An Unlikely Meeting – a writing prompt from Charlotte Rains Dixon

Today, Charlotte Rains Dixon indulges in some whimsy, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with for this!

The Prompt

Write a story about what happens when a nun in a wimple, a man in cowboy hat and boots, and a bartender with a handlebar moustache wearing a red and white polka-dot bow tie meet in a tavern on a rainy night.

About Charlotte Rains Dixon

Just Prompt Me Book CoverCharlotte Rains Dixon mentors creative writers from passionate to published. Charlotte is a free-lance journalist, ghostwriter, and author.

She is Director Emeritus and a current mentor at the Writer’s Loft, a certificate-writing program at Middle Tennessee State University. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Spalding University and is the author of a dozen books, including The Complete Guide to Writing Successful Fundraising Letters, and Beautiful America’s Oregon Coast. Her fiction has appeared in The Trunk, Santa Fe Writer’s Project, Nameless Grace, and Somerset Studios and her articles have been published in Vogue Knitting, the Oregonian, and Pology, to name a few. Her novel, Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior, was published in 2013, and she is represented by Erin Niumata at Folio Literary.

Her prompt book, Just Prompt Me, was released in 2016, and is the first in a series.

Learn about her annual writing workshops in Europe at letsgowrite.com, and visit her blog at www.charlotterainsdixon.com, where you can find all kinds of tips and techniques on writing and creativity.

 

The Secret – a writing prompt from Marta Pelrine-Bacon

Today, Marta Pelrine-Bacon encourages us to get a bit mysterious.

The Prompt

She waited a week before revealing the secret.

About Marta Pelrine-Bacon

Marta Pelrine-Bacon is an artist, a writer, and a long-time StoryADay participant. Her debut novel The Blue Jar has recently been re-released, with a new cover, featuring Marta’s artwork.

Self Reflection – a writing prompt from Stuart Horwitz

Today, Stuart Horwitz invites us to a bit of self-reflection.

The Prompt

Think back to a time earlier in your life, maybe high school, when you knew a good person with whom you have fallen out of touch.

If you were to reconnect with this person right now, what one question would you ask them? Why are you asking that question — what does it say about your journey right now?

What piece of yourself are you currently focused on finding?

For memoir writers: write this now.

For fiction writers: turn yourself and your friend into characters. Write the story of their encounter.

About Stuart Horwitz

Stuart Horwitz is a ghostwriter, independent editor, and founder and principal of Book Architecture (www.BookArchitecture.com). Book Architecture’s clients have reached the best-seller list in both fiction and non-fiction, and have appeared on Oprah!, The Today Show, The Tonight Show.

He is the author of three books on writing: Finish Your Book in Three Drafts (2016), Book Architecture (2015) which became an Amazon bestseller, and Blueprint Your Bestseller (Penguin/Perigee, 2013), which was named one of that year’s best books about writing by The Writer magazine.

Getting Emotional – a writing prompt from Angela Ackerman

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Today, Angela Ackerman invites us to think about our character’s past emotional trauma and how it affects them in the present.

This is a really useful exercise for deepening any character in any length of story. Use it for a character from a novel, or for the character in a short story. It can’t help but make your story more rich.

And remember: emotion is the key to a reader connecting with your story.

The Prompt

Emotional trauma is an experience, or set of experiences, that can change your character in fundamental ways, altering their personality, embedding fears in their minds, affecting their ability to connect and trust others, and steering their needs and desires during your story.

Write about a wounding experience from your character’s past that changed them into who they are today.

HINT: most wounding experiences involve someone close to the character as it is the people closest to us who are able to do the most psychological damage.

For emotional wound ideas, try this list: https://onestopforwriters.com/wounds


About Angela Ackerman

Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus: a Writer’s Guide to Character Expression and four other bestselling writing guides. A proud indie author, her books are available in five languages, sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors and psychologists around the world.

Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site, Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop For Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.

http://writershelpingwriters.net/
https://onestopforwriters.com

A Friendly Warning – a writing prompt from Phil Giunta

Audio-only: (if you like this, subscribe to the podcast)

Phil Giunta gives us a situation today that suggests mystery, but you don’t have to write a full-on mystery if you don’t want to.

It is, however, a great reminder that suspense plays an important role in all storytelling…

The Prompt

You walk into your office and see a new message written on your whiteboard: “Whatever happens, don’t die. See you Monday.”

The note is not signed and you’re not certain who wrote it…


About Phil Giunta

A Pennsylvania resident, Phil Giunta’s has published two paranormal mysteries, Testing the Prisoner, and By Your SideHis short stories appear in such anthologies as Beach Nights, the ReDeus series , and the Middle of Eternity series, which he created and edited for Firebringer Press. His paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters is slated for release in 2017.
Phil is a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and served as chairman of their 2015 Write Stuff conference.
Visit Phil’s website: www.philgiunta.com

Writer’s Clue – Writing Prompt from LJ Cohen

LJ Cohen brings us a fabulous writing prompt today, for Day 4 of the challenge.

This is an example of how you can put limits on your writing options, to increase your chances of getting your writing DONE on a day when it seems impossible.

I know, it sounds counterintuitive, right? Limits make things easier?

But it’s true (you can Google it. Lots of experts say too much choice is a bad thing!).

Play along with LJ today, as she encourages you to fill in the blanks, and then flesh out a story from your notes.

The Prompt

Let’s play Writer’s Clue! Stories are about a person in a place with a problem. We can use the basic structure (modified to inject conflict) from the game.
For this story, write about Mx [1. a non-gendered title, in case you’re wondering. Now I’m wondering how to pronounce it…].___________ in the _________ room with a __________.
You can choose ordinary places or objects, or magical ones, you can set your story in the past, present, or future. It doesn’t need to follow the plot structure of the game in that there’s a murder you are solving; this is just a way to give a story a kick start.
For example, from one of my stories: Ms. Ro Maldonado in the derelict ship’s bridge with a malfunctioning AI. Change any one of the choices, and you have a different story.

About LJ Cohen

LJ Cohen is a fan of the Red Sox, Doctor Who & local food. A physical therapist for over 25 years, she now uses her clinical skills to hurt characters. She describes herself as a relentless optimist, potter, poet, and science fiction and fantasy writer. You can find her novels in all the usual places. PARALLAX, book 4 of her science fiction series Halcyone Space will be available summer of 2017. http://www.ljcohen.net
Don’t forget to check out LJ’s books and to leave a comment or post in The Victory Dance Group to tell us how it’s going!

The Doll Maker – Writing Prompt from Kylie Quillinan

Day Three! How’s it going?

You should be cruising into your writing by now and it probably hasn’t become either a habit or a chore yet. You might have finished stories on days 1 or 2, or you might have discovered that it’s quite hard to finish a story in one day.

Today’s prompt is the perfect one to use to create a flash fiction story: a short story (less than 1000 words).  Some tips: start in the middle of the story; use unusual imagery and word choices  to really make it ‘flash’; try to think of an ending that runs against our expectations. Make us FEEL.

Also, today’s prompt is a great example of why you should delve into writing communities. Kylie and I met at a conference and hit it off immediately. We write different kinds of stories, but it’s lovely to have a connection with someone who treats their writing with the same level of respect that I aspire to.

I highly recommend you make some writing friends and meet a Kylie of your own!

The Prompt

People called him The Doll Maker. Nobody ever wondered aloud why every doll had the same face.

About Kylie Quillinan

Kylie writes about women who defy society’s expectations. Her novels are for readers who like fantasy with a basis in history or mythology.

Her other interests include canine nutrition, jellyfish and zombies. She blames the disheveled state of her house on her dogs but she really just hates to clean. You can find her online at kyliequillinan.com or on Facebook.

 

Leave a comment or post in The Victory Dance to let us know how you got on with today’s story


The Latchkey Kid – A Writing Prompt from Jerry B. Jenkins

You’re back! It’s Day 2 of StoryADay May 2017 and you’re still here. That’s pretty impressive (believe me, not everyone makes it!)

Today’s prompt is from uber-best-selling author Jerry B. Jenkins. Check out the links below for more (free!)  writing advice from Jerry.

The Prompt

A socially awkward girl in her early teens is a latchkey kid, alone at home after school as usual. Flipping through channels she lands on one she soon realizes only she can see—and it’s from the future.

About Jerry B Jenkins

Jerry B. Jenkins has written over 190 books with sales of more than 70 million copies. He’s had 21 New York Times bestsellers, including the Left Behind series. He now shares his writing knowledge with aspiring authors. To get free writing training from Jerry, click here: www.jerryjenkins.com/how-to-write-a-book
Leave a comment to let us know how you got on, or post in The Victory Dance Group.

The Dead Friend – Writing Prompt from Gregory Frost

It’s here! StoryADay May 2017 is here!
I know you’re excited, so I won’t take up much of your time.
Just remember:
  • Set your own rules for the month
  • Get to the end of the story
  • Post in the blog comments or in The Victory Dance group
That’s it!
Here’s your first (optional) writing prompt, from Gregory Frost, who is not only a great writer, but is also a wonderful writing teacher here in Pennsylvania. If you get a chance to see him at a conference or a college don’t miss it!

The Prompt

You attend the funeral of an old friend.
Afterwards, in the mail you receive a postcard. It’s from the friend, and it reads “I’m not dead. Meet me Tuesday night at 8 at ____________.” And signed by him/her.
First make a list of possibilities for how this could be the case.
Begin your story with, or after, the arrival of the postcard.

 About Gregory Frost

Gregory Frost is the author of eight novels (including Shadowbridge, Lord Tophet, and Fitcher’s Brides) and various stories of the fantastic, including “No Others Are Genuine,” a Stoker Award finalist, and “Lock Up Your Chickens and Daughters, H’ard and Andy Are Come to Town,” a collaboration with Michael Swanwick that took home an Asimov’s Magazine Readers’ Award for 2015.
Leave a comment to let us know how your story turned out or post in  The Victory Dance group. And we’ll see you back here tomorrow

SWAGr – Accountability for May 2017

It’s here! STORYADAY MAY is here. But don’t forget to make your commitments public with our Accountability group:

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! (We’re serious, not sombre!)

What people are saying about StoryADayMay 2014

Leave a comment below telling us how you got on last month, and what you plan to do next month, then check back in on the first of each month, to see how everyone’s doing.

(It doesn’t have to be fiction. Feel free to use this group to push you in whatever creative direction you need.)

Did you live up to your commitment from last month? Don’t remember what you promised to do? Check out the comments from last month. Continue reading “SWAGr – Accountability for May 2017”

Video FAQs – Where Do I Post My Stories?

StoryADay May FAQs

Posted by Story A Day on Friday, April 28, 2017

Here’s a FB Live I did earlier to address this question. If you don’t like video, there’s a written answer below.

Also, I’m around all weekend, answering questions and soothing nerves. Just post questions in the comments here or in the community (or at Facebook) and I’ll get to them on and off over the weekend. Consider this my “Office Hours”!!

The Short Answer

Continue reading “Video FAQs – Where Do I Post My Stories?”

More Tips For A Successful Month Of Writing

We’re almost there. May is almost upon us.

But don’t freak out.

You can have a fabulously creative month of writing. And here are some tips that will ABSOLUTELY help.

(Really, I’ve been doing this since 2010, with hundreds of other writers. Sometimes twice a year. Trust us.)

Make Time

You’re not going to magically find time in your schedule to write stories, so you should commit to making time.

Continue reading “More Tips For A Successful Month Of Writing”

How To Write A StoryADay – Tips For Success

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 25 to get access, or get on the mailing list now!)

It can be fun to go online and chat with other people about how they use each day’s prompt.

II. If May doesn’t work for you, bookmark this site and use the prompts for a personal month of short story writing at any time of the year, whenever your schedule allows. Simply come back and look up the prompts, write your stories,. I recommend telling a few friends what you’re doing to help with the accountability part.

III. For your best chance at success,  get together with your In Real Life writing group and go through the challenge together.

The Rules Of The Challenge

Q. Do I have to write 31 stories in 31 days?

A. No. Since the StoryADay May challenge began in 2010 I have always said: make your own rules. For some people, the challenge of writing a story every day is the thing that excites them the most and helps them to embrace the challenge. For other people it’s unrealistic. Those writers simply decide how many days this month they’re going to write.

The key is to make your own rules and then stick to them. Some years, for example, I take Sundays off.

Q. Do I have to complete the stories in a day?

A. Yes. This is the only place where I am quite strict. There is a power in finishing a story and so I encourage you to push through to the end of your story every day.

This does not mean writing a brilliant draft.

Sometimes you have to cheat. You can write “[something clever happens here]” and then sketch out a resolution and final paragraph if that’s what it takes to get used to the end of the story. Doing this at least teaches you to keep the mood to keep the story moving towards a place of resolution.

Q. What do I do if I miss a day?

A. Move on. Don’t try to catch up. Don’t try to beat yourself up. Do try to figure out what went wrong. Did you want time? Did you get lost in the muddy middle? Did you leave your writing until the last moment and then freeze? Spend a couple of minutes figuring out what wrong and then try to accept it, learn from it and move on. This is not a failure. This is you becoming a dedicated writer. As long as you keep coming back to the page, you’re not failing.

Q. Do I have to post my stories online?

Absolutely not. You don’t have to show them to anyone. This is a safe space, a sandbox, a place for you to play with learning about writing stories. You have the freedom here to be bad. In fact some days I’m going to tell you to go over the top, straight into parody, write whatever you want to have rough. You should feel free to write whatever you need to write to learn your craft without fear of anyone over your shoulder.

Q. Then how do I stay accountable?

Make your challenge public. Either take part in the challenge at storyaday.org during May and September where you can post in the victory dance group or in the blog comments of the prompt itself. The community will congratulate you!

Or tell your friends. Promise to email or tweet or Facebook or Instagram every day as soon as you finish writing. Knowing that people are waiting for that post will keep you honest.

Q. What length should the stories be?

A. If you’re writing a fresh story every day, you’re probably going to be writing very short stories. Some people can bang out 3,000 word stories every day, but in my experience, they are rare. Most people write between 100 and 1200 word stories — flash fiction. You could decide to write a 140-character, Twitter-length story every day, and still be writing a story a day. (Me? Some years I comment to a 100 word story every day).

Just as long as you have a beginning, a middle and an end (not necessarily in that order, and, in a super-short story, one of those can be “off-stage” or implied); a character; a sense that something is happening or changing (even for an instant), then you have a story!

Q. Do you have any other books or courses that can help me well I learned to write stories?

A. Yes, I’m so glad you asked. You can find more books of writing prompts, along with workshops and e-books about finding time to write, becoming a better writer, publishing short story collections yourself, in the StoryADay Shop.

**Q. How can I find it more about StoryADay?

A. Sign up for updates

Q. Any other tips for story of the success?

Yes, come back to the site often. Listen to the Podcast, and sign up for updates.