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

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

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.

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

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
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

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

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

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?

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

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
Here’s your bingo piece!

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

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

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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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!

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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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

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!

Day 3- Limit Spaces by Megan Alongi

The Prompt

Write a scene in which your character’s physical space is smaller than usual.

Tips

Maybe the scene will take place in a vehicle.

Perhaps place a limit to one particular room in a house.

A whole dramatic scene could be set in an elevator.

Limits on physical space could be as large as one planet in a solar system or as small as one fairy treehouse.


Megan Alongi

Megan is a writer who lives in New Jersey.

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!

StoryADay September 2022 is Coming

Despite our fantasies of a life that allows us to write all day in a library-like spare room…most of us are writing in the margins of life. And that’s OK. But we need support if we are to pursue this writing life.

Sometimes that support comes in the form of a challenge.

This year I am doing a short short-story challenge: from September 10th to September 17th and the reason for this is: I have both feet firmly planted in the real world, and I would like you to join me here.

Whether you are looking for:

  • a creative kickstart after finishing a larger project
  • accountability so that you can live up to your own expectations
  • the excitement of getting back in the saddle again after a busy season of life
  • A structured schedule to help you get un-stuck on a particular writing technique,

The StoryADay Fun-Size challenge may be just what you need.

The Challenge runs from Sept 10-17, with daily tasks that will walk you through the process of writing a single story. There will be daily emails and some special events too…and it’s all no cost: my gift to you because the world needs more stories and your voice matters.

Sign up today and I’ll send you my Story Sparks Workbook so you can get start collecting the raw materials of your next story between now and the start of the challenge.

(May writers have told me this was the start of a habit they’ve continued for years, meaning they’re always ready with ideas when they make time to write!)

Register for the Sept 2022 Fun-Size Challenge

Keep writing,

Julie

P. S. Accountability is powerful. Even after all these years, I still need stuff like this. This morning I came thisclose to signing up for a $895 writing course that would teach me nothing-I-don’t-already-know but that would have provided some structure to help me finish a project. The StoryADay Fun-Size Challenge is a much better deal 😉 Have questions? Hit ‘reply’!

Day 2- New Words on an Old Theme by Julie Duffy

Today’s writing prompt encourages you to keep things short

The Prompt

Write a 100 word story inspired by an aphorism

Tips

Remember: the prompts are only here as inspiration if you need them. Some people decide to write to all the prompts no matter what (to force themselves to stretch), but you can play any way you want!

Writing a 100 word story is a wonderful way to warm up and get some writing done even on a day when you are busy. It’s not necessarily faster to craft a 100 word story than it is to dash off 1200 words, but it is incredibly satisfying, and it sharpens your word-choice skills.

Today I’m going to suggest that you choose an aphorism or proverb to inspire you story (here’s a handy collection).

You’ll need to choose a character who embodies (or defies) the message of the aphorism, pop them in a situation where they can take an action and, ideally, give us an idea of how they are changing through their experience.

100 words isn’t a lot, but I believe in you!

If you need some inspiration here is a site full of 100 word stories.


Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is the Founder and Director of StoryADay.org. She began thus challenge in 2010 and is proud to have encouraged thousands of writers, since then. She never tires of hearing from writers whose StoryADay drafts turn into published stories, or gifts for friends, or other forms of art, so do please keep in touch!

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!

Remember: I don’t recommend posting your story in the comments here (and I talk more about why not, here). Best practice: Leave us a comment about how it went, or share your favorite line from your story.



Day 1- Opposites Attract (Readers) by Julie Duffy

A writing prompt that focuses on a limited set of characters and locations, so you can start and finish your short story with success

Welcome to Day 1 of StoryADay 2022!

I’m sure you’re nervous and excited and eager to get on with it, so I’ll just say good luck, be good to yourself, never worry that you’re ‘failing’ because someone is doing something different from you (are you writing at all? Then you’re learning what you need to know!).

Keep reading to the end to find out what to do with that Bingo Sheet..

The Prompt

Write a story with 2 characters eating a meal together, who want different things

Tips

Limiting the setting and the number of characters is a quick’n’dirty way to keep your story from growing into the opening of a novel (not guaranteed, but…).

With two characters and one setting (a meal table) you are limited to focusing on these characters.


You can write this as a dialogue or allow the characters’ phsyical reactions tell the reader what they are feeling and thinking (how the character fidgets in their seat, what they pick up and put down, what they look at).
Remember that even if the characters want two different things, they will both believe they are right and have valid reasons for wanting what they want.

(They may even want the same thing, but have different approaches to achieving the goal: i. e. they want to keep their child safe, but for one that means letting them go on the school field trip with their friends, for the other, it might mean keeping them at home, away from physical danger).


Remember that people are rarely clear on what they want (or why they want it) so a conversation between two people gets messy quickly. Play with that.


Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is a writer and the founder and director of StoryADay. When not working on her own writing or hanging out with the fine folks at StoryADay, she can be found playing board games, or music, or finding a quiet corner in which to read and/or knit. She looks forward to traveling again.

Bingo Pieces

make sure you set your printer to print this at original size, not full-page!

Here’s your first 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

I know, 31 days of this is going to be a lot of wasted paper, but you can use the scraps as book marks, places to catch story sparks, opportunities for origami…and more

Or you can use your fave image editing software to add layers to this image.

But I think rewarding yourself every day with a bit of scissors-and-glue hands-on crafting, is a much better idea!

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


Please note, I do not recommend posting your whole story in the comments here, for various reasons. Best Practice ; post about your experience of writing the story, or share an excerpt.

Out of Order

StoryADay September is coming! What’s it going to look like, this year? Tune in and find out.

PLUS I got some great advice this week on how to write a sequence that was stalling me. I’ll share it in this episode.

LINKS

Sept Challenge: https://storyaday.org/fun-size

StoryAWeek Newsletter: https://storyaday.org/storyaweek

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)

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.

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 0 of the StoryADay Challenge

Are you excited (nervous?) about StoryADay May? I have an invitation that might help settle you into your writing chair.

I know it’s last minute, but if you’re around, I’d like to invite you to join me live on Saturday, April 30 for some writing and  Q&A

Live With Julie – Saturday, April 30

When: 9:30-11 AM (Eastern US)
Where: Zoom (link will be emailed an hour before the meeting)

Over the next month I’m going to be sending you lots of prompts, to help develop your writing practice.

But for any of that to matter, you have to really believe that you can be a writer and can fit it into your life.

I’d like to invite you to start that process tomorrow morning. 

If you can, I’d love for you to join me on Zoom  for a Q&A session, and stay for a writing sprint, where you’ll have a chance to stretch your writing muscles, and get warmed up before May starts.

You can work on your Creative Challenge Workbook or your Story Prompts, even your Short Story Framework brainstorming, or you can read some inspiring short stories or work on your first, warm-up story.

Q&A will start at 9:30 AM (Eastern US) CHECK YOUR TIME, and we’ll get down to some quiet writing, in community. (If you’ve never been to a Zoom writing sprint, you’ll be amazed how productive you can be, writing quietly in the presence of others!)

You don’ t have to stay for the whole thing. Come and go as you please.

I’ll send another email tomorrow morning around 8:30 AM with the link.

Until then…here’s a little gift for you. Save this picture, cut it out, stick it to your notebook or your laptop, because you are, an official StoryADay Writer! Congrats!

Leave a comment and let me know if you’ll be there

Keep up with all the Classic Challenge Posts Here

Stay Weird – A Writing Prompt

The Prompt

Write a story just for you

A Story and Some Tips

When I was working for the first company to help authors publish using digital print on-demand tech, I talked to a LOT of authors,

  • Best-sellers like Piers Anthony who had grown disillusioned with traditional publishing;
  • Mid list authors who had been dropped by their publishers and wanted to republish out-of-print books or finish out that series their fans wanted;
  • Unpublished authors who hadn’t been able to place their novels with traditional publishers not because of the writing quality but because the publishers couldn’t see a large enough market for it.

Publishing is a business, and it’s hard to get picked, and it’s hard to stay lucky.

And if you want to ‘be published’ traditionally, you must convince someone that there is a large enough audience waiting for it.

But what if that’s not what you’re writing? Should you just stop?

The Woman Who ‘Invented’ a Genre

Continue reading “Stay Weird – A Writing Prompt”

Healing – A Short Story

Yesterday morning, my iPad and iPencil kept telling me they needed recharged (yes, normally I write on paper, but I was working with electronics for…reasons).

I charged the iPad for a while, then, impatient, pulled the cord and moved around with it.

It worked for a while then complained it needed charged.

The same thing happened with the iPencil.

In my impatience to get things done I was trying short-term, stop-gap fixes.

Finally, I realized my devices were trying to tell me something I often ignore when my body tells me the same thing:

Continue reading “Healing – A Short Story”

[Reading Room] Cosmogramma by Courttia Newland

This collection is a great example of what modern speculative fiction can be: fascinating, compelling, peopled by sympathetic (and not-so sympathetic) characters; surprising and familiar, inspiring, filled with mystery and a sense of discovery for the reader…and I love it when stories are connected, so I enjoyed piecing together the connections between some of the stories in the collection.

Continue reading “[Reading Room] Cosmogramma by Courttia Newland”

Everything Else, We Can Learn

Do you believe that you have a right to write? Not that people in general have a general right to be creative. Do you believe that you, specifically, have a right to write? Even if it takes time away from your partner, even if it takes time away from your kid, even if, even if, even if…

Do you believe you have a right to write? Do you believe your voice is important? Do you believe your voice matters?

Mindset is I’m coming to believe more than half the battle when it comes to writing. Everything else? We can, we can learn as we need it. I think getting that in place is huge.

If you need a place that’s snug and safe, to work on your writing practice, consider joining us in the I, WRITER Course. Find out more.

The Value of Morning Pages

Some writers become discouraged by the Morning Pages practice: It can feel like running on a treadmill to nowhere, never sure if you’re making progress.So how do you know if you’re ‘doing Morning Pages correctly’?

This morning when I had a realization that might convince you to try (or enjoy) Morning pages, yourself.

Do you write Morning Pages?

Julia Cameron popularized this free-writing practice in her book The Artist’s Way and many writers swear by it.

The idea is that you write 3 pages of no-obligation, possibly-stream-of-consciousness ‘stuff’ every morning, to warm up.

But some writers become discouraged after doing Morning Pages for a while. It can feel like you’re running on a treadmill to nowhere, never sure if you’re making progress. So how do you know if you’re ‘doing Morning Pages correctly?

I’m sporadic with the ‘morning’ part of Morning Pages, but I do tend to journal most days and/or free-write before I try to write anything ‘proper’.

That’s what I was doing this morning when I came to a realization that I thought you might enjoy sharing. it might even convince you to try Morning pages, yourself.

Julie’s Morning Pages 21 Jan 2022

I am at my desk and facing the classic writers’ dilemma: there is so much I could work on. I can feel the clock ticking away the minutes I have carved out for writing and the first stirrings of panic bubble low in my chest.

I want to write. I don’t want to waste this precious moment but the task seems so huge—and it is! I either find my way back into a dormant story or begin building a whole new world full of decisions about the world (is there gravity? Are we even on earth? Which Earth? When? Where?) and people with full, complex histories before we meet them on the page. And then, how do I make something interesting happen, and keep happening?

The whole thing weighs on me like heavy cloth and I begin to feel the gravitational pull of busywork, the need for the affirmation of a thumbs up or little red heart on social media (It’ll just take a moment to check and I might get an idea for a story!) or perhaps it’s time I learned to use Scrivener properly—whatever that means. (I’m sure I bought a whole course on that.Surely when I have mastered a new tool, THEN it’ll be easier to write…)

Luckily for me, I have been pursuing my writing goals with a will for over a decade now and I know, beyond a doubt, that my only hope of doing anything like ‘good writing’ rests in one practice:

Continue reading “The Value of Morning Pages”

You Can Do It!

I’m guest posting at Writer Unboxed today and it’s all about how to make writing Feel more Fun. Check it out and join in the discussion


A Message from Julie

I read a lot of blogs and articles, researching the best ideas from creative folks; gems that I can share with my beloved writers.

This holiday season, I’ve definitely seen a theme emerge in posts from writers, coaches, artists, and teachers from all over the English-speaking world:

Acceptance.

And I’m excited about it.

Continue reading “You Can Do It!”

Getting Great Feedback – A Process

After a challenge like StoryADay (or a lifetime of writing) you may be asking, “How can I revise my writing so I can get published, without becoming distracted, discouraged or overwhelmed?”

I have a system for figuring out that very thing, that will help you identify and work on the stories that will keep you making consistent progress towards your writing goals.

Part 1 of this process is to assess the material you have, to see what you should work on, first. That’s what this article is about. Part 2 is about identifying what’s working and what needs to be improved in your writing. Part 3 is about strategies and techniques for making those improvements as you revise your writing.

Listen to the accompanying podcast episode

Part 2 – Identify What’s Working

It can be hard to see what’s working and what’s not in your own writing when you’ve stared at it for so long…and that’s when you need to get it in front of fresh eyeballs.

Do you freeze at the thought of revision or feedback, because you think it’s all about seeing how badly you screwed up your story?

Don’t panic!

It’s as important to identify what’s working in your story as what isn’t, to ensure you don’t revise away what made it special.

Continue reading “Getting Great Feedback – A Process”

Revise Your Writing – A Process

After a challenge like StoryADay (or a lifetime of writing) you may be asking, “How can I revise my writing so I can get published, without becoming distracted, discouraged or overwhelmed?”


For more, listen to episode 226 of the StoryADay podcast

I have a system for figuring out that very thing, that will help you identify and work on the stories that will keep you making consistent progress towards your writing goals.

Part 1 of this process is to assess the material you have, to see what you should work on, first. That’s what this article is about. Part 2 is about identifying what’s working and what needs to be improved in your writing. Part 3 is about strategies and techniques for making those improvements as you revise your writing.

Part 1 – Assess

The first thing to do is read through all the stories you think you might want to work on. As you do so, pay attention to your gut and ask yourself a few questions about each story:

Continue reading “Revise Your Writing – A Process”

Day 30 – Looking Back & Looking Forward

The Prompt

Write a story about someone who has just completed a huge challenge. What have they learned? What did they sacrifice? Was it worth it?

The Author

Julie Duffy has hosted 12 StoryADay Mays and almost as many StoryADay Septembers. That’s quite a lot.

Read A Book, Support An Indie

Reads & Company Logo

This year’s StoryADay May official bookseller is Reads & Company, a privately-owned indie bookseller in Pennsylvania. Any purchase from the site this month supports Reads & Co.

Leave a comment and let us know how you used the prompt, and how you’re celebrating!