[Writing Prompt] It’s Time For Holiday Stories

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

Thanksgiving dinner decor
Photo by Karin Dalziel


The Nov/Dec/Jan holiday season is fast approaching. I know you don’t want to think about it, but if you’re interested in putting out a short story for the holidays, this is actually kind of last minute.

Publications have long lead times for date-specific stories, so if your holiday stories aren’t already written, now’s the time. Magazines and online pubs LOVE themed stories (Christmas stories; New Year issues; Thanksgiving horror stories!).

Or perhaps you’d like to create a story for friends and family to say thanks for all their support (or: na-na-na-na-na-na-you-see-I-wasnt-lying-around-watching-daytime-TV-all-year).

The Prompt

Write a story tied to a Nov/Dec/Jan holiday

Tips

  • You can use this to flesh out characters from a longer work in progress.
  • You can include characters from your real life.
  • You can use this as a calling card/thank you note/Christmas letter if you send holiday greetings cards
  • Mine your own memories, but don’t feel you have to write memoir. Take an incident from one of your family holidays and recast it on a steampunk airship or a city made of living bone towers or at the Tudor court.
  • Don’t feel it has to be a narrative story. One of the delights of the short story form is that it can be much more than that. Consider writing a list of holiday gifts your character has to buy, complete with passive-aggressive commentary; or a series of increasingly frantic tweets from the Thanksgiving dinner table…
  • Create a compelling character and set them in a ridiculous situation, or a ridiculous character and put them in a banal situation.

Have fun with this. Amuse yourself. Remember, nobody ever has to see this story, so you can be as cruel or as kind as you like!

[Writing Prompt] A Holiday Story

And yes, I do mean the winter/Christmas/Thanksgiving/Hannukka/Samhain/Diwali/Hogmanay/New Year/Kwanzaa/Chinese New Year/Solstice/Saturnalia/Festivus November/December/January type of holiday.

If you ever think of submitting your stories to literary magazines, contests, anthologies, or other publications, you need to know two things:

  1. They are often themed and holiday stories are always popular,
  2. Your story needs to be written, edited, submitted, selected, corrected, and green lit, month in advance of the actual holiday.

Write your December stories now. Time’s running out.

The Prompt

Write A Story Tied To A Holiday That Takes Place In November/December/January/February

Tips

  • Evoke the sights, smells, sounds and emotions you associate with that holiday.
  • Put on some appropriate holiday music to get you in the mood.
  • Go beyond the obvious idea for the story associated with your chosen holiday. No saccharine tales of redemption or bitter humbug retellings of A Christmas Carol, for us!
  • Make the characters stronger than the trappings of the holiday.
  • Write the story for someone who has never participated in your holiday traditions. Show them what it’s like to be you at Christmas/Hanukkah/Hogmanay/Groundhog Day.

GO!

Which holiday did you choose? What did you do to get in the mood? Do you think you’ll revise and submit this story to a publication? Tell us in the comments or join the conversation in the Community.

[Write On Wednesday] 100 Words For Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the US (for those non-US people: it’s a Big Deal with lots of travel and turkey and non-productivity).

So, in an effort to keep you writing but not overwhelm you, this week I’m assigning a Drabble, a 100 word story.

The Prompt

Write A 100 Word Story
100/365

Tips

  • 100 word stories sound like they won’t take up much time but they will take more than you think.
  • Remember that you don’t have much time/space to create your story. This stops you from including too much backstory, any rambling, or losing your way in the middle. Keep your mind firmly on the end.
  • Do write more than 100 words if you need to, then trim.
  • If you find yourself writing fewer than 100 words, look back and see if you can beef it up with pointed dialogue, expressive description or more of your main character’s emotions.
  • You can make the theme of the story ‘Thanksgiving’, ‘gratitude’ (or lack thereof), or something completely different if inspiration strikes.

Go!