Write 15 Minutes a Day Challenge (WFMAD) – Day Eight

My Beloved Husband tells me I yelled at one of my characters in my sleep last night, really hollered at the guy for being a two-faced SOB. I was relieved to find out it was one of the bad guys in my new book, not my protagonist. While I don’t remember the yelling dream, I do remember the dream in which every single person I met was an eighth grade English teacher.

Woke up very early this morning to water the garden because we’re going to have a disgustingly hot day. I’ve been using the rainwater we collected in four big barrels. Dragging pails of water all over the place is a sure-fire way to make your arms strong. We’re not connected to public water out here; all of the water we drink and use comes from a well. In the summertime, we try to conserve water whenever we can, hence the rain barrels.

I’m hoping for rain tonight or tomorrow.

A couple of people have written to me asking if they are allowed to link to my blog from their blog. Absolutely! The more, the merrier!

We’re now starting Week 2 of the WFMAD Challenge. Thank you for sharing your comments and updates. I’m really enjoying this.

As always: today’s goal: Write for 15 minutes (minimum).

Today’s mindset: fists clenched, ready to do battle.

Today’s prompt: conflict. In the last decade, I’ve critiqued a lot of manuscripts at writers’ conferences. They usually had lovely imagery and interesting characters, but many were lacking a solid core conflict. This is usually an issue in the early drafts of my books, too. My characters wander around the pages thinking deep thoughts, but not doing much. Once I get a clear sense of who they are, I have to throw them to the lions and see what they’re made of.

Today I’d like you to brainstorm five situations that pit one character against another. Freewrite about the one that makes your stomach tight. Keep the stakes high, but remember to let the characters’ actions convey a lot of meaning; don’t let them fill in the backstory in dialog. Hint: use strong verbs today – shy away from adverbs.


14 Replies to “Write 15 Minutes a Day Challenge (WFMAD) – Day Eight”

  1. WFMAD Challenge!

    Thank you for your post yesterday…I didn’t jump in as I was swamped at work and just skimmed my flist for the highlights. I did revert to type (lazy!) on the weekend — my big challenge for all things disciplinary — but I jumped back on last night. Have a great day — hope you get a nice drenching for your garden!

  2. To the lions!

    My MC spent the day yesterday gazing at the lions—boring stuff. Today, I’m tossing her right in the den. I’ve got to up the stakes for her and me. Thanks for the post. Keep cool!

  3. GREAT prompt!

    And your eighth grade teacher dream makes me smile because I just got my first job… teaching eighth grade English! Maybe I was in your dream, somewhere.

  4. Dreams are funny things, aren’t they? I have no idea if I yell in my sleep, but my husband does. And English isn’t his native language, so I never understand what the heck he’s saying.

    Put in a half-day today. Weeee!!


  5. wfmad for Jul. 8th

    I think that this wfmad stuff is helping me a lot with my writing. thanks for doing this!

    Today I believe that I have posted my best writing.

  6. HELP!

    I’m a huge fan as well as a writer. I’ve been so very close to getting an agent, etc., but recently, after ten years of constant writing, I can’t write a word, not even for fifteen minutes, and I have a wonderful first draft of a good book completed, but I’m stuck (really stuck!), and have been for quite some time now. I’m NOT stuck with my stories; I’m frozen as a writer. Any suggestions? There’s a part of me that wants to quit so badly, and there’s another part that just can’t let go. It’s terrible!!!

  7. We’re not connected to public water out here; all of the water we drink and use comes from a well.

    This fascinates me. Seriously. You should do a post some time explaining how your family lives– why you got a place out in the country, what you have to do for yourself, etc. I’d be nailed to my seat.

  8. It’s so great to get up every morning and read one of your pep talks for these fifteen minute exercises! I think lack of core conflict was the main issue in the first draft of my book too. It’s hard to get to know a character, I guess!

    I borrowed a copy of Weetzie Bat from the library and started reading it. It’s great! Fun wordplay with quirky characters. I can see why you love the author so much. Here’s hoping you get some rain!

  9. I’m so glad to hear you say your characters have wandered in search of a conflict. I suspect the reason I’ve completed one novel manuscript and will complete a second is because I was very clear about what the conflict was in each. For some reason, when I try to write a picture book, the conflict of the situation eludes me.

    Must mull this over.

  10. new WFMADer here 🙂

    Hello! I heard about your blog–and your challenge–by reading Sarah Dessen’s where she linked you. I got a late start, but I did write a ton this past Saturday, so I think maybe I made up for it? LOL!

    Just fifteen minutes a day – it feels so… manageable. Like a fun little task, rather than a chore of dredging up as much material as my muse and I can muster. And surprisingly easy, once I get going! It’s forcing out all those little scenes and ideas I’ve been mulling over and kept saying I would write them down “later.”

    Thank you for this fabulous task and idea!

  11. So nice to meet you at ALA!

    Just before the Newbery with Kevin Lewis!

    I love your hollyhocks but am partial to foxglove which I think would make the perfect cave for a fairy…

  12. Thanks for this idea. I posted about the water issues today. Our decision to live out here will take a longer post. Remind me if I don’t get to it by the end of the summer.

    By the way, I should be able to send you your copy of the new book in a few weeks. Thanks again for the help.

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