2019 Day 8 – Conflict

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

Write A story centered on conflict

Without conflict you don’t have a story, you just have a series of things happening.

Be sure to put your protagonist in a situation today, where they need to do something they really don’t want to do, talk to someone they really can’t stand, or run from something they’d rather stay and do.

Conflict can be car chases or it can be the story of an alcoholic trying to resist taking that first drink in 25 years.

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 7 – Flash!

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

Write A FLASH FICTION STORY

Chances are, most of the stories you’ve written so far would qualify as Flash Fiction if all we meant was “under 1200 words”.

But Flash is more than that. It is deliberately taut, vivid, and short. It should contain one or two vivid moments or images that stay with the reader long after they’ve gone.

Write your story of 1000 words today, and work on making it flash.

FLASH FICTION FURTHER READING

Steve Almond, Stop

Erin Morgenstern, The Cat and The Fiddle

Ariel Berry, Useless Things

Naomi Kritzer, Paradox

Josh McColough, Meteor

Jennifer Wortman, Theories of the Point of View Shift in AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’

Rachel Engelman, Joan of Arc Sits Naked In Her Dorm Room

Julie Duffy, The Girl Who Circumnavigated The Earth In An Act of Her Own Making

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 6 – A Fresh Genre

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

WRITE IN A GENRE YOU DON’T USUALLY USE

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut.

Writing in a different genre (or mashing two genres together) can be a wonderful way to freshen things up.

So what are you going to write today? A romance? A mystery? A Sci-Fi-Punk-Rock-Thriller?

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 5 – 100 Words

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

WRITE A STORY in 100 words

What can you do in 100 words? A surprising amount.

Just don’t be surprised if today’s story takes just as long as yesterday’s. Short and sweet isn’t necessarily quick!

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 4 – Two Characters

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

WRITE A STORY WITH NO MORE THAN TWO CHARACTERS

Short stories are short. One of the ways to stop them from creeping out of control is to limit the number of characters.

Stick to two characters today (yes, your characters can refer to other people, but nobody else appears in the story.)

If you usually write in third person, try first.

If you usually write adult women, try a boy, or an alien, or a grown man.

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 3 – Change Your POV

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

CHANGE YOUR POINT OF VIEW

We often get stuck writing in the same point of view or from the same perspective. Make an effort to write a story, today, that is different.

If you usually write in third person, try first.

If you usually write adult women, try a boy, or an alien, or a grown man.

Go!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

2019 Day 2 – Set A Timer

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

The Prompt

Set A TIMER FOR 40 MINUTES

Don’t spend too much time on your opening.

Brainstorm for five minutes, spend the next five on an opening and then give yourself 20-25 to dig your characters into a hole and let them start to climb out of it.

Try to start wrapping it up when you have about five minutes left on your timer. Even if you have to write some brief notes [“this is where they make their great escape”], put an ending on the story.

This will make it so much easier when you come back to revise it later.

Go!

2019 Day 1 – Short Story Formula

You’re here! We’re here! And StoryADay May is definitely here!

Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

The Prompt

Write a short story using the StoryADay Short Story Formula

A __________(adjective) __________(noun) __________(strong verb)__________(subject), so they __________(verb), and because of that __________(verb), and because of that __________(verb) until __________(something changes) and__________(what has changed?). Closing question/statement/image: __________.

The StoryADay Superstars are seeing enhanced versions of these prompts all month, plus a year of monthly meetings and support.

Want a sneak peek?

You can still sign up for Superstars until midnight tonight!

Help! I Missed A Day. What Do I Do?

OK, so this is Day 5 of the challenge and if you haven’t missed a day yet, the chances are strong that you will. Soon.

So here’s my advice, based on five years of May challenges, a couple of StoryADay September challenges and the writing courses I run.

Let It Go
[1. Cue the sound of my two elementary school aged boys screaming “No! Enough with the Frozen!”]

Let the unwritten stories go and write again tomorrow.

Seriously. This is not so much about turning out 31 complete stories as leaning to turn up every day, even when you feel like a failure. I encourage people never to try to catch up with days they’ve missed. That creates far too much baggage. (You can always keep writing into June if you want your 31 stories!)

Watch And Learn

The other point of a challenge like this is to try to do more than you think you can do, and to watch where it is hardest and where/when it was most fluid. Then, when you go back to your normal writing schedule you will have all these experiences in your tool kit. You’ll know that Saturday is maybe not a day to expect to get much writing done. And you’ll know that 11-midnight is prime time. Or you’ll know that it’s easier to write when you have a plan (or not).

Don’t worry too much. Just keep turning up, keep breathing and keep watching all the ways your inner demon tries to sabotage your writing life. Say ‘Huh, that’s interesting, demon. Nice try, but I’m still turning up again tomorrow”.

If we are going to write for the rest of our lives (and lets face it, we are), all we can do is keep learning!

Adjust Your Rules

Back in 2012 (my third year) I decided I was no longer going to commit to writing on Sundays. I COULD, I just didn’t HAVE to.
Between running the site and having two small children and a husband that I quite like to spend time with, something had to give. Sundays were it, for me.

This is fine. If you decide not to write EVERY day in May that’s cool.

BUT do try to assess your progress on a week to week basis rather than waking up each day and thinking “I wonder if I should write today”. (You should).

Stop now and see how your first five days (which include a weekend) have gone. Decide what you’ll commit to for the next seven days.

Of course, I thoroughly encourage you to write an actual StoryADay unless the thought of it is making you truly miserable. If you’re miserable, change the rules. But keep writing.

So, how’s it going? What are you learning? What tips do you have?