Site-Wide Activity

  • Verdict: Fabulous.

    Surface Tension is a science fiction story originally published in 1952 and so qualifies as being either from (or near) the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of science fiction. (I found it in The Big […]

  • I’ve always been impressed with how much fiction StoryADay friend and participant Alexis A. Hunter pushes out into the world: over 50 short stories in publications like Apex, Shimmer and Cricket.

    In 2017, s […]

  • This episode is a companion piece to this blog post: Be sure to check it out for more details and to find all the exercises I talk about in the podcast. Another new episode of […]

  • To stick to our good intentions and create good writing practices, we have to stay excited about our writing. Meeting a word count goal or an hours-in-chair goal isn’t always enough of an incentive to break t […]

  • 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! […]

    • Happy New Year to everyone. Not much change from last month, I’ve managed to write another novel chapter in December. I want to speed up the remaining chapters, so I’m aiming to do at least one chapter a month, ideally two but that may be on the optimistic side. For January I’m also going to revise one of my (much earlier) short stories to submit to a performance group for potential reading at their Valentines event in February.

    • Ha! Yes, we’re all big-achievers around here 🙂

    • Your day job did have some claims on your time, I suppose, after your break.

      What software have you used in the past for formatting? Curious to hear how you get on with Vellum.

      Good luck with the novella!

    • Good for you, Todd!

      You’ve got three different strings to your bow, there (although if the writing blog is more of a Show Your Work kind of blog, then it’s not really a different set of muscles). So you’re probably going to need to be disciplined. Maybe you already are.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve tried doing “fiction in the morning, non-fiction in the afternoon” but that doesn’t really work for me. I need to binge all one thing on one day. Don’t be surprised if your best intentions are torpedoed by your natural inclinations. As long as you’re putting in the work one way or another, you’ll be fine!

    • Ok, here’s what I promised to do last month

      * Finish a short mystery novel 45,000 words by mid January, which means having the story broken out and about half of it written this month — HMM, I’m stalling on this, which makes me wonder if I’m trying this for the wrong reasons. Taking another look and revisiting this commitment…
      * Record 1-2 more podcasts – DONE
      * Write four blog posts for StoryADay – Didn’t write four but did write three, including one really long one, with worksheets and an accompanying newsletter.
      * Lots of critique reading and commenting – DONE
      * Read ten short stories (You can see my picks here) – Read a lot, but not all from this list.

      For January:

      * Write one substantial short story every month this year. This is a challenge I’m doing with fellow-StoryADay-participant Alexis A. Hunter. You can follow/join us on Twitter #12for12Stories. The idea is to build up the portfolio of stories that we can be sending out to publications (on a rotating basis. Submit, be rejected, send out again, repeat until accepted).
      * Write blog posts on the subject of Habits (this year’s editorial calendar for StoryADay is up. If you want to guest blog, let me know.)
      * Make a decision about the mystery novella
      * Lots of behind-the-scenes StoryADay Stuff (this is a bad example of a goal, because it is so non-specific, but rest assured, I have secret notes)
      * Explore the Scrivener training I bought: 3 lessons a week minimum.

    • Hi, all,

      I didn’t post at the beginning of December (out of Nanowrimo exhaustion ;-)), but my plan for December was to work on my Nanowrimo novel (which I have spent a lot of time on and am very happy with) and develop a couple of short stories (which I have done and am working on for January 15th and February 15 submission dates).

      For January:
      *complete both short stories that are currently in process
      *work on this novel further: which means, finish re-reading, decide on what subplots need to be added, as well as changes to the main plot
      *2-3 blog posts on my blog (which I have been neglecting)

      For the year,
      *finish this novel
      *finish the screenplay I have been toying with for a while, including taking a more advanced screenwriting class (which begins at the end of February)
      *I like the idea of 12 stories in 12 months. This month I hope to get two done, so we’ll see how this goes. Building a body of work to submit is something I have tried to do, on and off, for the last few years (I have been somewhat successful with this).
      *And, of course, continuing to post regularly to my blog.


    • This is my first SWAGr post 🙂

      My writing goal for January is to post to my blog at least once a week. This is an even smaller goal than you might think. I’ve just started eating low sodium (again – I’ve been off the wagon for years, despite having medical conditions that improve with a lower sodium diet) and plan to post my progress weekly.

      Part of me feels this isn’t a “good enough” goal for SWAGr, but that’s the part of my psyche that doesn’t like me. Down the road I do want to be writing fiction regularly. This blog goal is a baby step in that direction.

      • Hi Hope, and welcome!

        Believe it or not, I’m a big fan of the tiny goals that let us feel like bigger goals might be possible. I know: hard to believe, coming from the person who came up with StoryADay May! But the rest of the year, I’m a firm believer in achievable goals.

        In my experience, having a list of topics, ahead of time, really helps with getting blog posts out. You might find that having a set time to write it, every week, helps (that doesn’t work so well for me, but you never know). Figure out what works for you, learn from those times when it doesn’t work, and keep pressing on. Good luck!

        Post the link to your blog here, and I’ll come and check in on you >:)

        • I have a bad habit of turning something I love into a chore, then not wanting to do it. So I have a plan to post every Sunday, but I’m leaving it open when I write and edit the post. I’ve already started on next week’s post, because I’m still excited about it 🙂

          My blog is 🙂 It’s super simple, which is all I need right now.

    • Last month, I decided to not write at all. Things were very stressful personally, and with two writing exchanges, stress levels were too high. Letting myself not write without guilt was incredibly freeing, and ended up allowing me to start a story in the last days of December.

      This month, I’m trying to get back into blogging, which will hopefully lead me back into writing fiction again. I’m focusing on writing small, trying not to get too broad in scope and overwhelm myself again. Small goals, but ones I can keep.

  • The Allure of the Fresh Start
    I love the idea of a fresh start, don’t you?

    It doesn’t matter when it happens (New Year, the first day of spring, the start of a new academic year), I’m always ready with my li […]

  • Hopefully, you’ve been doing something looking back at 2016, making note of all the places where you did wonderfully things.

    Now it’s time to look forward to building on them next year. This ‘look forward’ […]

  • Today’s writing prompt is ripped straight from my 6th Grader’s homework folder, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant. 

    I’m steeped in (as well as 6th Grade homework) Lisa Cron’s fabulous latest […]

  • Here are the stories I’m going to read this month.

    Feel free to read along, or make your own list (post some suggestions or links to your list in the comments, maybe?)

    I’ll post some reviews, if I like any […]

  • 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! […]

    • OK, I’ll start.
      Hmm, I didn’t set proper goals for last month because I knew I was traveling for two of the three weeks. I did set the goal of winning NaNoWriMo and while I started a new novel I flamed out spectacularly. But it’s all good, because I needed to do a lot more prep for the story I wanted to write. Now I’m going to set myself a new deadline for that.

      I did, however, attend the Writer Unboxed UnConference (at some point I will have to stop and count the many ways in which it was AWESOME!) and write an article for Writer’s Digest Magazine (w00t!!!), which was quite a lot of work, as well as slipping away for a week of relaxation-and-stomping-around-theme-parks with my family (with bonus inspiration video post – look at that mad grin. Can you tell I was having fun?). I also recorded a podcast or two.

      For December:
      * Finish a short mystery novel 45,000 words by mid January, which means having the story broken out and about half of it written this month.
      * Record 1-2 more podcasts
      * Write four blog posts for StoryADay
      * Lots of critique reading and commenting
      * Read ten short stories (You can see my picks here)

    • Didn’t write but one story, but it was selected to run in the December issue of Downtown Los Angeles Life Magazine.

      For December, I hope to revise as many as 20 of my frontier/western stories for my first fiction collection.

    • Hi Julie, I’m afraid I’ve been absent the last few months due to various difficulties, but I’ve managed to write two more first draft chapters of my novel and I’m now past halfway. I want to complete the first draft early in the new year, hopefully another chapter this month. I submitted a short story (a revamp of an earlier story) a few months ago to a competition, but I had the Dear Malcolm email last week. There are one or two other short story competitions I’ve noted early in the New Year that I would like to write new stories for, in the next couple of months.

      • Hi Malcolm! Glad to hear you’re trucking alone. I hope the difficulties get out of your way for the next few months, at least!

        Good job on the novel. It’s so easy to get impatient with ourselves, but when you look back over the year/month it’s good to see that forward progress.

        And I’m glad you’re at least putting yourself in the position to get the “Dear Malcolm” letters. Never give up, never surrender, as a wise man once said…

        Maybe that should be the StoryADay motto for next year!

    • So my goals last month were mainly just ‘NaNoWriMo’, which… I did not finish for the first time! My life was very, very disrupted, so I only wrote about 30k. On the plus side, I’m pretty happy with that 30k and I have a much better idea of the story now. I’m letting it rest for a bit because I have some shorter projects to work on, but I’ll be returning to it.
      During December, I’m going to:
      – write my rather-up-against-the-deadline fic for Yuletide, a rare fandoms fanfiction exchange
      – finish writing and polishing ‘featherweight’, a short story I’m going to try and submit to Apex while they’re open for this brief period
      – put in a bit more work on ‘be kind please rewind, my horror story that’s gone thru several reinventions
      – write some poems for a small winter collection I’m putting together, ‘I Am The Krampus’

      • Sorry to hear November was disrupted, but I definitely feel your pain. I had high hopes for NaNoWriMo too, but got derailed. The good news is that, like you, I have a story that I think has potential, but needs more planning.

        Good luck with the Apex submission. That’d be a good one to snag.

        I love the idea of the winter poetry collection. Have fun with that!

    • Kylie! Welcome to StoryADay!

      I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with that epilogue. Of course, I have to read the series before I can read the epilogue, so you have a little time, from my perspective 😉

      You can define ‘making a start’ any way you want, of course, but don’t forget Lisa Cron’s mantra that all that planning “IS the writing”. (A useful mantra only if you get depressed about “wasting time” on the planning, I suppose.)

      Don’t forget to come back on Jan 1 (or thereabouts) and let us know how it went.

  • The Thank You
    Thank you so much to all the people who responded to my ‘what does short story writing do for you’ survey last issue.

    Not all of the quotes made it into the Writer’s Digest Magazine article (comi […]

  • Today’s episode is all about looking back at your year and capturing the achievements in your writing life that can help power you forward into your next year of writing.


    WHY it’s good to track […]

  • November is here and whether you’re facing NaNoWriMo or just the change of seasons, it’s a great time to think about energy in your writing life. Energy is the theme for November at and I start out […]

  • 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! […]

    • Hi, all,

      I totally got distracted by the beginning of Nanowrimo.

      So! My October plans were:
      *finish the mystery novel and submit it to a contest: I did this! Yeah!
      *outline my “Moon-Mars cargo pilot sucked into accompanying a group going to Enceladus to colonize it” story for Nano: I did this, too.
      *really, truly work on the political thriller screenplay (second half of the month, after the mystery novel is done): Didn’t get to this, which wasn’t really too surprising all in all.

      For November:
      *the main thing is Nanowrimo. I’m 4000 words in and the story is going well so far.
      *write some blog posts that have been sitting half-written for a few weeks.
      *at least think about story ideas for a couple of deadlines coming up in December/January.

      I think that’s more than enough 🙂

    • I wrote a bit more on my short stories, but didn’t finish one. Phooey. On the bright side, part of the reason I didn’t get a ton accomplished was that I’ve gotten a second part-time job, which is difficult time-wise but very good for my life in general atm. And I did do some NaNo prep.

      So, my November goals are –
      – NaNoWriMo! I’ll attempt to write a full first draft, but I’ll be happy if I just ‘win’. This is a very important story to me and it’s good to finally get it out, but difficult too
      – If I wind up having extra time+energy, I’ll try to draft a short story. But I won’t beat myself up if I can’t get that done.
      – Also, lots of work.

      • Congratulations on your new job! It’s tough to adjust to such a big change, good for you that you stuck to your writing in any way.

      • Congrats on the news job. Keep those words flowing! Remember, an important story might need lots of discovery writing and false starts. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t feel like you have a perfect draft at the end of the month. Just as long as you keep writing…

    • I haven’t been checking in much. I started a new job last July and I am just now settling into the adjustments it has made necessary. I have been writing though.

      In October, I completed a revision of a short story I have been working on for some time. My finished draft goal for this year is 6 short stories, so far I have completed 1. With the work in October, I am nearly finished another one, and I began working on a third one. Having never actually revised any of my work to a finished piece, I feel like I bit off more than I knew with a goal of 6 finished short stories. I am growing as a writer every time I sit down at the page, and that is my ultimate goal.

      My goal for November is to finalize my revisions from October and to revise another piece to final draft. I am excited to be able to attend Wordsfest in London, Ontario tomorrow. It will be a chance to be around writers and soak up some inspiration.

      • OO, I hope you had a good time at Wordsfest. Being around other writers is so affirming!

        I loved this: “I am growing as a writer every time I sit down at the page, and that is my ultimate goal.”

        Learning what’s possible and how the ebb and flow of life affects us, AND coming back to the page, is the only way to do this. Good for you!

    • My goals for November were to finish an article for a magazine (which I have done) and to take part in NaNoWriMo while also attending the Writer Unboxed UnConference in Salem, MA.

      I did start a new novel and got lots of writing done in the first week of November. The second week was a challenge and I’m traveling next week, so this might be one of those years when I don’t win NaNo. I’m going to keep working on the new story though.

  • The Prompt
    Steal the first line of your favorite book and write a totally different story

    Don’t agonize about your ‘favorite’ book. Just go to the shelf and pick one.
    Type out the first line and […]

  • Today’s writing prompt is inspired by a story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, featured in The Best American Short Stories 2016 ( You can read more of my thoughts on this story here: [Reading […]

  • This week’s writing prompt is completely stolen from the first story in the 2016 edition of The Best American Short Stories (edited by Junot Diaz)

    In the story, a man visits his elderly parents. A chance remark […]

  • This story opens the 2016 edition of The Best American Short Stories, edited by Junot Diaz.

    It begins with a man visiting his parents, where a chance comment sparks a memory from his childhood. It’s clear, as […]

  • This month’s theme here at StoryADay is: Make It Better.

    Here’s some recommended reading from around the web on various aspects of making your writing life better.
    Here are thr […]

  • It’s Write On Wednesday Day! (That’s really clumsy. I’m going to have to never do that again!)

    The Nov/Dec/Jan holiday season is fast approaching. I know you don’t want to think about it, but if you’re […]

  • Load More