View Full Version : A story a week

09-15-2005, 06:41 PM
After reading a thread in the Short Story forum, I wonder, should we start a "one story a week" club?

How about we post a weekly prompt(s) here? The more the merrier, so we have things to choose from. Then we all go off and write a story a week. It could be a long or a short one; doesn't matter. And if you want, we can all post the WIPs in SYW (password protected, so no copyright issues in case you want to submit the story somewhere) and crit each other's work...

Yes? No?

09-15-2005, 07:16 PM
I think it could be fun. I've seen this done before with mixed results. Here's a couple of off-the-cuff suggestions if you do decide to go through with it:

Make the prompt specific ("Write a story showing how a character's struggle against overwhelming odds leads to a new and unexpected awareness." -as a rough example) but leave off the requirement of using certain words, which is often done ("You must use the following words in your story: ardvark, Iceland, peanut, Koala, garter."). To me, that makes the whole thing a joke.

Include a "suggested" word count (say 500 to 1500 words, or whatever). That way, reading how different people have handled the same prompt is more interesting (to me anyway). This would make it a little more realistic as well.

Again, these are just suggestions or ideas.


09-15-2005, 11:40 PM
I'm thinking the weekly short stories would be about 1000 to 3000 words in length. Sure, anyone could make it a 12000-word short but given this would be a weekly challenge, I'd say keep it under 5000 words, something suitable to be submitted to magazines.

The prompt idea is a good one. We will try different things each week, to make it fresh.

The idea is to keep this going, and generate a good volume of work for each participant over time.

09-15-2005, 11:43 PM
Okay! Let's go!

09-15-2005, 11:44 PM
A flash and chat is fun. A prompt is posted and you have an hour to write a story. Then everyone critiques the other's stories and vote for their favorite.

09-15-2005, 11:52 PM
I'll post a prompt every Friday.

I'll start another thread for weekly prompts only (no discussion). Keep this thread up for discussions.

09-16-2005, 12:17 AM
You really want us to use our brains, don't you?

09-16-2005, 05:55 PM
Great idea! Count me in.

09-16-2005, 05:59 PM
And whomsoever has submitted a story a week for 52 weeks shall receive ... a blob? another copy of Atlanta Nights? Well, bragging rights for sure.

09-17-2005, 05:12 AM
I like this idea. Should I sticky the prompt thread, since it's likely to sink with only one post a week? What about stickying (is that even a word) this thread?

09-17-2005, 07:09 PM
Can they sticky together?

09-17-2005, 07:19 PM
No need to. Just sticky the prompt thread. I will include the link to the "discussion" thread in the prompts...

09-17-2005, 07:47 PM
Consider it done...

10-03-2005, 02:00 PM
Hey Ray,

I just now found out about this prompt business. Have you stopped it? I'd like to participate but I didn't see a prompt for this week.

I think it needs more promotion if it's gonna be done though. I just now found out about it cause I saw it referenced on a thread in the Short Story forum.

I like the idea of weekly prompts or challenges and I say let's go for it and put links in our sigs or do a lil' votebot style promotion once in a while.

ETA: Also maybe we can juice up the prompts a little or add a little variation. Maybe a different genre each week, or maybe have a prompt highlighting something different - like characterization or description or subtext or write a good beginning with a hook etc

Plus it might be better to have the stories in the same thread to help give it a kind of impetus. Once you get involved, if you see something in the prompt thread, you're more likely to check it out and comment than if you just see another story in the SYW thread.

ETA again: The act of posting in the thread will bring it up more often and increase visibility hence more activity.

Just some suggestions....

Anybody else have any input?

10-03-2005, 05:23 PM
Bill, thanks! Since you've come in this late... you can start by writing to the last few prompts... I will come up with another prompt today.

10-03-2005, 05:29 PM
There are now three prompts. Get to work!

10-03-2005, 05:48 PM
Also, if someone wants to post a prompt, please go right ahead. Sometimes I'm busy or not here to post one. You are all welcome to post a prompt or two every week.

10-04-2005, 03:31 AM
I like the idea of weekly prompts or challenges and I say let's go for it and put links in our sigs or do a lil' votebot style promotion once in a while.

I'd like to do this, but after the Purple Ink has leached out of the forum... ;)

Oooh, and I can post a prompt! I'll see what I can come up with.

10-04-2005, 04:35 AM
[two cents ON]

I think this plot has too many stray threads.

There's this thread, for discussion. There's the prompt thread. And then there's the post-yer-story thread.

Maybe it will begin to make sense after it becomes a habit, but everytime I want to check on this or participate, I have to click all over to find the right thread. (I had the same problem with the Purple Prose contest.)

And, by coincidence, it seems that the links in the first post of the prompt thread, which would be leading to the discussion thread and the post-yer-story thread, are broken.

I think if we have multiple threads, it would be a kindness to include the links to the relevant threads in each prompt (since that first prompt will be scrolled away before we know it.)

[/two cents OFF]

10-04-2005, 05:40 AM
I agree and as I stated above, I believe that's one of the reasons why it hasn't taken off. No one single thread to identify with. The more people see a particular thread name come up, the more they're going to want to check it out. By making all these different threads to go too, we're diluting the exposure for the Weekly Prompt.

I plan on participating and devoting only one day to the story (after all it is an exercise and I don't really have much spare time - sheesh, I'm already facing the possibility that this writing sickness is gonna make me die a lonely old man.)

Sorry Ray, but I'm posting my story here.... (Or maybe we can create a new thread: Weekly Prompt Stories - where the name is recognizable when anybody posts their work)

10-04-2005, 05:50 AM
Write a story about a man returning home to find his house gone

10-04-2005, 06:03 AM
Fine, then... you may post your stories here. But I'm keeping the prompt thread....

10-04-2005, 06:57 AM
This is a great story, in my humble estimation, broke. You've done a good job of recreating the same sort of scene that I've played in my mind of what it must have been like there the first week or so.

Here's a place where the spell broke for me a bit...I'm not black, so I can't say this with any authority, but I grew up in a predominantly black community, so I do have an opinion. I just wonder if a black man in New Orleans would really even be that surprised that a sheriff would point a gun at his head and be ready to shoot him. I think those of us who aren't living it can't fully imagine what it's really like to be black in a racist society. Times have changed, but not as much as us white folks like to tell ourselves they have.

But see it's just a testament to the quality of your story that it's even got me thinkin' all these deep thoughts. Nice work.

10-04-2005, 01:54 PM
Thanks paprikapink.

I'm hoping others will be joining in - both submitting their own pieces and also becoming involved in the discussion.

I noticed the prompt man Ray hasn't submitted a single piece through three prompts.


(Plus I hope you're going to give feedback also...)

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
10-04-2005, 02:16 PM
I would really like to be involved in this weekly stories idea - but I'm going to have to miss out for a few weeks while I get my degree back in order and my site up. If I can join in late, I'm right in there

10-04-2005, 06:06 PM
Nique, that's okay. Real life comes first. But if enough people show interest in SAW, I will keep this going every week. It's kind of fun coming up with a prompt every week anyway. I will post mine some time.

Bill, I like your story. I think you've done well in setting the mood and also your use of the five senses is excellent, putting us right there. The sounds, the sights, the smells... your use of repetitions (such as the drip, drip, drip... or the "they're going to shoot me") is good too. Not too obnoxious, just right.

Certainly the piece could use some editing, but nothing that can't be fixed in rewrites. I think it has potential, but the ending seems a little unresolved. It reads more like a vignette. The line "They were going to shoot me..." shouldn't it be "They were gonna shoot me..." to keep with the speech pattern of Leon?

10-05-2005, 03:42 AM
I posted this over in SYW. It's from the first prompt. (These things take a while to percolate...)


The reason we perhaps shouldn't post our stories in this thread is the very reason SYW is password protected. If you're not thinking of publishing, posting here would be all right, but otherwise, perhaps just a link in this thread would do.

10-06-2005, 07:40 AM
Bill, you asked me to comment on your story, so here goes:

I agree with much of what Ray said. I think you did a very good job setting the scene, creating the mood, atmosphere of the place.

I liked your imagery. One comparison: comparing the words he kept hearing in his mind as "the pressure like a finger pressing against the back of his head"--liked that.

I noticed a small boo-boo in, I think, the last paragraph: "it's" when it should have been "its". (oops, no, the boo-boo is in the paragraph that starts with: The moment replayed, etc.)

I liked how he is able to laugh at the end. In the midst of tragedy and devastation, someone finds something to laugh about.

Maybe what Ray meant was that it's hard to categorize this story. I think what he meant is that usually there is something that happens, some kind of action and then a resolution to the problem. It does sound more like a journal entry maybe? I'm not sure if that is what he meant or not. A part of a whole, but not the whole? Just some thoughts.

It is definitely descriptive and I get a real feel for the place.

10-08-2005, 12:31 PM
Hi, I'm actually trying to write something with this week's prompt. My first shot at it was simply awful but I got some good feedback and am reworking it. I just hope I'll be able to finish it and brave enough to post it! This is a great idea, Ray, thanks.

10-10-2005, 08:21 PM
Some people have been posting in the Story thread in SYW (because it's password protected -- just in case you guys want to submit your work somewhere)... check them out.


10-13-2005, 09:22 AM
I can't convince myself that what I'm writing is anything but utter dreck - and I'm on the 4th draft now. I think I need to take a class or something. I'm just to self conscious to put anything 'serious' up.

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
10-17-2005, 07:14 AM
just let go dawno, let go

is there some kind of informal world limit on these stories?

can one take them in pretty much any direction?

10-17-2005, 07:23 AM
Any direction you want. It's your story. The prompts are there to help you get started.

Word count... anything from 100 (flash) to, say, 3000. If you want to write longer, go ahead, but be aware that many people don't want to read a long piece online...

Again, it's your story. Do what you want with it.

Dawno, we still want to see yours!

10-17-2005, 07:36 AM
Dawno, we still want to see yours!

I'm really, truly, touched by your request. I am also completely afraid to post it.

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
10-17-2005, 07:37 AM
dawno, i'll do you a deal

you post; i'll post

and we'll go down, we'll go down together

10-17-2005, 08:19 AM
dawno, i'll do you a deal

you post; i'll post

and we'll go down, we'll go down together

That's a very sweet offer. I'm sorry I'm not ready to take that step, yet. Thought I was; learned otherwise. Eventually I'll think something is 'safe' but I'm kinda liking where the story is going, so I want to really do a good job with it.

10-22-2005, 07:35 PM
I think I'm going to try the prompt for this week. But it can't be too long because of time issues.

10-27-2005, 02:23 AM
Okay, so I wrote it!! I'll post it after I tweak it a bit. Is anybody else doing this?

10-28-2005, 10:43 PM
Yeah, we're doin it, you can check out a few efforts over in the SYW "Other" forum where we post em. For some reason, to my knowledge we've all just continued to post in the "Sept 22" thread...take a peek in there.

Which brings me to an important, let me stress that -- IMPORTANT aspect of a prompt a la "story a week" -------> DRECK IS OK! Dreck is good, dreck is fine, dreck is writing. Of course, I may be totally wrong. That happens. But I think the point of this exercise is to spew it out there. Let yourself be surprised. Hate it? It sucks? Guess what, here comes next week!

10-29-2005, 04:34 AM
That's the spirit! The point is to write 1 story a week... and in a year, you'll have 52. Some maybe bad, but who knows? You may find a few gems in there.

BTW, post your work here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19072&page=1). I know we said that we should post them here, but for some reason, people have been posting in that thread and I think it's a good thing because it's password protected so if you ever want to submit your stories somewhere, it'd be okay.

11-01-2005, 06:06 PM
It doesn't seem like many people are doing this story a week.

11-11-2005, 09:32 AM
I did a story. Been wanting to participate, but hadn't had the time. I'll post it soon. Just putting the finishing touches...

11-11-2005, 11:15 PM
I may just attempt this. I haven't worked on my ms for some time now, and I need a little something to jump-start me again. This could be it.

01-04-2006, 11:33 PM
I like this concept. Can I use any of the prompts, or only the latest one?

01-25-2006, 11:34 AM
nandu, I think you can attempt any of the prompts.

Just wondering why the Prompts thread is quiet. I have been waiting for a prompt for quite some time now.

Any update, maestro or Yeshanu?

03-31-2009, 06:31 PM
Okay, I see that everything here is rolling along just fine, I would like to join but what is the topic again? Like what story am I supposed to write? I need a little help with that thanks! ^_^