Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 15 Assignment!

You’ve got your characters and settings to work with. Now it’s time to get down to the nuts and the bolts of writing scenes. In Week Three, we’ll be looking at A Day in the Life of your characters. In this week’s assignments, you’ll practice writing scenes from your characters’ lives. See how they interact with other people. Get a feel for their internal monologue. Practice experimenting with point of view. These scenes won’t appear in your short story, but they’ll help you establish your POV, behavior, dialogue and even set up the story you’ll be telling.

Your Day 15 assignment is live!

Day 15: Describe an average day in your protagonist’s life: 800 words.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 14 Assignment!

Today is the final day of Setting the Scene. You’ve learned a lot about where your characters live, where they grew up, where they spend their time. You have some ready-made settings to use in your story, and you’ve also got some practice in describing the scene in a rich, detailed way. Now you’ll use that practice and think about the story that is beginning to develop in your head.

Your Day 14 assignment is live!

Day 14: Describe the setting where your story begins: 500 words.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week Two Assignments!

A slight glitch in the system has caused the assignments to pile up instead of being published regularly - sorry about that! To catch us up, these are the assignments that should have been posted over the weekend, up through tomorrow’s post:

Day 10: Describe where your protagonist went to school: 500 words

Day 11: Describe where your protagonist goes to work: 500 words

Day 12: Describe where your antagonist goes to work: 500 words

Day 13: Describe your protagonist/antagonist’s house: 500 words

Apologies to those of you who were working on a daily schedule - hopefully this doesn’t represent too much catch up! Feel free to start with the current assignment and complete the others retroactively, if you’d like, or pick and choose what you’ll write until you’re up to date.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 9 Assignment!

Getting to know where your characters came from is almost as important as character backstory. Practice describing the setting with rich, descriptive words; paint a picture invoking all the senses.

Your Day 9 assignment is live! Today’s assignment is:

Day 9: Describe the town where your antagonist grew up/lives: 500 words. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 8 Assignment!

You’ve made it through the first week! You have a good background for your protagonist and antagonist, and some good physical descriptions to work with. You’ve practiced dialogue. Now it’s time for Week Two of the 30 Day Writing Challenge!

Our Week Two focus is on setting the scene. You’ll practice developing settings, and explore the little details that make a setting come to life. 

Your Day 8 assignment is live! Today’s assignment is:

Day 8: Describe the town where your protagonist grew up/lives: 500 words. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 6: The meeting

Jumping ahead many chapters, our protagonist and antagonist meet. By this point it has been revealed that our heroine can see into remote rooms via her “peephole”.

She checked the peepholeShe may have had a flare for the dramatic, but she wasn’t stupid. She checked the peephole to make sure he was still asleep, then cracked the door and tossed in a small canister of knock-out gas. She counted off two minutes, just to be sure, then donned her gas mask and entered his bedroom. She checked the bedside table and found it lacking in guns, or knives. She checked under his pillows, under his bed, behind the headboard, between the mattress and the box-spring, in the closet… “Honestly?! Nothing?”

This was not what she had expected. “What kind of person,” she thought, “with the exception of kings, presidents, and prime ministers, of which he is none, can sign a death warrant, and feel no need to keep some sort of protection with them while they sleep?” It made her uneasy. The only logical answer, was that he had protection, but she simply couldn’t see it.

“Better safe than sorry.” she murmured, as she set to work tying him spread eagle to the bedposts. She double checked her knots, pulled the chair from the small writing table up alongside the bed, and opened the window to let the place air out. With that done she pulled out her gun, checked the silencer and waited.

It wasn’t long before the gas was gone, and the discomfort of being trussed to a bed finally woke him up.

“Hello Michael.”

“What the?! What’s going on here? Who are you? Guar…” There was a small pop, followed, almost instantly, by a thump and a crack, as a bullet flew through his bed, and the words died in his throat.”

“My apologies,” she said, and removed the gas mask. “but I can’t have you calling them in right now.”

“You!”

“Yes, me.”

“What do you want?!”

“I’d like you to stop sending men to kill me Michael, but I don’t suspect that’s going to happen today. Instead I’ve come to talk.”

“Talk? You’ve tied me up and shot my bed!”

“Yes, well… you were trying to call your bodyguards after all.”

“What do you want?” he asked again.

“I want to know why Michael. Why send people to kill me? I’ve never done anything to you or your family.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Really? You’re going to play dumb? I thought you’d at least have the balls to stand up for your actions.”

“How do I know you’re not recording this.”

“You don’t, but I’m not looking for a confession anyway. I already know you did it. The question I’m trying to figure out is why.”

“Why what?”

“Seriously? I will shoot you. I really don’t have a problem with that. Maybe in the calf?” she pointed the gun in that direction and raised an eyebrow at him. “I could kill you, if you’d prefer, but personally I’d rather have you alive as I’ve already gone through your stuff and I still don’t get it.”

Day 7 Assignment!

Now you’ve got a fair understanding of who your characters are… its time to find out how they sound. Today’s assignment is all about discovering Voice. Try various things in your characters’ Voices and see how they sound. Inauthentic? Discover a new catch phrase? Feel free to discard what doesn’t work until you have a good feel for your characters’ Voice.

Your Day 7 assignment is live! Today’s assignment is:

Day 7: Dialogue: Explore the Voices of your characters: 2 pages.

Day 6 - How do your Protagonist and Antagonist know one another

This is actually pretty difficult.

They don’t.  They won’t meet until somewhere into the story, and I don’t know how that will happen yet. So I can’t write 500 words about it, because it hasn’t happened.

Their meeting will probably be a turning point, and might be the fun part of the story.

I believe (but am not sure yet) that they will meet while pursuing the same objective with different goals.  I don’t know for sure though.  That part of the story hasn’t uncovered for me yet.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 5: The Knights Templar

His father was a knight, and his father before him, all the way back to the First Crusade. The Knights Templar, or the Knights of the Temple of King Solomon, as they were more accurately known, were created in 1119 by Hugues de Payens. He and eight other knights started the order in order to protect pilgrims as they journeyed to visit the Holy Land. They were the first warrior monks of the western world. 

And while the Knights Templar grew into little more than a church sanctioned bank, there remained at its heart a core of pure men devoted to God, and the protection of The Church, and its followers, at least until 1307, when the King Philip IV of France, greatly indebted to the Knights, arrested over a hundred french templars and gave them to the tender mercies of  The Inquisitors. After their “confessions” and no small amount of coercion by King Philip, Pope Clement V issued a Papal Bull that called for the arrest of *all* the Knights Templar, and seizure of their assets.

The true Knights, those who fought still for the protection of Gods followers, regrouped in secrecy. In calling for their arrest, the Pope had shown them the truth, that he was not a man of God, but instead, a politician afraid of loosing power. His Papal Bull, the Pastoralis Praeeminentiae, was ultimately that which set the Knights free. 

If the Pope, as he had shown, was not God’s servant, then the Catholic Church was simply a political tool, tricking innocent people into funding its machinations. Fighting The Church would be pointless. Instead, the Templars decided on another course. They would continue with their quest to protect Gods followers, and they would do so with The Church’s own money, and they had no qualms relieving the church of it. It was money given with prayers for a better life, for protection, for hope, and to help their fellow Christians. In short, money given for services exactly like those the Templars provided, and not, for providing The Church’s elite with lavish lifestyles. 

Fortunately, not everyone in The Church agreed with the Pastoralis Praeeminentiae, and the Knights had many friends in Rome. It was a time before photographs, fingerprints, or the Internet. It was a time when you were whoever you successfully claimed to be, when a letter of introduction with the right name on it could get you wherever you needed to be. So, the Knights sent their trusted elders to Rome, ones whose faces were not known, ones who with the help of their friends, could successfully infiltrate the financial, and intelligence gathering branches of The Church. 

It did not take long before the gold was flowing once more, but the Knights had learned a valuable lesson: greed begets greed, and power begets jealousy. 

They remained focused, they trained, and they passed their knowledge, and lessons on to their sons. They invested carefully, and began gathering their own intelligence, always seeking out new tasks specially suited to the western world’s only true warrior monks. 

It was his grandfather who discovered what would become their greatest challenge though. Pope Clement V had not only set the Knights free, he had also forced them to open their eyes. If the Pope was not truly working for God, then what else might be a lie? While their faith in God never wavered, they no longer trusted any man who claimed to know what god wanted. They lived by the Bible, and their faith. 

It was this questioning nature, now an ingrained part of every Templar, that led to The Discovery. God had said “Let us make man in *our* image, after *our* likeness.” Cain had wandered until he found a wife in the land of Nod. If God had only created Adam and Eve, then who had created the men who dwelled in the land of Nod? The question had lingered, a thorn in the back of every true Templar’s mind. Lingered, until his Grandfather had discovered one, discovered one of the Other Gods and saw it for what it truly was, and not a “minion of Satan”, “demon”, or “hellspawn” as The Church had always claimed of such things. 

He had killed it, through a combination of luck and training, and brought it back for all the Templars to see. He showed them the ancient Hindu texts that described it perfectly. This, was why God had kept the Templars alive. *This* was what they had been training for all these years. The Other Gods were not just a theory. They were real, and their mission was clear, for as long as they existed, men would be tempted, seduced by their powers and unable to follow God’s simple decree: “Thou shalt not have any other gods before me.” 

Day 6 Assignment!

You know where your protagonist and antagonist have come from… now it’s time to explore how their worlds intersect.

Your Day 6 assignment is live! Today’s assignment is:

Day 6: Describe how your protagonist and antagonist know each other: 500 words.