Write On Wednesday – 40 Minute Story

Today, in preparation for StoryADay May I’m sharing one of the peptalks I recorded for the Superstars Group last year.

(Superstars is a year-long mastermind group and community, but during the challenge they also get enhanced content, just like this. Find out more about Superstars here.

This lesson is particularly useful going into StoryADay May, as some days you’ll need to get your story written quickly. I don’t give you a topic, but I do give you a method for getting your story written. Combine it with the Short Story Framework!

The Prompt

Write A Story In 40 Minutes

Audio Only Version:


  • Use the short story formula from yesterday to help you brainstorm.
  • Set a timer!
  • Spend 5 minutes, for brainstorming
  • Spend 5 minutes writing an opening.
  • Spend the next 20 minutes complicating your character’s lives. Look at every individual action your characters takes, and imagine what’s the next domino that would fall because of the action they took or the thing that they said.
  • At some point during this 20 minutes your writing will begin to flow and you’ll start to understand what this story wants to be.
  • At the end of that 20 minutes, begin to write your climax and resolution. (You may have to type ‘[transition to ending]’ and move along, if you’re running out of time and haven’t written everything you wanted to write.
  • You’ve been working on this story for 30 minutes! You have 10 minutes left.
  • Now think about how you want the story to end. Do you want it to be a happy ending or a sad ending? If the character achieves their goal, it might be a sad ending, but not necessarily. If the character desired something that was wrong for them, and doesn’t achieve it, that could be a happy ending!
  • Make sure there is a moment in the story where the character makes a big choice that exemplifies the change that they’re making through this story.
  • Spend 5 minutes wrapping up the story in a sentence or two, then spend the final 5 minutes thinking about your opening and ending lines. Do they feel like they belong to the same story? Can you tweak them now to hint at the theme?
  • Then take the rest of the day off!

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Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

2019 Day 2 – Set A Timer

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!

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!

The Prompt


Don’t spend too much time on your opening.

Brainstorm for five minutes, spend the next five on an opening and then give yourself 20-25 to dig your characters into a hole and let them start to climb out of it.

Try to start wrapping it up when you have about five minutes left on your timer. Even if you have to write some brief notes [“this is where they make their great escape”], put an ending on the story.

This will make it so much easier when you come back to revise it later.


[Writing Prompt] Writing In Bits And Pieces

The last of the content-less prompts today!

Today I’m sticking with the theme of timed-writing but trying something a little different.

The Prompt

Pick Three Times Today When You Will Write Parts Of A Complete Story


  • Try to start earlyish in the day and write the opening of your story.
  • Pick a time a few hours later to write some more, and then again, later in the day to finish up.
  • Notice how easy or hard it was for you to get into the writing at different times of the day.
  • Think about professional writers on deadline, on book tours, who teach, who have ‘real jobs’. They have to find a way to write whether or not life is getting out of their way. Practicing squeezing a story into different parts of your day can be a useful skill.
  • Pay attention to whether or not one of the times of day worked best for you (tip: it might not. You might simply find you need to get the flow going, or that you’re ace at writing in fragments any time of the day. Be open to experimentation here).
  • Finish the story!


Don’t forget to comment here about your writing day or join The Victory Dance Group and let us know how you got on today.

[Writing Prompt] Set Aside An Hour

Today we’re going to try something new. I’m not assigning a word count, but rather a time limit.

The Prompt

Set aside a full hour to write a short story. Start and finish the story during that time.


  • Some people work really well with deadlines. Maybe this is yours.
  • Don’t panic if you can’t start writing at 00:01. Sketch out some ideas, try on a few characters. An hour is quite a long time if you focus on one moment, one instant (the perfect milieu for a short story). As long as you’re writing by 00:30, you’ll probably get a decent draft out of this exercise.
  • Pay attention to how you deal with the pressure of the hour finishing up. Is your story’s pacing clearly influenced by the deadline? (If it is, don’t worry, you can always clean things up in the rewrites).
  • Assess this exercise. Did you finish? Did you have to ‘cheat’ (i.e. write stuff like [put details in here], [move characters across town] etc.)?
  • Did the time limit work for you better than the word count as an exercise? Could this be something you use every day?


Don’t forget to comment about your writing day below or in The Victory Dance group.