Day 7 – Julia Elliot Blends Genres

THE PROMPT

Choose two very different and seemingly incompatible genres and think about how you might combine them to create an interesting piece of fiction.

Sketch out a plan for a longer story or experiment with a single scene for a story.

Some genres: fantasy, folk tale, sci-fi, dystopian, horror, slipstream, magic realism, fairy tale, mystery, detective, noir, Southern Gothic, Appalachian noir, bodice ripper, gorno, tall tale, picaresque, yarn, mockumentary, conspiracy, parody, LGBTQ, pastiche, dark comedy, slasher, chick-lit, new weird, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, saga, historical, pandemic, alternate history, period piece, ghost story, bildungsroman, feminist sci-fi, action, planetary romance, space western, fan fiction, cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk, nanopunk, steampunk, biopunk, superhero, new age, forensic, psychological thriller, docudrama, medical drama, slapstick, Christian, instructional, self-help, dinosaur erotica, cli-fi, postmodern, memoir, disaster, family saga, high fantasy, epistolary novel, fake blog, fictional autobiography, Afrofuturism, fictional biography, space opera, reality, supernatural, speculative, roman a clef, young adult, zombie, wuxia, vampire, allegory, epic, comedy of manners, melodrama, travelogue, creepy kids, splatter, etc. etc. . . .

THE AUTHOR

Julia Elliott’s writing has appeared in Tin HouseThe Georgia ReviewConjunctionsThe New York TimesGranta online, and other publications. She has won a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and her stories have been anthologized in Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses and The Best American Short Stories. Her debut story collection, The Wilds, was chosen by KirkusBuzzFeedBook Riot, and Electric Literature as one of the Best Books of 2014 and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her first novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, arrived in October 2015. She teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she lives with her daughter and husband.

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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.

JULIA ELLIOT, THE WILDS

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Day 6 – Dean Knight Has A Tell-Tale Heart

THE PROMPT

Tell the story of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” from the old man’s point of view–after his murder. 

FROM THE POE MUSEUM

This prompt was supplied by Dean Knight, the Education Coordinator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. You can find out more about the museum here:  www.poemuseum.org 

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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.

EDGAR ALLAN POE, THE PORTABLE EDGAR ALLAN POE

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Day 5 – Mary Robinette Kowal Opens A Portal

THE PROMPT

Freewrite from this opening sentence:

“Of the things that could go wrong while crocheting, opening a portal had seemed like a low probability.”

THE AUTHOR

Hugo Award-winner Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of: The Glamourist Histories series, Ghost Talkers and the Lady Astronaut series. Her stories appear in UncannyCosmos, and Asimov’s.

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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.

MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL, THE CALCULATING STARS

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Day 4 – Joe R. Lansdale is Murderous

THE PROMPT

It was easy to repair the clock in the tower after the headless corpse was removed from the gears. Before that, it was thought to be a problem due to the age of the machinery, but except for the decapitated body, its mechanics were functioning perfectly.

THE AUTHOR

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over forty novels and numerous short stories. He has received the Edgar Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others. His most recent novel is The Elephant of Surprise.

Read A Book, Support An Indie

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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.

JOE R. LANSDALE, MORE BETTER DEALS: A NOVEL

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Day 3 – Naomi Kritzer Twists Fairy Tales

The Prompt

Think of a fairy tale you like. It can be a well-known one, or one that’s not well-known. (If it’s one you’re familiar with mostly from Disney movies, though, you should probably do a quick re-read of the original fairy tale, because those movies have been known to change a lot of stuff.) Now write a scene from that fairy tale, but reset in some way — you could move it to the present day, or the future. You could also move it to another culture (make sure it’s one you’re very familiar with) or find some other way to turn it upside down. Think about what the story is saying, and how that message changes when the story gets moved. 

The Author

Naomi Kritzer

 Naomi Kritzer’s novelette “The Thing About Ghost Stories” was a finalist for the 2019 Hugo Award; her short story “Cat Pictures Please” won the 2016 Hugo and Locus Awards and was nominated for the Nebula Award. Her YA novel CATFISHING ON CATNET came out from Tor Teen in November 2019.  naomikritzer.com).

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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.

NAOMI KRITZER, CATFISHING ON CATNET

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Day 1 – Joanne Harris Is Eerie

The Prompt

Jennifer Smith was never quite sure of the time at which she actually disappeared. She had been aware for some time that she was fading a little, but only in the last twelve months or so had she become increasingly conscious of those flickering intervals, like a television with a failing tube, or a radio on the verge of losing its signal.

The Author

Joanne Harris is the author of many novels, including Chocolat and last year’s The Strawberry Thief, now out in paperback, as well as many wonderful short stories. Her stories encompass magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She is a master of Twitter (@joannechocolat) where she issues dispatches from the Writer’s Shed, which should not be missed.


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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.

Joanne Harris, The Strawberry Thief


JOANNE HARRIS –  THE STRAWBERRY THIEF

HARDCOVER 
PAPERBACK PRE-ORDER

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[Writing Prompt] Party of Many or Party of One

I’m bringing you two very different writing prompts from the archives this week.

party balloons
Photo by Sagar Patil on Unsplash

Read through them both and see which one calls to you more strongly. Both offer different ways to cope with our current, rather contracted social circles, either by imagining a party or by focusing on delighting one person.

The Prompts

Continue reading “[Writing Prompt] Party of Many or Party of One”

[Write On Wednesday] Take A Second Look

June is rewrite and re-examine month at StoryADay. So today’s prompt reflects that.

Now that you’ve had a chance to recover from the frenzy of writing in May, here’s a prompt that help you to take a second look at one of those stories and improve it. Perhaps there is one you liked, but you know isn’t quite working yet.

It’s one from the archives, and I think you’ll like it.

Get Started

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:

TIPS

  • 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!

If you would like to access content like this throughout the StoryADay challenge AND get 12 months of writing support, consider joining the StoryADay Superstars

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