In my last post, I wrote that history sparks my imagination. When I was in elementary school, I used my imagination to engage with the stars of history -- think the Lincolns.
These days, I’m inspired by history’s extras. The spark for my novel-in-progress came from a rumor in a biography. Census records and math don’t allow for the rumor to have been true, so I took the story and gave it to fictional people.
I’ve also gotten prompts from the following places:
On this site, Julie Duffy offers a podcast and blog posts about navigating the writing life. Among her posts are also weekly writing prompts. But what helps me most about this site is the event it’s named for. It challenges participants to write a story a day in May and September. There are no word count requirements for the stories. They can be six words long or 6,000. The idea is to get to the end of the story, even if, to get there, you make a note to “flesh this out later” and move on to the ending. I challenged myself to follow the traditional goal last May. Taking on the challenge taught me that I could write a story a day. Why? Because a rough draft doesn’t need to be good. It just needs to be written. Revision can wait for the next month.
I was invested enough in two of my products from StoryADay that I came back to them over the summer and fall. After weeks of polishing them, I sent them to online magazines, where they were published. Now they're here, too.
In September, I did something else Julie Duffy encourages. I created my own challenge. I was in the middle of drafting my novel, so I aimed to write a scene a day. While I didn’t meet this goal, I wrote every day, and writing every day made writing easier.
The heading above this sentence isn't a massive misspelling. The StoryADay site also hosts the Serious Writers Accountability Group (SWAGR). On the first of each month, Julie Duffy invites StoryADay subscribers to post their monthly writing goals. It’s free to subscribe, and posting here has done so much to keep me tuned in to writing.
This blog features character, dialogue, and picture prompts. These are tagged for horror and fantasy writers, but I've used a few of them to develop non-speculative stories.
This is an app available for Android and Apple devices. It suggests an object, a character, or a situation. The challenge is to start a story with whatever the app has given. You have a short time to begin the story. When time runs out, the generates another object, character, or situation you may want to include.
Writing Challenge got me started on “Neighbors.” It told me to write a story involving a bicycle. From there, I wanted to write a story about perceptions. The bicycle and this motivation brought the story to life.
I could list so many resources here, but I have to stop somewhere. So I decided to focus on what I’ve gotten results from. Where do you turn for creative fuel? I hope you’ll share in the comment space below.
See you in two weeks.