#365day novel – Day 2

This is the 2nd day of my writing course exercises taken from the #365daynovel program, developed  by What Inspires Your Writing blog and the Dream, Play, Write! website owner Timothy Pike, as a virtual coach on budding or aspiring writers to better themselves in more ways than one, and at the end of this journey, you end up with a novel-sized work. If you haven’t checked him out yet, visit the website and his blog, they’re both pretty inspiring and tremendously helpful and insightful.

Anyway, about today’s exercises – I toyed a bit with the concepts but they were silly, so I pondered a bit more seriously. I tried making good premises with all of them, but I’m not sure all stand in equal or near equal height to each other, many are just – bad. Simply put.

In any case, here were the instructions:

For each scenario below, come up with three different premises that could be used to build a story. Try to stretch your story premises across a range of genres, including literary fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, horror, romance, historical, humor, satire, children’s, and young adult.


  1. A cruise ship gets caught in a storm, veers off course, and then sinks far from the mainland, but many of the passengers survive and make it to a deserted island.

  2. A man and a woman are sitting across from each other at a small table in a dimly lit restaurant.

  3. A family watches as their cat gives birth to a litter of nine kittens.

  4. Moments after arriving home from a long and difficult day at work, a character is shocked when the police show up with an arrest warrant.

  5. In a mid-sized town, somebody is dressing in disguise and fighting crime–a real-life superhero or a masked vigilante?

And here’s what I came up with as a result:

1A – The deserted island then turns out is actually populated by extraterrestrial refugees from another planet who try to survive here until they can build up resources to go home, and by the time that happens the survivors of both species need to learn to co-exist;

1B – After a while the survivors on the deserted island descent into cult worship as one of their leaders starts to show maniacal and psychopathic tendencies, whereby people’s faith in humanity is put into question, and the limits of madness and depravity are tested;

1C – The island is deserted, but seems off in many ways and as if stuck in time, throwing the survivors in varied adventures and mysteries to be explored, some very dangerous though;

2A – Each give a try at a normal date after they help save the city from super-powered villains, being superheroes themselves in a world that is not so normal for most nowadays;

2B – Everything seems fine and normal, but only one of them goes home alive, since the other is a coldblooded killer looking for the next victim to butcher;

2C – Two people who despite the massive odds against them, their brutal histories, and their gloomy future, meet and decide that it’s better to face everything with somebody else as a support, and when it’s “us against the world, nothing else matters”;

3A – Though this is no ordinary cat, but part of familiar spirit animals, beings that increase the magic potency of magicians and witches, and this family has exactly nine members gifted with the Mystic Arts;

3B – A gift from a dying granny, beloved by most of the neighborhood, but quite close to the family who adopts her pregnant cat, weaving the family in a web of adventures and drama with the lead cast led by the nine kitties who arrive on this world;

3C – The cat is the only witness of the mysterious disappearance of an entire family living in the haunted house across the street, that – coincidentally, was part of an old litter given to other houses in the same city now all abandoned and considered haunted as well;

4A – Apparently he committed a murder, even though he was nowhere near the scene of the crime, a witness puts him there – is he really guilty or does he have an evil doppelganger? ;

4B – He only had a small party with some weed to smoke – how big of a deal is it!? ;

4C – The warrant asks the police to search the premises for any signs of terrorist activity, with looming threats against the US for quite a while and some threats realized in the last 4 years, the character is not shocked he is considered a prime suspect, he is Muslim, new to the US, follows the traditional ways, doesn’t condemn his brothers … how couldn’t he be the suspect? ;

5A – Though superheroes never leave a trail of bodies around in such an obvious manner – is this person a psychopath in disguise? ;

5B – The crime being trash thrown on the street, pets not relieving themselves at proper places, helping elderly people across the street and saving kitties from trees;

5C – The hooded figure is a rogue warrior that arrived in the town to seek vengeance for past crimes committed against the warrior’s loved ones by this town’s leaders;

A few have inspired me to develop them further into stories. We’ll see how it goes. For now I’d like to focus mainly on the novel creation in question, I can’t sidestep.


The One Where An Author Steals Text From My Book To Sell Pirated Software

Scammers never learn…

David Gaughran

IWSParadonIn today’s episode we are going to out a two-bit huckster who tried to put one over on yours truly, take a quick detour through the verdant fields of copyright law (and the slightly plainer meadows of moral rights), and then end with an example of how to handle a scammer.

Sound fun? Strap yourselves in!

A helpful reader – who will remain nameless for reasons that will become obvious – emailed me yesterday morning. I was just about to start work but the subject line caught my attention: Did You Give Permission For This?

Uh oh. I started reading the message he had forwarded.

It had originated from a domain called IndieWriterSupport.com (you can cut-and-paste that address or Google it, but I’m not linking directly and giving them an SEO boost). And it appeared to be a straight cog from my book Let’s Get Visible.

Emailexcerpt1What was going…

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Let It Suck Series: To Write Better Dialogue, Listen to Craig Ferguson (revisited)


Pulling some of my previous blogs into the “let it suck” series. This one borrows simple advice from a great comedian to help you with character dialogue.

Here we go:

Every fiction author wants to write great dialogue. While there is almost too much advice out there regarding this topic, the best advice may come from an unexpected source – famed and respected comedian Craig Ferguson.

The most prevelant problem emerging authors have with dialogue is overwriting, tending to let conversations go on too long, burden it with too much exposition, or make it suffer from stilted, unnatural cadences.

Not to worry, Craig Ferguson is here to save the day.

Ferguson is hilarious about many subjects, but one of his more famous bits – which is actually about keeping peace in a marriage – is also helpful when writing dialogue. He says, “There are three things you must always…

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The Art of the Con: Four Stories About Scams



This morning, as I filed folders at my day job, I turned to the podcast Criminal for comfort. Today’s episode was Gil From London, the story of a strange man posing as a British sixty-something who almost seduced an American widow named Karen. There are lots of well-told stories about con men, Craigslist hoaxes and financial scams—here are a few of my favorites.

1. “Crowded House.” (Tad Friend, The New Yorker, May 2013)

Mix cutthroat New York real estate, a too-good-to-be-true apartment, an unstable photographer to the stars and dozens of international tenants.

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Inside the Id, who keeps the lid?

You see me in the mirrors, I dwell on the other side.
I’m your nyctophilic voyeur, taking you on a hamartia ride.

I sculpt your insecurities, I cultivate your jealousy,
I feed on your misery, I build your failures and fallacy.

I dance with the darkness, and I embody your worst fears.
I rejoice in your solitude, and drink from your tears.

I’m your first and last embrace, when the night falls.
I’m your silent macabre romance, when the time so calls.

I am pretty silent, and do not do things in force,
I do not possess a form, instead I like to mimic yours …

… Or that of your dreams, and turn them into nightmares
If I happen to sadistically wish to dress you in despairs

I can’t let you roam without me freely
And for this I never let you know me really

During your existence I’ve built a comedic facade
A convenient and very intentional fraud

A literary dramaturgy, a form of sickening whammies.
So now you mythify me, and call me Hades.

I am, in actuality …

Yours Truly


Veles, Mephistopheles.


So this year, we’ve had a Korean ferry sink, a Bangladeshi ferry sink, a plane go missing, a plane shot down, a train crash in Moscow, a train crash in France, an Ebola outbreak spanning several countries, an 8.2 earthquake in Chile, escalation of civil war in Iraq, Mt Fuji with a “high potential of erupting”, 2 coup attempts in Libya, a successful coup in Thailand, Boko Haram coming into international prominence. A disturbing array of public shootings. We also had a 7.2 magnitude earthquake at the capital region of the Philippines. Ukraine tipping into a civil war at this point. Oh, and the ISIS invasion of Northern Iraq joining the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts together. I think it is beginning to be referred to as the Levant war in some circles. And Israel’s invasion of Gaza which has recently commenced. All the catastrophic floods in several Balkan countries too. Anti-gay genocide in Uganda. Russia as well. A remote possibility of an independent Scotland… 2014 is a pretty active year… 2013 seemed a lot quieter.