WFMAD Day 15 – Better Late Than Never

I’m late. I know. I should probably hang my head in shame. But I’m not going to.

Our weekend was filled with camping with friends and then today we had some family stuff that took up most of the day, which was way longer than I thought it would.

I don’t regret one second.

There are some things that you probably don’t want to allow to interfere with your writing. Like game shows. Volunteering for things you don’t believe in. Hanging out at the mall because you’re bored.

But in my book, making time for family and friends is of the highest priority. And if you are fortunate enough to have great relationships with your family and friends, they’ll understand how important writing is to you and they’ll cut you a lot of slack when you need it.

Balance always sounds simpler than it is, I know, but it’s worth aiming for.

Housekeeping – We’ve made it halfway through the WFMAD Challenge (congratulations, btw!) and I imagine that a few of you have questions for me. Please post them in the Comments section and I will try to get to them in the next two weeks. Thank you!

Ready… “The writer must have a good imagination to begin with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding and revising.” Stephen King

Set… After you send me a question, you can turn off the Internet and phone

Today’s prompt:

1) Make a list of the five things that you or your character are most afraid of.

2) Circle the one that makes your heart race and palms sweat.

3) Write a scene in which you or your character has to confront the scary thing in a very public place – filled with people – so you (or the character) can’t freak out and run away screaming. You have to interact or avoid the scary thing, but in such a way that no one else will notice you are afraid.

4) Do all of the above without using the word “afraid,” “fear,” or “scared.” Show the emotion instead of telling the reader about it.


10 Replies to “WFMAD Day 15 – Better Late Than Never”

  1. Did this twice already this month–but will now go back and make sure the words “afraid” and “scared” aren’t in there. This is really effective, because if you are afraid or scared, you’re not thinking “fear” “scary.” Your mind is either blank or you’re dealing with whatever it is.

    Glad you had a good day away from writing–I took the morning off and went for a glider ride!!!

  2. Awesome way for a character to confront fears!! Harder to write though, considering you cannot have the character just run away. I will use this next time I have a character running from a fear.

    I actually have two questions:

    1. Where do ideas/inspirations from your stories come from? How do you get inspired to write?


    2. How are your chickens doing? 😀

  3. Two weeks down, halfway point, Yeah!! I’ve written every day except two: one that involved a bad headache, and the other that I didn’t get home ’til 10 p.m. (and it involved extended family time).

    So, what has WFMAD done? I don’t have (more of) a routine, because my work hours are different every day. I haven’t worked more on my novel, because I’m stuck in this third section where I don’t know what happens. But, the WFMAD has forced me back into my journal, posting on my blog, and just generally given me an excuse to write other things to help get the words going.

  4. I have to tell you, I appreciate that you care enough about strangers to encourage them to write. I am not a writer, nor do I ever think I will be, but I’ve enjoyed the motivation to poke around in the corners of my mind and see what happens. I came into the game late, but I’m already worried about what I’ll do when the month is over, and nobody will be there to give me prompts. So thanks, really, for doing this.

    Now my question – how guilty I feel when I don’t exactly follow your directions. Do you care, like a college professor, or is it okay if we break the rules of a given prompt, even just a little?

    Also, can you tell me how to stop loving italics so much?

  5. I, too, am running late today. I’m about to shut it all off and get in my writing for today. So far so good as far as the month’s concerned. I (personally) am on Day 16, and progress is being made!

  6. With all your writing projects going on, how in the world can you find time to give us prompts and encouragement? I am so impressed with your organization. I am a children’s librarian, just finished our Summer Reading Program. August is usually a laid back time for me. Never thought I would get enthused with a month-long writing commitment, after finishing two months of intensity, but I have. It’s been much easier since I realized that your blog gave us daily prompts. Before that, it was much harder to do it all by myself. Thanks.

  7. You lead a busy life but I get the feel it’s a happy life. The prompt is great but what if you’re greatest fears are a tie between ponies and teeth grinding *shudders*? I will try my best to write down a confrontation between my character and a tooth grinder.
    It will take place in a classroom setting! I can see it now. My character becomes tense and starts shaking. It continues. She starts tapping her feet. She nervously looks at the clock to see when she can get out of class and realizes there’s still a whole half an hour. Any normal person might just ask them to stop but the tooth grinding puts my character in a paralyzed state. The teacher asks her a question but she’s too tense to hear what it was. She carefully asks the teacher to repeat the question. She’s trying to breathe and stay calm but the person just keeps grinding their teeth.
    Okay, I think you get the point by now. Sort of got really into it.

  8. It was hard to think of emotional descriptive words. My character was afraid of a crowded cellar, but had to go into one because of a storm. She coped by letting everyone else go in first and sat on the steps by the door. Sweat poured from her forehead and down her back. She gritted her teeth as her body shuddered and her hands shook uncontrollably as she held on to the cellar door as walked down the steps.

  9. Dear PSPants,
    If you like prompts, when August is over, check out If you get ambitious and want to write a book, there’s a great, crazy writing community every November at

    Laurie’s been a great inspiration this month, but I have tailored her writing prompts, or ignored them altogether if something else was already burning to be written down, and she hasn’t fired me, yet! 🙂

  10. I’ve enjoyed being away from the computer and with my family in North Carolina. Truly, there is nothing better.
    And truly, I loved this exercise, even though I couldn’t do it on the actual day you posted it.
    Wrote for thirty minutes and used the prompt to lead me into a scene I’ve been meaning to write for my YA novel.
    So many fears are unspoken, yet through our reactions and behavior, our fears become known to others. And sometimes, we haven’t recognized exactly what we are afraid of ourselves.
    Thanks, Laurie, for caring about writing, for loving libraries and books, and for rooting for other writers.

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