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.)


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


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


  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!

6 thoughts on “Day 23 – Monique Cuillerier Mixes & Matches”

  1. I went with:
    Delivering a birthday present.
    In a snowstorm .
    Mystery story.
    I came up with a couple of outlines which I can develop later.

  2. My die fell on:
    ●Strong wind
    ●Make a bank deposit.
    My central character was struggling to survive financially. Deadlines for payment were looming threatening her with homelessness. An unexpected inheritance dropped through the letterbox. She ventured out in a howling gale to pay the cheque into the bank. It blew away. She gave chase and fell headlong into the path of her future lover. Lots of ideas where to take this and how to steer their journey. My rough draft was 467 words .

  3. Kay Harker didn’t imagine bumping into a Punch and Judy man in a heat wave on the way to the shops. Caroline Louisa sent him for biscuits and jam. Good fun!

  4. Excellent prompt. I rolled and came up with political satire, heat wave and returning a book to the library. Now I have a short story in progress:

    Yard Signs Don’t Vote

    “It’s called ‘oppo research’ and you guys better start digging some shit up about Chuckie LaHood damn quick, ‘cause he is winning the signs,” Pasquale (Patsy) Pasquatelli shouted from his end of the conference call to his boys.

    Patsy swung his battered, padded chair around to survey the precincts map Scotch-taped to the wall in his law office. “How the hell did LaHood get 90 yard signs up on Elm Street and Maple Avenue overnight? We’re getting killed out there. And how come none of you mopes didn’t canvass that frigging neighborhood? Why the hell do you think I gave you cash? Buy me some lawns!”

    The humming window air conditioner hanging onto the windowsill continued fighting the heat wave that settled atop New England six days ago like a sopping wet blanket. Seldom does the thermometer reach 90 degrees two days in a row around here, especially in late September, never mind six days. Patsy cranked the air conditioner all the way up and still his white shirt stuck to his back like a sheet of cabinet shelf contact liner. A black old style oscillating fan on a bookcase set strategically silently spun its blades slowly.

    A chorus of ‘You got it, Patsy’ responded to his call to action. “No, I don’t got it, but you better damn well get it,” the old school town party boss growled. “We’re talking about Town Manager here, right? That job has my name on it and no way is Chuckie LaHood taking it from me. First time it is on the ballot and I want it. Get it? Got it? GOOD! Now dig up some shit on that guy!”

    Patsy slammed down the phone, sending aloft cigarette ashes and dust that competed for space on his scratched and dented, gray metal office desk. That Boy Scout LaHood pays his taxes on time, never got a traffic ticket and he doesn’t cheat on his wife, Patsy thinks. There’s gotta be something I can smear on him.

    He hadn’t heard the voices talking outside at the reception desk. His sister-in-law/receptionist/accountant, Hortense Botello, could talk a handle off a pump and she was at it hard and fast.

    “Patsy? You have a visitor, McGee is out here, wants a coupla minutes,” Hortense said, poking her head into his office.

    “McGee!,” Patsy shouted. “To what do I owe the pleasure of you darkening my door?”

    “C’mon, you know you love me, Pats,” John Francis Xavier McGee said, with a fake brogue. “How’s the campaign going? Gotta get something into paper tomorrow, let them know I’m earning my keep.”
    McGee is one of four reporters who are assigned to the local news bureau of the state’s largest newspaper that rents office space on the second floor of the Pasquatelli Office Building in the center of the small waterfront town. McGee is the bureau manager, which means he is first out the door for the big stories. The red head has been up and down and up the ladder of success and at 39 with a wife and two kids at home he is happy to have the job, although the Pulitzer Prize that he won 14 years ago when he was the young gun at The Washington Post remains a reminder of what could have been. It holds a prominent spot in the livingroom of his home right on the fireplace mantle sharing space with his girls’ soccer trophies and school awards.

    “The campaign is going good,” thank you for asking. Pasquale Amenta Pasquatelli looked around his office at the yellowed newspaper clippings of past political victories as the chairman of the Democratic Town Committee. “I’ll have a new clipping come Nov. 7 that I can add to those pelts, with your byline this time.”

    McGee was focused on the pictures on the wall behind Patsy: a sepia toned photo of JFK, the patron saint of Democratic politics in New England; a picture of Pope Francis; and a picture of Patsy standing with Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley taken on November 9, 1960, the day after Patsy learned the game of politics when Kennedy beat Nixon.

    “I don’t see you campaigning, Pat. LaHood is everywhere in town knocking on doors, doing house parties, he even has a big barbeque tomorrow night at River Park and everywhere you look houses have his signs up, not many of yours out there,” McGee said, hoping to rattle the old pro.

    Patsy was red in the face, leaned across his desk and bellowed, “Yard signs don’t vote! People vote and I got my people.”

    Hortense came to the door. “Louie is outside with a truckload of signs.”

    McGee chuckled. Patsy glared at the reporter and Hortense. “What?”

    Patsy stood up, pulled his shirt and his pants away from his sweaty body and walked out. McGee followed, stuffing his Reporter’s Notebook into a back pocket and singing the Five Man Electric Band’s, 1970 song, “Sign, sign – Everywhere a sign …” Hortense shook a finger at him, “Stop being a naughty boy!”

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