Day 3 – Matthew Salesses Looks Back

The Prompt

writing prompt from Matthew Salesses

This prompt comes from thinking about point of view and you could use it to write the whole story in two parts.

For the first part create a character who does something that you did during that week: e.g. go to the grocery store and you buy oranges. now. Now write about it in the third-person perspective and fictionalize it.

In the second part move your story 10 years into the future. Change perspective to make it a first person perspective. And it turns out that that non-momentous moment from your life (e.g. going to the super supermarket and buying oranges) ended up being extremely important to this character.

Don’t forget to include how the world has changed from 10 years ago to now and how the character’s world has changed, how they think of the world, and how they move through the world differently.

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The Author

MATTHEW SALESSES is the author of the bestsellers The Hundred-Year Flood, an Adoptive Families Best Book of 2015, and Craft in the Real World, an Esquire Best Book of the 2021, which explores alternative models of craft and the writing workshop, especially for marginalized writers.

His latest novel is the PEN/Faulkner Finalist Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, Matthew was adopted from Korea. In 2015 Buzzfeed named him one of 32 Essential Asian American Writers.

Matthew is an Assistant Professor of English at Coe College, where he teaches fiction writing and Asian American literature and studies.

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!

13 thoughts on “Day 3 – Matthew Salesses Looks Back”

  1. I did write for this prompt yesterday, I just didn’t get to posting. I worte about a woman returning earbuds to the grocery store. She misinterpreted the reason her great-nephew left them behind when he moved out. He needed the earbuds and he ends up going to jail because of weird circumstances around leaving something in the box and not being able to get it back. The 10 years in the future is when she goes to pick up her great-nephew when he is released from jail after serving his sentence. I didn’t get into a lot of details around the reasons or such, I pretty much laid the framework. It was good to just push through and get to an end, even if it didn’t completely make sense to me.

  2. A hard one!

    I described a visit to our local recycling depot. It was our first outing post lockdown. I indulged in people watching especially a woman struggling with several heavy looking bin bags. She looked troubled and I had tried to work out what may have made her look so troubled.

    My third person point of view was hers.

    Then to the future………..’things’ were discovered when excavation work was needed at the recycling depot. I found myself writing a thriller. That’s a first for me.

    Thank you Matthew Sales’s.

  3. My present story was a excited drive to garden store (250 words) and ten years later I went a bit dark and slightly dystopian (over 500) visiting the herb store for perhaps the last time.

  4. While I did not enjoy this particular prompt as much as the others, it certainly got me out of my comfort zone.

    All the thinking of what life will be like 10 years in the future got me working on a historical fiction story from the distant past.

    1. Oh, interesting. I think one of the reasons I studied history was that I liked the idea of being able to predict the future. Interesting that thinking about the future sent you into the past 😉

      I aim to push you out of your comfort zone as much a possible this month. Watch out!

  5. Done! Had to think about this one, but once I settled on my “inciting incident,” the rest came pretty naturally. My son and I planted a tree sapling last week that he received from his school to celebrate Arbor Day. I wrote a future that I _hope_ will not be far from reality…

  6. I liked the change from 3rd person back to first person. I started with Junnifer frantically commuting on the first day of work, and ten years later, she commutes calmly on her last day of work.

  7. This was fun! A frugal witch, tired of price gouging among suppliers became the first horticultural hag to go budget organic. Who knew it (or newt), but it was the start of an empire!

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