Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: December, 2015

The Holiday Ghost Story Challenge

After reading this article on the tradition of telling ghost stories during Christmas, I was inspired to come up with a writing challenge for December. Sure, I’m still trying to finish this year’s NaNoWriMo novel, but I also wanted a break to do something fun. So why not try my hand at writing a ghost story?

The challenge is this: write a holiday ghost story/winter-themed creepy story (all up to your own interpretation) and post it somewhere (like a blog or website) by December 24. If you think you’d like to try your hand at this, let me know (either in the comments or by email) where you’ve posted your story by December 24, 11:59 PM Pacific Time and I’ll post a link to it on December 25.

And if you don’t want to post your story anywhere for whatever reason, that’s cool, too. It’s a writing challenge, not a posting challenge. The whole aim of this is to have fun and not to stress yourself out.

Of course I’m planning on doing the challenge myself since I came up with it. I’ll post my short story here on this blog, warts and all (well, with at least one run-through with spellcheck) for your reading pleasure or ridicule on Christmas Eve.

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November 2015: All of My NaNoWordSprints Prompts

 

Yeah, November was crazy. There was a lot of things I did, but most of the documentation on this blog fell to the wayside in favor of getting other things done. I managed to finish another year with a 50k NaNoWriMo win. This year went better since I had a plan this time (unlike last year which was pantsed). There were a lot of cool things I did such as The Great Train Escape and the Night of Writing Dangerously which I might end up writing about later. And then there were the not so great things that happened during November which was documented copiously on my personal feed on Twitter but I won’t bother rehashing here.

Anyways, I’ve decided to do one giant post with all the prompts I used for @NaNoWordSprints this November. And here they are:

November 5, 5:00am-7:00am (UTC -8)
Zombie Sprints

  • Brains (10 min)
  • Reanimated (20 min)
  • Technically living (30 min)
  • Infection (10 min)
  • Incongruously dressed (20 min)

November 5, 9:00am-10:00am (UTC -8)
Ghost Sprinting

  • Fluttering (10 min)
  • Clanking (15 min)
  • Floating (15 min)

November 5, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -8)
Lab Sprints

  • Mixture (10 min)
  • Burning things down (30 min)
  • Not following directions (20 min)
  • Unexpected results (10 min)
  • Running out of time (20 min)

November 8, 8:00am-9:30am (UTC -8)
Vampire Cafe Sprints

  • Hiding (10 min)
  • Pointy things (20 min)
  • Dramatic entrance (15 min)
  • Allergic to sunlight (20 min)

November 8, 10:00pm-3:00am (UTC -8)
Picture Prompts

  • Going nuts/squirrel (10 min)
  • Strange rock formations (20 min)
  • Spiny (30 min)
  • Fortress (10 min)
  • A garden visitor (20 min)
  • Idyllic/explosions (30 min)
  • Library (10 min)
  • Fungus (20 min)
  • Parachute (30 min)
  • Wasteland (10 min)
  • Talkative/parrot (20 min)
  • A path towards the unknown (20 min)

November 9, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -8)
Doublets

  • Far and wide (10 min)
  • Flesh and blood (20 min)
  • Fast and loose (30 min)
  • Fine and dandy (10 min)
  • Fire and brimstone (20 min)

November 10, 11:30am-12:30pm (UTC -8)
Transgenic Plot Bunnies

  • Sudden outburst (10 min)
  • Minion, cute, diabolical (20 min)
  • Kiss, time rip (10 min)

November 10, 10:00pm-12:30am (UTC -8)
Plot Bunny Convention

  • Epic high note (10 min)
  • Clumsy feet (20 min)
  • Absolute destruction (30 min)
  • Sparkly things (10 min)
  • Midnight assignations (20 min)
  • Fortune smiles, imposter (20 min)

November 11, 1:00pm-2:00pm (UTC -8)
Meow Sprints

  • Running around (10 min)
  • Knocking things over (10 min)
  • Tearing up the house (20 min)

November 11, 10:15pm-12:00am (UTC -8)
Party Sprints

  • Gift (10 min)
  • Cake (20 min)
  • Going completely overboard (30 min)
  • Surprise (20 min)

November 12, 10:00pm-2:00am (UTC -8)
Idioms

  • To steal someone’s thunder (10 min)
  • Through thick and thin (20 min)
  • Whole nine yards (30 min)
  • Under the weather (10 min)
  • Spill the beans (20 min)
  • Add insult to injury (30 min)
  • At the drop of a hat (10 min)
  • Back to the drawing board (20 min)
  • Drastic times call for drastic measures (30 min)
  • Hear it on the grapevine (10 min)

November 13, 6:15am-8:30am (UTC -8)
The Great Train Escape, Part 1

  • Speeding along (10 min)
  • Coastal scrub (20 min)
  • Golden hills (30 min)
  • Palm trees (10 min)
  • Clustered houses (30 min)
  • Road signs (20 min)

November 13, 11:00am-12:00pm (UTC -8)
The Great Train Escape, Part 2

  • Tunnels (15 min)
  • Accidental announcement (10 min)
  • Reservations (15 min)

November 13, 8:00pm-8:30pm (UTC -8)
The Great Train Escape, Part 3

  • In the dark (25 min)

November 15, 6:00pm-10:00pm (UTC -8)
Night of Writing Dangerously

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November 16, 1:00pm-3:00pm (UTC -8)
Airport Sprints at SFO

  • Overpriced food (10 min)
  • Long lines (10 min)
  • Gates (30 min)
  • Travelers (10 min)
  • Lost things (30 min)

November 16, 6:30pm-9:00pm (UTC -8)
Pizza Party

  • Platform (10 min)
  • Pizza-faced (20 min)
  • Licorice pizza (30 min)
  • Road pizza (10 min)
  • Party (15 min)
  • The pizza effect (30 min)

November 17, 9:30am-10:00am (UTC -8)
Wombat and the SprintMaster5000

  • No touching allowed (20 min)

November 17, 12:10pm-1:00pm (UTC -8)
Wombat and the Plot is Right

  • A new car (15 min)
  • Mixer (20 min)

November 17, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -8)
Rain

  • As right as rain (10 min)
  • Come rain or shine (20 min)
  • Rain check (30 min)
  • It never rains but it pours (10 min)
  • Come in out of the rain (20 min)

November 18, 9:15am-10:00am (UTC -8)
Ghost Sprints Again

  • Slamming doors (10 min)
  • Wind chimes that don’t work (20 min)

November 18, 1:00pm-3:00pm (UTC -8)
Nature, November 12, 2015 Issue

  • A breath of fresh air (10 min)
  • A path through the thicket (10 min)
  • Up close and personalized (30 min)
  • Irked by naivety (10 min)
  • Deadly combination (30 min)

November 18, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -8)
Science, November 13, 2015 Issue

  • Breaking the waves (10 min)
  • Moveable feast (10 min)
  • Fire down below (30 min)
  • Not guilty as charged (10 min)
  • Leaping into the unknown (10 min)
  • Mind meets machine (15 min)

November 19, 9:15am-10:00am (UTC -8)
Numbers Station

  • As the crow flies (10 min)
  • Black as a raven (20 min)

November 19, 9:00pm-12:00am (UTC -8)
Cat Idioms

  • Scaredy cat (10 min)
  • Cats on a hot tin roof (20 min)
  • Be the cat’s whiskers (10 min)
  • Bell the cat (30 min)
  • Let the cat out of the bag (20 min)
  • A cat among the pigeons (5 min)
  • The cat’s pajamas (10 min)
  • Cat and mouse game (30 min)

November 20, 10:00am-3:00pm (UTC -8)
Villain Tropes

  • 0% approval rating (10 min)
  • Adorable minions (10 min)
  • Aliens and monsters (30 min)
  • Amoral attorney (15 min)
  • Angry guard dog (20 min)
  • Corruption (30 min)
  • Creepy child (10 min)
  • Culture police (10 min)
  • Creepy doll (30 min)
  • Criminals (10 min)
  • Deadly doctor (10 min)
  • Diplomatic impunity (20 min)
  • Dirty coward (20 min)

November 20, 10:00pm-12:00pm (UTC -8)
Sherlock Sprints from Series 3

  • Convoluted theory (10 min)
  • Jump out of a cake (20 min)
  • Finding a goldfish (30 min)
  • High functioning sociopath (10 min)
  • Speechless (20 min)
  • Eggy chair (30 min)
  • Dancing (10 min)
  • Something in the punch (10 min)

November 21, 7:00am-11:00am (UTC -8)
Books Published in 2000

  • The tipping point (15 min)
  • Storm front (10 min)
  • Plain truth (30 min)
  • Tell no one (10 min)
  • Running blind (15 min)
  • Deadly decisions (30 min)
  • From the corner of his eye (15 min)
  • Dark victory (10 min)
  • Without reservations (30 min)
  • The wish list (10 min)

November 21, 9:00pm-12:00am (UTC -8)
Rhyming Doubles

  • High and dry (10 min)
  • Five and dime (10 min)
  • Near and dear (20 min)
  • Nitty gritty (20 min)
  • Stash and dash (30 min)
  • Wear and tear (30 min)
  • Rough and tough (20 min)

November 22, 9:00am-11:00am (UTC -8)
Things Vampires Ordinarily Wouldn’t Do

  • Hang gliding (10 min)
  • Braving the crowds at a sock sale (20 min)
  • Attending a contentious panel on Batman vs. Superman (30 min)
  • Parallel parking (10 min)
  • Taking care of a pet iguana (20 min)

November 22, 2:30pm-4:30pm (UTC -8)
IKEA

  • No parking (10 min)
  • Meatballs (20 min)
  • Designed furniture (30 min)
  • Strange names (10 min)
  • One way (20 min)

November 22, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -8)
Wombat and the Fortune Cookies

  • Today it’s up to you to create the peacefulness you long for (10 min)
  • A friend asks only for your time not your money (20 min)
  • If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it (30 min)
  • A smile is your passport into the hearts of others (10 min)
  • Your high-minded principles spell success (20 min)

November 23, 3:30pm-5:00pm (UTC -8)
Fortune Cookies from an Alternate Universe

  • Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now (10 min)
  • Change can hurt, but it leads a path to something better (20 min)
  • Enjoy the good luck a companion brings you (30 min)
  • People are naturally attracted to you (5 min)

November 23, 9:00pm-11:30pm (UTC -8)
Picard Sprints (Star Trek: Next Generation Episode Titles)

  • The last outpost (10 min)
  • Coming of age (20 min)
  • Heart of glory (30 min)
  • Lonely among us (10 min)
  • Where no one has gone before (20 min)

November 24, 9:00pm-11:00pm (UTC -8)
Doge

  • Wide awake (10 min)
  • Flower child (20 min)
  • Fighting (30 min)
  • Trick or treat (10 min)
  • Shady deals (20 min)

November 26, 9:30am-1:30pm (UTC -8)
Hiding and Secrets

  • Go into hiding (10 min)
  • Like a thief in the night (20 min)
  • Hide a multitude of sins (30 min)
  • Off the record (10 min)
  • Play hide and seek (20 min)
  • Spill the beans (30 min)
  • Hide your head in the sand (15 min)
  • Dark horse (20 min)
  • Cover your tracks (30 min)

November 26, 10:00pm-2:00am (UTC -8)
Images from Google Street View

  • Eating a banana (10 min)
  • Pigeons in the park (20 min)
  • A marriage proposal (30 min)
  • Stuck in a gate (10 min)
  • On fire (20 min)
  • Invasion (30 min)
  • Bear chasing (10 min)
  • A strange thing in the middle of the woods (20 min)
  • Scuba (5 min)
  • Fight (30 min)

November 27, 6:00pm-8:30pm (UTC -8)
The Evil Kitchenware Catalog Edition

  • An angled potato ricer (10 min)
  • Snowmen marshmallows handcrafted in Belgium (20 min)
  • A ceramic rolling pin (30 min)
  • EvilSmart waffle maker (10 min)
  • Gourmet whipper (15 min)
  • The night apron (30 min)

November 28, 10:30pm-2:00am (UTC -8)
Tarot/Romance Tropes

  • Amnesia (10 min)
  • Disguise (20 min)
  • Opposites attract (30 min)
  • Revenge (5 min)
  • Mistaken identity (15 min)
  • Blackmail (30 min)
  • Kidnapped (10 min)
  • On the rocks (10 min)
  • Redemption (30 min)

November 29, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC -8)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

  • Mostly harmless (10 min)
  • A long dark teatime of the soul (30 min)
  • Something that makes a lot of people angry and is widely regarded as a bad move (15 min)
  • Someone learns a big secret (20 min)
  • Restoring normality (15 min)