A Recipe for Success During StoryADay

In this guest post, StoryADay Superstar Leslie Stack shares her recipe for success during the StoryADay challenge: Story Sparks

Story Sparks logs in a box
photo credit: Chris Stack

This is my fourth year participating in Julie Duffy’s StoryADay May and it has truly been instrumental in jumpstarting and refocusing my writing.

Whether it was in May or September, I found my writing grow in meaning, technique, and purpose.

Sparking Stories

One of the difficulties of this writing challenge is thinking of a fresh idea every day.

To help me with this, I use both the daily writing prompts and Julie’s Story Spark Notes.

These are small, folded booklets that I make using a printed form from the StoryADay web site which I then fold into a palm sized booklet.

Sign up for the next StoryADay challenge now and I’ll send you the printable files

Julie Duffy

With seven circles to write in, I scatter these all around the house and in the cars so that, when a story spark pops into my head, I am never farther than a few steps from writing my fleeting thoughts down before they go poof into thin air. 

Better Than A Notebook

Better than a small notebook, I can put these in my pocket when I go walking, a purse, a baggie when I go sailing, a bike basket, a camping backpack, the car’s glove box, and a travel trailer.

Great ideas come to me at the most peculiar times and then roll through my head like frames on a reel of film. If I don’t get the idea down on paper quick enough, the next frame rolls through and the thought is gone.

By having my Story Spark Notes everywhere I’m just a few breaths away from writing down what could be my best idea yet and, if it’s more than just an idea, I just unfold the booklet and have an entire page to write on.

How I Manage My Sparks

I date the start of all my booklets and, when I’ve filled one up, I place it into my Idea Box.

As I use the ideas, I put that date and the title of the story beside it.

Oh, The Stories You’ll Tell…

I’ve seen a guy walking down a city bike path carrying a farm shovel, water flowing down a Japanese chain, a horrific car accident, an elderly lady wearing every color of the rainbow, a cow in the middle of the road standing there staring at us, a canoe tip over while a couple attempts to kiss, and a very short and a very long funeral procession converging on the entrance of a cemetery. 

What are the stories behind these moments? Without my little booklets, they might have been lost to the world.

Now, if I could only find a pencil…

Leslie Stack

Leslie Stack is a writer, musician, camper, and teacher who loves being on the water or in a museum. You can usually find her doing research behind dark glasses on a park bench. She lives in a house  with her husband where the books are plotting a takeover.

How do you keep track of your story ideas and snippets? Leave a comment:

5 thoughts on “A Recipe for Success During StoryADay”

  1. Thank you, Leslie. Such a simple hint but so helpful. How many images, situations, phrases… have escaped for lack of a ready place to capture them! I like the option to open it up and have a full sheet to write on should the ideas come flooding in (with a pocket-sized notebook it would soon be filled.)

    1. Oh, Judi. I am so glad. It’s a great community and the prompts really make a difference. Julie finds the best authors to contribute in both May and September. Let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!

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