[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

Day 27 – Matty Dalrymple Stares At Clouds

The Prompt

Wake With Clouds

The Author

Matty Dalrymple writes, podcasts, speaks, and consults on the writing craft and the publishing voyage as The Indy Author™, and is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. You can connect with The Indy Author™  via Facebook and Twitter.

Matty is also the author of the Lizzy Ballard Thrillers Rock Paper ScissorsSnakes and Ladders, and The Iron Ring; the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels The Sense of Death and The Sense of Reckoning; and the Ann Kinnear Suspense Shorts, including Close These Eyes and Write in Water,  and the new writing handbook, Taking the Short Tack:
​Creating Income and Connecting with Readers Using Short Fiction
 which she co-authored with Mark Leslie Lefebvre.

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.

Matty Dalrymple, The SEnse of Death

BUY NOW

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

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

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

[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.

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



Ready For More?


[Write On Wednesday] Speak, Don’t Tell

Continuing this month’s theme of Show, Don’t Tell, today I want you to focus on how you can do that in dialogue. 

Missed the first prompt on this month’s theme? Find it here.

Couple holding hands, image
Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

The Prompt

Write a story set in a particular time or place and use dialogue to show us where we are, rather than telling us.

Suggested scenario: two characters who know each other well, but one is keeping a secret.

Tips

Don’t simply have characters say “In olden days people didn’t even drive electric cars” to show that we’re in the future. Look at this example from “The Era” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.

We’re in HowItWas class

“Well,” Mr Harper said, twisting is ugly body towards us. “You should shut your mouth because you’re a youth-teen who doesn’t know sh*t about Sh*t and I’m a full-middler who’s been teaching this stuff for more years than I’m proud of.”

The Era, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

You KNOW we’re not in a modern day school, right? The attitudes, the name of the class, the way description of ages…so much “show” and very little “tell”, even though we literally have characters telling each other stuff!

Or in this story when the main character has seen a photograph of her deceased mother in a museum and calls her dad to ask about it.

“She was a looker, wasn’t she? What is it, some kind of—do they call it street photography?”

“No,” I said. I described in euphemism what was occurring int he photo.

“There’s been some mistake,” my father answered, finally, resolutely. “That’s your eyes playing tricks on you.”

Natural Light, Kathleen Alcott

Watch how the father goes from open and generous to shut-down and in denial, without the author have to tell us any of that.

Or in this one, what do you infer about the setting, just from the dialogue?

“Y’all put that gator right back where you found him or I’ll pepper your asses with 177s.”

Hellion, Julia Elliot

Pay attention to how you can use dialogue to tell us things other that what the character mean to tell us.

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!



Ready For More?


[Write On Wed] The Stories The Books Tell

This post came from my local independent bookstore yesterday, closed for the moment, but imagining wonderful things. (You can support Reads & Co while they’re closed by ordering from them here)

Reads & Company bookstore image "the books keep themselves company, telling each other stories until you return"
Reposted with permission from bookstore owner and writer Robb Cadigan. He says “Hope people have fun with it”, but reserves first dibs on the idea as kids’ book or published story…

The Prompt

What stories do the books tell each other?

Continue reading “[Write On Wed] The Stories The Books Tell”

[Write On Wednesday] Pull Readers into Your Story

This month’s theme at StoryADay is “Show, Don’t Tell”, that pesky little piece of writing advice that sounds so easy and will actually take us the whole month to unpack. It’s more than simply ‘showing’. It’s about using all our senses to immerse the reader in a moment, and it come more easily to some writers than others.

Let’s start practicing with today’s prompt. This week we’ll focus on making the setting immersive. Next week will be about showing through dialogue. The week after that we’ll work on when to ‘show’ and when to ‘tell’.

photo of dining room by matt briney on unsplash.com

The Prompt

Your character walks into a room  and sees something/someone they really, really don’t want to see. How do they solve this dilemma?

Tips

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Pull Readers into Your Story”

[Write on Wednesday] Trouble In Paradise

Relationships are tricky – romantic or otherwise – because at the heart of each relationship are two individuals who have expectations, often unspoken, about what they owe to each other.

Photo by Jessica Da Rosa on Unsplash

The Prompt

Write a story in which two close friends, lovers or family members struggle through a difficult moment.

Tips

Continue reading “[Write on Wednesday] Trouble In Paradise”

[Writing Prompt] What The Greeks Knew About Love

This year during the Superbowl I noticed an ad that used the different types of love, as defined by the Greeks, to advertise their product. And it reminded me that, for those of us without a classical education, it can be useful to review frameworks like this, that underpin our cultural attitudes whether we know it or not. 

eros statue image
Photo by Thomas Vogel on Unsplash

The Prompt

Write a story combining featuring two different types of love relationships from the list. Notice how they interact, how they cause the characters to act, and where those actions are different and similar.

Types of Love

Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] What The Greeks Knew About Love”

[Writing Prompt] 3 Aspects of Enduring Love

This month’s theme is Love: It’s Not Just For The Ladies. I’m going to be looking into all kinds of love and how our characters feel, express and reject it. Starting with this week’s writing prompt.

couple holding hands illustration
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

The Prompt

Write three, linked mini-stories about two people who love each other.
Each moment illustrating one of the three aspects of enduring love: Intimacy, Passion & Commitment.

Each section highlights a different moment.
The overall story charts their relationship.

Tips

Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] 3 Aspects of Enduring Love”