SepSceneWriMo is coming

The second annual September Scene Writing Month is on our doorstep.

Every day of the month of September, write a scene, long or short, consistent with your WIPs or not, of any combination of:

  • setting
  • characters
  • emotions
  • action
  • conflict

Publish them or not, share them or not, nobody cares. But here’s your opportunity to focus on specific facets of your writing. Maybe you want to nail simile and metaphor. Or perfect character motion as dialog tags. Or the Threes of setting description.

Make them however long you want, but for this exercise, I’ll be working on scenes less than 500 words.

NaNoWriMo is a crock. Who has time to write 1500+ words every day, consistent on a singular plot, for thirty straight days—if you’re holding down a day job? I sure as hell don’t. But I can write a couple hundred, targeted words dedicated to singular refinement of my writing.

SepSceneWriMo, I think I can manage that. You?

(Don’t forget to tag your offerings with #sepscenewrimo so that we can find them.)


POV: Point of View
TENSE: Past & present
DIALOG: People act while speaking
ACTIVE vs PASSIVE: Was & were
CONFLICT: Bad things happening to good people
TIME: Sequential, episodic, flashbacks
TOPICS: Genre, Theme, Story, Plot, Characters, Setting, POV, Tense, Dialogue, Scenes, Conflict, Pace, Active vs Passive, Narration, Description, Show vs tell, Protagonist, Antagonist, Tone, Mood, Style, Voice, Diction, Device, Allusions, Red Herrings, MacGuffins, Hooks, Climax, Conclusion, Denouement.

Prompt generators:

Emotion wheel:




I and Phil Huston propose a month of scene writing.

As often as possible, it needn’t be everyday, write a scene encapsulating a complete:

  1. Setting
  2. Emotion
  3. Event

Scenes should be self contained, almost short stories, which may not have full introductions of characters, assume we dropped into the middle of your story already in motion, but have well defined settings and identifiable emotions emitted by your characters.

Tag your posts with #sepscenewrimo so that we can find them.

NaNoWriMo? Bah! What a chore. SepSceneWriMo is much easier and educational. Expect critiques from any and all who read them.



Writer’s Log: 1301

So, yes, I did have to splurge with an extra pint or two of writer’s blood squirted from my wrist-severed arteries at the wall of creativity. Ooh, does that look like Galadrial (Sissy Spacek style…?)

And I would say that, looking back at the process that produced this exquisite expose’ of narrative bliss, those that say you must sit-the-hell-down-and-write-the-fuck-out-of-your-story-UNTIL-IT-IS-DONE! are bite-the-head-off-the-chipmonk wrong. Yes, they’re that bloody wrong.

Not all the time they’re that wrong. If you have a straight month of ten hours a day to burn writing fiction, then sure, I can see that they’re on the leaning-in side of right. But just barely, tipping like they’re about to fall into the pond if they lift an eyebrow at what I’m about to say next…

Which is, take your damn time. Re-read everything you’ve written to date. Review and revise and revisit and redo whatever it is you don’t like about your story up to that point.


How the hell else will you maintain continuity over an extended period of writing time? Say you can only write at night, for an hour, three times a week, every third month, during leap years? Of course you’ll have to go back and read what you’ve previously penned. “What the hell did Siegfried say he was going to do if he found Myrtle, ass-end-up in the bath with Roy?” Do you remember? I sure as hell don’t. Well, you better go back to the beginning and reengage your consistency engine…

The point is, for me personally, I was able to take seven months and write a pretty good story. And the only way I could do that was by cycling back again and again to the beginning to recapture the tone, the plot, the voice of the characters. So, bollocks to those that say you must write your novel in a flurry. NaNoWriMo my ass!

In addendum…

One aspect that also affects one’s ability to saddle-up and get wrangling those words right out of the chute is — ya can’t. I can’t. Writing is not like wrangling horses, chopping wood, working in a kitchen, or construction or any of hundreds of jobs where the task it set and a pattern is established for the work at hand.

Writing, to me, takes flow; takes presence of mind. It takes rolling a handful of marbles over the chinese-checkerboard of my mind until they all find their own personal niche: boop, boop, boop. And this takes time. Re-reading of prior chapters, perhaps. Or just note taking while I envision, not just the story, but the voice (my voice) and those of my characters. Again, this takes time, often an hour or more while I bump around, avoiding the task, but thinking about the story… Until the groove starts to show itself.

Writing without a groove is work. And yeah, I’m doing that right this instant. But when it’s story time, and I’m groovin’ with the flow of the plot and the conflict and the enchanting sounds of the words in my mind as they tinkle from my fingers through the keys and onto the screen, well, that there’s pleasure. Not considered work at all.

Trying to cram write? Sorry, but, fuck that.