Ready, Set, Write!
November 01, 2012
Every November, thousands of writers across the globe pick up their pens for NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month. Though the official goal of the event is to write 50,000 words by the end of the month, the most important thing is simply to write. So, are you all excited and ready to rock?
I’m not—I never am. Personally, I cheat a bit (shh!) and sneak in a few practice exercises before NaNoWriMo officially starts. Some exercises help you improve your vocabulary or knock you out of writing ruts, but my favorites are those that are designed to excite and inspire. I came up with this exercise as I was shelving books in the Young Adult Fiction section and found myself intrigued by the evocative titles I saw there. Since I don’t have time to read all those books, I started making up my own stories to match the titles. It was so much fun, I thought I’d share a similar thought exercise with everyone. I hope it helps you get warmed up for November!
Today we’re going to draw inspiration from published book titles and use them to describe an original fictional character. Choose at least three books from the list below (or use your favorite book titles), and then think about what kind of character you might use those words to describe. Once you have an idea, get writing! Try to keep it short and sweet—in the example below, I’ve limited myself to 200 words.
Titles for inspiration:
- The Goblin Wood
- Cold Fire
- The Outsiders
- The Ruby in the Smoke
- Hide Behind the Moon
- Not that Kind of Girl
- Chosen titles: Hide Behind the Moon, Bloodlines, and Cold Fire
Larissa Shylock is a formidable young woman with long black hair and blue eyes that burn like cold fire. Descended from an ancient and storied bloodline of privateers, she inherited her family’s starship when her father, the mad prince Cassius, met a grisly end during a particularly deadly game of chess. For three years, she has harried the vessels of the Red Queen of Prussia, but recent events back on Earth have raised the bounty on Larissa’s head to astronomical heights. Ever since a close and decidedly unfriendly encounter with the notorious Captain Shade, Larissa has been in hiding behind the Moon, her ship docked in a cunningly concealed port deep within a crater. While she waits for the most recent furor to die down, Larissa is planning her greatest raid yet: an attack on the royal clipper of the Queen herself.
Resources for writers: