Janet Lee Carey-Dreamwalks DreamWalks Janet Lee Carey Award-winning author of novels for children and young adults

NaNoWriMo Fiction Magic Cards drawing #1

Welcome to NaNoWriMo Fiction Magic month here on Dreamwalks!
Are you experiencing idea flow or wordcount woe? Wherever you are with our WIP, I bet you can use some magic this month. And so, Voila!!

Meet Fiction Magic: Card Tricks & Tips For Writers


Buy deck here

Have you hit the wall? Out of ideas? We’re offering Pick a Card posts each week as writing prompts to give you, as card creator Deb Lund says, “Just the right NaNoNuj!” Deb will show us how to work the magic to get the nudges we need to keep writing. And some lucky NaNo’s going to win the entire 54 card deck.

Janet: You might know Deb as an author, but she also a creativity coach and she has scads of experience as a teacher. Her master’s project (25+years ago) was on teaching writing, and she’s been doing that ever since. So, hey Deb.What card are we starting with?

Deb: I could have chosen my favorites, but there’s something about picking out a random card that appeals to me. So, here goes…

(drawn by Dana Sullivan )

Deb: Oh, I’m glad that one appeared. I definitely disguised a bad guy in the middle grade historical fantasy I’m revising. It takes place in Lisbon in 1762, seven years after the Great Lisbon Earthquake (yes, a parent dies). Tomas’s “uncle” is a tailor named Belmiro whose real identity and motives are revealed as the story progresses. I’ve worked on this manuscript so long I can’t remember if the idea for the card or the story came first!

Janet: That’s a chicken/egg question Deb. Love this card! It’s especially important to murder mysteries. I think I pulled off my “Disguise the Bad Guy” in In The Time of Dragon Moon since I’ve not heard from any readers who’ve said they guessed who the murderer is. That took some doing, but, Huzzah!! I think I pulled it off. (Winner of giveaway below if you guess the murderer before the reveal — let me know and I’ll do a sackcloth and ashes thing.)

Janet: Let’s go deeper for the NaNos, Deb. I love the craft hints you give for each card in the Fiction Magic Guidebook along with the creativity coaching you add at the bottom of each page. Can you share what the guidebook says for “Disguise the Bad Guy” with the NaNos here?

Deb: Sure! Here it is:

Think of all the twists and turns that might take place if your lead character’s worst enemy is a trusted friend, mentor, family member, or love interest. Being blinded by the relationship, your character may not act rationally. Bad-guy disguises could be physical, or shown through actions, dialog, or emotions. Make your villains so human they can be forgiven, even if just for a moment, and even if they’re not human at all.

Expose the writing bad guys! They say, “Who do you think you are?” and “You’re a fake! You can’t write!” Yell “Stop!” Just thank them, pat their little heads, and send them away. They’re not really bad—just scared.

Deb: That’s actually the theme for a picture book I’ve been working on. And I’m playing with illustrating it myself. That’s huge for me. That’s where my inner critic has been most powerful. It’s feeling so good to send her away—not that she ever stays there for long. It’s an ongoing journey, as you know. I’m on a mission to get everyone claiming their creativity, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to support and talk with your readers this month. Thank you, Janet.

Janet: It’s a pleasure, Deb.

So NaNos — and anyone else wrestling with your WIP whether you’re NaNoing or not — We hope you enjoyed today’s NaNoNuj.

If this Fiction Magic card inspires you in any way, please share your story in a comment below. And you’re welcome to get and share more ideas on Deb’s Fiction Magic Facebook Page We’d love to see you there!


“These cards are a creative way for Deb Lund to extend her gentle genius for helping fellow writers develop our own magic with fiction. I can hardly wait to get my hands on them, as both a writing teacher and a writer myself.” Christina Baldwin, author of Storycatcher

“When I read a book on writing, it takes about 200 pages before I learn anything I can apply to my writing. I can use these cards instantly.” Carole Dagg, YA author

“These cards are thought-provoking and inspiring. As an author and literary agent, I plan to use them myself and with my students and clients.” Andrea Hurst, Literary Agent

Fingers wriggling to get your hands on the Whole Deck and Guidebook? Fiction Magic: Card Tricks & Tips For Writers, are 50% off on on Deb’s Website this month, and she promised me she’d send off the 54-card set and guidebook to you in record time.

Enter the Giveaway. One lucky winner will receive:
Deb’s pack of Fiction Magic: Card Tricks & Tips For Writers
Signed copy of Janet’s In The Time of Dragon Moon and Moon Mug to sip from while writing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

6 comments on “NaNoWriMo Fiction Magic Cards drawing #1

  1. I’ve already “disguised the bad guy” so well that *I* don’t know who did it! But I heard Sid Fleischman speak years ago…he said he never knew for sure who did it until he had to write the scene that revealed it. That gives me encouragement. Great start to this new blog, Janet! (And Deb!)

    1. Love that comment from Sid Fleischman, Dori. I’ve practiced the “writing to discover” approach as well. It keeps the writing fresh and sometimes the revelation is mind blowing. Best of luck on your continued WIP Dori

  2. It’s easy to disguise your villain when you actually know they’re not wholly evil…you want some of the humanity to shine through.

    1. Such a good point S. Collins. Helps to do the backstory on the villain-understand what’s driving them-combine sun and shadow. Thanks for stopping by. Good luck with your WIP.

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