Story Bites Writing Prompts

Story Bite #11: This Builds Character!

How many times have you been forced to do something that wasn’t a lot of fun and were told, “It’s good you did that! It builds character!” I think this is pretty common, whether it’s going for a hike in the pouring rain, going camping when the ground is frozen, having to speak in front… Read more »

Story Bite #10: On Finding Your Idea

At a school talk I gave last month, I asked students to tell me their thorniest writing problems. What made writing hard for them? Was there anything I could do to help? One student told me that she loved writing but always had trouble starting: She struggled to find what to write about. She had… Read more »

Story Bite #9: On Character-Driven Beginnings

Happy New Year! For this story bite at the start of the year, we’re going to talk about one of the most important—and the most challenging—aspects of writing creative fiction or nonfiction: the beginning. Here’s a pic to start us off: my cat Flora, who is beginning (LOL) to fall asleep. Beginnings need to hook… Read more »

Story Bite #8: On Building Stakes

It’s fairly easy when you start a story or a novel to come up with a basic character and a goal. The next part of building a story—the conflict—is a little bit harder, but not bad. And then comes the hardest part: the stakes. This is what’s missing when a lot of people try to… Read more »

Story Bite #6: On Telling Your Own Story

This is an interesting time for me because I’m about to see my very first middle grade book reach the world. As a result of that, a lot of people are asking me questions about myself and how I came to write this book. Writing about yourself is rather different than writing about someone fictional…. Read more »

Story Bite #5: On Detail in Settings

As explored in a past story bite, setting is a crucial part of any story. It’s the world in which your characters live, and can be a character itself. Any world is made of a variety of features, from landscape and weather to buildings and roads. For this story bite, I want to look closely… Read more »

Story Bite #4: On Conflict

Conflict is an essential part of any good story. It’s what you throw at your characters to make their lives difficult. Conflict can be as universal as someone/something threatening destruction of the world, or as personal as trying to avoid hurt feelings. Conflict is what stands in the way of your character’s attempts to achieve… Read more »

Story Bite #3: On Food

Last month’s writing prompt was about setting. I hope your mouth won’t water too much over November’s prompt, which is about…food! For this month, write either nonfiction or fiction. Write as yourself, or pick a character (create your own alter ego, or go ahead and pick someone from your favorite book). Here’s a visual to start: This,… Read more »

Story Bite #2: On Setting

I hope you enjoyed last month’s story bite writing prompt. For October, let’s talk about setting. The setting is where your story takes place, and it’s ultimately description, but there are a lot of ways to show it. Take this castle, for instance. The picture shows the wall that leads up to the inner courtyard… Read more »