Happy New Year!

What better way to ring in 2014 than to write something new? Today and in the early days of the New Year, I challenge you to push yourself… to create a story different from your usual stuff. If you normally write stories about real things that have happened to you in the past (like your vacation), why not write about a made up invention? If you usually write about sports, why not research one of our former presidents and write about the activities he participated in as a boy? If you like to write about animals, why not write a mystery? Maybe even a mystery that involves your pet? Writing the puzzle of your very own mystery story is tough—but a great way to get your ideas swirling!

For the older writers out there, you could do the same thing. If you usually set your stories in a high school, why not write your characters into a different setting? Like maybe a spa or the restaurant where they work. How about a big city? Research a place you’d love to go. Immerse yourself in that culture, whether it’s Paris, NYC, or the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Then find a way for your character to travel there. Who knows what a new setting could do for your characters and your story?

The New Year brings with it an amazing opportunity to start fresh. We can pack away the old ways of doing things (if they aren’t working, of course) and give something new a try! With each story we write, we improve. So this year, if you like to write, keep writing! Keep working on that great idea. Make the time to turn it into a story—even if it turns into a short story or merely a section of a story. The important thing is to get those thoughts down on paper before you forget about them!

Even if those stories get tucked away in a drawer in your bedroom or a file on your laptop, whatever you do, keep them! They’re important. Someday you’ll want to read them. Reading the old stories you’ve written is the best way to see how far you’ve come as a writer in the past year! And besides, there may be parts of those stories that you want to use again in your next even better story!

So in the spirit of the New Year, I’d like to leave you with 7 words:

Cheer

Key

Corner

Believe

Shock

Box

Choice

In your free time, turn these words into a short story. Be sure to include a problem and a solution. Make your characters memorable and make their problem BIG! Remember, the bigger the stakes the better the story.

Have fun with this! I’d love to read the stories you come up with and post them on the website. 

And remember, go check out the Critique Corner tab. We’re having our next critique round on January 29th. The stories can be about these 7 words but they don’t have to be. I’m accepting stories right now and up until January 27th. I’m sure there are many readers who’d love to read what you’re working on… and I bet you’d love to get some feedback too. 🙂 So go on. You can do it. Break out your notebook or laptop or tablet. Let 2014 be the year you become a better writer. That’s my wish for all of us!

So cheers…Let’s turn those sparks of imagination into our best stories yet! Happy New Year!!

*hugs* Jackie

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