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SWAGr for October 2022

It’s that time again: time to make your commitments to your writing for the coming month. Join us!

Welcome to the Serious Writers’ Accountability Group!

Post your goals for this month and let us know how you got on with last month’s goals.

Serious Writers' Accountability Group

Leave a comment below telling us how you got on last month, and what you plan to do next month, then check back in on the first of each month, to see how everyone’s doing.

(It doesn’t have to be fiction. Feel free to use this group to push you in whatever creative direction you need.)

Did you live up to your commitment from last month? Don’t remember what you promised to do? Check out the comments from last month.

And don’t forget to celebrate with/encourage your fellow SWAGr-ers on their progress!

Download your SWAGr Tracking Sheet now, to keep track of your commitments this month

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Examples of Goals Set By SWAGr-ers in previous months

  • Finish first draft of story and write 3 articles for my school paper. – Courtney
  • Write on seven days this month – Clare
  • Extend my reading and to read with a ‘writers eye’- Wendy
  • write 10,000 words – Mary Lou

 So, what will you accomplish this month? Leave your comment below (use the drop-down option to subscribe to the comments and receive lovely, encouraging notifications from fellow StADa SWAGr-ers!)

(Next check-in, 1st of the month. Tell your friends!)

Day 30 – Hope

I hope you’ve had a brilliant May! Leave a comment and let me know your hopes for the future.

The Prompt

Write A Story of Hope

You can use this prompt to write about your hopes for your (writing) future or you can write a fictional story that revolves around hope.

The fun thing about playing with hope is that it raises the stakes so very high, and allows for the possibility of some real dark nights of the soul. What does it do to your character when they think all hope is lost? How do they act?

And what does it do to your reader when you whiplash their emotions all over the place and grant your character’s wish, after all?

(Can you tell I’m hoping for happy endings? You should feel free to disappoint me if you’re more of the ‘everybody dies a meaningless death at the end’ type)

Leave a comment letting me know how your month has gone, what you’ve achieved and what you hope that means for the future.

It has been an absolute privilege to spend this time with you creative souls. I hope you’ll stick around for the rest of the year and most of all,

Keep writing,

Julie

Day 29 – Duty

You’ve been writing enough, by now, that I think it’s time to set you free a little bit…

The Prompt

Write a story inspired by the theme: Duty

Write a story that grows out of your thoughts (positive or negative) as you ponder the word ‘duty’.

What does duty mean? To whom does your character owe it? Should they?

Will you write a story of sacrifice and honor or one of rebellion (an honor)?

Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is a writer with a strong sense of justice. But that doesn’t mean she’ll do what’s she’s told. Read more about Julie and invite her to talk to your writing group.

Day 28- Tree of Life by Katie Bennett-Davies

The Welsh Government plants a tree for every new child in Wales. Write a story involving one of the trees or forests.

Would you like to join us for a writing sprint this morning? Click here at 10 AM (Eastern US) CHECK YOUR TIME

The Prompt

Since 2008 the Welsh Government has pledged to plant a tree for every new child born or adopted in Wales. Write a story involving one of the trees or forests.

You can read more about the scheme here

You could take this down a supernatural/fantasy root (pun intended).

  • What if the child’s life was linked in some way to the tree, perhaps their life is even linked to that of the tree. What would a parent do to protect the tree and ensure it flourished as it grew?
  • You could write from the point of view of the tree over a long period of time. What does it witness? How does the tree itself change/mature?
  • You could write in the genre of climate change. How does this scheme affect the planet? This could either be from a positive or negative perspective.
  • Or, from a conflict point of view, think about who might not be in favour of this scheme. This could be a developer who wanted to build on the cheap land that the Government is now using for a forest. Or someone in a community who sees farmland being bought up for tree planting and their way of life disappearing. What might someone do to sabotage the forest- arson, breaking the the saplings, etc?

Remember you don’t have to use a traditional style of storytelling. You could write your story as the minutes of a meeting, a newspaper report, a personal letter.

You might not have time to write a long story with all the background info filled in so jump straight into the action. You can always add backstory when it comes to revising.


Katie Bennett-Davies

Katie Bennett-Davies lives in Wales with her husband and cat, Didi. Living with disabilities has allowed her to see the world from a different perspective. She enjoys pottering in the garden and drinking too much coffee.

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

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Day 27- A Hairy Situation by Michele E. Reisinger

The possibilities are as numerous as … the hairs on a human head.

The Prompt

Rapunzel’s saved her from an enchanted prison. Sampson’s gave him unparalleled strength. Medusa’s was nearly as deadly as her eyes, and in Pope’s mock-epic, Belinda’s drives the Baron to distraction.

Tell a story about a “hairy” situation.

  • Imagine a comedy of errors between a novice hairdresser and their demanding client.
  • A mystery in which a lock provides the only clue … or a portal to another time on another planet on which everyone is bald.
  • How might things change if it were animal hair or peach fuzz or electrified?
  • If sprouted from a museum statue that suddenly came to life?
  • If you gave Medusa’s hair to Belinda or turned Sampson and the Baron into roommates?
  • Maybe plop one or more of them into a completely different genre or setting?
  • You may even have a real-life hair horror story–Now give it to a character who is your complete opposite.

The possibilities are as numerous as … the hairs on a human head.


Michele E. Reisinger

Michele is a writer and educator living in Bucks County, PA, with her family and never enough books. Her short fiction has appeared in Across the Margin, Stories That Need to be Told, Sunspot Literary Journal, Dreamers Creative Writing, and others. Find her online at mereisinger.com.

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

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Day 26- Like a Wrecking Ball by Brenda Rech

Choose a character to observe this scenario

The Prompt

A wrecking ball is parked in front of a 100-year old building. You are an architect, the wrecking ball operator, or a homeless person? What are your best memories and deepest regrets?


Brenda Rech

Brenda is happily married with two beautiful daughters, three dogs, two cats and a bird named Amy Farrah Fowler. Her flower gardens are forever at the beginner’s stages as she would rather hike with her husband and dogs or explore her writing. Her favorite breakfast is crispy bacon and strawberry jam on white toast. She is currently working on her first novel and has a monthly newsletter ‘Thru the Window’

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

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Day 25- Found In Translation by Carey Marie Shannon

Write a story in which two characters talk different languages

The Prompt

Communication can be one of the greatest challenges of the human race with roughly 7000 spoken languages in the world. Have you ever been in a country where you did not speak the language but needed to find a location or service? Have you ever helped a non-native speaker of the language in your country purchase an item or find the right train? Perhaps the communication resulted in gestures, pointing at an item or drawing pictures to convey a message. Write a story where two characters speak a different language and must communicate for the most part without words. It can be in first person from the point of view of one of the characters. If it helps, draw from your own personal experience(s).


Carey Marie Shannon

Carey Shannon loves to use her writing to make humorous connections between items that may appear completely unrelated. A feat that is easy for a serious Elvis fan and frequent blood donor.
Carey Shannon loves to write about humorous connections between items and subjects in life that may appear to be completely unrelated. A feat that is easy for an Elvis super fan and frequent blood donor. She has been a member of the Story A Day community since 2020 and now hopes to provide some inspiration quirkiness to other writers.

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

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Soaring

How to soar in your writing life…and as a result, the WHOLE of your life.

Listen to the Audio

Watch now

What do you need to do to help you soar in your writing life? Join me for a Lesson in Creative Thermodynamics!

LINKS:

See the illustration and leave a comment on the Lesson In Creative Thermodynamics

Take the 3-Day Challenge

Day 24- Dancing In The Dark by Robin Stein

Write a story inspired by a song

The Prompt

Listen to Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen and watch the video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=129kuDCQtHs You have few options: 1–Write to the music as you are listening. 2–Dance with the music to get you in the spirit before you write. 3–Use the lyrics to spark your story idea.


Robin Stein

Robin Stein lives and writes memoir, poetry and fiction in Newton, MA. She finds inspiration in music and dance. robinsteincreative.org

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

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Day 23- An Unexpected Journey by Fleet Sparrow

Use this as the first line of your story: “Every journey begins with the tears of kings.”

The Prompt

Use this as the first line of your story: “Every journey begins with the tears of kings.”

This can be taken literally as a story about a tragedy that’s befallen a king, or a searing indictment of the crocodile tears rulers use to start wars; or you can use this as a metaphor: instead of an actual physical journey, maybe it’s a journey of the soul.


Fleet Sparrow

Fleet Sparrow is a queer, genderless writer living in the Los Angeles area who makes zir financial living moving freight and zir creative living writing. Perhaps, one day, the twain shall meet.

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

P.S. I haven’t forgotten about the bingo card. If you’re still faithfully filling in your gameboard, snap a picture and send it to me here for a chance to get some real-world mail from me.

Don’t forget, I’ll be reviewing pieces of some of your stories live, tonight at 7 pm Eastern US.

Watch your inbox for a Zoom link about an hour before the call, or you can simply follow along on YouTube

bingo 23
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A Lesson in Creative Thermodynamics

It takes a lot more energy to get off the ground than it does to stay in the air…

My dad joined the Air Training Corps as a teenager because they promised to let him fly a glider. 

(Patriotism? Sure! But also: flying!)

As a kid I thought this sounded very cool. As a grown up (and a mother) my first thought is:

“You want to do what in a plane that has no engine?!”

But there’s a secret to staying in the air in a ‘sailplane’.

The secret is to know that some areas of the ground radiate extra energy in the form of heat. This forces the air upwards.

A skilled pilot in a good glider can find and ‘borrow’ that energy, riding those thermals, to soar for a little longer.

Why should you care about this?

I promise It’s not just me spouting hot air (rim shot!)

As creative people, like glider pilots, we’re always fighting gravity–usually in the form of everyday obligations that demand our time and sap our energy. This is when we can learn something from glider pilots:

Borrow energy to give you a lift.

How do glider pilots find these invisible sources of lift?

It turns out there are clues you can stay alert for.

  • Towns and farms radiate energy in the form of heat that lifts the glider and allows it to soar long after the initial lift.
  • Wetlands and swamps absorb energy, cooling the air and drawing it (and the glider) down.

Wetlands are necessary for continuing life on this planet; but glider pilots need to plan around them, if they want to stay aloft. 

In this metaphor the wetlands are all the parts of our lives that may be essential and beautiful, but don’t support our creativity. (You KNOW the ones I’m talking about.) They’re important. But if you spend all your energy there, you’ll come crashing down.

And it takes a lot more energy to get off the ground than it does to stay in the air.

The Good News

All you need is one good, strong lift to keep your writing life aloft for a while.  

And the more often you chain together those uplifting moments, the longer you get to soar.

You might borrow energy from

  • listening to music you love
  • going to a museum and pondering the work that went into creating those masterpieces;
  • going to the theater or a movie;
  • going for a walk in nature;
  • having a good chat with a friend (bonus points if the friend is pursuing a creative life too);
  • or something else that lifts you up.

What Next?

Live your life.

Do the things you need to do.

But stay alert for opportunities to ride an upward thermal every now and then.

Keep writing,

Julie

What are YOUR creative thermals? What lifts you up and gives you energy? Share in the comments!

Day 22- Growing Stories from Plants by Monique Cuillerier

Write a story inspired by plants

The Prompt

Write a story inspired by a plant.

I love plants, whether they are in pots on my desk, in my community garden plot, or–best of all–growing where they choose outdoors.

Do you have a favourite plant? One that you find particularly fascinating? Or repulsive?

It could be a tree or shrub, a vegetable or a plant known for its flowers, or a so-called ‘weed’.

What does it make you think of? Do you have memories, positive or negative, associated with it? Do you associate it with a favourite food or a terrible rash or a wonderful fragrance?

Think about the texture of the leaves, petals, or bark. How would you describe the smell? What does it taste like?

Use some of these ideas as the basis for your story.

The story could be a fleeting encounter with someone wearing a floral scent you find repulsive. Or a story about a child planting pretty flowers with their grandmother. It could be about the struggles of growing hops in a Martian settlement.

Or maybe your story won’t be about the plant itself at all.


Monique Cuillerier

Monique Cuillerier writes (mostly) science fiction. She lives in Ottawa (Canada) and spends her non-writing time running, knitting, getting angry on Twitter (@MoniqueAC), and (unsurprisingly) gardening. Her work can be found at notwhereilive.ca

day 22 bingo
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Join the discussion: what will you do with today’s prompt OR how did it go? Need support? Post here!

Day 21- Chat to the Future by Julie Duffy

Your character writes a letter to their future self, in today’s StoryADay writing prompt

The Prompt

Sometimes when we are writing characters we forget how much they change, not just in the course of our stories, but in the course of their (fictional) lives.

Today, go back to last week’s story (What If by Leslie Stack) and imagine your character at the moment before everything started to go wrong, before the thing they regret and wished they could fix.

Have that younger version of your character write a letter to their future self, 10 years hence. (Your character might do this because they are given an exercise in a writing class, a leadership seminar, or it could be inspired by hitting a life milestone, a birthday or graduation, or even by reading an article like this: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/apr/22/futureme-email-from-myself-life-advice).

What do they hope for their future self? What can you include (knowing what you know, from that earlier story) that will be bittersweet or amusing or ironic? What do they expect their life to be in 10 years?

And just to keep things interesting, like Wilfred in that link above, keep the letter to 280 words.


Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is the founder & director of StoryADay. She writes stories and used to be famed among her far-flung friends, for writing epic letters. If you’d like to receive electronic letters from her, on the topic of writing, make sure you’re signed up at StoryADay!

day 21 bingo

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

Day 20- Down The Rabbit Hole by Gabrielle Johansen

Write a ‘hermit crab’ story, a story written in the form of someone’s browser history

The Prompt

Tell a story using someone’s browser history. It could be nothing more than a list of sites visited, or perhaps there are a few narrative interludes, but the main goal should be to tell the bulk of the story with the trail of virtual breadcrumbs.


Gabrielle Johansen

Gabrielle Johansen is a fantasy writer from the south, who has gone down many a rabbit hole herself.

day 20 bingo
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Day 19- Recipe for Magic by Carey Shannon

Write a story as a recipe

The Prompt

Create a recipe for a magic potion or elixir using the same format as a cookbook.

You can provide ingredients like fire or the screams of banshees.

Click here for a list of magical elements that may provide some inspiration. T

his could also be a good recipe for a great memory or dream or the perfect evening.


Carey Shannon

Carey Shannon loves to write about humorous connections between items and subjects in life that may appear to be completely unrelated. A feat that is easy for an Elvis super fan and frequent blood donor. She has been a member of the Story A Day community since 2020 and now hopes to provide some inspiration quirkiness to other writers.

day 19 bingo
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I Made A Mistake

I was talking to a writer friend recently and mentioned the Superstars group, in passing.

They said, “I’m taking this business course right now, but when I have time to get back to writing in a couple of years, I’m definitely joining that.”

Did your hair just stand on end, too?

When I have time to get back to writing in a couple of years…

What will that writer have lost in those two years?

  • 730 days of experiences unrecorded, unexamined, unexploited as material for their characters
  • Two years away from finding and developing their voice as a writer
  • Endless months for all the doubts to creep back in and undermine the confidence and certainty they built up when they were making time for writing.

Add your own items here______________

My Big Mistake

When I talked about Superstars yesterday I talked about the ‘stuff’ (the monthly special events, the archive of craft workshops, the hangouts).

But Superstars is not about the stuff.

Superstars is about having a place where you can show up for yourself, as a writer.

It’s about having encouragement to keep your writing going while you do all the other things in your busy life.

Its’ about turning up for a writing sprint once a day, once a week, or once a month (even if it’s not in the live Zoom, but in our Slack workspace – a check-in to say “I’m here. I’m writing!”), so that you don’t go months (years?) without writing. 

So that you don’t keep reading that one more craft book, or taking that one more class, and never actually write anything.

You cannot ‘fall behind’ in Superstars. You can only gain ground.

What Worries Me

I’m scared for my writer friend.

I hope that business course is exiting and profitable. 

I hope the novelty feeds their creative soul.

But I know the writer inside isn’t going away. 

I’m scared that, in a couple of years, my writer friend will be disappointed that they let their writing go…so disappointed that they’re scared to come back to it.

(I may be writing this email as much for myself as for my writer friend and you, by the way!)

Writers who don’t make time for their own writing, struggle to be happy. Because they know they are meant to be writing.

People who say ‘then just do it’ don’t help, because writing is hard and nobody really supports you through it. 

Except for the Superstars. 

Whether they participate a little or a lot, each of them knows they have a place where they will always be welcomed and encouraged as a writer, sometimes by welcoming and supporting others….and this is a source of power in our lives. 

I want you to feel that power. 

My Apology

So I apologize if I made this opportunity sound like yet another obligation to fit into your calendar.

If I did, I hid from you the extraordinary treasures you could be discovering by having a secret island in the midst of life’s turbulent seas, where you can find respite and fuel for the journey.

That’s what the Superstars group is for me and so many others.

Find out more about Superstars

Keep writing,

Julie

PS. When someone else you love wants something — really wants it — you’ll go out of your way to find the resources to make it happen for them. What would change in your life if you were allowed to make that bold move, for yourself?

Day 18 – Overheard and Understood by Julie Duffy

today’s writing prompt invites you to write a short story in an unusual format: an overheard conversation

The Prompt

Write a one-sided conversation.

Tips

Imagine a character listening to one side of a Zoom call.

The person on the call is using headphones, so your character can only hear their words, not the responses.

Imagine a conflict for your two characters (it could be a parent and child, a romantic couple, roommates): Living together has certain stresses and we all need things from the folks we live with. Being in close confines causes conflicts every day, that build over time.

Your character has a problem with the person they live with. Maybe they want more of their time and attention. Maybe they want to leave. Maybe they just want to have a discussion about values.

How could the one-sided conversation they overhear illustrate (or solve, or illuminate the problem?

You could write this in sections – the first section is your character thinking about the problem, or rehearsing what they’re going to say to their housemate.

The second section could be the conversation they overhear. You can include your character’s internal (and external) reactions to what they here, or just leave that section as a block of monologue.

The third section might be showing your character’s actions in the wake of the understanding they have gained from eavesdropping on the conversation.

Don’t forget to include physical senses in some of the story. Where is your person standing? What does the room feel like? What can they smell? What else can they hear (are the floorboards creaking underfoot, as they try to conceal their presence? Or are they tapping on the door and being ignored/unheard? Are they sipping on a coffee or a cocktail? How does it taste?


Julie Duffy

Julie is the host of StoryADay and has been on more than her fair share of Zoom calls even before, you know, 2020. Julie often speaks to writers groups and business groups about creativity, writing, and the art of productivity. If you’d like her to speak to your group, you can find out more here

day 18 bingo
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Join the discussion: what will you do with today’s prompt OR how did it go? Need support? Post here!

P. S. Over on the Fun-Size Challenge I’ve invited people to submit a story for a chance of getting feedback from me on a live call next week. You are also invited to the party. Get all the details.

I’m Obsessed With Your Success

A call to action!

I’m obsessed with helping you write more and feel successful in your writing life (Yes, I was watching the E! Emmy’s red carpet show this week. Thanks for the epithet, Laverne Cox!)

What are you willing to do to become the writer you know you are inside?

LINKS:

Join the Superstars

Day 17- Fan Fic, With a Twist by Brenda Rech

Not your everyday fanfic!

The Prompt

Do a Fanfiction of your favorite or least favorite TV commercial


Brenda Rech

Brenda is happily married with two beautiful daughters, three dogs, two cats and a bird named Amy Farrah Fowler. Her flower gardens are forever at the beginner’s stages as she would rather hike with her husband and dogs or explore her writing. Her favorite breakfast is crispy bacon and strawberry jam on white toast. She is currently working on her first novel and has a monthly newsletter ‘Thru the Window’

day 17 bingo
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Day 16- Make Me Want To Go! by Christina M.

Write a story as a travel brochure

The Prompt

Because of the COVID vaccines, travel is opening up.

Write a story that’s also a travel brochure.

You can write as if it’s a fantasy locale or an Island in Greece or an outer space destination.


Christina M.

Christina is a writer who digs dragons.

Day 16 bingo
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Day 15- Written in the Stars by Marta Pelrine-Bacon

Just for fun, write a story through horoscopes.

The Prompt

Just for fun, write a story through horoscopes.

This could either be a horoscope on a given day for your various characters.

A simplified example is a protagonist’s horoscope that might say, “You’re a curious soul, but be careful who you trust.” And an antagonist’s horoscope that says, “You’re bold and aren’t afraid to get what you want. Don’t let your anger get the better of you.”

But another option could be a series of horoscopes for a given character.

This could be a daily, weekly, or monthly horoscope, which would have “fortunes” for a few days, weeks, or months, respectively.

Horoscope one: The stars say it’s a good time to stay home. Horoscope two: You’ve recently been in an accident. Now is a time to focus on healing. Three: You’ve taken too many risks. Pay more attention to nearby dangers.

You don’t have to know anything about the zodiac to give it a try. Just play around with it.


Marta Pelrine-Bacon

Marta is a writer and artist who drowns her demons in coffee and can’t be trusted with a pen. She has a few stories published (all written during Story-a-Day!) and is currently creating things for her better angels on Patreon.

Day 15 bingo piece
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Day 14- What If? by Leslie Stack

In today’s writing prompt will you grant your character the power to change the past?

The Prompt

“If only I could go back and do it over again, I would…

” How many times have we said that to ourselves?

In JK Rowling’s “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” Hermione Granger had a time turner necklace where she could turn back time to allow her to attend more classes, but more importantly, save two lives.

Whether it’s changing one seemingly small decision or a whole lifetime of decisions, there is usually one thing that we would change if we could.

Something that would make a difference in just one life or many more.

What is your character’s one thing?


Leslie Stack

Leslie Stack is a writer, musician, camper, and teacher who loves being on the water or in a museum. You can usually find her doing research behind dark glasses on a park bench. She lives in a house in Pennsylvania with her husband where the books are plotting a takeover.

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Day 13- Channel your Inner Dr Dolittle by Carey Shannon

Write a story in whcih a character talks to an animal

The Prompt

Dr. Dolittle author Hugh Lofting showed the magic of communicating with animals through his series of children’s books.

The relationship between animals and humans can range from affection to terror.

As pets, animals can sometimes be our greatest confidantes and comforters.

In the wilds of a forest or jungle, they can be our greatest enemy.

Write a story where a person speaks to an animal as if they were another person.

  • Does the animal respond with grunts, growls or by scratching the ground?
  • How does the person interpret the nonverbal responses of the animal?
  • Some ideas include a person confiding a secret to their cat or someone crying to their dog after a bad day at work.
  • A person could also plead with a bear or tiger for their life.
  • There is always the hunter and the hunted.
  • A human could also help an animal in distress or vice versa.

Mystical animals like dragons and unicorns are welcome.


Carey Shannon

Carey Shannon loves to use her writing to make humorous connections between items that may appear completely unrelated. A feat that is easy for a serious Elvis fan and frequent blood donor.
Carey Shannon loves to write about humorous connections between items and subjects in life that may appear to be completely unrelated. A feat that is easy for an Elvis super fan and frequent blood donor. She has been a member of the Story A Day community since 2020 and now hopes to provide some inspiration quirkiness to other writers.

Here’s your next Bingo Piece. Download the pic, print it out and paste it onto your bingo sheet. Then share a picture of it on social media with #storyadaybingo

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

Day 12- What Are We Masking? by Gabrielle Johansen

In today’s writing prompt, is your character’s outward appearances showing us the truth or is it masking something else?

The Prompt

Write a story about a person wearing a black mask with the slogan, “NOT TODAY, SATAN” in white print, all caps.


StoryADay Bingo Day 12

Gabrielle Johansen

Gabrielle Johansen is a fantasy writer who wishes she had a magic wand.

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

Day 11- Play with Perspective & Time by Neha Mediratta

One of the joys of writing is to create characters that can ‘see’ what has come in the way of what they want.

The Prompt

“I twisted my ankle and hobbled about for a decade. After years of doctor’s visits, therapy sessions, medications, this and that, I came to believe that I’d been cursed and would likely limp to my grave. Until I met you, I didn’t know curses could turn into blessings.”

Use this line anywhere in a short story of about 1500 words.

Might help to brainstorm a few things like: Who would say this? To whom? a mentor? a child? a magician? a stranger on a train? a turtle? a millionaire who’s about to be murdered or a pauper who’s about to get rich?

Reflect on a time when something happened that you thought was the worst thing ever, only to find out later that it was not so bad. In fact, as time went by, it seemed the best thing to have happened.

One of the joys of writing is to create characters that can ‘see’ what has come in the way of what they want. Oftentimes, it is an aspect of themselves, not merely the forces around, that throws them into chaos, pulling them away from the very thing they desire.

As a writer, you have the power to enable readers to map this type of ‘seeing’. Readers walk away from your work not only entertained, but subtly equipped with a new way of looking at their own lives.

StoryADay Bingo Day 11
Here’s your next Bingo Piece. Download the pic, print it out and paste it onto your bingo sheet. Then share a picture of it on social media with #storyadaybingo

Neha Mediratta

Neha is a generalist currently obsessed with stretching, mind-body-world connection and the spirit’s dwelling place. She writes fiction, non-fiction, takes on editing assignments she enjoys and works with people she admires. She lives by a lake in an overcrowded coastal city with her family and some wildlife. Check out her writing here: https://www.amazon.com/Neha-Mediratta/e/B08CJSLD2H

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Day 10- Stick With Me by Julie Duffy

Writing in the present tense provides immediacy, as this writing prompts, and its tips, demonstrate

The Prompt

Tell a story in the present tense that starts when your character enters a new environment and ends when they exit.

This story could be a single episode from a larger quest, that illuminates something about your character (useful for those of you who have a longer work-in-progress on the go), or it could be a standalone story.

I’m encouraging you to tell the story in the present tense because it makes the story so much more immediate AND leaves the possibility open for absolutely anything to happen at the end of the story.

Want your character to drift off into space uncertain of their fate? Want them to die at the end? Want to keep the reader on the edge of their seat? These things are all easier to pull off when your story is in the present tense.

If you start your story “I’m walking down the middle of the road, traffic roaring past in both directions on either side of me, pulling the folds of my long gown this way and that, like hands grabbing at my dress…” the reader has no idea if this character is going to survive or not.

If the same story was told in the past tense, (“I was walking down the middle of the road…”) there is an implied ‘later’, an older version of the character who survives to tell us the story.

You don’t have to be out to murder your character, to use this perspective, but it can be very useful in stories where you want to ratchet up the suspense and the sense that anything could happen.

It’s also good practice to mix up our natural inclinations from time to time.

If you’re feeling resistance to any of these ideas, remember: I’ve lost count of the number of writers who told me they hated (HATED) a particular prompt, and write to it anyway, only to have it turn out to be the most interesting (and often published) story they wrote that year.

StoryADay Bingo Day 10
Here’s your Bingo token

Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is typing this prompt on an ergonomic keyboard. The large maple tree outside her window is being buffeted by spring storms, reaching its branches towards her windows as if it wants to come inside. Wait, what was that noise?

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Day 9- First To Third by Julie Duffy

This StoryADay writing prompt encourages you to try an older story from a new poing of view

The Prompt

Re-write yesterday’s story, in a different point-of view.

Keep the same protagonist, but take us into a different voice.

Where, yesterday, you might have written, “I slammed the door as I left, hearing a muffled ‘hey!’ from behind it. But seriously, how could he have said such a thing, and expected me to stay?” today you might write it from the third-person, limited point of view, which would read like this: “she slammed the door as she left, hearing a muffled ‘Get back here!’ from behind it. But seriously, how could he have said such a thing and expected her to stay?”

Notice how similar third-person limited is to first person? We’re still experiencing the thoughts of only one person. We are very closely aligned with their thoughts and feelings. We don’t need the writer to say ‘she thought’, because it’s always clear whose thoughts we are in.

The advantage of third person is that you can use a line break to indicate a perspective shift and hop inside another character’s head.

“She slammed the door as she left.”
#
The walls shook as the door hit the frame. He yelped with a surprise that quickly turned to anger. Half out of his chair, he yelled “Get back here”. The only answer was the click of her heels on the wood of the stairs and the echoing slam of the front door. A wave of shame pushed him back into the sagging armchair. How could have have said those things to her and expected her to stay?
#
The air outside was icy and cut into her lungs like broken glass. Where would she go now? Surely anywhere was better than here. Fresh snow crunched under the ridiculous heels he had insisted she always wear …

You can stay in one person’s perspective or jump around, just remember, which ever head you’re in, that’s the one the reader will identify most closely with. It’s best not to jump around too much and leave your reader seasick!


Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy likes to write in first person but appreciates the opportunities afforded by third. If she is being honest, what she really loves is a really well done third-person omniscient story as employed by Messers Dickens and Pratchett. You can read more StoryADay Point of View writing prompts here.

StoryADay Bingo day 9
Here’s your bingo piece!

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Day 8- Keeping it Personal by Julie Duffy

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

The Prompt

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

TIPS

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.

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