[Write on Wednesday] A Writer’s Tale

This month’s prompts are all designed to help you warm up for StoryADay May. This week, an opportunity to think about what it means to be a writer.

Photo by Thought Catalog from Unsplash

The Prompt

Write A Story About A Writer

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] Flash

As we come into April I’ll be sharing prompts designed to help you warm up for the 12th Annual StoryADay May (can you believe it?!). This week: what can you capture in a flash?

Photo of a young woman looking back over her left shoulder, smiling slightly, caught in camera flash, at twilight, by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

The Prompt

Write a Flash Fiction story in 500 words, inspired by a vivid moment like the one in the photo, above.

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] Sight

I saved this prompt for last because it tends to be the one that we modern writers, raised on TV and movies, reach for first and are most reluctant to demote.

My hope is that, after four weeks of writing in the other senses, you’re a little disappointed to be invited to concentrate on what your characters can see this week. My hope is that you’ll be open to using sight in more creative ways than you might have been last month.

Child looking at the Empire State building through tower viewer Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

The Prompt

Your character is searching for something…and time is running out.

Tips

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[Write on Wednesday] – Touch

Touch is a sense that some writers naturally use often and others, hardly ever. I mean obviously if you’re writing a romance, there’s going to be some touching, but there are other ways to use this sense that will pull readers into your story. Let’s give it a try.

Woman touching white textile Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash

The Prompt

Your main character has been deprived of a wide range of touch for some reason (a medical crisis? A custodial sentence? Some otherworldly reason…) and re-enters a life where they can touch and be touched. They have anticipated this day for so long. Does it go the way they expect?

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] – Taste

This month is all about encouraging you to engage with the setting of your story by using your senses. Last week I asked you to use sounds in your descriptions; the week before that we explored the close association between smell, memory, and emotion.

This week your story is going to explore taste.

Girl holding ice cream Photo by Mieke Campbell on Unsplash

The Prompt

At a key point in your story, your main character is given momentous news, over dinner.

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] Sound

Last week’s prompt encouraged you to describe everything in terms of smell. It was tough, wasn’t it? But I’ll bet you discovered some things about your go-to style of description and how you could branch out a little.

This week is, I think, a little easier, focusing as it does on sound. It’s a sense that we often see represented on the page, but I’m going to encourage you to move beyond cliches like ‘rolling thunder’ and ‘the squeal of tires on asphalt’.

Man plays the trumpet Photo by Chris Bair on Unsplash

The Prompt

Your protagonist is hiding from someone. The stakes are high. They must not be discovered.

Tips

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[Writing on Wednesday] Smell

One of the most common (and most overlooked) pieces of writing advice is to use the five senses.

This month I’m going to use the five weekly writing prompts to encourage you to get more sensory detail into your writing by focusing on one sense per week.

dog smelling the air Photo by Jeff Nissen on Unsplash

The Prompt

Write  a story in which a non-assertive character is stuck in a situation with other people who know less than they do and keep proposing the wrong solution to a problem. Make as many of your descriptions and metaphors smell-based as possible.

Tips

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[Writing Prompt] – A Little Planning

I know, people feel really strongly about whether or not to outline, but today—whether you’re a planer or not– I’m going to encourage you to think of your writing session as a road trip.

Road trips are fun, but usually we have a destination in mind. When, in the middle, with whoever is in the backseat complaining, and the last of the sandwiches eaten, it helps to know the answer to the question “are we nearly there yet?”

Traditional, western narrative stories have a structure, and here is a model for that.

Using the framework to brainstorm your story will help you both get to the end and, just when you’re getting sick of the story, figure out if you are indeed ‘nearly there yet’.

Give it a try.

Photo by Tabea Damm on Unsplash

The Prompt

Download the Short Story Framework and brainstorm a story

Tips

  • Start writing as soon as you feel inspired
  • When you get stuck come back to the framework and brainstorm the next ‘leg’ of the journey
  • Watch this video lesson: on how to use this framework and write a story in 40 minute

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

[Writing Prompt] A Rose By Any Other Name

In keeping with this month’s theme of Achieving Wins and Celebrating, limit yourself to 1000 words for this story and just get it done.


The Prompt

Write a story that starts at the end. The story must include a flower.

Tips

  • I’ve given you the restriction of including a flower, because when we have too much freedom it is paralyzing. I bet as soon as I said ‘flower’ your mind starting turning over how it could get a flower into a story.
  • Starting at the end is a fun way to tell a story. It’s a fun for the reader, as they try to unpick the puzzle of how your character ended up *here*. It’s good for the writer because we aren’t tempted to write a story-with-no-point. We know it’s going somewhere and we have to figure out how to get there!
  • All our stories should be about something, should hvae a point, should make the reader say ‘ah, yes, I must keep reading to find out why…”. Often, in the process of writing our ideas, we forget this, or get lost in the details. Telling a story in reverse (or at least starting at the end and jumping back in time) is a great exercise to cure us of this.
  • Brainstorm some ways your story could start that would intrigue a reader. Is your character standing on the roof of a building looking over the edge? Are they running? Are the police leading them away? Are they laughing gleefully as someone plunges a knife through their heart? (Yes, more Star Trek references! Bonus points if you can identify the episode.)
storyaday divider

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

[Writing Prompt] Lower The Bar

Following on in last week’s vein of celebrating wins (and making wins easy to achieve), this week’s prompt is to write an odd little story.

It’s hard to imagine how to make this challenge work well, so just get it finished! (You might surprise yourself)

Then celebrate.

Girl leapfrogging friend
Photo by Tiago Thadeau on Unplash

The Prompt

Write a story in a cypher: where the first word of each sentence is the REAL message

Tips

When you have finished do something to celebrate. It can be as simple as grinning for five seconds, or doing a little dance (I like a victory dance, myself). The important thing is to take a moment to revel in the good feelings you get from meeting your goals.

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!