Monday, June 28, 2021

Camp NaNoWrimo 2021: 31 Prompts for 31 Days


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Who's up for Camp NaNoWriMo? Me, for one! I can't believe I'm saying this, but come July I'm going for it. I am so ready for a new writing project, especially because my WIP novel, Ghazal, will be officially, completely, finally FINISHED and fully edited on July 4th. Yep. Fireworks, watermelon, silly hats--I want it all because the journey (at least until I begin submission and publication) is over. So where better to celebrate than camp?

The nice thing about Camp NaNoWriMo is you can set your own goals: 50K words for the month, 100K, 30 pages, whatever feels right. This year I am foregoing word and/or page quotas and simply choosing to write, by hand, for 30-60 minutes a day. Nice and simple and very relaxing.

To make the experience extra easy and fun, I've created my own list of prompts that I'm happy to share with you. Feel free to use any or all of them, in any order, or even shake them up with your own ideas and additions. Here we go:

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021 Writing Prompts

1. My favorite prompt of all time is from Natalie Goldberg, so it's the perfect place to start: Freewrite from the words "I remember" using your main character's point of view.

2. Develop a back story for your primary antagonist or villain that has made him/her who they are today.

3. Write a scene that includes the arrival of a puzzling gift from an unknown source.

4. Write about your characters' relationships to food.

5. Create fictional homes and neighborhoods for your characters. Include maps for extra credit.

6. Write about something your main character avoids doing and why.

7. Write about your characters' worst fears. Make note of how these could appear in a big way at the end of your story.

8. Write about a serious misunderstanding your main character has with a family member.

9. Your main character has to travel somewhere they don't want to go to. Choose a destination and write a scene where they are a fish out of water.

10. Write about your main character's favorite childhood memory and why it's important to your story.

11. Write about your main character's worst holiday experience. Now do the same for your antagonist.

12. Put your character in a natural setting, a park, a nature reserve, a lonely forest. Why are they there? What are they doing? How could this develop your plot?

13. Research an unusual profession and then find a way to include it in your story.

14. Go somewhere and observe a stranger. Create a role for this person in your story.

15. Write a scene where your characters who have been friendly with each other are now beyond furious.

16. Find a painting you love and write about why your main character loves it too. Turn it into a metaphor that can be used in your story.

17. Write about a terrible encounter your main character has with an animal.

18. Write about your main character or antagonist suddenly encountering a family member they didn't know they had.

19. What is the emotion your main character is terrified of expressing? Write a scene where they have to express it or lose something or someone important to them.

20. Make a word pool. Cut out 30 interesting words and headlines from magazines. See if you can use any as prompts for today as well as any future writing sessions.

21. Write a scene where your main character suddenly falls ill. What's wrong with them? How could this affect your story?

22. Write a letter from your main character to someone they miss being with.

23. Write about a memory your main character has never shared. Why is it so painful or private?

24. Write a scene with your main character set in a moving car or truck. Where are they going and why? Now do the same for your antagonist.

25. Create an imaginary still life from objects in your main character's house. Write about each object and the memory associated with it.

26. Write about your antagonist visiting a cemetery. Who have they gone to see and why?

27. Write a scene that involves your antagonist spying on your main character. What do they see, hear, do?

28. Write about a special event your main character doesn't want to attend. Why don't they want to be there? Send them anyway.

29. Write about your antagonist's happiest day.

30. Write the full ending to your story, even if you have 300 pages left to go.

31. Cut out five magazine images (people, places, things) and see where they could fit into scenes you have already written to give added depth, description, and value.

Tip of the Day: Most of these prompts are springboards to dig into characters' backgrounds, motivations, strengths and weaknesses. My plan for when I'm finished is to take what I discover and then create an outline for a full-fledged plot. That way, come November 2021, I'll be thoroughly prepared for, you guessed it: NaNoWriMo 50K! See you in the craft room.