Day 28 – Leslie Stack Objects To This Marriage

Leslie Stack writing prompt

The Prompt

“Loretta’s face was hidden by the wide brimmed hat boldly covered in ribbons and one rose. Rising slowly from the fourth pew, she raised her chin towards the minister and declared, “I object.”

The Author

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.

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.

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

Day 1 – Fran Wilde Crosses A Bridge

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The Prompt

There is a point, in the distance, that your character very badly wants to reach. What is it?

What is the point from which they’ve started out, what are they willing to do to get to that point in the distance? What will they sacrifice?

The bridge is the point between those two places. The bridge is where what they must do to get there, what they’re willing to sacrifice, and the consequences of those decisions coexist.

Write their story, on the bridge.

Are we ready? Today is Day 1 of StoryADay  2021!

Today’s prompt is  from Fran Wilde. Fran is a wonderful short story writer among other things, and she writes weird little stories, but weird little stories that win awards…so let’s pay attention to what she’s asked us to do. 

Fran has asked us to write a story where your character is on a bridge. 

It’s a wonderful metaphor for where characters are in short stories. A short story can be just that moment on the bridge where they can see what they want and they know where they’ve been. 

But they have to do something.

 They have to do something they probably don’t want to do to get to the next step, to get where they want to go. 

Your character wants something and it’s over there. Something is stopping them from getting there. If they’re the three Billy goats gruff, it’s a troll. If it’s a fantasy story, maybe there are rogues on the bridge. If it’s an adventure novel, maybe the bridge is rickety. If it’s a family drama, maybe their spouse is trying to tell them not to go any further….

So many possibilities, but all of them will keep you focused on the fact that, in a short story, a character has a choice to make and they have an action to take. And all the story needs to be is about that. 

You don’t need to do much setup.

You don’t need to really tie it up with a bow. 

You just need to tell us what happens and why it matters. 

So good luck with Day One!

This is a fairly meaty prompt, but on Day One you’ve got lots of energy. You’ve planned for this. You haven’t used up all of your good ideas yet. (That actually is never going to happen)

Go out there and get your teeth into this prompt.

I’ll see you back here tomorrow, but before that,  stop by and let me know what you wrote, how it went and just leave a quick comment for us when you’re done today.

Good for you for showing up. I’m very proud of you. 

Keep writing.

Would you like to receive this kind of enhanced content every day during May AND get to attend Zoom writing sprints with me and the Superstars?

Challenge Plus

The Author

Two-time Nebula winner Fran Wilde writes science fiction and fantasy for adults and kids, with seven books, so far, that embrace worlds unique (Updraft, The Gemworld) and portal (Riverland, The Ship of Stolen Words), plus numerous short stories appearing in Asimov’s, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, Uncanny, and multiple Year’s Best anthologies.

Her work has won the Eugie Foster and Compton Crook awards, been named an NPR Favorite, and has been a finalist for six Nebulas, three Hugos, a World Fantasy Award, three Locii, and the Lodestar. Fran directs the Genre Fiction MFA concentration at Western Colorado University and writes nonfiction for NPR, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Check out her latest work at https://www.franwilde.net/

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

Day 16 – Tobias S. Buckell Thwarts Your Characters

The Prompt

Think about three different characters going into a situation who need three different things to happen in it. Now, all of these things will conflict with the other needs. Think about how they will ally with each other and thwart each other in conversation and subtly trying to influence each other. But only one character can get what they want. Now… go!

The Author

Born in the Caribbean, Tobias S. Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling author. His novels and over 50 short stories have been translated into 17 languages and he has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author. He has a fabulous Patreon campaign where you get original stories once a month. He is also the author of one of my favorite new writing guides, It’s All Just A Draftwhich I talked about in this podcast episode.

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.

TOBIAS S. BUCKELL, IT’S ALL JUST A DRAFT

BUY NOW

Leave a comment and let us know how you got on and what you’re writing about

DAY 9 – Marta Pelrine-Bacon Looks Around

THE PROMPT

Choose an object within reach of where you’re sitting. Three people desperately want this object. Write a scene or story in which the characters fight over said object. Ideally choose an object that people wouldn’t obviously fight over.

THE AUTHOR

Marta Pelrine-Bacon is a StoryADay Superstar, and a participant in the challenge since 2010. Marta is the author of several published short stories in publications such as The Austin Review and Cabinet des Fees. She is also an artist and a teacher.

Read A Book, Help An Indie

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. 

MARTA PELRINE-BACON, THE BLUE JAR

BUY NOW

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

Write on Wednesday – Divided Languages

This week on the podcast, I interviewed Seumas MacDonald about the importance of culture in the development of language, and about ConLangs (or constructed languages) in fiction.

man and woman not communicating

The Prompt

Write a story where two or more characters come from different cultures and have difficulties understanding each other

Tips

Continue reading “Write on Wednesday – Divided Languages”

2019 Day 26 – Two Directions

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

Two Different Directions

Today’s story should feature two characters or factions who want to go in different directions. Lots of room for character desire and conflict, here!

You can take this as literally or figuratively as you like.

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 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!

[Write On Wednesday] Support

Last week we wrote about connections. This week, an interconnected theme: support. We need it in our writing lives, and our characters are looking for it, in our stories.

Big hand holding little hand pic

The Prompt

Write A Story About A Character Who Needs Support

Tips

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Support”

Day 8 – All About Conflict

Without conflict or friction in your story, nothing  interesting will happen. Today we focus on making sure two opposing forces run into each other in your story.

The Prompt

Put your character in a mundane, everyday situation. Then introduce a strong element of conflict.

Tips

Continue reading “Day 8 – All About Conflict”

Torture Your Protagonist

One of the biggest problems in fiction is when a writer creates nice characters and then doesn’t want to hurt them. Today, let’s make it hurt!

The prompt

Torture your protagonist

Tips

  • This may come easily to some of you, so you don’t need to read any further. If you’re already good at torturing your protagonist. Just go and get writing!

  • For the rest of us, there’s a temptation to let our characters be funny and nice and lovable. We don’t want to make unsympathetic. However, if they’re too perfect, they’re not interesting.

  • Let’s think back to the earlier story, where I asked you to create a flawed protagonist. Wasn’t that fun? You can still have a sympathetic character by letting them be terrible at one thing, especially if they’re very, very good at a lot of other things.

  • You want the reader to root for your character and the won’t if she’s perfect.

  • Torturing your character doesn’t really mean doing terrible things to them. It just means separating them from their goals and desires.

  • Remember my story about the person who wants the chocolate cake? She’s witty and feisty and could be running around the world getting everything she wants, but the real story doesn’t start until she separated from her heart’s desire: the chocolate cake. I could write all day about my witty-and-feisty character and eventually you would stop reading, if I didn’t torture her little bit.

  • Think about your character’s desires their wants and needs. How can you separate them from the things they want, at least temporarily.

  • It can be their own internal demons that are keeping them from what they want. Or it can be an antagonistic force such as a natural disaster. Or it can be an antagonistic character such as an loving, but overbearing mother. Or it can be a straight-up villain.

Did you torture your character today? Leave a comment telling us what you did to your character and if it came naturally to you or if this is something new. If you are ignoring these prompts and writing your own stories, leave a comment and let us know how it’s going!