What is Your Legacy, As A Writer – Episode 253

Writers don’t just write for themselves, we write to be read, and with that we leave a legacy. in this episode I tell the story of two writers who left an impact on me, and invite you to think about your legacy

LINKS:
The 3-Day Challenge – https://storyaday.org/3dc
I, WRITER Waitlist – https://stada.me/iwriter

Music credits: Alan McPike, https://standardstrax.com/
Video credit: (Tony Conaway) Gary Zenker, Main Line Writers’ Group (full video https://youtu.be/1R0rqla54hk)

Your Winner’s Certificate May 2022

Reward yourself!

You’ve put in the hard work and now you get to reward yourself with a snazzy certificiate.

And yes, you can award yourself this certificate if you ‘completed’ the challenge in any way that made sense to you (no need to have shown up every day, if that was not your personal challenge)

Congratulations and I look forward to seeing what’s next in your writing journey.

And if you really want to celebrate, treat yourself to some winner’s swag!

Keep writing,

Julie's signature
Julie Duffy, Founder & Director, StoryADay

Day 31 – 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 30 – Love

My personal theme for my StoryADay Challenge stories this year was ‘love’. It didn’t always work out, but let’s give it another shot today…

The Prompt

Write A Love Story

There are many types of love, and it manifests in as many ways as there are humans in the world (and imagined humans in our stories).

You can write a romance if you must, but I’m going to encourage you to write a story that shows us an act of love more unexpected than that.

It might be:

  • the love between a grandparent and a grandchild
  • A love that shows up in actions, not words
  • A friendship that picks up after years apart

Remember to show us what’s happening in your story. Paint me a picture. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me feeeeeel the lurrrve.

Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is a hopeless romantic in all senses of the world. A cock-eyed optimist, and a writer who loves stories that paint the world we want, not just the one we have. Invite her onto your podcast to talk about how stories change hearts and save the world.

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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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

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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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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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Three Ways Writers Connect

This week I bring you three stories from the writing world that bust the myth of the lone genius writer

Episode 252 – This week I bring you three stories from the writing world that bust the myth of the lone genius writer (now, doesn’t that make you feel better).

LINKS

Sign up for the free Your Writing Life Masterclass now: Join the free Your Writing Life class from StoryADay


Orget started on a mini challenge with the StoryADay 3-Day Challenge 

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.

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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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.

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

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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
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
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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.

Bingo!

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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.

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 – 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!

Bingo!

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

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!