Today it’s another post from the archives, one of my favourites. And this time you get a peek into the kind of content the Superstars group gets throughout the challenge– perhaps you’ll be able to join us next time!
Write A Story As A Series of Letters/Tweets/Memos
If you’ve been coming here for a while, you’re going to recognize this. It’s one of my favorites.
It is a challenge to you to write a story in a letter, a series of letters, a series of tweets, some sort of epistolary story. Maybe you get replies from different people. You can have found objects, documents, all of which add it add up to a story.
Now, if you really get into this, you might not finish this today. It might become a bigger project, or you may do what somebody, the first year that we, we did story a day and write a series of tweets that got progressively creepier and creepier as this person was calling for help via Twitter, which back in 2010 was pretty revolutionary.
- It could be on both sides of the conversation.
- It could have multiple voices.
- It could have a single voice where we have to really try and figure out what’s going on.
There’s a story I often cite by Neil Gaiman called “Orange”, which is simply a series of answers to a police interrogation by a teenage girl. We don’t hear the questions, we just get her answers. And it starts off fairly mundane. And of course, being Neil Gaiman, it gets a little strange.
There’s something about the direct voice in letter writing or journal writing or in that kind of “direct to camera” conversation that really allows us to get inside a character’s head and get very emotionally involved in the story.
So that’s your prompt for today, and this is just a quick little prompt, a quick little video to give you that. I hope you’re still writing.
E is for Engage
Throughout this month I’ve talked about the WRITER Code, my framework for building a writing life you can love. In Week 1 we focused on Write; Week 2 was about Refining your process; Week 3 brought you prompts designed to Improve parts of your writing craft. Last week we focused on Triumph – celebrating every little success, every day. This week is all about Engaging with the wider writing community.
We’ve got this weekend left to go and then we will be out of here, as far as the challenge goes. So what comes next?
I encourage you to remember that on the first of every month, throughout the year, we have our SWAGr group, our Serious Writers’ Accountability Group where you can:
- Pledge what you’re going to do next month
- ‘Fess up to what you failed to do last month or managed to do last month. You can celebrate successes.
- Tell us about things that you’ve, you’ve submitted.
- Tell us about things that you have had rejected because that’s a success too. It means you’re getting out there.
I highly encourage you to check in, on the first of every month.
SIGN UP FOR SWAGr REMINDERS NOW
Accountability is really important along with building the behaviors into your routine that encourage you to be successful. It’s not something I’m trying to invent. This is something that successful people do. They prioritize the thing that’s important to them.
- They create the habits that will support that
- They commit to it on paper
- They commit to it in front of other people.
There are concrete actions you can take to reinforce your commitment to help you avoid the willpower drain, help you not make excuses, help you build the habits into your life to support the goals, and support the things that really matter to you. I’m going to be talking a lot about behavior over the next few months and trying to really find ways to help us all knuckle down to our writing.
It’s such a self confidence thing, with writing. It’s not like working out. You just get up and drag yourself to the gym at six and you’re done. For writers, we need to drag ourselves to the gym, build the equipment from a few scraps lying around, and then invent the exercises too!
Inventing worlds is a huge endeavor. I[t’s very easy to walk away from it and say, I’m too tired. I’m too crap, I’m not good enough.
All of these, these things that we can put in our own way.
I’m going to be working to come up with some ways to help us all build habits and accountability into our writing lives. I hope you’ll stick around StoryADay in the coming months to share in that.
So quick prompt, long ramble. Sorry about that!
Write me a series of letters, and most of all keep writing.
What did you write today and how are you engaging with the wider writing community?
Read A Book, Support An Indie
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 30 – An Old Favorite”
Yeah! I have done StoryadaySeptember! Completed it each day.
For this prompt I wrote a story about a series of letters sent and recieved between a daughter and father who was in the Royal Navy during WW2. The letters were found in an attic of a house recently bought. Outline of 200 words. Definitely one to finish.
Thank you for all the support Julie and for the book recommendations.
Fabulous! Really well done!
And done! I completed Story A Day September! 🙂
My goal was a story every week day, so a total of 22 stories. Looking forward to sitting down in October and seeing what I actually have, what I’ll revise, etc. I also plan on evaluating what worked for me and what didn’t in terms of creativity, energy, etc. But first, I think I need a bit of a break. 🙂
Thanks for the challenge, Julie! And congrats to everyone who completed it AND to everyone who gave it a try! 🙂
Excellent. So glad you got so much done. And your plans for October sound perfect!
I loves me a good epistolary story. I wrote one 10K historical after reading a collection of (IRL) letters from women settlers to the American West. I love that feeling of finding a hidden treasure — the embroidery in the Custom House drawer — in The Scarlet Letter. Flowers for Algernon is fascinating in the way Charly’s voice changes as his brain does. Ditto The Rats in the Walls (Lovecraft), where the madness takes over the page. Faves (including some that mix epistles & ephemera): Frankenstein, Carrie, Dracula, HOUSE of Leaves, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Yellow Wallpaper. Want to Read: Endo’s Silence (in English), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Aka. Dangerous Liaisons. Might try that en français and see how far I get). So many books; so little time. Heaven better have a library. Seriously.
I love an epistolary story too. The mix of stories you covered is very enticing!
RITA I also turned to my WhatsApp groups !
I have written a series of messages in the early days of lockdown using them from people who are each in very different circumstances. I can see an interesting story emerging which I can chart through the months of this pandemic. I shall definitely follow through with this story.
I always love this prompt. It makes me dig deep.
Sorry that should read Ritu x
Ha, don’t worry! I am so used to that slip!
I think it could bear some sweet fruit! So. much happening right now, that could really transfer into amazing longer stories!
Making a move on an idea I got from an earlier prompt. Writing simultaneous interviews with Victor Frankenstein and the Creature in an atmosphere akin to The Office. Potential for more characters to come into it also.
Fitting, since Frankenstein is itself epistolary!
A Whatsapp Conversation between two loves separated during lockdown…