Day 10 – Deesha Philyaw Encourages Letter-Writing

The Prompt

Write a letter to your 14-year-old self. Address that young person’s fears, concerns, questions, and insecurities. Offer reassurance based on what you now know as an adult.

The Author

Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES, won the 2020/2021 Story Prize and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and a 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.

THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow. Learn more at deeshaphilyaw.com.

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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.

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Day 9 – JEM Wildfire Keeps Things Short

The Prompt

Write a six-word story complete with a beginning, middle, and end. Classic example from Hemingway: “Baby shoes for sale. Never worn.” Suggested prompt word: May. Could be the month, a person, a permission request, a game (e.g. Mother May I?). Or use another word. Bonus points if every word starts with the same letter.

The Author

J.E.M. Wildfire danced on the edge of creative writing throughout her life, culminating with lawyerly briefs and memorandums filled with facts presented as creatively as possible while remaining truthful.

After retiring, she decided to dispense with facts and concentrate on creativity. She discovered that the diversity of StoryADay May prompts sparked her late-blooming talent and led down writing paths she would not have stumbled upon otherwise. Most recently, her work has appeared in the April 2021, issue of “Love Letters to Poe.”

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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 8 – Premee Mohamed Steals Souls

The Prompt

In a mysterious valley, two rival abbeys of nuns and monks serving the same strange god play a secret game unbeknownst to their superiors. When the stakes for the game become souls, how can the game be ended — and the debts to the demon of chance be paid?

The Author

Premee Mohamed is an Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction author based in Edmonton, Alberta. She is the author of speculative fiction novels ‘Beneath the Rising’ (2020), ‘A Broken Darkness’ (2021), and novellas ‘These Lifeless Things’ (2021), ‘And What Can We Offer You Tonight’ (2021), and ‘The Annual Migration of Clouds’ (2021).

Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of venues and she can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus and on her website at www.premeemohamed.com.

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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 7 – Roxane Gay Wants You To Be Happy

The Prompt

Write a story that doesn’t use unhappiness as its narrative catalyst. That is to say, write a happy story, one that is textured, interesting, not overly sentimental, but that is at its core, a happy story, however, you choose to imagine that.

The Author

Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others.

She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women, and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects. She also has a newsletter, The Audacity.

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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 5 – Marta Pelrine-Bacon Makes Your Character Lose Something

The Prompt

A character has lost an object that is of great value to someone they love.

The Author

Marta Pelrine-Bacon is an artist and a writer. You can buy her art in her Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WordsAreArtStudio

Read A Book, Support An Indie

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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 4 – Neha Mediratta Gives You An Ending

The Prompt

Write a 1000 word flash fiction story that ends with the line: “That’s how a small cut in her finger led to the end of the world.”

The Author

Neha Mediratta is a freelance writer and editor based in Mumbai. Her interests include swimming, tai chi along with studying natural and human systems of organization. Check out her writing at https://www.amazon.com/Neha-Mediratta/e/B08CJSLD2H

Read A Book, Support An Indie

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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 3 – Matthew Salesses Looks Back

The Prompt

This prompt comes from thinking about point of view and you could use it to write the whole story in two parts.

For the first part create a character who does something that you did during that week: e.g. go to the grocery store and you buy oranges. now. Now write about it in the third-person perspective and fictionalize it.

In the second part move your story 10 years into the future. Change perspective to make it a first person perspective. And it turns out that that non-momentous moment from your life (e.g. going to the super supermarket and buying oranges) ended up being extremely important to this character.

Don’t forget to include how the world has changed from 10 years ago to now and how the character’s world has changed, how they think of the world, and how they move through the world differently.

Would you like to wake up to a video pep talk and writing lesson from me every day during the challenge AND be invited to writing sprints with me and the Superstars during May?
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The Author

MATTHEW SALESSES is the author of the bestsellers The Hundred-Year Flood, an Adoptive Families Best Book of 2015, and Craft in the Real World, an Esquire Best Book of the 2021, which explores alternative models of craft and the writing workshop, especially for marginalized writers.

His latest novel is the PEN/Faulkner Finalist Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, Matthew was adopted from Korea. In 2015 Buzzfeed named him one of 32 Essential Asian American Writers.

Matthew is an Assistant Professor of English at Coe College, where he teaches fiction writing and Asian American literature and studies.

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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 2 – AT Greenblatt Wants You To Go Somewhere New

The Prompt

Write a story or a scene in a setting you have never used before. It can be somewhere you have been or somewhere you have always wanted to go. It can be real or imagined.

The goal is to try something new.

The Author

A.T. Greenblatt is a mechanical engineer by day and a writer by night. She lives in Philadelphia where she’s known to frequently subject her friends to various cooking and home brewing experiments.

She is a graduate of Viable Paradise XVI and Clarion West 2017. Her work has won a Nebula Award, has been in multiple Year’s Best anthologies, and has appeared in Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lightspeed, and Clarkesworld, as well as other fine publications. You can find her online at http://atgreenblatt.com and on Twitter at @AtGreenblatt

Read A Book, Support An Indie

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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.

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/

Read A Book, Support An Indie

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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!

[Write On Wednesday] More Roommates Than Expected

In Darkness by Marta Pelrine-Bacon
In Darkness by Marta Pelrine-Bacon

The Prompt

Two characters (or more if you wish) are spending their first night in a new home (or apartment, hotel, dorm…you decide).

And the first character says, “You know, they say this place is haunted…”


This week’s prompt comes from writer and artist Marta Petrine-Bacon, a self-professed fan of all things October-ish. You can find her novel, her art and her beautiful handmade notebooks (with appropriately spooky art) in her Etsy Shop WhereWordsAreStudio


If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

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