Category Archives: writing

Day 16 Plot for Nanowrimo letter ‘P’ find your story’s why

This will be a short blog post. A winter cold caught up with me, and my head is aching.


“Let us define a plot. We have defined a story as a narrative of events arranged in their time-sequence. A plot is also a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. ‘The king died and then the queen died,’ is a story. ‘The king died, and then the queen died of grief,’ is a plot. The time sequence is preserved, but the sense of causality overshadows it. Or again: “the queen died, no one knew why, until it was discovered that it was through grief at the death of the king.”— E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel

Narrative events. Dramatic action and structure of the story. The basic part of the story holds the ‘who, what, and where’. The plot is the ‘why’ of the story.

Going back to the queen you can read all the information showing you ‘who’ she was? The queen.

And where does she live, – in the castle

And what’s going on in her life?  Her husband just died.

I wonder why he died?  And, why did she die of grief?

Photo by Alain Frechette from Pixels

The curiosity of those ‘whys’ has the story moving along on its crisis, conflict, and the set up to the plot.


The plot. She died from grief.  So, we ask, ‘why’? Why did she die from grief?  Maybe the big question was, why did the king die? Finding those answers brings up to  the conflict the crisis, the plot.

‘The king died and then the queen died,’ is a story. ‘The king died, and then the queen died of grief,’ is a plot

“The queen died, no one knew why, until it was discovered that it was through grief at the death of the king.”— E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel


Here is the link back to Day 15 ‘O’ for a kiss Outline-A simple  basic outline

Day 15 ‘O’ for a kiss outline Nanowrimo

Todays walk was cold, snowy, with pastel colors caught in the moment. Looking like a  Claude Monet winter scene painting.

And I forgot my camera…

Looking closer I spot tracks in the snow, rabbits, raccoons, opossum, rat, ground squirrels and the birds shaking down the seeds still holding tight to the tops of frozen wildflowers. Floating over the newly fallen snow.

Going out on a snowy day is like following an outline to the story of the day. Those tracks can steer me to newly dug borrows, traces of a fight, or an area packed down after a full nights sleep or a few minutes of catching their breath.

Who is your main character? The rabbit? The raccoon? Or a family of deer? How about tigers?

You will pick up companions that want to join the story.  You will follow those tracks picking up figurative breadcrumbs. Being shown new characters that joined the rabbit’s path.

Possibly, at the stories  end  you would have seen  a herd of deer disappearing under trees. Magical helpers? Heroes?

Photo by Anthony from Pexels

An outline for a novel can have 60 or more scenes. So that Fuzzy rabbit will be a very busy-bunny-hopping around maybe humming a song, until he needs to find Ricky the raccoon, who didn’t come home last night.

You don’t have to lay out every hop, skip, and jump at this point.

Just get the entire plotline out on paper, just the basic outline.

“a general sketch, account, or report, indicating only the main features, as of a book, subject, or project:” ~

Keep it simple stupid. {{GRIN}}

The first outline you write is very basic.
Who is your main character?
Where is the story happening?
What needs to be done?
Who or what is the antagonist?
How does the antagonist slow down the protagonist?
What happens at the end?

Act One:
The setup. Where is all this taking place?
The inciting incident-the crisis. What just happened?
Stakes are raised. If you don’t help what will happen?
Should I go and help or should I stay home? Why risk everything for Ricky the raccoon? When the pretty Susie Skunk bats her big eyes at him. Now, we know why he went looking for Ricky the Raccoon.

In Act Two:
You can add a ticking clock. A snowstorm was moving in, to follow those tracks you have a limited time before they are covered with snow.
Have roadblocks to jump out at Fuzzy.  They grow more difficult; until-Fuzzy needs to face the antagonist….

Act Three:

The final battle is where Fuzzy rabbit steps up and fights for her beliefs and saves Ricky Raccoon’s life. The fight can be a coyote, a human or that approaching snowstorm.

With a happy ending, they dance all the way back home.
Sad ending, we let the camera pan out over a battlefield.

Remember. Keep it simple stupid. {{GRIN}}

Day 14 ‘N’ for writer’s notebooks or Nanowrimo


Photo by Jess Watters from Pexels

I started this blog post and it came out as a poem, a poem about my  own notebooks, my own  writer’s journals. .

Worrying Pearls

by Gerardine Baugh

A few words, in my notebook- of odd thoughts.
Surprising about today was the cold
it froze my nose as if January.
Ice beckoning to me, in one great fall,
while sun passed overhead, inline struggling
with melting ice, ice set to keep its shape.
I could taste the hint of snow in the air.
I realized, my snow thrower was checked
Inspecting its inners. Will it still work?
Nor did I check dark corners of the barn
brushing aside abandoned spiderwebs
digging out shovels. Winter has started.
I don’t want to give it deeper power
by conceding its power over me.
My Notebooks filling with lines of odd thought.
A few words or a full chapter scribbled
into many notebooks taking up space
like a gnome on my shelf, making me smile,
Releasing ideas for characters,
places to have them act out and struggle.
Spit, swear, surely worrying pearls with words
my notebook written one cold November.

This was written in blank Verse, iambic pentameter,  unrhymed, ten syllables.

Notebook or journals are the homes of  snippets of thought you come up with while standing in line for coffee, at work when you’re supposed to be listening intently during the office weekly meeting.  A word or phrase that sounds amazing. A dream you don’t want to forget. An idea. That perfect description of a character that you haven’t yet written a story for. Those ideas all belong in your journals, your writer’s notebook. So when you are bogged down with can’t-do, you can open your notebook and see what triggers your muse’s can-do.

I was flipping through W. Sumerset Maugham’s Writer’s Notebook.

“The night is wonderfully silent. The stars shine with a fierce brilliancy, the Southern Cross and Canopus; there is not a breath of wind, but a wonderful balminess in the air. The coconut trees, silhouetted against the sky, seem to be listening. Now and then a sea-bird gives a mournful cry.” ~pg 145

The interesting part about a writer’s notebook is that reading it can help shake up your muse. Keep flipping pages- keep looking until- suddenly you see it…. and your imagination takes off.

From the Inside Flap of  W. Sumerset Maugham’s Writer’s Notebook.~
“From 1892, when he was eighteen, until 1949 when this book was first published, Somerset Maugham kept a notebook. It is without a doubt one of his most important works. Part autobiographical, part confessional, packed with observations, confidences, experiments and jottings it is a rich and exhilarating admission into this great writer’s workshop.”,

I like using paper, -hard copy- notebooks. I find them easier to access than getting lost in amaze of emails or folder in my ‘documents’ on my computer.

day 13 the letter ‘M’ do you feed your Motivation

The Letter ‘M’ for  Motivation

I could use this word to swear, stomp my feet and bang my head on a feather pillow.

After pulling words out of my muse for the past 12 days, I will accept day 13 as my good luck day. Tuesday, November 13, 2018, a very lucky day.

Photo by Sudipta Mondal from Pexels

I have made it to day 13. I am still writing loads of horrible scat. I will use that word, ‘scat’   with the implication  of music, jazz with a beat, a sound that has me tapping my toes as my fingers dance across my keyboard.

Hey, don’t take that away from me, the music –words- are flowing –with coffee and lots of eye pain.

So let’s get on with this ‘motivating’ day, with a little swing in your step and broken lead in your pencils.

How to find motivation on this 13th day, of NaNoWriMo

First I set up what I want to get done in the morning the night before.

I don’t write down my schedule. What I do –as I am falling asleep is go over what I need to do first thing, starting at the moment I open my eyes.

Then as the day starts  before I even open my  eyes, I am going over my story ideas.

Before I even get out of bed- I stretch. Pulling out the kinks in my back. I spend some time on a few yoga stretches. Then, I roll out of bed and immediately fix my bed.

My day starts on myself. Then I feed my pets, make coffee, and turn on my computer. By the time I have butt-in-seat, my fingers are hovering over my computer’s keys dripping words out on the page.

My characters motivations: Physical such as food, water, a home, a family, painful death, beliefs, exercise, the hiccups even the taste for ice cream.

Characters have the same motivations as we do. Picture your characters motivation as your own. Feel their emotional side; love, hate, longing, your character’s motivations for dating, for hate, or sadness.

Motivations move my day along. A motivation for my characters moves the plot forward. Giving them a reason for moving through their story and mine.

Day 12 NaNoWriMo Letter ‘L’ For Logline

Letter ‘L’ For  Logline

Is this like a  story question? Yes.
Or is it a premise sentence? Yes.
Or is it just a logline? Yes. yes, and yes.

Since today is ‘L’ day I will stick with Logline. Even though I have seen this used as the ‘story question’ and the ‘premise sentence’.

I have seen descriptions and ‘how-to-do-this’ all over the web.

I will show you what  works for me. When writing your ‘Logline’ for your novel, ask yourself three questions.

Then, play with your answers.

First question: what is the inciting incident, that thing that happens

A rabbit runs into the garage….

Second question: who is your protagonist?

Jenny …

If I put those two together I will get:
When the rabbit runs into the garage, Jenny …..

What is Jenny’s goal, the protagonist goal?
When the rabbit runs into the garage, Jenny decides to chase him out.

Third and last question: Will she succeed? Add your own people, places or things that are out to stop your protagonist.

When the rabbit runs into the garage, Jenny decides to chase him out. But, will she succeed when she is up against her kids who want to keep the rabbit, the dog who wants to chase the rabbit, and her husband who loves rabbit stew.

When the (inciting incident) causes (the protagonist) to react (What is your character’s goal?) And will he succeed (when set against what?)

Have fun setting up your logline…

Day 11 of Nanowrimo letter ‘K’ for Kenning


Today I became word-stuffed on this eleventh day of NaNoWriMo. Even taking a walk did nothing to help with writing this Blog post; nothing could remove that word-wall blocking my muse. So, I wrote a Kenning  inspired poem.


A NaNoWriMo Writer By Gerardine Baugh

Pencil- nibbler

Daily –counter

nemesis- scribbler

Once every November
A NaNoWriMo writer

Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius from Pexels



“Kenning, concise compound or figurative phrase replacing a common noun, especially in Old Germanic, Old Norse, and Old English poetry. A kenning is commonly a simple stock compound such as “whale-path” or “swan road” for “sea,” “God’s beacon” for “sun,” or “ring-giver” for “king.”~

Day 9 Nanowrimo ‘I’ Inciting Incident life will never be the same

Cold winds blew across pristine white snow that held tight to the leafless tree branches and frosted the evergreens. The sun caused the snow crystals to shimmer in the sunshine. Heat rose off the ground, melting the snow on the driveway into reflective pools of water.

As I reached the road, the mail carrier popped open my metal mailbox and tossed in my mail, flipping the door closed, then drove off. I pulled open the door, reached in retrieving a free magazine; a letter offering discounts for DirectTv the electric bill and a plain white business envelope with no return address. Curiosity got to me. Halfway back to the house I ripped it open and flipped the folded paper open. it addressed me by name, with only a couple of sentences telling me to watch my mail because in a couple of days I will get a second letter, that letter will have instructions I will need to follow explicitly.

An inciting incident will cause turmoil in the life of the protagonist. Changing everything. Life will never be the same.

Your novel ends, when the inciting incident is resolved.

The ending is the inevitable result of that inciting incident. Clarifying how it is resolved.

Example: In the Hunger Games, the inciting incident is when Katniss’ sister was chosen at the reaping.

Example: That letter in my mailbox can be an inciting incident.

An inciting incident begins the story’s problem.

  •  An odd letter in the mail.

Kicks your hero out of her everyday routine.

  • She thinks about it. Wonders about it. Talks about it.

It is something unexpected, confusing, something that just changed your protagonist’s life.

  • Then the second letter arrives with instructions.

Your protagonist can’t turn back.

  •  She follows the instructions. Her curiosity has her doing odd things.

It will cause conflict, internal and external conflict. And it will have her wondering; questioning what is going on and why.

  • Is this real?

Today’s word count 1,536

Day 8 Nanowrimo ‘H’ Hooks

The unbelievable happened today. The rains stopped and the clouds parted, blue skies peeked out, then rays of sunshine followed. The air stilled. The temperatures had dropped overnight and never moved away from nearly freezing temps. Water that filled the bottom of flowerpots was half frozen, with leaves set in icy brown water, shimmering in the suns rays. I tipped the containers, they splashed and clinked sliding brown water after the ice, which slipped across the ground like a hockey puck.

Hooks can be a posed as a:
1. Question
2. A fact or observation
3. Incident or an anecdote
4. An opinion with intent to challenge
5. A fact
6. A quotation
7. A definition

Hooks begin and end each chapter to keep your reader reading.

“What is this thing? The young man looked horrified.”  ~Witch Is When It All Began (A Witch P.I. Mystery Book 1) By Adele Abbott,

“Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest.”~ Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline.

“On the morning of September 9, 1990, Try Walls stepped outside and surveyed a morning sky that was the color of fire near the horizon.” ~Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

“The Black Forest Mountain, southwest Germany, December 1943
This seemed a fitting place to die.” White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey

“You sure about this” Rachel asked again, blowing softly on the surface of her steaming cup of tea.” Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

“Nora could feel Connor watching her.” Honeymoon by James Patterson, Howard Roughan.

“I was standing in the air-conditioned hush of Forever Bridal in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but since all I could see was a rack of plastic wrapped wedding dresses taller than my head, I could have been in any bridal shop in any part of the country.” Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Best selling books on Amazon for the week of November 4, 2018.


“The patrol officers had left the front door open” Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

“On a cold morning in early October of 1946, Pete Banning awoke before sunrise and had no thoughts of going back to sleep.” ~John Grisham, The Reckoning: A Novel.

“Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.” The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe By C.S. Lewis

“I peed my pants last week.” Girl, wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies, by Rachel Hollis

Every one of these first lines has us wanting to know what is going on. They hook us in until we can find out what is going on.


NANOWRIMO DAY 7 ‘G’ for Genres

Day 7 of NaNoWriMo

“So there’s nothing more provocative than taking a genre that everybody who’s cool hates – and then making it cool.” ~Lady Gaga

Genre’s have branches on branches on branches with leaves  fluttering in all directions. I just listed a few of those genres.

The sky is the limit on types of Genre.
  • Adventure
  • Chit lit
  • Classics
  • Contemporary fiction
  • Diaries
  • Dystopian
  • Family
  • Horror
  • Historical fiction
  • Mystery
  • Poetry
  • Paranormal
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Steampunk -is a sub-genre of science fiction
  • Verse novels
  • Ya –young Adult

“My theory on genre is that while there are people out there who believe that genre tells people what to read, actually I believe that genre exists as a marketing tool to tell you what to avoid.” ~Neil Gaiman

  • Middle-Grade
  • Women’s fiction
  • Afro-American
  • Christian
  • LGBT

“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness” ~The Importance of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde

The list of Genre’s has blown up.  Here are just a few of the ‘Humor’ genres:

  • Alternative comedy:
  • Anecdotal Comedy”
  • Anti-humor
  • Dark comedy
  • Blue comedy
  • Character Comedy
  • Cringe Comedy
  • Deadpan Comedy
  • Heritage Comedy
  • Improvisational comedy
  • Insult comedy (which nowadays can get you fired)
  • Mockumentary
  • Musical
  • Obersavational
  • On-line-joke
  • Physical
  • Prop
  • Sketch
  • Spook
  • Surreal
  • Satire
  • Word play

“But when I hear a great song, I can’t help but be inspired by it, regardless of whatever genre that song falls under.”~ Taylor Swift

Genre links -Here is a  few more


NaNoWriMo Day 5 writing is editing: ‘E’ for Editing

Editing is Writing

I walked out into a gloomy cloudy day. The clouds had dropped so low I felt as if I were walking inside them. A grey chill spread from the wet ground and met the dreary clouds, pinning me inside that painful air pressure


By the time I got my mail, the cold dampness found its way under my coat. My head was aching. The change in air pressure heralded in a warning of impending rain. The world was covered in water; all the rain that fell the past week had overflowed into my shed.



Last night, that water pushed toads up the drain and into the house. One of my cats -Enishi- brought one to me. He dropped it at my feet. I didn’t act happy. I took the toad outside and spent the rest of the evening cuddling with Enishi, trying to make up for my mistake. If I could edit out my reaction, I would have. What I should have said was, “Good Boy!” then took the toad outside. Instead of getting worried and telling him not to touch it, he didn’t understand why, and he seemed to deflate, but he listened.

I was worried he would get an adverse reaction if he decided to chomp on the toad. Some toads can be toxic to cats. This little toad was no bigger than a quarter and I didn’t take its picture, so I couldn’t identify it.

“Toad venom can be toxic for your cat. Fortunately, toad venom toxicity is rare in cats. Still, being natural predators, it is common enough for cats to pounce on toads and come into contact with their toxin, which the toad releases when it feels threatened. This highly toxic defense chemical may enter the eyes, resulting in vision problems, or it may be absorbed through the oral cavity membrane. Its effects are lethal if not treated immediately.” ~

I edited my reaction after I put the toad outside. But my cat wasn’t buying it. And I had to carry him around telling him he was a good cat and a mighty hunter. I need to edit my reaction for the next toad he brings me.

This brings me to NaNoWriMo. This is the 5th day. The day of ‘E’ for edit.

Photo by from Pexels

My top ten

1) Editing is writing. Stop thinking of it as a way to cut up your creativity.
2) Cut overused words; you know, like, that, even very, anymore, only, usually, etc. Words you tend to overuse. Make yourself a list so you can find them in your text.
3) Read your creation out loud, you will hear mistakes.
4) When you ask people to read your work ask them questions. Example: What words did I overuse? Or, do you like my main character?
5) What Point of view did you write in? What tense? Does your pattern match -through out your novel?
6) Does all your dialogue move the story forward?
7) Does each scene move your story forward?
8) Do your word choices match your scenes? Scary, happy, sad, lonely, dark, light etc.
9) Now, write your plot line. Are all the acts in order?
10) Write down each scene on an index card. Boring or just the right amount of drama? Does each one advance the story? Advance the chapter?

Today my word count is 2,052 {{Happy Dance}}