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Julie Duffy talks about organising StoryADay...

READERSVOICE.COM: What is involved for you in organising each year’s Story a Day?

JULIE DUFFY: Quite a lot more work from January-May than I like to admit, actually! I run a warm-up course in the months leading up to the challenge, for people who are a bit out of practice, or nervous about the commitment. [See storyaday.org.shop/.
I tweak the technology behind the site, create graphics and write articles to both inspire people and give practical advice. I post a writing prompt every Wednesday and create an ebook of all the upcoming prompts for this year’s challenge [See last year’s at storyday.org].
I solicit guest prompts from writers and editors (last year I kicked off the challenge with a writing prompt from none other than rockstar writer Neil Gaiman, and had prompts from Hugo-award winner Mary Robinette Kowal, co-founder of WriterUnboxed.com and novelist Therese Walsh, and New York Times best-seller Heidi Durrow). I also guest post at other sites to raise the profile of StoryADay, because the more people who take part, the more likely it is that everyone will find someone (or a group of someones) to buddy up with and share motivation with.
I also find myself being invited to give talks about creativity and short fiction at conferences and writers groups, which is always a blast.
I run the sister site: MayIsShortStoryMonth.com, which has more of a reader focus and is intended just to celebrate and highlight the work others are doing in the short story form (in fact, I’m looking for
volunteers to help maintain the listings there).
And reading. Lots of reading, because reading other people’s short fiction makes it so much easier to write your own!

RV: What are some of your plans for StoryADay and other projects?

JD: This year will be the sixth annual StoryADay in May and I’m hoping it’ll be bigger and better than ever. I’ll be running the warm-up course again, publishing a new ebook of writing prompts to coincide with the challenge, and I’m also hoping to snag some more big names to provide guest prompts at the site, because people really enjoyed that.
I’m working on a book proposal for a StoryADay handbook so that people can do their own month-long story challenge at any time of the year.
Meanwhile I’m plunging on with a novel that my critique group wants me to finish, even though it’s a lot of story to juggle for someone who is used to working in thousands-of-words rather than tens-of-thousands! But clearly, I am a woman who loves a challenge, so…

– See juliduffy.com and storyaday.org and write a story a day in May.
– copyright Simon Sandall.