Day 24 – Michele Reisinger Loves Cemetaries

The Prompt

Opening Line: “She met her true love in the middle of a field of tombstones.” 

Michele says: I love cemeteries. They have so many stories, so many characters. I find them comforting.

So it does not have to be a scary story, although it can be. It could be the story of people who are interred there.

Their pre life doesn’t have to have a connection to the cemetery. That could just be the starting point.

It could be people who meet there because they are mourning the loss of someone.

Could be your traditional zombie story, horror story mystery story as well.

But I’m just drawn to the idea of cemeteries as places for stories.

The Author

Michele E. Reisinger studied English and Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University and received an MA in English Literature from the University of Delaware. She lives near Philadelphia with her family and teaches senior and AP English at a New Jersey high school. Her short fiction has appeared online at Light and Dark MagazinePrometheus Dreaming34th Parallel, and is forthcoming in The Mighty Line. “Ask and Ye Shall Receive” was a merit winner for Passion and featured in TulipTree Publishing’s 2019 anthology Stories That Need to be Told. You can find out more at her website: https://mereisinger.com/

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Day 23 – Monique Cuillerier Mixes & Matches

The Prompt

Write outside your comfort zone with a random genre, weather type, and errand. (see below)

When you are stuck for new ideas, working from specific suggestions can open up new possibilities. They can also take you out of your normal way of working and help you explore different approaches. You never know what sort of story will result.

Roll a die for each category. (Don’t have a physical die? Google can do that for you.)

Then, write a story in your genre, with the particular type of weather and errand.

(Bonus: choose a favourite childhood character as your main character.)

Genre

  1. mystery
  2. romance
  3. fantasy
  4. political satire
  5. science fiction
  6. thriller

Weather

  1. snowstorm
  2. light rain
  3. heat wave
  4. extreme cold
  5. strong wind
  6. sunny and warm

Errand

  1. buy groceries
  2. return library books
  3. make a bank deposit
  4. pick up a child from an extracurricular activity
  5. deliver a birthday present
  6. renew a piece of government identification

The Author

Monique Cuillerier

Monique Cuillerier lives in Ottawa, where she writes fiction, long and short, when she is not procrastinating on Twitter at @MoniqueAC or sporadically posting at notwhereilive.ca. You can read one of Monique’s stories in the anthology Bikes, Not Rockets

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Day 22 – Grant Faulkner is Playful

Welcome to Week 4 of StoryADay! Can you believe you’ve made it this far?

I can tell you from past experience that if you have made it this far, you’re going all the way!

You’ve already spent Week 1 on the “Write” part of the WRITER Code, and Week 2 on “Refine”, concentrating on what was working and what you could let go of in yoru writing and your writing practice.

Last week was all about “Improve”, as you tackled different parts of the story writing craft.

This week’s theme is: “Triumph!”.

This week I want you to make a conscious effort to put a tiny celebration in place whenever you do something that furthers your journey as an author.

  • Got to your desk? Punch the air and say “yeah!”.
  • Finished your story? Give yourself a gold star (literally! Put one in your journal!).
  • Read the prompt and spent the day noodling on story ideas? Take one hand and pat yourself on the back with it.
  • Didn’t get your story written and decided to let it go, but come back tomorrow? Do a little dance, celebrating your ability to overcome disappointments.

There is some serious behavioral science research behind these silly tactics.

When you celebrate, you feel good, and when you feel good, you want to do more of the thing that makes you feel good.

That’s why some of the things we’ll never be, at StoryADay, are somber, judgmental or unrealistic about the challenges of living this writing life!


The Prompt

Be playful.

Playfulness can open up an expanse in confinement.

So… write a story in 26 sentences, with each sentence beginning with a sequential letter of the alphabet, starting with “A.”

The Author

Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. He has published two books on writing, Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo, and Brave the Page, a teen writing guide. He’s also published a collection of 100-word stories, Fissures, and Nothing Short of 100: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story. He’s also the co-host of the podcast Write-minded. His next collection of short stories, All the Comfort Sin Can Provide is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in July 2021.

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Day 21 – Dr. Lanae St. John Wants To Know About Your First Time

The Prompt

Write About Your First Time – this could be your character’s ‘first time’, a kiss or something more.

(If you don’t want to write about a romantic relationship you can still talk about the excitement, build-up, and connection aspects of going through any experience together for the first time.)

Listen to my podcast conversation with Dr. Lanae St. John

The Author

Dr. Lanae St. John, DHS, CSC, ACS, is a board-certified sexologist, relationship coach and parent to two daughters. She is the author of the book Read Me: A Parental Primer for ‘The Talk’. You find out more about Lanae at her website, themamasutra.net

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LANAE ST. JOHN, READ ME: A PARENTAL PRIMER FOR ‘THE TALK’

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Day 20 – Premee Mohamed Has A Question

The Prompt

Premee Mohammed dug into her a short story stash of ideas to share one with us.

‘Superheroes, community service/non-jail punishment for crime, a secret society. 

In a world where superpowers are real, a convicted criminal is spared a prison term… If he agrees to do community service, enforced by an unknown league of incognito superheroes. But how can he skip town while he’s always under their surveillance?”

After our recent podcast episode we discussed this prompt. She suggested that a short story is “an answered question”. This is an insight that REALLY helped me, as I thought about how to start, and end, short stories.

This is raw from the from the index card and I asked Premee to tell us how she would take something like this, a note, and start to think about turning it into a story.

The initial phrase that I sent is a setting or a premise, rather than a plot; it’s the setup. 

I would probably start by trying to figure out who might be involved—a reasonable number of people for a short story—and how they could conflict with each other, or how their needs could conflict with each other. 

I’d make sure I set up some decision points to answer. The question should be set up at the start, you know, because like a short story is really an answered question, right?

I find it useful to have that question at the start instead of having it develop sort of midway through, because then the whole story can be guided by that.

Premee Mohamed

The Author

Premee Mohamed is an Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction writer based in Canada. Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of venues and her debut novel, ‘Beneath the Rising,’ came out from Solaris Books in March 2020. She can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus.

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PREMEE MOHAMED, BENEATH THE RISING

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Day 19 – Seanan McGuire Asks “What If?”

The Prompt

When the square-cube law is rescinded, internal combustion becomes impossible.  How is travel impacted?  How are daily lives changed?

(e. g. What if cars and other engines couldn’t exist? – JD)

THE AUTHOR

Seanan McGuire (http://seananmcguire.com/) was the winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and her novel Feed (as Mira Grant) was named as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2010. Her short fiction widely published and available on her Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/seananmcguire

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Seanan McGuire, That Ain’t Witchcraft

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Day 18 – Simon Rich Knows More Than Your Character

THE PROMPT

A character who knows less than the reader tries their best to deal with a problem they don’t fully understand.

THE AUTHOR

Simon Rich is  is an American humorist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has published two novels and three collections of humor pieces, several of which appeared in The New Yorker

His message to the StoryADay community: “God speed everyone. Let’s keep writing if we can.”

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SIMON RICH, Hits & Misses: Stories

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Day 17 – Gregory Frost Plays with Point Of View

 The Prompt

Think up a narrative about some form of travel—anything from setting out on an adventure, to a school trip to somewhere, to crossing a border, to an accident on the way, (a train wreck perhaps).

Begin this in the voice of a collective first person: “We.”

How does a group consciousness describe the experience?

Consider both Karen Russell’s “St. Lucy’s School for Girls Raised by Wolves” and Ayșe Papatya Bucak’s “The History of Girls” as examples of this voice. Note that both authors introduce the element of the individual “I” at critical points among the we. See if you can identify in your story idea where the individual “I” might intrude or take over. (500 words and up)

THE AUTHOR

GREGORY FROST’s most recent novel-length work is the Shadowbridge duology from DelRey. It was an ALA Best Fantasy Novel pick. His latest short fiction will appear in the September/October 2020 Asimov’s Magazine and in an upcoming issue of Weird Tales.

His collaborative novelette with Michael Swanwick, “Lock Up Your Chickens and Daughters, H’ard and Andy Are Come to Town,” won an Asimov Readers Award. His short stories have been finalists for the Stoker, Nebula, Hugo, and Theodore Sturgeon awards.

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GREGORY FROST, SHADOWBRIDGE

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Day 16 – Tobias S. Buckell Thwarts Your Characters

The Prompt

Think about three different characters going into a situation who need three different things to happen in it. Now, all of these things will conflict with the other needs. Think about how they will ally with each other and thwart each other in conversation and subtly trying to influence each other. But only one character can get what they want. Now… go!

The Author

Born in the Caribbean, Tobias S. Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling author. His novels and over 50 short stories have been translated into 17 languages and he has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author. He has a fabulous Patreon campaign where you get original stories once a month. He is also the author of one of my favorite new writing guides, It’s All Just A Draftwhich I talked about in this podcast episode.

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TOBIAS S. BUCKELL, IT’S ALL JUST A DRAFT

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Day 15 – Art Taylor Has A Secret

The Prompt

One way to give a character greater depth is to give them some secret: an unspoken desire, a sharp bit of regret, a hush-hush fantasy, some shameful—or maybe much cherished—episode from their past that they wouldn’t want anyone else to know about, etc. And needless to say, secrets can help propel plot forward as well.

Each week, Postsecret.com publishes postcards from people sharing their own secrets, anonymously and creatively.

Visit the site, scan through the most recent postcards (many of them about the pandemic these days) or scroll down to the Classic Secrets reposted from years ago.

Let your imagination wander about these secrets, about the wider world of these “characters” and their situations.

Write a short story in which their secrets (the hiding of them? the revealing of them?) put a plot in motion.

The Author

Art Taylor is the author of the story collection The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense (which you can order from the publisher here) and of the novel in stories On the Road with Del & Louise, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. He won the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Short Story for “English 398: Fiction Workshop,” originally published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and he has won three additional Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, three Macavity Awards, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction. He is an associate professor of English at George Mason University. www.arttaylorwriter.com.

Art Taylor, The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense

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Day 14 – Robb Cadigan Has A Bookstore

THE PROMPT

This is one of the front windows of Reads & Company Bookshop in Phoenixville PA. The stage is set for books to display.

Write a story inspired by this photo.

THE AUTHOR

A former copywriter and television executive, Robb Cadigan is a novelist (Phoenixville Rising) and co-owner of Reads & Company, a first-class independent bookstore in Phoenixville, PA.

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ROBB CADIGAN, PHOENIXVILLE RISING

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Celebrating your every success is an important part of the journey to creating a writing habit you can love. If you’re still turning up at this blog, celebrate!

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Day 13 – Gabriela Pereira Sings Nursery Rhymes

THE PROMPT

Choose a nursery rhyme.

That is going to be the plot of your story.

The key with this exercise is that now choose an author whose voice you love.

Write that story with that character, but in the voice of the author you chose.

Bonus Prompt

This is actually a great prompt to do more than once. Once you’ve done this exercise, you may want to come back to it after the StoryADay challenge and do it again, choosing different writers as the inspiration for the voice.

If you do this, use the same Nursery Rhyme each time. Then you’ll start to get a sense of how, when you’re putting on another author’s voice, you’re sort of wearing that author’s voice suit, how your voice behaves in that ecosystem, and eventually you’ll start to get a sense for what your voice is and what you bring to the table that is completely unique and you can then, write.

After you’ve done it two or three times, I want to challenge you to write that same story in your own voice with your own storytelling awesomeness. This is a great exercise to practice stretching yourself a little bit in terms of your voice, but also to help you find your voice.

People always say, you need to find your voice. Well, you never lost it in the first place. It’s always been there. This will just help you uncover. The things that make your voice especially unique. So there you have it, the Nursery Rhyme Exercise

THE AUTHOR

Gabriela Pereira is a writer, teacher, and self-proclaimed word nerd who wants to challenge the status quo of higher education. As the founder and instigator of DIYMFA.com, her mission is to empower writers to take an entrepreneurial approach to their education and professional growth. Gabriela earned her MFA in creative writing from The New School and teaches at national conferences, at local workshops, and online. She is also the host of DIY MFA Radio, a popular podcast where she interviews best-selling authors and offers short audio master classes. 

Gabriela is a long-time friend of both myself and the StoryADay community. To find out more about DIY MFA, click here

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GABRIELA PEREIRA, DIY MFA: WRITE WITH FOCUS, READ WITH PURPOSE, BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY

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Day 12 – Windy Lynn Harris Makes A List

THE PROMPT

Today, your task is to make a list. A literary list, that is.

Grocery lists, to-do lists, or goals lists written with the effect of showing a person’s life, their struggles, their failures, etc, are terrific pieces of flash.

They test the reader’s inferential powers.

Your challenge: provide a list of items from a luxurious bedroom, an overstuffed garage, or a refrigerator. Use specific concrete details. Reveal a sketch of a person’s life through these items. Imply something.

THE AUTHOR

Windy Lynn Harris portrait

Windy Lynn Harris is a prolific writer, a trusted mentor, and a frequent speaker at literary events. Her long list of short stories and personal essays have been published in literary, trade, and women’s magazines across the U.S. and Canada in places like The Literary ReviewThe Sunlight Press, and Literary Mama, among many other journals. She is the founder of Market Coaching for Creative Writers, a program that teaches writers how to get their essays and short stories published in magazines, and she works as a developmental-editor-for-hire, specifically for short creative prose. Windy also teaches the craft of writing online and in person. Visit her website for publishing information and writing inspiration: www.windylynnharris.com

You can listen to Windy talk about Flash Fiction on the StoryADay podcast here.

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WINDY LYNN HARRIS, WRITING & SELLING SHORT STORIES & PERSONAL ESSAYS

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Day 11 – Therese Walsh Tests Your Protagonist

THE PROMPT

Restricted and augmented lifestyles in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic may have us writer-types writing more than ever–a silver lining.

But have you stopped to consider how your protagonist(s) might respond to a similar situation?

In the midst of an emergency situation, whom would they seek to protect? How would they behave if confined?

If sharing close quarters with others, what might be said or done that otherwise might not be, and what might be the repercussions?

How might the situation bring out the best in them all–and the worst?

If the exercise brings up interesting ideas, can you create an emergency situation as a part of your story in order to bring your characters to that place organically?

THE AUTHOR

Therese Walsh is the author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and the cofounder of Writer Unboxed. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.

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THERESE WALSH, THE MOON SISTERS

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Day 10 – Julie Duffy Celebrates the Number 10

The Prompt

This is — stop me if you’ve heard me say this before — the 10th Anniversary of StoryADay May!

Today I challenge you to write a story that centers around the number 10.

It could be someone’s age, it could be a year, it could be the number of times something has happened (or has to happen).

Surprise me!

In other news, I hope to put together an anthology of stories later this year, celebrating StoryADay’s anniversary and it’s theme will be….10. So get your thinking caps on now!

The Author

Julie Duffy is the founder and host of StoryADay. Her mission is to save the world by saving writers. She helps creative people become more productive, more prolific and more fulfilled through the StoryADay challenges, her Superstars group, the StoryADay podcast, courses and workshops, as well as her guest articles in publications like Writer’s Digest and Writer Unboxed. She is the author of several creativity guides for writers and writes short stories and novels for fun.

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DAY 9 – Marta Pelrine-Bacon Looks Around

THE PROMPT

Choose an object within reach of where you’re sitting. Three people desperately want this object. Write a scene or story in which the characters fight over said object. Ideally choose an object that people wouldn’t obviously fight over.

THE AUTHOR

Marta Pelrine-Bacon is a StoryADay Superstar, and a participant in the challenge since 2010. Marta is the author of several published short stories in publications such as The Austin Review and Cabinet des Fees. She is also an artist and a teacher.

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MARTA PELRINE-BACON, THE BLUE JAR

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DAY 8 – Debbie Ridpath Ohi Breaks Crayons

THE PROMPT

Write a story inspired by today’s “You never know what will come out a broken crayon” visual prompt. 

THE AUTHOR

Debbie Ridpath Ohi is a children’s book author and illustrator. Launching from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on Aug. 25, 2020 – GURPLE AND PREEN: A BROKEN CRAYON COSMIC ADVENTURE, a new picture book written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Debbie. More about Debbie’s broken crayon activities and upcoming book: https://www.debbieohi.com/broken-crayon

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DEBBIE OHI, GURPLE AND PREEN: A BROKEN CRAYON COSMIC ADVENTURE

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Day 7 – Julia Elliot Blends Genres

THE PROMPT

Choose two very different and seemingly incompatible genres and think about how you might combine them to create an interesting piece of fiction.

Sketch out a plan for a longer story or experiment with a single scene for a story.

Some genres: fantasy, folk tale, sci-fi, dystopian, horror, slipstream, magic realism, fairy tale, mystery, detective, noir, Southern Gothic, Appalachian noir, bodice ripper, gorno, tall tale, picaresque, yarn, mockumentary, conspiracy, parody, LGBTQ, pastiche, dark comedy, slasher, chick-lit, new weird, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, saga, historical, pandemic, alternate history, period piece, ghost story, bildungsroman, feminist sci-fi, action, planetary romance, space western, fan fiction, cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk, nanopunk, steampunk, biopunk, superhero, new age, forensic, psychological thriller, docudrama, medical drama, slapstick, Christian, instructional, self-help, dinosaur erotica, cli-fi, postmodern, memoir, disaster, family saga, high fantasy, epistolary novel, fake blog, fictional autobiography, Afrofuturism, fictional biography, space opera, reality, supernatural, speculative, roman a clef, young adult, zombie, wuxia, vampire, allegory, epic, comedy of manners, melodrama, travelogue, creepy kids, splatter, etc. etc. . . .

THE AUTHOR

Julia Elliott’s writing has appeared in Tin HouseThe Georgia ReviewConjunctionsThe New York TimesGranta online, and other publications. She has won a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and her stories have been anthologized in Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses and The Best American Short Stories. Her debut story collection, The Wilds, was chosen by KirkusBuzzFeedBook Riot, and Electric Literature as one of the Best Books of 2014 and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her first novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, arrived in October 2015. She teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she lives with her daughter and husband.

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JULIA ELLIOT, THE WILDS

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Day 6 – Dean Knight Has A Tell-Tale Heart

THE PROMPT

Tell the story of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” from the old man’s point of view–after his murder. 

FROM THE POE MUSEUM

This prompt was supplied by Dean Knight, the Education Coordinator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. You can find out more about the museum here:  www.poemuseum.org 

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EDGAR ALLAN POE, THE PORTABLE EDGAR ALLAN POE

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Day 5 – Mary Robinette Kowal Opens A Portal

THE PROMPT

Freewrite from this opening sentence:

“Of the things that could go wrong while crocheting, opening a portal had seemed like a low probability.”

THE AUTHOR

Hugo Award-winner Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of: The Glamourist Histories series, Ghost Talkers and the Lady Astronaut series. Her stories appear in UncannyCosmos, and Asimov’s.

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MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL, THE CALCULATING STARS

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Day 4 – Joe R. Lansdale is Murderous

THE PROMPT

It was easy to repair the clock in the tower after the headless corpse was removed from the gears. Before that, it was thought to be a problem due to the age of the machinery, but except for the decapitated body, its mechanics were functioning perfectly.

THE AUTHOR

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over forty novels and numerous short stories. He has received the Edgar Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others. His most recent novel is The Elephant of Surprise.

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JOE R. LANSDALE, MORE BETTER DEALS: A NOVEL

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Day 3 – Naomi Kritzer Twists Fairy Tales

The Prompt

Think of a fairy tale you like. It can be a well-known one, or one that’s not well-known. (If it’s one you’re familiar with mostly from Disney movies, though, you should probably do a quick re-read of the original fairy tale, because those movies have been known to change a lot of stuff.) Now write a scene from that fairy tale, but reset in some way — you could move it to the present day, or the future. You could also move it to another culture (make sure it’s one you’re very familiar with) or find some other way to turn it upside down. Think about what the story is saying, and how that message changes when the story gets moved. 

The Author

Naomi Kritzer

 Naomi Kritzer’s novelette “The Thing About Ghost Stories” was a finalist for the 2019 Hugo Award; her short story “Cat Pictures Please” won the 2016 Hugo and Locus Awards and was nominated for the Nebula Award. Her YA novel CATFISHING ON CATNET came out from Tor Teen in November 2019.  naomikritzer.com).

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.

NAOMI KRITZER, CATFISHING ON CATNET

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Day 2 – Hallie Ephron Is Mysterious

The Prompt

Suppose your character returns home from work, parks their car, rides up in the elevator, walks down the hall. Usually, by now the dog is barking and scratching at the door, but today he’s not. As they get closer, they realize the door to their apartment is ajar. They inch closer, listening. Silence. Write the story, and what happens next.

The Author

 Hallie Ephron is the New York Times bestselling author of Writing & Selling Your Mystery .Novel: How To Knock’Em Dead With Style. A suspense writer, she is An Edgar Award finalist and a four-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award.

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.

Hallie Ephron's Mystery handbook cover

HALLIE EPHRON, WRITING AND SELLING YOUR MYSTERY NOVEL

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Day 1 – Joanne Harris Is Eerie

The Prompt

Jennifer Smith was never quite sure of the time at which she actually disappeared. She had been aware for some time that she was fading a little, but only in the last twelve months or so had she become increasingly conscious of those flickering intervals, like a television with a failing tube, or a radio on the verge of losing its signal.

The Author

Joanne Harris is the author of many novels, including Chocolat and last year’s The Strawberry Thief, now out in paperback, as well as many wonderful short stories. Her stories encompass magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She is a master of Twitter (@joannechocolat) where she issues dispatches from the Writer’s Shed, which should not be missed.


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.

Joanne Harris, The Strawberry Thief


JOANNE HARRIS –  THE STRAWBERRY THIEF

HARDCOVER 
PAPERBACK PRE-ORDER

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[Writing Prompt] Party of Many or Party of One

I’m bringing you two very different writing prompts from the archives this week.

party balloons
Photo by Sagar Patil on Unsplash

Read through them both and see which one calls to you more strongly. Both offer different ways to cope with our current, rather contracted social circles, either by imagining a party or by focusing on delighting one person.

The Prompts

Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Party of Many or Party of One”

[Write On Wednesday] Take A Second Look

June is rewrite and re-examine month at StoryADay. So today’s prompt reflects that.

Now that you’ve had a chance to recover from the frenzy of writing in May, here’s a prompt that help you to take a second look at one of those stories and improve it. Perhaps there is one you liked, but you know isn’t quite working yet.

It’s one from the archives, and I think you’ll like it.

Get Started

Write On Wednesday – 40 Minute Story

Today, in preparation for StoryADay May I’m sharing one of the peptalks I recorded for the Superstars Group last year.

(Superstars is a year-long mastermind group and community, but during the challenge they also get enhanced content, just like this. Find out more about Superstars here.

This lesson is particularly useful going into StoryADay May, as some days you’ll need to get your story written quickly. I don’t give you a topic, but I do give you a method for getting your story written. Combine it with the Short Story Framework!

The Prompt

Write A Story In 40 Minutes

Audio Only Version:

TIPS

  • Use the short story formula from yesterday to help you brainstorm.
  • Set a timer!
  • Spend 5 minutes, for brainstorming
  • Spend 5 minutes writing an opening.
  • Spend the next 20 minutes complicating your character’s lives. Look at every individual action your characters takes, and imagine what’s the next domino that would fall because of the action they took or the thing that they said.
  • At some point during this 20 minutes your writing will begin to flow and you’ll start to understand what this story wants to be.
  • At the end of that 20 minutes, begin to write your climax and resolution. (You may have to type ‘[transition to ending]’ and move along, if you’re running out of time and haven’t written everything you wanted to write.
  • You’ve been working on this story for 30 minutes! You have 10 minutes left.
  • Now think about how you want the story to end. Do you want it to be a happy ending or a sad ending? If the character achieves their goal, it might be a sad ending, but not necessarily. If the character desired something that was wrong for them, and doesn’t achieve it, that could be a happy ending!
  • Make sure there is a moment in the story where the character makes a big choice that exemplifies the change that they’re making through this story.
  • Spend 5 minutes wrapping up the story in a sentence or two, then spend the final 5 minutes thinking about your opening and ending lines. Do they feel like they belong to the same story? Can you tweak them now to hint at the theme?
  • Then take the rest of the day off!

If you would like to access content like this throughout the StoryADay challenge AND get 12 months of writing support, consider joining the StoryADay Superstars

Join The StoryADay Superstars

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[Write On Wednesday] Flexing Your Writing Muscles

We are one month away from StoryADay May, people! This is not a drill.

Actually, yes, it kind of is.

This is THE PERFECT TIME TO WARM UP your writing (take it from someone who didn’t, the very first year I ran this thing. I thought it would be smart to save all my ideas until May. Um, wrong!)

Photo by Eugene Chystiakov on Unsplash

One of the easiest ways to get into the flow of writing is to minimize the amount of stuff you have to invent. So today I have two prompts for you, from the archives, which help you take that ‘write what you know’ thing and have a little more fun with it than if you were simply journaling.

The Prompt

Read through these two prompts from the archives and decide which one is most interesting to you.

When Your Character Is Like You

When Your Character Is Not Like You.

Tips

Pull out your Short Story Framework and brainstorm that story. Then: write!

Try to get to the end of the story today. Bonus points: write to the other prompt tomorrow!

Remember, if the story is getting away from you, to limit it only to the essential characters, settings and details. Just enough to paint a picture for yourself.

Also: don’t worry if this story is not ‘good’. It’s only a draft.


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.

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