Writers' Guild

A community for writers of all genres to hone our craft, with monthly exercises, challenges, and collaborative writing. Open to anyone who enjoys writing!

August's Theme Idea (and vote)

View Poll Results
Would you like to do 21 days of writing exercises?
Yes! Sign me up! 10 76.92%
No way! Give me a theme like usual! 3 23.08%

August's Theme Idea (and vote)

Okay, here goes:

Everyone in the guild has had problems writing at one time or another. For many, it's a matter of time, for others it's a matter of not quite knowing what to write. And while the theme ideas are fantastic, let's take a break for a month, to do something completely different.

Wonder Woman turned me on to a fantastic author by the name of Michael Stackpole. He wrote a book called 21 Days to a Novel, which is a set of exercises built to encourage writing. It's fairly simple, but we thought it might be a nice change of pace to do these exercises.

If you want to purchase the book for yourself, or read any of his other books, I suggest buying them - we won't be including the text itself, but a paraphrase of exercises to be interpreted as you like.

I'm including a vote; please vote accordingly. If we have a majority who want to participate, completion of this challenge will be posting on each of the 21 threads by month-end. Which gives you a bit of leeway so that if you get a little behind, you can make it up in time!

These are exercises to get people writing - which may be a good thing, headed into Fall and with NaNoWriMo coming up in a few months as well! Tell us what you think! And to add - if you don't want the exercises for writing, post what you'd like as a challenge theme, please.

I voted 'Yes' - this sounds like a good idea. Puff - did you buy the book? Will you be paraphrasing all 21 parts at the same time, so we can 'jump around'? And do you think they'd be of the level of ease that we might be able to do several at one sitting, for instance? Do we then share our work with each other? Lotsa questions, probably more than I'd ask if I had waited for you to start it up.

What I'd planned was to add one exercise every day, because they build on each other. You don't really want to jump around - you want to do them in order. Yes, you can do several at one sitting - or you may choose to do multiple versions of it at a time. My preference would be to have one thread per question, and have everyone post their responses. The challenge would be to post your response in each thread by the last day of the month - so that everyone can share and see what other people are doing.

Originally Posted by Agricolus View Post
I voted 'Yes' - this sounds like a good idea. Puff - did you buy the book?
We're sharing a .pdf copy, which was purchased legally. We're so impressed by that book, that we are both intending to buy more.

I attended a series of six writing seminars by Michael Stackpole at Origins game fair, including one that contains all the exercises in 21 Days to a Novel. The book contains a deeper explanation of the purpose of each exercise, and an example for each one.

I have my notes from the lectures, and I can use those to help Puffin paraphrase.

Will you be paraphrasing all 21 parts at the same time, so we can 'jump around'? And do you think they'd be of the level of ease that we might be able to do several at one sitting, for instance?
The exercises are cumulative and build on each other. You can't really jump around. But we'll probably get them all up as fast as we can so we can answer questions about them. Kanavel is familiar with them too, so he'll also be able to help with paraphrasing and answering questions.

They are certainly easy enough to do several in a sitting. They're meant to take 30-60 minutes each, but you will probably get them all done in one go.

They are very simple and easy to explain. The book adds a level of explanation to them that we won't be able to reproduce, but I was enthused by them just by the information I hastily scribbled down during a one hour seminar. I think you'll see why when we get going.

Do we then share our work with each other?
I don't know what Puffin had in mind, but we could share them as we go along. We could even, optionally, share them on the boards instead of using Google Docs.... I think that would have to be up to the individual doing them, though. Some people might not want to share ideas they intend on using in an actual novel.

Puffin, Kanavel, and I will confer over what the best way to present them is. I think this is a great idea, btw. I was really impressed by the author. He's extremely prolific, makes a good living as a full time writer, and does a great job of teaching the art of writing.

Here's a link to his wikipedia entry:


And here's a link to his website:


The thing I was thinking was that there have been a LOT of people with the sentiment: "I don't have time right now, I'm just struggling to get everything else done." So instead of inundating everyone with 21 different things to do, giving people one each day, and then with an extra week if they're a little behind, seems doable.

Like Wonder Woman said, they can be done in 30-60 minutes each, so it's quite possible to spend just a little time each day and get through the exercises. And whether your product is great or terrible, you're writing - which is, after all, the point!

One each day would give us time to explain them properly too. Perhaps we should do a theme for people who don't want to participate? And for Agricolus, who will bang out the exercises in five minutes flat, then write a few stories on top of that.

The exercises are a good experience and chance to look at the story from the inside-out.

The first exercises are used for character development. The latter chapters are for developing story arc, world building/customization and plot development.

Micheal Stackpole responds to a common question asked during his seminars, and that is can a novel really be written in 21 days. His reply is, yes it can. He has written a few books that are, I supposed, considered Star Wards fan fiction. One of the these, is apparently regarded as one of his best works, was written in a very short amount of time.

These exercises are great training for the Nanowrimo which is coming up in November. That only requires a 50,000 word novel. Michael Stackpole says it is possible to produce a 100,000 word novel in that amount of time.

And another note, I have to give the guy credit. He has an amazing stance on cats.

Kanavel is baiting me with the cat comment.

Stackpole's Star Wars novels aren't fanfic. They are part of the franchise. Fanfic can't be sold for money without copyright infringement. He does real Star Wars books, authorized by the franchise.

He also has a few series independent of the Star Wars franchise.


Well, I has been very absent, and my writing self is looking at me in a very ugly way. I apologize to you all for dissapearing for so long, but at the sight of this new project, I would really want to participate .



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Last Database Backup 2017-09-21 09:00:06am local time
Myth-Weavers Status