I am girding myself for my September folly of writing a Story A Day. I have been wanting to write more flash and this meshes perfectly with my flash fiction tutorial with Cat Rambo (or hopefully it will!). I have a few ideas waiting in the wings. I’m really not worried about coming up with ideas as they do seem to multiply the more I write. That said I will not risk being unprepared on some September day when life is crazy and I feel like throwing in the towel. Here are some of the things I use in general and will have on hand next month.
The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field. Each short chapter is by a different flash fiction writer or editor. One of the strengths of this book is that it presents a multitude of approaches to thinking about and writing flash fiction. Every chapter has a writing prompt at the end.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Tarot and find the cards particularly well suited to fantasy ideas. Tarot for Writers is a fun and useful book for working with the deck for story-making. If you want to delve deeper into the Tarot Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot by Rachel Pollack is one of the best
Every weekend io9 posts its Concept Art Writing Prompt, which is both visual and genre friendly. Also, I have several camera apps loaded onto my iPod, which have been woefully underutilized. I will be taking more pictures and using at least a couple for prompts. If I get a good story out of it I’ll have an illustration built in.
Brainstormer is a beautiful little app and I’ve been using it for a while. Mostly when I have a random 10 or 15 minutes to write but am away from my desk and computer. I’ll pull this up, give the iPod a shake, pull out my pen and journal and go from there.
Rory’s Story Cubes is marketed as a game for kids. I have it as an iPod app and have played it with my girls. At first I found the images a little limiting but that only made me realize that I shouldn’t be quite so literal. Using it as directed is a good way to practice coming up with beginnings, middles, and endings.
Poetry Spinner I think I’ve made my feelings about poetry clear. This app is inspirational and you should have it on general principles. You never know when you’ll get stuck in the doctor’s office waiting room or at the bus stop. For writing, I find a good poem has so much going on that it can suggest any number of stories and/or characters.
TV Tropes Pick two or three random tropes and join them in a story. Beware the site is labyrinthine and oh so inviting. Roll out some string on your way in so that you can find your way out with enough time to write. Oh, they have an app too.
There are quite a few writing idea generators, but my favorite is 7th Sanctum, both for it’s ample list of generators and for its sense of whimsy. Their newest generator is a SF Tarot card generator. With a couple clicks I got: Six of Trains, The Artificer of Space Stations, Eight of Singularities, The Android of Cogs. The story just about writes itself!
Chaotic Shiny is new to me but I can’t wait to explore their categories such as: culture, people, places, names, accessories, evil, plot/writing, and silly.
Creative Writing Prompts.com also has a lot of material and I like how you can scroll over the number blocks like your playing an enormous game of concentration.
Story A Day posts prompts year round every Wednesday called “Write on Wednesday.” During story challenge months she promises to post a prompt every day. I’ve signed up for them and will see how they are.
I think I’m ready. September is just around the corner. Wish me luck!