52 books in 52 weeks: Story Starters

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 38.

Story Starters is a book of fiction writing prompts from Fiction Attic Press – or New York Times award winning author Michelle Richmond. Michelle has been teaching creative writing for a lot of years, and she’s a widely published author. Therefore I wasn’t surprised at how good this book is.

It’s a book that does exactly what it says it does – it provides more than 50 days-worth of writing prompts. And they’re not writing prompts for writing-prompt sake either. They do eventually build on each other and, anyway, they also get you into a daily writing habit.

The author suggests just 20 minutes at the start of each day with some 10-minute suggestions too for busy or too-tired days. I say there are more than 50 days-worth as some of the exercises are, for example, days 10 and 11 continued.

On day 26 you’re encouraged to review your progress. And then from day 33 onwards, you’re aiming at short and very short stories.

From the very beginning the reader is told that the exercises can be for true-life memoirs, they can be your own experiences on which to base a story or more, or they can be purely fictional. They can also move on from the previous exercise, including the same character(s), all the way through until you have a longer piece of work.

I have lots of books filled with lots of useful writing prompts and ideas. However, since I started to do the exercises in this book I’ve managed a daily writing exercise every work-day for 20 minutes before doing anything else – while still in my dressing gown. I’m averaging around 630 words per session, which works out at a rate of almost 1,900 words per hour.

I’d say that’s pretty good going.

It’s a quick, short book that, I think, is very reasonably priced (if you get the Kindle version!), so I won’t repeat any of the exercises here. You can see the first few pages in Amazon’s “look inside” feature anyway.

If you only buy one book of writing prompts, make it this one. I’ve even added the author to my blogroll.

Story Starters: fiction writing prompts is available on Kindle for £2.11 ($3.00) and in paperback from £61.34 ($50.00) 😲 I know which one I’d choose!