Day 16 – Janine Griffin Gives You A Sign

The Prompt

It’s a sign!

This prompt idea came from an episode of Valley 101, a podcast about Arizona [https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2021/01/18/who-writes-the-highway-signs-in-arizona/4183558001/] This episode was about who writes their funny highway signs, the history of them and what sort of messages they deliver. The idea of constraints appealed to me, often it drives creativity in unexpected directions.

Arizona’s highway sign messages are three lines long, with up to 18 characters per line. You can have commas, spaces, apostrophes, and dashes, which all count toward the 18 character limit. Now 18×3 characters isn’t long to tell a story, but it is long enough to deliver an important message. So the prompt is this:

Your character is in the middle of doing something mundane when they see a message that causes them to change course. The message could be something they see on a highway sign, a sign on the window of a store, a dashboard displayed in an office, or even a text message, but the limit is 18×3 characters and the message causes the character to change what they were doing/going to do.

The Author

Janine Griffin writes fiction and non-fiction, and things that fall in between.

Read A Book, Support An Indie

Reads & Company Logo

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!

6 thoughts on “Day 16 – Janine Griffin Gives You A Sign”

  1. My protagonist had disappeared from her parent’s home during the night after a row with them. She had kept her silence, (apart from aa postcard saying ‘I’m safe’), until she was certain she had established a life of her own choosing but even when she had done this she lacked the courage to do it.
    I wrote a sign that my protagonist saw when out with her girlfriends, that gave her that final push to phone home .

  2. Phew, made it! I had to skip yesterday– I’ll come back to it on June 1st.

    I enjoyed this one, and surprised myself with the ending– I didn’t know how it would go when I started. Typical discovery-writing.

    My main character discovers that she’s a star in embryo, finally ready to shine above the earth with her sisters. It’s never stated outright, though; readers have to figure it out from the context of the story. I hope I did a good job with that part…

  3. My story was about Alison, a call centre girl on her lunchtime tea break. She’s about to get her usual salmon sandwich when this message appears on the menu monitor:

    Drink Aggressively
    At Your Own Risk
    Buy 1 Get 1 Free

    She of course changes her order to honey and ginger rum tea and is about to down the tea to win a second free cup…

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