Starting NaNoWriMo Practice

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Through discussions with friends, I found a few would love to try out writing for NaNoWriMo this year. That is all fine and a great idea.

The focus should be, with there being a few months till this year’s NaNo, practicing writing a bit. Writing challenges. It is quite easy to do writing challenges to pick up your writing.

The Point of Challenges

First off, this isn’t preparing you for the exact story you will write this November. No, as a matter of fact, if you are much like me you will choose challenges that are just interesting for you to think about.

The 3 shared today follow a very simple set of rules:

  • 1. You are allowed 5 minutes to prepare.
  • 2. You write it for 10 minutes.
  • 3. (Personally added) you may finish it off if you feel fit.

See? It is a very simple quick action for you to do for your writing challenge prep. When it feels like it is too short, or too simple, just extend it. It got to the point, using NaNoE for myself, that I basically made it 10- to 15-minute prep, then finished an hour with the writing, followed lastly by “finishing it off”.

You can obviously move through this writing at your own pace, make sure you are excited to quickly write the story of your dreams.

Writing Challenge 1

This first challenge happens to be shared to explain how this works. Take note, this was my practice before I made NaNoE for myself.

What if nearly all smart people of the past were just smart people in the far future sent back in time to push the progress of humanity forward?

Challenge 1

The challenge is quite simple for this. Now you take a look at what you feel about what is written here. Make a few notes for yourself, try your best to use the “cut off time” to finish the preparation. This is to exercise what you think of, and feel, for the story and what you will write.

For this challenge I did the following prep:

You are a scientist, Greg. You wake up and have a fascinating thought.
Heading into the lab you see one of the fellow scientists Jenny and you discuss what is going through your head.
She is fascinated, but you can see she seems worried about something.
You get to the lab’s research section, you study chemistry and biology, but today you look up figures that are impressive in the past. You take a look at John, he seems to never be seen in the current generation but he has some traits that expose this is possible (uses different sets of words)
You then think what-if, and look around at people you know, surely someone you know might show traits like this.
Jenny hits your mind, nobody wears slops to work, however she never wears shoes. Even in outfit she constantly wears slops, also, where did she come from?

5 Minute Prep

As you can see, this was the initial step in the prep I stepped into. 5 Minutes warming up, followed by 10 minutes writing.

From the prep, you can understand what it is I wanted to write. The next 10 minutes, immediately since this was to warm up, happened to be writing what we thought of:

“Ah”, I sigh as I stretch, today will be a different venture. I’m Greg, one of the science team at Jennifer Science in South Africa. I had a weird lucid dream last night, I was meeting several people regularly but they were clearly people I could recognise from the past, present and in some cases I never expected to see. I kind of want to go further into this research, what about the other people we know in real life? Some we haven’t seen or heard of before. I do the usual morning work rush (I woke up late like usual). It is definitely time to rush out to work already.
Heading out I didn’t realise the significance, I got to see Jenny.
“Morning, Jen” I offered, we boarded the same bus at the same time.
“Hey Greg, how is your research going?” she asks.
“Well, not too great, I am still stuck on the biology’s chemistry I hit a stumbling block on yesterday. However, today I am slightly confused. I had a lucid dream again, I still hate I have them regularly” I shared.
“What was in this lucid dream? I’m always fascinated when you share” she ventured, intrigued.
“Well, it is confusing, I saw several people and met them. We had short conversations, one was Martin Luther King Jnr., one was Mandela, there were some wearing weird clothing, like consider someone wearing a ‘onesie’ he called it… Oh, that’s clothed that cover the entire body, head to foot, I have never seen that before… I want to look at something different today, this lucid dream is what I will research…” I ended there as Jen seemed uncomfortable.
“Ah…” she began, “well, what if people come from the future?”
“Oh, it can bring neat things in science and research, number one of course. However I feel it would be awesome to find some way to travel time, that concept has always confused me.”
We had some idle talk after for the next 5 minutes till we got to the lab. I saw she seemed nervous, I didn’t see that when I got on the bus.

10 Minute writing

Yes, as you can see, no doubt, I was quite slow. In the 10 minutes, I wrote 356 words. That is quite nice since we can presumably write 356 words in 10 minutes, that would make roughly 3500 words every hour. That wasn’t quite there for me though, that is why for the prep I added the next step.

I rush through to the research rooms, we have the internet and books on a large number of topics. As I go in I greet Amy, the lead librarian, “morning Amy, how are things going?”
She waves and shares “Morning, you seem quite chippy this morning, things are going well our orders are arriving today! I’m excited about the growth of our collection, so, what are you looking for today?”
“Well, I want to look at something completely ‘out of this world’ so to speak. Where do we keep our historic records? I want to look at people that were famous in the past.”
She looks fascinated and intrigued, as she is about to open her mouth her assistant calls her, so she shares “4th book rack, left of the central footpath.” She heads off in a hurry.
I venture forward to take a look for myself, I find a Guinness book of World Records from 2016 and take a look. Thankfully these share some of the idols of that year, but I can’t find one that fits my theory. I look at the years of the Guinness records we have here, it is unfortunately a mish-mash, we are missing some. Suddenly I remember as I gloss past 1994. That is when I saw Nelson Mandela became president. I grab it and page through to see what it says about him, he was in prison for years. This is interesting as I saw a research sharing he wasn’t seen or heard completely, perhaps he teleported somewhere?
Well I shake my head at myself, well, that is quite boisterous. Well, they don’t let you just leave prison or anything. I remember there are people in this age that have deconstructed every image from the past, to me they are conspiracy theories but some of the images of people like Nelson in prison were constructed at dates and times he wasn’t there.
This was causing my thoughts to stumble, I guess just because as usual conspiracy theories go, people just want to prove what they don’t like is incorrect mostly. I begin paging through some random history books. Karl Benz flicks my mind back to the theory, he created the first car, but this was when electronics and machinery weren’t a worldwide phenomenon. How does someone just find a theory in something that isn’t a standard anywhere in the world? Back then people that heard about it were saying they think it’s a ruse, not legitimate and most likely a lie.
We didn’t have advanced tech to take or look at photos back then, but quickly logging onto a research PC I look for him, he looks quite modern to me. The one image that peaks my curiosity he is wearing a tie that looks like it has a pattern on it. Sure they used animal skins some of the time back then, but this pattern doesn’t look like it would be animal hide.
What if people are trying to hide they came from the future? Suddenly it begins to dawn on me, this theory fascinated me and it looked like it might have worried Jenny. She is studying in the neurology department on repairing brain tissue. I found it was an amazing research topic as they have been sharing in meetings they are getting closer to having a method that will work.
I have a cousin who had a traumatic brain injury, he isn’t completely functional but he is doing everything he can to recover from the injury. I was hopeful for this study as it could help his recovery. He is doing well, but we regularly see he gets completely frustrated that he constantly finds mental stumbling blocks. I figure it would be awesome to call him with this theory.
The phone keeps ringing for calling him, voice mail. Oh snap, it’s a work day, so I figure leaving a voice recording he might call me, “Hey Andrew, its Greg, I stumbled upon a fascinating thought today I looked up things for: science can come from the…” the beep at the end gave me a fright. I forgot, they limit the recording time on voice messages if a call is missed. I want to face palm, but actually I figure I can do something else.
I rush out in a hurry, feeling rude as Amy starts to say something when she sees me. I need to ask Jen what she thought about my theory. I stumble down the stairs and my boss Rodger just shakes his head looking sad as I nearly face-plant at the bottom. I head over to the neuroscience offices, rushing in.
“Where’s Jen?” I ask Caroline, a fellow neuroscientist.
She smiles and just points to the door at the end of the walkway we are on.
“Thanks,” I rush to say as I shoot off.
I get to the door, the marker saying she is here says she is in the office. I pause for a moment or two, gather my breath, after a few seconds I feel I’m ready. I knock on the door, “Amy? It’s Greg” I proclaim.
I have no response, I double check the marker says she is here. I knock again. Caroline startles me by tapping my shoulder, “I also have to talk to her, she always keeps the rules, she makes sure it only says she here if she is.”
I am getting worried, “shall we check if she is in there? Perhaps she’s listening to music, or something.”
Caroline nods and carefully opens the door, looks through a bit. She is starting to look worried. “Shes not here…”
We open the door and walk in, perhaps she went somewhere else and forgot to change the marker at the door. I glance down at her desk, her employee card is there on a piece of paper that looks like it has handwriting on it.
We pick it up and read what’s written.
“Sorry that I have to leave Rodger, something came up for me. I believe Caroline can take over my studies and succeed, I unfortunately need to move out the city. I’m sad to go, I know you are also sad to see me go, but unfortunately this is for the best for all of us.” Signature of Jen, I recognise it.
Suddenly deep things click. It isn’t good that I had that dream and shared it with her, she was constantly distant and none of us knew too much about her. What can be done with this theory now?

Story Continued

This was the way I could warm up using this, I felt I needed to complete the short story with what I wrote above. By doing these writing challenges you can definitely get into what it feels like for writing your novels.

Your Challenges

So, to help you out, here are the 3 challenges I happened to do last year.

  • What if nearly all smart people of the past were just smart people in the far future sent back in time to push the progress of humanity forward?
  • You’re warping back to earth after a 5-year mission to another solar system with your crew. As you approach Earth’s space coordinates, you notice something, Earth is missing.
  • You wake up inside your dream, the first thing you try is giving someone your number. After waking up you immediately get called from an unknown person.

As you may understand, I chose writing challenges last year as my preparation for writing my first novel Accidental Distances. Sure, the editing is going slowly for me, it is nearing the completion for stepping into publishing it. Hopefully, that should be soon.

You will be able to find new challenges for yourself, perhaps I should share more here eventually, just do what seems to fit your feelings. If it feels like something that fits your personal writing style you should try a short challenge story. That way you can get better at writing the 50,000 for NaNoWriMo.

I believe I didn’t warm up enough, I think that is why I didn’t get the 50,000 last year. It was just exciting that for the first time I got past 5,000 words.

As part of that, I figured I would share the stories I wrote for the other two as well. It would be good to hear people’s feedback and opinions on these short challenges for NaNo prep.

Writing Challenge 2

–          We describe this area on the alien world
–          We spend a bit of time talking to the Aliens about the plans
o   Get a trade route
o   Note that they want to force us to “save botany” on our planet
–          We hop into the portal, even though they are worried
o   They haven’t seen what we helped make and build, they are confused as they have never seen this
–          Back on Mars, the first thing is get back into oxygen supplied areas (aka. The base)
–          Thankfully we see Jean
o   She is out sorting out readings, she wants to advance her “biology” here on Mars
–          We get into the space suits
o   Captain Andrew points out he has a disaster that was set afoot
–          He points at the sky, says Earth is missing
–          We cant see much, we get to look through the one telescope they organised from Nasa while we were away
–          Poroktal and Digron were sent to Earth for them to test, before hearing anything about the rock it disappeared…

Prep

Followed by the story:

It was a sad day for Kathy and I, we were beginning to enjoy our excapade that brought us to this planet. It is still amusing, I bet it showed on my face, I turn to Giraip.
“trhl lb olrd nipi,” I point out I want to stay here.
“hb hbl dil” he answers, laughing.
I glance at the Raspberry PI I set up to translate what is said faster: it recognised “no, not yet”. It seems he finds it amusing, the laugh hit me hard. I wonder if they will miss us like we will miss their planet. Well, the other factor is we don’t have a name yet, they don’t name the planets like we do. It seemed unimaginable during our preparation for this trip back to Mars.
Well, they didn’t know what we meant by Mars, we had to teach them we named planets. They find it slightly disturbing, the only reason they were comfortable with those discussions were because I had sorted out the use of Poroktal for them. Imagine that, and invading alien from a distant galaxy helped them finally use their technology correctly.
I head over to Kathy, “so, what do you think you will miss most here?” I lower down as I ask, looking at the bug we found on the flower where we set the portal up.
“To be honest, the grass” she starts giggling. “Green is your favourite colour, but mine is orange, remember? Their grass is orange.”
I grin, “Yeah, we can’t use ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ here can we?”
While we are both giggling, this will be one of our best moments here that we remember. Imagine how scary is was when aliens that can use magic themselves surround us? Well, it is an amusing story because it worked out. Our instinct to dive to lying on the ground worked out for us. They stopped trying to attack us, they first thought we were a threat to them as a planet. Well, looking back, it actually makes more sense that we were the aliens here.
It is funny how we need to manage changing everything back on Earth to have a different perception of aliens as a whole.
Giraip walks over and says a few things, as I’m about to grab the Raspberry PI out my pocket I panick slightly, where is it. As I turn to ask Kathy I see her standing holding it reading the translation. She answers “yes, we will enjoy coming back to see you. Thanks for all your help! We can’t wait to get back and then come back here and do more with you, we will head to the portal now.”
She reads out the text that English was translated to (their dialect) slowly but surely. I read it over her shoulder.
The amusing thing is trying to read the translations while looking at an LCD and reading it on the Raspberry PI. Imagine how “dio, ti tcg ihebd qbzchf wrq lb oii dbk. Lnrhso mbp rg dbkp nigj. Ti qrhl trcl lb fil wrq rha lnih qbzi wrq nipi rha ab zbpi tcln dbk, ti tcg nira lb lni jbplrg hbt”. The fact that she worked out that we can translate directly between English and their language was fascinating.
I see that Giraip said that the portal was ready, they would like to wave goodbye as we teleport back. He pointed out they will send over an ambassador to see us in two days, he is worried about how long it might take us to have an oxygen supply ready for the ambassador.
We head to the portal, look behind us and what’s exciting is seeing all the Huji smiling. That wasn’t what we had seen in the last few months here working on the portal back to our galaxy. We are trying to hold back our laughter, this was so exciting for us. We wave our hands, turn and head through the portal.
Well, we didn’t really think this through actually. Yes, we are definitely back on Mars. This is thankfully close to the base they started setting up here on Mars. It was good the Huji pointed out that where we described we found it (the planet mind you) should be close to where we arrive back. They let us know the aliens that stole the Porocktal had been heading there to try and learn how to clone their Poroktal.
Well, at least Kathy and I remembered we should hold our breath through the portal. When we got here we were notified that we must be careful, it is roughly 1% oxygen. We look around, and thankfully the alien wreck where we found the rock is close to where we came through. I guess they were correct, the aliens were looking into this as much as they could.
We both stand still for a bit next to each other. I point towards the direction of the base, she holds up her hand to say no, points to the alien wreck. I figure it is the opposite direction that we should head in, so I shrug my shoulders and hold my hands up as if I’m clueless. She takes a moment or two, almost gesturing to try share things without talking. It was unfortunately an angry look I was greeted with immediately, but as she opened her mouth I immediately rushed closer and held it closed. The look was shadowed by the surprise that came to her eyes, she seemed glad. She pointed to the direction I suggested.
We began our slow trip to the base, I kept trying to rush to get to it. Perhaps it was beautiful to ever see us, I would begin moving faster and she would put her hand on my shoulder, hold me back. Eventually I began to feel I was going to struggle soon, I had never held my breath for longer than 45 seconds in the past. I also had that forgetful moment, but at least reminding her helped me when I eventually forgot.
I started to stumble slightly more, I was getting close to needing to rely on the 1% oxygen Mars air. We rounded a bend, which was the most surprising occurrence on this dead silent Mars walk. I was getting a bit dizzy and losing some of my vision, I needed oxygen. I was tackled to the ground, when you are losing your vision you wouldn’t ever expect this, I must tell you. I instantly gasped and tried to breath, it was a strain on my lungs, I know I can’t stay like this.
A moment or two later I head a surprised yelp, I feel some kind of pipe being put on my mouth. I carefully pull some in, yes, it is oxygen. I immediately start feeling better and my vision is coming back. “Thanks Jean,” I murmur, she instantly puts her finger on her mouth sharing I should keep myself quiet. She gives me another breath, I hold it in carefully this time. Jean heads over to Kathy and starts giving her some oxygen.
The best part on this mission was we basically had space suits sent with us that were more like scuba-diving swimsuits. That was why we could get an oxygen supply here. We couldn’t hear what she said the first few times, then she realised that the suit was blocking most of the sound. She pointed and me, made a motion to show sitting, then pointed next to Kathy. I got up and behaved, you know, when the team biologist has to direct what you do would that classify you as a living plant? I was suddenly hooked on new ideas.
I wonder what Jean would do with the ‘living’ plants on the planet of the Huji? The fact that one type of tree had a few spinning arms (as if they were fans) was the reason we were able to get back here. Don’t trip when you want to have coffee on Mars to celebrate the fact that you have a teleportation device. Well, the fact that we had instant internet with unimaginable speeds that can wirelessly communicate around what seems to be an infinite range.
The captain came with 2 oxygen masks from the base, and we obviously headed back immediately. The fascinating part was the fact that our skin was surviving there but slowly but surely got tingles. The tingles were similar to when you accidentally sit and have one leg clamped on top of another restricting blood flow. Perhaps it might have been since we were getting minimal oxygen into our blood flow.
“You two are awesome,” exclaimed Andrew as we got into the base.
“Yeah, I am so surprised in…” I began.
A shriek cut me off, it was excitement from John as he walked in from the lab, “they didn’t tell me you are back safe!”
It was hard to go further as this was the second tackle I had to endure on Mars. Ever. Hopefully I never have this ever again.
I motion to the air chamber gear, “perhaps you should have used the gear communication regularly, and then you would know.” My grin must have hit him hard.
“I’m… Sorry…” he began with a sad look, I tapped his shoulder and grinned.
“Nah, sorry John, I figured it’s just like before we left. You don’t use communication in the lab, you follow rules,” I wink my eye at him with a grin escaping my facial expressions.
He laughs for a moment, “its great that you managed to get back. We couldn’t send Porocktal through at all, we tried.” He turns to quickly face Andrew, “so… I figure we should give them the dire news?”
Andrew was so happy, at this he suddenly looks very cross. Andrew apologises, Andrew stops him, “no, don’t be sorry. This excited me so much that I forgot that we would have to tell them the dire news.”
Kathy and I got closer together, embracing each other and ourselves for what might come of this.
Andrew points to the telescope, “come here, and take a look. You will see Andrew changed the configuration so we can home in on vision of any planet.”
I get to look first, I can see Pluto and Mars easily. I figure I should give Kathy a try, this is great – it is so easy to use this to look at our galaxy.
“So, what seems to be the…” I begin, followed by a shriek from Kathy.
“Where is the Earth, surely it is still in range for us to see?” as she rushes and grabs Andrew by the arms. This is clearly important.
“Take a seat you two. We sent Poroktal and Digron to Earth, this was testing a new space travel technology that is faster than the months it took us to come here from Earth.” He took a moment, made sure we were seated. That new craft crashed on Earth, we had the weeks delay on communication and seeing it, but Earth is non-existent now. The crash wasn’t expected, the Porocktal must have hit Earth with force.”
I couldn’t do anything about this, the tears began flowing. Sure we survived light years distance travel with no problem, the same rock that gave us that destroyed Earth. What can we do now?

55 Minutes

This has a few spoilers for Accidental Distances, however, that should hopefully not be a problem.

Writing Challenge 3

It feels like a lucid dream
–           last thing you remember is you went to bed
–          The next thing: you are hear on the campus streets
–          Discussions with a guy, his name is Cyril
–          He would like to spend more time with you, he has no idea why
–          You give him your phone number
Well, you wake up in the morning, its stretch and continue with Exam prep today
–          Shortly after you getting up your phone rings
–          Hi, this is Cyril
–          Turns out he is a new student, he arrived today, he has no idea what happened
–          Plan to meet up at the normal coffee spot on campus
You meet up, you notice this is completely eerie
–          He is wearing the same clothes
–          Says you are wearing the same
–          He had a lucid dream
–          He’s good at numbers so remembered it – phoned on a whim
–          Both confused and fascinated completely, eerie lucid dreams, what does this mean?

Prep

Followed by the story:

I figure I have spent a long enough time studying today, my next exam is in a week so I figure I need to fix my sleeping habits. My name is Elron, I am an undergraduate student in Computer Science and Mathematics majors. As you can understand, I always take things seriously and always question what comes out of absolutely anything that happens in the real world.
Sure, that isn’t why I had to share exactly what happened though. By the way, I am also dreaming of becoming a world renowned game developer. I suppose I could probably use this to create a fascinating game, but I figure calling it a “game” doesn’t even go near what happened.
So I struggle to sleep in any schedule usually, but last night worked out perfectly for me. On the rare occasions I fall asleep quickly I happen to regularly have lucid dreams. I am so fascinated with lucid dreams that I have read books and articles over the years. I still consider people’s opinions are mostly too harsh on what can happen from a lucid dreaming. I was one of them, however today I literally learned something new. Therefore I have to share what happened, perhaps you can help me work things out?
Well, I could feel the dream was lucid. When the last thing you remember is hopping into the bed to fall asleep, and you are now standing in the middle of a road on campus, it is likely it is a lucid dream. I looked around and the usual hustle for the morning lectures was already going. So people are definitely going to lectures. I know, at least, not to try talk to anyone when your dream is lucid. Sure, you see people talking, however just note that there will likely be someone who will talk to you eventually in your lucid dream.
I decided I would walk around on campus. I notice things that prove this is definitely a lucid dream. The crack on the one window of the library? Non-existent today, it was literally damaged by a soccer ball some students were playing with yesterday.
I walk around on campus and suddenly wonder. Can I get coffee from the Provost in my dream? Even though I can’t ask for things I’ve realised. Thankfully the Provost is close to the library so it is a short trip. I head in, and like I usually do when I go there, I grab my wallet and check if I have the free token. The token is awesome, buy 10 cups of coffee, you can get an 11th for free! I love that as a student since some days we just need it to stay simple. I hand the token over, the barista who I don’t recognise takes it and makes a cup for me.
I usually like sitting outside so there is more wind so I thank the barista as he finishes and head out. This was already fascinating me, I could order coffee in this lucid dream. I slowly sip the cup, for some reason I’m thinking the flavour is the actual good coffee bean flavour they use. I watch as a guy slowly but surely comes over. He seems to be asking everybody a few questions. Though, I just can’t hear what is being said.
Eventually, to my surprise, the guy comes to my table and asks “where is the Computer Science department?”
I look him up and down, I didn’t hear anything he said before but there is always someone that will talk to you in your lucid dreams I’ve found. His short brown hair was neat and tidy, it looks like he recently had a haircut. The other strange thing I saw was he was wearing smart clothes. It seemed like part of a suit. Smart black pants, a smart white shirt, he even had a tie on. I figured it will be nice to try and reply to what he asked, I saw in my previous lucid dream a few weeks ago that I could talk to the person that talks to me.
“Hey, so the computer science department is on the other main road on campus,” I share as I point past where the library is. “I believe all computer science lectures today start from…” I glance at my watch “…9am, and it’s currently 7:30, want to sit and have a cup?” as I hold my coffee mug up.
“That would be nice,” as a smile started lighting up on his face he pause and suddenly started looking sad. “I don’t…”
I stopped him there “no, seeing as you didn’t know where the Computer Science department is, I figure you are new here. I will get you your first cup at Provost.”
He began smiling, he was so excited. “I haven’t had anyone this friendly today, usually these students keep ignoring me…”
We organise the cup of coffee and sit down at the table. We have a light discussion. His name is Cyril, I kind of figure it might amuse someone that I was amused at him saying “Hi, I’m Cyril”. We hadn’t said hi yet when we started talking, it made me feel slightly bad! I felt like I had unfortunately been rude. Cyril is a foreign exchange student, doing only Computer Science first year here, his first university course.
Eventually, as I shared the Computer Science lectures started at 9am, my alarm went off on my phone. I had my phone in this dream it seems, people are confused that I have several alarms set for several days of the week for lecture times. We get up and start walking, I help guide Cyril to where he needs to be.
“So, what is that phone Elron?” he asked me.
“Well, this is a Huawei P9 Lite,” I began, “I had to get a new phone last year and just couldn’t decide what to get. I eventually got this, we will see where this goes, I enjoy it so far. Do you have a phone?”
“Yeah, but I left it in my room. Mind if I ask you questions in the future? I am completely lost everywhere around campus.”
“Sure, my number is 082 123 1234”, I shared and he jotted it down. We arrived at his lecture venue, and I figure I should also probably get to mine.
The dream ended. It is a fascinating feeling you get when a dream ends, you suddenly wake up in your bed and consider what happened. My friends shared I should jot the lucid dreams down when I wake up, we could get fascinating ideas from them some times. So I figured, that is actually a good idea. I wrote the whole dream down. For some reason this morning I know of a guy I met: Cyril. If I tell my friends they will be fascinated.
I head into the kitchen and turn the kettle on. Gaze out the window a bit to consider the weather today. It looks like it is cloudy and windy, we will likely need to wear a jacket. Suddenly my thoughts are interrupted, the kettle boiling sound has started, I can literally hear I forgot to check the water level in it. It is almost empty. I quickly grab it, fill it, and then put it back. Gosh, this wasn’t the first time I nearly boiled a third of a cup of water. Well, I didn’t measure it, but you know how much water it looked like to me.
I decided since the lectures start a 9am today that seeing as it is currently 7:30am I should hope back into my bed for the first cup of coffee. I head to my room and as I’m climbing back into bed I figure, I am fascinated with my lucid dream last night, as I’m sitting I grab the note book I write my lucid dreams in.
I probably screamed bloody murder. I only know I screamed, as I was about to finally sit I got a fright. My phone went off. I hate that I always forget to put it on ‘silent’ before I go the sleep. My phone started ringing. I basically poured my coffee onto my lap. It burns, don’t have a doubt about that! I waited for a moment or two before I answered, today Truecaller seemed to be slightly too slow to even wait to see who it was, I didn’t recognise the number. I figured I feel like I’m roughly okay after my lap was burned.
“Morning, this is Elron, I don’t know who you are but how can I help you?” I begin.
“Hi… Uh… This is awkward…” the voice begins.
“You don’t know the half of it by the way.” I started to grin, “I just accidentally poured my coffee on my lap because your call gave me a fright.”
“I’m so, so, so sorry Elron! Just so you are warned, I have dreams that nobody ever does, I don’t know what they are called” the voice began rushing, he wanted to share something important. “My name is Cyril, I had the dream last night and someone in that dream gave me your name and number.”
He paused to hear some answer from me it seemed, I was literally dumbfounded. Cyril is real, I gave him a number in my dream and he got my number in his. What does this even mean?
“Sorry… Hello, are you still there?” he sounds quite worried.
“No… I can’t… I just need to…” pausing, taking a deep breath, “I had a lucid dream where I met you last night and gave you my phone number. Do you have brown short hair like you very recently had a haircut to make it as short as possible?”
“Yes… I can’t even understand what is happening myself”, he was clearly also completely confused. “Let’s meet at the coffee shop today, prov… I don’t remember names, but I remember numbers. Hence calling you.”
“Provost,” I point out, “yeah, let’s head there. I’m not touching coffee in my house for a while now.” I begin to grin as I hear a little giggle over the phone.
We say our goodbyes, time to shower, dress, and head out early like the dream.
I figured I was most likely stumbling a little bit as when I got to the Provost I saw him standing there. I was in shock and awe, my jaw obviously dropped seeing him.
His face also showed he was completely surprised. “Yeah, I figure this time it’s my turn to pay for coffee. It doesn’t fit my budget but this is more important.”
As he headed inside quickly to get us coffee I just stood in the same spot where I was when I saw him. He was literally wearing the same clothes that were in the dream. Black smart pants and tie, white smart shirt. Imagine the mental struggle standing there with your jaw nearly touching the ground. I had no idea how this happened.
“Elron… Elron…” I suddenly was slightly surprised, it was Cyril. He was right in front of me, I didn’t see him come out the Provost. My mind was hooked. I have no clue what to think, say, or do currently.
He handed me the cup of coffee, “let’s go sit over there and talk.” He pointed to the closest table that was open.
We headed over and I figured I should let him know, “I am literally completely bedazzled this morning. You wore the exact same clothes in my lucid dream last night.”
“Oh,” his eyes widened, hopefully nothing was wrong. He looked at me from head to toe again, then giggled a little.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“No, nothing is wrong” he shared. He pointed to my onesie, “you literally were wearing this Panda ‘onesie’ in my loo-sil dream last night!”
This, I couldn’t even begin to imagine. “It’s lucid… Loo… Sid…” I shared.
There is no way we could have seen this coming. This brings important questions to my outlook on my lucid dreams.

55 Minute First Draft

Now, take note that I questioned things about my writing after this. These are quite simple to understand, we can just take a look at what we wrote in our prep and see how we feel about it.

–          Sense? I think so
–         
Plot? Yes, Elron gives out his number in a lucid dream, the next morning gets Cyril (who he met in the dream) call him
–         
Corrections? Mostly I figure double check grammar and sentence structure, double check words I used. Is lucid the actual correct word? (will obviously double check in an hour or two)
–          Motivation? I feel the motivation fits especially for interest in lucid dreams
–          Questions? I feel I might be missing out in certain conversation elements. Perhaps sentences using the wrong words? Perhaps are some being too long?
–         
Locations? Yes, literally used my own life here on University Campus. Made it easier
–         
Bad? There is no evil here
–         
Impression? I tried to do it with everything that happens, gave strong descriptions, but need an ‘outside’ word on if I made an impression (feels like I did doesn’t mean I did)
–         
Get Behind? I think so, what I stuck to here was ‘sharing a story’ that he wants to impress you with
–          Goals? Goals were subtle here, but not too much in the story (like sleep schedule), hence I feel the goals fit. Sharing something that happened
–          Interaction? I believe there may be slightly more needed in interaction, I just haven’t got a clue currently with this ‘short notes’
–          Make Sense? We basically have 3, the barista isn’t described in a strong way as it is ‘fluff’, the other two who are the main characters do I feel
–          Feasible? Perhaps, like it was shared, some people don’t believe in lucid dreams… 😛
–          Interest Peaks? I was rushing but figured I could have possibly shared more in descriptions, etc. I just didn’t have a peak to note this time

Final Words, before NaNoE

After you try this a few times you can then start doing the 3rd suggestion’s end questions. Ask yourself, “what do I feel about what I wrote.” You can definitely improve your writing style, recognize flaws in your writing, and be a better writer using these practice challenges.

Smaller is definitely better for you if you are starting writing. The first few challenges I did were abysmal and short. Consider the hour of the third challenge shared here, that was an hour for 2,565 words.

Using NaNoE

For those that would love to dabble in NaNoE, it is important to let people know how it is used.

Step 1: Helpers

Starting up with NaNoE

You will take note here, we can begin with helpers in NaNoE immediately. This is where we can make note of items, characters, places, and so on, in our story. In Accidental Distances that is what it mostly contained. Descriptions and ideas about the characters in my story, the places, and certain items within the story.

  • 1. First, obviously, select Helpers.
  • 2. We would write a name, so we can know exactly what the helper relates to. Take note, there is a character limit currently at the time of writing this post, it will most likely change soon.
  • 3. Clicking the “+” obviously adds the helper topic.
  • 4. Similarly, you select the helper above and you type the item you would like to add to it and add it with the “+”.

That should be very simple for you to understand. Just take note at the time of writing this it won’t keep track of what you write yet. You would need to save it for it to stay in NaNoE. If it hasn’t been saved you might lose it, sorry.

Step 2: Plot

From “1” above, you can understand exactly what to do to add plot items. This is pretty much exactly the same as the above, that is why we shouldn’t need to share more about that.

Step 3: Writing The Novel

Writing your novel

As you can no doubt tell, I just shared the example so you can see how the helpers, and plot, sections can help you. Then we can delve into what is shown here.

  • a. First, we should start a chapter for ourselves. This adds what is shown at “b”.
  • c. The area you type the story, you would write paragraphs here for yourself. These will show up at “d” when you submit it with enter. Take note that at e I left a spelling error for showing one of the sets of steps for you.
  • f. Shows the size of the current paragraph you are writing inside c.
  • g. Shows the total word count of what you have written so far.

This is meant to be a simple, easily used, interface. Any ideas to simplify it more would be more than welcome.

Step 4: Saving The Novel

Save dialogue

This should be quite easy to understand, select save, and create the file you want to save. Try and save it with the extension “.nne”. Obviously, if anyone knows where I am missing how to make this automatic, just let me know, please.

It saves in a simple flat file format, that may be changing in the near future.

Step 5: Editing

You will choose to start from a specific chapter for yourself with the number in the box labeled start. This is just in case you don’t want to go through the entire novel again. These aren’t necessarily problems with what you wrote, it could just be suggestions to minimize the use of certain words, that is why if you start writing at chapter 430 today you wouldn’t necessarily want to start the edit from chapter 0.

There are certain bugs in this still, however, it should be easy to understand mostly. We can refresh the Position list which will let us know the errors. We can adjust the paragraph we wrote on the right and side, and when we click Done it will save the changes we make there.

The edits have slightly weird bugs, for instance, US-style English versus European style. Certain words may say they are incorrect, however, they might actually be completely correct. This is where you should try to pay enough attention.

Step 6: Save Again

Yet another step with Saving since you should make sure you save regularly. You can choose to back it up in a manner you would like to back it up. Just make sure you won’t accidentally lose what you have written.

A Couple More Options

Not everyone is into ideas relating to sci-fi stories, so here are a few ideas to try for yourself if you don’t feel like the ones above:

  • “I love you,” he whispers under his breath as the love of his life walks down the aisle to the man he was paid to assassinate.
  • The flowers were gorgeous, the dinner looked splendid, and something was very wrong.
  • “Are you insane?” “Do you really want me to answer that?”
  • Oh, lord, he was cute. Dimmer than a broken lightbulb, but he was cute.

Hopefully one can spark a story in you, that way you can practice and begin your NaNoWriMo prep now! Good luck.