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2021: Celebrating The Writers' Greenhouse
10 YEAR anniversary!

Monday, 13 January 2014

The complete 12 days of writing - Why did the protagonist fake those maps?

A mini writing course with prompts to explore twelve elements of story-building by creating your own story. These are the twelve topics explored in Story Elements: premise, characters, place, time, plot-layering, tension and stakes, beginnings, themes, symbols, detail, and endings.

You can do it over 12 consecutive days, 12 weeks, every other day for 24 days, whatever pattern works for you, though it's always a good idea to set your writing time in advance. You'll need half-an-hour to an hour for each prompt. Don't worry that other people are using the same premise: one idea in two different writers' hands becomes two very, very different stories. (Besides, the premise is very wide open!) If you want, though, you can always pick a premise or story idea from your own collection of ideas and use the same prompts on that premise.

Bookmark this page and then each day click through to the next prompt, from the list below.

Serving suggestion: Get yourself a notebook specially for this project and write by hand. When you need to cut and glue things, you can paste them into your notebook. It becomes a wonderful little story scrapbook and it's just fun to have physical things sometimes, instead of working at the computer.

Motivation suggestion: Want to keep yourself going? Arrange with a friend that you're both going to do it, and then message each other before and after each writing session, to say "I'm going to start now" and "I've just done it". You're also welcome to email me with your progress: or tweet me @WritersGreenHse. I'd love to hear how you get on.

The 12 days of writing

12 days of writing: a premise

Your premise: Why did the protagonist fake those maps?

12 days of writing: characters

What characters think of each other

12 days of writing: place

A sense of place

12 days of writing: time

Time and attitudes

12 days of writing: plot-layering

The best and worst of times

12 days of writing: tension and stakes

Deeper stakes and rethinking tension

12 days of writing: beginnings

Beginning with blurbs

12 days of writing: symbols

Unique symbols

12 days of writing: themes

Arguing over themes

12 days of writing: a subplot

Subplots that feed the main plot

12 days of writing: detail

Detail that convinces

12 days of writing: an ending

Endings: be true to yourself

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