Day 30 – An Old Favorite

Today it’s another post from the archives, one of my favourites. And this time you get a peek into the kind of content the Superstars group gets throughout the challenge– perhaps you’ll be able to join us next time!

The Prompt

Write A Story As A Series of Letters/Tweets/Memos

Julie’s Notes

If you’ve been coming here for a while, you’re going to recognize this. It’s one of my favorites.

It is a challenge to you to write a story in a letter, a series of letters, a series of tweets, some sort of epistolary story.  Maybe you get replies from different people. You can have found objects, documents, all of which add it add up to a story.

Now, if you really get into this, you might not finish this today. It might become a bigger project, or you may do what somebody, the first year that we, we did story a day and write a series of tweets that got progressively creepier and creepier as this person was calling for help via Twitter, which back in 2010 was pretty revolutionary.

  • It could be on both sides of the conversation.
  • It could have multiple voices.
  • It could have a single voice where we have to really try and figure out what’s going on.

There’s a story I often cite by Neil Gaiman called “Orange”, which is simply a series of answers to a police interrogation by a teenage girl. We don’t hear the questions, we just get her answers. And it starts off fairly mundane. And of course, being Neil Gaiman, it gets a little strange.

There’s  something about the direct voice in letter writing or journal writing or in that kind of “direct to camera” conversation that really allows us to get inside a character’s head and get very emotionally involved in the story.

So that’s your prompt for today, and this is just a quick little prompt, a quick little video to give you that. I hope you’re still writing.

E is for Engage

Throughout this month I’ve talked about the WRITER Code, my framework for building a writing life you can love. In Week 1 we focused on Write; Week 2 was about Refining your process; Week 3 brought you prompts designed to Improve parts of your writing craft. Last week we focused on Triumph – celebrating every little success, every day. This week is all about Engaging with the wider writing community.

We’ve got this weekend left to go and then we will be out of here, as far as the challenge goes. So what comes next?

I encourage you to remember that on the first of every month, throughout the year, we have our SWAGr group, our Serious Writers’ Accountability Group where you can:

  • Pledge what you’re going to do next month
  • ‘Fess up to what you failed to do last month or managed to do last month. You can celebrate successes.
  • Tell us about things that you’ve, you’ve submitted.
  • Tell us about things that you have had rejected because that’s a success too. It means you’re getting out there.

I highly encourage you to check in, on the first of every month.

SIGN UP FOR SWAGr REMINDERS NOW

Accountability is really important along with building the behaviors into your routine that encourage you to be successful. It’s not something I’m trying to invent. This is something that successful people do. They prioritize the thing that’s important to them.

  • They create the habits that will support that
  • They commit to it on paper
  • They commit to it in front of other people.

There are concrete actions you can take to reinforce your commitment to help you avoid the  willpower drain, help you not make excuses, help you build the habits into your life to support the goals, and support the things that really matter to you. I’m going to be talking a lot about behavior over the next few months and trying to really find ways to help us all knuckle down to our writing.

It’s such a self confidence thing, with writing. It’s not like working out. You just get up and drag yourself to the gym at six and you’re done. For writers, we need to drag ourselves to the gym, build the equipment  from a few scraps lying around, and then invent the exercises too!

Inventing worlds is a huge endeavor. I[t’s very easy to walk away from it and say, I’m too tired. I’m too crap, I’m not good enough.

All of these, these things that we can put in our own way.

I’m going to be working to come up with some ways to help us all build habits and accountability into our writing lives. I hope you’ll stick around StoryADay in the coming months to share in that.

So quick prompt, long ramble. Sorry about that!

Write me a series of letters, and most of all keep writing.

What did you write today and how are you engaging with the wider writing community?

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!

2019 Day 20 – Epistolary Story

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 The Form Of Letters

An epistolary story is one that is written in:

  • letters,
  • memos,
  • texts,
  • voicemail messages,
  • video messages…anything that is communicated directly to another character, not in real time.
  • Make this conversation between two or more characters.
  • Make sure to give everyone a distinctive voice,
  • Think about how we communicate in writing vs in dialogue and how a character’s voice might change in writing, when they are in no danger of being interrupted and can explain themselves fully.

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!

Day 20 – I’m Gonna Sit Right Down

The Prompt

Write A Story In The Form Of A Series of Letters

Tips

  • You could do social media updates, conference call, letters, records.
  • In this story remember that each party in the story has an agenda, conflicts.
    You could tell three different sides of a story
  • Your format will affect the type of language that the characters use: in letters things might be more formal, in texts it’ll be more brief.

Remember to leave a comment to let us know how you got on!

Letters – a writing prompt for May 26, 2017

Today I throw you one of my favorite prompts, because I love reading these kinds of stories.

The Prompt

Write a story in the form of a series of letters

Tips

  • The ‘letters’ can be anything really: letters, journal entries, found documents, Tweets, Facebook updates…
  • The letters can come from only one person — in which case we hear only one side of the story.
  • The letters might come from various sources and in various time periods.
  • You might mix letters with documentary evidence (school report cards, obituaries clipped from a newspaper, a termination document from an employer).
  • Your writing might be in the form of a ‘gospel’ for a new religious or political cult.
  • This might grow to be a bigger project than you can handle in one day…

May 24 – Epistolary Stories

The Prompt: write a story in letter form

I have an unexplained and abiding love for stories-in-the-form-of-letters, so if you spend any time at StoryADay.org you’re going to see this one again and again, sorry!

The Prompt

Write A Story In Letter Form

Tips

  • This can be a single communication or a series
  • It doesn’t have to be letters. It could be Tweets, Tumblr posts, office-wide memos.
  • The story can unfold from a single author’s point of view, or you can show more than one side of the story, by using multiple authors.
  • If you need inspiration, read famous letters here, here, here or here

Examples::

Handwritten love letters:

Letters from famous authors to young fans

15 Best Resignation Letters

A list of popular Epistolary Novels

(Just don’t spend too much time reading them!!)

GO!

Post a comment at the blog to let us know you’ve written today, or join the community and post in the Victory Dance Group.

[Write On Wednesday] – Write A Letter

dear joe
Photo by Meredith Harris CC Some Rights Reserved

Today’s prompt was suggested by the story I read yesterday, Incognito by Susan M. Lemere.

The Prompt

Write a story in letter form

Tips

  • Use two or more voices, or let us see only one side of the conversation.
  • The ‘letters’ can be email exchanges, text messages, Facebook updates, or imaginary hand-written correspondence from sweethearts separated by war, an ocean, feuding parents…whatever makes sense to you.
  • Try to introduce some mystery, some misunderstanding, or some desire on the part of one of the participants. Frustrate us, tease us, keep us guessing about how it’s going to turn out.

Go!

[Writing Prompt] Epistolary Stories

Breaking with the narrative form again today, after flogging it’s poor dead horse corpse at the beginning of the week. Today we tackle a form for which I have an inexplicable and enduring love: letters!

The Prompt

Write An Epistolary Story (i.e. One Told As A Series of Letters/Documents)

Tips

  • Take the term “Letters/Documents” with a huge pinch of salt. Write a story made up of Tweets, Facebook updates, text messages between friends, comments on a Vine video, an author Q&A, whatever tickles your fancy.
  • Write a ‘story’ as a list (think McSweeneys).
  • Write a mock guidebook to some place you know well (or some experience you’ve been through)
  • Write an open letter to someone your character hates/loves/has a bone to pick with. Consider including a response from their object of scorn/affection/correction.

GO!

What form did you choose? How did it work out for you? Leave a comment or join the conversation in the community.

[Prompt] May 24 – Epistolary

Not quite a POV today, but still playing with character and point of view, today’s prompt is a secret love of mine:

Write an Epistolary Story

I’ve always loved stories played out through letters  – though now you can tell these stories in emails, phone texts, even Facebook updates and Tweets if you want to update the form. (Here’s an example from the very first StoryADay May, written by Amanda Makepeace).

You can write this as a series of exchanges between two or more people, or as letters, diary entries, or text messages from a single person (as in Amanda’s story).

  • What if you discovered a cache of letters in the attic of a house you just bought. What would be in the one-sided conversation?What would be missing?
  • What if you were a 13 year old who has finally got  on to Facebook?
  • What if you were an increasingly-enraged citizen writing letters to the editor of your small-town newspaper?
  • What if you were caught in a flame war in an online forum and all we, the reader, get to see is what goes on the screen?

Go!