Moon Phase Writing Challenge: A Preptober Experiment for 2020

Write when the moon is waxing. Edit when the moon is waning.

This is the advice a friend of mine gave me.  She runs LearnTarotology.com, and I recently took her Introduction to Timing class, where we talked about how the seasons, elements, and even the moon phases can help you connect with your intentions and creative side.

Intrigued by this idea, I took copious notes during her class and I’ve pieced together a plan for October 2020.  Aside from her initial idea of when to write versus edit, I’ve come up with a writing plan that will hopefully be helpful for Preptober, the month-long planning extravaganza leading up to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November.

This October is the perfect time to try this experiment as the month begins and ends on Full Moons.

Basic Moon Phases

In order to talk about this plan, you need to know the terminology I will be using for the moon phases.  Here is a labeled image of the phases:

Full Moon: the period when the entirety of the face of the moon is visible

Waning Gibbous (also known as the Disseminating Moon): The period when a shadow begins to cover the right side of the moon until it is half in shadow.

Last or 3rd Quarter: The period when the right half of the moon is in shadow.

Waning Crescent (also known as the Balsamic or Dark Moon): the period when a shadow begins to cover the left side of the moon until it is almost entirely in shadow.

New Moon: the period when the entirety of the face of the moon is in shadow

Waxing Crescent: the period when the face of the moon begins to be revealed from the right side until the right half of the moon is visible

First Quarter the period when the right half of the moon is visible.

Waxing Gibbous: the period when the left half of the moon is revealed.

One thing to note is the Full, New, and Quarter Moons can apply to not only the day they fall on, but the day before and after. This gives you a three-day window, if you so choose, to focus on the writing tasks associated with the moon phase.

Waxing Versus Waning

If you would like to try this experiment without the Preptober premise, simply pay attention to the waxing and waning of the moon.

When the moon is waxing (growing), add to your writing. What would you like your story or your writing to gain?

  • Drafting
  • Planning
  • Adding Scenes, Information, and Details
  • Character Building
  • World Building
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When the moon is waning (shrinking), take away from your writing. What would you like to eliminate or cut from your writing?

  • Editing
  • Deleting clutch phrases
  • Removing Excess Information, details, scenes, and even characters
  • Eliminating Plot Holes
Photo by brenoanp on Pexels.com

Moon Phase Guided Writing Focus

October 1st is a Full Harvest Moon. October 31st is a Blue Moon. 

In addition to the general advice to Draft, Plan, and add to your writing, when writing on a full moon, focus on:

  • Developing characters who live very full lives
  • Adding a plethora of experiences, events, and situations
  • Outline the full growth cycle of characters
  • Build relationships: antagonistic, platonic, familial, romantic, etc.
  • World Building: Focus on the Southern Direction of your setting

October 2nd-9th have Waning Gibbous or Disseminating Moons.

As a waning moon phase, you should be editing, deleting clutch phrases, removing excess information, and eliminating plot holes. In addition to these, when writing under a disseminating moon, you should focus on:

  • Characters using gifts to benefit the community
  • Unconventional philosophies or actions,
  • Teachers, Preachers, and Mentor Characters
  • How information Spreads in your writing or story world
  • When Worldbuilding: focus on the south-western direction of your setting.
Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

October 10th is the Third or Last Quarter Moon.

This still falls under the waning moon phases, so continue to think of things you would like to remove or keep out of your writing.

When writing under the 3rd or Last Quarter, focus on:

  • Characters questioning the meaning and purpose of events.
  • Explore your characters’ motives
  • Develop an interesting midlife for a character (or the story midpoint)
  • Combine your characters instincts with creativity.
  • Create sudden shifts
    • A character may cut ties with a group or have a change in mindset after an enlightenment
  • When Worldbuilding: Focus on the Western direction of your setting.

October 11th-15th are Waning Crescents, also known as the Balsamic or Dark Moon phases.

This still falls under the waning moon phases, so continue to think of things you would like to remove or keep out of your writing.

When writing under the Balsamic Moon, focus on:

  • Completion and closure (relationships, subplots, main plot, etc.)
  • End short relationships or include Goodbyes
  • Develop your characters’ spirituality or connection with greater forces
  • Focus on the big questions and story themes
  • Create scenes where characters will see an eventual success rather than an immediate success
  • Depict Quiet but Resilient Characters
  • When Worldbuilding: Focus on the North-Western direction of your setting
Photo by brenoanp on Pexels.com

October 16th is the New Moon.

On the new moon, you should set your intentions for the waxing, or growth phases.  You may wish to list what should be added to your writing, or what you intend for your story to gain.

When writing under a new moon, you should focus on:

  • Your characters’ innocence and child-like reactions to the world and new things they encounter
  • Focus on the beginnings (relationships, events, schemes, etc.)
  • Outline the prologue, 1st Act, Beat, Chapter, or Scene.
  • Plan out your Characters’ actions that are instinctive, with no forethought for the consequences of their actions (impulsive decisions that will lead them into a new situation).
  • When World Building: focus on the Northern Direction of your setting.

October 17th-22nd have Waxing Crescent Moons.

As a waxing phase, you should be drafting, planning, outlining, adding to your scenes, information, details, characters, and world building.

When you write under a waxing crescent, you should focus on:

  • Developing a full cast of characters and their own developmental arcs
  • Plot and Scene sequence and development
  • Have your character learn to use foresight and consider the consequences of their actions.
  • Develop your characters’ goals.
  • When World Building: Focus on the North-Eastern direction of your setting.

October 23rd is the First Quarter Moon.

This still falls under the waxing moon phases, so continue to think of things you would like to add or develop in your writing.

When writing under a 1st Quarter Moon, focus on:

  • Your Characters’ passions and things that build their confidence
  • Risks your characters take
  • Developing characters who are leaders, or building leadership qualities in your main characters
  • Characters or Events that are hard to stop
  • Situations where characters need to manage anger
  • When Worldbuilding: focus on the Eastern Direction of your setting
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

October 24th-30th have the Waxing Gibbous Moon Phase.

This still falls under the waxing moon phases, so continue to think of things you would like to add or develop in your writing.

  • Have your characters learn a lesson.
  • Build or plan an academic setting (if appropriate for your story)
  • Develop your characters’ analytical or critical thought processes
    • What do they think of others and the events surrounding them? How does this thought process change as the characters develop?
  • Have characters strive for improvement or perfection in their craft, relationships, or spirituality.
  • When Worldbuilding: Focus on the South-Eastern direction of your setting.

October 31st (Happy Halloween!) is a Full Moon, the same as the 1st of the month. 

That is the full month of October and the writing suggestions for each moon phase.  I hope you enjoyed learning about the different ways that moon phases can be used to guide your writing.  Let me know if you would like to try this experiment.  Also, let me know what genre your current WIP is.

I’ve made a video about this topic on The Dawdling Writer YouTube Channel, in case you would like to watch or share it with others. It premieres at 10 AM Eastern on September 29th.

2 thoughts on “Moon Phase Writing Challenge: A Preptober Experiment for 2020

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