Monday, May 10, 2010

National Short Story Month Contest - Day 10

We're about one-third of the way through NSSM and my contest to encourage my visitors to write and submit a short story. If you missed my original post about the contest, check back to the beginning of this month. In essence, I'm hoping to encourage short story writing and asking visitors to submit a short story of no more than 2010 words. Contest details are in the earlier post.

If you're stuck and looking for ideas to get started, here are a couple of suggestions.

Last Friday on Cathy C. Hall's blog, she posted a link to The Absinthe Road where you can find writing prompts each Monday. How's that for a great way to get inspired to write?

If that doesn't work, I'll also try to help. This week I'll post some prompts I've gathered from workshops I've attended as well as from other sources I've collected on my writing journey. Today's prompts come from Pat Carr, who gave a "Writing Fiction with Pat Carr" workshop to Saturday Writers last October.

In Pat's workshop, she taught that a "short story moves from innocence to experience" and "fiction is narrative shown in scenes." She advised not having more than five charaters in a short story and shared these prompts:

1. The easiest place to start a story is with an incident that actually happened. Prompt: Write five incidents you remember (preferably longer than five years ago).

2. For authenticity, use a place you've been. Prompt: Set your story in one of these places:

The most comfortable place in life, most uncomfortable, most exciting, most boring, or the most frightening.

3. To make your setting come alive for your reader, use specific sensory details. Prompt: Use one or more of these to get your story started: An odor (our sense of smell is our strongest), time of day and season, temperature, sound, an important object, a dominant color, a dominant shape, something that can be touched, a taste, a certain slant of light (from Emily Dickenson).

I've used Pat's prompts to start two short stories--note I wrote start--they are still works in progress, but they got my creative juices flowing and gave shape to my ideas. So, how about you?


  1. Great suggestions to get writing!
    Now if I could just carve out some time.


  2. Wonderful advice, suggestions and encouragement! Thanks!

  3. Hi Pat,
    If only we could squeeze 25 hours in a day.


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