Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday leading up to the start of National Novel Writing Month 2017, I will be posting NaNoPrep Prompts to my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook! At the end of each week, I'll post a round-up of the three prompts posted, along with my own responses to the prompts. Here is round-up number two!
Monday, Oct. 9, 2017
Pick one character from your story, major or minor, and describe their fashion sense. What colors do they like to wear? Do they like to dress up or stay casual? Where did they get their clothes from? What is their favorite item of clothing? Add as much detail as possible!
Rhiannon’s closet is a tangled heap: jackets with roses embroidered down their fronts and sleeves frayed from age, knit sweaters with loose threads poking from their hems, thermal shirts in solid colors – blacks and whites and grays, a red rain coat stashed in the corner, a hand-me-down from her sister, and hidden by a row of plaid patterned button ups. On the bottom rung sits sundresses with florals laced about their skirts, most of the colors sun-bleached and faded. Saved over the years, relics of simpler times. The whole of her closet smells of sunscreen and sea salt; scents seemingly woven into all the fabrics of all her clothes.
She pulls a pair of jeans, a pair that fits snug around her waist but stretch too far past her feet. She scrunches excess denim up around her ankles. Slips on brown boat shoes with sand stuck in every crease, little granules that will never shake free. She grabs a white cotton t-shirt, its hanger swinging in its absence, and pulls it over her head. Then, feeling the morning chill through her open window, she grabs a denim jacket so old the elbows are nearly white. Vines of green thread traverse the sleeves and end in rose buds at the shoulders and down the front.
A finishing touch: Rhiannon tugs her necklace, a silver quarter note, so that it rests atop her shirt.
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017
Choose one location in your story (a character's house, a frequented bar, a park, a restaurant, an office, etc.) and describe it from the point of view of someone walking into it for the first time. What would they see? What would they hear? What would they smell? Are there other people there with them? Is the space loud or quiet?
Clutter. In maps across a wooden work bench, creased and crinkled and tearing at the folds. In compasses and binoculars and seashells strewn like autumn leaves across the maps and their vast oceans. In a heap of quilts and blankets piled high on a thin mattress. In mahogany with jackets and sweaters draped over their backs.
Sand, trailed in on boots and boat shoes, scatters across warped wood floors.
An open window lets in a soft sea breeze, and with it the smell of salt. Salt, old wood, rusted metal. Scents encased inside the watch room. Inside the tower, even, spiraling up the stairs and seeping into the very walls of the lighthouse.
In the distance, far below the tower, waves crash against the shore, against jagged rock jetties. Seagulls fly in wide circles outside the window, calling out to one another. Footsteps echo up steel steps. The ladder outside the door rattles. Bowie enters, tugging her jacket off. She tosses it atop a growing pile on the back of a chair, swipes binoculars off the work bench, perches herself at the wide window to peer out toward the horizon.
Friday, Oct. 13, 2017
Turn on Ocean by John Butler and free write for the entirety of the song. The song is just under 12 minutes long. See how many words you can write in that time. To challenge yourself even more, use a writing tool such as Write or Die or Written? Kitten! to motivate your free write.
Song length: 11min 21seconds
Words written: 451
Tool used: Write or Die
Sunlight ripples off the water, golden sparks catching in the waves. Gulls fly in tight circles overhead. Tighter. Tighter. Tighter, still, as they drop lower and lower. Sea spray sticks in their feathers and speckles their beaks as the circle around and around, watching fish and their shimmery scales glisten beneath the water. Just beyond the surface, obscured only by the ripples of gold and the rolling waves.
Ankle-deep in the surf, an old man waits with a long fishing line. The gull's shadows flit over him, shielding the sun, then revealing it again. Over and over as he and the birds fight for the same prey. Calf-deep now, he waves into the shallow water, his loose jeans rolled up to his knees, his feet bare and sinking into wet sand, buried further with each lap of the ocean. Shells and shards of shells are tossed about beneath the surface. The sharp edge of one nicks his ankle right at the bone. He hisses, jerks slightly. His line jerks with him and sends ringlet ripples drifting around his hook. The fish startle. Tail fins splash in frantic motions. Scales glisten, glitter, gone. Gone deep into the navy dark blue stretched out in front of him.
One gull caws, and then another. Annoyance. Defeat. Their wings beat hard against the wind as they raise themselves higher and higher and drift off on the breeze. Impatient. On to another attempt at another meal.
The old man stays put, though. Stands his ground. With every lash of the waves, with every fizzle of sea foam, he sinks deeper into the sand. Soon, perhaps, he may become a fixture of this beach. Of this ocean. A statue preserved by sea salt and buried in sand. Children would whisper rumors about the statue of the old man standing over the waves, about how he was alive once, just a fisherman out for an afternoon. They would come up one by one and try to poke him, spook him, make him move. Try anything to startle him, to bring him back to life.
When he was a child, they had stories like that. The haunted house on Maple Street, or the ghostly voices whispered in the park off Sycamore. The neighborhood kids were always chasing ghosts.
He wades deeper still. The water, with each rock of the waves, licks at his cuffed jeans. He doesn't mind, though. They need the cleaning, with their green grass stains and dirt caked into the fabric. Nothing wrong, just hard work, just a show of hard work.
He breathes a sigh. One gull caws, and then another. The pair returned to resume their hunt. Circling above him. Them, waiting. Him, waiting.