#Day31- #StoryadayMay2021

We made it! The last day of the challenge! WHOOT WHOOT!! I wrote a story for 31 days and blogged about the process. GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!

TODAY’S PROMPT

Write a story about someone who has just completed a huge challenge. What have they learned? What did they sacrifice? Was it worth it?

Julie Duffy is the author of this prompt.

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I am not resonating with today’s prompt as a story prompt as strongly today. Yes, my experience is that I did a challenge but it is too close to write a fictional story about it today. I need more distance from real life to story.

I like the idea of using a character named some form of Janus, the Roman God, since he is the symbol for looking forward and looking back. It is where the word January comes from. One of my other prompts is to write an angry letter to an object without cliches….not sure if I will be able to work that in or not.

I watched the Netflix show Midnight Dinner yesterday from a recommendation on a podcast. I am fascinated by food at midnight anyway especially from The Night Circus book. It is in Japanese with subtitles so it is not a relaxing show to watch. This concept influenced my story today.

Janus is walking from his cabin to meet his two friends at the little diner where they chat. One of the friends gives Janus a flight of books from his library that will become important later. At the end of the dinner they part ways but something tragic happens that prevents them from seeing each other for over a year.

anchors: muse fairy, book flight, enchanted gate, visit from a stranger

Happy Writing!

I am imposing a revision challenge to myself in the month of June. [Come back to the blog tomorrow for details and my poem, story, and essay selections.] In the spirit of that intention, I pulled a snippet from my drive from June of 2018 and added it to the story. It took the plot in an unexpected direction which I appreciated! This story is going to have to be a little longer than the first draft. I like it so far! What a pleasant surprise!

What did you write today? How did your challenge go if you participated?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here.

#Day30- #StoryadayMay2021 + Reflection

Tomorrow is the last day of May and the Challenge.

How did your month go? Did you find it fueling [with whatever you chose to spend your time on?]

Reflection is an important part of the creative process. One of the reasons I love challenges is because in one sense it is a data collection of my own patterns. If I notice the patterns I can continue the ones that work and let go of the pieces that do not.

I use the same method in teaching.

Sometimes, it is simply asking 1. What is working? and 2. What is not working?

This May I followed the prompts fairly closely. I liked the prompts this year. I do not have to like the prompt to write to it however. I struggled with the happy story prompt but I also had several conversations with writer friends about this one prompt. If I reframed the idea of what was happy for a character then it worked better for me.

I often have a list of story ideas but it is in the form of my lists of 10. On certain days I searched my drive for a specific word or phrase to see if something I had saved popped up. On the spot writing seemed to trigger most of the ideas. I feel this is due to my strong freewriting practice. It is a habit I have cultivated.

I find that other things I do in life – shows I watch, places I visit, my daily walks, writing conversations – all fuel my writing. Sometimes it is more of an adjacent way as an idea will get logged and then used later.

My best time for writing is when I wake up but I can write at other times of day. I do enjoy writing with a small creative group on Zoom as well. The words flow easier in the morning for me.

I work best when I write everyday. This translates into other areas of my life as well. I guess I like the idea of streaks! Writing is fueling to me and is my happy place.

In the morning, I write in bed. I also write on my walks and in between activities at my day job. I always have my notebook with me.

I intended to write 31 stories for the month which I will complete tomorrow. To keep myself accountable I intended to reflect on my progress daily and post it to the blog which I accomplished. I also kept the theme of Everyday Magic. I liked that if I felt stuck I had that thread to come back to every day.

TODAY’S PROMPT

Take a story you wrote earlier this month, and write it again in a different way.

Julie Duffy is the author of this prompt.

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I am not resonating with today’s prompt.

Yesterday, my family and I went to Devil’s Lake park. There was a hotel there that was removed in 1905 that I have become obsessed with. There is little documentation about the hotel and I want to put it into a story. I am thinking a Karen Russell sort of vibe for this story.

Cliff House Hotel

When we were there on one of the rocks that jut out over the treetops I caught the vision of someone sitting on a rock behind me. When I looked there was nothing there. A ghost in a dark blue jacket maybe?

This is the story I am writing today. Mysteries and disappearance of people and buildings from Devil’s Lake. It is a story that I have been wanting to write since we visited last time.

Here is the rock I “saw” him sitting on:

Happy Writing!

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

May Holiday #CoffeeShare

Welcome to Sunday! It is COFFEE TIME! But honestly, when is it not?

#thankyouforsharing

Thank you to Natalie for hosting the link party for all things Weekend Coffee Share!

#challengequeen

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my storyaday challenge is done tomorrow. I have written a story every day, sometimes more than one, and reflected on this blog daily about the process. I am not sure I learned anything new necessarily about my writing. Giving myself the challenge of posting it publicly insured I did think about HOW I did the writing. A portion of my post today is about reflecting on the month as a whole.

If you would like to check out some of the past day’s reflections you can do so here:

May 20 and 21

May 17

May 5

May 1 – Where I outline the goal and process

#memorialdaybreak

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was so ready for this three day weekend. My students are finished next week and then I have teacher days for the following week. We are officially done on June 10th. I am ready to return to my full time writer schedule in the summer. This school year has been full of pivots and stress and I need to recharge to come back fresh in the fall.

#BradburyRevisionChallenge.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I would love for you to join me for the Bradbury Challenge in June. I will read a poem, short story, and essay each day with the idea to use them as revision tools. I need to get into my Drive and revise a bunch of flash fiction and short story pieces. I will be posting at least once a week and sharing some of what I read and how I am utilizing the work for my writing. You can follow along with the blog. I also will be sharing some things in my Slack group for my Patreon.

Would you like a refill? Some water? Something stronger? I feel like talking for a bit longer.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you registration is open for a short time longer for my Fabulous Flash Fiction class I am teaching June 9-13th. Slots are already filling up! If you cannot make it but know someone who would be interested please share the link with them! You can find more info here. There is a kick off Zoom meeting that will be recorded if you are unable to attend. The class is asynchronous so you can do it at your own pace and schedule. There are no other live meetings.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went to Devil’s Lake park yesterday and the weather was perfect. There are several trails and rock formations. It is a beautiful place on earth. There were not that many people there when we started which makes it easier to navigate the trails. I can breath easy there.

Devil’s Doorway

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Thank you for joining me for a coffee today. I always love when we chat!

I would love to hear what you are working on and what you find inspiring.

I am already looking forward to our chat next week!

Day 29- #StoryadayMay2021

How do you feel about prompts?

Prompts are a gateway into writing. I inspire others, but I also have systems set up so I keep myself fueled. This has been trial and error of course. Also, when new learning comes in I change what I am doing to meet my needs.

I use prompts with students of all ages. Many are intimidated by the blank page and a prompt eliminates this problem. One of my teachers advises start the sentence and then just finish it. Then write the next one. It is simple but works. Whatever your brain wants you to write will come out no matter what prompt you start with.

I read poetry because I love it. I always have. I started writing poetry first when I was single digit age. I laugh it is because I love concise sentences and prose but also because I like to be cryptic. It becomes a game of sorts where you are taking these flashes of lightening and trying to figure out what type of storm it is. For this reason, I get several daily poem emails so I have new ones to read every day. Some days I read the whole poem, and others it doesn’t resonate and it gets deleted.

The Paris Review sent me this poem today: Poem Revised in a Twelfth-Floor Hotel Room After Seeing a Man in the Building Across the Street Holding What Appeared to be Binoculars
by Camille Dungy
Issue no. 230 (Fall 2019)

Isn’t that an amazing title? I am going to use it for inspiration for my flash title today.

It was a comfort to find this is common practice among poets of reading and discarding poems. When I took my poetry class with Chris LaTray in April we talked about it in one session and everyone was surprised that everyone followed much the same structure.

I keep lists of notes everywhere. I have tried to contain them in my Keep app on my phone and one “walking around” notebook.

One of the other emails I get daily is from Readwise. It is a service that takes the highlights from Kindle and sends me a list of 15 quotes I have highlighted in my reading. It is great for beginning lines for freewrites, new stories, or a way to play with the sentence structure another author used. It also reminds me of past books I haven’t looked at in a while.

I am a visual person and like piles, especially of books. I “lose” books on the Kindle when they go to the bottom of the list.

THE PROMPT for Today:

Write a story in three sections, each section recounting the same event from a different character’s point of view

Julie Duffy is the author of this prompt.

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Today’s prompt is one of my favorites from Julie – a classic Storyaday prompt. One of the first stories that was published in my 100 Rejections project came from writing with this prompt.

The story I wrote today is about a dinner party. The three POV’s are from guests and they are all thinking about the square plates in the place setting in relationship to their lives and the conversation at the table.

The working title based on the poem title referenced above is: A Conversation Revised At The Dinner Party Argument with the Square Plates after what appeared to be An Experiment

Happy Writing!

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

Day 28- #StoryadayMay2021

A couple more days…

THE PROMPT for Today:

“Loretta’s face was hidden by the wide brimmed hat boldly covered in ribbons and one rose. Rising slowly from the fourth pew, she raised her chin towards the minister and declared, “I object.”

Leslie Stack is the author of this prompt.

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Today’s story draft was written early in the morning. I reread several day’s stories and did some revision and cutting. It is a strange practice to go back into documents you don’t exactly recall writing! Early morning writing does this to me. I am in that half asleep mode and don’t always hold onto a story after it ends up on the page either digitally or in the notebook.

It is how I let go of things too. If I write them down, I know they are safe and out of my head.

Today’s story is about a secret that one person at the wedding has and is deciding whether to share it or not. She is struggling with her own motivation and decides she is going to ruin his life, in this moment, just because she can. There is magic in three words.

I do not like the name Loretta for this character so will change it. Names are important to me. In fact, I have been thinking about my own name and how it has never fit me. I cannot seem to land on one that does however. I have been doing some freewriting around this in my notebook this week.

Today is the day the thoughts were coming too fast and I wrote this draft on the computer.

Often, especially if I am drafting a lot of stories in a short time, characters have no names. I am not sure if this is a productive practice some days. A name lends itself to a character developing and also to the emotional connection a reader has to them. I sometimes focus too much on WHAT is happening even though I read a lot of character driven fiction.

Sometimes after looking back over a series of short pieces I realize they are all about the same character essentially and then I can combine the scenes and name the character. Then I can flesh out more of the details of their quirks and personality.

Writing is a funny process somedays!

3 days left!

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

Day 27- #StoryadayMay2021

We are nearing the end of the challenge and the month!

THE PROMPT for Today:

Write a story for children. Prompt is “The Golden Rule,” treat others are you wish to be treated.

Miriam Laundry is the author of this prompt.

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Today a fairy tale like story came out about Azur who is the protector of the glass heart but is bored with his position. He is warned but falls into a hole and no one will help him. He has to answer three questions in order to be rescued.

The author of the prompt has a link to a video and a PDF, but I was unable to open it on my phone. I was going to try to use her blueprint for stories but didn’t want to get out the computer yet. I was handwriting in my notebook.

I heard on a podcast yesterday about an author who writes 1000 words a day. The following day she rereads and edits/deletes words from the previous day and then writes forward from her favorite sentence. I have always adhered to the rule of no editing while you are drafting but have an overload of words in my files. I think this may be a manageable way to get through some words.

June is going to be about revision for me. I plan to use my Bradbury Challenge of reading a poem, short story, and essay as inspiration for the changes I make in my own stories.

Anchors: glass heart, crow, horse, 3 questions

Visual: crow on top of a sign that reads: Danger- No Trespassing

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

Day 26- #StoryadayMay2021

THE PROMPT

Like the list story, this prompt encourages you to break the narrative rules. Let the story unfold through a series of updates, memos, social media posts, a technical manual, or some other document that creates gaps the reader must fill in.

Remember that each memo will be written in real time, reporting on an event, before the character experiences the next ‘episode’ and writes about it.

Julie Duffy is the author of this prompt.

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I have been playing with Hermit Crab forms of flash fiction for a while now. I follow several people that do a wonderful job with this type of story including Cheryl Pappas and KB Carle.

Instead of a memo, I chose to use a lesson plan template. This is a form I have wanted to try for a while. It took longer than I anticipated but overall I am happy with the experiment.

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

Day 25- #StoryadayMay2021

THE PROMPT

Someone finds two dates listed on a piece of paper. The dates are in their own handwriting, but they do not know what the dates mean. They have to find out what the dates signify.

Anita G. Gorman is the author of this prompt.

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For this prompt I wanted to move beyond the obvious so I wrote down several possibilities for the dates to get past what a reader would expect.

Time travel and warnings were the most prominent in my mind.

I didn’t write about that.

My prompt from Sarah was about writing a scene that doesn’t make any sense. I have been playing with some techniques and this seemed appropriate today since I didn’t know where the story was going when I started.

This happens often. I just start writing and see what happens. It is always more fun for me this way. I wrote and then it wasn’t going anywhere so I left it alone and went to work.

During the day I played with a couple more ideas. I rewrote a new version of another draft.

I felt I wrote around in circles.

I have my PUSH group tonight and we are going to look at a text so maybe something that is more cohesive will come out of the session later this evening!

I still wrote. It is a win.

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

#SOL21- Kindergarten Has Become A Gamble

Tuesdays is the day for the Two Writing Teachers post.

It is the time of the school year that I reflect about what has gone well and what I want to change in the fall.

I feel like I have pivoted so many times it has been 3 years rolled into one. I changed teaching positions in January of 2020 and I haven’t had a “normal” school year since I moved to Wisconsin. What is normal anyway? Dealing with children is always a new adventure.

The last month makes me feel split. I teach some students in person and some online. On one of my walks the other day I was thinking about Dr. Richard Allington and his reading research and how I used to teach.

I met Dr Allington and had dinner with him one year at an International Reading Association conference. He is no nonsense and brilliant.

I had modified everything for virtual learning, including my writing instruction and kept feeling like something was missing. My students love writing time and are creative but I was skipping something.

I used to do something called Family Meeting. It was circle time and when I did calendar and all those snippets of standards you need to review every day in order for them to stick. We made patterns and tally marks, etc.

I also read the one of 4-6 read alouds for the day and then we would write a response to the book and I would focus on one skill. Students would then write their own version independently in their own notebooks. It worked well and the kids learned to experiment with writing.

Yesterday I added the group chart back and then had them write. It went smoothly and the feel of writing workshop was productive.

We used It Looked Like Spilt Milk and then wrote a story about what spilt blue paint would look like. Then they set off with their own colors. One had a spider that morphed into something else. Someone else had dancing butterflies.

I don’t have too many days left with the kids and I am trying to test in math and reading. There are some students that only show up on the in person days and some that randomly come to class no matter what mode we are in.

It is a gamble every morning.

I am looking forward to the summer and resting. I need to recharge for the fall. There is uncertainty as to what that is going to look like as no decisions, or discussion, is happening until next month in my corporation.

I will live my writing life this summer and go kayaking and ziplining and walk in the sun. I am going to Disney and celebrating my birthday next month and I am looking forward to it.

I am not certain what is in store for the fall, but I cannot control that right now and I do not have the energy to worry about it.

What are your summer plans?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

Day 24- #StoryadayMay2021

THE PROMPT

I love concept albums, albums in which a singular story is told throughout the tracks. Some are silly, some are deep, but all of them are fascinating. Write the story that comes to you out of this lyric from Eagles’ Desperado album:

“The towns lay out across the dusty plains like graveyards filled with tombstones waiting for the names.”

Fleet Sparrow is the author of this prompt.

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Once again I was up at 3 am.

I also keep thinking it is the 25th so somewhere along the way I lost a day.

Balance is not something that I believe in as a rule. There is scheduling time intentionally and living in the moment. There are non-negotiables in life and writing for me is one of them although I wish my body would respond to being tired with actual sleep.

The day’s story had a surreal tone because of when I wrote it. I lifted one of my own sentences from a flash class I took yesterday hosted by Chestnut Review.

I learned a few months ago the best place for prompts is my own freewriting. I call them the parts that sparkle. It is a concept I include when I teach annotation. In the past, we have only annotated other author’s writing, not our own.

The story today started with my main character leaving suddenly on a trip. It takes an odd turn and the main character ends up talking with an elephant. There is a section that is about a house that resembles a museum. I found out that the museum labels are sometimes called tombstones which was in line with the prompt.

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.