2019 Day 28 – Closing Line

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

ENDING LINE: As the sun went down that night, I knew it would rise, tomorrow, on a very different world.

Think about this line and what kind of mood you would like it to convey. What kind of mood do you want your story to take today?

Sometimes our stories can veer off track: we feel like writing a funny story and suddenly we’re crying over our keyboards; or we want to write Gothic Horror and somehow end up with Clueless.

Starting with the end in mind, can help with that.

(Feel free to change the syntax and pronoun in this, to fit your story.)

Go!

So how’s it going this week? Are you tired or have you caught your second wind?

2019 Day 26 – Two Directions

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

Two Different Directions

Today’s story should feature two characters or factions who want to go in different directions. Lots of room for character desire and conflict, here!

You can take this as literally or figuratively as you like.

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!

2019 Day 25 – Assembly

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 Featuring an Assembly or Crowd Scene

You can tell the story of a song or simply use it in the story.

Normally I caution against having too many people in a short story, but today I want you to practice filling the scene with a crowd…but still focusing on your main characters.

There’s lots of potential for noise, color, and action in this one!

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!

2019 Day 24 – Song Title

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 Inspired by A Song Title

You can tell the story of a song or simply use it in the story.

Here are a couple of resources

An A-Z of Song Titles – if you feel the need to pick randomly

Fantasy Song Title Generator – for those of you who like to play fast-and-loose with the rules

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!

2019 Day 23 – A Picture

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 Inspired by This Painting

Richard Norris Brooke (American, 1847 – 1920), A Pastoral Visit, 1881, oil on canvas, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund) 2014.136.119

Unless you’re an expert in the time period, don’t try to write the historically-accurate story of this picture.

Instead, look at the details, the people, the expressions and see what it suggests for you.

Write about a family of laborers terraforming the first, off-planet colony, and entertaining a local dignitary for dinner

Write the story of a woman (any woman) whose husband brings home his boss when she’s had a full day at work and has just changed into her sweatpants and pulled her hair back into a messy bun, and she was in the middle of yelling at the kids for dragging in a stray kitten from goodness-knows-where and she’s just called out for pizza…

Tell the story of the bowl on the table. Where did it come from? Where will it end up, three generations from this moment.

The wonderful thing about using paintings as a prompt is that they represent one moment in time…just like short stories!

Our lives and our personalities are shaped by an accumulation of tiny moments. Never think that an idea or a moment is too small to be the spark for a worthy story.

Start practicing that belief with today’s story!

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!

2019 Day 22 – Word List

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 Containing These Words

distinct, weak, volunteered, slow, coming,
time, duress, suspected, shimmy, listened.

If you’re feeling brave, post the story in the comments, or on your own blog and link to it (like so many of you have been doing already).

Underline or bold the key words, or just let us read the story without noticing them.

This is a silly exercise designed to lower the bar on your expectations. But you may be surprised at what you manage to do with this prompt!

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!

May 31 – Scenario – The Windswept Plain

The Prompt

Your story starts with a character standing on a windswept, desolate plain. How did they get there? What do they want? And what is that on the horizon, and why is it getting closer?

You’ll notice that I haven’t provided a lot of (any?) scenarios during this month of writing prompts. That’s because I firmly believe your own ideas will provide more meaningful stories. The writing prompts I provide are merely a way to help shape your thoughts about the things that matter to you.

Today, however, I think you’ve earned a bit of a break.

This is a particularly fun story to post in the comments at the blog or in the community forums, to see how everyone wrote completely different stories from the same scenario prompt. Give it a try!

The Prompt

Your story starts with a character standing on a windswept, desolate plain. How did they get there? What do they want? And what is that on the horizon, and why is it getting closer?

Tips

  • This story can take place anywhere, at any time and with any kind of protagonist.
  • It could be a space opera, a farce, the climax of a tense kidnap story told in flashbacks, a mystery, a comedy, a romance or a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. Whatever your taste runs to.
  • You don’t ever have to explain why the character is there or what is approaching. You can focus on the character, his/her emotions, memories or senses and still have a satisfying story.
  • Your story can stay on the plain or, if you’re not the outdoorsy type, have your character scuttle into the huge building right behind her that we couldn’t see in the ‘opening shot’ of the story.
  • Consider sharing this with other people in the community who are writing to the same prompt. If you ever had any concerns about not being able to write anything ‘original’, sharing the results of this prompts should cure you of that!

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.

 

And that’s it! You’re done.

No matter how many days you wrote (or didn’t), your writing thanks you for hanging in until the end. Now, print out your Winner’s Tiara, color it in, put your feet up and demand that every one treat you like royalty (the good parts, not the bloody-revolution-parts).

Then come back here tomorrow to check in with the June SWAGr crew, and make your commitments to your writing for next month. (I’m thinking: a few days of more relaxed writing and some revision, to start with.)

Also, I’ll be posting details about next month’s StoryFest, where we get to share our favorite stories from the past month. So don’t be a stranger!

[Writing Prompt] It Ain’t Easy, Being…

Today’s writing prompt is a traditional ‘scenario’ prompt. I give you the scene and a character, you run wild with it.

The Prompt

Tonight is the kid’s talent show. Your character is determined to be there. Unfortunately your main character is no run-of-the-mill suburban parent. This time, thought, they’re not going to let that job get in the way. No matter what comes up they’re going to let someone else handle it. They can’t stand the thought of getting that look from the kid one more time…

Tips Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] It Ain’t Easy, Being…”

[Writing Prompt] The Locked Room

Today you’ll write a story that starts with a set of characters, a location and a problem, all devised by me.

Door Knob Reflection

The Prompt

The Setting: Four blank walls and two doors, both currently locked.

The Characters: Don, a man in his fifties; Sooz, a young woman; Dante, a teenage boy; Charlie, a character of gender, age and appearance that you specify.

The Problem: There are thunderous booms coming from outside the room and the characters must decide what to do next.

Tips

  • You can set this story anywhere and at any time.
  • The room may be any size. It can be inside, outside, on a space ship, on a cruise ship, underground, in a forest, whatever you like.
  • You decide on the characters’ personalities. Remember, personality conflicts provide drama.
  • To make your characters more rounded, give us a hint of what they don’t want us to see about themselves.
  • You can reveal the source of the noises or not. It’s up to you.
  • You can give us a nice, neat ending, or leave the situation unresolved. Just make sure something is resolved during the story.

Go!

[Writing Prompt] Guest Prompt from Gregory Frost

Continuing our Guest Prompt week, today’s prompt comes from novelist and teacher Gregory Frost. Thanks, Greg!

The Prompt

Unusual Ways of Seeing

Imagine a person with a very idiosyncratic way of seeing the world (for example, a low-end drug dealer who’s perpetually paranoid because he’s sure everyone wants to steal his stuð; or an accountant for whom everything is numerical and anally precise)—anyone who, because of mental challenges, profession, or self-medicated state, negotiates the world in a distinctly peculiar, complicated, or unhinged way.

For this prompt, have your character witness a traumatic event that does not directly involve him or her (a traffic accident, a robbery, an explosion, etc.).

Narrate the event from this character’s first-person POV, incorporating the idiosyncrasies of this invented personality.

If you need examples from literature, look at George Saunders’ “Tenth of December” which includes both the portrait of a deteriorating mentality and the interiority of a child’s imaginings, or Jonathan Nolan’s “Memento Mori,” or Donald Barthelme’s “Game.”

Tips

  • The narrative should be focused upon the observed event, whatever it is.
  • The background/ biographical elements of this individual should be limited, which is to say implied rather than presented outright in the core of things. You know who they are. Get that across to us without resorting to our narrator saying something like “I’m a junkie.”
  • The details presented about the event–especially how they’re presented–should suggest everything about our narrator.

 

Gregory Frost’s YA-crossover SHADOWBRIDGE duology (Shadowbridge & Lord Tophet) from Del Rey (Random House) was a finalist for the 2009 James Tiptree Award and named one of the year’s four best fantasy novels by the American Library Association.  His Nebula-nominated science fiction novel, THE PURE COLD LIGHT is now available in ebook formats from Book View Cafe (as is his first novel, LYREC)

 For more:
Facebook: gregory.frost1