Day 18 – Overheard and Understood by Julie Duffy

today’s writing prompt invites you to write a short story in an unusual format: an overheard conversation

The Prompt

Write a one-sided conversation.


Imagine a character listening to one side of a Zoom call.

The person on the call is using headphones, so your character can only hear their words, not the responses.

Imagine a conflict for your two characters (it could be a parent and child, a romantic couple, roommates): Living together has certain stresses and we all need things from the folks we live with. Being in close confines causes conflicts every day, that build over time.

Your character has a problem with the person they live with. Maybe they want more of their time and attention. Maybe they want to leave. Maybe they just want to have a discussion about values.

How could the one-sided conversation they overhear illustrate (or solve, or illuminate the problem?

You could write this in sections – the first section is your character thinking about the problem, or rehearsing what they’re going to say to their housemate.

The second section could be the conversation they overhear. You can include your character’s internal (and external) reactions to what they here, or just leave that section as a block of monologue.

The third section might be showing your character’s actions in the wake of the understanding they have gained from eavesdropping on the conversation.

Don’t forget to include physical senses in some of the story. Where is your person standing? What does the room feel like? What can they smell? What else can they hear (are the floorboards creaking underfoot, as they try to conceal their presence? Or are they tapping on the door and being ignored/unheard? Are they sipping on a coffee or a cocktail? How does it taste?

Julie Duffy

Julie is the host of StoryADay and has been on more than her fair share of Zoom calls even before, you know, 2020. Julie often speaks to writers groups and business groups about creativity, writing, and the art of productivity. If you’d like her to speak to your group, you can find out more here

day 18 bingo
Here’s your next Bingo Piece. Download the pic, print it out and paste it onto your bingo sheet. Then share a picture of it on social media with #storyadaybingo

Join the discussion: what will you do with today’s prompt OR how did it go? Need support? Post here!

P. S. Over on the Fun-Size Challenge I’ve invited people to submit a story for a chance of getting feedback from me on a live call next week. You are also invited to the party. Get all the details.

[Write On Wednesday] Things You Should Know About Me

Cammel Laird Social Club art by Half Man Half Biscuit.

This idea for a story is ripped from the song “Them’s The Vagaries” by Half Man Half Biscuit (thanks, guys!). The narrator says, near the start of the song, “Now we’ve kissed I’ve prepared this list, I thought you ought to know…” and goes on to tell his new love about all his quirks starting with “I’ll not sit backwards on the train” and proceeding down to the most bizarre of pet peeves.

The Prompt

Write a story that begins “Now that we’ve kissed, here are some things you ought to know”


  • Write this as a monologue or a dialogue, whichever works for you.
  • This has the potential to be funny or tragic.
  • Feel free to write this as a list (like the McSweeney’s lists) or as a series of tweets, or as an oral history (which will make it more like a traditional short story in form).
  • Even if you go with the non-traditional forms (lists etc) there is still a lot of scope for the beginning, middle, end structure.
  • Only the journey you take your readers on will be emotional, rather than literal (from flippant to poignant; from innocent to creepy…).
  • Think of the most colorful people you have ever met or the worst date you were ever on. Imagine one of those people writing this.

[Prompt] May 26 – Dramatic Monologue

Aren’t there times when you wish you could just say your piece without anyone interrupting you? Well, today’s the day — for your protagonist, at least.

Write A Dramatic Monologue

Have your protagonist tell their story out loud, in a self-aware way. Make it clear that they know they have an audience – whether or not you spell out why. (Perhaps they’re telling their story to the first police officer on the scene, perhaps they’re talking to a grown-up grandchild, or recording their story for StoryCorp’s National Archives project). You can have them refer to the reason, or simply ramble on.

Make it clear that this is their story and that no-one is going to interrupt, then let them go.

  • Will your protagonist be scrupulously honest, or portray herself in a good light, her enemies in a bad light? Will that be subtle or blindingly obvious?
  • Will your hero use humor? What emotions will he betray?
  • Does the language your character use tell us something about their personality, their upbringing, their age?


[Prompt] May 9 – Chatty Cathy


Tell a story where everything we learn about the character comes from the things they say.
Does what they say match up with what they mean? Iin what ways do they lie about themselves when the speak? How do people react?)

Tell Us About Your Character Through Their Voice


Daily Prompt – May 21: Rewrite In The Style Of…Pt III

Today, rewrite a story you have written before, but this time as a dramatic monologue.
Taking a look at the story from another angle is a challenge in itself. Then add the challenge of making the dialogue seem real and you can really have fun with this…

Daily Prompt LogoThis is the thirdin a series of prompts that will encourage you to choose a story to write several different ways. You could choose a fairy story or a tale you’ve already told right here during Story A Day May. Each day I’ll give you a style to write in. You can reuse the same character, plot, timing, whatever works as you import your story into the new style. Feel free to ditch characters, change their names, switch out the endings, whatever makes sense.

Today, rewrite a story you have written before, but this time as a dramatic monologue.

Taking a look at the story from another angle is a challenge in itself. Then add the challenge of making the dialogue seem real and you can really have fun with this.

(NB, the character who is ‘monologuing’, to borrow a phrase, doesn’t have to be the original story’s hero. It could be someone who was walking by and saw the action; a minor character in the action; anyone really).

(PS Did I mention? Day TWENTY! And you’re still here? Awesome, dude!)