Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

This week, I wanted to help spark some creativity for those who may be suffering from the dreaded Mid-NaNo slump. Hopefully, this prompt will get you started up again! Hang in there! You can do it. 🙂

You find yourself sitting at your desk, watching the cursor on your computer blink over and over again. With each blink, your eyes become more heavy and soon you fall asleep. Moments later, you awake to find yourself not sitting at your desk, but in a strange land. Describe where you are, who you meet, and how you try to get home (if you even want to, that is..).

I just want to remind everyone that if you have a writing prompt you wish to share here for Writing Prompt Wednesday, please send them to me at thestoryinme (at) gmail dot com. Don’t forget to include your name and blog address so I can give you credit!

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First off, I’d like to apologize for my absence these past couple of weeks. After NaNoWriMo started last Tuesday, I’ve been so focused on getting a good lead that at the end of the day, I couldn’t even imagine writing blog posts haha.  So how am I doing so far with my word count? Well, for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter (but why aren’t you? Hmm?), here’s my progress report:

As of November 12th, I have written over 50,026 words. Yes, that’s right. I’m already finished with NaNoWriMo.  If you remember my failed attempt at doing this last year, you’ll realize how much of an accomplishment that is to me. To finish this major writing even in a little over a week and a half is mind-blowing to me.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how I managed to complete NaNo so quickly this year, but for today, I just wanted to say hi and let you all know that I did it. I showed the ones who doubted me that they were wrong about me and for those who did believe in me, well, I did it. 🙂  Before I did NaNo this year, I’m not sure if I would have suggested any other writer to do it, but now I think everyone should experience it.  I learned a lot about who I am as a writer and that it is possible to write 50,000 words so soon. It is possible to get that far with enough determination and support.

For my NaNoWriMo buddies (you know who you are), I’d just like to thank you all for the awesome support and encouragement that you have given me. There were times when I would hit a small wall and want to give up because it seemed like such a huge task, but you never let me. You all picked me up and told me to keep going. I’m not sure I would have done this without all of the support I have received. So thank you for that. For those who are still working on getting to that 50k finish line, just know that I’ll be there cheering you on! You can do it.

It is awfully nice at the finish line.  Very comfy and relaxing haha. Although I wish there some cookies or something….

If you’re still working on NaNoWriMo, comment below with how you’re doing.  If you need any encouragement, well, I’m  here haha.

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With Halloween only a few weeks away, I wanted to do something special on this blog. It is my favorite holiday after all. Why? Because it’s the one day of the year where I can put on zombie make up and not be looked at too weird haha.

So, I was thinking about doing another blog fest, but this time, make it something very spooky in celebration of Halloween. I did a short story blog fest over a year ago and it was a huge success so I thought why not bring it back? I know that NaNoWriMo is fast approaching as well, but this won’t be too time consuming. I promise. I’m also prepping up for NaNoWriMo and working on another novel. So here’s the blog fest info:

It’s called “A Spooktacular Halloween Short Blog Fest.” For this, I want you to find a picture of anything that is spooky or reminds you of Halloween (or October if you prefer). After you find a photo, I want you to write a short story and use that photo as inspiration. The story doesn’t have to be very long. The short story I did for my blog fest last year was only 1,044 words and two pages long. I’m not going to put a word or page count to this. Use your best judgment. Write as much as you want. For those participating in NaNoWriMo, this could help spark some other creativity for you and get those juices flowing for the next day. 🙂 Post your story on your blog with your photo (make sure to give credit to that photo if you got it off the internet) and leave a link to my blog so people can check out other stories written by other participants. I’ll leave links to those participants in another post.

So think of the best spooky short story you can (bring out those zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc). Sign up below and make sure to spread the word so we can make this the best blog fest it can be! Who doesn’t like spooky stories on Halloween?

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Yesterday, I completely forgot to post part 4 of my serial story, The Painter. So here it is a day late. Sorry about that. Enjoy! Keep letting me know what you think if this is your first time reading it. You can also let me know what you think if it’s not your first time haha. That’s up to you. If you have missed parts 1-3, search for The Painter on the search bar on the right hand column.

Part 4

As soon as I walked in, I noticed the house was quiet. It was too quiet.  I wondered what my parents were going to say about my absence. In my hurry to catch up with Sal, I didn’t leave a note. My mom was probably having an anxiety attack.
The kitchen was brightly lit when I entered. My parents were standing around the sink, yelling at each other.  They were so engrossed in pointing fingers at each other that they never saw me standing there.
“It’s not like Ella to just go somewhere without leaving a note, Walter,” my mother said. “What if something bad has happened?”
“Like what, Laura?” my father asked. “I doubt she was kidnapped.”
My mother began to protest again, gesturing widely out the kitchen window, talking about how I was probably lying in a ditch somewhere. I knew that this was the time to step in.
“I think you’re over reacting just a little,” I said, causing both of my parents to whirl around.
The look on my mother’s face said it all. She let out a long breath and pulled me into her arms.
“We’ve been so worried about you! Where have you been? Didn’t you think to leave us a note? Haven’t we taught you anything?”
Her stream of questions didn’t stop until I pulled away. “I’m fine. I just went for a walk out into the woods. I didn’t know I would be gone for so long.”
“Going out into the woods at this time of night is dangerous!” my father shouted. “What were you thinking?”
I shrugged, not wanting to tell them the real reason I went out there. They would think he was some kind of old pervert and wouldn’t let me out of the house ever again.  It’s best to just keep that one quiet.
They stood there, waiting for me to explain myself, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. I sighed, wondering what to do.
“I just got tired of being cooped up in this house. I’m sorry if I made you worry. It won’t happen again.”
“You’ve got that right because the next time something like this happens, you won’t leave the house until you graduate college. You hear me?” my father asked, his face turning red with built up anger.
I nodded and that ended the conversation. My father went into the living room and I heard the television turn on. My mother stood at the sink, still staring out the window.  I could tell she was deep in thought and didn’t want to be disturbed.
Luckily, the next day was Saturday and I could relax without having to go to school.  My plan was to stay on my mom’s good side and help her around the house so I could sneak outside that evening to meet with Sal.  I had to know what was in that cottage. There had to be some significance.
That evening, I told my parents I was going to do some homework and get to bed early. To my relief, they nodded and didn’t say another word. I locked my bedroom door and climbed out of my window. All of my years of climbing trees paid off as I landed onto my feet.
Sal was waiting for me at the lake. Two easels stood before him and he motioned for me to take my place in front of one.
“What am I supposed to do?” I asked as he started handing me paint supplies. I looked at them like they were some kind of tools from another planet.
“I want you to paint.” He looked at me like it was that obvious.
Sal started swiping the brush onto his white canvas. I watched him for a few minutes as he started to create some other world I had never seen before. “Well, what do I paint?” I asked, staring at my still blank canvas.
“Anything you want.  Just let the brush do the work.”
I did exactly that. My hand took control and I stood there for an hour just painting these bright colors onto the canvas.  When I finished, I stood back and looked at the finished product. My heart sank as I started to criticize everything about it. The lake looked more dreary than magical. The sunset was very bland and had none of the colors I saw with my own eyes.
“Do you know what you did wrong?” Sal asked, wiping the paint off his hands.
I shook my head, feeling a knot forming in my throat. I was a failure and a disappointment. I couldn’t paint a lake and a sunset. How did he expect me to do what he did?
“You painted with your head instead of your heart. That’s where you went wrong. But, don’t worry, Ella. You will get there in time.”
Sal’s painting was beautiful. The world he created sparkled and felt so real. I almost wanted to jump right into the canvas and live there.
“I don’t think I can paint like you, Sal.”
He patted my shoulder and smiled. “Yes, you can. I have no doubt that you will learn.”
Sal led the way back to that mysterious cottage in the woods. He set his battered suitcase down on the ground and brought out his hand.
“We will leave your painting here for safe keeping.”
My head raced with thoughts of what was inside that house.  “Can I come inside?” I asked, hoping for a positive answer.
Sal’s face turned grim and he shook his head. “It’s not time for you to see,” he said. “It’s not my place to share.”
“Whose place is it then?”
He merely shook his head again and shuffled his feet inside, shutting me out. I tried to peer through the windows, but they were too grimy from years of not being cleaned. This cottage has been sitting here unoccupied for years.
When Sal came back out, I asked him about the cottage again. Sal sighed and closed his eyes. He sat down on the steps and rubbed his frail arms.
“You’ll have to ask her.”

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If you missed part 1 or 2, click here. I hope you enjoy the continuation of my serial story, The Painter, a story I decided to bring back for everyone! Let me know what you think.

Part 3

“Why do you paint out here? What is this place?”
My question lingered in the air for a few moments as Sal dabbed his brush into the multi colored palette. He looked at his painting with his head cocked to the left, tapping the tip of the paint brush on his hand.
The look in his dark brown eyes was almost one of love. He cleared his throat and swiped some more paint onto the canvas with professional ease.
I wondered if my question was ever going to be answered or if I was going to stand there, looking like an uncomfortable idiot. The sun was beginning to dip down lower behind the dark trees in the distance, casting an eeriness around us.
“That is an interesting question, you know,” he finally said. “You should take a look around you for the answer. I’m not sure I know the words.” Sal smirked.
I did what he told me to do. It all looked like a normal lake surrounded by a wooded area. Sure, it looked pretty  with the sun setting in front of it, but I didn’t see the magical quality I think he saw.  When I told him what I saw, he scoffed and shook his head hard.
“You’re not a painter, that’s why!” he exclaimed, never taking his eyes off of his canvas. “But you will be.” Sal slid his eyes towards me and smiled. The wrinkles around his mouth becoming more evident. “I think there is hope for you, Ella McCormack.”
I’m certainly glad someone thinks so, I thought. For the next hour, I sat there on a bench beside the easel. I sat there, just watching Sal paint like a madman. It was almost  like he was driven to finish this painting before it got too dark.
As he finished up what he was working on, he chattered about his life in Mexico as a child and how much he loved it in Oregon.
“This place is the definition of peaceful art,” Sal said, wiping his brush clean on a paint splattered cloth. “This is where I was truly meant to be.”
“Why do you say that?”
He shrugged his bony shoulders and started putting away his supplies.  “One day, you’ll start to appreciate life for what it really is,” he said. “It took me awhile to open my eyes and see the beauty around me.”
I stood by him and looked at the painting he had created. I had never seen anything like it.  The colors of the night sky looked more real than what I could see above me. The lake had taken on a personality of it’s own. It felt like it was alive. It was mesmerizing.
Sal took the painting and his suitcase, walking  back into the woods.  I followed quickly behind, my feet moving almost automatically.  We were both silent as we walked. I had no idea where we were going. Were we going back to our houses? What was he going to do with that painting?
When we got to the part where the woods separated and instinctively I started going straight. Instead of following me, Sal went left, and I stopped in my tracks. Where was this old guy going?
I didn’t have to walk too fast to catch up with his slow steps.  I wasn’t even sure why I was following my strange painting neighbor into some unknown part of the woods.  I asked him where we were going and he waved his hands to dismiss the question. Realization was starting to hit me that Sal could be a man of few words sometimes.  I glanced at my watch and saw that it was almost 8 o’clock. My parents would be home soon and I wasn’t sure  how they would respond to the reason behind my absence. Glancing at Sal, I could tell he was deep in his own thoughts.  I wondered what he was thinking about. What kind of things went on in his artistic mind? Whatever it was, it was probably very colorful, I thought with a smirk.
Right at that moment, Sal turned and I was soon looking at a small white cottage. It looked like it belonged there among the tall trees and wildlife growing nearby. Sal walked up to the door and retrieved a small key from his pocket. Once he opened the door, I started to follow but  he stopped and turned to me.
“Stay out here. I don’t want you to see what is inside.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but  he shut the door in my face. What was that about? I sat down on the wooden steps and crossed my arms in front of my chest.  The darkness was spreading through the woods and I began to get scared. Maybe I should not have came all the way out here. I should have stayed home where it was safe and well-lit.
My heart began to pound in fear and I kept turning my head to see all around me. The shadows were beginning to play tricks on my eyes. With every sound, fear clutched at my throat. A bird cawed in the distance and I jumped up to my feet.
“Calm down,” Sal said, behind me, causing me to whirl around. “Nothing is going to get you out here.’
The painting was gone and instead, he clutched a glowing lantern.  “We should probably get you home. Your parents will worry.”
I let Sal lead the way home. We made it there in record time. Sal didn’t talk the whole way. There were so many questions I still had for him, but I didn’t know how to ask.  As soon as I saw my parent’s car in the driveway, my heart sank. This was not good.
Sal smiled and walked to his backdoor. This was my last chance to find something out.
“I see potential in you, Ella,” he said. “Meet me tomorrow evening and I will teach you all you need to know.”
“About what?”
He smiled. “I’m a painter. What do you think?
With that, he disappeared. Now, I was left to go inside and face my parents. I took a deep breath and opened the door. Here goes nothing…

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Photo by Peter Miller

For this week’s Writing Prompt Wednesday, take a look at the photo above. Try and figure out a story based on what you see.  Either plot it out or write a short story based on that setting. Why are you there? Who are you with if anyone? How did you get there? Where are you? What happens? Also make sure to use your senses (touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste) in that story.

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Staying Focused

Thanks to all who sent in their answers to the question in my previous post which was “If you were attacked by a zombie and didn’t have a “conventional” weapon handy, which non-conventional weapon would you use?” You can still answer it if you haven’t yet. Maybe I’ll use a few suggestions in my current zombie apocalyptic novel.

So, I have to be honest here. This past weekend, I didn’t write. At all. I think I may have typed a sentence or two but nothing worth making note of. Am I disappointed in myself? Perhaps a little, but I’ve realized something. Even writers need days off.. sometimes weekends off. I’m not the kind of writer who is able to write all day, every day. I’d fry my brain. If you are one of those writers who can continuously write without a lot of breaks, well, I respect you. Haha.

But here’s the thing. Whether or not, I’m writing, I’m always thinking about my story. My characters are always running around in my head, sometimes chasing zombies. I think of what to do with them next, where to take them, who they see, etc. It’s not like I’m not “working” on the book. I’m just not physically writing it.

I read a book recently and it had a chapter about creativity and sometimes losing it. It said that there will be times when your creativity need a little break. It can be over worked too. That’s when you take a step back and get some clarity. Stay focused but don’t beat yourself up if you stumble a bit.

We shouldn’t rush the process. Writing a book is like a marathon and shouldn’t be treated like a sprint. Take your time if you have to but keep moving. Take time to enjoy the scenery and the process. Remain focused on the finish line because we can all get there. It just takes time, but I’m sure it’s worth it.

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