This month’s theme, here at StoryADay is “Accountability”.
(If you haven’t yet declared your goals for the month, leave a comment in this month’s SWAGr post and tell us what you’re going to do with your writing for the rest of this month)
Contact a friend, right now, and tell them that you’re going to write a short story in the next 24 hours. Tell them you’ll send it to them, or at least check in when you’re finished. Then, write 500-750 words about a character you think that friend will love (or love to hate)
- Keeping the story super-short gives you a better chance of finishing it
- Focusing on your friend (someone you know well) helps you winnow the choices. What will THEY enjoy? (Too much choice is paralyzing. Eliminate every possible character or situation that wouldn’t interest this particular friend. Then start writing)
- Remember that a short story revolves around a single moment in which something changes for your character.
- The moment can have happened just before the story starts (in which case you’re dealing with the aftermath and the character’s choices about how to deal with it)
- The moment can happen at the end, when we know enough about your character to be able to predict how they’ll react (or at least enjoy wondering)
- The moment can happen in the middle, in which case you get a chance to show us the before and the after.
- With such a short story you don’t have much room for backstory. Write it as bare as you can. You can punch it up with details and dual meanings, as you re-read and re-write it.
- OR write a longer piece, if that’s what works for you. Just be sure to GET TO THE END OF THE STORY. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It has to be finished. (“You can fix just about any problem in revision, but you can’t revise a blank page.“)