Story in a Day Challenge

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
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Rebecca Birch
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Story in a Day Challenge

Postby Rebecca Birch » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:51 am

I've been dragging my feet about starting a new story for too long. It's time for a jump start, and I want to do it wholeheartedly. To that end, I'm issuing a challenge to myself to write a story in day, tomorrow, Friday, August 17th.

This story must be between 3,000 and 7,000 words. It must end. It doesn't have to be polished, but it does have to be done.

If anybody is interested in joining, please feel welcome to post here. We can send each other our results, so there's some incentive not to blow the challenge off.

I realize this is short notice and tomorrow's a work day for many, but I also plan to do this again a few times a year, so if you're interested and this date doesn't work for you, go ahead and suggest a date that would. It's words time!
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby katsincommand » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:09 am

This is a great challenge! My other writing community does this challenge every May, and we are encouraged to use prompts to get the stories a jump start. Are you starting from scratch? If you're interested in some of the prompts we used, I can dig them up when I get home tonight.

I love this challenge, one of the (many) reasons why I love May so much. I never managed 30. The best I ever did was 10 in a month, but a few of those 10 were good. Actually, 2 of them netted me my honorable mentions here.

Good luck and have fun! :D

Edited to add: I am working on my Q4 rewrite by hand: I'll "join in" with an effort to push this story along. I don't think I'll finish it in the time allotted, but it'll at least move forward.
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby AMcCarter » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:41 am

Well, I'm about to finish my Q4, so I should be good to go. Do we want to discuss themes or starter topics?
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby Rebecca Birch » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:44 am

AMcCarter wrote:Well, I'm about to finish my Q4, so I should be good to go. Do we want to discuss themes or starter topics?


My plan was to either nab a fanasty/sci-fi image or do the 'pick a subject, verb, object at random from a book' prompt, or combine the two. If you've got other ideas, I'm happy to hear them. This is a new adventure for me, so I'm wide open to ideas.

wotf007
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby AMcCarter » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:56 am

Those sound great. I suck at writing prompts, but I find I can always write "faster" when I have a theme or subject in mind that someone else has given me.
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby E.CaimanSands » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:01 am

This is a cool idea. I've been telling myself I'm going to try something like this myself at some point, as I feel I need to do it. Seriously, I'm such a sloooow writer of fiction. I used to write non-fiction fast no problem, but haven't quite got into the habit with the fic. Having said this, the Gator is pretty fast. She once wrote a flash piece in an afternoon. So I think if I take up such a challenge at any point, she'll have to do most of the work. It would have to be something that would suit her, and that could turn out interesting... wotf013
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby katsincommand » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:43 am

Found it!

http://www.seventhsanctum.com/index-writ.php

If you go to the story one, you'll get something like this:

This is a crime drama. The story is about a spendthrift outlaw who must work with an astrologer. It takes place in a university in a rocky commonwealth. The critical element of the story is a birthday celebration.

or

The story is about a sadistic reporter who was granted strange abilities by an alien species. It takes place in a solar-system-spanning imperium. The story begins with a religious ceremony. The issues of faster-than-light-travel and its effects on society is a major element of the story.
There's also a "what if" prompt:

Alexander Bell lived in a world where the fall of Mankind from the Garden of Eden had never happened?

...Chiang Kai Shek was more like Saladin ?

...Confucius was indirectly responsible for the 100 year war?
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby MJNL » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:16 am

Another good way to do a story in a day (presuming you don't know what you want to write, yet) is to sit down and read a short story you've never read before (preferably a professionally published one from a venue you like) and read it for feeling. When you're done, tell yourself: I'm going to write a story that feels like this story. Identify three elements you think contributed to its specific feel, then pick parallel elements for your own story.

I have to confess, this is how I wrote my WotF winner. I was having a problem coming up with a good story idea--my mind was blank--and told myself that was no excuse for not writing. So I picked up a volume of WotF, chose a story, read it for feel, then picked my elements and composed the tale. I finished the first draft the same day (though I don't think it was a winner until after my husband read it, pointed to a background piece of magic and said, "This is a really interesting aspect, use more of this in the plot" and I complied).

The story I read was Maddy Dune. Other than a young female protag my story doesn't resemble that story at all, but I think they both feel similar.
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby Rebecca Birch » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:19 am

[quote="MJNL"]Another good way to do a story in a day (presuming you don't know what you want to write, yet) is to sit down and read a short story you've never read before (preferably a professionally published one from a venue you like) and read it for feeling. When you're done, tell yourself: I'm going to write a story that feels like this story. Identify three elements you think contributed to its specific feel, then pick parallel elements for your own story.[quote]

That's a neat idea, Marina, and one I haven't heard before. May have to give it some serious consideration.

I have to be careful with that, though, because I am a sponge and I often find that elements of what I've been reading/watching end up on my page. Often they are nowhere near as subtle as I might have thought they'd be.
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby katsincommand » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:29 am

MJNL wrote:Another good way to do a story in a day (presuming you don't know what you want to write, yet) is to sit down and read a short story you've never read before (preferably a professionally published one from a venue you like) and read it for feeling. When you're done, tell yourself: I'm going to write a story that feels like this story. Identify three elements you think contributed to its specific feel, then pick parallel elements for your own story.

I have to confess, this is how I wrote my WotF winner. I was having a problem coming up with a good story idea--my mind was blank--and told myself that was no excuse for not writing. So I picked up a volume of WotF, chose a story, read it for feel, then picked my elements and composed the tale. I finished the first draft the same day (though I don't think it was a winner until after my husband read it, pointed to a background piece of magic and said, "This is a really interesting aspect, use more of this in the plot" and I complied).

The story I read was Maddy Dune. Other than a young female protag my story doesn't resemble that story at all, but I think they both feel similar.


That explains my SF. I'd been struggling with it for years. I read a SF story in an anthology with an edge I liked. I wanted to apply that edge to the story that woulnd't work. I did. and KD loved it enough to give me SF. Btw the story I read with that edge had been HERS. So something transferred that appealed to her.

I need to go read some DF. <veg>
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby izanobu » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:52 pm

I owe a story to an anthology, so I'll do this. It's not sf/f but should be 4-6k words by the end.

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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby morshana » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:16 pm

This would be awesome, but I just don't think I have the time until the kids are in school, starting at the end of the month.

I could give it a try. Go for the 2k word end (the harder length for me to do, but fastest to type). Though I should be working on my Q1.

Edit: Uh, 3k word end. Yeah. That's what I meant to say! *blush*
Last edited by morshana on Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby austinDm » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:06 pm

This is a great idea and I'm up for the challenge. I should be able to crank out 4k in a couple hours after work. wotf004

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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby Rebecca Birch » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:27 pm

Fabulous! I'm excited to have some more folks along for the ride.

wotf007

In the morning, I'll find a picture and send it out. If that prompt works for you, great. If it doesn't, or if you already have an idea, or want to find your own prompt, that's great too.

The only rule is words on the page. And a "The End" to wrap it up.

I'm excited! (And nervous...)

May the odds be ever in your favor? wotf013
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby morshana » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:23 pm

Thanks for doing this, Rebecca. I'd been wanting to do this, but was going to wait a few weeks. I hope I'll have time tomorrow. Doesn't have to be polished, right? Just mind spew onto the page, write "The End" and turn it in?
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby dantzel » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:44 pm

morshana wrote:Thanks for doing this, Rebecca. I'd been wanting to do this, but was going to wait a few weeks. I hope I'll have time tomorrow. Doesn't have to be polished, right? Just mind spew onto the page, write "The End" and turn it in?


Hopefully so!
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby Imagination Vortex » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:33 pm

I really like this idea too. I think it will also help us improve how well we can produce a story within a limited amount of time. It would be good practice and hopefully will make us more prepared when we have to tackle that 24 hour story at the workshop. Which actually is something I'm completely dreading, because I write extremely slow. So I really have no idea how I'm going to pull something like that off. I also think my need for perfection takes over, and I don't think I could just write and write without being tempted to want to fix it. So maybe doing short stories like these will help. Well I'll at least attempt to join everyone and write a story tomorrow. I don't know if I'll be able to do it. But maybe if I try lots of times it will get easier. So count me in for now!
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby morshana » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:51 am

Imagination Vortex wrote:I really like this idea too. I think it will also help us improve how well we can produce a story within a limited amount of time. It would be good practice and hopefully will make us more prepared when we have to tackle that 24 hour story at the workshop. Which actually is something I'm completely dreading, because I write extremely slow. So I really have no idea how I'm going to pull something like that off. I also think my need for perfection takes over, and I don't think I could just write and write without being tempted to want to fix it. So maybe doing short stories like these will help. Well I'll at least attempt to join everyone and write a story tomorrow. I don't know if I'll be able to do it. But maybe if I try lots of times it will get easier. So count me in for now!


My thoughts exactly. I tend to be a perfectionist and I prefer planning my stories out and thinking about them a lot before I start writing. This will be good practice for me (and hopefully help prepare me for the DWS workshop). I used to write stories this way, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. I'd write it out by hand and turn it in. Without a single edit.
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby Rebecca Birch » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:11 am

All right, folks, here we go!

I tried to find an image the gator might find appropriately appealing in case she'd like to participate. Again, this is just one possible prompt, and nobody has to use it. http://www.all-hd-wallpapers.com/wallpapers/abstract/310809.jpg

More details on the other method I mentioned up above: Pick up a random book from your shelf. Open it to a random page. Find your first noun. New page. Find your first verb. One more page. One more noun.

You should now have something like: eggs, vault, centipede. Take a couple of minutes, 5-10 or so, brainstorm how your words might relate. How could these things come together to form a story? Then, once you've got something percolating, GO!

Best of luck to everyone. I'm moderately terrified, but it's go time!
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby E.CaimanSands » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:32 am

Aw, the link doesn't work for me, Rebecca. I think the Gator is genuinely touched that you tried to find an image she would like. She's in a little world of her own now imaging great steaming piles of fried fish and a banquet of wildebeast. wotf017

I'm a little too busy to take up the challenge right now anyway. But at some point I want to try it, I really intend to. I expect I shall post something when I do.
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby AMcCarter » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:37 am

Yeah, that link doesn't work for me either, but I have a couple of ideas I want to fly with. We'll see.
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby gower21 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:59 am

I so badly want to do this!! I'm going to try to get words in here or there between the critiques for the Sept workshop I'm going to and the babysitting (got both kids with little friends coming over for the whole day). Then to my husbands work party. I still think I could smash in a few words to make a full story...it just wont be a long as the others.

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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby dantzel » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:38 am

At first I thought it was just my iPhone that couldn't make the link work, but now that I'm using my laptop it still won't open the link. wotf005

Although, honestly, I just finished a piece of flash yesterday, and my novel is calling me. It's been far too long since I've worked on THAT. So MY goal is to get the same number of words that you short story-ers are going for today.

Heigh ho Silver, away!

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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby izanobu » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:48 am

It's like 900 degrees here. I'll be writing my story tonight, after things cool down. So it'll sort of be in a day... just at night in the day. Stupid heat.

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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby AMcCarter » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:50 am

izanobu wrote:It's like 900 degrees here. I'll be writing my story tonight, after things cool down. So it'll sort of be in a day... just at night in the day. Stupid heat.


You should have been here during our 115 degree days. The heat index was over 120.
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby izanobu » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:54 am

AMcCarter wrote:
izanobu wrote:It's like 900 degrees here. I'll be writing my story tonight, after things cool down. So it'll sort of be in a day... just at night in the day. Stupid heat.


You should have been here during our 115 degree days. The heat index was over 120.


I would have melted.

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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby Rebecca Birch » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:44 pm

I'm sorry about the link guys! I tested it on my computer and it was working fine, so I don't have a clue how to fix it. Hopefully everyone's got something already started, having found their own prompt. I'm sorry my tech-idiocy has made me a bad prompt provider.

wotf012

Anyways, I'm over 3k words now, and probably 3/5s of the way done with a story. I've been hiding from the heat at the mall food court. Very exciting here. Or not. I don't have all day to write, since I'm seeing The Expendables 2 with my husband tonight, but I still hope to get this thing wrapped up.

Happy writing all! May the muse be with you!
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby morshana » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:10 pm

I found my own prompt, but doubt anyone will want to read this. wotf019

I'm 2,200 words into it. Wasn't able to write this morning, like I hoped, but the kids are letting me write now. I'm aiming for 4k or less with this one. I usually avoid horror. I'm holding back on the gore. Hope it's not too bad. Could go into more detail, but why? Besides, need to keep that word count down.

Any takers when I'm done? *cringe*

Edit: Of course, those aren't the best words to sell my story, are they? wotf005
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby Rebecca Birch » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:20 pm

morshana wrote:I found my own prompt, but doubt anyone will want to read this. wotf019

I'm 2,200 words into it. Wasn't able to write this morning, like I hoped, but the kids are letting me write now. I'm aiming for 4k or less with this one. I usually avoid horror. I'm holding back on the gore. Hope it's not too bad. Could go into more detail, but why? Besides, need to keep that word count down.

Any takers when I'm done? *cringe*


Sure, and I'll send you mine, too. It's just under 5k right now and almost done. Don't need a critique, since this is first-draft-ugly, but I find that sharing helps keep up the energy. When Tina and I did October Madness last year, we sent each other our words each day and basically just commented on what we liked about them. I actually found it was just as helpful to hear what was working as what wasn't.

Of course, these were smaller snippets, but they were every day. wotf008
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Re: Story in a Day Challenge

Postby morshana » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:24 pm

Rebecca Birch wrote:
morshana wrote:I found my own prompt, but doubt anyone will want to read this. wotf019

I'm 2,200 words into it. Wasn't able to write this morning, like I hoped, but the kids are letting me write now. I'm aiming for 4k or less with this one. I usually avoid horror. I'm holding back on the gore. Hope it's not too bad. Could go into more detail, but why? Besides, need to keep that word count down.

Any takers when I'm done? *cringe*


Sure, and I'll send you mine, too. It's just under 5k right now and almost done. Don't need a critique, since this is first-draft-ugly, but I find that sharing helps keep up the energy. When Tina and I did October Madness last year, we sent each other our words each day and basically just commented on what we liked about them. I actually found it was just as helpful to hear what was working as what wasn't.

Of course, these were smaller snippets, but they were every day. wotf008


Great! Looking forward to exchanging.

I'm running out of steam. Hot in here (though not 115 degrees). Maybe just 80 degrees in this room? I should change into something cooler. Jeans, long-sleeved shirt, and a sweatshirt--just aren't cutting it. Water. Yeah. Water. Then finish this painful scene and on to the ending...

Good luck everyone!
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