblock her view of the meadow. Her breath caught. Flowers of every color imaginable pointed their blooms toward the sun. The breeze created gentle waves like gentle ripples on a pond.
        “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
        He smiled, looked pleased with her response.
        Biting cold worked outward from her bones. The sun fell dark. Warmth faded. Colors disappeared, becoming various shades of gray. Alaina watched flowers give way to a floor of deep snow. Grass became snow drifts.
        He had vanished like a puff of smoke. She turned in place, shivering. No trace. Only one set of footprints led through the snow to the point where she stood. Hers.
        “Jarn?” She cried out and started back the way they had come. She couldn’t feel her feet. In fact, she realized with alarm that she couldn’t feel any of her extremities.
        She stumbled over something buried under the snow and collapsed.
I ended up writing the scene that immediately follows this one for the next day's prompt - 15th, word "prostrate". It worked perfectly. Both scenes have been edited and added to the book's file. What could be better than a game that's actually constructive?!?!  ;-)

Then there's this excerpt from one of my inspirational contemporary romances, with a working title of "Marrying Mr. Wright". 518 words in 12 minutes, written in response to the Word Prompt for Oct. 3rd - word was "art". Again, this is unedited and in rough draft form:

Ben watched Amber’s blue gaze travel the room. He mentally stepped back and looked at it, trying to see it through her eyes. It looked downright shabby actually. Paint had faded and was even peeling off the wall and trim in places. The furnishings were scarred and worn. Wood surfaces needed stripping, sanding and re-staining. Upholstery was unsalvageable, and he wasn’t even sure the furniture itself was worth keeping. Dust coated every surface. Dirt streaked the floors from doorway to doorway, marring carpet older than him.
He winced. Why hadn’t he noticed how bad the place looked? He wasn’t sure he even wanted to take a look at the outside of the house come morning light. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d even paid attention to the condition of things out there.
“I’m sorry about the house,” he said after a long silence.
“Why?” She stepped further into the room, her gaze on the mantle with peeling paint. Then she turned to him with a warm smile. “You said it needed work. This place looks to have great bones. All it needs is some TLC, and it could be a really nice place.”
Really? He looked around then shook his head. He had no idea what she was talking about. “You’re serious.”
“Of course, I am.”
Carrie and Heather came through the front door then stopped dead in their tracks, their gazes widening as they took in the room. He waited for the horror to manifest. Instead, they both grinned.
“Oh, boy, project!” A gleeful smile accompanied Carrie’s declaration.
“This place sure has a lot of potential,” Heather said, her gaze reflecting the same eagerness as those of her friends.
What was with these women? Any normal woman would take one look and run so far, so fast, she’d be at the Lodge in Yellowstone before a car could drive her there.
“Ben, there’s something you should know.” Amber crossed the room to stand in front of him. She waved a hand toward her friends with a grin. “What you see before you is a three-woman remodeling crew. We love to take rooms and buildings with good bones and bring out the potential in them. That’s how we’ve kept a roof over our heads all the way through college. I can’t tell you how many places we’ve remodeled over the last four years.”
“The last one made ten,” Carrie supplied.
“Really?” Ben’s eyebrows shot up.
“Yep. I do the art-related stuff such as paint choices, tile colors, carpet and the like. Carrie is our carpenter and tile worker. Heather is gifted with furnishings and spatial planning. And all three of us make one unbelievable demolition squad.” Her grin turned mischievous.
He wasn’t sure that was something to brag about, but he’d have to trust them on it. He couldn’t exactly rescind the offer to remodel his house. He’d have to back out of the engagement to do that. And he most definitely couldn’t do that. He wasn’t sure what consequences God would allow for such an act of disobedience, but he’d just as soon not find out.
There's no time limit on Word Prompts. You can take as little or as much time as you want. You can write as little or as much as you want, as long as you use the prompt in question. I haven't written them in order either. I didn't finally decide to try the Word Prompt games until the 16th of October. I've kept a running list of them and just mark them off as I do them.

So, WriMos, have you checked out the NaNo games? If so, what's YOUR favorite NaNo game?  If not, what's holding you back from giving them a shot?

BTW, as an unrelated aside, for those of you who liked my Introvert-related post, check out this video - The Value of Introverts and Extroverts.

No comments:

Post a Comment