Day 9 – #StoryadayMay

Day 9

Today’s prompt is about 6 word stories.

Welcome to Sunday.

THE PROMPT

Write a six-word story complete with a beginning, middle, and end. Classic example from Hemingway: “Baby shoes for sale. Never worn.” Suggested prompt word: May. Could be the month, a person, a permission request, a game (e.g. Mother May I?). Or use another word. Bonus points if every word starts with the same letter.

I have used this prompt for years for myself and my students. It can be used as a reading exercise as well. It is also good for titles in my opinion.

Here are some:

Every time you ask, I’m suspicious.

It must be the full moon.

Knight in shining armour failed me.

Peace comes in a wine glass.

Walking and crying: how to be.

I find myself thinking in 6 word sentences today. My brain sees the pattern and won’t let go.

If you would like to read what I reflected on in Day 1 click here.

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. People on my newsletter will be able to sign up first and spaces are limited. Registration opens May 15th. It will be a unique generative experience no matter what level writer you are! Sign up for my newsletter here to be in the inner circle!

Details about the class are here: https://mailchi.mp/d376163c35bc/fabulous-flash-fiction

Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome to the weekend! This week was loooooooong for me.

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

If we were having coffee, I would tell you Storyaday is in full swing. I am posting reflections about the prompts, my stories and my process daily on the blog. So far I have written a full story each day. I am connecting with some new writers which has been fun. Some of the stories have surprised me which is always a good thing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a day of Voxer coaching on Monday which was enlightening. I was able to talk out some things that were puzzling me with my community and what I want to do next. If you are not familiar with Voxer, it is an app that allows you to record audio messages for another person. Essentially it is voice texting. I normally am not an audio processor but have found that this app helps me in certain situations.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my professional development this week at work was not fun. We were looking at the Wisconsin standards and determining their Depth of Knowledge number. After an hour and a half I was done.

Would you like a refill? Some water? I bought the sparkle water you like! I think there are some homemade chocolate cupcakes with the cream filling left too.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was able to attend a Hermit Crab workshop during my lunch time this week. The class was out of the UK and worked out with my schedule. Hermit Crab styles are a way to write a story that takes the form of something else like a recipe or advertisement. I have been having trouble with the recipe aspect of the form and there was an example that was really helpful.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this weekend I am spending time with my son. I also have a writing circle on Sunday I am looking forward to. Plus there is writing time!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I hope to listen to some great podcasts while I am in the car this weekend. Any recommendations?

——-

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!

I am gathering creatives for a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13th. Registration opens May 15. Sign up for info here: https://mailchi.mp/d376163c35bc/fabulous-flash-fiction

I am teaching a class about What the HECK to do with all your freewrites! You can sign up for info here: https://mailchi.mp/866f580e114c/freewrites

Day 8 – Story Challenge

Day 8

Today’s prompt is from Premee Mohamed. You can read the whole prompt here .

Finally the weekend! I can start my day with coffee and hours of writing. My ideal life! This prompt has me puzzled. Here is the prompt:

THE PROMPT

In a mysterious valley, two rival abbeys of nuns and monks serving the same strange god play a secret game unbeknownst to their superiors. When the stakes for the game become souls, how can the game be ended — and the debts to the demon of chance be paid?

I try to approach this prompt with something that is not obvious. What game would these people be playing that would be able to keep secret? There are limitations here because of nuns and monks. Their material objects would be minimal. I kept thinking about slap games that dumb ass teenagers play in the halls of high schools!

I started writing in my notebook and then moved to the computer. Once I started writing the story idea came! The group finds a mysterious bag in the garden and they play a card game. I had a lot of fun with this story and it would have never emerged without this prompt! The demon aspect is my story is more implied than obvious but I like it that way.

Anchors for Day 8 story: blue bag, garden, staircase, room 2138

If you would like to read what I reflected on in Day 1 click here.

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. People on my newsletter will be able to sign up first and spaces are limited. Registration opens May 15th. It will be a unique generative experience no matter what level writer you are! Sign up for my newsletter here to be in the inner circle!

Details about the class are here: https://mailchi.mp/d376163c35bc/fabulous-flash-fiction

Day 7 – Story Challenge

Day 7 – One week in!

Today’s prompt is from Roxane Gay. You can read the whole prompt here .

I started the day with writing, but nothing about this prompt.

One of the stories that came to mind was about a couple who was separated because of the Concentration Camps when they were young and both held a half of a fork. It was a happy ending. I may come back to this idea and put my own spin on it.

The story I wrote has the theme of hope. Or at least I attempted. I kept writing and it kept taking a left turn into the darkness. Today was not a happy day for me and to construct a story of happiness without being cheezy is nearly impossible.

There are threads of hope in my stories, but the conflict comes from deep rooted unhappiness in my stories. I don’t do happy usually. I even tried to pull a tarot card to help me and I pulled the 5 of Swords – a card of conflict and disagreement!

I wrote something, but I don’t like it. Right now I do not even like any of the lines in it! I was looking forward to Roxane’s prompt too because I adore her. I loved her book Hunger, many of her essays, and her masterclass.

I didn’t feel like I wrote enough today so I went with my other prompt, “It’s my signature.” This ended up being poem-like and more about me than I would have liked. I thought about what I am known for now as opposed to years ago. There are some memories in there and some lines I am good with but it feels undone and misaligned.

That is the thing with writing right? You can always go back and revise it later. Maybe they will look different in June light!

Anchors for Day 7 story: hope, list, ideal, bottled emotions

If you would like to read what I reflected on in Day 1 click here.

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. People on my newsletter will be able to sign up first and spaces are limited. Registration opens May 15th. It will be a unique generative experience no matter what level writer you are! Sign up for my newsletter here to be in the inner circle!

Details about the class are here: https://mailchi.mp/d376163c35bc/fabulous-flash-fiction

Day 6 – Story Challenge

Day 6 of the Challenge

Today’s prompt is a prompt from Julie, the founder of Storyaday! You can read the whole prompt here .

Julie’s prompt is to interview a character. At first, I didn’t want to write using this prompt. I had an experience with a dialogue writing exercise in the fall that derailed my momentum for a bit and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there.

I decided to use inspiration from a Neil Gaiman story that is told through written one sided answers to a questionnaire. I also combined my story with my Sarah Selecky prompt that had to do with bananas. I wanted to have some fun with this one.

I did start the day with writing as usual but wasn’t able to dive into the story before I went to work. Having access to a group of 5 and 6 year olds was something I utilized today. We wrote about bananas in class. Then we combined the idea with the book we are reading this week about a small fish who steals a hat from a large fish. The kids thought of all kinds of things that stole their bananas and what we could make out of bananas.

Once I decided on the format it went fairly quickly. It is a fun concept that I will come back to I think. I also don’t feel derailed by this exercise!

I attended a Hermit Crab flash class during my lunch time today. I was lucky the time from England coordinated with time I could be online! I was able to start a story in the form of a recipe which had been vexing me before.

Anchors for Day 6 story: bananas, interview, police report, rainbow, potassium

If you would like to read what I reflected on in Day 1 click here.

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. People on my newsletter will be able to sign up first and spaces are limited. Registration opens May 15th. It will be a unique generative experience no matter what level writer you are! Sign up for my newsletter here to be in the inner circle!

Details about the class are here: https://mailchi.mp/d376163c35bc/fabulous-flash-fiction

Day 5 – Story Challenge

Day 5 of the Challenge

Today’s prompt is a prompt from my friend Marta! You can read the whole prompt here and find links to her work.

Marta’s prompt is about losing something that belongs to someone else. This is a prompt designed for me. I write about lost things all the time. It is one of my reoccurring themes.

Last night I hosted my PUSH group and part of the conversation was about stories through objects. The format for our group is the same every week. We have a few minutes of chit chat and then we celebrate the wins of the week. These can be small or large. Then we do a writing prompt. This week’s prompt was about place and its influence on what we write. There were some surprises after the exercise and everyone used more objects to tell their story than usual. This group always has interesting conversation and last night was no different.

I was fueled to write this morning because of this group of women! We always laugh a lot which is good for the soul.

I had a hard time narrowing down the ideas I wanted to use for my story today. I also wanted to combine my Sarah Selecky prompt with Marta’s today. One of the techniques I used was to write 10 unconnected sentences. This helped me figure out what idea lit me up today to construct into a full story.

The concept of my story is strange and I love it. While on my walk the perfect beginning sentence came to me and then all the other pieces came together. Today was unusual as I did not write the story in a linear way. I had the middle and then the beginning and then the end. I may change how the characters get to the end because it seems too obvious but I will let it sit for a few days and see what emerges.

Anchors for Day 5 story: unhappiness, bet, Curator of the Lost, tattoo

If you would like to read what I reflected on in Day 1 click here.

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. People on my newsletter will be able to sign up first and spaces are limited. Registration opens May 15th. It will be a unique generative experience no matter what level writer you are! Sign up for my newsletter here to be in the inner circle!

Details about the class are here: https://mailchi.mp/d376163c35bc/fabulous-flash-fiction

#IWSG May

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

The May 5th question


Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?\
The awesome co-hosts for the May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!

Readers come to a piece with their own exeriences and interests. I often forget this as a writer because there is always an intention for writing the poem, story or essay. We cannot control what ultimately our reader gathers from our words.

Several years ago I shared a piece of writing with a friend who read it in a much different way than I intended while writing it. Her background was horror and she also was a middle school English teacher. [Somehow those seems weirdly connected!]

It was a sad story with a conflicted main character. The character was upset because she was not with her husband. You do not know til the end where he is when she gets a phone call.

Her take on the story was that the main character was being held in an apartment but someone who had kidnapped her. Her impression was that she had fallen in love with her kidnapper!

My initial reaction was shock and then laughter. I reread the story through her lens and saw how with that mindset it could read that way!

I am glad we had that conversation because I learned first hand about what people see when they read my words.

#happyreading #happywriting

One Day MAYbe… #SOL21

Every Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers Blog teacher writers share a blog post and a slice of their life. We comment on at least 3 others after we post our own. I do this every Llama Tuesday and the entire month of March.

Yesterday was the first day of May with my students. For more years than I can count my tradition is to give the sentence stem: One day MAYbe…as the writing assignment. It does not matter what grade level I am working with that year. It is universal and always applies.

My students wrote with this prompt and we discussed if they would travel somewhere or what they wanted to be when they grew up. I had answers like becoming a doctor, a princess, a witch , becoming a Pinocchio carver, and going to DisneyWorld.

Teaching online and in person at the same time makes me feel inadequate some days. There is magic that is lost between the two. I am trying to bridge it. My students come to school til the middle of next month so I will keep trying.

How would you finish the sentence stem?

One day MAYbe…

I would love to hear in the comments.

Day 4 – Story Challenge

Day 4 of May

My Agenda for the Challenge:

  • Reflect about how I approached the prompt – Did it resonate with me? Did I use it? Did I use something else or combine it with something else?
  • Write the story and analyze if it different as an outcome than what I expected when I started.
  • Would I use this prompt again?
  • Reflect if the writing surprised me.
  • Did I learn anything?

Today’s prompt is an ending line from my friend Neha. You can read the whole prompt here and find links to her work.

Beginning with the end in mind is something I learned when I first started in education from Stephen Covey. I am grateful to have taken that training so early in my life.

Starting with an ending line leads you to where you are going.

The prompt took me in a different direction than I expected but I like it.

I combined Neha’s prompt with the Sarah Selecky prompt as well. I wrote a bit in the notebook about process and how I am feeling. I am experiencing some resistance because of the lack of acceptances this 2021 year. The writing moves on of course! I need to revise stories that have been sitting for a long while. With composing so quickly during May I often forget about gems hiding in the drive.

I have been up since 4:30am this morning so writing time was earlier than normal. Time moves differently this early as well as my thinking. I feel compelled to write which is always a good feeling.

The character who emerged is a Mother Nature like figure and the story involves a magical gate.

Anchors for Day 4 story: gate, splinter, time, dark

If you would like to read what I reflected on in Day 1 click here.

If you would like to read my reflection from Day 2 click here.

If you would like to read my reflection from Day 3 click here.

Are you participating in the Storyaday challenge? I am certain we will be discussing this challenge in my PUSH group. You should join us. We meet every Tuesday evening!

Day 3 – Story Challenge

Day 3 of May

My Agenda for the Challenge:

  • Reflect about how I approached the prompt – Did it resonate with me? Did I use it? Did I use something else or combine it with something else?
  • Write the story and analyze if it different as an outcome than what I expected when I started.
  • Would I use this prompt again?
  • Reflect if the writing surprised me.
  • Did I learn anything?

The prompt is about using two POV’s. You can read the whole prompt here.

I liked this prompt and resonated with it BUT the idea did not come right away. I played around with a lot of angles before I started to compose. I wrote during my regular time this morning but the ideas are not flowing as easily as I feel they do other times. I am struggling with the schedule a bit in general, not just in relationship to the challenge.

These prompts are forcing me to think about plot and conflict is a more intentional way. I usually just write and if it is a story; it is a story. With the two fold intention to write a story a day and to produce a better draft, my feeling is I have to be more calculated with the story.

I am sure this is not actually true. It is how my brain is working this first week. The writing is not comfortable or as easy as usual. I find myself starting the story and mulling it over and over in my brain during the day. I keep thinking about fairy tale structures as well and I like that a lot. Today I used Little Red Riding Hood.

I am always thinking about story and writing but with trying to work out specific issues in the daily story, other ideas are flowing that have nothing to do with the prompt. It is working well! The idea pump seems to be primed.

Today I did consider going into my draft folders and pulling out something, but nothing felt right. There are a couple of scenes I keep trying to fit in like puzzle pieces and they are not working yet! It is about the play and the curiosity.

So far, I like the prompts and plan to use them over and over again.

I changed the POV order as outlined in the prompt. 3rd person began the story and then 1st person was the 10 year later section. It worked better for me.

Anchors for Day 3 story: wine, lie, tulips and dandelions, salt, house

If you would like to read what I reflected on in Day 1 click here.

If you would like to read my reflection from Day 2 click here.

Are you participating in the Storyaday challenge? I am certain we will be discussing this challenge in my PUSH group. You should join us. We meet every Tuesday evening!