2019 Day 10 – Character Action

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

This is when the challenge gets really tough: the novelty has worn off and the end of the month seems a long time away. But keep going! If you keep writing through this week, you’ll still be writing at the end of the month and that is going to feel really good.

Lean on the support in the comments, to spur you on!

The Prompt

Write A story about yesterday’s character, all grown up

Today’s exercise owes a lot to Donald Mass’s book The Emotional Craft of Fiction.

Yesterday I challenged you to write about an incident earlier in the life of a character you’d come back to, today.

Today I want you to bear in mind the inner struggle of that character, once they’ve had time to create some damaging behaviors based on the incident in yesterday’s story.

Now, pick an action, a physical act, that they can perform in this story. Make it significant to the character.

My example: in Die Hard, when John McClane picks up a photo of his family (back when they were a happy family), he winces, and it shows us everything we need to know about what this character wants, and what’s standing in his way (hint: it’s his own behavior).

Add a moment like that to your story today. No inner-monologue. No telling the reader why it’s significant. Just use all our senses to pull us into the moment.

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 9 – Character Damage

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

Write A story about the childhood damage of a character you’ll write about tomorrow

Today’s story owes a lot to Lisa Cron’s book Story Genius, in which she talks about how childhood beliefs can become problems for adult characters.

Behaviors that protected your character as a child (for example, an abandoned child’s tendency to keep people at a distance, or conversely to be too clingy, doesn’t serve them well as an adult.)

Every character needs an inner conflict, to make them interesting.

Today write a vivid story about something that happened early in life to a character you’ll come back to, tomorrow.

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 8 – Conflict

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

Write A story centered on conflict

Without conflict you don’t have a story, you just have a series of things happening.

Be sure to put your protagonist in a situation today, where they need to do something they really don’t want to do, talk to someone they really can’t stand, or run from something they’d rather stay and do.

Conflict can be car chases or it can be the story of an alcoholic trying to resist taking that first drink in 25 years.

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 7 – Flash!

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

Write A FLASH FICTION STORY

Chances are, most of the stories you’ve written so far would qualify as Flash Fiction if all we meant was “under 1200 words”.

But Flash is more than that. It is deliberately taut, vivid, and 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 1000 words today, and work on making it flash.

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!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 6 – A Fresh Genre

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

WRITE IN A GENRE YOU DON’T USUALLY USE

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut.

Writing in a different genre (or mashing two genres together) can be a wonderful way to freshen things up.

So what are you going to write today? A romance? A mystery? A Sci-Fi-Punk-Rock-Thriller?

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 5 – 100 Words

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

WRITE A STORY in 100 words

What can you do in 100 words? A surprising amount.

Just don’t be surprised if today’s story takes just as long as yesterday’s. Short and sweet isn’t necessarily quick!

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 4 – Two Characters

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

WRITE A STORY WITH NO MORE THAN TWO CHARACTERS

Short stories are short. One of the ways to stop them from creeping out of control is to limit the number of characters.

Stick to two characters today (yes, your characters can refer to other people, but nobody else appears in the story.)

If you usually write in third person, try first.

If you usually write adult women, try a boy, or an alien, or a grown man.

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 3 – Change Your POV

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

CHANGE YOUR POINT OF VIEW

We often get stuck writing in the same point of view or from the same perspective. Make an effort to write a story, today, that is different.

If you usually write in third person, try first.

If you usually write adult women, try a boy, or an alien, or a grown man.

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 2 – Set A Timer

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

The Prompt

Set A TIMER FOR 40 MINUTES

Don’t spend too much time on your opening.

Brainstorm for five minutes, spend the next five on an opening and then give yourself 20-25 to dig your characters into a hole and let them start to climb out of it.

Try to start wrapping it up when you have about five minutes left on your timer. Even if you have to write some brief notes [“this is where they make their great escape”], put an ending on the story.

This will make it so much easier when you come back to revise it later.

Go!