Writing Tip — Writing in Time

novemberDuring November in the U.S., Thanksgiving dominates everyone’s thoughts. The entire month revolves around plans for traveling or hosting or if and when you can get off work to attend a holiday dinner.

Thanksgiving Story Ideas — Comic or Dramatic

Because Thanksgiving is such an important holiday and involves family, it is ideal for inspiration. I find my greatest inspiration when creating families and letting the relationships play off each other.

Below are some ideas which can be used to for either comic or dramatic effect

  • Bad weather — The main character is the host and people can’t make his or her dinner. Or main character is traveling and is stranded on the way to dinner.
  • New relative — The first holiday dinner with a someone’s new spouse. Or a long-lost relative shows up unexpectedly.
  • Kitchen disasters — Anything that throws a wrench in the cook’s plans. Although this happens in A Christmas Storythe attack of the neighbors’ dogs on the holiday turkey is the perfect kitchen disaster.
  • Unusual main character — Write from the POV of a child, who listens in on adult conversations. Or maybe a family pet.
Other November Activities
  • Football — High school football heads to the playoffs and championships in November, so it’s the perfect month to end a story set in this sport.
  • NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing Month. This nonprofit group encourages writers to finish a 50,000 word novel in a month. Personally, November is a terrible time to get a lot of writing accomplished because of the 800 lb. gorilla at the end of the month, Thanksgiving. But that does give me an idea … a writer trying desperately to finish her novel while planning an enormous Thanksgiving dinner for her extended family.
  • Hunting Season — Hunting season is in full swing in my state and surrounding ones. With November’s short hours of daylight and wild weather, it offers a lot of potential for a story pitting a lost or injured hunter against the elements. Or if you’d like a comic take on this scenario, read Patrick F. McManus’s short story collections.

How would you use November as a setting?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts

Unusual electionsTomorrow is Election Day in the U.S., so my prompt is about creating unusual elections.

What if society elected doctors? Areas in need of doctors would ask for candidates and they would run campaigns.

What if we elected teachers?

Instead of using a lottery, what if teens in The Hunger Games were elected to the battles to the death? That could turn campaigning on its head. You would try to get someone you didn’t like elected.

What other strange elections can you think of?

Writing Tip — Crime Fiction

Genres of Crime Fiction

This post is short because I am preparing for another writer’s conference. Since I have been posting about crime fiction, I thought a description of all the genres which fit under that umbrella title might prove helpful. This list from “Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas … Oh My!” defines the main genres, but there are others, such as all the subgenres under “Suspense/Thrillers”.

A couple other categories: I have heard police procedural novels set in Scandinavia called “Scandinavian noir”. And under Cozy mysteries, you can find ones devoted to just about any hobby you care to name, from crossword puzzles to quilting to birding.

What is your favorite category of crime fiction?


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