What the WFMAD Day is it? Day 10 maybe?

Thanks to all the kind souls who gently pointed out that I got my days messed up last week. This is August the 10th (June the 71st for some) so we’ve been working on the Write Fifteen Minutes a Day Challenge for ten days now. Only 21 days to go.

I spent all day and half the night Saturday staining the cedar boards for the exterior of my writing cottage. Yesterday, we finally took a fun day at the Sterling Renaissance Festival.

Yes, turkey legs were devoured.

And there was much kissing and making of the merry. Huzzah!


Today’s advice: "
I write in order to attain that feeling of tension relieved and function achieved which a cow enjoys on giving milk. " H.L. Mencken


Today’s prompt: I’m going to give you a magic phrase. Write about whatever that phrase conjures up for either you or a character.

Imagine you (or your character) are alone …. at night. You select the setting. Think about your (character’s) emotional state BEFORE you scroll down to the phrase. Visualize what you are wearing, what is feels to wear that. What can you hear? Smell? Magnify your emotional state, ramp it up. Why are you feeling this way?

Do you have all these details in mind? Has the dog been let out, kids are busy, phone and email are turned off?

Then you can scroll down for your phrase….


Keep scrolling……

Almost there!………….

Magic phrase = HEAT LIGHTNING


WFMAD Day 8 – Daring to dream big

Thank you, Chicago Tribune, for the lovely review of The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School!

I’m off on an adventure this morning, one that will absolutely stoke my dreams. What are you doing to feed your dreams this month?


Today’s advice:
You won’t do it, unless you dream it first.


Today’s prompt: There are two parts to this one. Indulge yourself and write for more than fifteen minutes!

Part 1: What crazy, ridiculous huge life-changing thing would you do if you were guaranteed it would be successful?

Part 2: What crazy, ridiculous huge life-changing thing would your character do if s/he were guaranteed it would be successful? What fear is holding her/him back from trying? Show the tension between the character’s dream and fear in a scene with a person who brings out the worst in your character.


WFMAD Day 7 – blueberries with Laurie

Summer Saturday mornings are the perfect time for Proustian reminiscing and free association. I had blueberries for breakfast, which made me think about the awesome book Blueberries for Sal (thank you, Penguin, for reissuing it) which made me think about eating blueberries for breakfast with my children in Maine, which made me think about the breakfasts I ate as a child.

Is writing easy?

I know it’s been a week, and it’s summer, and you will have even more excuses than usual about why you can’t write this weekend. And the truth? You don’t have to. No one is forcing you to do this, not even me. But if you are serious about your writing, you need to show up and do the work. No excuses.

Is writing hard?


Today’s advice:
"We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us." Marcel Proust


Today’s prompt: Write about a particular breakfast you ate as a child. You probably can remember your breakfasts in general, so start there and develop the memory with a little fictional flair so you wind up with a detailed, nuanced scene. Write it in picture book or novel format.


WFMAD Day 7 – with help from the Creature With Fangs

Congratulations to everyone who has made it this far in our Write Fifteen Minutes A  Day Challenge! You are well on your way to developing a habit that will bring you joy for many years.

(Don’t know what we’re talking about? Read this post. Yes, you can join late – the more, the merrier!)

Some research indicates that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. If you started WFMAD seven days ago, you are already one-third of the way there.

Before we start writing, I’d like everyone in the Forest to sing "Happy Birthday!" to my awesome niece Tiffany who turns 18 years old today!!!!

::waits while confetti settles…. steals another piece of cake while waiting::

Well done!


Today’s advice:
This comes courtesy of Dave Matthews. (BH and I saw him in concert on Tuesday night.) In the song, Lying In The Hands of God, he sings, "Now the floor is the ceiling. If you never flew, why would you, cut the wings off a butterfly? Fly…."


Today’s prompt: This comes courtesy of my Creature With Fangs. My husband was trying to repair our dishwasher this morning. He had to stick his head into the maw of the machine to change a worn gasket. Our dog decided to help the best way she knew how, by licking the back of his head. He shooed her away and resumed his task. She tried to "help" again. And again.

This got me thinking about perspective. Hence, today’s prompt.

Take a scene you’ve already written. It should have two characters in some kind of conflict, or one character struggling with something. (If you don’t want to use your own WIP for this, take a scene from the book you are reading right now.)

Insert an animal into the scene and rewrite it from the animal’s POV. The goal is for you to see the scene from a fresh perspective, one that is wildly different from that of the human characters. For my taste, I’d say avoid all lolcats cutesiness, but if it makes you happy, go for it. Just make sure that the POV of your critter narrator is strong, fresh, and convincing.


WFMAD Day 6 – Meet Your Character

Busy day here, so I’ll keep things simple.


Today’s advice:
This comes from my favorite mystery writer, Elizabeth George. "Writing has to be important to you. A lot of writing is simply showing up and doing the work day after day."


Today’s prompt: Write a detailed personals ad for your character. It can be a character in your work-in-progress or someone you make up on the spot. Start with the physical description. Use details from the description as jumping off points to explore the history or life of the character. For example, Where did that scar on her calf come from? Is she still angry about it? Has she ever thought of turning it into a tattoo? What would it look like? Who in her life would it scandalize? Etc., etc…..