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!
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.
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.
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!
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.