Monthly Writing Prompt – November 2021

You stare out at the world around you. Fifty years ago, the landscape looked much different, felt different. You recall a conversation you had with someone yesterday about it, and if you look closely, you can still see traces of the world that once was. You think about what has changed, the decisions that led to this, and wonder. Was it worth it?

**Muse Stimulators**

-What year is it?
-Was the character alive fifty years ago?
-What has changed?
-What does the landscape look like now?
-Colors? Sounds? Smells?
-How does the character feel?
-Is this earth or another planet?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

#writingprompt #writing #writingcommunity

NaNoWriMo 2021!

Ready for an exhausting month? Day 1 begins today!

NaNoWriMo is a special time of year for writers. Daily word counts at least 1700 words! Hours devoted just to writing! Sound like a writers paradise?

It usually doesn’t quite go down that way.

NaNoWriMo can be a very rewarding time of the year for writers. The writing community is always super energized, and truly motivating and inspiring for me. It is why I formed Augusta Writer’s Critique Group and why I have chosen to devote more of my time and energy to writing and writers.

Although you will find many friends and colleagues in the writing community to cheer you on, family members and friends who don’t write may not understand why you’re suddenly not responding to their texts, passing on grabbing coffee or lunch, or shutting yourself up in a room all by yourself at night. So I recommend letting family and friends know that you’re going to be prioritizing your writing this month if you are planning to participate.

There may be some people who say that if you’re not officially signed up on the NaNoWriMo website and planning to write a new novel that you’re not really participating, or you’re not participating “correctly”.

Ignore those people.

NaNoWriMo is about prioritizing your writing to achieve the goals that have been on your “if I just had a month to myself” list for the last year (or longer). I cannot reiterate enough that just making time every day, even 10 minutes, is imbuing the spirit of NaNoWriMo.

So whether you’re a beginner writer wanting to start a new novel for the first time, a seasoned NaNo’er with a detailed plan and a library of lessons learned to help keep you on track, or if you’re like me, and you’re planning to edit the novel you wrote last year; NaNoWriMo is that time of the year where you can find someone to embark on this journey with you, and together create something truly magical.

Everyday for the month of November, I will be live streaming from my youtube channel for 10 minutes. I would love for you to share your writing journey with me in the comments everyday, and join me in devoting 10 minutes a day to writing. Check out my video below for more information.

Happy Writing!

~MJ

#NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo2021 #Writing #WritingCommunity

Media Writing Prompt | October 2021

What if you found an ancient sword in the middle of a lake? Watch this clip below:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-45763186

Now write a story or poem inspired by this clip. Let your creativity take you wherever it will or keep reading for muse stimulators if you would like suggestions.

Muse Stimulators:

  • Who was the original owner?
  • How did the sword get there?
  • Is the sword cursed or magical?
  • What is unique about this sword?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

#writingprompt #historyprompt #mediaprompt #writing

Monthly Writing Prompt – October 2021!

The edge of the platform begins at the tip of your toes. You stare down into a seemingly endless abyss. There’s a roaring sound in your ears. Goosebumps raise on your arms, and your heart races faster and faster. This is it. This is the moment. This is the moment your life changes forever.

**Muse Stimulators**

-What is the platform you’re standing on?
-Where is it?
-What is in the abyss?
-What is the roaring sound?
-Is there anyone else there?
-Is this a literal scene or a metaphorical one?
-What happens next?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Word Prompt | September 2021

Stimulate your Muse with this one-word prompt!

I recommend going somewhere quiet with your laptop or pen and paper and thinking about this word for at least 3 minutes.

Ambition

What images come to mind?

What emotions?

What memories?

What desires?

Now write.

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Monthly Writing Prompt – September 2021

What a better way to begin a new month than with a writing prompt? I hope you enjoy this one!

A song is playing. The rhythm tingles into your limbs, stirring emotions deep within. A memory springs up, a painful one. It weaves its way from a blurry whisper into a vivid imagining that feels so real you are transported back in time. Colors, smells, sounds, sensation. You wish the music would stop. 

***Muse Stimulators***

  • What song is playing?
  • What is painful about the memory?
    • Something that happened to the POV?
    • To someone else?
    • Something the POV did that they regret?
    • Something they lost?
  • What are the feelings the POV is experiencing?
  • What is the memory?
  • What does the POV choose to do next?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Monthly Writing Prompt – August 2021

Hello everyone! Here is another writing prompt to help stimulate your muse! Hope you enjoy!

***Writing Prompt***

There is red in the air. From every angle, it’s all that can be seen, or is just all that you can see? Beads of wet liquid are running down your skin. Your awareness pushes away from the vibrant red and opens to your other senses: Sounds, loud and distant, distinct, eery; a smell–it’s familiar, but you’re not sure why; emotions well inside your veins, calling you to action.

Muse Stimulators:


– What is the red in the air? Is it the sky? Ceiling? Something else? Is it the environment or a fixation of the POV?

– What is the wet liquid running down the POV’s skin? Is it sweat? Tears? Blood? Something else?

– What is the smell? Why is it familiar?

– What are the sounds? Are they soothing? Calming?

– What emotions are welling? Fear? excitement? Anxiety?

– What does the POV do next?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Monthly Writing Prompt – July 2021

It has been a really long time since I posted anything to this blog and a lot has taken place in that space but I am back and ready to put fingers to keyboard again!

I want to begin with something small: A writing prompt. I host a local writers critique group in my area called Augusta Writers Critique Group (AWCG). One of our events is simply me blasting out a monthly writing prompt to my 350+ members. Many of them have shared their responses with me for feedback and critique. I’m continuously blown away by what my group is able to accomplish, and how they are able to transform a few lines of muse stimulation into a moving and engaging narrative. I have enjoyed it so much.

The writing talent in my critique group is truly inspirational, and I’ve learned so much from interacting with them. My writing has drastically improved in ways that I never even realized that it needed to, but looking back at some of my manuscripts from before I began AWCG and comparing them to what I’ve written recently, it is clear how beneficial it has been. It’s truly a privilege and honor to be part of such an amazing community of writers.

With that said, I want to share those writing prompts and extend my experiences to my blogging family as well, so keep an eye out for monthly writing prompts that will be dropped every first Wednesday (or Thursday) of the new month. Here is the writing prompt for July:

July Writing Prompt

Your parents/guardians/caretakers are in the next room, their voices slightly muffled through the walls. You know they’re discussing you; the hushed tones are a dead giveaway. You’re not sure whether to laugh or cry at the implication of their words.

  • Muse Stimulators:

— Who is the POV?
— What are the parents/guardians/caretakers discussing?
— Was there an incident or is this a normal phase of life being discussed for the family and POV?
— What time period is this?
— How is the POV feeling? Sad, nervous, scared, proud, etc?
— What does the POV plan to do next?

*****

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Adding Art to Your Book

Most authors plan to have an elaborate cover for their book.  We’ve all heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but…. we all judge books by their covers, so making sure we have a good one for our own is at the top of our pre-publishing checklist.

What about art throughout the book though?

Children’s books, comics, graphic novels, etc will always have lots of art, but for all other categories of books, the art content varies and is usually optional.

Artwork in the book can add to the reader’s experience, or it can take away from it if done poorly.  Choosing to include art really depends on the experience you want the reader to have, just know that whichever you decide it will have a huge impact.

For Isle of Elandia, I’m mulling around the idea of breaking it down into episodes instead of one huge novel.  One of the things I’m considering is adding artwork to each episode.  To test it out, I commissioned UnknownArtist20 from Deviantart to create a character art of Farwen and her horse Inan.  She also recorded a speedpaint which you can view on her youtube channel here.

I’m in love with this image she created, and I’m excited to commission her again for more character drawings in the future.

farwen_and_inan__commission_by_unknownartist20_de2b4cs

Content – When To Cut

You’ve worked diligently on your manuscript for months, maybe years, every word is where it should be, all of your scenes written perfectly to tell the tale. Right?

Wrong.

As you go back through to tighten up your book, it’s natural to find a few things that don’t flow. Maybe an idea you weaved in that didn’t go anywhere. So you tweak, cut, rework. These things are not so hard to part with.

What about entire scenes? Or even plot lines? Or whole characters?

It turns out that the first version of my book, after several beta readers gave me feedback, did not have as cohesive an ending as I believed, and in order to correct this, I’m going to have to cut out and rework some sentimental material.

The main beta reader takeaways were: Too many characters to keep track of, the main characters are scattered all over the map by the end, there’s too strong of a cliffhanger for an ending, nothing is really accomplished, and it feels more like “part 1” instead of book 1.

Ouch.

I’ve done a lot of research into how to end a series book, and there are no hard fast rules. However, there is one overarching guideline: Accomplish something/ tie up a main plot point by the end, reader advised.

This has forced me to reconsider a lot of things that happen in my book, and I’ve come to realize that in situations like this, huge chunks of writing may need to go away. Forever.

Sometimes, especially if you’re writing a series, when you’re really attached to the cut material, you can move it elsewhere.  Sometimes in can be saved.

Other times, it just has to go.

“But that character I introduce there is really cool.” Or “that fight scene that happens because of x, y, z is super engaging!” Or “so much information is revealed here.”

I know. I get it. But how do these scenes contribute to the overarching goal of book 1 (or 2 or 3)? Are they really important, or is it fluff? Is it “look at my cool writing skillz”?  Or does it reveal too much at once?  Is it an infodump?

In my case, I think I can put most of what needs to be cut out in a future book, change some names, etc. Even if I can’t, I have to gulp down my sadness and start slashing and reworking because the end result will be worth it.

My book 1 will feel like a book 1, instead of a part 1. And to my readers who have to wait on book 2, that is an important gift to leave them with as an author:  The desire to know what happens next, but closure for the time they have invested.

To sum it up, as an author we need to come to terms with our purpose for writing.

Are we writing for ourselves?  Then keep all of your scenes exactly as they are.

Or are we writing to tell a story to other people, who will then want to share it with their friends?  Then we’re going to have to evaluate each scene, each plot line, each character, and do some cutting.

We’re all in this together.

Happy writing!

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