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

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!

103 – StoryADay May 2018 is Underway!

The first week of StoryADay May 2018 is drawing to a close. In this episode I tell you about 

The webinar I did with NaNoWriMo’s Young Writer’s Program, Marya Brennan: http://stada.me/ywplive

The Superstars program, and how you can still join (today): http://stada.me/superstars

Here’s where you can find all the prompts for StoryADay May 2018: http://stada.me/may2018

And I answer a question about burnout and revision during May.

 

Another new episode of Write Every Day, Not “Some Day”

Day 6 – Steal From Yourself

Steal from yourself!

The Prompt

Retell a story you’ve told before, in a new way

This exercise opens up opportunities in future, when you have a piece that isn’t quite working. You can cast your mind back to today and remember that yeah, there’s more one way to tell this story, too.

Let us know how you got on today, in the comments below!

Day 5 – Steal From The Best

Steal, borrow, it’s all good…

The Prompt

Have some fun today: Steal something from a favorite published universe

Remember, you can’t sell a derivative work without permission, or a license, but that’s not the point today. Today is all about having fun in a world you know well, or with characters you already love.

 

Leave a comment to let us know which world you played in today! 

 

Never miss out on news from StoryADay:

Day 2 – Quick Story Formula

Yesterday’s awesome prompt was written by one of the authors who contributed to the Signature’s 2018 Compact Guide To Writing Short Stories. I can’t recommend it enough.

Signature Short Story Guide

For Day 2, here’s a sneak peak of what you’d be seeing all month if  you were a StoryADay Superstar. Join us! 

(For the rest of the month, the prompts here will be text-only and not as detailed)

Superstars get videos like this, a private forum, guided meditations and a weekly video hangout. Join us?

The Prompt

Use this story formula to to create an interesting character, give them a desire, kick off some intriguing action and plan the kind of resolution you want.

Once you have that skeleton, you can start filling in colorful details…and soon your creative brain will be demanding you start to write!

A _______ (adjective) ________(noun), who _________(verb) ___________(subject), then _________(related verb) __________(resolution)

TIPS

Continue reading “Day 2 – Quick Story Formula”

102 – Top Three Tips For A Successful StoryADay May

In this episode I give you my top three tips for a successful month of writing an introduce the new StoryADay Superstars program: https://storyaday.org/storyaday-superstars

(membership comes with a month of free access to Duotrope, my favourite online source for writing markets)

Another new episode of Write Every Day, Not “Some Day”

Write A Story In 30 Minutes

This prompt is a great one for the first day because this is a day when you’re probably the most excited about the challenge and your ambitions are high and you’re quite likely to try and do too much.

The Prompt

Write a story in 30 minutes

I would rather you try to do too little and succeed and try to do too much and fai. Hence the limit on timing.

Tips

  • Set a timer. I know you probably have a phone clutched in your hand right now. Tell it to set a timer for 30 minutes. Don’t start it yet.
  • Every story starts with character. Think of your favorite type of character from somebody else’s fiction. Do you like Jack Reacher? He’s heroic he’s almost impossible to beat in a fight. And yet Lee Child manages to make him an interesting character. Is this the kind of character you like? If not what do you like? Write down qualities of characters that you love to read about, now.
  • Once you have a character, think about something that this character would never ever do.
  • Think of a way to back this character into a corner where they must do the thing they would never do.
  • For example all Harry Potter wants to do is find a place to belong, a place to call home. He finds it at Hogwarts. The last thing he would ever do is risk getting kicked out of Hogwarts. But what does he do in every book? He risks getting kicked out of Hogwarts. He does it to save his friends, to further the course of right, and ultimately to save his world.On a smaller scale in All The Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, the main character is a young blind girl who relies utterly on her doting father. The last thing she would want is to be separated from her father and have to cope with life on her own. But along comes World War II and the Nazis and guess what she has to do? It’s not a big adventure novel there are some explosions (not in a Bruce Willis kind of way), but the tension is very real because were worried about this poor vulnerable girl and what she’s going to do in her circumstances. Pick something for your character that will push them beyond their comfort zone.
  • Think about this for a little while. It might be best if you think about this while you go off and do whatever it is you have to do today, and then come back to writing later.
  • think about how late you can start the story. You don’t have to write background, telling us who the character is, what her daily life is all about. That’s for movies. This is a short story. We don’t have the space for that. Short story writers can start closer to the middle of the action — we can start in medias res, the middle of the action. Later, we show the reader the stakes, through conversation or actions. They don’t need to know everything in the opening paragraph.
  • OK, you have a few ideas? Great! Start your timer.
  • How to write a story in 30 minutes Write for no more than 10 minutes on the opening of the story. At the 10 minute mark make sure that you’re moving into the main action of the story: the complications, making things worse for your protagonist, making things funnier/more harrowing/more interesting. At the 25 minute mark, start wrapping up: even if the story isn’t completely finished, even if you have to write [something cool happens here], draw a line under the middle part of your story and get the resolution. Wrap it up by the time you hit the 30 minute mark. First draft: done!
  • This is difficult, and you’re not going to end up with a fabulous polished story. (You might, but you shouldn’t expect to.) However writing to the end of the story gives you a first draft that you can go back and clean up later. The experience of going from beginning to end in 30 minutes proves to you that you can do this. Congratulations! You have a complete story. Now start thinking about what you might write about tomorrow!

 

Continue reading “Write A Story In 30 Minutes”

Welcome to StoryADay 2016

Welcome to Week One!

This weeks’s theme: Limits

I know you’re excited. I know you want to get started on your great masterpiece. But setting that kind of pressure on yourself is the fastest way I know to a crippling case of writers block.

This week I’m going to impose limits on your writing that will make it almost impossible for you to write something great. This is my gift to you.

Continue reading “Welcome to StoryADay 2016”