Hooray, you’ve made it to Saturday. I hope you’re one of those lucky people for whom Saturday means a break from the regular responsibilities of the week. But likely you’re not. So: tough. We’re writers and we write whether we’re on ‘vacation’ from real life or not 😉
Today we’re striking a happy medium between the lengths of story we’ve played with already.
Write A Story of 640 Words
This is about the length of a newspaper column (remember them?). Enough room to tell a story but not much room for florid language.
Pay attention as you write, to how long it’s taking you to write, on average. This will help you set realistic goals about how much time you really need to set aside to produce good creative work.
Pay attention to your writing style as you write today. Which length of story has felt more comfortable to you?
Make sure you finish all your stories this week. Even if you have to write “[FILL IN DETAILS HERE LATER]”, try to get to the end of the story every time. Have you been finishing your stories? What has this taught you about getting to the meat of the story quickly?
Imagine your protagonist has just opened a large magnetic poetry kit. Which words call to him/her? Will s/he put these words on the refrigerator in a random scattering or compose a sentence? Share your words and sentences here.
If you don’t have a magnetic poetry set (what?!) you can play online
You can write a whole story based on the words you select or you can show the scene where they select words.
To kick off our 5th Year of writing a StoryADay in May, I have a special treat for you: a guest prompt from the fabulous Neil Gaiman.
On the day I contacted him he was, sadly for him, stuck in an airport. The prompt he suggested for us was pretty heartfelt:
The Prompt from Neil Gaiman
This is a wide-open prompt. You could use it to write tragedy, comedy, satire, slapstick, sci-fi, fantasy, realistic fiction….anything you want.
Think of a character desperate to get home. What is stopping them? What is their most basic reaction? (Frustration is a wonderful way to strip away a character’s layers and show us what they are like at their core. In Mr Gaiman’s case I would suggest that he is basically a generous and decent human being. Instead of responding to my request, he could just as easily have cursed, deleted my email and put me on a list of spammers… What will your character do?)
For the first day of StoryADay May I always suggest writing a really short story. It’s a great way to warm up, and it’s all too easy to get lost in the beginning of a story and find yourself heading into a 3,000 word behemoth. You’ll never be able to sustain that pace for the whole month, so start small. Start with a victory.
Aim to write no more than 1200 words. That gives you 300 words to establish the scene and your character, 700 words to make things happen, complicate things, create a crisis/climax, and 200 words to wrap it all up.
When you finish your story today, leave a comment below, or join the Victory Dance group in the community and share you thoughts about the first day, there. (Haven’t joined the community yet? Join here
Thanks again, Mr Gaiman. I hope you got home all right…
Writing a story a day for a month is a crazy endeavour, but one that hundreds of writers have signed up for every May since 2010. During month of courageous creativity, writers learn how to write every day (not ‘someday’), how to craft a story, how to write in different forms, how to fail and dust themselves off, and write again.
Are you ready to join them?
The StoryADay Month of Writing Prompts book shares the daily writing prompts for StoryADay May 2014: 31 writing prompts, meditations, lessons and pep talks to accompany on your journey to becoming a more prolific, creative and fulfilled writer. Use these prompts during the StoryADay challenge, or any time you need a creativity boost.
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