Everything Changes | StoryADay 2024 Day 11

No more unsatisfying endings!

The Prompt

Write a story that starts with your character in one place. Then they go through a series of events or experiences that leads them to a moment where everything changes for them.

Then let us follow them back through a series of events that mirror those that happened before, and show us how the world looks different to the character now.

Things To Consider

I’m suggesting this structure because it offers one way to create a clear path through the ‘muddy middle’ of a story.

The best illustration I can give you for this, is the Hans Christian Anderson story ‘The Ugly Duckling’. Here’s how that story goes:

  • The Duckling starts off in a farmyard with his loving mother but siblings who reject him, but he doesn’t give up. He goes off into the world to seek his place. He leaves home determined to find his place in the world, and wild ducks are mean to him
  • He goes to a farmyard where some of the animals are so mean to him he has to leave He goes to a peasant’s house and is chased by the children.
  • He goes to the river, and sees the swans who are so beautiful he is willing to risk his life to go and tell them how gorgeous they are, even if they peck him to death for his audacity.
  • They say: dude, look in the mirror. He’s a swan!
  • He heads out and some children see him and throw bread and cake into the water, talking about how beautiful he is, balancing out the other children’s action.
  • If I were rewriting this story, I’d be tempted to take the duckling on another journey, back past the peasant’s house and the farmyard, and to his home, reversing the initial journey and allowing him to see the word anew.

Leave a comment and let us know how it went!

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16 thoughts on “Everything Changes | StoryADay 2024 Day 11”

  1. My story today continued on from the story prompted by the ticket booth. Character walks to the show she got tickets for thinking about her crush. Her crush ignores her the whole time, but someone else asks her out. Then she walks home again, not thinking about the crush anymore.

    It felt a little uninspired, but not inept. It may also have been a bit rushed because it was important to me to finish before the Eurovision finals started. (Wooohooohooo, Switzerland!)

    Tomorrow I’m not writing. I’ll be hanging out with my daughter in Seattle. I’m not sure if I’m going to try to make it up by writing double Monday or if maybe I’ll be able to combine the two prompts. Or just ignore the one I like least. We’ll see.

  2. I have a request for those who post their stories: please post a tad bit more. Tell us what was difficult about the prompt, or how you learned from it, or why you hated it.

    I don’t read most of the stories posted here. I have to read too many other stories. I am here to learn to write better, and I’ll do that mostly by learning what challenges the prompts set and how we all rose to meet them, not by reading the stories that came from them.

    Rathin, I’m going to call on you because you always engage so fully. Can you share, not just your stories, but what you struggled with and rose above to write them? I think we’ll all benefit.

    I was in a discussion recently about how writers should share their “sketchbooks” more, as artists do. I am grateful to all of you who share your work. I just think that, as writers, we need to share more than our work. We need to share some of the thought that went into it, too.

    1. I love your ideas about how we can share our work to help each other, Walter! I’m going to try and do that. Thank you.

  3. This was a challenging one for me…but I did it. Mine was about a young girl trying to decide which road to take. The marriage road or the career road. First she takes the marriage road thinking it would be the comfortable way. Rich husband. But not what she really wanted. Rewind. She takes the career road because that’s what she always wanted to do her whole life. Which road was better. It’s going to up to the reader to decide.

  4. Well, I didn’t quite mirror the beginning. This is a potential ‘dark moment’ for Triple Play, and I got to the point where Rhys realizes what an idiot he’s being, and he needs to fight for what he wants(and he’s worthy of having it). I did spend at least an hour on it, so I’m counting it as done. 734 words

  5. I wrote about a little boy, standing at the top of a retaining wall in his yard, afraid to jump down, but determined to do so. First he climbs down, then he sit-jumps, then he runs-and-jumps. At the end he stands at the top of the wall, looking at the grass and clover blossoms below him, that seem so close.

    Not brilliantly creative storytelling, but it did create a nice through line from the beginning to the end.

    1. Andrew, such a thoughtful piece. Sums up everything going on in the world now, love that you included details even about today; for example, the electromagnetic storm! You fulfilled the assignment by your MC not sure at all that a human will be around in the future to read what she wrote, but she drops what she wrote in the box anyway. How she ripped instead of cut her paper made that 100% clear. It was a totally enjoyable and interesting read and you included everything this brilliant girl knows without writing too much.

    2. Ok, second reply, Andrew. Sometimes it takes a while for my brain to see the point of a story. Your story point may be about hope. She’s not sure a human will read her letter but what the heck, there could be a small chance one will.

  6. Kid can’t wait to get away to college. No more boring nagging parents. Complete freedom.
    It’s Xmas break. He’s on his way home. Not excited about spending time with his parents. When he gets home, same old boring place. Relatives come over and make a big deal about him being a college boy now. So boring.
    Then he goes back to his dorm. All he can think about is how happy his parents were to see him. How proud they were of him. The way his mom did his laundry and folded his clothes so nicely. The effort she made to prepare his favorite foods. How his dad wanted to walk with him down to the basketball courts and toss a few around. How his little cousin looked up at him with envy. And how much time he spent goofing off somewhere else away from them during the break. He looked at his phone and there was a text from his dad which included a photo. He saw himself in the middle of people who loved him. He began to cry.

    1. Valerie,
      Your post is a great snapshot of the bravado and homesickness of young adulthood! Happy Saturday!

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