Day 29 – The Story You’ve Been Waiting To Write

Here we are, the final three days of this extreme month of writing.

It’s so impressive that you’re still here, that you’re still writing, that you’re still coming back to this.

I know you have stories you want to tell, that the world needs to hear.

Your experiences, your outlook, your way of expressing yourself, are unique in the history of the world and I’m so glad you’ve come this far, and you’re still writing.

And I know you’re going to continue to write, because you’ve come this far.

Today I’m giving you a prompt that might seem a little lazy from me, but there’s a reason.

The Prompt

Write the story that you’ve been hungering to write.

I’ve been very proscriptive this month, telling you what you write, and you’ve been writing for four weeks. You’ve got stories in your head that are nipping at your brain, whispering “tell me!”, so today I’m setting you free.

Tell one of those stories.

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote today

Day 24 – Disappearing Act

This week’s theme is, in part, to encourage you to try out stories that use each of the types of story threads from the MICE quotient.

The Prompt

Tell a story that features a disappearance

This could be an Intrigue/Idea story. At it heart it has a question, or a mystery or a big idea.

It could be the disappearance of a person, a cultural phenomenon, or of the bees, or of Arctic Ice. Or it could be something more nebulous. Your story could be serious or slapstick. What will you come up with?

What did you make disappear? What kind of story did you write? What tone did your story take on, today? Leave a comment and let us know!

Day 22 – A Rude Awakening

Welcome to Week Four!

This week I’m providing you with story starters, to give your imaginatiosn a little kickstart.

The Prompt

Your character wakes up in a space they don’t recognize.

They could wake up in a white van, a locked room, or anywhere that is completely different form their everyday. This gives you the opportunity to explore your character in interesting ways.

There may be other people inside the space, outside the space, interacting with them, or not.

Have fun with this, today!

Day 21 – News Flash

The Prompt

Write A Story As A News Report

This could be a TV report with a panel of pundits yelling at each other, a reporter on the street, the voice of a producer in your anchor’s ear…

Or, this could be a traditional newspaper report.

Remember to tell a story, though! Then tell us all about it in the comments.

Day 20 – I’m Gonna Sit Right Down

The Prompt

Write A Story In The Form Of A Series of Letters

Tips

  • You could do social media updates, conference call, letters, records.
  • In this story remember that each party in the story has an agenda, conflicts.
    You could tell three different sides of a story
  • Your format will affect the type of language that the characters use: in letters things might be more formal, in texts it’ll be more brief.

Remember to leave a comment to let us know how you got on!

Day 19 – Direct To Camera

May is far from over! Don’t give up now. And if you’ve just discovered StoryADay May, it’s not too late to jump in. Here’s today’s prompt, and you can find a new episode of the podcast here: Is It Time To Quit? (spoiler: no!)

The Prompt

Tell A Story ‘Direct To Camera’

This is probably going to be in first person.

Write as if you’re writing to your best friend, or talking directly to a police officer, or relaying this to a room of strangers.

if all else fails, stand in front of your phone and tell the story. Tell a real story or a fairy story. See what this does to your writing.

Leave a comment and tell us how it went today!

Day 18 – It’s A Bit One-Sided

The Prompt

Write a story today in which the reader only hears one side of the conversation

This could be a telephone conversation, a text conversation, a series of social media updates, a series of letters, whatever.

Examples

Bob Newhart telephone does this in telephone calls

Watch Neil Gaiman read his story Orange here or read it here

Day 16 – We Need To Talk

Extra! Extra! A fabulous new collection of 100 word stories has just hit the shelves. It’s called Nothing Short Of 100 and it comes from Grant Faulkner (also the head honcho at NaNoWriMo), Lynn Mundell and Beret Olson, all of 100WordStory.org

To see four excellent examples of a 100 word story, hop on over to the publisher’s site now. Or pick up the book from Amazon or request it from your local indie bookstore.

 Today we continue our look at short stories as not-mini-novels and play with them in ways you can only play with short stories!

The Prompt

Write a story completely in dialogue

It’s probably best to keep this to two characters because it’s harder to have more than two characters, without attribution.

I want you to keep it straight in our heads, who’s talking, simply by the way they talk.

A guy who works on Wall St should sound different from a farmer from a rural area.

Don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us what you wrote today!

Bonus: Writing Contests as Prompts – a guest post from Elise Holland

Elise Holland HeadshotToday’s bonus prompt comes from Elise Holland, writer and editor of the 2Elizabeths online literary magazine

There are so many excellent contests available to short form writers.
Sometimes the clear-cut parameter of a deadline serves as inspiration, and
many contests are genre specific, creating a built-in, detailed prompt.

In order to provide a precise prompt, I suggest looking into submitting
your work to Nowhere Magazine’s Spring 2018 Travel
Writing Contest. Beneath the prompt, you will find my tips on how to find
writing contests, and how to use each set of submission guidelines as
future prompts.

The Prompt

Until May 31, 2018, literary travel magazine Nowhere is seeking
contest submissions from young, old, novice, and veteran writers.
Specifically, they are looking for stories with a strong sense of place.

Send your fiction, nonfiction, or essay, but be certain to specify which
genre your work falls into at the top of your manuscript. Submissions
should be kept between 800 – 5,000 words in length. The contest winner will receive $1,000 and publication in Nowhere. For further details and
to submit your work, visit the magazine’s website here.

Tips

  • You can access a free database of writing contests from Poets &
    Writer’s, here. For a minimal fee, you can access additional contest databases and information for writers through Writer’s Market or
    through Duotrope.
  •  When you write for a contest, be sure to carefully read each set of
    submission guidelines. Each publication will seek different stories based
    on criteria such as genre, word count, and deadline. Use these criteria
    dutifully to hone in on your story, and to ensure that your work is
    considered by contest judges.

    • Many contests will be genre-specific. For instance, the contest for Nowhere is seeking work revolving around travel. And later this
      year 2 Elizabeths, the magazine I edit, will host its second annual Love & Romance Writing Contest. (Grab a copy of our submission guidelines, here.)
    • Use these genre-specific contests to propel you into your work. You can
      either be hyper-focused and choose to enter work only into the genre you
      write, or you can choose to enter a variety of work into different
      genre-specific contests, expanding your repertoire.
    • I’m a firm believer that limitations breed creativity. And that’s exactly
      how I would encourage you to view word count restrictions pertaining to a writing contest. It can be a fun game, squeezing an entire tale into a
      limited number of words, and it’s a fantastic exercise in the economy of
      your words.
    • As you peruse any of the aforementioned databases, consider which
      contests you might like to enter. Use these contest deadlines to help you
      build your own editorial calendar.
  • Many writing contests require participants to pay a submission fee. This
    is generally intended to cover the prize which will be paid to the
    winner(s), as well as to keep the publication running.
  • When submitting your work there are a couple of key terms to be aware of:
    simultaneous submissions and multiple submissions.

    • The term simultaneous submission means that you will be
      sending the same piece to several literary magazines or journals at the
      same time. Most publications accept simultaneous submissions, but some do not. If a publication does not accept them, this will be stated in their guidelines.
    • Should your work be selected for publication by one magazine, it is
      important to notify other publications where you have submitted that piece.
      This courtesy will prevent complications, and will keep you in good graces with various editors, should you wish to submit to them again in the future.
    • The term multiple submission means that you are submitting multiple pieces to the same literary magazine or journal. This is generally accepted, but if it’s not, that will be specified in the submission guidelines.

About Elise Holland

Elise Holland is the editor of 2 Elizabeths, a literary magazine
focused on poetry and short fiction, with an emphasis on romance and
women’s fiction. Her work has been published inWriter’s Digest Magazine, The Writer’s Dig, and at DIY MFA. Find Holland online at 2Elizabeths.com.