I hope you’ve had a brilliant May! Leave a comment and let me know your hopes for the future.
Write A Story of Hope
You can use this prompt to write about your hopes for your (writing) future or you can write a fictional story that revolves around hope.
The fun thing about playing with hope is that it raises the stakes so very high, and allows for the possibility of some real dark nights of the soul. What does it do to your character when they think all hope is lost? How do they act?
And what does it do to your reader when you whiplash their emotions all over the place and grant your character’s wish, after all?
(Can you tell I’m hoping for happy endings? You should feel free to disappoint me if you’re more of the ‘everybody dies a meaningless death at the end’ type)
Leave a comment letting me know how your month has gone, what you’ve achieved and what you hope that means for the future.
It has been an absolute privilege to spend this time with you creative souls. I hope you’ll stick around for the rest of the year and most of all,
You’ve been writing enough, by now, that I think it’s time to set you free a little bit…
Write a story inspired by the theme: Duty
Write a story that grows out of your thoughts (positive or negative) as you ponder the word ‘duty’.
What does duty mean? To whom does your character owe it? Should they?
Will you write a story of sacrifice and honor or one of rebellion (an honor)?
Julie Duffy is a writer with a strong sense of justice. But that doesn’t mean she’ll do what’s she’s told. Read more about Julie and invite her to talk to your writing group.
My personal theme for my StoryADay Challenge stories this year was ‘love’. It didn’t always work out, but let’s give it another shot today…
Write A Love Story
There are many types of love, and it manifests in as many ways as there are humans in the world (and imagined humans in our stories).
You can write a romance if you must, but I’m going to encourage you to write a story that shows us an act of love more unexpected than that.
It might be:
- the love between a grandparent and a grandchild
- A love that shows up in actions, not words
- A friendship that picks up after years apart
Remember to show us what’s happening in your story. Paint me a picture. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me feeeeeel the lurrrve.
Julie Duffy is a hopeless romantic in all senses of the world. A cock-eyed optimist, and a writer who loves stories that paint the world we want, not just the one we have. Invite her onto your podcast to talk about how stories change hearts and save the world.
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.
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.)
I once read an article that suggested it’s easier to talk to men/boys when you’re doing something else at the same time (some complex psychological study that showed men don’t like to talk directly to/about things but can have more meaningful conversations when engaged in an activity together).
I don’t know how accurate it is, but I do know it makes for an interesting writing prompt.
Write A Story Based Around A Hobby You Enjoy
Pick something you like to do, so you can include all kinds of realistic details (for example, I might pick knitting or gardening or singing in a choir because I could talk about the personalities and the clashes in a group that gets together around these hobbies. I could also talk about the moment of adrenaline that hits when you think you’ve dropped a stitch, or the sheer physical power it takes to belt out the chorus from “O Fortuna” along with all the bizarre warm-up tricks choral directors have subjected me to over the years, from ‘ma-me-me-mo-moo” to group shoulder massages!)
- This is a great opportunity to work on character-building. Have your main character interact with all kinds of different characters in the group. See what shorthand you can use for each secondary character in the story, without descending into cliché.
- Try including some tiny, here-and-now moments in the group that echo a larger issue for your main character. This strengthens the theme of the story. (e.g. if you discover that your main character’s issue is that she can’t seem to keep relationships together, allow one of the group’s participants to have issues with commitment to something in the hobby: one month he’s all about cacti, the next month he’s revamping his greenhouse to hold nothing but palms; maybe someone can’t ever seem to knit more than one sock in a pair before moving on to another project; perhaps the newbie on the sports team has been through 14 different sports before this one and can’t settle on one…). Mine other people’s reactions to this micro-problem to illuminate the answer to your main character’s macro-problem.
- Linking your themes like this helps you transform a character sketch or vignette into an actual story that goes somewhere.
- If you feel you’re missing the mark on this as you write your first draft, don’t worry. Make notes as you go to help you flag this stuff on a future rewrite. (e.g. [“link this to her issue with Dave?’].
The most important thing today, is to get a first draft finished. Get to the end of your main character’s story and set a date to come back and beef up all the theme/image/foreshadowing stuff later. (Pro tip: Put it on your calendar!)
Sorry, but give the sheer weight of all the Star Wars Lego in my house these days, I couldn’t resist.
Write A Story Featuring An Epic Battle Between Good And Evil
…and remember, that could just as easily happen between two office cubicles as in a galaxy far, far away.
You could also make a case that Star Wars is just a big family saga — or maybe a romance — so feel free to go with that too.
And if you do go with the Hero Looking For A Quest thing, remember how whiny and unheroic Luke was at the start of those movies? You might want to emulate that and give your hero some room to grow.
Write A Story About Good Vs. Evil