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!

[Write On Wednesday] Holiday Story

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 5.12.57 PMIf you haven’t written a story for the the Nov/Dec holiday-of-your-choice, now’s the time.

The Prompt

Write a Christmas/Other Religiously-Affiliated Seasonal Story, a Thanksgiving Story, or a New Year Story To Include With Your Seasonal Greetings Cards.

Tips

  • Write a short piece that you could include with your holiday cards instead of the dreaded ‘family update’ letter.
  • Think about a few of your friends and what kind of story they’d appreciate (make it your most fun/twisted/dearest friends)
  • Keep the story to about 500 words, so it fits on one side of a printed page.
  • You don’t have to actually send the story, just imagine delighting these particular people, as you write.
  • Feel free to send it to them, with a note saying you were thinking of them.
  • You could do a parody of a traditional seasonal story, or a parody of the family update letter.
  • You could write a sweet, sentimental seasonal story, or a dark piece especially for the friend who you know hates the holidays (especially useful as cathartic therapy when you’ve been out trying to shop in the holiday crowds!)
  • You can post it as your holiday greeting on Facebook or your blog.
  • Get creative. Let loose.

Go!

P.S. I collected a few of my holiday stories into a little ebook collection. You could try this too!

[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!

[Write On Wednesday] A Letter To A Friend

Sometimes, while writing, I get hung up on my style.

(Am I using too many adverbs? Am I describing the setting vividly enough? Even if it doesn’t mattter?)

This is an absolute killer for a first-draft of anything.  It’s fine to worry about these things in the editing process. The important  thing for a first draft, however, is getting into the flow.

To help my writing flow, recently I’ve found myself imaging I’m writing for my best friends from high school – to whom I wrote real, paper letters after we went our separate ways.

BFF

Photo by tifotter

In the letters I told stories about stuff that had happened to me, or stuff I was thinking about or what I could see out of my window. They were gleeful, ridiculous, and great fun to write. I wrote as fast as I physically could (apologising at the end for my handwriting) and got equally gleeful and ridiculous letters in return.

Now, whenever I’m having trouble with a story I imagine I’m telling it to Linda or Miranda, who are the perfect audience for me: always supportive, always ready to have a good time and listen to my ramblings.

The Prompt

Write a story as if you were telling it to your best friend.

Tips

  • It doesn’t have to be in the first person (though this might help), but imagine it is being written only for your best friend to read.
  • Write fast, as fast as you can.
  • Make sure your story travels from start to end: don’t just write a scene, make someone or something change between the first word and the last.

    The Rules:

  1. You must write the story in one 24 hr period – the faster the better.
  2. Post the story in the comments — if you’re brave enough.
  3. Find something nice to say about someone else’s story and leave a comment. Everybody needs a little support!

Optional Extras:

Bonus points if you stick it in an envelope and mail it (yes, actually mail it) to the person you wrote it for.

Share this challenge on Twitter or Facebook

Some tweets/updates you might use:

Don’t miss my BFF-inspired short story:  #WriteOnWed #storyaday

This week’s #WriteOnWed short story prompt is What Makes You Mad?: #storyaday

Come and write with us:  #WriteOnWed #storyaday

See my story – and write your own, today:  #WriteOnWed #storyaday

If you would like to be the Guest Prompter, click here.