Writing Challenges for NaNoWrMo

I decided to jump on board with NaNoWriMo this year. That’s short for “National Novel Writing Month”, which is in November.  A little on the crazy side, considering I have so much other stuff going on with The Hot Spot, school, and remodeling the house. Yet this is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  I even gave it a shot a few years back, but didn’t quite get a novel completed. I was too wrapped up in the word count, trying to force myself to write a specific number of words a day even after I had “finished” the novel. I failed, I admit it. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try again!

This year I plan to work on a story I have been writing off and on for about 6 years. I’m not going to get caught up in writing specific number of words, or even an actual novel. What I do plan to do is just write, and hope by the end of it I have something that can be published.

I joined a group on LinkedIn with the intentions of getting myself ready for NaNoWrMo . I wasn’t expecting writing prompts or practice this early, but I think it’s a good idea regardless. If we don’t start now, how are we ever going to be ready to write a novel? Especially me, who is seriously out of novel-writing practice. I can’t even remember the last time I wrote a piece of fiction. Now or never, I thought when I saw that discussion topic.

The prompt was “When I opened the package that came in the mail today, I was shocked to find…” and the requirement was 500 words or less. So here’s what I wrote…

When I opened the package that came in the mail today, I was shocked to find a glowing shard of….something. “What is that?” I said to myself, my fingers hovering over the source of the light. Dare I touch it? It was small, probably no bigger than a quarter, yet the luminous glow created a blue hue the size of a soccer ball.
I shook the mysterious item out of the box and onto the antique table my grandmother had given me, hoping it wouldn’t destroy the wood I had worked so hard to restore. Much to my surprise, though, it didn’t even hit the surface. Instead, it floated, as if unseen hands cupped the special gift in a ceremonial offering.

The center of the item began to turn white while the blue hue started to spread. It consumed the entire table like rolling fog spewing from a fog machine. Then it began to dissipate, leaving a cloudy white residue across my table.

Of course. Why had I thought my beautiful table was a good dumping spot for a potentially harmful item? Stupid. Yet my cursing and regrets were short lived, when the cloud slowly began turning into a fantastic feast. A golden turkey appeared, cooked to perfection. Mashed potatoes came next, creamy smooth and sprinkled with herbs. Side dishes, desserts, and dips followed, until the table looked like a fancy buffet. The acorn-sized glowing shard was dimmer, yet still a floating glow in the center of the table.

My mouth hung open as I struggled to find an explanation for the appearance of so much food. What did it mean? Why was it here? I decided the only way to find answers was to test it again, so I grabbed the box it came in and scooped the glowing ball up. The food remained, yet I was not ready to taste test a possibly poison meal. Not until I found answers.

I shook the item onto the piano, where it spread light across the surface as it had done before. There was no food, but the keys began to move and a sweet melody filled the air. I knew the tune; my mother had played it for me when I was a child.

Next I tried the glow stone on a chair I had inherited from my great grandmother. There was no food or music, but instead the shape of a person took form. Slowly the image of my great grandmother appeared in the chair, smiling at me in approval.

“My cleaver little granddaughter, how smart are you!” She exclaimed, clapping her hands together and rising. The light from the mysterious item followed her. “You’ve learned how to use my special stone, and in no time at all! Come, let us eat, and I will tell you all about it….”


This might not be a fantastic story or even a great ending (personally, I think it sucks), but the purpose of the exercise was to get us comfortable with writing again. Mission accomplished. It made me think in descriptive, story-telling terms and helped jump start my creativity. Editing is something that can be done later.

For those of you participating in NaNoWrMo this year, I wish you the best of luck!


2 thoughts on “Writing Challenges for NaNoWrMo

  1. I thought your story was fantastic! I look forward to NaNoWriMo every year, this is my fourth, and have been starting to brainstorm for it.

    Have you ever tried StoryADay? Usually it is in May but they added another challenge this September and I find it really gets you back into writing every day. It is another writing challenge that I always look forward too.

    Keep it up!


    • Thank you! I admire your commitment to NaNoWriMo. I tried a few years ago, and almost had a novel, but failed at the end. I’m still struggling to find time to write because of everything else going on, but trying! That’s what counts the most, right?


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