[Write On Wednesday] Got the Patter?

Last night my local writing group held a Reading Night. It was a wonderful thing.

For one thing the participants got to read their stories to an appreciative audience who simply wanted to have fun (as opposed to sending their story to an editor or a critique partner who is looking for things to reject).

And for another, there were some experienced performers in the group, who gave feedback and tips on the actual performance part of the reading. Invaluable stuff.

Reading your work is something you’ll be called upon to do as published author, so practice the skill (very different from writing!) as often as you can!

Last night’s reading prompted this, er prompt, because so many of the characters came alive when they had a distinctive voice, a distinctive patois. One story featured a rising politician, who used all the kinds of phrases you might expect of a rising sleazebag politician.

Another story featured a 1968 California Happening dude, who talked just like you would expect (expertly performed by a man who looked the right age to have been there.)

These stories, more than all the others, stuck with me because of the authenticity of the character’s voice. And that’s what I want you to practice this week.

MISO

The Prompt

Give Your Character A Distinctive Voice

Tips

  • Make your character have a job or a background with a specific set of jargon (for example: a stock broker would sound very different from a tuned-in, turned-on dude from 1968 Haight-Ashbury)
  • Get them into conversation with another character as soon as possible and see if you can keep their voices so distinct that you rarely have to write ‘he said’.
  • Concentrate on the rhythms of speech and the special phrases or jargon your character might use.
  • How would your character deliver their lines? Tentatively? With lots of preamble? Stridently? Rather than using these adverbs, let your characters use words that capture the content of their character
  • If you need more inspiration watch a supercut of Robin Williams as the genie in Aladdin and try to capture that kind of vigor in the words you put in the characters’ mouths! (But set a timer, so you don’t end up disappearing down a YouTube rabbit hole…)

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!

[Write On Wednesday] A Rewrite Game from Marta Pelrine-Bacon

Today’s prompt is a guest post from StoryADay founding participant, Marta Pelrine-Bacon. I’m thrilled to share this complex and fruitful exercise for you this week. And do yourself a favor and check out Marta’s writing and art in the links at the bottom of the page.

The Rewrite Game

art by marta pelrine-bacon

Write a scene or a short story.

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] A Rewrite Game from Marta Pelrine-Bacon”

[Write On Wednesday] Talk Talk Talk

This month at StoryADay we’re going to focus on dialogue.

Gripping, realistic dialogue can bring a story and its characters to life. Writing great dialogue, however, takes practice.

Talking

THE PROMPT

Write A Story Told Almost Completely In Dialogue

TIPS

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Talk Talk Talk”

[Write On Wednesday] Your Character’s Voice

Today we’re going to play with making your characters sound distinctive.

Voiceover Microphone

The Prompt

Write A Story With Lots Of Dialogue That Teachers Us About Your Characters

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Your Character’s Voice”

[Write On Wednesday] Secondary & Background Characters

Short stories don’t have a lot of space for non-main characters, but if you’re going to include a best friend or comic relief, make sure they earn their word count!

1-2-3 Chick-A-Dees! by JD Hancock

The Prompt

Write A Story That Gives Your Secondary Characters Something To Do

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Secondary & Background Characters”

[Write On Wednesday] What A Character Wants

For today’s Write on Wednesday writing prompt, I’m digging into the archives.

This writing prompt, from 2012, talks about how to use your character’s desires to power a story and contains important tips on how to keep your short story from become a barely-begun novel.

La mela del desiderio

The Prompt

Write a Story In Which Your Character WAAAAAAANTS something

Read more

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.

How is your writing going, now that StoryADay May 2019 is over? Are you ready to write a story today? Leave a comment!

[Write On Wednesday] A Gargoyle’s-Eye View

Missed out on StoryADay May? Don’t worry, the next challenge is just around the corner. Sign up now.

I’ll send you a prompt like this, every day during the next challenge.

This week we all watched in horror as Notre Dame burned. It was a great loss for human cultural heritage and a personal wrench for many.

And it made me wonder about other stories we might tell.

Image: A Gargoyle's Point of View by Sharon Mollerus

The Prompt

Write a story from the perspective of a non-human character

Tips

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] A Gargoyle’s-Eye View”

[Write On Wednesday] Support

Last week we wrote about connections. This week, an interconnected theme: support. We need it in our writing lives, and our characters are looking for it, in our stories.

Big hand holding little hand pic

The Prompt

Write A Story About A Character Who Needs Support

Tips

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Support”

[Write On Wednesday] Connections

This month’s theme at StoryADay is about finding support in our writing lives, and that has me thinking about connection.

I have this thesis that writing is all about connections: connecting with another person (your reader)’s brain; connecting with the writers who inspired you; connecting with other people working in your genre; connecting with your past and future selves; connecting with the great web of human experience on this planet.

So today I want you to write a story that touches on some of these things.

The Prompt

Write A Story About Connections

Tips

  • This story could be about one significant connection (or missed connection) or it could be a series of interlocking or parallel connections.
  • You might write a story like the movie “Sliding Doors” where multiple possibilities hinge on the decision of a moment.
  • You might write three different people’s stories, all of them making different kinds of connections, and examining how each decision impacts their futures (or pasts, if it’s that kind of story).
  • Use your brainstorming time to think about the kinds of connections you value and how you get support from the people in your life. How does each type of connection make you feel? What do you miss? How can you convey the emotions that come up, in a story?
  • For bonus points, post in the comments here and find a friend to write a joint-story with. You could alternate lines, or brainstorm together, or each take one section of the story.

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.

Did you write today? How did you get on? Who did you write about? Leave a comment!

Original Photo by Bernard Spragg