Day 29 – A Secret Message

Today I dug into the StoryADay archives for a favorite prompt and came up with this one. Those of you who’ve been around for a while may remember it, but I’m betting whatever you come up with for it this year will be COMPLETELY different from how you used it last time.

Today’s prompt was, er, prompted by a brief literary feud.

A TV critic took issue with the latest episodes of the BBC’s Sherlock, complaining that our hero was more James Bond than Conan Doyle’s Holmes. The episode’s writer wrote a response in verse, then the critic wrote back with his own poem. BUT, in the last couple of lines of the poem, he pointed out that he had embedded a hidden message in his words (the second letter of the first word of every line spelled it out).

I was so tickled that I’m stealing the idea (which he stole from Conan Doyle, so I don’t feel bad).

THE PROMPT

Write a story with a hidden message

TIPS

  • You could make the first letter of every sentence spell out a message.
  • You could make the first/second/third/last word of every sentence add up to a secret message.
  • You should probably start by writing out your secret message and then figuring out the rest of the words in your story, so it fits!
  • This will force you to break all the normal rules of your process of storytelling. Don’t be afraid. Be bold. At the very least you’ll learn something about your process!

Today would be a great day to practice engaging with other writers by sharing the story you wrote, here in the comments, even if you’re not thrilled wiht it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how people respond.

Will you share your story today?

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This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Leave a comment and let us know how you used the prompt, and how you’re celebrating!

Day 28 – Jonathan Maberry Sees the Homeless

The Prompt

Write a human-experience short story about a homeless person during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Author

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator, and writing teacher/lecturer. He is the creator of V-Wars and the Joe Ledger series.

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This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Jonathan Maberry, Deep Silence

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Day 27 – Matty Dalrymple Stares At Clouds

The Prompt

Wake With Clouds

The Author

Matty Dalrymple writes, podcasts, speaks, and consults on the writing craft and the publishing voyage as The Indy Author™, and is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. You can connect with The Indy Author™  via Facebook and Twitter.

Matty is also the author of the Lizzy Ballard Thrillers Rock Paper ScissorsSnakes and Ladders, and The Iron Ring; the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels The Sense of Death and The Sense of Reckoning; and the Ann Kinnear Suspense Shorts, including Close These Eyes and Write in Water,  and the new writing handbook, Taking the Short Tack:
​Creating Income and Connecting with Readers Using Short Fiction
 which she co-authored with Mark Leslie Lefebvre.

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This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Matty Dalrymple, The SEnse of Death

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183 – Writing Through The Change of Seasons

September can be a time for reflection and planning ahead. I have some tips on that as well as some interesting reads from around the web.

LINKS

Kate Northrup, Do Less: https://katenorthrup.com/

The Good Place, The Podcast: https://stada.me/GoodPlace

Writer Unboxed Titles article: https://stada.me/wutitles

Romantic Gifts article: https://stada.me/gifts

Srini Rao, Risk Tolerance: https://stada.me/risk

 

 

Ready to write today, not “some day”?

Day 26 – Tammy Breitweiser Notices Things

The Prompt

Make list of 10 things that you noticed about your day already.

Even if you woke up at 4 am there are certainly things you noticed.

Try to be as precise and sensory as possible and try to avoid metaphor.

And then, at the end, connect those pieces together to make a story.

The Author

Tammy Breitweiser is a writer and teacher who is a force of nature, an accidental inspirationalist, the keeper of the little red doors,  and a conjurer of everyday magic who is always busy writing short stories. Her flash fiction has been published in The Ninja Writers Monthly, Spelk, Clover and White, and Elephants Never. Her essay is in the I Wrote it Anyway anthology. You can connect with Tammy through Twitter @TLBREIT or through her medium page
Sign up for her newsletter here

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This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Leave a comment and let us know how you used the prompt, and how you’re celebrating!

Day 25 – Fleet Sparrow Did It Anyway

The Prompt

“I weighed this against the odds that I was doing something incredibly stupid, and I went ahead anyway.”

The Author

Fleet Sparrow writes queer fan fiction, queer flash fiction, and queer novels.  Generally, things are pretty odd in Fleet’s world.

Read A Book, Support An Indie

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This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Leave a comment and let us know how you used the prompt, and how you’re celebrating!

The Five Most Romantic Things You Can Do for the Writer in Your Life

This guest post, from Michele Reisinger, combines the wisdom of many of the StoryADay Superstars. Make sure to leave this open in a browser for the people in your life to ‘accidentally’ read! 😉

My husband would deny it, but he is a romantic at heart.

We’re all struggling with the effects of pandemic pandemonium,  but recently he’s given me some pretty awesome gifts that have not only helped me cope with our “new normal,” but also develop a writing practice that will last far beyond this shared crisis.

Even better, while their value to me is priceless, their cost was almost zero. As writer Chari Schoen points out, “Sometimes it is just the little things” that mean the most.

So, what are the most romantic things you can do for the writer in your life?

My amazing cohorts in StoryADay’s Superstars shared their stories and wish lists.

Continue reading “The Five Most Romantic Things You Can Do for the Writer in Your Life”

Day 24 – Michele Reisinger Loves Cemetaries

The Prompt

Opening Line: “She met her true love in the middle of a field of tombstones.” 

Michele says: I love cemeteries. They have so many stories, so many characters. I find them comforting.

So it does not have to be a scary story, although it can be. It could be the story of people who are interred there.

Their pre life doesn’t have to have a connection to the cemetery. That could just be the starting point.

It could be people who meet there because they are mourning the loss of someone.

Could be your traditional zombie story, horror story mystery story as well.

But I’m just drawn to the idea of cemeteries as places for stories.

The Author

Michele E. Reisinger studied English and Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University and received an MA in English Literature from the University of Delaware. She lives near Philadelphia with her family and teaches senior and AP English at a New Jersey high school. Her short fiction has appeared online at Light and Dark MagazinePrometheus Dreaming34th Parallel, and is forthcoming in The Mighty Line. “Ask and Ye Shall Receive” was a merit winner for Passion and featured in TulipTree Publishing’s 2019 anthology Stories That Need to be Told. You can find out more at her website: https://mereisinger.com/

Read A Book, Support An Indie

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This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Leave a comment and let us know how you got on and how you’re celebrating!

Day 23 – Monique Cuillerier Mixes & Matches

The Prompt

Write outside your comfort zone with a random genre, weather type, and errand. (see below)

When you are stuck for new ideas, working from specific suggestions can open up new possibilities. They can also take you out of your normal way of working and help you explore different approaches. You never know what sort of story will result.

Roll a die for each category. (Don’t have a physical die? Google can do that for you.)

Then, write a story in your genre, with the particular type of weather and errand.

(Bonus: choose a favourite childhood character as your main character.)

Genre

  1. mystery
  2. romance
  3. fantasy
  4. political satire
  5. science fiction
  6. thriller

Weather

  1. snowstorm
  2. light rain
  3. heat wave
  4. extreme cold
  5. strong wind
  6. sunny and warm

Errand

  1. buy groceries
  2. return library books
  3. make a bank deposit
  4. pick up a child from an extracurricular activity
  5. deliver a birthday present
  6. renew a piece of government identification

The Author

Monique Cuillerier

Monique Cuillerier lives in Ottawa, where she writes fiction, long and short, when she is not procrastinating on Twitter at @MoniqueAC or sporadically posting at notwhereilive.ca. You can read one of Monique’s stories in the anthology Bikes, Not Rockets

Read A Book, Support An Indie

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This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Leave a comment and let us know how you got on and how you’re celebrating!

Day 22 – Grant Faulkner is Playful

Welcome to Week 4 of StoryADay! Can you believe you’ve made it this far?

I can tell you from past experience that if you have made it this far, you’re going all the way!

You’ve already spent Week 1 on the “Write” part of the WRITER Code, and Week 2 on “Refine”, concentrating on what was working and what you could let go of in yoru writing and your writing practice.

Last week was all about “Improve”, as you tackled different parts of the story writing craft.

This week’s theme is: “Triumph!”.

This week I want you to make a conscious effort to put a tiny celebration in place whenever you do something that furthers your journey as an author.

  • Got to your desk? Punch the air and say “yeah!”.
  • Finished your story? Give yourself a gold star (literally! Put one in your journal!).
  • Read the prompt and spent the day noodling on story ideas? Take one hand and pat yourself on the back with it.
  • Didn’t get your story written and decided to let it go, but come back tomorrow? Do a little dance, celebrating your ability to overcome disappointments.

There is some serious behavioral science research behind these silly tactics.

When you celebrate, you feel good, and when you feel good, you want to do more of the thing that makes you feel good.

That’s why some of the things we’ll never be, at StoryADay, are somber, judgmental or unrealistic about the challenges of living this writing life!

The Prompt

Be playful.

Playfulness can open up an expanse in confinement.

So… write a story in 26 sentences, with each sentence beginning with a sequential letter of the alphabet, starting with “A.”

The Author

Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. He has published two books on writing, Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo, and Brave the Page, a teen writing guide. He’s also published a collection of 100-word stories, Fissures, and Nothing Short of 100: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story. He’s also the co-host of the podcast Write-minded. His next collection of short stories, All the Comfort Sin Can Provide is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in July 2021.

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This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Grant Faulkner,

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Leave a comment and let us know how you got on and how you’re celebrating every success this week!