Saturday, June 27, 2009

100 Days to More Brilliant Writing Challenge: Week #2

Monday, June 29 – Sunday July 5, 2009  Days #6 - #10

Fifteen minutes a day helps your writing progress in amazing ways. :-)

Find a dictionary or encyclopedia--it MUST be paper, not online. Open it at random and, without looking at the words on the page, put a finger down on the page. Then, pick any word within a one-inch radius of your finger. Use that word as your writing prompt to create a scene for your current writing project. (If you can't find a print encyclopedia or dictionary (sad), then open up any book, magazine, or newspaper and follow the same instructions.)

For example, I got the word "expectations." Now I will create a scene that uses expectations in some way.

Successfully complete this week's challenge and you earn the rank of Wordsmith.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

100 Days to More Brilliant Writing Challenge: Week #1

Monday, June 22 – Sunday June 28, 2009 § Days #1 - #5

Welcome to the first week of the 100 Days . . . Challenge, where we can write it, one minute at a time!

How to get started:

  1. Download and print the tracker for weeks #1 – 5 (the link is on the right hand side of the blog)
  2. Post the tracker on your fridge or wherever you will see it daily (consider giving yourself rewards for meeting weekly goals)
  3. Start writing. All you need to do to meet this week's challenge is write on 5 separate days of the week for a minimum of 15 minutes each day and complete the weekly exercise (you can complete this during one of your 15-minute writing sessions, if you like)
  4. Feel free to post a small section of your writing, tell us what you achieved during the week, or simply let us know that you met the weekly goal (this will help keep us inspired and moving forward)

This week's exercise: Select a novel or story that you love. Read a favorite paragraph several times. Then write for a minimum of fifteen minutes in that same style. This means you can copy tone, sentence structure, style, pacing, topic, or whatever you like most about the passage.

Successfully complete this week's challenge and you earn the rank of Copycat.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

100 Days to More Brilliant Writing—JOIN US!

Invitation to Participate in 100 Days to More Brilliant Writing

Want to get going on your writing again? Join us for 100 weekdays of writing-related exercises. If you complete all 100 days, you'll earn a prize.

We're officially starting on Monday, June 22, 2009, but we're kicking it off a week early, for those of you who religiously check this blog, on Monday, June 15, 2009.

Express your interest in joining the challenge by replying to this posting.

What We Hope to Achieve

After attending the BYU Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers workshop, we decided we wanted to improve our craft through one hundred weekdays of:

1. Seeing ourselves as writers:

  • develop/improve our general mindset and persona as a writer
  • go to conventions and workshops, meet with other writers, network
  • writing regularly

2. Constant vigilance in completing a project:

  • dedicate time each day to writing
  • workshop
  • submit polished work; advance in the writing industry

3. Regular reading and study of contemporary writing

  • read non-fiction on writing
  • read fiction and non-fiction with a critical eye and for pleasure

4. Daily writing to hone technical skills and develop artistry

  • perfect the technical aspects of writing such as narrative structure, character development, setting
  • develop virtuosity in our use of imagery, repetitions, voice, style, etc.
  • workshop and help others to hone their craft
  • successfully convey our artistic vision
  • have passion and soul

And, we wanted to invite you (and everyone you would like to invite) to join us in the journey toward more brilliant writing.

Here's How It Works

The 100 days will be broken up into 20 weeks. We're only counting weekdays, so the weekends can be used to catch up if necessary. Each week the My Manuscript Stinks Society* will post an exercise emphasizing one or more of the above points. The goal is to complete the weekly exercise, as well as a specific number of minutes of writing each day. You will set your own goal for how many minutes you will write each day; in order to qualify for a prize, your goal must be 15 or more minutes a day.

Throughout the 100 days, feel free to post your completed weekly exercise or updates of your progress. This will encourage each of us to keep going.

Keep track of your progress during the 100 days. If you successfully reach your daily minute goal as well as the weekly exercise, you will receive a prize of such greatness that you will be ecstatic for years to come (or something).

Remember, the 100 days will officially start on Monday, June 22, 2009.

Join us!

Pre-Week Writing Exercise for Monday, June 15 – Sunday, June 21: Character Week

This week, collect, study, and describe objects your character would own or use; jot down phrases your character would speak; visit and describe places that might be important to your character; try on clothes that your character would wear; eat or make foods that your character would enjoy/hate; find a photograph (online or elsewhere) of what your character looks like; research what your character's name means; research your character's job, school system, courses, lessons, extracurricular activities, etc.; research habits and qualities of animals they own; research your character's culture and locale; interview your character; observe real children/teens that are the age of your character; or invent your own character-related prompt. This week's goal is to get to know any of your characters better.

Pick something from the list to work on each day, or work on one item over several days. Remember to write descriptions, scenes, or notes on your findings. You should spend a minimum of 15 minutes writing each day. (In other words, you can't count surfing the internet looking for a picture of your character as writing.) Clarification: As long as you complete one character-related prompt during the week AND write for 15 minutes each day, you will meet this week's goal.


*Attention My Manuscript Stinks Society board: Be thinking of great prompts to post.