Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: November, 2013

Word Sprint Prompts for Week 3

Without further ado, the NaNoWordSprints prompts from the last week. Apparently, I’ve also inadvertently helped plan a wedding with my crazy prompts. However, I’m in no danger of quitting my day job to become a wedding planner. I think we’d all agree that the world will probably be better off with me doing research rather than messing around with other people’s big days.

November 14, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
Fight scene tropes and vocabulary words

  • Elevator action sequence, impavid, mabble (10 min)
  • Dog pile of doom, tophaceous, belgard (15 min)
  • Traintop battle, collocate, avaunt (30 min)
  • Doppelganger attack, delitescent, delirifacient (20 min)
  • Mud wrestling, duende, runagate (15 min)

November 15, 10:00pm-1:30am (UTC -7)
The Matrix

  • Characters must make a decision (10 min)
  • A character has a near brush with death (20 min)
  • How do you define real? (30 min)
  • Training time (10 min)
  • Letting go of fear, doubt, and disbelief (20 min)
  • Someone already knows what’s going to happen (30 min)
  • It’s a trap! (15 min)
  • Getting a second wind (15 min)
  • Antagonists make a run for it (10 min)

November 16, 10:15am-12:15pm (UTC -7)

  • Wax figures (10 min)
  • Well-crafted sundial (30 min)
  • Fertility cures (10 min)
  • Taxidermy tea party (15 min)
  • Mummy in the cupboard (25 min)

November 16, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
Fairy tale tropes

  • The bell of justice (10 min)
  • Flood myths (15 min)
  • Golden fowls (30 min)
  • Blood brothers (10 min)
  • Old, older, and oldest (25 min)
  • Magic books/grimoires (10 min)
  • The name of the helper (15 min)
  • Playing dead (30 min)
  • Love like salt (15 min)
  • Thunderbolts (20 min)

November 17, 11:00am-1:00pm (UTC -7)
Soap opera tropes

  • Screaming matches (10 min)
  • Filthy rich characters (15 min)
  • Someone gets thrown in a pool (30 min)
  • Ridiculously larger than life character (15 min)
  • So bad…it’s good (20 min)

November 17, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
Night of Writing Dangerously – Noir

  • A dark foreboding atmosphere (10 min)
  • Femme fatale (15 min)
  • MacGuffin (30 min)
  • Uniform/costume (15 min)
  • Chanteuse/singer (20 min)
  • Organized crime (10 min)
  • Henchmen (30 min)
  • Flashbacks (15 min)
  • Corruption (15 min)
  • Ambiguity (20 min)

November 18, 6:30pm-7:30pm (UTC -7)
Samba school names

  • Baby from Matilde Village (10 min)
  • Sparrowhawks of the Faithful (30 min)
  • Golden Roses (5 min)

November 18, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
Explosion tropes

  • Gas leak (10 min)
  • Explosive instrumentation (15 min)
  • Outrun the fireball (30 min)
  • Pyrotechnics (10 min)
  • Grilling accident (10 min)
  • A whole planet blows up (10 min)

November 19, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
Battleship/cat breeds/awful things at weddings mashup

  • HMS Agamemnon/Devon Rex/bridesmaid or groomsman is MIA (3 x 5 min)
  • The Justice/Maine Coon/a guest gets a horrible allergic reaction from the food (15 min)
  • HMS Implacable/Turkish Van/the best man says something inappropriate during the toast (30 min)
  • The Charlemagne/York Chocolate Cat/mother-in-law wears atrocious outfit to your big day (10 min)
  • HMS Agincourt/Persian/flower girl refuses to walk down the aisle (15 min)
  • HMS Vengeance/Munchkin/drink spilled on wedding dress (10 min)
  • The Bismark/Ragamuffin/unexpected force of nature threatens outdoor event (15 min)
  • The Potemkin/Abyssinian/lots of unexpected guests show up (20 min)
  • USS Maine/Tonkinese/drunk guest makes a scene (30 min)
  • The Mikasa/Exotic shorthair/phone rings during ceremony (15 min)

November 20, 9:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
Moby Dick

  • Friendly stranger (15 min)
  • The other characters talk about an absent character (20 min)
  • Mysterious figures/foreshadowing (30 min)
  • Captain, prosthesis, fear (10 min)
  • The true purpose of something is revealed (15 min)
  • Revenge (20 min)
  • Dangerous but not malicious (10 min)
  • Chase/pursuit (10 min)

Word Sprint Prompts for Week 2

So here they are, the prompts I posted on NaNoWordSprints in the past week.

* * *

November 7, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC -7)
Ridiculous band names

  • Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of Death (10 min)
  • People With Chairs Up Their Noses (15 min)
  • Zombies Under Stress (20 min)
  • The Yams from Outer Space (30 min)
  • Tupperware Death (15 min)
  • Weird Skull Control (5 min)
  • New Squids on the Dock (30 min)
  • Goldfish Don’t Bounce (10 min)

November 8, 9:00pm-1:00am (UTC -7)
Things to see on Route 66

  • Chicago, IL (Windy City) – include a windy scene (10 min)
  • Springfield, IL (Civil War) – include a fight scene (15 min)
  • St. Louis, MO (McKinley Bridge) – include a river or bridge (30 min)
  • Joplin, MO (Bonnie and Clyde’s camera) – criminal doings and photographs (15 min)
  • Kansas (11 miles) – the number eleven (20 min)
  • Tulsa, OK (Tornado Alley) – include a disaster (30 min)
  • Amarillo, TX (caves) – include a scene that happens underground (15 min)
  • Glenrio, TX/MN (ghost town) – include something abandoned (15 min)
  • Mohave Desert – dry, no water, cactus, hot (20 min)
  • Santa Monica, CA – beach, sun, sand, crazy tourists (10 min)

November 9, 2:00pm-3:30pm (UTC -7)
The Fates

  • Three, spinners, mythical (8 min)
  • The past (15 min)
  • Death, battle/fight scene, loss (30 min)
  • The future (10 min)

November 9, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC -7)
“The Tempest” and “Troilus and Cressida” quote mashup

  • I have had my labour for my travail/This music crept by me upon the waters (3 x 5 min)
  • Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back/Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises (30 min)
  • Full fathom five thy father lies/A great-siz’d monster of ingratitudes (10 min)
  • Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail/Of his bones are coral made (15 min)
  • Flout ’em and scout ’em/And, like a dew-drop from the lion’s mane (5 min)
  • There I couch when owls do cry/Observe degree, priority, and place (30 min)
  • Spirits to enforce, art to enchant/Take but degree away, untune that string (20 min)
  • In a cowslip’s bell I lie/The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance (20 min)
  • What seest thou else in the dark backward and abysm of time?/Nay, her foot speaks (15 min)

November 10, 3:00pm-4:00pm (UTC -7)

  • Describe the interior of a room that looks like it belongs to a hoarder (10 min)
  • Describe the exterior of a building (15 min)
  • Describe a meal (10 min)
  • Describe a character (8 min)

November 10, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)

  • Uncle, miser, money bin, anything Scottish (10 min)
  • Secrets, love, card games (30 min)
  • Mask, evil twin, royalty (15 min)
  • Beans, accountant, robots, heroes (20 min)
  • Use the song you’re listening to/favorite song as inspiration (10 min)
  • A shadow/doppelganger/identity thief/twin who does bad things (10 min)
  • Wisdom or lack thereof (20 min)
  • Genie, wishes, magic lamp, booby traps (30 min)
  • Amnesia, forgetfulness, headaches, brain trauma (15 min)
  • A person or package gets accidentally sent somewhere other than its intended destination (20 min)

November 11, 9:30am-11:00am (UTC -7)

  • Cake, bad singing, ice cream, party hats, candles (15 min)
  • Guests, clowns, magician, dinner, invitations (30 min)
  • Coming of age, sweet sixteen, debut, majority, thread (10 min)
  • (Unbirthdays) Mad, tea, rabbit/hare, dormouse, mercury poisoning (10 min)

November 11, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC -7)
Mesopotamian mythological monsters

  • Ugallu, the Big Weather Beast – lion, dagger, bird feet, gate (20 min)
  • Kusarikku, the Bull-Man – evil eye, bull, bucket, mountains, intruders (20 min)
  • Kulullu, the Fish-Man – mermaid/merman, prosperity, benevolence, intercession, compliance (30 min)
  • Lahmu, the Hairy One – hairy, beard, protection, red, sash (25 min)
  • Girtablullu, the Scorpion Man – a warning (15 min)
  • Mushussu, the Furious Snake – someone who is angry (10 min)
  • Urdimmu, the Mad Lion – someone crazy or sick (15 min)

November 12, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)

  • Paperclip (10 min)
  • Lock and key (30 min)
  • A dangerous obstacle (15 min)
  • Can’t find what they’re looking for (20 min)
  • A high pressure situation (10 min)

November 13, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
Chase scene tropes

  • Blind alley (10 min)
  • Getting lost in the crowd (30 min)
  • Elevator (10 min)
  • Fruit (stand) (15 min)
  • Mirrors/reflections (20 min)
  • Crashing (30 min)
  • Sprained ankles/broken heels/injuries (15 min)

Word Sprint Prompts for Week 1

For those of you who have done some sprints with me on NaNoWordSprints, you know that I like to do prompt themes for each session. I like coming up with the themes, but mostly this is to keep me from repeating myself. Otherwise, I’d be constantly tweeting, “And the prompt is ninjas!” which wouldn’t be helpful at all unless you were writing a novel about ninjas.

I’m archiving all the prompts I’m doing this year on this blog. This way, if you miss a session and/or need prompts to motivate yourself, you can take these for your own use. I’m also still looking for prompt themes so if you have an idea, you can leave the suggestion in the comments.

* * *

October 31, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC -7)

  • Hallowed Dreams (5 min)
  • Queen’s Logic (10 min)
  • Silent Witness (25 min)
  • Footsteps in the Sand (15 min)
  • Cobweb (15 min)
  • Tom Fool (12 min)
  • Blue Train (15 min)
  • Better Than Ever (15 min)
  • Combat (12 min)

November 2, 8:00pm-1:00am (UTC -7)
Food superstitions

  • Eating peanuts before a performance is bad luck. (5 min)
  • If you stick pins into a small onion and keep it on a windowsill, it dispels bad spirits from your house. (10 min)
  • If the grape is sweet, that particular month will be a good one. If it’s sour, it’s going to be a bad month. (30 min)
  • Never bring bananas on a ship–the boat will never catch any fish or, worse, get lost at sea. (15 min)
  • Finding two yolks in an egg means you’re having twins. (10 min)
  • Throw salt over your left shoulder to blind the devil (15 min)
  • Long noodles symbolize a long life. (30 min)
  • Undissolved sugar in your tea means someone is in love with you. (10 min)
  • Handing a hot pepper to your friend will bring discord to your relationship. (25 min)
  • Garlic wards off vampires. (30 min)
  • You may find the devil sitting on your uncrossed loaf of bread. (5 min)
  • Pour your own pot of tea because it’s bad luck to share. (10 min)

November 3, 10:30am-1:00pm (UTC -7)
Parts of first lines from gothic novels

  • “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.” – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (20 min)
  • “I have just returned from a visit to my landlord.” – Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (15 min)
  • “…but train was an hour late.” – Dracula by Bram Stoker (30 min)
  • “You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement…” – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (15 min)
  • “Is it the Ghost?” – The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (20 min)

November 3, 6:00pm-9:00pm (UTC -7)
Childhood terrors

  • The dark (10 min)
  • Loud, strange noises (30 min)
  • The monster under the bed (15 min)
  • Brussels sprouts (15 min)
  • Separation anxiety (20 min)
  • Clowns (30 min)
  • Cooties (15 min)

November 4, 6:00pm-7:30pm (UTC -7)

  • A salesman sells one of your characters a lemon/something that doesn’t work. (5 min)
  • Your character gets served a scam disguised as a scary, official-looking package/phone call/person. (15 min)
  • A character lies about their feelings. And there are consequences. (30 min)
  • Your character receives something anticipated but it’s not as expected. (10 min)

November 4, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
BBC Horizon documentary titles

  • Inside Chernobyl’s Sarcophagus (10 min)
  • The Secret World of Pain (15 min)
  • Back from the Dead (20 min)
  • The Truth about Looking Young (30 min)
  • What Really Killed the Dinosaurs (20 min)

November 5, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
1980s arcade and computer games

  • Pac-Man: Include a villain with a ridiculous name. (10 min)
  • Donkey Kong: Barrels, barrels, everywhere. (20 min)
  • Frogger: One of your characters gets hit by something or jumps into something without looking. (30 min)
  • Tetris: block, gravity, spin. (3 x 5 min)
  • Asteroids: Include an object that disappears and reappears in a random location. (20 min)
  • Space Invaders: Include a dream sequence. (20 min)
  • Q*bert: Something previously accomplished gets completely undone. (30 min)
  • Super Mario: A character eats a mushroom and interesting things happen. (10 min)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Explain the origin of something in your story. (15 min)

November 6, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -7)
Montana towns (with population as word count goals)

  • Dodson – fair, longest running – 124 (5 min)
  • Fort Peck – swimming, boating, fishing – 233 (10 min)
  • Lodge Grass – misnamed, greasy – 428 (20 min)
  • Eureka – eureka, epiphany, Christmas trees – 1037 (30 min)
  • Hot Springs – bar, hot springs, cell phones, middle of nowhere – 544 (15 min)
  • Wibaux – oil boom, brawl, drunks – 589 (15 min)

What’s Up on the NaNo Front

*As a participant: On the noveling front, I’m keeping up with the word count. The story itself feels like it’s going slowly. But it may be because I’m just getting into it. Hopefully the plot will start snowballing once the month progresses.

*As an ML: It’s at times frustrating or fun. No one has showed up to any of the Hamilton write-ins so far but plenty of people have showed up in Missoula. I know there are people in Hamilton who are doing NaNoWriMo. I’ve talked to them. But I suspect they’re all writing their novels during their lunch breaks and forgoing the actual write-ins.

*As a mentor: I’m mentoring several “newbies” or first year NaNoWriMo participants online. I’m pretty excited about this year’s batch because they seem pretty enthusiastic and making excellent progress on their novels so far. In previous years, a lot of the newbies were all talk and no action.

*As a sprint leader: So I’ve been leading sprints on NaNoWordSprints again this year and it’s been a blast. I think the best part for me is seeing everyone’s incredible word counts after I’ve led a sprint session. Also, I have some exciting prompt themes lined up. But I won’t be repeating any themes from last year (except for the fairy tale one)–so if you’re a sprint leader reading this, those themes are totally up for grabs! You can take a look of all of my previous prompts here.

Strange Labyrinth

Redsun Labyrinth, Victor, MT (October 26, 2013)