Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NaNoWriMo Promo: 30 Days, 30% Off!

Attention Wrimos! With just one week left until NaNoWriMo, we here at The Junction support (and some of us will join you!) in your brave and ambitious undertaking of writing a 50,000-word novel in just 30 day.

For those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about:
What started in November 1999 as 21 Bay Area writers, National Novel Writing Month (affectionately, NaNoWriMo), has grown into a project that each year attracts hundreds of thousands of participants worldwide. The internet, in all its magic and glory, has enabled the communal experience of NaNoWriMo to translate on an international scale.

Still looking for a writing nook to churn out those pages? In the spirit of creativity that NaNoWriMo encourages, The Junction is offering a 30% NaNoWriMo discount on 1-month memberships during November. 30 days at 30% off. That's $209 for a 1-month membership at The Junction, regularly $299.  With this offer, there is no initiation fee and no required commitment to a 6 or 12-month membership. Let's be honest, if you are writing 50,000 words in thirty days, it helps to know someone else is subjecting themselves to the same.  So, we hope to see you all at The Junction commiserating, encouraging, and, most importantly, writing.

How do you get the discount?
1. Click here to apply for membership at The Writers Junction. 
2. Be sure to include 1-MONTH NaNoWriMo in the question that asks about your current writing projects so we know to give you the special price! 

Best of luck to all you Wrimos!

The Junction

Monday, October 15, 2012

Plug and Play: A 13-Step Story Idea Generator

by Jacqueline Fauni

Step 1: Pick a number from 0-2. (For example, I’ll choose the number 1...)

Step 2: Pick another number from 0-9. (... and 7...)

Step 3: Pick another number from 0-9. (... and 2...)

Step 4: Pick one last number from 0-9. (... and 8, I guess.)

Step 5: Pick a city, anywhere in the world. (How about Paris?)

Step 6: Arrange the numbers you chose in Steps 1-4, keeping them in that order, to form the digits of a year. (Okay, 1728, it is!)

Step 7: Congratulations, you’ve chosen a setting for your story! (Paris, 1728. Nice.)

Step 8: Do some preliminary research. As a starting point, find and peruse the Wikipedia article for your city (e.g. “Paris”). In its history section, you may be able to get a sense of what was going on during the era in which your story is set.

For example, here is a part in the Wikipedia article for Paris that is relevant to my story’s setting:
“During the Fronde, Parisians rose in rebellion and the royal family fled the city (1648). King Louis XIV then moved the royal court permanently to Versailles, a lavish estate on the outskirts of Paris, in 1682. A century later, Paris was the centre stage for the French Revolution, with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 and the overthrow of the monarchy in September 1792.”
So my story is set in Paris, after the royal court was moved to Versailles, and before the French Revolution.

If your story is set in the future, you can study the history and current culture of your city, examine trends, and imagine the conditions of your city at that future date.

Step 9: Do more research! Let your curiosity lead you on a natural course to different and related links, articles, and topics. Jot down all the things that jump out at you. (Hmm, who is this King Louis XIV character? How was courtly life in Versailles, and how did it compare to common life in Paris? So who ruled France in 1728? What was the Fronde? Was that like a precursor to the French Revolution? What exactly happened during the French Revolution?)

Step 10: Take a look at your notes and map out all the events, places, facts, figures, people, conventions, ideas, etc., that have captured your interest. Circle or highlight the ones that you feel most strongly about. And feel free to “cheat” – if you find that you’re more drawn to the royal court in Versailles than Paris, or to a moment in time that is 20 or so years after the year you came up with in Step 6, then by all means, go with it! Think of this as a word association or stream of consciousness exercise, and your Step 7 setting as merely the first word or prompt that gets your juices flowing. Go ahead and branch out!

Step 11: Sift through your ideas and find the character(s) or perspective(s) that you feel compelled to portray. (Maybe a peasant girl? Or perhaps a courtesan by the name of Madame de Pompadour, chief mistress of King Louis XV?)

Step 12: Write a diary entry in your character’s voice. Do not edit or judge as you write -- just keep writing! (I woke much later than usual this afternoon, exhausted from last night’s revels. The King had been particularly insatiable... Tee hee.)

Step 13: Channel your character and read the diary entry aloud. What kind of life does your character live? What does your character care about? What might threaten that? What problems does she have to deal with? Do the building blocks of a narrative emerge?

Have fun, and happy writing!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Freewrite of the Week: Jury Duty Gets Interesting

by Jacqueline Fauni

It takes a lot of courage to speak up and stick to your guns when you’ve got a different opinion... especially when you’re stuck in a hot, stifling room with 11 angry men.

That’s precisely the predicament that Henry Fonda faces as Juror 8 in the classic courtroom drama 12 ANGRY MEN. Fonda plays a quiet, unassuming architect who manages to turn a nearly unanimous decision to convict into a “not guilty” verdict after leading his fellow jurors through a closer examination of the case. As each eyewitness testimony and piece of evidence are called into question, so is the reasoning of the jurors themselves as their true characters and moralities are brought out through the grueling process.

Subjecting your characters to a pressurized and contained environment, and truly upping the stakes to life and death (e.g. of a defendant), are sure ways of bringing out explosive dynamics and poignant moments that capture the depth and complexity of human nature.

The prompt: Write a scene in which your main character is on jury duty. How does he/she interact with the other jurors? What role does he/she play? The voice of reason? The bigot? The guy who just wants to get out in time for the game? What’s the case and how does your character relate to it?

Have fun, and happy writing!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Freewrite of the Week: Party Lines and Party Fouls

Everyday eavesdropping, ca. 1957
by Jacqueline Fauni

Still looking for a story gold mine? Try a crazy convention from a golden era!

In PILLOW TALK, arguably the best of the Hudson/Day movies, Rock and Doris demonstrated the hilarity that can ensue from an arrangement we’d probably find peculiar today, but was actually a commonplace reality in the 50s. The arrangement I’m referring to, of course, is that of the party line.

Back in the day, telephone subscribers in different households would share a line, and were consequently subjected to the pitfalls that came with sharing that line. If one co-subscriber wanted to make a call, she would have to pray that the other wasn’t tying up the line with one of his many flavors of the week. And if one co-subscriber was on the phone, the other could very easily pick up the phone and listen in on (and even participate in) their co-subscriber’s conversation. Imagine the infinite possibilities -- the frustration, the intrigue, the calamity, the comedy, the party fouls -- that resulted from such a simple device!

The prompt: Write a scene in which two of your characters have to share a party line.

Let the eavesdropping, gossip, and other delightful shenanigans commence!