[Write on Wednesday] Solve Plot Problems By Starting With Desire

One of the fastest ways to find your way to the plot of a short story is to come up with a character who wants something and see how they pursue that desire.

A track athlete was participating in a tournament. Photo by Serghei Trofimov from Unsplash

The Prompt

Think of a character who wants something really, really badly. Put an obstacle in your way and let them react to it

Tips

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[Write on Wednesday] Write Your Own Prompts

With StoryADay May just around the corner, I’m taking an opportunity to do something different today: prompting you to create some back-up writing prompts of your own, for days when the official StoryADay prompt leaves you cold (it happens. I’m not offended!)

Photo by Gift Habeshaw from Unsplash.

The Prompt

Write several lines that might work as writing prompts for stories during StoryADay in case there are days when the official prompt doesn’t speak to you.

Tips

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[Write on Wednesday] Not The First

On this day in 1972 John Young and Charles Duke were the 9th and 10th humans to land on the moon. They weren’t the first crew to touch down, nor were they the last (that was the mission after theirs). What they did was still mind-blowingly complex, but didn’t garner nearly as much attention.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The Prompt

Write about a character (or duo) who is doing something new and difficult, but they’re not the first to achieve it. What does that do to their attitude to the task, to their relationship with each other, to their relationship with the people around them?

Tips

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[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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