[Writing on Wednesday] Smell

One of the most common (and most overlooked) pieces of writing advice is to use the five senses.

This month I’m going to use the five weekly writing prompts to encourage you to get more sensory detail into your writing by focusing on one sense per week.

dog smelling the air Photo by Jeff Nissen on Unsplash

The Prompt

Write  a story in which a non-assertive character is stuck in a situation with other people who know less than they do and keep proposing the wrong solution to a problem. Make as many of your descriptions and metaphors smell-based as possible.

Tips

Continue reading “[Writing on Wednesday] Smell”

[Writing Prompt] A Rose By Any Other Name

In keeping with this month’s theme of Achieving Wins and Celebrating, limit yourself to 1000 words for this story and just get it done.


The Prompt

Write a story that starts at the end. The story must include a flower.

Tips

  • I’ve given you the restriction of including a flower, because when we have too much freedom it is paralyzing. I bet as soon as I said ‘flower’ your mind starting turning over how it could get a flower into a story.
  • Starting at the end is a fun way to tell a story. It’s a fun for the reader, as they try to unpick the puzzle of how your character ended up *here*. It’s good for the writer because we aren’t tempted to write a story-with-no-point. We know it’s going somewhere and we have to figure out how to get there!
  • All our stories should be about something, should hvae a point, should make the reader say ‘ah, yes, I must keep reading to find out why…”. Often, in the process of writing our ideas, we forget this, or get lost in the details. Telling a story in reverse (or at least starting at the end and jumping back in time) is a great exercise to cure us of this.
  • Brainstorm some ways your story could start that would intrigue a reader. Is your character standing on the roof of a building looking over the edge? Are they running? Are the police leading them away? Are they laughing gleefully as someone plunges a knife through their heart? (Yes, more Star Trek references! Bonus points if you can identify the episode.)
storyaday divider

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

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

[Writing Prompt] – An Achievable Goal

This month’s theme at StoryADay is “Triumph!”

Mindset is incredibly important in the life of the writer, and that means we need to celebrate every little win.

The fastest way to do that, is to make it easy to get to the win. So, today’s prompt is to write and finish a story in 100 words and I know you can do it.

person celebrating in the stands of a soccer stadium

The Prompt

Write 100 words about a character who is famous or infamous for one moment in their life.

Tips

You can read some 100 word stories here to get inspired.

You’ll have to work hard to pack an emotional punch into 100 words, but I know you can do it!

You can read the tips I’ve posted previously for 100 word stories here, here, or here

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

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

[Write On Wednesday] Weird Little Customs

Culture infuses everything about our world, so ‘world-building’ is an important part of our writing. Today’s prompt encourages you to build a story around a cultural oddity.

Image: gangster in a  police lineup
Man dressed as a 1920s ganster in police line up

The Prompt

Think about a cultural norm in the world of your story and explore its ramifications for your characters.

Tips

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Weird Little Customs”

[Write On Wednesday] Nostalgia Foods

The Prompt: Write a story with a pivotal scene where your a character tastes a food they haven’t tasted since childhood.

The Prompt

Write a story with a pivotal scene where your a character tastes a food they haven’t tasted since childhood.

Tips

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Nostalgia Foods”

[Write On Wednesday] Mirror Moment

This time last year I wrote about middles with the aim of helping you master your mindset. 

This year I’m thinking more about the actual writing: how to write the middle of a story.

The inspiration for this prompt is unashamedly borrowed from James Scott Bell’s immensely readable ebook Write Your Novel From The Middle.  It’s well worth the few dollars to pick up a copy of this book. 

Even if you don’t have your copy yet, you can use Bell’s revelation that the middle of a story often involves a moment of introspection, to strengthen your short story writing today.

The Prompt

Write a literal or figurative Mirror Moment into the middle of your story.

Tips

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Mirror Moment”

[Write On Wednesday] Nose To Nose

All the prompts this month are designed to stand alone or support your novel habit! Use them to spark standalone stories or to unstick your work-in-progress.

Just because it’s short doesn’t mean a story can’t be complex.

Zao Fox Village, Shiroishi-shi, Japan

The Prompt

Write a story in which the protagonist and antagonist are two sides of the same coin.

Tips

Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Nose To Nose”

[Write On Wednesday] More Roommates Than Expected

In Darkness by Marta Pelrine-Bacon
In Darkness by Marta Pelrine-Bacon

The Prompt

Two characters (or more if you wish) are spending their first night in a new home (or apartment, hotel, dorm…you decide).

And the first character says, “You know, they say this place is haunted…”


This week’s prompt comes from writer and artist Marta Petrine-Bacon, a self-professed fan of all things October-ish. You can find her novel, her art and her beautiful handmade notebooks (with appropriately spooky art) in her Etsy Shop WhereWordsAreStudio


If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

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

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.

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.

JULIA ELLIOT, THE WILDS

BUY NOW

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

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 

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.

EDGAR ALLAN POE, THE PORTABLE EDGAR ALLAN POE

BUY NOW

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