Book Review, Books!, Discussion, Dungeons and Dragons, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Signal Boost, Tabletop Games, Weekend Writer, Writing

Weekend Writer: Back To Basics (and Prompts)

Hey all, Sam here.

Okay, let’s try this again. I had ideas and plans for getting back into writing and getting back into blogging, and feeling like the old me again. But not even two weeks into the new year and my father-in-law was in the ICU and it wasn’t looking good, and then a whole lot of not great conversations happened with people we thought were friends…and I can admit that my emotions control my creativity…so I slumped for a couple weeks.

But I’m really trying to not let it control me as much or for as long this time. So it’s time to get back to writing.

In between the beginning of month prompt posts, and end of the month writing snippet share posts, I’m going to be delving into books on writing and/or different aspects of the creative process. I already did links to the previous writing craft books I’ve done.

I also like to go to the Writer’s Symposium at Gen Con each year, and I take notes for each panel I go to. If anyone would be interested, I could share what I learned from those as well.

Because this is a new year and the beginning of new creativity and hopefully new writing projects, I’m going back to the beginning, so to speak. I haven’t yet read The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings That Sell by Paula Munier, so it seems a good time to read this book and talk over it. There are eight chapters, and I think I will delve deep into one chapter each week that isn’t the Prompt or Share weeks.

I think only “assigning” myself one chapter a week means that I won’t overwhelm myself with the workload I’m giving myself. I’m pretty focused on getting all aspects of Free State of Geek going, and getting back to writing my novels, and maybe trying to do and learn a few new things, so I don’t want to stretch myself too thin by covering long chunks of books.

And yes, my lovely fur-child Diablo agreed to just lay on the couch and model off this book for use in this post. He’s a cutie, and he has loved having us home more regularly. It’s much harder to get Miss Luna to be a part of photo shoots.

Here’s the details on the book I’ll be delving into starting next week:

Give your story its best start!

The best beginnings possess a magical quality that grabs readers from the first word and never lets them go. But beginnings aren’t just the door into a fictional world. They are the gateway to the realm of publishing–one that could shut as quickly as it opens.

In The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings, author and literary agent Paula Munier shows you how to craft flawless beginnings that impress agents, engage editors, and captivate readers. You’ll learn how to develop the big idea of your story and introduce it on page one, structure opening scenes that encompass their own story arc, kickstart your writing with effective brainstorming techniques, and introduce a compelling cast of characters that drive the plot. You’ll also examine the best-selling novels from different genres to learn the secrets that experienced writers use to dive straight into a story.

With thorough examinations of voice, point of view, setting, dialogue and conflict, The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings is a must-have tool for luring your readers in with your opening pages–and convincing them to stick around for the ride.

“Writing a book? Hard. Writing the beginning of a book? Rocket science! Strap on your spacesuit, because thanks to Munier’s nuanced, actionable breakdown of every possible aspect of a gripping opening, authors everywhere can now take their books to the stars.” —K.M. Weiland

I’m actually excited to get into this one. I haven’t read a writing craft book in quite a bit, so it’ll be nice to get back into that mindset of learning more about craft while also working on just writing in general, regardless of how good the first draft is. You can edit the page after it has been written. You can’t edit the blank page. So I just need to get back to writing.

Speaking of, I guess it’s time to move on to this month’s writing prompts.

Prompt Time

Okay, so if you missed my Weekend Writer post from last month, I’ll link it here, but the basic idea is that I have a bunch of story/adventure/character/plot generators from both writing and game mastering, and I use those at the beginning of the month to generate a few different story ideas.

If you’re interested by any of them, you can use them to write your own thing (whether that’s poetry, novellas, stories, RPG adventures…whatever. Then, at the end of the month I’ll have a post where I share at least a snippet of what I was writing….and if you wish to share yours as well, that would be the time to do it.

So the first Weekend Writer (AKA Friday) of the month, I share the prompts, and then on the last Weekend Writer/Friday of the month it is share time. Pretty simple, right? I’m hoping it will help keep those creative ideas and creative desires flowing.

All right, here are the prompts.

Story Engine Deck

For this month’s prompt draw we have: A God-Slayer wants to save the world with/from A Forgotten Temple but one way or another it will be their last adventure.

Okay, honestly, this idea intrigues me, and I might end up writing something for it, but it would be much longer than a short story. At least a novella, if not a full novel. But, I like it.

Tarot/Oracle Cards

Territory, Soar, Communication

I actually had a friend draw the cards for this month. Use the words, the images on the cards, or both. Once again, I used my Urban Crow Oracle Deck by MJ Cullinane for this prompt.

Roll & Play

Since it is still very cold where I live, I decided to go to the Frozen Encounters page in my Roll & Play book. You can use the die I rolled, or if you have your own d12, you can roll on the chart for yourself. I rolled a 3, which is: What originally looked like an aurora lighting up the sky quickly turns into a colorful magical lightning storm.

I picked this book, Roll & Play, up to help with ideas for adventure plot hooks and other random details for TTRPGs like D&D and Pathfinder, but it can easily be adapted for other writing and creative prompts. 

Sidequest Decks

Finally, the Sidequest decks from Inkwell Ideas are another wonderful accessory designed for TTRPGs, but can easily be used for writers as well. This time around I used the Science Fantasy Sidequest Deck, so it is easy to blend magic and technology into the same tale. And, like last time, I decided to give two options:

Option 1: Download – A sci-mage transfers his psyche into a new sacrifice’s body every 50 years. But this year’s victim already has an extra occupant

Option 2: City From the Clouds – A floating city’s device/method to stay afloat is failing.

Since these cards are designed for TTRPGs, you’ll see even more details on the card, such as how to get the player characters involved in the adventure, and encounters they can have while working through the problem. You can use these to aid you in ideas for your writing, use them as is or as inspiration for your own beats along the path of the story, or ignore them entirely.

That is all from me for today. I’m going to try to get back into the swing of writing again, because I was doing pretty good with it for a couple weeks. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.


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