Friday, February 12, 2016

We're wolves/Werewolves

The Writing Prompt for today is:   We're wolves/Werewolves


We're wolves/Werewolves

You do not have to be the best. You just have to be.

That is what Johnny had said to me. He held his guitar tight, strap hanging from his shoulder. Behind him, the crowd was roaring, anticipating the man they held so dear took the stage. He put a hand on my shoulder.

"You understand, kid?" His voice was full of gravel when he spoke, amazingly it was still clear and audible over the noise from the audience.

"Yeah," I shook my head. I understood but not really. He was at the top of his game, the apex. I, on the other hand, was nothing. A peon with a dream. And not much else.

"Kid, listen to me," his grip on my shoulder tightened. "You need to trust me, trust the music. Have a little faith. Not just faith like God or heaven. Faith in yourself. You can play, you can burn the strings. I have seen and heard it. You just got to believe."

I felt my eyes welling up. I suddenly hated him. Sure he had faith, multi-million dollar career, hundreds of hit songs, thousands maybe millions of fans. Faith for him was easy. Something that a new kid like me would never have.

He shook me back. "Come on, you are going to knock their socks off." He released me from his grip and took a half step toward the curtain. From the other side I heard the announcer say his name and the crowded roared back. Deafening. He saw my hesitation.

"I don't think I can Johnny, I just can't," I struggled to hold back tears. This was my moment, the dream and here he was handing it to me. The gulf I could not cross that first step. "I.."

He interrupted me. "Dammit kid, you play better than me, this crowd is going to be amazed. Come on, I will be right next to you." He waved for me to follow. "Come on."

My foot lifted and it took every ounce of strength but it landed on the other side. I had taken the step. Johnny threw back the curtain and the lights suddenly blinded me, the crowd roaring approval. The announcer said his name again, but this time my name followed his. The crowd exploded.

Johnny turned back to me one last time, a broad smile across his face.

"Come on kid. We are the wolves."

.   .   .


This story was written in about nine minutes. A day late is better than never, correct?
Word count: 405

About the 8 Minute Writing Prompt:
The 8MWH is a habit forming program where your aim is to simply write something for eight minutes straight each day, over time this will become a habit. The goal is to provide practice with writing and thus make you a better writer who can put words on paper easier. I plan on posting a short phrase and image each day in the morning and later that evening posting my story. Due to the time limit these will often be incomplete or possibly even suck. 
If you would like to join me, post wherever you like and add #8MWH to your post. Please remember that your stories can be about anything and the writing prompt may be a title, a phrase in the story, or heck, not even used at all in the story. It is meant to serve as nothing more than an inspiration.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sometimes Avocados Go Bad

The Writing Prompt for today is:   Sometimes Avocados Go Bad


Sometimes Avocados Go Bad
Roger Daggett Saturdays desk, his legs propped up, and watch the Sun move across the wall at the pace of a snail. He had been in the same position for three hours waiting for his first client of the day. He was a detective, at least that's what he called it. Everyone else would call him a private investigator, some maybe even going so far as to say a private dick. He of course hated that, dick implying some sort of sexual reference. Investigator seemed a little awkward. He didn't do much investigating, but he did do a good deal of detective work.

Today he was waiting for a Mrs Elizabeth Butterfield. Another in a long line of unhappy wives with husbands that like to do a little exploring with their dick. She had called two days ago and sounded rather distressed. She had set up the appointment for ten o'clock this morning. So far she was a no show and he was getting impatient, and a little hungry.

Just as his patience was about to completely run thin a knock sounded at his door. Trying to compose himself, he stood up and straighten his suit. The he pulled open the door. Outside was a lovely young lady, perfect in shape and with a beautiful smile. He stressed "Good morning" and motioned for her to enter the room and take a seat.

He crossed back to his seat and sat down. He gave her the customary warming smile. "So what's bothering you ma'am and how can I help you?"

She said for a moment and stared at him. Her eyes studied his face. She carried on in this fashion long enough that he began to feel a little uncomfortable. Just as he was about to open up and say something, she spoke.

"As I said on the phone it's my husband. I don't think he's faithful anymore and I want him gone." Her tone was flat, serious, and lacking all emotion. She didn't reached inside of her purse and pulled out something in a clear ziplock bag and place it on his desk.

Roger could see the .45 inside the bag but he did not move to touch the bag. "Gone," he asked.

.   .   .


This story was written in about seven minutes.
Word count: 373

About the 8 Minute Writing Prompt:
The 8MWH is a habit forming program where your aim is to simply write something for eight minutes straight each day, over time this will become a habit. The goal is to provide practice with writing and thus make you a better writer who can put words on paper easier. I plan on posting a short phrase and image each day in the morning and later that evening posting my story. Due to the time limit these will often be incomplete or possibly even suck. 
If you would like to join me, post wherever you like and add #8MWH to your post. Please remember that your stories can be about anything and the writing prompt may be a title, a phrase in the story, or heck, not even used at all in the story. It is meant to serve as nothing more than an inspiration.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

OD&D, B/X, WhiteBox Alternative Magic System

This is an idea I am around toying with and hope to put through some play testing soon. One complaint I hear, and understand, is that OD&D magic systems suck. Yes, I agree they do, but how to make them better? I propose a basic spell, a foundation that sets up what a basic spell can do. This requires a little bit of 'freeform' creativity, but do not let that scare you away. I feel this approach is perfectly acceptable considering the amount of freedom and flexibility the early games provided the GM and players.

A basic spell sets up the basic powers or limits of a spell and we will build upon this as we calculate the 'cost' of a spell. A Magic-User would be required to make a successful Saving Throw (ST) to successfully cast their spell as they desired. A spell configured at the basic level requires a ST roll equal to the current ST for the caster.

Basic spell Calculation:
Die effect (Power?): d6 (or modifier to target's Saving Throw)
Range: 10 yards/meter
Duration: 1 round (or instantaneous)
Area of effect: 1 target (equal to one person's mass, could also use Hit Dice)

Casters would use their ST as a target to roll or beat, plus or minus an applicable ability bonus. If the roll is a failure the spell is not cast, GMs can have them simply fizzle out or come up with some crazy DCC style spell failure table if they like a little gonzo in their game.
Example: Bryan wants to cast a fireball. His St is 15 and he has a +1 bonus to his roll from his Intelligence. He needs to roll a 14, plus his +1 modifier, to cast his fireball spell successfully. If he is successful, his fireball goes 10 yards, does d6 damage to one target, and lasts just this one round.
But how to cast more powerful spells? We use what I am called "steps". Each attribute above for the spell is a baseline that we can raise in steps to increase the power of a spell, but this increases the difficulty. Raise the Die effect of a spell to 2d6? That costs a -1 to your roll. Increase the range to 20 yards? That costs a -1 to your roll. Want the effect to last longer, say 2 rounds? That is a -1 to your roll. For simplicity, keep the ST the same and apply all modifiers to the die roll.

Each step effectively doubles the previous level. In other words, Die effect ladder is d6, 2d6, 4d6, 8d6. Range ladder is 10 yards, 20 yards, 40 yards, 80 yards. Duration ladder is 1 round, 2 rounds, 4 rounds, 8 rounds. Etc, etc. I am still debating on this as this doubling might cause magic to become extremely powerful...it requires a good deal of play testing. I may decide to use a more simple step such as d6, 2d6, 3d6, 4d6, etc. My main problem I have with this concerns the duration, many spells last longer than 1 round but jumping from 1 round to 1 turn is a massive jump, combine that with a d6 spell and you have a seriously major kickass spell. I will need to think on this more.
Example: Bryan is desperate and needs his fireball to really pack a punch. He Decides to raise the damage to 2d6. Now he will need to roll a 15 ( ST:15 -1 (die effect) +1 Int modifier).
If a magic-user wants to offset some of these steps, they can trade hit points on a one for one basis to reduce these step modifiers. Even if the spell fails, these HP are lost until recovered naturally through rest.
Example: Bryan's battle is going badly and he needs a strong spell to turn the tables. He bumps his fireball spell up to 8d6, that incurs a -3 modifier to his roll but he also wants it to hit all four of the enemies before him, bumping the AoE up to 4 and incurring another -3 for a total of -6 on his roll. He would need to roll a natural 20 to succeed (natural 20s are always a success). Not thinking Lady Luck is on his side, he opts to cough up 5 Hit Points, nearly all of his 7 HP, and rolls the dice. He needs a 15 on the roll to cast it successfully.
Magic-Users can also reduce the ST number to successfully cast a spell by using this method (instead of reducing the negative modifiers). Every HP 'spent' would reduce the ST by one.

Using Saving Throws produces a naturally progressive increase in the mage's ability. Offering up the chance to cast spells more frequently, offset by the chance of failure, puts the Magic-User on the same footing as a Fighter. Both now have a change to hit or do something each round but both have a chance at success and a chance at failure.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

There is a Crack in Everything

The Writing Prompt for today is:   There is a Crack in Everything


There is a Crack in Everything

In my world, you see, everything has a crack.

At first you don't see them. At first you see the world normal, likely how you are seeing it right now. After you see them, after your eyes are open, you will never see it the same.

I had been twenty-one at the time I spotted my first crack. I was in college and enjoying that first-time-legal excitement. My friends Mike and Shawn spent the evening as my chauffeurs and exposing me to his many taverns as they could. It was a cool, dark evening in the empty downtown and hardly anyone was on the streets.

After the third tavern, and well into inebriation, I had spotted the crack down the street. It started as a light that shimmered in the distance but the longer I looked at it and sharper in the focus it became. I ignored the experience. When we left the tavern an hour later, the crack was gone. I forgot about the crack until a week later when I spotted another one.

As I was clear of mind for the second sighting I decided to investigate. I turned down a side alley that lay between two brick buildings from the turn of the 20th century. The alley had garbage laying in heaps and piles along both walls. Running 30 feet up the right side wall was the crack. Just like before, when I had thought I was imagining it, the crack appeared to give off faint light. As I watched, the crack grew in length, spreading like a spider's web up the building. I heard a soft thump and the crack began emanated a shimmering light.

That was when I noticed the movement. Something was on the other side of the crack moving in and out of the light. It wasn't so much that the light was shimmering but something was behind the crack.

Something...alive.
.   .   .


This story was written in about seven minutes. A little short but it came fast and easily. I stopped early as it seemed like a solid stopping point.
Word count: 319

About the 8 Minute Writing Prompt:
The 8MWH is a habit forming program where your aim is to simply write something for eight minutes straight each day, over time this will become a habit. The goal is to provide practice with writing and thus make you a better writer who can put words on paper easier. I plan on posting a short phrase and image each day in the morning and later that evening posting my story. Due to the time limit these will often be incomplete or possibly even suck. 
If you would like to join me, post wherever you like and add #8MWH to your post. Please remember that your stories can be about anything and the writing prompt may be a title, a phrase in the story, or heck, not even used at all in the story. It is meant to serve as nothing more than an inspiration.

Monday, February 8, 2016

RDKMTTSHF*


* Kudos to +Chuck Thorin who inspired the above

Failed maps


So I wanted to make a map for an upcoming WWII game and I played around, ended up not liking the map and finishing it anyway. I posted it Google+ and have received some pretty nice comments for a map I considered crappy. I thought I would post it over here since I have been posting a good deal of writing but little mapping. Life has gotten away from me recently, I am hoping to get it back under control soon but we will have to wait and see.

Above is the black and white version that I made from the color version below. I prefer the b&w version, finny how you have to color something to create the b&w version, eh?



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Losing my Religion

The Writing Prompt for today is:   Losing my Religion
Losing my Religion
There been an explosion of violence and everything went black, a flash of light and then complete black. The noise, like the roar of a train tearing through the years in blocking out the rest of the world around him.

Sergeant Rogers had been standing before him, telling a story about a baseball game back home, the Yankees taking the field, etc. Milo had been on his right smoking a cigarette and laughing at every word Rogers said. On his left was Smitty, the kid who wasn't very smart but knew the ropes when it came to warfare. Rogers was animated telling his tail and the lieutenant let him tell the story knowing it would bolster morale.

It is been a rough month for the boys in Bravo Company guarding the front line from bunker 143. They had lost nearly one-third of their boys in the last week. The week before that another four had gone down. Now it was just those eleven boys, men really, guarding the front line.

Baker came to, blinking his eyes as he realized he wasn't dead. The world was blurry. His ears were ringing and every noise sounded like a distant echo inside of a metal box. Shouts of anger, pain and confusion echoed around him. He opened his mouth but only a dry cracking sound came forth. Something heavy had fallen on him and he pushed it away. It was heavy but soft and covered in something wet and wool. He struggled for a few moments before he was able to push the weight off of his body.

Instinctively his hand reached out through blurred vision and found Milos shoulder. It too was strangely wet, but he shook it hoping to find some sort of stability and foundation in a world that had suddenly gone crazy. His voice cracked again as he spoke, “Milo…buddy?”

He blinked his eyes and some of his vision returned. His hand was on Milo’s shoulder but the rest of Milo was gone. Not understanding, he looked back to what had landed on top of him a moment before. The remains of Sergeant Rogers was now a mangled piece of flesh.

His training kicked in and he found his rifle, quickly snatching it up and checking the internal mechanisms and making sure it was functional. A quick look to his left and he knew Smitty was no longer with him either. Smitty no longer had his left arm and both legs below the kneecap were missing. Small puddles of blood formed at the end of each stump, pumping in ever weakening sprays of gore.

Baker turned to the left and then right looking both directions down the trench. Faint white smoke drifted up around him. A crater had appeared on the opposite side of the trench, a deep gash of violence cut into the earth. It suddenly hit him what had happened. A mortar round landed behind Sergeant Rogers and destroyed the entire platoon. Sergeant Rogers had given his life acting as a shield and protecting Baker from the shrapnel and the explosion. 



.   .   .


This story was written in about eight minutes, some editing to correct errors and fix punctuation. This one felt rushed as I tried to squeeze in details yet move the story along. I wanted more emotional pull when it was revealed that the SGT had given his life to protect the only person on the squad that lived.
Word count: 524

About the 8 Minute Writing Prompt:
The 8MWH is a habit forming program where your aim is to simply write something for eight minutes straight each day, over time this will become a habit. The goal is to provide practice with writing and thus make you a better writer who can put words on paper easier. I plan on posting a short phrase and image each day in the morning and later that evening posting my story. Due to the time limit these will often be incomplete or possibly even suck. 
If you would like to join me, post wherever you like and add #8MWH to your post. Please remember that your stories can be about anything and the writing prompt may be a title, a phrase in the story, or heck, not even used at all in the story. It is meant to serve as nothing more than an inspiration.

Dirk Derringer, Episode 13 (originally written 30 June 2015)


I landed in a heap of wet, sloppy garbage. I went headfirst and my head submerged in fetid and foul smelling sewer water. I popped up for air and surveyed the small chamber. I began to dread my decision to cast caution to the wind and leap into darkness.

I immediately changed my mind when Kyra plummeted out of the tunnel and landed in my arms, nary a scratch. Her momentum pushed me back into the water again and for a brief moment we held each other in the sludge.

“Gross!” She pulled back, stood, and then attempted to escape atop on of a garbage piles that stacked up along the walls. She began to flick bits of this and that that had stuck to her uniform. “Oh gross, gross, gross.”

I laughed. She gave me a stern look and I thought it best to explore the small metal rectangle we had found ourselves inside. Minutes later it was clear we were in a completely sealed rectangle of steel. I stood in the center scratching my head.

“Look at the water,” Kyra said from atop her pile. I looked to where she pointed and could see the water moving. “A drain?”

“Not sure,” I started digging around under the surface of the water. It was gross, I’m not going to lie. Really gross. I moved a few pieces of garbage - something that looked like a four foot metal birdcage, a wad of something that looked like the intestines of the Garfurd beast from Alpha Minor, and a toilet seat. The water began to drain into a dark portal set into one of the four steel walls. I turned to Kyra. “Great job, I would never have thought to look at the water.”

She made her way down her pile and with great caution and trepidation lowered her feet back into the slime and goo. “Ugh, please just get me out of here.”

“No problem!” I said and plowed through the brown water into the portal. The portal connected to a large round tunnel, much like a giant pipe, that had a diameter of at least fifteen feet.

Minutes later we stood in a much cleaner tunnel three levels down from the sewer room. I had managed to find a clean water spigot and Kyra and I were able to clean up and rinse most of the garbage off ourselves. While Kyra disliked the cold water I took a moment to enjoy the spectacle of her bathing. She caught my eyes locked on her wet form and splashed water my way. “Keep your eyes on the tunnel. You are supposed to be watching for bad guys,” she feigned me anger.

“Roger commander!” I complemented my jest with an exaggerated salute.

A scream tore through the air around us and we both jumped.

The sound was distant and sounded terrible, a cry of pain. The source was far off and the scream echoed along the metal walls of the tunnel. We decided to check it out.

Following the screams proved to be easier than I anticipated. Soon we came to a grate set in the floor of the tunnel that overlooked what appeared to be a prison. Inside were two mean looking men, both wearing guard uniforms. The larger one was clubbing another man with a meaty looking right hook. His target hung from the ceiling, supported by thick chains attached to cuffs around his wrists. His body was limp and his head hung so I could nothing more than the top of his head.

The larger and more muscular one with the meaty hands turned to the other guard. “I think he’s had enough.”

“Boss said work him over,” he walked up and lifted the guy’s head by the hair.

“Hinsley!” I said under my breath. I could not believe it. The traitor of Space Patrol! was here! My mind raced with theories on how he could could have found his way here.

“I’m thirsty,” the big guy said. He let go of Hinsley’s head. “You know, I think I need a drink. How about you?

“I’ve worked up a thirst watching you,” he smiled. “I could use one and you certainly deserve one!”

The two guards walked away, slamming the door behind them.

“He looks in pretty bad shape,” Kyra whispered. “Who is he? You said a name.”


-------------------


“The reason we are here,” I lifted the grate and slipped down into the prison room. “Stay put Kyra and be prepared to run if they come back. I may need to make a hasty retreat.”

She nodded and I could see the worry in her eyes.

I checked the door to the room and discovered the door had a simple lock on this side. The lock would not hold anyone back for long. I might give me a few minutes to climb back up and clear out of the room should the guards return. I turned back to Hinsely and lifted his head with a fist full of hair.

He had two black eyes and his nose appeared broken. An ugly cut ran across his forehead and blood dribbled out of his right eye. I smacked him. I heard Kyra gasp above me in the tunnel.

“Hinsely,” I said and patted him on the cheek. He mumbled something incoherent. “Hinsely, wake up. Come on buddy, wake up.”

I patted his cheek a few more times while I said his name, he began to come to. He mumbled again and looked at me from behind a blood encrusted, half-closed eye. “Yeff,” he asked. His eye then wandered around the room as if trying to get his bearing, figure out where he was.

“Hinsely, it is Dirk,” when I said my name his one open eye shot back at me, focusing on my face. Then he gasped and jerked back, finding strength in his legs.

“Dirf? Dirf?” He stood up and shuffled away from me until the chains in the ceiling would give no more. The terror showed on his face. “How?”

“You are in D’Landro’s station, down in the basement. I came across two of the guards working you over,” I popped loose the water canister on my belt and offered it to him. He pulled and turned his head away from me. The movement causes him to cough, it sounds painful and he winces. “Why are you down here, Hinsely?”

“D’Landro said he would protect me, broke me out of the Space Patrol! HQ, he promised me wealth beyond anything I could imagine.” A tear wells up in his one open eye and rolls down his battered and bruised face. He sobs before he continues. “His brother, that bastard. He brought me here. He beat me up good himself before letting his goons have their chance.”

“Why’d he doublecross you?”

“Kemmer is not who he seems,” interrupted again by coughing. I offer the water again, this time he takes a sip. “Kemmer killed D’Landro’s real brother, he’s using a Transmorgophier device to mask his identity. I figured it out after you alerted Space Patrol! and the guys questioned me back at HQ.”

“Does ‘Landro know,” I ask, trying to connect the dots.

“I don’t think so,” he coughs again and spits up blood, sending a red splat onto the floor in front of him. “Would not matter anyway. You seen Kemmer? That idiotic tiara he is wearing? Mind control.”

“Mind control huh?” My mind spun his information over and over. “The only species who have successfully utilized mind control are th-”

“The Hartufaan Coalition.” He let the words hang in the air between us a moment.

Now it began to materialize before me. The Hartufaan I had captured back in my study was looking for the Kinsloab device. A device that could wipe out all life on Earth. Space Patrol! had believed this was a plot by a lone Hartufaan agent working for D’Landro but they were wrong. Instead he had been working under the guidance of a Hartufaan disguised as Kemmer, D’Landro’s brother! The theory had been that the criminal D’Landro wanted the device as a threat. Perhaps to blackmail the Earth for money. If high level technology from the Hartufaan Coalition would change everything. The Hartufaan Coalition was planning a direct attack on Earth and everything Space Patrol! stood for!

“Why is the Hartufaan Coalition after the Kinsloab device?” I prodded him a little more.

“Remember the Hartufa Economic Disaster of 2103?” I nodded. He referred to the depression the Hartufaan homeworld a decade ago. The faltering economic turn threw the Hartufaan government into disarray. This led to several wars, more than a handful of assassinations, and the general consensus that the Hartufaan culture was set back at least three decades. Rumor also said that Space Patrol! caused the depression by influencing the Hartufaan mushroom market. This was complete lies. We had been attempting to manipulate the burgeoning pet mule industry to little effect.

“Oh goodness,” I stepped back. This was not a blackmail plot but a revenge plot. One of insurmountable cost. This could mean the end of the Earth!

Hinsely coughed again, spitting up blood. His eyes fluttered and he appeared to struggle to maintain consciousness. He choked for a moment then regained his composure.

I looked up at his chains, turned the cuff over, looking for a weakness. He was a traitor, damn sure, but Space Patrol! has a motto - Never leave a fallen comrade - and I intended to uphold it.

“Dirk,” he stated but I did not hear him, I studied the chains with intensity. Alas, I could derive no way to free him from his chains.

“Dirk,” he roared to get my attention. When our eyes met, he locked me in his gaze. “Dirk, please, tell Earth I am sorry.”

He coughed again. His eyes bulged. “Tell them, tell them I am sor-”

He fell silent. His head drooped to his chest and a long exhale escaped.

I stood there a moment watching him. He was a traitor to his people, yet I still felt sorry for him.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ghosts

Today's prompt was actually a grassy hill, the grass gently swaying in the wind...


I roll over and look at the clock on the nightstand. 6:20 AM it flashes at me, silently telling me it is time to get up. I no longer set the alarm, a lifetime of getting up early as train my body to wake up without being told to do so. Roll over on my feet land on the cold floor. My toes do a little dance inspire the blood to flow, the hopeless fight battle the chill coming from the hardwood floor.

Without willing myself to do so I find my hand sleeping over to the to the emptiness and feel my heart drop when I realized what I just done, habit becomes painful in our old age. I take a deep breath and force myself to my feet the fresh air instills a wisp of vigor and my heart beats again. It's been a long time and I know I need to move on.

Down the stairs and into the kitchen I passed the coffee pot and hit the button. The gurgles to life as I open the cabinet and pull not one but two coffee mugs down. Another habit that refuses to pass into nothingness. I shake my head, trying to clear memories and visions and returned her cup to the cupboard and close the door. A dash of milk and the pot is ready.

I turned to head to the front door and my eyes land upon the toaster. At this time of day it would be warming an English muffin, the small jar of apple butter waiting patiently to be dabbled up on the toasted muffin. I let out a deep breath again. Damn it, I didn't think you would be this hard.

Out on the porch I slide into the swinging bench, on my side, not in the middle, leaving enough space for another person to join me but never will again. I do my best not to look at the empty spot next to me but as if by some unstoppable gravitational force my eyes wander to that empty spot next to me.

It takes every fiber of my being but I am able to will my eyes away, and out to the hill before the house. The tall grass, long neglected, dances with the wind. Its ways and bends as the wind sweeps through it in beautiful waves. Atop the hill she stands in a white dress, here hair blowing softly in the wind like gossamer strands of silk.

Every morning I enjoy my cup of coffee and watch the ghosts of my memories as she dances on the hill, longing for the days when she had not left me. And wondering when we will be together again.
            
 .   .   .

This story was written in eight minutes. This story was completely written and posted on a mobile device.
Word count: 456

About the 8 Minute Writing Prompt:
The 8MWH is a habit forming program where your aim is to simply write something for eight minutes straight each day, over time this will become a habit. The goal is to provide practice with writing and thus make you a better writer who can put words on paper easier. I plan on posting a short phrase and image each day in the morning and later that evening posting my story. Due to the time limit these will often be incomplete or possibly even suck. If you would like to join me, post wherever you like and add #8MWH to your post. Please remember that your stories can be about anything and the writing prompt may be a title, a phrase in the story, or heck, not even used at all in the story. It is meant to serve as nothing more than an inspiration.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

8 Minute Writing Habit


Life has a way of kicking you in the ass right as you are about to kick things off. This weekend is no exception and I will be driving, writing (for school unfortunately), reading (for school) and trying to do some general chores around the house. I am not sure I will get to my #8MWH today or tomorrow. I know, I know, breaks the point of the habit challenge but I simply must focus on school this weekend.

In the mean time I thought I would share what has been working for me this week. If you have been following along I wrote FIVE days in a row and almost surpassed 500 words each time. More importantly the writing came easy for me. This is not normal.

The method I have been using is simple and straight forward and I bet almost anyone could fit this into their daily schedule.
  1. I have pre-selected writing prompts on my blog. If you look at the last couple you can figure out what that I have everything in draft ahead of time. Every thing except the actual story. Right now I have over twenty writing prompts in draft on blogger. In the morning I scan over them and pick one that piques my interest. I do this first thing in the morning over a cup of joe before I do anything else.
  2. During the day the prompt is swimming around in my subconsciousness. I often come up with the 'BIG IDEA' on my 25 minutes drive into work. As I drive I put some classical music on the radio and the ideas just flow. I might also use some dance/techno/electronic music. It needs to be mindless sounds that flow. I am not sure why this works, but for me it does.
  3. At lunch I go out to my car. I have a nice isolated spot in the semi-wilderness on the edge of our Army base and eat lunch. I would guess by this time I already know the story I want to tell about 75% of the time. I have heard people talk about how your subconsciousness will work during the day without you even realizing it. I guess this must be true. If not they have not yet, while I eat the ideas continue to swim and now start coalescing into something significant.
  4. Voice to text. Yes. I dictate everything into my phone. I only make minor corrections: words it goofs up (funky names, etc), some structure such as carriage returns, quotes for speaking parts, etc. I record this on my phone in an app called JotterPad X. I have this on my phone and Kindle Fire and I believe it is the second most important part of this for me. The ideas swimming all day being number one, and the Voice to Text.
  5. I go back to work.
  6. Later that evening I post to the blog. I post AS IS, no tweaking. I am doing this for a reason. I want to see those errors I am creating during my first attempt so I am try to fix them in my process. Early on I realized that I was speaking too fast (ideas were flowing and I was excited) and I needed to slow down my dictation, not much, but just a slight tweak made the transcription 90% more accurate.
And now I discover I have just written 564 words today in roughly ten minutes. I guess I did meet my 8 Minute Writing Habit requirements for the day.  ;-)

#8MinuteWritingHabit  #8MWH