2019 Day 23 – A Picture

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!

The Prompt

Write A Story Inspired by This Painting

Richard Norris Brooke (American, 1847 – 1920), A Pastoral Visit, 1881, oil on canvas, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund) 2014.136.119

Go!

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!

2019 Day 22 – Word List

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!

The Prompt

Write A Story Containing These Words

distinct, weak, volunteered, slow, coming,
time, duress, suspected, shimmy, listened.

If you’re feeling brave, post the story in the comments, or on your own blog and link to it (like so many of you have been doing already).

Underline or bold the key words, or just let us read the story without noticing them.

This is a silly exercise designed to lower the bar on your expectations. But you may be surprised at what you manage to do with this prompt!

Go!

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!

2019 Day 21 – One-Sided

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!

The Prompt

Write A Story Where We Only Hear One Side of The Conversation

Go!

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!

2019 Day 20 – Epistolary Story

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!

The Prompt

Write A Story In The Form Of Letters

An epistolary story is one that is written in:

  • letters,
  • memos,
  • texts,
  • voicemail messages,
  • video messages…anything that is communicated directly to another character, not in real time.
  • Make this conversation between two or more characters.
  • Make sure to give everyone a distinctive voice,
  • Think about how we communicate in writing vs in dialogue and how a character’s voice might change in writing, when they are in no danger of being interrupted and can explain themselves fully.

Go!

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!

2019 Day 19 – 3 Perspectives

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!

The Prompt

Write The Same Incident From Three Different Perspectives

Use this exercise to sink into character: how would different people tell the story of the same incident? What are their motivations? Who are they talking to? What are they hoping to achieve?

Go!

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!

2019 Day 18 – Prose Sonnet

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!

The Prompt

Don’t worry: you don’t have to know anything about poetry and you don’t have to make this rhyme!

Write A Story In 14 Sentences

That’s it!

(Sometimes different forms can be surprisingly freeing so if you hate this idea, try it anyway!!)

If you know about the different types of sonnets (or want to research them) you could echo the thematic ‘rules’ that sometimes apply.

But don’t waste to much time worrying about that. Just write a story in 14 sentences.

Go!

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!

2019 Day 17 -Aphorisms

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!

The Prompt

Today we’re continuing our theme of weird story forms.

WRITE A STORY USING AN APHORISM FOR THE FIRST WORD IN EVERY SENTENCE

Places To Find Aphorisms

Go!

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!

2019 Day 16 -The List

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!

The Prompt

write A Story In The Form Of A list

This is part of a week of prompts designed to get you to play with form.

TIPS

  • Use established cultural lists, or your own.
  • Use an imagined list (“the lists my mother gave me when I left home”, or “Mr Renquist’s Classroom Rules”) to tell a character’s story.
  • Pick your favorite of the 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, 9 Circles of Hell, 5 Pillars of Islam, 12 Labors of Hercules, 3 Rules of Robotics, 3 Laws of Motion, 6 Principles of the Scientific Method…
  • Consider writing a series of stories from these ideas

Remember: short story readers like puzzles and gaps. Let them figure out why they are reading this list, as they go.

Go!

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!

2019 Day 15 -Feelings

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!

The Prompt

Write A story in three different moods

This begins a week of prompts designed to get you to play with form.

Short stories are not mini-novels and they needn’t read that way.

Jump around between characters in this one. Jump around in time. Do whatever you need to, to give your story three distinct sections and three different emotions.

Make sure to make your characters sound like real people, not actors on a stage reading soliloquies.

Go!

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!

2019 Day 14 – Openings, Endings & Titles

The Prompt

Focus on the opening, ending & title

  • Write a sketchy first draft today. Tear through it. Get the story written.
  • Then go back and craft an opening line that contains a strong sense of who is telling the story, when it is set, where it is set and what kind of story it’s going to be (Is it going to be a murder mystery? Get the body into the first line. Is it a historical romance? Give me gas lamps and corsetry!)
  • Next, work on your ending. Echo the opening scene with a similar-but-different scene, symbolizing your character’s growth/change. Or leave us with an open-ended question, but make sure we know enough about your character to have an idea what their next action might be. Or use a poetic line that sums up the theme of the story.
  • Finally write a title that doesn’t tell me what your story is about but intrigues me with an unusual idea, phrase, pun or twist on an old saying or song title. Remember the title is the sizzle that sells the story.

Some of my favorite short story titles:

  • Vampires in the Lemon Grove
  • Baby’s First Kill
  • ‘Gator Butchering for Beginners
  • An Open Letter To The Person Who Took My Smoothie From The Breakroom Fridge
  • Stop — because if you’re paying attention, it represents two different meanings of the word
  • The Lady Astronaut of Mars
  • A Perimenopausal Jacqueline Kennedy, Two Years After the Assassination, Aboard the M/Y Christina, off Eubeoa, Bound for the Island of Alonnisos, Devastated by a Recent Earthquake, Drinks Her Fourth Bloody Mary with Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. — a fine example of how to circumvent the word-count limit in flash fiction!
  • Afterthought, Aftermath, Aftershock
  • The Worshipful Society of Glovers
  • A List of Forty-Nine Lies

I’d love it if you’d leave your opening and ending lines and title, below!

Leave a comment and let us know how it went today.