It’s the perfect time to write a Christmas/New Year/Winter story!
Don’t believe me? Take a lesson from the wily Dutch.
Everybody knows that the time to plant spring bulbs is in the autumn and yet every spring I receive multiple catalogues from dutch tulip and daffodil distributors. Six months after (or before) I should (have) plant(ed) their products. What lunacy is this?
The bulb marketers know that in spring I’m experiencing floral beauty and regretting not having planted more bulbs last year. It’s all fresh. I can see where I could put this Red Matador and that Orange Empress to fill a scraggy gap in my flower beds. I am full of good intentions about next year.
And, in January, is that not how you feel? As you pack away the holiday decorations, are you not full of regret over the things not done? The gifts unsought? The cards unsent? Is the memory of your brother-in-law’s annual jokes about your dessert not fresh in your memory?
Indeed. So now is the perfect time to write a story set in the season we have just endured enjoyed.
Write A December/Jan Holiday Story[1. No, I’m not conducting a War on Christmas. I, myself, celebrate Christmas. I just feel it’s polite to acknowledge the other 68% of humanity. It has less punch than “write a Christmas story”, I grant you. But if that’s the price for doing unto others, then I’m willing to pay it here in my blog…]
- Think back over this past season and watch for strong emotions that pop up. What are they related to? Regrets? Vows of ‘never again’? Longing for next year’s repeat? Write those things down.
- Think of moments that stood out for you. Why? What was the emotional resonance?
- Think of a character you can put in a seasonal story who wants something. It can be something that is in tune with the message of the season or at odds with it, but they must feel strongly about it.
- Now go about messing with their day. Put obstacles in their path. Put obnoxious visitors underfoot. Burn the turkey. Send in the ghosts of Christmas to settle their hash. Whatever works for your story…
There. Now you have a story ready to post on your blog/submit to a seasonal publication in early autumn/send out with your Christmas cards next Black Friday (you are going to send Christmas cards next year, aren’t you? Unlike this year? I know, I know, it’ll be our little secret…)
Now, excuse me while I check my mailbox for the Breck’s Bulb Catalogue…
(Do you send out a holiday story in seasonal cards to your friends? Make a note now on your calendar to do this next year!)
Write A Valentine’s Story
I know, you think I’m crazy, right? But if you’re a sick as I am (already) of the Christmas music in the mall (it’s early NOVEMBER!) and the magazine articles about ‘holiday entertaining’, then why not strike back, by skipping the festive season altogether and writing a Valentine’s story?
The bonus here is that, should you happen to write a story draft that has promise, you’ll have plenty of time to polish it and submit it well before the Valentine’s magazine deadlines roll around (end of Nov/early Dec). If you’re more of the Do-It-Yourself-er, then you’ll still need time to polish, format and market your story before February strikes.
And if you’re just writing for fun, what could be better than letting your story take you away from the present day?
- Put on some love songs and “think romantical thoughts”.
- Try writing a love story with a twist. Everything gets kind of sickly sweet around Valentine’s Day. Write a story for the people who really NEED a love story that day! This might include revenge, someone asserting their independence, someone walking away from a relationship, or a good old-fashioned farce.
- Ever watched a soppy movie or read a romance and hated the way it ended? Create some similar characters and give the story a better ending.
- Remember that story comes from character. Know your character before you start writing — what does she want? What does she need? How are these different? That’s where your story happens.
Last week I talked about the benefits of writing seasonal stories and yesterday I highlighted a seasonal story over at Six Sentences. Today I’m combining the two, for today’s prompt:
Write A January Story In Six Sentences
Your story should have something to do with “January”.
It might be set in the month, have something to do with the Roman god Janus (after whom the month was named), or feature a character named January.
Don’t forget that your experience of January is different from that of many others. (hint: even the weather is different in the other hemisphere.)
For New Year over at Six Sentences they’ve posted a New Year themed story.
It doesn’t tackle a particularly novel topic (a New Year’s story about resolutions? Shock!), and it’s not very long (six sentences!) and yet it manages to say a lot and stay fresh.
It’s a great example of how restrictions in length, topic or form, can help transform your writing.
Every year at this time I stumble on holiday-themed stories wherever I look: Christmas mysteries, Hannukah radio anthologies, contests themed on New Year’s. Collection after collection after anthology on seasonal stories. And why?…
Every year at this time I stumble on holiday-themed stories wherever I look: Christmas mysteries, Hannukah radio anthologies, contests themed on New Year’s. Collection after collection after anthology on seasonal stories. And why? Because they make great perennial gifts that publishers and authors can wheel out every year at the same time.
Of course, with the lead-time involved in publishing, if you want to have a hope of submitting a story to a themed anthology, you need to have it ready 6 months to a year before the occasion. So this is the perfect time to write.
Write a Themed Story For The Season
- Pick Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s or any other seasonal trope (“The First Snowman of Winter”?), whatever means the most to you.
- Write it now and put a reminder in your online calendar telling yourself in June to start revising and submitting the story!
- If you’re a self-publisher, plan to give the story away or release it annually
- If you’re impatient and can’t imagine waiting a year to do something with a seasonal story, start writing your summer beach story or your Halloween spooky story now. (You’re probably cutting it fine for Valentine’s…)
- Use all the stories you’ve accumulated in real life THIS holiday season to fuel your story: the good, the bad and the monumentally irritating!
1. You should use the prompt in your story.
2. You must write the story in one 24 hr period – the faster the better.
3. Post the story in the comments — if you’re brave enough.
4. Find something nice to say about someone else’s story and leave a comment. Everybody needs a little support!
Share this challenge on Twitter or Facebook
Some tweets/updates you might use:
This week’s #WriteOnWed short story prompt is very seasonal #storyaday http://storyaday.org/wow-seasonal
Come and write with us! #WriteOnWed #storyaday http://storyaday.org/wow-seasonal
See my story – and write your own, today: seasonal stories! #WriteOnWed #storyaday http://storyaday.org/wow-seasonal
Don’t miss my seasonal story #WriteOnWed #storyaday http://storyaday.org/wow-seasonal