Day 2- New Words on an Old Theme by Julie Duffy

Today’s writing prompt encourages you to keep things short

The Prompt

Write a 100 word story inspired by an aphorism


Remember: the prompts are only here as inspiration if you need them. Some people decide to write to all the prompts no matter what (to force themselves to stretch), but you can play any way you want!

Writing a 100 word story is a wonderful way to warm up and get some writing done even on a day when you are busy. It’s not necessarily faster to craft a 100 word story than it is to dash off 1200 words, but it is incredibly satisfying, and it sharpens your word-choice skills.

Today I’m going to suggest that you choose an aphorism or proverb to inspire you story (here’s a handy collection).

You’ll need to choose a character who embodies (or defies) the message of the aphorism, pop them in a situation where they can take an action and, ideally, give us an idea of how they are changing through their experience.

100 words isn’t a lot, but I believe in you!

If you need some inspiration here is a site full of 100 word stories.

Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy is the Founder and Director of She began thus challenge in 2010 and is proud to have encouraged thousands of writers, since then. She never tires of hearing from writers whose StoryADay drafts turn into published stories, or gifts for friends, or other forms of art, so do please keep in touch!


make sure you set your printer to print this at original size, not full-page!

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

Remember: I don’t recommend posting your story in the comments here (and I talk more about why not, here). Best practice: Leave us a comment about how it went, or share your favorite line from your story.

[Writing Prompt] From Scene To Theme

The theme of a story doesn’t always become clear to a writer until the story is written and revised (and often, ready by others and discussed).

Today, however, we’re going to turn that on its head.

The theme can be summed up as ‘the moral of the tale’, or a proverb, or the overarching lesson in a fable. Let’s take a well-worn proverb and construct a new story to illustrate it.

The Prompt

Choose A Theme And Write A Story That Illustrates It


  • The danger with starting theme-first is that stories can get preachy. Remember to base your story firmly in the character (unless you’re being intentionally experimental).
  • There’s no need to explicitly quote the moral or proverb you based your story on.
  • Try to go wa-ay beyond the first idea suggested by the theme/proverb you pick (no frogs carrying scorpions across rivers, please). Dig deep for a different idea. Try lots before you settle on one.
  • Use the theme less as a lesson for the reader and more as a guidepost to keep you on the right track as you write.
  • Don’t think I’m telling you to start theme-first with every story you write. Use this as an experiment to see what happens, what changes, when you start writing with a fixed theme in place.
  • If the theme is constraining your story too much, throw it out and follow the story where it wants to go (post about this in the comments or the community, if it happens. I’d be interested.)