Settings – A Writing Prompt from Josh Barkan

Writing exercise: (20 minutes) Choose a place that you know well, which you have strong feelings about. Describe that place, first when you are in a happy mood. (10 minutes) Then describe the place when you are in a sad mood. (10 minutes) What difference did you note? Writing exercise: (30 minutes) What is described … Continue reading “Settings – A Writing Prompt from Josh Barkan”

Sumptuous Settings – a writing prompt

Today I encourage you to make your prose as purple as you like, in a quest to find out how much description you really need. The Prompt Write a story (set in your novel’s world) that makes sensation a priority. Use all five senses. Tips Don’t be afraid to write ridiculously floral prose today. You … Continue reading “Sumptuous Settings – a writing prompt”

Julie’s Current Favorite Writing Tools

Books On Writing Save the Cat Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody This one makes the most sense to me of all the books on story structure. Your mileage may vary. If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland This book (written in the 1930s) brought about my re-awakening as a writer, and probably still … Continue reading “Julie’s Current Favorite Writing Tools”

[Write On Wednesday] Flexing Your Writing Muscles

We are one month away from StoryADay May, people! This is not a drill. Actually, yes, it kind of is. This is THE PERFECT TIME TO WARM UP your writing (take it from someone who didn’t, the very first year I ran this thing. I thought it would be smart to save all my ideas … Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Flexing Your Writing Muscles”

[Writing Prompt] What The Greeks Knew About Love

This year during the Superbowl I noticed an ad that used the different types of love, as defined by the Greeks, to advertise their product. And it reminded me that, for those of us without a classical education, it can be useful to review frameworks like this, that underpin our cultural attitudes whether we know … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] What The Greeks Knew About Love”

[Writing Prompt] 3 Aspects of Enduring Love

This month’s theme is Love: It’s Not Just For The Ladies. I’m going to be looking into all kinds of love and how our characters feel, express and reject it. Starting with this week’s writing prompt. The Prompt Write three, linked mini-stories about two people who love each other.Each moment illustrating one of the three … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] 3 Aspects of Enduring Love”

[Write On Wednesday] Writing For Reluctant Readers

Don’t forget, the end of the month is approaching. It’s the perfect time to check out your writing commitments from last month, and start planning your commitments for December. There’s still time to do a few more things this month to reach your goals! There’s a concept that there are avid readers and ‘reluctant readers’ … Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Writing For Reluctant Readers”

WritersBloxx – A Box Of Story Prompts Disguised As A Game

An Interview with Gary Zenker One of the best things about plugging into the writing community — online and off—is that you find yourself surrounded by people with creative and innovative ideas that spark your creativity as well as their own. One such person is Gary Zenker who is, among other things, a writer and … Continue reading “WritersBloxx – A Box Of Story Prompts Disguised As A Game”

A Mysterious Situation – Writing Prompt from Bea from The Busy Muse

Today, Bea from The Busy Muse gives us a scenario and encourages us to stretch our genre expectations… Don’t forget, you can listen to the audio-only by subscribing to the podcast The Prompt Your company sends you to meet a costumer at their house. It’s a standard, nice neighborhood. You ring and ring but nobody … Continue reading “A Mysterious Situation – Writing Prompt from Bea from The Busy Muse”

[Writing Prompt] Sleight of Hand

Yesterday I reviewed Shakedown by Elizabeth Gonzalez, a story that doesn’t seem to be able to make its mind up whether it wants to be about the renovation of an old steam train, or about a fiesty old man in a Pennsylvania mountain town. It’s a wonderful example of a quiet climax: no car chases or bullets … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Sleight of Hand”

[Writing Prompt] Inspired By…

This week, make sure you’re reading some writing you really love; writing that inspires you. It’ll help with all your writing, and especially with this writing prompt. The Prompt Write a story inspired by, or in-the-style-of a piece of writing you love Tips Don’t try to impress me. Pick something you really, really love (something … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Inspired By…”

Paint A Vivid Setting

And now for something completely different! The Prompt Write a story in which the setting is key Tips Choose a setting for your story based on a real place that you know intimately. You can change details, of course, but this just makes it easier to summon up images in your mind. You can change … Continue reading “Paint A Vivid Setting”

Guest Prompt from Gregory Frost

Today’s prompt is a real treat: a writing exercise from author Gregory Frost. (Side note: his classes are the kind that writers only tell their best friends about … and then only after their own application has been accepted!) Here he shares a prompt that seems to be about setting but turns out to be all about character. Flex … Continue reading “Guest Prompt from Gregory Frost”

May 5 – Setting

First: a little Day 5 pep talk. If you’re finding it hard to write every day; if you’ve missed a day; if you’ve just found us and are wondering if it’s too late to join; if you’ve been here since April and and wondering if it’s time to quit…To all of you I say “don’t … Continue reading “May 5 – Setting”

Story Sparks and Writing Prompts

I talk a lot about writing prompts and Story Sparks around here. They are your secret weapons for getting through a month of extreme short story writing! What is a Story Spark? It’s a term I coined for something that is less than a story idea and certainly not an outline, but something that you … Continue reading “Story Sparks and Writing Prompts”

[Writing Prompt] 2000 Words

It’s Sunday, but it’s no day of rest for we writers. The Prompt Write A Story of Around 2,000 Words Tips This is a common length for editors to request from new writers in fiction publications. It’s a length that allows you to display some style and character development, without getting too carried away and … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] 2000 Words”

[Writing Prompt] 1200 Words

Welcome to StoryADay May. It’s Day 1. You’re nervous, you’re excited, you’re full of ideas…(you are, aren’t you?), so I’m not going to tell you WHAT to write, only how much. (And of course, you should remember that these prompts are entirely optional. If you want to write a 10,000 word novella today, you go … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] 1200 Words”

[Writing Prompt] Back To The Beginning

Now that we’ve concentrated on the middle, the climax and the end, it seem only logical to go back to the beginning. The Prompt Rewrite The Beginning Tips Go back through any stories you have written this month (or ever) and rewrite your first line. Strong beginnings are important and it is almost impossible to … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Back To The Beginning”

[Writing Prompt] The Locked Room

Today you’ll write a story that starts with a set of characters, a location and a problem, all devised by me. The Prompt The Setting: Four blank walls and two doors, both currently locked. The Characters: Don, a man in his fifties; Sooz, a young woman; Dante, a teenage boy; Charlie, a character of gender, … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] The Locked Room”

[Writing Prompt] The Fair

Today you’re going to rely on memory to conjure up a vivid setting for your story. The Prompt Tell a story set at a country fair Tips Use all your senses to place us at the fair, right at the start of the story Paint a picture and include a character walking through that setting, … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] The Fair”

[Writing Prompt] Twilight Zone

I’ve been binging on Twilight Zone recently. Things I have noticed: The stories often, but not always, have a twist at the end The weirdness is not constrained by the need for an explanation (last night I watched “Living Doll”. The story was about a creepy talking doll. The ‘how’ was never explained, but the … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Twilight Zone”

[Writing Prompt] Copycat Story

Today’s prompt is adapted from one of the most popular segments of the Warm Up Writing Course that I run here as an online course (and a home-study version). The Prompt Write A Copycat Story, based on one of your favorite short stories by another writer Tips Take a story by a writer you really, really admire … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Copycat Story”

[Writing Prompt] Your Opening Is…

Simple task today (ha!): The Prompt Write a story that opens, “On the edge of the mountain, silhouetted against the setting sun, there is a small ramshackle cottage made of wood.” Tips This sounds, at first blush, as if it has to be set in a fantasy or fairy-tale world, but I bet you can … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Your Opening Is…”

[Writing Prompt] Set At A Wedding

This week I’m giving you some more traditional prompts, where one element of your story is dictated by me. (Oh, the power!) The Prompt Write A Story Set At A Wedding Tips The conflict in this story can be micro-scale (a guest reflecting on a deeply personal challenge, brought into the light by this landmark … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Set At A Wedding”

[Writing Prompt] Location Location Location

In this age of Google Maps and Street view and everyone-documenting-everything, there is no reason not to set your story in a ‘foreign’ location and still get the details right. The Prompt Write a story in a place you’ve never actually been to. Tips Use a search engine to find out a few important facts … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Location Location Location”

[Writing Prompt] Open Source Story

This post is the second of two. Check out last week’s prompt or stay here to go straight to the part where you steal a story from someone else! This prompt is part of a two-part prompt. Last week we wrote stories for other writers to steal from. This week we’re doing the stealing. The … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Open Source Story”

[Writing Prompt] Story For Stealing

This post is the first of two. Come back next week to steal a story from someone else! This prompt is part of a two-part prompt. This week we’re writing a story that we won’t mind someone stealing. Next week we’re going to look at someone else’s story and steal their character, setting, premise or … Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Story For Stealing”