Visibly Invisible

Prompt: Visibly Invisible

Today’s prompt is about the inner self of your character trying to break out, to be seen, to be heard, to simply be acknowledged.

Think along the lines of being present in a group, yet you’re being discussed as if you were not there.  Now multiply those feelings by 100 for your character who, for reasons you will develop, cannot (at the moment) speak up for themselves.

Tips

  • Why is your character ‘invisible’?
  • You may want to go down the path of personal knowledge, for instance someone with a severe disability which restricts their line of communication.  Yet they are ‘in there’ and fully aware of what is going on around them.  How do they feel?  What can they do to get attention, and help?
  • Perhaps you want to go the fantasy route and your character has had a spell put on them.  What or who will break it?  How does the ‘invisible’ one deal with the situation they are in and what do they do to help themselves?
  • Your story should conclude with your character achieving ‘visibility’.

Not too many tips this week – let your imagination, and your emotions run free with this one.

Let’s GO!

Sept 15 – Tension Tuesday

A Blind Date

For today’s prompt we’re looking at romance. In today’s world of Internet dating, there must be many more blind dates than ever before. But meeting someone you’ve never met in person before can still be very tense. Exchanging emails is not quite the same thing as talking face to face.

The Prompt

Write a short story about two people meeting up for the first time. They may have emailed, texted, tweeted or whatever, but this is the first time they’ve met face to face.

Tips

  • This doesn’t have to be all dialogue, and preferably not a lot of backstory.
  • Chose two characters looking for love, they may be young, middle aged or old. Not too much description of each, it’s the interaction we are looking for here.
  • One of the key words to consider for this story is EMOTION, what are they thinking and feeling. This may require an element of head hopping, but try to keep it to a minimum.
  • Even if they have exchanged emails, letters (does anybody still write letters?) starting off may be awkward. Who says what first? What sort of questions do they ask first.
  • It doesn’t have to be in the present, you could set it in earlier times.

OK, now stop swooning and start writing!

Malcolm Richardson has been writing creatively for the last ten years. After a slow start focussing on a novel, which is still only half completed he has concentrated on short stories over the last few years. One day the novel may be resurrected, but his current focus is entering short stories in competitions. Malcolm is a latecomer to blogging, but his Story a Day stories can be found here.

Make sure to post a comment below, with a link to your story.

 

Sep 10 – The Tunnel

The Prompt
Today’s prompt has your main character is about to enter a tunnel, what sort is for you to decide but here are some tips

  • The Tunnel – You are in control.  Is it dark or are there lights along the walls or roof ?  Is it long and winding or can you clearly see the thrs ugh to the other end?  Is it running through a cliff face making it impossible to go over or round because there’s a sheer drop to the ocean below, or through a mountain.  Set the scene.
  • Are memories of those childhood fears of the dark and/or enclosed spaces triggered.  Or perhaps the entrance ignites an excited sense of adventure, the sort that can be lost with the responsibilities of adulthood.
  • Is your main character alone, or with company?  Does this add to the fear or confidence or make it worse?
  • Are they in a vehicle or walking?
  • If in company, why are they at this point and what is the tone of conversation?
  • This could be cHildesheim good fun, a comedy or a bit of a thriller. Which is it to be?
  • Maybe they are being chased. If so are they the good or bad guys?
  • Once  through dops the fun end,  maybe they man age to lose their pursuers and have a clear run to freedom.
  • Let your imagination place you right there .  What first came into your mind when you read the title of today’s prompt?  Run with it. Don’t think too hard or long about it, sit down start typing and just…
    GO!

Vanessa ‘Rosie V’ Cooper is mum to five and Nanna to two wonderful (though rather noisy and ‘full on’) children/grandchildren. In Feb 2016 she will begin a degree course with The Open University in English Literature and Creative Writing.   Check out how she’s faring so far at one of the two sites she is gradually building up: Rosie Speaks About…  or The Book Lover 

September 9 – Will Reader Response Work in Fiction?

Today’s prompt is all about turning a trigger into a larger piece. We’re all inspired by something, and that likely changes daily. Today, we’ll focus on a specific inspiration and then see how each person interprets it.

 

pavane

 

The Prompt

Write a story based on Gabriel Fauré’s “Pavane.”

Tips

• Listen to this orchestral piece written in 1887: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWW7pfXlYLY. As you listen to this song, what do you hear? What do you see? What kind of a scene does this song provide a soundtrack for?

• I chose this piece because of my affinity for its modern interpretation by the legendary British band Jethro Tull. Listen to the band, led by master flautist Ian Anderson, perform this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zAWQtM7X8k.

• Feel free to use either version for what you write. In fact, you might find that both provide plenty of needed scenarios.

• When I was in college, I took an education class where we learned about reader response. We discussed how to encourage students to write nonfiction essays by playing music, showing them art, and having them listen to or read short pieces of fiction or poetry. I’m curious to see how this might translate to fiction, and I think music is the best option for this experiment.

• If neither version moves you enough to inspire you to write a story, you might consider finding an instrumental that means something to you. Use that song to encourage your muse.

Let’s do this—and have fun!

Post a comment to the blog to let us know what you wrote about (including linking to your story on your own site or elsewhere) and/or join the community and post in the Victory Dance group.

 

Christopher Stolle is a professional book editor and sometimes writer. You can find his stories for this month at https://storiesbystolle.wordpress.com, and you can find some of his recent poems at https://www.facebook.com/stolle.poems. He has published dozens of poems in several countries, and he has written two nonfiction books for Coaches Choice: 101 Leadership Lessons From Baseball’s Greatest Managers (2013) and 101 Leadership Lessons From Basketball’s Greatest Coaches (2015). He finds inspiration in cooking, taking long walks, and ASMR videos. He lives in Richmond, Indiana—the cradle of recorded jazz.

Sept 8 — Use These Elements

Today’s prompt comes from writer Sarah Cain, who suggested a list of elements that your story must contain.

The story should be around 1000 words, but since she’s feeling kind, Sarah has said you can have a limit of plus-or-minus 200 words.

The Prompt

Write a story that includes the following elements: a black-and-white cat, a pot of gold, hair curlers, a terrible storm, a chess game, and a cow.

Can’t wait to see what you do with that!

Sarah Cain is a Philadelphia-based suspense author, and long-time StoryADay participant. Her debut novel, The 8th Circle will be published by Crooked Lane Books in January 2016.

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment!

Sept 6 — Abandoned

Today’s prompt is a look at location. Location can define characters, shape plots, and create conflict. So what happens if your location is a place that has been abandoned, or seems to be abandoned? Who lived there? Who left it? Why?

The Prompt

Write a story set in an abandoned location. It could be a foreclosed house, a closed-down theme park, a ghost town, or anything else. Think about the location’s past and its story, and use those ideas to fuel your plot.

Tips

  • You can focus on how your location came to be abandoned, or you can focus on the consequences of abandonment, or how your characters ended up there.
  • Write about the atmosphere of the location. An abandoned place has a very different feel compared to a crowded city block, or even a lived-in home.
  • Maybe your characters are tied to this location. Why? Did they live there, work there, get hurt there?
  • Maybe you want to go for an  unexpected mood. Not one of sadness, but one of excitement or romance.

Enough of my blabber. Go for it!

If you found this prompt helpful, please share your story and comments below! Stay tuned for more guest prompts.

Sept. 5 — Dark, Gloomy Forest

Today you’re going to drop your character into the depths of a Deep, Dark Forest, and let him or her fend for their self.

You Heartless Author you!

The Prompt

Your character is alone in the woods and finds blighted trees, drooping plants…rot and slime everywhere. It once was beautiful but overnight is turning into a swamp–its not natural. Your character must get to the bottom of this and stop it before something they love very much is threatened also. Extra points if your character actually doesn’t know this forest and ends up getting lost. Maybe the trees have turned evil and… *gulp* developed something of an appetite?

Will your character make it out alive?

Start writing, quick, so we can all find out!

Leslie Marie Dawson is an indie author, blogger and artist who revels in stories of fantasy, romance, and comedy. She can be found hiding in her hermit cave with her laptop, a stack of good books, and a glass of water (sadly she’s given up soda). Please stop by her Hermit’s Cave to see the cool things she makes!

Don’t forget to comment below and share what you wrote!

Sept 4 – Friday Favourites 1

Hi, all! I’m Monique and I’m going to be posting prompts each Friday this month.

The theme is “Friday Favourites” and means that each prompt will be a generic premise for a story that is also the description of a classic (or favourite!) novel.

The Prompt

A person wakes up, not quite remembering what happened the night before, and is surprised and upset by what they see outside the window.
(The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams)

Tips

Change the genre. Instead of science fiction, turn it into a mystery. Or a romance. Or a children’s story.

Where (or when) do they wake up? ‘Window’ can be interpreted broadly.

Have fun!

Monique Cuillerier has always loved to write. She also enjoys procrastination. These two interests are frequently in conflict. Her stories have appeared in Round Up Writer’s Zine, Black Heart Magazine, (parenthetical), and elsewhere. She blogs sporadically (although more frequently during Story A Day!) at notwhereilive.ca

Sept 03 — Lost in a Maze

This prompt will place your character in a maze or a labyrinth. Only you, the Mighty and Invincible Author holds the key to your character’s freedom! *Mwahahaha*

Savor your awesome powers for a moment.

Now, let’s get writing!

The Prompt

Your character is lost in a maze with the instructions to find a very important document or treasure hidden in its center. Or perhaps the character has lost this important thing, and must find it before the wrong person does. Added bonus points if they must battle a minotaur, dragon or fearsome magical villain. 😉

(Never fear. If your story isn’t fantasy, this prompt can still work!)

Alright, Awesome and All-Powerful Author. Its time to get writing.

Now go!

Leslie Marie Dawson is an indie author, blogger and artist who revels in stories of fantasy, romance, and comedy. She can be found hiding in her hermit cave with a laptop, stack of good books, and glass of water (sadly she’s given up soda). Please stop by her Hermit’s Cave to see the cool things she makes!

Be sure to comment below and share what you came up with!

 

 

Guest Prompt from Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette KowalMary Robinette Kowal is the author of The Glamourist Histories series of fantasy novels and the a three time Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction appears in Clarkesworld, Tor.com, and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago. Visit her online at maryrobinettekowal.com.

We’re rounding out our month with a multiple-award winning, working writer’s advice to take a look at scenes (or stories) from another angle. It seems to be working for her, so let’s give it a try! Thanks for sharing, Mary!

The Prompt

Take the last scene [or story – Ed.] that you wrote. Now rewrite it from the point of view of a secondary character. You have to keep all the physical actions and dialog in the same order, but make it clear what is at stake for the new POV character. Why do they say the things they do? What are they trying to achieve?

Now go back to your original scene [or story – Ed.] and adjust it to incorporate the new things you’ve learned about your secondary character.

Often when a scene seems flat, it’s because we haven’t thought through the motivations of any of the people in the scene except the point of view character.

 

Go!

Guest Prompt from Gabriela Pereira – with submission guidelines

 Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 7.36.08 PMGabriela Pereira is the Chief Instigator at DIYMFA.com, the home of the do-it-yourself MFA in creative writing. In her new podcast series she has interviewed everyone from agents, novelists, writing teachers to marketing and networking guru Guy Kawasaki! You should definitely check that out!). She is hard at work on a DIYMFA handbook due out next year from Writer’s Digest Books.

This prompt is a little bit different today — and it comes with the possibility of publication.

Over at DIYMFA they’re launching an anthology and the only stipulations are that you write to the theme and use the custom-built Writer Igniter feature at DIYMFA to somehow spark your story. It’s a fun little slot-machine of a prompt generator that Gabriela had custom built for her site. It’s kind of irresistable…DIYMFA.com logo

The Prompt

The theme for the anthology is ORIGINS. The deadline is August 31, 2015, so you have plenty of time to brush up whatever story you sketch out today.

The rules are as follows: spin the Writer Igniter (no more than three spins!); take a screenshot of your result (ALT + Print Screen on Windows; CMD + SHIFT + 4 on Mac, then draw a box around whatever you want to capture); then write a story.

The finished story should be up to 2,000 words. See more guidelines for submission here.

Go!

Guest Prompt from Charlotte Rains Dixon

Your main character can have anything in the whole world that she wants. Anything!

Charlotte Rains Dixon headshotCharlotte Rains Dixon is a writer who has made the jump from non-fiction to fiction with her new series of mysteries, the Emma Jean books (the first is available now). Her short stories have been published in The Trunk, Santa Fe Writer’s Project, Nameless Grace, and Somerset Studios. Check out her blog for writing tips and inspiration that are very much in tune with the ethos here at StoryADay.

The Prompt

Your main character can have anything in the whole world that she wants. Anything! Doesn’t matter if it is illegal, immoral, or illicit. Explore what that thing is, why she wants it, and perhaps most importantly, what the consequences of getting that thing might be.

 

Go!

 

(Remember, all prompts are optional and you certainly don’t have to do two stories, or combine the prompts, on days when there’s a celebrity guest.)

 

Guest Writing Prompt from Jacob Tomsky

Jacob Tomsky of Short Story ThursdaysJacob Tomsky is a best-selling writer and host of Short Story Thursdays, a weekly email dispatch that somehow manages to be snarky and sweet at the same time. (If you haven’t signed up to receive a story a week from Tomsky yet, do it now).

Read our interview with him, talking about how he moved from a short-story-hater to one of its best champions.

As you can see from the prompt below, Jacob has Opinions. Do not disappoint him.

The Prompt

Story told in first person or third person only. NO SECOND PERSON, GODDAMN IT.

Past tense. You can do current tense or whatever it’s called but that would piss me off too.

Prompt: Main character is being interviewed on television, live, for the first time ever. Story begins at the moment the camera goes live on the main character.

 

Go!

Guest Prompt from Gregory Frost

Today’s prompt is a real treat: a writing exercise from author Gregory Frost. (Side note: his classes are the kind that writers only tell their best friends about … and then only after their own application has been accepted!)

Here he shares a prompt that seems to be about setting but turns out to be all about character. Flex those writing muscles, people!

The Prompt

Character through Setting

There’s a tale that John O’Hara once wrote a story in which all he did was describe the contents of a room, and by the end you knew that the occupant had committed suicide. No person appears in the story. It’s all done by inference.

For this exercise, select a character. Think about who they are and what you think you know. Then pick a setting. It can be a room, a landscape, the interior of a car…

Now describe the setting in in very specific detail: Use as many senses as you can, as are appropriate. The person you are telling us about is not present in this setting, but by the time you’re done, we should know the important aspects of him or her.

One more thing…

O’Hara also said that getting the details of a character exactly right is critical—especially the detail that is wrong.

So for this setting, add one element that does not belong there (one of these things is not like the other), and see what sort of story that wrong element suggests.

-gf

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 7.33.05 PMAbout Gregory Frost

Gregory Frost is a fantasist, author of adult and young adult fiction (SHADOWBRIDGE, LORD TOPHET, FITCHER’S BRIDES, TAIN, etc.). He has been a finalist for the World Fantasy, Nebula, Hugo, Theodore Sturgeon, and James Tiptree Jr. Awards among others. He is Director of the Fiction Workshop at Swarthmore College.
For more:
Web: www.gregoryfrost.com
Twitter: @gregory_frost
Facebook: gregory.frost1

Guest Prompt from Phil Giunta

Today’s prompt comes from horror-and-paranormal author Phil Giunta. But just because it starts with gore, doesn’t mean you have to try to write the kind of story Phil might write. The magic of these kinds of prompts is in seeing what different writers do with the same prompt. If you write this one, why not post in our private forum, and let’s compare note!

The Prompt

You’re walking along a busy city street on your way to work. A short distance ahead, a well-dressed man approaches. He stands out from the crowd only because he is staggering and stumbling as if drunk, but it’s only 8:30 in the morning. As he draws closer, you notice that he has a swollen eye and a bloody nose. He collides with a parking meter and nearly falls over. No one comes to his aid, so you decide to take the initiative. You reach out to steady him and ask what happened…

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.29.48 AMAbout Phil Guinta

Phil Giunta‘s first novel, a paranormal mystery called Testing the Prisoner, debuted in 2010 from Firebringer Press. His second novel in the same genre, By Your Side, was released in 2013. Phil also narrated the audio versions of both books, available for free at Podiobooks.com. His short stories can be found in such anthologies as ReDeus: Divine Tales, ReDeus: Beyond Borders, and Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity (which he also edited).

Phil is currently editing the second book in the series, Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, which is slated for release in 2016 along with a paranormal mystery novella titled Like Mother, Like Daughters.