There’s No Place Like Oz – Shapeshifter 13 #25 – 10/30/15

Dorothy wished she WAS in Kansas, witches and monkeys were better than this!


Written for the Grammar Ghouls Shapeshifter 13 prompt.




NaNoWriMo – Why Do It?

I agree I might be on the edge of doing something totally insane. Okay, maybe not insane, but some kind of crazy. What is it? I am going to commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in a month’s time.


National Novel Writing Month or #NaNoWriMo as you will se it on all the cool kid’s sites like Twitter Facebook, Instagram et all, is a concentrated effort to get some new book material out of writer’s heads and onto paper, in word processors or wherever people choose to write these days. Amazon, Good Reads and every other online site with any connection to books has to like the concept. I mean, what good is a storefront with nothing to sell?


I am doing it because over the years I have been writing novel length works I have never been published. Stay with me here, I am going to answer this question, it is just a long answer. There are many phases to writing a book. The preplanning is one, the writing a whole BIG other and then publishing perhaps the biggest of all. So really I am doing it first in hopes that this novel will be the one to kick in the door and get a publisher interested in what I write.

Secondly, again going back to the years I have been writing, I have learned to mentally develop a plot to see if it has the legs to be a full blown story. Sometimes you can have a really good story and well developed plot, but a good sized short story is all you can wring out of it. Have no illusion, writing a 75,000 word novel is no walk in the park. The #NaNoWriMo only asks 50,000, which will be tough enough in thirty days.


The plot I chose to develop has been rolling around in my head for nearly three years. Usually within that amount of time if the plot does not continue to develop you know it has to be trashed. This one has only continued to grow and become more interesting. I feel like I would be passing up on the best choice of my working ideas if I let it go.


Whoo! That is a good question. November is a busy month for everyone. I mean it is basically the start of the holiday season. Once you get to the last week, with Thanksgiving, you get into the Christmas slide and time seems to enter an accelerator of some type. AS a matter of fact, I will be departing the U.S.A. for an international mission trip on the 27thof November and with Thanksgiving the day before I am mentally giving myself 25 days to pull this off. I may have some time while away to finish things, but I want to plan as if I don’t.


I need a jump start in my writing and there is nothing like a new project to do that. The excitement of building out characters, setting, Plot and basically the whole ball of wax is invigorating. Pair that with a partner (my wife) that is willing to read and critique and you have a pretty good incentive.

I am also excited about the promised partnering of the folks at the #NaNoWriMo web site. They have developed there involvement so much that they have different regions of the country and groups for each along with coaches and liaisons to assist if you need. I would love to meet other writers/authors, especially those from my local area.



Well, there will be a couple fo ways to do this actually. has several links that will report your progress back to your website or blog. I have inserted these in the right margin of two of my blogs: (1) In the flagship blog, Joe’s Musings. (2) I included it on the Fiction Playground blog. This is where the majority of my blog traffic comes in. I have other blogs, but they just do not get the same amount of attention from me or visitors.

So, taking the time to make this little post has equaled around 750 words or 38% of what I will have to create each day to make the 50,000 word goal. I hope you will cheer me on, encourage and wait breathlessly (while breathing of course) to see if I can cross the line with the thousands of others taking this challenge.

Wheels up – Friday Fictioneers – 10/28/15

Hello friends and welcome to the Fiction Playground. I hope you have come to know this as a great source of fiction stories. Each week I try a few fiction prompts to stretch my fiction legs. But now I am going to do more than stretch them, I plan to take them to a marathon, better known as the National Novel Writing Month. So if you miss me for the next four Wednesdays never fear, I am only diverting my efforts to the great novel chase.

But for this week I decided to grab a piece of topical news to put with my Friday Fictioneers piece. Thanks Rochelle, for re-upping as host for another spell.

(100 words)

Hurricane Patricia was going to be the fiercest storm to ever take a swipe at the coast. Hugh and his team were ready. Their highest dollar technology tracked the storm’s every movement, wind speed and rain band.

Inside their new thirteen million dollar headquarters they felt invincible. There wasn’t a storm capable of destroying this palace.

Thirty hours later the first rescue team finally cut through the debris to reach the Pacific Coast Storm Tracking Center. The concrete slab was littered with all manner of scraps. Nearby laptops and monitors lay like a child’s toys. A puddle consumed a chair.




We Need to Stop and Admire the Sky – MFtS – 10/26/15

Monday is the first opportunity each week to get your fiction writing fix. Barbara Beacham gives us a photo and first line to a 200 word fiction masterpiece. I hope you enjoy mine.

I watched the vulture looking at me hungrily as I lay on the ground bleeding and injured. I could see him and he could see me. He can wait, he knows I cannot get away. The storm is over now, the sky clear. I think the power stayed on after I climbed the pole to fix the main line. I guess Harley was right, my boot spikes were too worn to wear in the hurricane. But I knew I could get the line fixed in time to save the town. 

I still have hope. I am sure the rescue and clean up crews will arrive soon. If I can just hold out until they do. I never stop and just admire the blue sky. I need to do that more, if….

The Half-Thousand Pumpkin Dress – Shapeshifter 13 – 10/23/15

Grammar Ghoul Press has been offering two prompts a week for fiction writers for quite a while. This particular one is known as the Shapeshifting13 Challenge. Each week you have a word limit in a multiple of 13 words combined with your photo prompt like the one below. The short fiction must have relevance to the photo and be no more than the word limit. For this week the limit tops out at 52 words.

Suman at Desibuckets

The children leaned forward, eager to search of the prize. Miss Poindexter promised she had taped a $500 bill to one of the 500 pumpkins adorning her yard. Sydney Allen needed that $500 for her recital dress. No one else was going to get it no matter who she had to hurt!

NaNoWriMo 2015

National Novel Writing Month is coming in nine days. So what, you say? Why should I care? Well it is highly possible some novel you read in the next six to eighteen months could see its beginning in the thirty day festival of novel writing that is #NaNoWriMo. Basically, for anyone still in the dark, novel writers commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. While 50,000 words might seem short for a novel, on average there are 250-300 words per page. using this estimate a 50K word novel would constitute around 200 pages.

I can count five manuscripts in my inventory of unpublished works. I will confess I have never tried to do the #NaNoWriMo because the concept is more than intimidating. You will write 1,667 words on average each day to total 50K in thirty calendar days. Keep in mind there is a holiday on November 26th and you eschew that 24 hour period. This year I also will surrender four days of my writing schedule to an international mission trip. While I could still find the time, who knows if I will want to try?

So there are innumerable reasons to shake my head and retreat from this challenge once more, but there is another compelling reason not to: A story dying to be written. It is a concept I have been mentally building out over a few months. But now it is getting ready to hit the fast track and get a full court press to 50K words.

So, what can I do to facilitate this? Well, for the first time in my novel writing adventures I plan to do a flow chart. No, I am not a flow chart expert and it will not be pretty, but I feel like I need to chart out the action and story line so i can write more effectively. I have decided to use the tact of writing individual chapters that focus on one of the characters, and believe I can chart accordingly.

Three Christmases past my wife invested in the Dragon voice dictation program. It is great as far as making the entry a lot faster, once it learns your speech eccentricities. It is not 100% flawless, but it helps quite a bit. What I am hoping for is to connect with other #NaNoWriMo authors to build some community so we can cheer each other on. I would also like to get some others who will gently inquire as to my progress and keep me focused on the goal. Who knows, I might be able to get this thing ready for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award that is coming in Jan-Feb time frame.

Okay, here is the part where I find out how many people who click on my posts read to the end. You are probably asking what will be the subject of this novel. It will be a suspense thriller with an FBI agent chasing a serial killer on the Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina and Virginia.

I Can’t Let the Law Win – Friday Fictioneers – 10-23-15

I wasn’t part of Friday Fictioneers when this photo made the rounds four years ago, but I am sure the story will come easy enough. Rochelle, we thank you for your willingness to host this weekly menagerie.


copyright – Ron Pruitt

He knew they couldn’t stay in Jefferson. As long as they were here her abusive ex-husband would be a threat. She had to escape, but how? He was the county Sheriff with eyes and ears everywhere. Then came a plan.

At the bus station he made sure to be the one to put the large suitcase under the bus. Who knew if the driver would notice and comment? It was the only way he could think of to get her out unseen.

He knew the Sheriff would see him leave. No one could miss a big galoot like him.


Surprise in the Woods – MFtS – 10/19/15

Baraba Beacham gives us a photo prompt and first sentence of a fiction prompt on Mondays. You can join us here.


Not knowing what to expect, he made his way into the dark of the forest. He was too old for initiation, wasn’t he? Yes, he wanted to finally gt a chance to do this extreme ropes and zip line course, but the guys of Theta Kappa Phi were determined he had to do this first. Starting a second degree at 34 had been the wife’s idea. He knew she was right, his two year degree wasn’t generating enough income. But really, was this necessary?

He turned to look at the group of eighteen, nineteen and twenty year olds who were loving every minute of this. He fully expected some others to be waiting in the woods. What they didn’t know was he was an excellent woodsmen and had special forces training. This was going to sour on them very quickly. He wouldn’t hurt them, just scare the daylights out of them.


What Kind of Mud Is This? – SPF – 10-18-15

Time for another fiction story to match the photo prompt from Al and Sunday Photo Fiction.

copyright – Al Forbes

Puppies will be puppies. Everyone says that, but until you have your own you don’t believe it. Well, I believe it now. My puppy was very docile when we first brought her home. I guess she was trying to get her bearings. Who could blame her, she went from a rectangular fenced in slab of concrete to a big, wide open world where she could roam free.

Suddenly the world was her oyster and chew toy. These new humans handling her were strange, but they could be molded, could be swayed to do her bidding. It was just a matter of following her puppy plan to win their hearts.

Even as she explored this new land, Sydney could not help but be intrigued by this new place. There was also a lot of activity going on outside. She could see this big mud pit where someone was working. She wanted to see more, so she found a way out to the fun. In short order she had the mud all over her. She began to worry when the mud began to stiffen. Had she made a big mistake?


My new puppy, Sydney
My new puppy, Sydney