To kick off our 5th Year of writing a StoryADay in May, I have a special treat for you: a guest prompt from the fabulous Neil Gaiman.
On the day I contacted him he was, sadly for him, stuck in an airport. The prompt he suggested for us was pretty heartfelt:
The Prompt from Neil Gaiman
- This is a wide-open prompt. You could use it to write tragedy, comedy, satire, slapstick, sci-fi, fantasy, realistic fiction….anything you want.
- Think of a character desperate to get home. What is stopping them? What is their most basic reaction? (Frustration is a wonderful way to strip away a character’s layers and show us what they are like at their core. In Mr Gaiman’s case I would suggest that he is basically a generous and decent human being. Instead of responding to my request, he could just as easily have cursed, deleted my email and put me on a list of spammers… What will your character do?)
- For the first day of StoryADay May I always suggest writing a really short story. It’s a great way to warm up, and it’s all too easy to get lost in the beginning of a story and find yourself heading into a 3,000 word behemoth. You’ll never be able to sustain that pace for the whole month, so start small. Start with a victory.
- Aim to write no more than 1200 words. That gives you 300 words to establish the scene and your character, 700 words to make things happen, complicate things, create a crisis/climax, and 200 words to wrap it all up.
When you finish your story today, leave a comment below, or join the Victory Dance group in the community and share you thoughts about the first day, there. (Haven’t joined the community yet? Join here
Thanks again, Mr Gaiman. I hope you got home all right…