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.


Sail said...

I am in. -Lisa

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

I'm in too.

Suggestion: Sign up for the "followers" feature. It's so much easier for me to see you've posted and then I can zip over here and see what you've said.

Do I have to eat spaghetti-o's smothered with Velveeta? (That's what my protagonist used to love to eat.) Can I just pretend to eat it?

I can't try on her clothes. They wouldn't get past my thighs. Maybe not even past my calf's. It's not funny.

My Manuscript Stinks Society said...


We've set up the followers feature. Hope that helps. (And thanks for the tip.)

Your response is funny (which, of course, I would have expected).

Thanks for the smile!


LucindaF said...

I'm all over this - Lisa! Thanks for the invite.

Betty Edit said...

Yay! Count me in!

Ashley Harward said...

I'm in!!!!!!!!!!!

Rose Ledezma said...

I'm in! Sounds great!

C.W. Away said...

Wow. It's been two years since I've been in Lisa's class. I sure am slacking in my actual novel writing. That means I am in.

Now I just need to pick a story to work on.


Anonymous said...

Yay! Goals! I'm in!

Heather Dixon said...

I am so in!

whirligigdaisy said...

Well, way to motivate us right out of the gate. I'm in. But only because there are prizes.

My Manuscript Stinks Society said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sail said...

My Character Exercise #1: for my novel-in-progress, Salamander Blue

Monday, June 15
10:49 – 11:04pm

My hair has grown out enough that I look shaggy.

I look like a person who forgot that she has a short haircut (alt. Unaware that she has a short haircut), my hair growing out . . . . where the hair came to a crisp point at my neck, I have a thin stringy tail, and my uneven bangs hang across my face unless I pin them back. I think about cutting my hair with the kitchen shears, but I am pretty sure that would make it look worse. If Mom were here, or Lydia even, she would trim off the tail and even out the bangs or help me find a salon that could make me look human (normal, less shaggy, more normal, something).

If I wear a cap and pull the jacket collar up around my neck . . . (time? Is it summer here? What would she be wearing? Would she cut that tail off?)

K Ripley said...

I'm in, with both feet. Thanks for the link Lucinda.

Krista said...

I'm in too. :)

Heather Dixon said...

Character exercise for 6-16-09

Phoebe had had a mother, once. A real mother. One that sang coo-ish songs and changed her nappy and wrapped her up in violin polishing cloth and other things mothers did. She had been the fourth chair clarinetist.
Unfortunately, Symphony halls had too many doctorates and not enough doctors, and she died before Phoebe could remember anything, other than a pair of soft brown eyes. Phoebe had her mother’s eyes. Mrs. Belstram said so.
Mrs. Belstram had also told Phoebe that it was a great scandal, Phoebe’s mother marrying her father. A woodwind marrying a percussionist? Unheard of! But Phoebe thought it romantic. She imagined her mother in a sweeping white wedding gown—
--and the thought revolted, turning into the trianglist in her clingy dress, grinning her glinty smile. Phoebe clenched her eyes and shook the memory from her head.

Sail said...


That passage is amazing. You weave the whole world into those sentences. Or rather, you weave all of the important parts of the world into those sentences.

Simply beautiful.


Sail said...

Does anyone else have fifteen-minute exercises to share (either scene's like Heather's or just rambling explorations)?

LucindaF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LucindaF said...

Sorry about previous post.

15 minute writing exercise for novel-in-progress

I sat atop my tree watching Edeline, a good distance from the others. Her pale blue gown whipped over the top of the faggots and dry grass. I couldn't see her face well, but I knew what it must've looked like at that moment. The moment when the sheriff and the mayor in his tall, black velvet hat marched ceremoniously towards her captive body.
I had watched when others would spit at her, and call her names unbecoming of the religion they professed. Her deep brown eyes would glisten like the moon on the river, her sharp chin rising with the heaving of her chest.
She wasn't afraid, I knew she wouldn't be, there was something very sure about her. I could sense, even from my distant perch that there must've been a defiant smile stealing across her face.
I watched through my thin fingers as the torches were tossed at her feet. The smoke was gray and slow at first, then the orange flames began licking at the sky.
A black smoke blew sideways, reaching my nose and tip of my tongue, smelling and tasting of burnt feathers. Was it her? Was it Edeline I tasted?

Sail said...

That last line is particularly strong.

LucindaF said...

Lisa - writing exercises are a little like poetry, you write and write, then pull what is strong and write around it.

Yeah - I learned that from you.

Sail said...

Lucinda, How close is your novel to being completed? It seems like you have a lot of it written. Lisa

LucindaF said...

It's really not that close. 40 pages? I have scenes, I have a better beginning now. I know where I'm going and what I want to do. It's just the time to write it all down - justly.

My personal goal is 10 pages a week to finish a complete rough draft by Christmas.
My goal is to send it to Martha before my year is up.

Bookworm said...

I'm going to try it.

Bookworm said...

I did 15 minutes (more, actually) yesterday, so I'm going to give it a try. Gulp!

Sail said...

Welcome aboard, Bookworm! I completed the pre-competition week, and I found that it isn't as hard as I thought it would be to commit to 15 minutes a day. I also discovered that I usually write for longer than 15 minutes. The 15 just makes it feel doable. And, if I only complete 15, I've still added 6 or so lines to my novel-in-progress.

Anyway, the 15 a day is working well for me. I hope it works for you, too.

Carol said...

Okay--I thought I had to *do* something to sign in. So I'm, like, way late.

If you don't hear from me again, it's because I forgot to check back in. Or I got caught up trying to *do* something. :)


AmyF Hackworth said...

Ok, I was slow getting over here, but I'm in, too. I'm excited to join you, even if I'm a little late. Thanks for the structure and for the TIMER. I love it.