Need some inspiration? Use this prompt to help propel your story!

Write a scene where a supporting character makes a significant impact on your main character

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How To Increase Conflict and Tension


Need some inspiration? Use this prompt to help propel your story!

Use the words “romantic,” “argent,” “coruscate,” and “efficacious” in a chapter of your novel. Make sure to give context clues!

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What characters from novels stand out to you? What makes them good/dynamic?
Can you think of any bad examples?

Nobody by Autumn W.

Nobody told me that love was a disease that was terminal. Nobody told me that you were the poison that would make it worse instead of the antibiotic to make it better. Nobody told me they saw the hatred you had for me in your eyes. Nobody told me that you didn’t love me. That you were going to pick me, to choose me, to love me. I breathed you in. You were the glasses that helped me see the world differently. The fresh air I loved to breathe. You were my person. My everything. Nobody told me that you were my enemy and your meaning to me would be nothing. Nobody told me that you didn’t love her. Nobody said anything. You don’t say anything. Why isn’t anyone talking to me? My mind is bursting into flames as I try to wrap my head around what has happened. I try to blame my mental illness for making me blind. When the truth is your love, your poison, your smile, your laugh, your indescribably perfect personality was what killed me. They made me talk about you today. They made me explain the depression. I said I didn’t know what happened. I said you just left. I didn’t tell them about the endless fights or even the unconditional love. I saw the love in your eyes but now I need glasses because I feel so blind. So blind I couldn’t see through you. I fell you didn’t catch me and there was no net to fall back on. I fell broke every bone in my body along with all of my organs. I fell and I broke my heart. I fell for you. I fell and sat right next to you. But I just couldn’t get the courage to tell them. They said talk about it, it will help. But when I talk I can’t stop. When I sit in the back seat of the car I can still feel your touch. When I sit on the couch I remember you holding me telling me everything was going to be alright when the world I knew was crumbling around me. I remember picking you up off the ground, you fell because you starved yourself just so people couldn’t see who you really were. I remember who you really were. I remember hurting because you left that night. But you came back the next morning. Just to continue the fighting. I remember thinking I didn’t deserve this. I had to keep saying that out loud and in my head because I didn’t believe that. I don’t deserve to get treated like this but I needed you I wanted you. I picked you, out of over 10 million smiles and 7 million blue green eyes I picked you. I chose you. I loved you. Everywhere I go just puts me back at where I started. So maybe I need to leave. No! I don’t have the courage to talk about you but I do have the courage to stand up to my demons who told me to stay in bed for two weeks after you left. To lie and say to everyone I’m fine. To smile and open doors for people. To work. To do anything and everything just to distract myself from talking about you. From thinking about you. From missing you. I lived years before you. And I’ll live years without you.


Need some inspiration? Use this prompt to help propel your story!

Write a scene that purely serves to illustrate a setting.

Post your word count to comments!

Why Do We Do It? by Grace

We’re already deep into NaNoWriMo, and you might be chugging right along, on target to hit your word count goal—maybe you’re even ahead of it! To you, I commend your efforts. That’s a very remarkable feat already, as you are balancing other demanding responsibilities like school and sports, work or college applications. But you might be the writer who missed a couple of days, who hit a block and just couldn’t get out of it—you might have thrown up your hands in surrender and given up. To you, I say, I know exactly what you’re going through. NaNoWriMo isn’t a challenge to be taken lightly. Regardless of your word count goal, whether it be 7,000 or 50,000, sitting down and writing every day can be very difficult. When I write, I don’t like to plan. In fact, nothing I’ve written has ever really been planned! It usually comes as a burst of inspiration. This might be easier to materialize in poetry, as you have more freedom to rework and embellish smaller pieces of text. But with a novel, it’s like analyzing the building you just constructed, and realizing one of the bricks is a little deformed, or perhaps a different color, and to remove it and reshape it could send the whole building crumbling down. If you’re very wary of that as you dive into NaNoWriMo, or if you’ve realized this is your issue when trying to hit your word count goal, don’t worry. NaNo isn’t about finishing your novel.
You might be scratching your head at that. “Isn’t that exactly what it says on the website?” you may ask. “Isn’t the challenge to get to 50,000 words?” Yes, and yes. But if you think about it, it’s really difficult to write a whole novel where quantity is greater than quality. We’re writers—when we write, we are deliberate. We have a purpose when we begin a novel, and trying to squeeze it all into thirty days is tough! So if you’re one of those writers who is struggling to climb the mountain of “abandoning your inner editor,” or “writing with a stream of consciousness,” know you’re not alone.
NaNo is really just about writing. So many of us may have a burst of motivation to write a novel, but we can quickly run out of steam. We might put it back on the shelf in our “Projects” folder on our desktop, collecting dust. NaNo creates the atmosphere many of us need to push past these ruts we can get stuck in by making it competitive. How many words can you get in today? It doesn’t mean you have to get in a specific number of words—the competitive spirit serves as pure motivation to get you writing. Truthfully, having 15,000 or 10,000 or even just 5,000 more words than you did October 31st is awesome! This is only the foundation, the clay you’ll have waiting to rework and reshape later. If you don’t finish your novel, if you don’t get anywhere near your word count, that’s totally fine.
Realistically, completing a novel worth publishing take years! So, what if just one chapter, one sentence you wrote in your “stream of consciousness” will serve as the inspiration to construct that novel? What if a character you designed using the Snowflake Method that only appeared in two pages in NaNo became the main character for that novel? One perfect example is the novel Water for Elephants. Its author, Sarah Gruen, used NaNo to draft many of her novels, including this highly acclaimed best seller. She often fell behind in her word count, too. The key phrase here is “use NaNo to draft.” That is exactly why we participate in NaNo!
It’s not really about finishing those 50,000 words on November 30th at midnight—though this is a huge accomplishment and highly commendable. It’s about giving yourself that draft to knead into something incredible for years to come.
I wish you much success as we near the deadline, but do not lose hope if you’re so far behind. Remember: NaNo is about giving yourself something to work with, so you can start writing the next best-selling novel!


Need some inspiration? Use this prompt to help propel your story!

What motivates your character? Write a scene showcasing their motives in your story

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There are physical and abstract antagonists.
The Physical Antagonist
A physical antagonist is a living, breathing character in a novel that is standing in the way of the protagonist achieving his or her goal. This does not mean that all physical antagonists are evil monsters. Some antagonists stand in the way simply through jealousy, or misunderstanding, or by having a set of goals that differs from that of the protagonist’s. If Fernando is your protagonist and he wants to take Jill to the dance, but Greg asked her first, this doesn’t mean Greg is a “bad guy.” He’s just another guy who likes the same girl. Then again, there are those antagonists that are just plain evil. It’s
up to you to decide who’s going to stand in your protagonist’s way, and how he or she is going to do it.

The Abstract Antagonist

Though a lot of antagonists are living, breathing beings, some are not. Some protagonists face off against illness, or grief, or the powers of a corrupt
government. We like to call these kinds of antagonists abstract antagonists because they don’t take actual physical form. If your novel’s antagonist is not
a living person/animal/entity, you have an abstract antagonist. It may be easier think of it this way: if your protagonist cannot physically kick your antagonist in the knee, he or she is probably abstract.

What kind of antagonists do you have?

The Masquerade by Empress H.K.

The Grand Canal was a black sheet of ice under the bright full moon. Riccardo Agosti leaned over the railing of the ferry, and watched the dark waters glide beneath him. Dozens of oarsmen on the lower tier paddled the boat along. Their destination loomed ahead, a massive castle with spires and towers meant to resemble a gothic cathedral. They stopped at the dock below the palace, and Captain Marino secured it amongst the other vessels. Riccardo departed onto the pier with Alessandra Capello at his side. He nodded to the captain.
“We shall see you in a couple hours,” he said. “I trust that all the provisions are ready?”
“Yes,” said Marino with a sly smile. “They are ready.”
Above them, dozens of windows were glowing with warm light from within the fortress, and Riccardo could see that his companion was dazzled. They walked to the foot of the mansion, where hundreds of people mingled on the front steps, awaiting their admittance into the wide oak doors.
“Let us go inside!” she exclaimed, and strode forward eagerly. Riccardo knew that Alessandra had never been to such an event; as her family was bereft of the political circles. Marco Bianchi’s masquerade was held to celebrate the Carnival season, and he knew it provided the perfect avenue for him to escort her without suspicion. She would be an instrumental part of the job tonight. Alessandra had the olive complexion of a true italian; tonight, her dark hair was curled in ringlets around her ornamented mask, and her gown was a jade-colored silk, voluminous and beautiful.
“Slow down, my Lady,” Riccardo whispered in her ear. “We must keep the same pace as the other guests.”
The line was moving quickly, and at the top of the stairs he presented his invitation to a man in long white gloves.
“Riccardo Agosti,” the man said. “Marco Bianchi will be most pleased that you could make it, along with your Lady guest.” He motioned them through the wooden doors.
Inside, Bianchi’s home was as elaborate and pristine as the man himself. Not a single niche went undecorated. There were gilded furnishings, intricate tapestry, silk drapes, and walls of rugged stone as high as the sky. Marble stairways circled to higher floors on either side of the entryway. Since Riccardo’s last visit, the number of paintings and murals along the walls had nearly doubled. He had introduced Bianchi to the world of art, and they now shared that passion.
A new illustration in particular caught his eye; two young men, clearly brothers, facing each other in a field. An overcast sky surrounded them, and the unmistakable carnage of war. He saw splintered lances, fallen horses, and dead men. Behind them, a face was peeking from a broken helm, the bones emerging beneath the torn flesh. The brothers’ swords were clashed in midair; the taller of the two had his face twisted into a hateful scowl. Riccardo could almost see them fighting and and slashing and yelling, their shouts and clanging swords filling the air. To him, this was the beauty of art; the raw emotion captured in brushstrokes. We must be sure to leave with this one, he thought. But how? It was in the main entrance, visible to all. It was a classic representation of blood versus blood, brother against brother. Riccardo understood the desire for revenge, and it shone clearly in the painting. But he wondered, what for?
The buzzing chatter of the esteemed guests grew louder as Riccardo guided Alessandra to the ballroom. The men wore demonic masks and tailored suits of black and grey. The women were dressed in their finest silks and satins, from deep azure tones to blood reds and emerald greens. Here and there he spotted tremendous displays of wealth; namely, the Necklace of a Hundred Sapphires, worn by Sofia, the wife of Roberto Ferrari. Across the room, long tables draped in cloths were full of cuisine delicacies. There were steaming platters of herbed poultry, roasted lamb, boiled beef, and seafood; a variety of breads, cheeses and vegetables; and an elaborate assortment of desserts, including tarts, cakes, pies, and gelatin.
Riccardo turned to spy on the upper balconies where his men were stationed, and a figure in a dark cloak approached them from the sea of attendees. The black mask covered the wearer’s face. On each side it contained twisted horns and the plastic of the face was molded into disfigured features. Riccardo regarded the stranger for a moment, and then chuckled.
“Bianchi, my sincerest thanks for your invitation,” he said, holding his hand out to greet him. “I must congratulate you on the new illustrations you’ve acquired. They are quite stunning pieces.”
“Good to see you make it, Riccardo,” Bianchi replied with a laugh. “I knew they would be to your liking… we have similar tastes, no?” He turned to Alessandra. “Your Lady guest is lovely, may I have the pleasure of introduction?”
“This is my niece, Lady Isabella,” Riccardo lied, placing his hand on the small of her back. “Bella, this is Consul Marco Bianchi.”
“I’ve heard many a great stories about you from my Uncle, Consul Bianchi,” Alessandra said with a smile. “Your home is breathtaking, and I thank you for your hospitality.” She blushed as Bianchi placed a delicate kiss on the back of her hand and bowed.
“I should hope so,” Marco said. “And I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Lady Isabella. Might I have a dance later into the night?”
“I would be honored,” Alessandra gushed. Very good, it is working, Riccardo observed.
“Very well. There is plenty of wine and spirits for all, and the Gambling Club is up the first stairwell behind us.” He regarded Riccardo with bright blue eyes and smiled under his mask, or so he guessed. “Please, enjoy the festivities!” He said joyously, and before disappearing into the crowd, remarked, “I promise, it will be full of surprises.”
Indeed, and many more than you know, Riccardo thought.


Need some inspiration? Use this prompt to help propel your story!

Write a scene about reading a book–what is the significance of this book?

Post your word count to comments!

“I’m Leaving Today” by Mary-Kelly R.

I’m leaving today
But your eyes will still gleam
They will keep me awake
And live in my dreams,
I’m leaving today
But your smile will flood
My heart and my soul
When I’m stuck in the mud,
I’m leaving today
But your kindness will stick
To my habits and fidgets
As I worry myself sick,
I’m leaving today
But your writings still live
In my jar of memories
With a heart on the lid.