Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Writing prompt: Jump forward in Nano and write (again)

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts. Find me on NaNoWriMo as Vironevaeh!

“For Nanowrimo: Jump to a new section and write” (Yes, again… I am just catching up after falling behind over the weekend. I’ll think of something more original next week.)


There was a knock at the door. It was Uncle Oraeus and a woman in a lab coat she didn’t know. “Jainus, just who I was looking for,” Oraeus said.

Jainus had a sinking feeling. Since she’d moved to the big kids house, she wondered when this conversation would come. She was growing up, and the other kids had already gotten to it.

“You’re old enough to have a Vitsen now,” Oraeus said. “You know what’s involved?”

Jainus nodded, but that didn’t stop Oraeus from explaining. “We’ll move your brains to your feet, and then convert your skull to an apartment for a Vitsen companion to live in. It won’t hurt. The surgical part is the easy part, really. Learning to get along with a Vitsen is the hard part. And you shouldn’t run for a while until you learn to soften your gate. Concussions are serious business,” Oraeus said nodding with his eyes closed.

Jainus was fighting enough to Jonnelt’s Vitsen Agartha, which seemed determine to make her feel inferior. It would buzz right by her ear when she was reading or say something unsettling. Jainus had always been told that Vitsens were advanced creatures, unknowably advanced. Creatures that had helped her people many, many times, extended her lifespan, and opened the galaxy for trade. Knowing Agartha, it was hard to imagine. Agartha seemed petty and spiteful.

“Do I have to?” Jainus asked.

Oraeus frowned. “You know you don’t, but you wouldn’t want to disappoint your family.”

Jainus sighed.

“You won’t always have a Vitsen.” Oraeus opened the door behind his own ear, showing the vacancy. “Just at this age, and occasionally when you’re older. As one of the favored families, it’s important that you start to understand Vitsens. You’ll find them really annoying at first, but you’ll get used to it, I promise. I even miss mine. We annoy them even more, I’m afraid. They don’t like being away from their mountain, you’ll learn. But they recognize they importance of the exchange, and so do we.”

Jainus couldn’t think of any way to say no. She nodded, then excused herself to go take a walk along the beach. The Vitsens’ home, Mount Vit, loomed to the north.


November means NaNoWriMo, but with a Twist for me

It’s November and thus it’s NaNoWriMo. Generally this means you write 50,000 words of a novel. I did that last year. This year I’m doing things a little differently. I’m going to do two 15,000 word stories and 24 illustrations. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words?

As of today, I’m at 7,265 words and 7 illustrations. That’s behind pace, but mostly due to a water polo tournament, which has a way of reducing one’s concentration to jelly for a few days (which is not unrelated to the shortness of this post).

I’m glad I did the traditional NaNoWriMo last year, to prove to myself that I could. But this year is about making the wonderful NaNo collective spirit work for me. I feel really inspired, and really excited about my eventual final product. I have two novel drafts that need reworking, and the prospect of another hulking chunk of words sitting around wasn’t very exciting. With the lower word count, I spend more time editing and creating a tighter first draft. I will come out of this month with something new to be proud of, which to me is the goal at the heart of NaNoWriMo.

Print jainus-pjs toys

Writing prompt: Jump forward in your Nano project

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“For Nanowrimo: Jump ahead to some future part of your story that excites you and write about that”

Gainarain went into the room. Jainus could hear him speaking over the link, but she couldn’t make out the words. They sounded serious, as Gainarain so rarely was. Everything seemed so serious these days. Terran sat next to her on the couch nearest the door and leaned against her, trying to eavesdrop as well, but also seeking company.

Gainarain stopped talking and came back out. “The queen’s been deposed,” he said.

“Deposed?” Jainus said. In an instant, too many ideas filled her mind. Was there still a monarchy? If so, who was monarch? And if not, who would rule and what would become of them? Terran clearly did the same calculations, she could feel him grow tense and adopt that wide-eyed look that until last week had been reserved for especially large insects.

Gainarain saw their faces and seemed to register their fear. “Oh, no, it’s not a coup or anything. By Terrigan, her brother,” Gainarain said.  “Things shouldn’t change too much otherwise, but of course it’s a big deal.”

They all nodded, but Jainus at least couldn’t calm down enough to figure out the ramifications of it.

“Why?” Dielel asked, dancing her bear around a miniature chair. She didn’t understand any of it, but she saw everyone else’s unease, which prompted her to ask questions.

“Well,” Gainarain said. He seemed uncomfortable. Jainus had a sense it was going to be something personal to them, rather than something for the whole planet. “Terrigan’s your great-grandfather. The next in line after him is your grandfather, and next after him is your mother.” He stopped as if the conclusions were obvious. To Jainus, at least, they were not. She looked around, confused.

Tempest took on a superior look. “We’re directly in line now, not some distant relation anymore.”

Gainarain looked pained. “Yes. So this means no more wandering off of the safe zone, and a lot more supervision. Especially right now, that we’ve been attacked and we’ve changed monarchs.”

Tempest stopped looking superior. “So nothing fun,” she sneered.

Gainarain rolled his eyes. “No, nothing fun.”

Vironevaeh on Mad Scientist Journal

Check out my story “Carnivorous Fog: Avoidance, Survival, and Eradication Strategies” on Mad Scientist Journal today. Mad Scientist Journal publishes stories in the form of fictitious scientific papers. This paper is set in the same place as my fairy tales, although at a different time. The inspiration for this story came from my Nanowrimo novel; the novel is sort of a wreck, but it gave me several fun ideas.

Most excitingly, this is the first thing I’ve published in the Vironevaehn universe, one that I started nearly 17 years ago. Hopefully it doesn’t take another 17 years for the next publication.

Here’s an accompanying illustration I did after the story. On the left is the “encapsulated” insect, while the free insect is on the right.


Writing prompt: “He tore off another sheet of paper and threw it in the bin”

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“He tore off another sheet of paper and threw it in the bin”

He tore off another sheet of paper and threw it in the bin.

“This just isn’t working, I don’t know why I even bother! I’ll never reach 50,000 words!” He buried his head in his arms.

A clattering caused him to raise his head. The bin was tipped over. James looked at it with curiosity; he hadn’t heard the cat come in. The crumpled pieces of paper rolled out of the bin, one after another, with a strange sense of direction. That was odd.

The pieces uncrumpled themselves, and then crumpled together, forming some kind of an animal in amalgamation. An ostrich, he decided.

“You just need to have imagination!” He blinked. It was the paper ostrich that spoke. It had a buzzing voice, like air blown quickly over the edge of paper.

He looked into his coffee mug. What type was this?

“Put the mug away and get to work. We’re full of good ideas, and we’re here to put you to work. First, you will write about a radioactive raccoon that has been breaking into people’s trash. Then you will write about a woman’s struggle against the tyranny of cowboy aliens in the early American frontier. Then you will write about a colony of people who live inside the sun. Then they will all meet!”

“That’s insane,” James said.

“They are words, and you will write them! You weren’t doing any better before!”

“That’s true. That one about the sun sounds kind of cool.”

“Write, and the inspiration will come. How many words have you written in the month before this one?”

James didn’t reply. He always meant to get around to writing… there were just cool new bars opening, and concerts… Hmm… what would he write about a colony of people living inside the sun?

Why I’m doing National Novel Writing Month

This year I am doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time, in which you write 50,000 words in a month. I am also writing my PhD thesis (137 pages so far!), which must be done before the end of the month. I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about figures and citations. On top of that, I am TA-ing for 20 hours a week. So that sounds like I have enough to do–why I am I doing NaNoWriMo?

I was reluctant about scheduling away so much time at first. I really hate being busy. If I’m busy with work, I tend to see people less, just so I can maintain a little autonomy in my schedule. However, lately I’ve worked so hard on technical writing that I feel guilty doing fun stuff. In the last month, I’ve barely written fiction, I’ve barely been outside, I’ve barely seen friends, and I’ve barely worked on other hobbies. Whenever I picked up a book to read or a pen to draw, a little voice said “shouldn’t you be working on your dissertation?” I don’t work on my dissertation all the time, but it always weighs on me.

I still waste time. Everyone does. I still watch TV, I still read pointless websites. I decided that fun has to happen too. If fun won’t happen spontaneously, then scheduling something makes sense.

So– NaNoWriMo. I went to the kickoff event here Friday. Everybody was really friendly and energized. Several of my friends from my science fiction writing group do it. It’s fun to talk about writing when most of the time you sit and stare at it. It’s fun to feel an external incentive to write, when professional obligations push the other way. I’m not writing a novel, because I still have an unedited novel draft waiting for my attentions. I decided to write a few novellas, which are longer than short stories and shorter than novels. I look forward to what the rest of the month holds. Three days in, and I’m having fun writing. I might fail to reach 50,000, but I’ve already written 7200 words that I probably wouldn’t have without this challenge.