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Last updated November 2018. Updated weekly.
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Week 91. September 2018. This is the final week that we will publish The Nudge on our website. To continue receiving The Nudge every week, sign up for our newsletter. After this week, all writing prompts will be delivered to emails only.
For this week, keep your character up all night. Write a scene or chapter in which your character is awake all night for some reason. She could be celebrating or she could be in a tortuous situation that annoys her and tests her patience. Either way, make y our character pull an all-nighter.
WEEK 91 WORDS:
paragon, ebullient, sagacious, galley
Week 78. June 2018. Take a look back at your writing and revise it, edit it, polish up some stories/poems you've been writing for a while. In the process, if you really need a writing challenge to keep your creativity flowing, then add a storm scene to your story/poem. Does the storm build up over a long period of time, adding pressure and stress to the lives of the characters and/or the landscape? Perhaps the storm arrives suddenly out of nowhere, thundering into the scene. Is the storm a relief in some way? What type of storm, how long does it last, what changes in the process...these are some of the questions to answer in your writing. Check out Kate Chopin's short story "The Storm" for inspiration. One word to add to this week's challenge, as the first task is to edit, revise...
WEEK 78 WORD:
Week 82. July 2018. Choose some imperfections for your character. Perhaps these are only perceived imperfections that often work to the character’s advantage, and/or focus on how your character comes to terms with or gains an understanding for her “flaws.” Often, we make our characters perfect or ideal versions of people. Try making your characters show their humanity by pointing out their weaknesses or character flaws, and maybe you can turn those weaknesses into assets later in the story. Words to incorporate...
WEEK 82 WORDS: dirigible, couchant, sartorial, blemish
Week 79. July 2018. Continue editing And/Or work on an opening scene. Revisit how your story opens and craft the first line so that it hooks the reader. Set up the first scene to not only intrigue the reader with visual imagery, but lure them farther into the narrative with fragrance and taste. Often, scenes that involve food or meal times are openers that contain many delights for the reader and keep them wanting more. Words to mix in...
WEEK 79 WORDS: depravity, puck, rufous, soothe
Week 80. July 2018. Try writing a drinking scene this week. This scene could revolve around the act of drinking alcohol, a place where alcohol is the main beverage of consumption, and/or the alcoholic beverage itself (how it is made, stored, etc.). Think beyond the typical alcoholic drinks that are portrayed in stories and movies. Furthermore, strive to show some depth of character beyond the character's relationship to drinking/a drink. Stories for inspiration: the always classic, "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, and the nonfiction story, "The Queimada" by Michele Morano. Words to mix in...
WEEK 80 WORDS: vintner, prosy, salutary, deleterious
Week 90. September 2018. Create a "know it all" character. What are the specific topics about which he insists on giving his expertise? Is the character this way with everyone, or does she assert her insistence during particular situations? Does this way of being work out for him in the long run? You could use this character to add comic relief and/or aggravation. This character type is one way to share information with the reader.
WEEK 90 WORDS:
furtive, heritable, transience, effigy
Week 77. June 2018. Get out of your normal routine and explore. This week, try your hand at travel-writing, even if you are simply traveling to a new park, restaurant, neighborhood, or some other location in your home town. Maybe you are on a vacation or a trip this summer, if so, describe that place. Go beyond basic descriptions by comparing and contrasting the new place with somewhere you've spent a lot of time (maybe your home town as an adult or where you grew up in childhood), look for a range of characters by watching the people in the new location (locals and visitors or tourists), and consider how it feels to travel versus the comfort and/or boredom of being in a familiar place. Another approach would be to look at what is valuable to the people and/or place where you are visiting versus what is valuable to the people/place where you usually reside. Words we thought would be interesting to use...
WEEK 77 WORDS: fortune, staidly, impecunious, mellow
Week 84. August 2018. We’re writing about machinery and/or patterns and routines that are completed with the use of machinery for this week. Can you allow your writing to imitate machinery in some way? Consider sound, rhythm, control, precision, etc. We have some words to try with this process...
WEEK 84 WORDS:
Week 76. June 2018. Change your narrative perspective for this week. Use the summer story and/or scene that you've been working on for the past couple of weeks. Choose a different character in the story and write the exact same scene or story from that other character's point of view. The character could be a minor character or an inanimate object, a plant, animal, or insect. The point is to change the perspective so that you are not focused on your main character's point of view. You might not like this exercise or keep the new version of the story created by this practice, but it is a great tool to sharpen your skills. It could also allow you to see your main character from another perspective. An added challenge would be to incorporate the following words...
WEEK 76 WORDS:
callow, educe, riley, blustery
Week 87. August 2018. As we near the end of this year's Nudge challenge, start working on your endings. Some examples are the full circle ending, the cliffhanger, or an open-ended final page. What type of ending do you prefer as a reader? Do you enjoy stories that give you an uplifting tone at the end of the book, or are you more intrigued by a tragic or mysterious ending? Words to consider including...
WEEK 87 WORDS:
Week 88. September 2018. Focus on the landscape for this week's writing challenge. If your story allows it, contrast the character's present landscape with one from their past, or maybe you show how the same landscape has been altered over time. Consider not only natural occurrences like plant and tree growth, but also how people and animals might have altered a landscape. Use our words of the week for an added challenge...
WEEK 88 WORDS:
Week 85. August 2018. Allow the words to flow, pile, and puddle up. We're free-writing with wild abandon this week. Letting go is essential to getting a large number of words onto the page. It can also take you places in the narrative that you would never dared to explore without letting down your control devices. This is not a time to judge the words and story lines that emerge. Keep writing and don't look back! A few words to use...
WEEK 85 WORDS:
Week 89. September 2018. This week, we're writing a "get it while you can" scene. Craft a situation in which the character knows that they are getting something that won't last in the long run. This could be a physical thing, or it could be spending time in a certain a place. It might even be time with a person that creates a specific state of mind for the character. In the end, the character KNOWS that this is limited--whatever it is. Vocabulary challenge continues...
WEEK 89 WORDS:
gallimaufry, redound, numismatics, mortar and pestle
Week 81. July 2018. Consider the history of the tulip as you follow the writing nudge this week. The tulip bulb acquired a value more than gold in the world market back in the 1600s in Holland, where tulip mania had some devastating effects for a few. Use this as an example to do research about a particular flower. Learn about the habits and processes of the flower and note any interesting history and/or superstitions associated with the flower within human culture. Try to use those ideas, practices, and/or histories within your writing. Some words to sprinkle through the writing this week...
WEEK 81 WORDS: bless, germane, expiate, umbrage
Week 83. August 2018. How common are stereotypes in your writing? Look at your work with a critical eye and be honest about how often you resort to stereotypes and cliches in order to transition and/or because you lacked the creativity at the time. Revisit those places and work on transforming the stereotypes or eliminating them altogether. OR, we always have words of the week...
WEEK 83 WORDS: tisane, stymie, gondola, flick
Week 75. June 2018. This week, drift in some descriptive overplay. You can prune it back soon enough. Editing is on the horizon, but for this week, choose a scene or the whole story and describe everything fully, without holding back. If you use the summer story from the past two weeks, for example, then notice everything about the summer season as you write. Make the season come to life by saturating those scenes, making them juicy with descriptions. Here are some words to throw into the process...
WEEK 75 WORDS:
domiciled, bezel, outwash, nuance
Week 86. August 2018. Practice using archaic words and use of language and dialogue from an historical era. Consider the idea of time travel, a dream sequence, or some type of similar scene that makes it easy to create the character and/or use the language differences between the present time period and the archaic language you are using in the story. Consider Tom Robbins' novel, Jitterbug Perfume, as an example. Add these words if they can be worked into your story...
WEEK 86 WORDS: