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Last week I observed the beginning of a new challenge posted by Aisling Weaver on her blog, Rebirth in Buffalo. Every week, Aisling will roll nine story cubes and post a picture of the outcome on her blog.

This is what she said:

Every week I will roll the dice. They will be posted Friday at midnight(EST). I invite all writers, no matter your genre or your style, to try your hand at this challenge. Short, long, prose, poetry, I welcome all!

Your challenge…to write a piece that encompasses the nine elements shown on the dice. Once completed, add your link below and crow your success on twitter under the hashtag #WeekendWriter! If you don’t have a blog to post to, please post it in the comments!”

It is completely ingenious, and I couldn’t wait to try it.

Here are the dice from Aisling’s blog for this week’s challenge:

… and below you can read what I came up with. I couldn’t believe how quickly the images started to trigger new ideas. I also loved reading entries from last week’s #WeekendWriter, all of them completely unique. It just goes to show the real significance of the writer’s mantra: “write what you know”.

There are many themes in life, in writing, in art, and everyone will interpret them in their own completely unique way. 🙂

The Mystery of N

“Open your eyes,” Dawn said. “You have to look at this differently.”

How? I thought.

The map was abstract. It was drawn on a square piece of parchment, depicting a rugged, rocky island with a mountain right in the middle. It was just like a treasure map from a pirate legend.

An arrow drawn above the mountain showed north, but from there, all similarity to a normal, navigational map disappeared. The shape of the island was scrawled over with symbols, hieroglyphs and letters that had no meaning for me.

“I know you have the answer all figured out,” I growled, “so why don’t you just tell me?” (more…)

September Sunset

There should be more cloudscapes like this one, I think …

I took this picture a few weeks ago. It’s the view from my back window – well, specifically, I glimpsed it from my back window and then legged it outside to take as many pictures as I could before the view changed too much.

That’s the moon rising through the clouds, not the sun setting. At first I wrote this without thinking, calling the view a ‘sunset’. But of course, it isn’t. It’s the setting sun illuminating the clouds in the east.

My dad took his camera outside too, but spent so long playing around with the exposure and flash settings that he didn’t win on the overall quality-picture count. I felt a little proud of myself (or, dare I say it, smug), since I have an aesthetically pleasing but fairly basic-by-digital-camera-standards point ‘n’ click job.

Anyway, I’m going to let this photo speak for itself. To whoever may be out there reading this: enjoy your sunsets and your beautiful views. Don’t be ashamed of staring dreamily at the scenery outside, or the clouds, or the way the sun shines through the trees.

A sense of wonder at nature is a good thing. My inner child is kept alive by views like the one above.

And if you gaze at the scenery for long enough, you might be inspired to create something, too. 🙂

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before on this blog. I’m going to post the  rough draft of a new project I just started today.

When I say ‘new project’, I mean pretty much exactly that. Right now I have a few ideas, a few characters, and a vague sense of plot and direction. All I knew when I started writing it was that I liked the idea of this halfway house between heaven (if there is a real heaven in this story; I don’t know yet) and earth, and the idea that there are many ways of falling.

Josef, one of the characters in this short prologue, believes that goodness is not determined by how far Below you go. Maybe that’s the essential idea that I’m intrigued by. The idea that’s going to make me write and plot and develop.

I didn’t spent much time editing or polishing this piece of writing. It’s just a something at this stage. But maybe it will turn out to be a decent something, eventually.

(more…)

I said I’d let you know what was happening with my novel work-in-progress. Well, I still haven’t come up with a decent title for it, although it currently lives in a folder in my hard drive entitled ‘Guardian’. This was my first idea for a title (I won’t say why – this is a strictly spoiler-free post ;)), but ever since then I haven’t been able to look at it without thinking of the English broadsheet newspaper which my parents buy every week. I now think of it almost like a code word for my novel.

Hah! My novel has code words.

Since my last post on the subject (the previous post in this blog, in fact – proving that I am consistent in my subjects, if not in regularity of updating), I have written every day. This is immensely satisfying, not only because I’m finally creating good writing habits and sticking to them, but because it proves that the writing techniques I learned last year during NaNoWriMo were not just flashes in the pan of inspiration: what I learned back then has stuck with me over a whole year, and I am applying it to my writing outside the NaNo zone.

Which means – *drum roll* – that I may actually have it in me to finish a novel this time around. Touch wood.

In between feverish bouts of writing, which average at around 1,000-2,000 new words not-all-in-one-go per day, I have found several ways of distracting myself from the task – opportunities to break off and do something else for five minutes. Or several hours. This is admittedly dangerous – if I find the perfect distraction, who knows when I might get back to writing the actual novel? But since I’ve managed to pull myself back from each of these distractions in turn, I think I can safely say that I’m not in danger of abandoning my story just yet. Still, to give them their due, here’s what I’ve been doing in between writing (on top of the obvious things like making unnecessary cups of tea or coffee) …

(more…)