Day 13 – Gabriela Pereira Sings Nursery Rhymes

THE PROMPT

Choose a nursery rhyme.

That is going to be the plot of your story.

The key with this exercise is that now choose an author whose voice you love.

Write that story with that character, but in the voice of the author you chose.

Bonus Prompt

This is actually a great prompt to do more than once. Once you’ve done this exercise, you may want to come back to it after the StoryADay challenge and do it again, choosing different writers as the inspiration for the voice.

If you do this, use the same Nursery Rhyme each time. Then you’ll start to get a sense of how, when you’re putting on another author’s voice, you’re sort of wearing that author’s voice suit, how your voice behaves in that ecosystem, and eventually you’ll start to get a sense for what your voice is and what you bring to the table that is completely unique and you can then, write.

After you’ve done it two or three times, I want to challenge you to write that same story in your own voice with your own storytelling awesomeness. This is a great exercise to practice stretching yourself a little bit in terms of your voice, but also to help you find your voice.

People always say, you need to find your voice. Well, you never lost it in the first place. It’s always been there. This will just help you uncover. The things that make your voice especially unique. So there you have it, the Nursery Rhyme Exercise

THE AUTHOR

Gabriela Pereira is a writer, teacher, and self-proclaimed word nerd who wants to challenge the status quo of higher education. As the founder and instigator of DIYMFA.com, her mission is to empower writers to take an entrepreneurial approach to their education and professional growth. Gabriela earned her MFA in creative writing from The New School and teaches at national conferences, at local workshops, and online. She is also the host of DIY MFA Radio, a popular podcast where she interviews best-selling authors and offers short audio master classes. 

Gabriela is a long-time friend of both myself and the StoryADay community. To find out more about DIY MFA, click here

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.

GABRIELA PEREIRA, DIY MFA: WRITE WITH FOCUS, READ WITH PURPOSE, BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY

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

Day 12 – Windy Lynn Harris Makes A List

THE PROMPT

Today, your task is to make a list. A literary list, that is.

Grocery lists, to-do lists, or goals lists written with the effect of showing a person’s life, their struggles, their failures, etc, are terrific pieces of flash.

They test the reader’s inferential powers.

Your challenge: provide a list of items from a luxurious bedroom, an overstuffed garage, or a refrigerator. Use specific concrete details. Reveal a sketch of a person’s life through these items. Imply something.

THE AUTHOR

Windy Lynn Harris portrait

Windy Lynn Harris is a prolific writer, a trusted mentor, and a frequent speaker at literary events. Her long list of short stories and personal essays have been published in literary, trade, and women’s magazines across the U.S. and Canada in places like The Literary ReviewThe Sunlight Press, and Literary Mama, among many other journals. She is the founder of Market Coaching for Creative Writers, a program that teaches writers how to get their essays and short stories published in magazines, and she works as a developmental-editor-for-hire, specifically for short creative prose. Windy also teaches the craft of writing online and in person. Visit her website for publishing information and writing inspiration: www.windylynnharris.com

You can listen to Windy talk about Flash Fiction on the StoryADay podcast here.

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.

WINDY LYNN HARRIS, WRITING & SELLING SHORT STORIES & PERSONAL ESSAYS

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

Day 11 – Therese Walsh Tests Your Protagonist

THE PROMPT

Restricted and augmented lifestyles in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic may have us writer-types writing more than ever–a silver lining.

But have you stopped to consider how your protagonist(s) might respond to a similar situation?

In the midst of an emergency situation, whom would they seek to protect? How would they behave if confined?

If sharing close quarters with others, what might be said or done that otherwise might not be, and what might be the repercussions?

How might the situation bring out the best in them all–and the worst?

If the exercise brings up interesting ideas, can you create an emergency situation as a part of your story in order to bring your characters to that place organically?

THE AUTHOR

Therese Walsh is the author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and the cofounder of Writer Unboxed. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.

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.

THERESE WALSH, THE MOON SISTERS

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

Day 10 – Julie Duffy Celebrates the Number 10

The Prompt

This is — stop me if you’ve heard me say this before — the 10th Anniversary of StoryADay May!

Today I challenge you to write a story that centers around the number 10.

It could be someone’s age, it could be a year, it could be the number of times something has happened (or has to happen).

Surprise me!

In other news, I hope to put together an anthology of stories later this year, celebrating StoryADay’s anniversary and it’s theme will be….10. So get your thinking caps on now!

The Author

Julie Duffy is the founder and host of StoryADay. Her mission is to save the world by saving writers. She helps creative people become more productive, more prolific and more fulfilled through the StoryADay challenges, her Superstars group, the StoryADay podcast, courses and workshops, as well as her guest articles in publications like Writer’s Digest and Writer Unboxed. She is the author of several creativity guides for writers and writes short stories and novels for fun.

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.

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

DAY 9 – Marta Pelrine-Bacon Looks Around

THE PROMPT

Choose an object within reach of where you’re sitting. Three people desperately want this object. Write a scene or story in which the characters fight over said object. Ideally choose an object that people wouldn’t obviously fight over.

THE AUTHOR

Marta Pelrine-Bacon is a StoryADay Superstar, and a participant in the challenge since 2010. Marta is the author of several published short stories in publications such as The Austin Review and Cabinet des Fees. She is also an artist and a teacher.

Read A Book, Help An Indie

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. 

MARTA PELRINE-BACON, THE BLUE JAR

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

DAY 8 – Debbie Ridpath Ohi Breaks Crayons

THE PROMPT

Write a story inspired by today’s “You never know what will come out a broken crayon” visual prompt. 

THE AUTHOR

Debbie Ridpath Ohi is a children’s book author and illustrator. Launching from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on Aug. 25, 2020 – GURPLE AND PREEN: A BROKEN CRAYON COSMIC ADVENTURE, a new picture book written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Debbie. More about Debbie’s broken crayon activities and upcoming book: https://www.debbieohi.com/broken-crayon

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.

DEBBIE OHI, GURPLE AND PREEN: A BROKEN CRAYON COSMIC ADVENTURE

BUY NOW

Top 10 Podcast Interviews

Over the past ten years, StoryaDay has been fortunate to have some great guests on the podcast

Here’s an easy-access list:

You can share this image far and wide! Or download the PDF.

Here’s the list, with clickable links

Never miss an episode: Subscribe to the podcast here.

Top 10 Guest Writing Prompts

Over the past ten years, StoryaDay has been fortunate to be given original writing prompts from some pretty outstanding authors.

Here’s a list of the 10 that had the strongest response from StoryADay participants.

You can share this image far and wide! Or download the PDF.

Here’s the list, with clickable links

And there are many more guest writing prompts here.

[Write On Wednesday] Go To Town

I’ve reached the age where people have started to make TV shows about my childhood and teen years (and yes, I know I should be watching Stranger Things; I just haven’t got to it yet…)

It got me thinking about how we capture not just a place but a time as well.

Rob Roy Bar, Govan 1976, I couldn't find copyright info for this picture. If you own it, let me know!

The Prompt

Do an image search for the place you grew up in a year from your childhood. Write a story set in that town/street.

Tips

I didn’t search for the place I grew up but for the part of town my grandparents lived in. (Govan, 1976, when I was really too young to remember it, to ensure it would look as foreign to me as possible).

Part of me thought I might find the exact street I used to walk along with my Gran to get bread rolls for the obligatory after-church bacon rolls. We’d get them from the newsagent’s — the only shop open on a Sunday morning in Glasgow. I didn’t find that street, but I found one nearby, that felt familiar enough.

  • Really look at the picture. What do you remember? What didn’t survive in your memory?
  • Does it look idyllic or more run-down than it is in your memory?
  • What do you see in the picture that a stranger wouldn’t notice? What kinds of stories does it suggest?
  • In my picture I see the Tennant’s Lager sign outside the Rob Roy bar, and the fact that the doorway on the corner is marked ‘public bar’, but I know that what that really means is ‘men only’. (There’s a good chance my own grandfather is in there, now that I think about it, and what a thought that is. My lovely Granda, alive and well, and chewing on his pipe behind the yellow facade in this picture? There’s some emotion I can use in a story!)
  • Look at the shop-fronts, the road signs, the aged cars, whatever is in your picture that speaks of the era.
  • Maybe your picture has a fresh new housing development with saplings in the front yards and a single car in each driveway. What does that neighborhood look like now? What would today’s stranger never know about life on that street when you lived there?
  • Pick a moment and allow two characters to interact. It doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering, because the third character in this story is going to be your setting. Do everything you can to capture the sounds, sights, smells and tastes of life in that moment.
  • Did everyone still smoke? Was the air quieter because nobody was running an air-conditioner? Did everyone barbecue on a Saturday afternoon? Were the buses more noxious? Was there more litter? Less? Why do the windows look different?
  • Allow your two characters to interact for a moment, perhaps foreshadow the changes coming to the neighborhood, perhaps grousing about a change that they’ve already seen.
  • Short stories revolve around a single moment. Go to town with that today—literally! Your town. Paint me a picture of a moment in the life of your childhood home.

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!

StoryADay September 2018 Week 5

How did it go last week? How many stories did you write? How are you feeling heading into this week? Join the discussion below!

And don’t forget to come back when you’ve finished your last story to CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS!

Week 5 Prompts

So how did you get on? What did you learn during this challenge? Leave a comment here with your reflections, or share it on social media and leave a link.

In the meantime, I’ll see you in the comments!

Keep writing,

Julie (signed)

 

 

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