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December Challenge Day 6 (12 Minutes per Day) | #amwriting

Monday, December 7, 2020

She’d started drawing them as soon as she’d been able to hold a crayon. Rudimentary at first, then with more and more detail. By third grade, her skill at drawing the scenes in her head had her school talking to the foster agency about getting her into specialized classes or art lessons. But the foster agency was too overwhelmed to be able to pay that much attention to one little orphan girl.

It hadn’t been until college, when she’d taken a class on Industrial Revolution–era art in advertising and journalism that she’d realized what she’d been drawing her entire life: London in the 1850s.

Sometimes street scenes. Sometimes images from newspaper articles. Sometimes near identical advertisements for products she thought she’d made up.

But more often than any of those had been scenes from the most magnificent event of the mid-nineteenth century. The Great Exhibition.

Thinking she’d created an impossibly large and grandiose museum that could never have existed back when women wore long, bell-shaped dresses, as soon as she’d seen the first image from…

November Challenge Day 28 | #nanowrimo

Saturday, November 28, 2020

When he returned from the kitchen with the mugs of hot tea, he found her stretched out on the chaise end of the sectional sofa. She was wrapped in the blanket like a burrito, her pink-socked feet sticking out of the bottom like penguin flippers. He set the mugs on the coffee table and carefully sat down on the sofa beside her. She appeared to be sound asleep. Ever so gently, he stroked her hair back from her forehead, the skin of which was still cool from her misadventure outside in the snow.

November Challenge Day 25 | #nanowrimo

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

2. Every year at the stroke of midnight on November June 30, something important happens.

A watched watch watches the watcher.

And mocks her.

June 30 had finally come again. Eighteen hours until midnight. Seventeen and a half. At least work would be a distraction for the next several hours. She’d thought, dreamed, prepared for this day for twelve months. It had to work this time. She was certain she knew exactly how to make it work.

Meetings and projects and a client lunch helped five o’clock come sooner. At home, the preparation began. Off came the outward trappings of the advertising agency account executive. Away went the traces of makeup and modern artifice. The next few hours were dedicated to preparation. Layer by layer, piece by piece, pin by pin, she became herself—her real self. With chemise, drawers, corset, petticoats stockings, garters, shoes, she built her new foundation.

Mindful of the time, she sat at her desk and took up pen and stationery. There were so few people to say goodbye to. Fewer than last time she did this—in vain, as it turned out.

At eleven o’clock, anticipation zinging through her veins, she made the final steps of her preparation. Hair, dress, gloves, hat. Reticule full of antique jewelry. Nothing on her person made with modern materials. No contemporary money. No modern bobby pins or even hair spray. Nothing that might make things go wrong again.

She’d only been promised five chances. Tonight would be the final time. She needed to have gotten it right.

Fifteen minutes. Ten.

She gathered up her reticule, hat, shawl and went outside to wait.

Seven minutes. Four.

Three.

Two.

One.

As it had four times before, right at the very spot she’d initially made her wish on the stroke of midnight, the sky over her small back garden shimmered and then coalesced into a shimmering mist before her.

This was it.

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and stepped into the mystical fog.

November Challenge Day 22 | #nanowrimo

Sunday, November 22, 2020

4. Rewrite these characters into a fairytale.

Royal Navy Beauty & the Beast Retelling
When the Peace of Amiens goes into effect (1802), the admiral sends his young-adult daughters from Portugal back to family living in England aboard their Captain-brother’s ship. While at sea, a freak accident starts a fire in which the First Lieutenant, the son of an aristocratic family, is badly burned. Having spent a couple of years working as a nurse, the younger of the sisters cares for him while he’s out of his mind with pain and fever, developing strong feelings for him as they sail back toward England. Once the ship docks, they are parted—he to his family who can afford the best doctors, she to her family in the country.
 
A few years later, she still thinks about him occasionally—no more than once or twice a day. Upon her sister’s marriage, she moves to Portsmouth to live with her brother’s family and volunteer as a nurse at a convalescent home for sailors too gravely injured to return to sea. The hospice is a large estate outside Portsmouth owned by an aristocratic recluse. Upon her arrival, she is warned not to enter a certain part of the meandering, slightly renovated, medieval-era castle. Curiosity gets the best of her and she “wanders” through the forbidden door—where she finds her very own darling Beast, now scarred and scraggly, sullen, irascible . . . and scared to show his half-burned face to the world.

November Challenge Day 18 | #nanowrimo

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Writing Prompts

1. His or her high school cafeteria—but one thing is very different

2. Every year at the stroke of midnight on November 30, something important happens.

3. A character can not tell the truth, even when they want to.

4. Rewrite these characters into a fairytale.

5. There’s a legend of a buried treasure in Gossettville, and a scavenger hunt to find it every fall. H/Hn get teamed up to work together to “find it” (i.e., win the game).

6. Mac wakes up to find an animal in her apartment. What is it, what is here immediate reaction, and what does she do about/with it?

7. Mac daydreams about her dream job. What is the job and how does she feel about it?

8. Kars discovers he has supernatural powers and could heal his mother—but all magic comes with a(n equal and opposite) price. What is the price? What does he choose to do?

9. What is each character’s worst fear? Make them face it (or some version of it).

10. Each character has the worst day ever. Then they have dinner together. What happens at dinner?

11. Ripped from the headlines—use a headline as a prompt.

12. Drop a bomb—an unexpected kiss, arrival,departure, fight, etc.

13. A character from one of my character’s favorite TV show or movie suddenly shows up. What happens?

14. Character has his/her first-ever panic or anxiety attack. Why? How does he/she handle it?

15. Characters have to participate in an icebreaker game in a social setting. What game is it? What do they share about themselves? What do they learn about each other—not just through what is shared verbally.

16. Characters have to empty their school bags/pockets in front of each other. What’s there? How do they react to each other’s stuff and to the other seeing their stuff?

17. Mac secretly observes Kars dining at a restaurant. What does she learn about him?

18. Mac and Kars share their personal romantic histories with each other.

19. What regular habit/quirk does each do that annoys the other? How does each handle it?

20. Create three strong supporting characters for each lead.

21. Determine/create an antagonist for each main character.

22. Character has an epiphany (doesn’t need to be life changing). What is it and what does it change?

23. Create a Top 10 favorites list for each character.

24. A planned event is highly anticipated, but everything that can go wrong does.

25. Twenty questions—each must ask the other, each must answer honestly.

November Challenge Day 17 | #nanowrimo

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

I want to write so that it makes me FEEL the way I do from the “Avengers, assemble” scene through to the end of Endgame. I used to be able to write with emotion. But now it just feels dry and hollow. So I have to figure out how to tap into my emotions and feelings again and get it back into fictional characters so I can write the kinds of stories I love.

November Challenge Day 12 |#nanowrimo

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Mac set the bowl on the table in front of Mrs. R. As soon as her employer picked up her spoon, Mac returned to the stove where she could watch without being quite so obvious. Mac had never made chicken and dumplings before—and rarely had she ever cooked something with the recipe’s proprietor sitting across the room talking her through it from memory and peppering in anecdotes illustrating the importance of the dish to her family. Mac had never felt like both her job and home depended on getting one dish just right.

November Challenge Day 7 | #nanowrimo

Saturday, November 7, 2020

“Next time you come into work service”—the restaurant floor manager’s gaze ran the length of her disapprovingly—“lose the cosplay look.”

Mac swallowed back her feeling of embarrassed disappointment over the harsh tone. While her black pants and white shirt were nearly identical to every other server’s, she’d known her retro hair and makeup would stood out. But her unique style usually made people smile, not criticize.

November Challenge Day 6 | #nanowrimo

Saturday, November 7, 2020

It’s just a first draft, and the important thing is that I’m writing and shouldn’t be worrying about or even thinking about how pretty much everything I’ve written here so far will end up on the virtual editing room floor. Right now, I just need to let myself word vomit onto the page and wait to worry about the technical aspects of my writing until after I’ve written the ending!!!

November Challenge Day 5 | #nanowrimo

Friday, November 6, 2020

Something was happening. Mac struggled against the confusion and darkness and reached for the thing that seemed to be the root cause of the perturbance. A loud clatter brought her closer to a sense of reasonality. Forcing her concrete-laden lids open a crack, she rolled over, leaned over the side of the bed, and picked up the cellphone now creating even more ruckus by vibrating against the wood floor as the alarm continued to beep at her that it was time to get out of bed and become a productive human being again — or some semblance thereof.

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