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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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
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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.

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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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Day 7- Fourth Grade Spelling List by Julie Duffy

Cram all these words into a story, and tell your inner editor to hush…in today’s StoryADay Writing Prompt

The Prompt

Use these words in a story:
poison
kingdom
keyboard
castle
garbage
vocal
syllables
seventy
mountain
return

In the past I’ve used spelling word lists from my own children’s 3rd Grade (https://storyaday.org/write-on-wednesday-third-grade-word-list/) homework. Sadly, those children are way too tall for spelling homework anymore (and let autocorrect do most of the work for them), so I’m upgrading you to a spelling list for Fourth Graders that I found online.

What is the point of writing a story from such a silly prompt, I hear you ask?

The point is that it is silly.

As soon as you start to practice your writing consistently, the voices in your head begin: “You must write something good if you’re going to spend this much time alone with your imaginary friends. You must justify your time by writing deathless prose that will win awards, and you must do it now.”

And those voices are the ones that will block you, stall you, send you running from your desk not to reappear for months or even years.

Today’s writing prompt encourages you to lower the bar.

Today’s triumph is that you manage to write something — anything — that resembles a story and contains these words.

Simply writing, is your goal, today. Not writing something good. Just writing.

Have a go. You might even like it!


Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is the founder of StoryADay and takes silliness very seriously.

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Day – 6 Flash Fiction Friday

Psst! If you’re getting tired and losing steam, pop over to the comments of yesterday’s Fun-Size Challenge, where people are working through the early parts of the Short Story Framework and getting excited about their ideas. It’s quite infectious.

Why not pull out the Short Story Framework and use it to help plan today’s story?

The Prompt

Write a flash fiction story that involves a flash of light

Tips

Realistically, most of the stories you write this month will be Flash Fiction in length (anything up to around 1200 words), but today I want you to focus on making it vivid, the way great flash should be.

Flash Fiction is about more than word count. It is deliberately taut, and yes, short. It should contain one or two vivid moments or images that stay with the reader long after they’ve gone.

Write your story of 1200 words today, and work on making it flash.

Read the StoryADay Flash Fiction Essentials if you need more inspiration.

FLASH FICTION FURTHER READING

Steve Almond, Stop

Erin Morgenstern, The Cat and The Fiddle

Ariel Berry, Useless Things

Naomi Kritzer, Paradox

Josh McColough, Meteor

Jennifer Wortman, Theories of the Point of View Shift in AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’

Rachel Engelman, Joan of Arc Sits Naked In Her Dorm Room

Julie Duffy, The Girl Who Circumnavigated The Earth In An Act of Her Own Making

GO! Need support? Post here!

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Day 5- Spell It Out by Carey Shannon

Write a prose poem/story as an acrostic

Psst! Are you keeping up with your bingo card? If you post a pic of your card on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter with 7 pieces filled in this Saturday, I’ll enter you in a drawing and you might get a personalized piece of mail from me! Use #storyadaybingo so I can find it.


Don’t use social media? Post here and pinkie-swear you’ve filled in all the boxes for this week, and I’ll enter you anyway.

The Prompt

Write an Acrostic prose poem for a person, place or thing you encounter in your daily life. An acrostic is where the first letter of each line must spell out the subject of the poem. An acrostic can be beautiful or sentimental like ROSE, Regal bloom, Omen of love and beauty, Scent of heaven, Enigma of youth. Or it can be a silly take on an existing abbreviation or acronym. S.O.S. Society of Sissy’s. or UFO – Universal Freak Organization. Be as serious as you want or have fun with it!


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.

Bingo!

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Day 4- The 40 Minute Retelling by Julie Duffy

Set your timer…today’s StoryADay writing prompt forces you to focus!

The Prompt

Set a timer for 40 minutes and then retell a story that you know well.

Tips

The story might be a fairy story or fable, or perhaps you just wish that series you watched had a better finale, and you fancy rewriting the last half of that episode. (Remember, fanfic is fine as long as you’re not selling someone else’s ideas and characters as your own!)

To write a 40-minute story, I propose this timeline (and I’m serious)


  • 0-5 minutes: use the Short Story Framework to brainstorm your character and their need, and the first action they will take to move towards it.
  • 5-15 mins: Write the opening of your story based on those notes
  • 15-35 mins: brainstorm and write 1-2 ‘and because of that’ actions your character takes, which take them towards the conclusion of the story.
  • 35-40 mins: write a quick ending when you have answered the question of whether or not the character gets what they wanted.
  • 40-43:20: do a victory dance (seriously, put on some happy music and dance around your room. Celebrating your wins is important!)

This week, you might have noticed, all the prompts have built-in limits.
There’s a reason for that.

Historically, writers get very excited in the first week of StoryADay, and that leads them to get a bit over-ambitious. Stories start to balloon into novel ideas, and it’s hard to finish a story like that every day. With so many ideas lying around unfinished, it’s an invitation to burn out.

So, in recent years, I always start the challenge by pulling back on the reins a little, and asking you to enjoy the creativity that comes from limiting the possibilities for your daily writing practice.


Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is a writer and founded StoryADay in 2010. She finds it very easy to get lost in her writing. She maintains that nothing in her life would get done without timers and calendar alerts. Her husband agrees.

Bingo!

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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 3- Limit Spaces by Megan Alongi

The Prompt

Write a scene in which your character’s physical space is smaller than usual.

Tips

Maybe the scene will take place in a vehicle.

Perhaps place a limit to one particular room in a house.

A whole dramatic scene could be set in an elevator.

Limits on physical space could be as large as one planet in a solar system or as small as one fairy treehouse.


Megan Alongi

Megan is a writer who lives in New Jersey.

Bingo!

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make sure you set your printer to print this at original size, not full-page!

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!

StoryADay September 2022 is Coming

Despite our fantasies of a life that allows us to write all day in a library-like spare room…most of us are writing in the margins of life. And that’s OK. But we need support if we are to pursue this writing life.

Sometimes that support comes in the form of a challenge.

This year I am doing a short short-story challenge: from September 10th to September 17th and the reason for this is: I have both feet firmly planted in the real world, and I would like you to join me here.

Whether you are looking for:

  • a creative kickstart after finishing a larger project
  • accountability so that you can live up to your own expectations
  • the excitement of getting back in the saddle again after a busy season of life
  • A structured schedule to help you get un-stuck on a particular writing technique,

The StoryADay Fun-Size challenge may be just what you need.

The Challenge runs from Sept 10-17, with daily tasks that will walk you through the process of writing a single story. There will be daily emails and some special events too…and it’s all no cost: my gift to you because the world needs more stories and your voice matters.

Sign up today and I’ll send you my Story Sparks Workbook so you can get start collecting the raw materials of your next story between now and the start of the challenge.

(May writers have told me this was the start of a habit they’ve continued for years, meaning they’re always ready with ideas when they make time to write!)

Register for the Sept 2022 Fun-Size Challenge

Keep writing,

Julie

P. S. Accountability is powerful. Even after all these years, I still need stuff like this. This morning I came thisclose to signing up for a $895 writing course that would teach me nothing-I-don’t-already-know but that would have provided some structure to help me finish a project. The StoryADay Fun-Size Challenge is a much better deal 😉 Have questions? Hit ‘reply’!

Day 2- New Words on an Old Theme by Julie Duffy

Today’s writing prompt encourages you to keep things short

The Prompt

Write a 100 word story inspired by an aphorism

Tips

Remember: the prompts are only here as inspiration if you need them. Some people decide to write to all the prompts no matter what (to force themselves to stretch), but you can play any way you want!

Writing a 100 word story is a wonderful way to warm up and get some writing done even on a day when you are busy. It’s not necessarily faster to craft a 100 word story than it is to dash off 1200 words, but it is incredibly satisfying, and it sharpens your word-choice skills.

Today I’m going to suggest that you choose an aphorism or proverb to inspire you story (here’s a handy collection).

You’ll need to choose a character who embodies (or defies) the message of the aphorism, pop them in a situation where they can take an action and, ideally, give us an idea of how they are changing through their experience.

100 words isn’t a lot, but I believe in you!

If you need some inspiration here is a site full of 100 word stories.


Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is the Founder and Director of StoryADay.org. She began thus challenge in 2010 and is proud to have encouraged thousands of writers, since then. She never tires of hearing from writers whose StoryADay drafts turn into published stories, or gifts for friends, or other forms of art, so do please keep in touch!

Bingo!

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make sure you set your printer to print this at original size, not full-page!

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

Remember: I don’t recommend posting your story in the comments here (and I talk more about why not, here). Best practice: Leave us a comment about how it went, or share your favorite line from your story.



SWAGr for September 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 1- Opposites Attract (Readers) by Julie Duffy

A writing prompt that focuses on a limited set of characters and locations, so you can start and finish your short story with success

Welcome to Day 1 of StoryADay 2022!

I’m sure you’re nervous and excited and eager to get on with it, so I’ll just say good luck, be good to yourself, never worry that you’re ‘failing’ because someone is doing something different from you (are you writing at all? Then you’re learning what you need to know!).

Keep reading to the end to find out what to do with that Bingo Sheet..

The Prompt

Write a story with 2 characters eating a meal together, who want different things

Tips

Limiting the setting and the number of characters is a quick’n’dirty way to keep your story from growing into the opening of a novel (not guaranteed, but…).

With two characters and one setting (a meal table) you are limited to focusing on these characters.


You can write this as a dialogue or allow the characters’ phsyical reactions tell the reader what they are feeling and thinking (how the character fidgets in their seat, what they pick up and put down, what they look at).
Remember that even if the characters want two different things, they will both believe they are right and have valid reasons for wanting what they want.

(They may even want the same thing, but have different approaches to achieving the goal: i. e. they want to keep their child safe, but for one that means letting them go on the school field trip with their friends, for the other, it might mean keeping them at home, away from physical danger).


Remember that people are rarely clear on what they want (or why they want it) so a conversation between two people gets messy quickly. Play with that.


Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is a writer and the founder and director of StoryADay. When not working on her own writing or hanging out with the fine folks at StoryADay, she can be found playing board games, or music, or finding a quiet corner in which to read and/or knit. She looks forward to traveling again.

Bingo Pieces

make sure you set your printer to print this at original size, not full-page!

Here’s your first 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

I know, 31 days of this is going to be a lot of wasted paper, but you can use the scraps as book marks, places to catch story sparks, opportunities for origami…and more

Or you can use your fave image editing software to add layers to this image.

But I think rewarding yourself every day with a bit of scissors-and-glue hands-on crafting, is a much better idea!

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


Please note, I do not recommend posting your whole story in the comments here, for various reasons. Best Practice ; post about your experience of writing the story, or share an excerpt.

Out of Order

StoryADay September is coming! What’s it going to look like, this year? Tune in and find out.

PLUS I got some great advice this week on how to write a sequence that was stalling me. I’ll share it in this episode.

LINKS

Sept Challenge: https://storyaday.org/fun-size

StoryAWeek Newsletter: https://storyaday.org/storyaweek