[Write On Wednesday] Weird Little Customs

Culture infuses everything about our world, so ‘world-building’ is an important part of our writing. Today’s prompt encourages you to build a story around a cultural oddity.

Image: gangster in a  police lineup
Man dressed as a 1920s ganster in police line up

The Prompt

Think about a cultural norm in the world of your story and explore its ramifications for your characters.

Tips

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Write On Wednesday – The Missing Package

The Prompt: Write the story of an inanimate object.

This prompt was inspired by a conversation with a StoryADay Superstar who had been waiting for a package to arrive for weeks. We speculated about what it had been up to on its travels, and now it’s your turn.

The Prompt

Write the story of an inanimate object

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] Nostalgia Foods

The Prompt: Write a story with a pivotal scene where your a character tastes a food they haven’t tasted since childhood.

The Prompt

Write a story with a pivotal scene where your a character tastes a food they haven’t tasted since childhood.

Tips

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[Reading Room] How The Trick Is Done by A. C. Wise

I liked this a lot.

It managed to be about magic and death and unrequited love and #metoo and revenge and yet have a lightness and beauty that I often find missing in modern stories, and which is hard to pull off with those themes.

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Reach Your Writing Goals For Real, This Time!

It’s not too late to meet some of your goals for 2020 (or some minimum viable version of that goal).

This article is a companion to the podcast episode 193 – Getting From Here To There

Last Minute End of Year Tasks

  • Take an inventory of everything you’ve written in your life and see if you can repurpose/finish/abandon any of it.
  • Finish a single story
  • Send out a single story
  • Send a story out with holiday greetings

Remember: “At least I did that one thing” feels so much better than “I couldn’t even do …”

Getting From Here To There

Looking back at the past year might bring in some fear, guilt or pain because of what you didnt’ achievel.

And that’s fine….as long as you don’t stay there.

Goal setting is seductive and fun because it allows us to live in that shiny place in the future where we’ve overcome all our shortcomings.

The bit in the middle, however, is the tricky part.

Here’s what I’ve learned this year: change is uncomfortable. It’s supposed to be. And it’s ok.

Intellectual Vs Emotional Change

When we set goals and want to make changes, we know, intellectually that there are several steps we need to take.

HOWEVER…

Without a strong emotional story about WHY we are doing it, it’s much, much harder to get through that uncomfortable part in the middle. It’s much more comfortable to scurry back to the way we’ve always done things (of course it is!).

To make meaningful changes, you need to embrace the ugliness of the times you’ve failed in the past, and the emotional reason you want to move forward to a bright, new shiny place.

Use the StoryADay Annual Review Bundle to help you write that emotional story about each goal you set this year AND keep track of your motivation and progress throughout the year.

In the bundle:

Annual Goals Overview Worksheet (set your motto and top goals for the year)

PACE Yourself Worksheet (for each individual goal – with emotions! Listen to this podcast episode to learn how to use it best)

Serious Writer’s Accountability Group monthly worksheet

Triumphs Tracker (log your successes throughout the year)

If you’re the kind of person who’s stopped setting goals because you never meet them, let’s figure out why!

Use these planners to

  • Connect emotionally with the goals you’re setting
  • Build in some room for the other stuff in your life that will inevitably impinge on your writing time
  • Create regular check-ins with yourself and others
  • Remember to celebrate every win, no matter how tiny.

And more of all, keep writing!

Julie's signature

[Write On Wednesday] Mirror Moment

This time last year I wrote about middles with the aim of helping you master your mindset. 

This year I’m thinking more about the actual writing: how to write the middle of a story.

The inspiration for this prompt is unashamedly borrowed from James Scott Bell’s immensely readable ebook Write Your Novel From The Middle.  It’s well worth the few dollars to pick up a copy of this book. 

Even if you don’t have your copy yet, you can use Bell’s revelation that the middle of a story often involves a moment of introspection, to strengthen your short story writing today.

The Prompt

Write a literal or figurative Mirror Moment into the middle of your story.

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] Nose To Nose

All the prompts this month are designed to stand alone or support your novel habit! Use them to spark standalone stories or to unstick your work-in-progress.

Just because it’s short doesn’t mean a story can’t be complex.

Zao Fox Village, Shiroishi-shi, Japan

The Prompt

Write a story in which the protagonist and antagonist are two sides of the same coin.

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] Test Your Premise

This month’s writing prompts all acknowledge the fact that November belongs to novelists. Whether you write longer fiction or you don’t you can use this month’s prompts to nudge you forward in your writing practice.

bottle on a beach short story spark from StoryADay
Photo by Vova Drozdey on Unsplash

The Prompt

Take an idea you have thought “I could write a novel about that” and test it as a short story

Tips

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Should You Sign Up for that course or challenge?

I love a writing challenge. I love NaNoWriMo. I’ve taken part several times and learned a ton. It even inspired me to start StoryADay (you can read about the day I met NaNo founder Chris Baty!)

But every October the Writing-Internet becomes so obsessed with NaNoWriMo that it almost feels like you have to take part or you’re not a ‘real writer’.

In reality it’s not for everyone.

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20 Short Stories That Will Make You A Better Writer

Don’t try to write short stories without reading some. Here are 10 modern and 10 classic stories to get you started.

Reading in front of the fire

Chosen by members of the StoryADay Superstars community

  • Perhaps you want to write short stories because novels seem overwhelming.
  • Perhaps you’ve been told that you ought to start with short stories.
  • Perhaps you read a short story you loved and thought “I want to do that!”

The rules for novels and movies don’t apply to short stories. Part of the fun of short story writing is that the form is so flexible.But how would you know that if you’re not reading them?.

Here are 20 great short stories you should read, suggestesd by the StoryADay community.

Each story is either a classic or one that stuck in the reader’s head for years.

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