Site-Wide Activity

  • How To Write A StoryADay For A Month
    I. Use the site during the StoryADay May challenge, to find prompts and to find community (either in the blog post comments or in the community forums. (Come back on April 2 […]

  • This week I talk about the different cycles we go through in a creative life: fertile and fallow, frenzied and fatigued…and how you can make the most of them.   Also in this show: concrete steps for preparing […]

  • In which I encourage you to write Flash Fiction and tell you about an upcoming online workshop.

    The online workshop will happen on April 22, 2017 from 4 PM until late.

    There are 10 tickets for full […]

  • How Do You Write A StoryADay For A Month?

    First of all let’s start with the better question:

    Why write a story a day for a month?

    It’s not to write 31 brilliant stories that will instantly get publ […]

  • Q. How do I start writing again after a long time?

    Keep your expectations low. Don’t expect to produce a masterpiece, or even a coherent story.

    Set goals like “freewriting three mornings a week for 20 […]

  • My first clue should have been that this story was published in Nightmare Magazine.

    This is a fabulous story: original, chilling, populated with compelling characters, with a strong narrative arc and an […]

  • Every month we gather here to discuss what we’ve achieved and commit to making more progress in our creative lives in the coming month. We call it our   Serious Writer’s Accountability Group or SWAGr, for short! […]

    • So… my brain looked at my March goals and was like ‘how ’bout we have a depressive period instead’. Aside from sending out ‘featherweight’ again, to a place that told me it was clichéd. Ouch.
      Only really good thing I did (aside from doing my best on the job transfer, which is taking frustratingly long) was join on online writing group with my new housemate that’s had a really positive energy so far. I just had my first good writing day in a while, so fingers crossed it’ll continue! This month I’ll try to:
      – write a bunch on my main novel project; I’m aiming for 30k with a stretch goal of 40k
      – get some feedback on my almost-finished short story to see if I can get rid of my writer’s block on it
      – keep looking for another place ‘featherweight’ might fit.

      • Finding a good group of other writers is such a helpful thing, though. The usefulness of feedback and just all around support can’t be overstated 🙂

        • Agreed! It’s so easy to put your writing last, or think it doesn’t matter. When you have writing friends, someone’s always going through a good spell that inspires you, or is asking for advice, and you find you know the answer…it’s just encouraging to be with other writers.

    • I know March has 31 days, but it seemed to vanish in the blink of an eye! Well, I managed to finish a chapter of my novel, which was a hangover from February. I finished my two online courses which technically had nothing to do with writing, although the film making one was good at seeing how stories can be told in so many different ways and gave me further insight in writing scripts. I re-worked another of my earlier short stories and submitted to a competition. I started the next chapter of the novel but that is currently on hold. I’ve sketched out each of the remaining chapters so I know where it’s going, I just need to write them now.

      I think for this month I’ll start the next chapter and leave the current one in the ‘too difficult’ basket. It may work out easier when I’ve written more. I’m also planning a new short story aimed at another competition for the end of May, so I have some time to think about it.

      • Sounds good.

        Did you, by any chance, take the FutureLearn Digital Storytelling class? I did part of that a while ago. It was interesting.

        I definitely advocate leaving chapters and scenes in the ‘too difficult’ basket. Sometimes it turns out you’re resisting them because they are difficult, sometimes it turns out that you’re resisting them because they can be replaced with something else (which becomes clear when you’ve written more of the story). Keep ploughing forward!

    • April is the month I write a poem a day, which is a worthy warmup for Story-a-Day May.

      Meanwhile, I’m still writing at least a couple of stories a week and hope to finish revising (my most difficult skill) my first story collection.

    • Fantastic!
      Great news on the story submissions and on finding helpful courses online!
      See? You’re inspiring us this month 🙂

    • Sounds great!
      I’m glad you’re finding a process that allows for flexibility. I’m a bit of a binger and a sprinter, myself!

      Isn’t it amazing how different stories look a couple of years later? 😉

    • Somehow I’ve never really got to grips with what CampNano is about (probably because I’ve been getting ready for StoryADay every year since before it started). Must get more informed!

      Question on Patreon: Do you find it worthwhile? I think I might find it quite anxiety-inducing. Or I might find it exhilarating to know people were waiting to hear from me…How do you like it?

      I find goal-setting-sessions and to-do lists invaluable for reducing anxiety about All The Things hanging over me. Actually that’s a good reminder…I’m off to do some planning!

    • That sounds like a great plan for building (reading and) writing into your life. Good for you!!

      Yes, you’re naive, but that’s a wonderful thing. I’m old and jaded and STILL excited for May 🙂

  • In the last of my publication-related writing prompts, we sound a note of optimism, courtesy of Helios Quarterly Magazine.

    Stories for this market should ‘illuminate the dark’, and examine the human […]

  • Sticking with this month’s theme of writing for publication, today I bring you another prompt associated with a themed issue.

    This time it’s for flash fiction from Splickety Magazine. This pays 2 cents per […]

  • Oh, this one made me laugh.

    Not just for the unexpected ending, but for the constant, very modern thoughts that crowded my head as I was reading it.

    Basically, this is the story of a ruthless old king who, […]

  • This week’s prompt comes from Mad Scientist Journal who are putting together a special edition with a theme that really tickles me!

    The Prompt
    Write the fictionalized story of an unusual building 

    When I […]

  • Often, when I talk about how to write a short story, I get caught up in talking about traditional, narrative tales that might be structured in a similar way to a novel.

    But one of the things I love about short […]

  • In keeping with this month’s theme of “Publication”, this prompt comes from a market that is actively looking for short stories right now!

    The Prompt
    Write a Fairytale With The Theme “Diamonds & […]

  • From Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang

    This is the (long) short story that was the basis for the movie Arrival, a movie I loved.

    I read the story after seeing the movie, and it was a little hard to separate […]

  • This month is all about publishing; how, why, and why not.  I don’t talk much about publishing at StoryADay because the focus has always been on creativity. However, seven years in, I think we could stand to talk […]

  • Every month we gather here to discuss what we’ve achieved and commit to making more progress in our creative lives in the coming month. We call it our   Serious Writer’s Accountability Group or SWAGr, for short! […]

    • After two very hard months, I’m so ready to get back to writing again.

      My current goals:

      Use the SWAGr worksheet to keep myself on-goal
      Start posting snippets of work on Patreon
      Write down at least one new idea a week
      Finish one WIP
      One blog post

      Small goals, but if I can manage these I’m in good shape.

      Hope everybody’s goals go well!

      • Great goals for yourself! You sound like you are in the same place I am right now, ready to get back to it. Have a great month, I look forward to hearing about your progress when we check in again in April.

      • Good luck with these. Small, manageable goals are definitely useful and get us in the habit of good work.
        I saw this post from Seth Godin yesterday, that plays into the same idea: Drip by Drip And The Thunderclap

    • I have taken too much time away from writing the last four months and March is about getting back to it.

      Write a new first draft of a short story.
      Finish revising my WIP that I last touched in October.
      Create a schedule of dates that I will dedicate hours to my writing work.
      Schedule artist’s dates.
      Register for a nearby Festival of the Short Story and book lodgings.

      These things matter to me because my fiction writing has been neglected for the past four months while I answered some big questions about my vision for my life.

      Other things happening in March include my birthday and March Break. I will be spending as much time with my family as I can during that week, so I will have to be vigilant about scheduling writing time as well for that week, even just an hour.

      • Good stuff. Sounds like you have some positive, measurable steps in there and are planning for Life to happen too. Good for you.

    • You are working hard on your goals, even when it doesn’t work out as you set out. Keep on keeping on!

    • So I didn’t get 100% of my February goals, which is probably to be expected seeing how busy I was (we made the move successfully; I would not wish the Greyhound bus service on my worst enemy, though). I did get some practice using Duotrope, but I couldn’t quite finish ‘Mortmain’.

      So this month:
      – I’ll attempt to finish and send out ‘Mortmain’.
      – If possible, complete a rough draft of another short story
      – ‘featherweight’ just got rejected, so I need to send that somewhere else
      – and in nonwriting news, I’ll be following up with my old job’s location in this area and try to make them hire me. Fingers crossed.

      • Good luck with the job search and with the submissions.

        Hopefully you’ll have been inspired by Ray (above) committing to sending out rejected pieces within 24 hours. I think that’s a great policy 🙂

    • Love that goal!

      Do you use Duotrope too? I find a ton of interesting markets and themed deadlines here (I’m sharing some as writing prompts this month)

    • Sounds like you did pretty well with those ambitious goals! And I like the sound of the not-short-story that you started!

      I’m a little behind with my own #12for12Stories efforts. Februrary’s did not happen. But I hope to catch up this month.

    • If it’s any consolation, I always find these kinds of challenges really tough to get through until about Day 15. If you can make it to Day 15 you can probably make it the whole way!

      So, Day 8, how’s it going?

    • Yeah, February was tough for me. It always is because both my kids’ birthdays take over (even though one was born in early March) and the lack of daylight always affects me badly. Add in the political WTFs of this past month has chewed up a lot of my reading/writing time as I struggle to stay sane (I try to stick to writing topics in my posts here and to avoid being divisive here, but I don’t think it’s too partisan to say “WTF?” about some of the stuff that’s going on at the moment…)

      Anyhoo, throw in a little thyroid surgery, and my month went a bit off the rails. (Anesthetic and pain mess with your attention span, apparently.)

      However, I’m happy to report that I produced some content for the site that I was really happy with, and I got back on the podcasting wagon a mere week after someone slit my throat with a surgical scalpel, which felt like a huge win 😉

      This month I’m going to commit to very little:

      * Write one short story for the #12For12Stories Challenge
      * Write one big (or several smaller) posts for the Publishing Theme Of The Month
      * Post 4 writing prompts with associated publishing deadlines
      * Critique work for some writing friends
      * Work on the StoryADay ebook A Month Of Writing Prompts 2017
      * I’m also going to write Morning Pages every week day instead of staring at my phone.
      * Doing my taxes!

      OK, that’s not nothing, but still.

  • Last week I talked about reading and writing stories with divided storylines that come together at the end.

    The example I gave, Shakedown by Elizabeth Gonzalez, had a fairly traditional narrative structure. […]

  • Yesterday I reviewed Shakedown by Elizabeth Gonzalez, a story that doesn’t seem to be able to make its mind up whether it wants to be about the renovation of an old steam train, or about a fiesty old man in a P […]

  • I picked this book up because a, it was written by a Pennsylvania writer and b, because of the glowing review written for it by Karen Russell and short story writer and novelist whose writing I love (literary but […]

  • Get the free Get Results Worksheet,
    and catch all the ideas this post gives you

    Let’s be honest: fame and fortune would be nice, but it’s not really the reason we write, is it?

    We write because we need […]

    • Thanks Karen. It’s tough when life gets in the way!

      Here’s a technique that might help you urn that “writing bits and thinking” into productive writing time: keep planning and breaking down the novel into “scenes that need to be written”. Then, when you have a little time & energy for writing, pick a scene and ask: ‘why does this need to be written?’ and “what’s at stake in this scene?” and “what are the protagonist’s external and inner struggles in this scene”. Then set a timer and just write. Make notes about “things that need to be foreshadowed” or “stuff I need to research” or “this needs to be fixed”, and just write!

      Good luck and I’m so glad this article helped!

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