Day 8- Keeping it Personal by Julie Duffy

In today’s StoryADay writing prompt, we’re working with first person perspective

StoryADay Writing Prompt Illustration, original art by Vinicus "Amrix" Amano on Unsplash

The Prompt

Write a story in the first person about an incident that happens to a character who is your opposite.


Think about some situation you are sure you would FREAK OUT in, and give it to a character who is utterly unlike you (in some ways you admire, and perhaps some ways you don’t)

In many ways, first person is the most natural way to tell a story because it’s how we tell stories all day long. “How was your commute?” “Where did you park?” “What did you do this weekend?”

All of these questions invite stories.

The most important thing to remember about first-person is that the reader is only ever privy to the thoughts of the person telling the story. They can infer, from other people other people’s expressions, what they’re feeling, but you can’t know for certain. You can’t tell me exactly what your spouse was thinking when you took a wrong turn. You can tell me what they said and how they said it….

The character can be self-aware or self delusional or mixture of the two.

Julie Duffy

I am Julie Duffy and this is a first-person bio. I founded StoryADay May in 2010 because I was stick of never finishing anything I started. Ironically, StoryADay May turned into an annual event and now I hope it will never end! I also encourage people to make weekly goals during the rest of the year, in our Serious Writers’ Accountability Group posts. If you’d like email reminders about them, fill in the form, below.


make sure you set your printer to print this at original size, not full-page!

Join the discussion: what will you do with today’s prompt OR how did it go? Need support? Post here!

26 thoughts on “Day 8- Keeping it Personal by Julie Duffy”

  1. Great prompt. I came up with an idea suddenly and then the whole story just flowed. All I had to do was write it down. I love it when that happens! I wrote about a haunted wedding dress and what can happen when the right person puts it on.

  2. It’s been a while since I’ve used first person in creative writing. It used to feel more natural, but the twist in writing from first person about someone who reacts differently than me was like using my non dominant hand. Kind of awkward. 😂 checked the box, though. I wrote today.

  3. Let the sidekick character from my urban fantasy novel drive this one. Managed to find a plot point I will definitely keep and a complication for the secondary character that I hope will make the novel richer. Yay, me!

  4. For today’s prompt, I wrote a scene for my WIP, a woman witnessing a murder. It’s in 1st person and a little over 500 words. It’s rough and will need some revising before I insert it into the novel.

  5. I picked up the short story framework worksheet for this one today. Beth, a cowardly woman who got lost in the Cherokee National Forest. She had to find strength and courage in the company of bears and lack of food.

    She gained courage to continue walking even when she was not absolutely sure what direction to walk in.

    I’ve had some near misses out in the mountains in Western North Carolina. It would FREAK me out completely .. I got lost one time in a Juniper Berry Forest in CA one time — All I knew was DOWN because of the landscape. Hard to “drop and roll” down with some many trees in the way thought! HA

  6. I wrote three different pieces today. For Mother’s Day, I wrote about the birth of our son. Then I wrote a letter to my mother who passed away many years ago. For the prompt I wrote a scene about a veterinarian. When a severely injured dog comes to her (my) clinic, she’s faced with a life-or-death situation. Thank goodness for all the healthcare workers and professionals that have the strength to deal with these situations. I couldn’t.

  7. Used today’s prompt for backstory for a newish character in one of my linked stories. Turns out he’s a petty crook from the 1930’s–who knew?

      1. Me to, even if it is as simple as reversing the name Ivanka to make Aknavi which is a pretty cool name in itself.

        Look forward to learning more about the 1930’s cook.

  8. Just got back from lunch and was thinking about the prompt all morning and hammered out a quick 100 word story. If *I* was faced with this situation, I would have found the closest isolated corner, but not Rhys. 🙂

    Rhys took a step back as everyone seemed to jump out of the woodwork. His teammates. Mel and their friends from the coffee shop. Some people he was sure he didn’t even know.
    A lot of people.
    And then a grin spread over his face. “So many of you here to celebrate me? Well, what else would you be doing?”
    Caleb cracked up at that, and even Mel smiled. So, at least he could do that much right, make those around him feel good.
    If that was all that he was good for, he might as well embrace it.

  9. I looked at the prompt and started writing. The characters started taking shape. As I was coming to the conclusion, I was undecided. I wanted to implant the twist in the last chapter.
    “Should I have the protagonist of my story served a divorce notice? That could have been interesting but in that case, I had to make some changes in the earlier part. I finished my story the way it ended at the first go.
    I know at 61, I can’t be a great writer anymore, so I don’t look for the mistakes any more. Sorry about that. Here is my story :
    The Best Stories of Life Don’t Get Told

    I woke up to find my hubby beckoning to me. He slept in the big bed alone while I shared the smaller one with our daughter. It was a Sunday so, there was no need to awaken them. Sunday was the only day when they both didn’t have the swimming classes and therefore could lie in bed for longer.
    I got out of bed, had a peek at my reflection in the dressing mirror, tied my hair in a bun and headed to the kitchen.
    Once the tea was ready, I called Somu, Somdev Burman, my husband. As I laid down the kettle on the table, I saw him browsing through his mobile.
    “You want to hear about Tagore and the planchette sessions he had in his youth?” He asked me and went on to enlighten me about how Tagore invited some diseased Greats of Bengal through a medium.
    I poured some more tea in his cup before he went on to talk about “The Murshidabad Murder Case”. The gist of the case was interesting. A strikingly beautiful girl proposed to a boy who was shy by nature. They became friends but by the time the boy accepted her, she had moved on with another boy of her college.
    The ditched lover threatened him at first before stabbing her mercilessly in the open market!

    “What is our world coming to? Is it a sin to be beautiful?” I couldn’t control myself.
    “It’s not a sin but it is downright wrong to ditch one boy after another.” Som told me.
    We enjoyed our morning tea together.
    Soon, I got busy preparing for another busy Sunday.

    I made puris and aloo dam for breakfast, followed by custard. I offered the pot to Mili, our daughter. She delighted in spooning out the thickened milk at the sides of the pot.
    “Have some, Ma.” She stretched out the spoonful towards me.
    “No,” I declined her offer shaking my head. “I don’t like custard. I’m happiest when I cook some delicious dishes. Nothing gives me greater pleasure.”

    An our later, Som and I went out for the weekly marketing. We came back. Mili was busy giving tuitions to her students while Som dipped his head in the newspaper.
    Sometime later, as I was cooking, Anupam, Som’s nephew rang me up. He was visiting his sister’s for her marriage anniversary and wanted to know if I was interested.
    I got back into the room and leaned on Som. He didn’t even look up!
    “What does it take to temp a hermit like you?” I asked him.
    “Unless I let myself be aroused, it is difficult.”
    “Not even if I give you ‘the feel’? I asked easing myself into his back.
    ” Nope,” he chuckled out.
    “Som, I’ve something to tell you. Anupam rang up a while ago. He wants me to to his sister’s. Shall I? ”
    “If you feel like it.” He replied with his eyes on the paper.
    “There is a problem though. You know how suspicious his wife is. What if she makes a scene afterwards if the two of us go together?” I asked him.
    “You aren’t in a relationship with Anup. Just good friends. So, why bother?” Som asked me.
    “I don’t mind accompanyimg Anupam but I don’t want a scene between them on my account.”
    I was unhappy when I heard of ‘the scene’ between them on out return home that night. What pained me even more was when they filed for a divorce a few weeks later.

    1. I think you have a good sense of scene and story, and your characters act and talk like real people. As for “mistakes,” I see several typos, but so what? Just call it a draft. As for your age putting some serious limitation on what you can do or be as a writer, I don’t think so. I mean, 61 is young from where I stand at almost 70. But being “great” is too vague a goal, anyway, even for a much younger writer. (I’m going to stop before I go into full lecture mode!) Best wishes to you.

      1. I enjoyed the mini-lecture!

        And I feel like “great writer” is a label applied by others, something no really good writer applies to themselves or believes anyway 😉 The writer knows how much hard work goes no to each piece!

      2. That was the best feedback given to me in a long time. Thank you so much.
        Stay safe and happy. Regards and best wishes.

        1. Rathin, many a good writer has come to the art late in life, there is a lot to do, myself I’m 51 and still working full time doing other stuff.

          The idea of ‘Great Writer’ I’m not sure what that is. It is in the eye of the beholder, my biggest joy in writing at times is reading my own writing a day or two later, a year or more and wondering, ‘Sheeees, that’s good, I wonder who wrote that.’

          Else the odd bit of feedback is good it breaks the vacuum seal. As per Jim’s comment I agree, a few gramatticals and lot’s of opportunity to build upon the skeleton of a great story.

    2. After the mention of the girl that got stabbed, I kind of expected a darker twist at the end, like “his body was found the next morning making me even sorrier I ever took Anup up on his offer”. Even maybe leaving it open as to what that offer & the night consisted of. Maybe innocent? Maybe not. The reader could decide on that…
      And, of course who killed him? The wife? The narrator? Or even suicide, perhaps because of his psychotic wife, or maybe because of the affair he was having, and he couldn’t take it anymore. Maybe the narrator is his boss’s wife and so he’s afraid to be found out, and if he disappoints her or breaks things off with her she will get him fired…

      Ha. I had lots of ideas for that twist! Thank you for sharing your story! Keep on writing and remember age is just a number. Don’t let yours get you down or hold you back from anything you want to do.

    1. Thank you Michele and Gabrielle for your comments. It’s great to know someone is reading what I write. It’s one of the things that is great about Story a day.

      A simple comment can go a long way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The StoryADay

I, WRITER Course


A 6-part journey through the short story.

Starts July 28, 2023