The herd instinct is only a problem if you’re following the wrong herd.
Let’s see if we can put it to good use. Let’s circle the StoryADay wagons and help each other to write more of the stories that people need to hear—to distract them, to entertain them, to uplift and connect them.
Some things I’ve shared with people over the past few days
This is a wonderful time to catch up on your reading. Everyone has a pile of books they’ve been meaning to get to. Turn off the TV and open those books!
If you can’t get to a writing group because you need to protect your health, ask other people to turn on the voice memo feature on their phone and record the group discussion for you.
If you’re a member of a real-life writing group, ask the organizer to sign up for a free Zoom account. You can get everyone together for 40 minutes at a time under the free account, and chat about writing, or hold your critique meeting, or whatever you usually do.
You don’t have to be writing fiction if it doesn’t feel right, just now. Write letters to friends you haven’t seen recently. Write journal entries. Work on a non-fiction project you’ve been meaning to get to. Advocate for a favorite charity or write postcards for a political candidate’s campaign.
Use writing prompts to write tiny, throwaway stories that are only intended to amuse and distract yourself.
What other ideas do you have?
What can I do to help you?
Do you need an online writing hangouts this week, to keep you from obsessing about the news, or keep you sane while you work from home?
Do you need daily SWAGr check-ins at StoryADay.org for the next week, to keep you accountable?
Would it be helpful if I put together a bundle of links to the most popular articles on the site, so you can read something that isn’t virus-related?
Is there something else I can do to help you?
Leave a comment and tell me how you’re doing, and what you need. Also, if you’ve found something that helps you, please share that too!
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’.
Your character walks into a room and sees something/someone they really, really don’t want to see. How do they solve this dilemma?
What are we really talking about when we talk about sex? Join me for a conversation with sexuality educator Dr. Lanae St. John. We talk about how to portray true intimacy on the page (without any weird noises), how to make consent sexy, and where to find a model for your next villain.
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.
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.