Watch Your Tone

Look back at your stories from this month and see which tone comes most naturally to you…

Continuing the journey of discovering what comes naturally to you and harnessing that.

The prompt

Story focusing on one consistent tone

Tips

  • Pick a book from your bookshelf. Read the first page. You should be able to tell what kind of tone the entire book is going to have, from that first page. Is it going to be spooky? Is it going to be funny? Is it going to be poetic and lyrical?

  • Look back at your stories from this month and see which tone comes most naturally to you. It may not be the one you expect. A lot of people think they’re going to write “serious” fiction and find out that instead, they’re hilarious. And sometimes it works in reverse, too.

  • Pick the tone that came most naturally, even if it surprised you. Consciously write a story today using that tone.

  • Don’t forget to give us a character to root for, an interesting setting, and a problem that conflicts with the character’s deepest desires.

  • Don’t forget to finish!

Leave a comment to tell us what you discovered about your best tone. Or, ask for help if you need figure if you need help figuring this out.

Finding Your Voice

Silence all the critics in your head telling you you should be writing some other way…

You been writing for three weeks you have a good body of work under your belt. Now is the time to pause, see what you learned, and start focusing on your strengths.

The prompt

Write a story in the voice that came most easily to you this month.

Tips

  • Take a look back at the stories you’ve written this month. Which story came easiest?
  • Let’s try to replicate that today.
  • Take something from that story—the character, or the universe, or something about the styling which was written.
  • Give your character a new setting, or a new problem. Or introduce a new character in the same universe.
  • Do whatever it takes to re-create the voice of that story. Silence all the critics in your head telling you you shouldn’t be writing this way. Don’t let them say you should be writing some other style, or in some other genre, or more seriously, or less seriously. Today is all about writing what you are best at, the voice that only you can write.

Leave a comment to let us know what you discovered about your writing and your voice this month, and what you wrote today. And remember, if you’re enjoying these prompts please share them.

A Classic Story-Starter

Today I’m giving you a classic “story-starter” prompt. I really don’t do this much, do I?!

The Prompt

Begin your story with the line: “Huh!” He said. “I never would have thought that would fit in there…”

Tips

  • You can go pretty much anywhere with this one.
  • That’s all I’ve got.

Leave a comment to tell us where YOU went, with this prompt. I’m dying to know!

Write A FanFic Story

More ways for you to steal ideas, as we continue Rescue Week here at StoryADay

The Prompt

Write a Fan Fiction Story

  • While you can’t legally use somebody else’s world and characters to write a story and publish it, nothing is stopping you from writing stories for your own pleasure inspired by someone else’s universes.
  • There is no limits to what you can do here. Pick a story or character you feel doesn’t get enough air time in your favorite show.
  • Change the ending to the series that you love.
  • Write the untold story of what came before we first meet character.
  • Tell whatever story is going to give you the most pleasure.
  • There are lots of places online where people share fanfic (sometimes with the creators’ blessings, sometimes not so much), so you could go and read something and get some idea. However, this is a rabbit hole I’m not sure you want to go down during the StoryADay challenge. Not to mention the fact that some of it gets quite saucy!
  • Use all of the tricks you’ve learned about storytelling to play with characters you already love you. Spend some time with them using your talents and your skills along with the knowledge you have amassed by watching/reading about them.
  • Think about how you can provide shortcuts and clues that let readers who don’t necessarily know the character catch up. Don’t waste time on backstory unless that’s the story you’re telling. Don’t forget to add in emotion and conflict.
  • It can be easy to get carried away writing about your favorite characters. Don’t forget to builds to a climax resolve the crisis to finish the story.

Leave a comment letting us know what you wrote about today and how it’s going. And don’t forget, if you like these prompts, share them!

ReTelling A Folk Or Fairy Tale

This is one of my favorite prompts of all time!

The prompt

Re-write a fairytale

  • TYou can find source material in Grimm’s fairytales, in collections of folktales, Aesops Fables, collections of regional tales, all kinds of places… Your own culture has fairytales. Your own family has “fables” that they tell. Steal without remorse. (Just remember if it’s not in the public domain you get into the messy territory of derivative rights and copyright law…)
  • You can retell the story from the perspective of a side character.
  • You can modernize the story.
  • You can twist the fairytale and give it a completely different ending.
  • Use any genre for this. A Cinderella story with a happy ending featuring a trans-woman? Go for it! Rumpelstiltskin, as Nick Sparks-style uplifting tale where the goblin is really a good-hearted social worker who saves the kids from a grim fate with their terrible parent? Sure! Want to turn the story of Beauty and The Beast into a modern-day slasher-pic? Be our guest!

Leave a comment telling us what source material you picked, what you did with it, and how it went. Or just post and let us cheer you on, if you’re flagging; celebrate with you if you’re still writing; applaud you if you’re getting back on the horse!

Inspired By Real Events

There’s nothing quite like real life for providing weird and wonderful story ideas.

The prompt

Write a story ripped from the headlines

  • You can use your favorite new source or go to the front page of Wikipedia to grab a headline from the modern-day or from this day in history
  • Media outlets often have that little “duck on a skateboard” moment at the end of newscasts or sometimes they call it Also In The News. These are wonderful sources for wacky, quirky stories.
  • Remember, however: fiction has to make more sense than real life!
  • Read for 5 to 10 minutes, until you find something that piques your interest even a little. Imagine how that would play out in fiction.
  • Resist the temptation to spend too long reading.
  • Try to pick a story that touches on issues you already care about. If you can imagine yourself getting into a Facebook fight with semi-friends over an issue, that’s a good sign that you could sustain your interest for the length of a short story. (In fact, why not plan to write a story specifically to annoy That Guy In Your Facebook Feed? You don’t have to post it anywhere!)

Leave a comment letting us know what you wrote about today. Did you find a fun headline or topic. Share it below! If you didn’t write to this prompt, what did you write and how is it going?

Twitter-Length Fiction

Remember: even when you write a story this tiny, you are training your creative brain…

Today’s story will not be as quick as you think it is, but it’s still a great way to rescue your writing streak.

The prompt

Write a Twitter story

  • Twitter fiction must fit into only 140 characters.
  • You do not have to have a Twitter account, nor do you have to post this on Twitter. You’re simply writing a story that could, hypothetically, fit in a Twitter post.
  • 140 characters is not much, but you can use a compelling situation to give us an idea of the characters who might be involved. Many super-short stories involve a little twist, or a surprising change of perspective in the last few words.
  • To avoid a predictable twist, make your opening lines as ambiguous as possible. Provide clarity in the last clause.
  • Don’t be afraid to use hackneyed or clichéd plots for this exercise. Do try to make sure that you add something truly original to it. Think of things you really care about. Things only you could write about, in only your voice.
  • Make sure you allow some time to edit and find the story. It’s not as quick exercises might think it is.
  • Think of this like writing haiku if it helps.
  • You can use this prompt any day you need to rescue your writings.
  • Remember: even when you write a story this tiny, you are training your creative brain. You have still found ideas, created a character, introduced complications, crafted a story arc and written to the end. Doing that every day for a month, is a powerful affirmation of your creativity; support of the priority you give your writing; and a tough exercise in wordsmithing. Pat yourself not the back for writing a story today.

Leave a comment to let us know how you got on with this tiny, terrible challenge. Did you write super-short? Did you ignore my suggestion and write an epic? How’s it going? Let us know!

Rewrite A Story From Week One

Good news! You don’t have to get a whole new idea today…

This is the first of your Rescue Week prompts!

Prompts

Rewrite your First Person story from Week One

  • Try writing a story from a different in a different point of view. You could use third person limited, in which you can still only understand ‘hear’ the thoughts of the main character but which gives you greater flexibility. Or you could use use third person omniscient, which lets you head hop (just remember to limit that to places where you jump between scenes).
  • If you’re having trouble remembering what Third Person, Limited sounds like, try reading a little Harry Potter.
  • Trouble with the Third Person, Omniscient? Read some Dickens.
  • Another option is to rewrite the story from the perspective of a different character. You could stay in First Person, but now you’re telling the story from the antagonist’s point of view; or the point of view of a secondary character.
  • One of the benefits of doing this, is that you don’t have to get a whole new idea today. This can be a wonderful way to get a story finished when you’re running on fumes.
  • An added benefit: you might discover your story works better from a different perspective or in another character’s voice.

Day 15

This is the first of your Rescue Week prompts!

Prompts

Rewrite your First Person story from Week One

  • Try writing a story from a different in a different point of view. You could use third person limited, in which you can still only understand ‘hear’ the thoughts of the main character but which gives you greater flexibility. Or you could use use third person omniscient, which lets you head hop (just remember to limit that to places where you jump between scenes).

  • If you’re having trouble remembering what Third Person, Limited sounds like, try reading a little Harry Potter.

  • Trouble with the Third Person, Omniscient? Read some Dickens.

  • Another option is to rewrite the story from the perspective of a different character. You could stay in First Person, but now you’re telling the story from the antagonist’s point of view; or the point of view of a secondary character.

  • One of the benefits of doing this, is that you don’t have to get a whole new idea today. This can be a wonderful way to get a story finished when you’re running on fumes.

  • An added benefit: you might discover your story works better from a different perspective or in another character’s voice.

Leave a comment telling us how you got on. What choices did you make as you rewrote your story? How did it go?

The Sidekick in the Tale

Day 14

For the past two days we’ve played with protagonists and antagonists/villains. But these are not the only characters who appear in a story.

The Prompt

Write a story that includes a sidekick

Tips

  • secondary characters play a vital rule in a short story: they highlight characteristics of the main character
  • You must resist the temptation to give a secondary character/sidekick their own interesting story in this short story. This is not a novel.
  • I use the word “sidekick” in the title for this post for a reason. A sidekick is an almost cartoonish, two-dimensional character. Of course this character does have a life of their own. You’re just not telling that story in this story.
  • The entire purpose of a sidekick is to ask the difficult questions, to let the protagonist show off, and perhaps to be rescued.
  • Think of Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, or any of the assistants in the 80s episodes of Doctor Who. Their main functions are to show Sherlock Holmes and The Doctor as the geniuses they are. The sidkicks mostly slow down the brilliant characters’ pace so the reader/viewer can keep up.
  • Sidekicks introduce complications (think of all those twisted ankles and all the times a sidekick blunders into a trap and has to be rescued).
  • Sidekicks ask the difficult questions questions (such as “why don’t we just got back in the TARDIS and fly away?”).
  • They can also point out your characters flaws something that the modern Doctor Who’s assistants do very nicely.
  • Write a story in which you give your sidekick who can show off the protagonists best features, draw attention to their flaws, and perhaps even cause complications in the story.

Leave a comment to let us know how you got on today. What kind of sidekick did you write? Or, if you’re using your own prompts, how’s the challenge going? What are you writing? What’s going well?