The challenge of 31 short stories was born from the desire to improve writing, create positive habits, and build a backlist. It has since grown into a challenge that occurs twice a year. Writers come together to create a short story each day, each week, or what they believe they can achieve in the month they are challenging themselves to accomplish the goal.
In January 2021 a network of Twitch Streamers, many of which you’ll see featured here on the site, streamed as part of the event. As streamers reached more people, the event has grown.
Why would someone want to build their backlist, practice writing, and hone the skill of writing a short story?
There are so many reasons. Some of our participants are doing it to build the list of books they can sell. Others are doing it for the experience. Many of us are doing it to improve our writing overall. It is a journey to improve your craft that can be an asset for the long haul.
Why would someone subject themselves to tight deadlines like a story a day?
For the same reason, many participate in NaNoWriMo. This is a way to be able to say you created something you’ve wanted to create, or met a challenge few meet.
If I’m not going to finish them, why should I start?
It’s fun to push yourself and expand where your creative spirit can go. Writing a new short story allows you to play in worlds, universes, genres you may not have played in. It keeps the creative mind fed, energies high, and gives you a new place to play every day.
What goodies are you giving away?
Everyone signing up for the event gets a writing guide that includes printable prompts, information on the event, and tips for using your stories after the month is over. Those who create a short story as part of the event are also invited to submit to the inaugural release of 31 Tales, a charity magazine. Only participants can be featured in this magazine.
4theWords is an RPG for writers, allowing for the gamification of our creations. We are able to complete quests, develop stories, interact with their community and encourage support for one another. The first month of the game is always free. For members of the 31 stories community, a second month will also be free as we will give away codes for that opportunity.
Where do I sign up to get the goodies?
You can fill out this form – Once you’ve been added, you can join in our discussions and get ready for fun!
If I want to stream the event, what do I do?
Once you’re in the event discord, mention it to the moderators and they’ll add your role as streamer and send you to submit your schedule.
I have participated in NaNoWriMo in the past, but the 31 Days 31 Stories Challenge was at once both more challenging and more rewarding. While NaNoWriMo encourages raw word count, 31d31s focuses on telling a story. You might be able to do that in a thousand words, but my stories averaged much longer than the 1700 daily words that NaNoWriMo suggests. Not being able to either work ahead or promise myself that I would catch up the next day also increased the intensity of the experience. Each new day was its own mini-challenge, and I only had twenty-four hours to create something new. At the end of each night, however, I had a story to show for my efforts. It might not be the best story I had ever written, but I felt like I had actually said something rather than getting credit for reams of words that did nothing to advance a plot or develop a character.
I made a choice to set all of my stories in a world that had been kicking around in my head for some time. I had thought I knew the world, but it wasn’t until I challenged myself to write 31 stories in it that I really began to see its complexity and how different elements interconnect. Although the prompts were optional, responding to them was a fascinating way to explore aspects of the world that I might not have considered on my own. I explored different characters and different time periods within the world. Everything I write in that setting now is richer for the work I did in January.
I pretty much hit the ground running with 31 stories in 31 days. The first time I’d heard heard about it was perhaps three days before the challenge began. In years gone by I’ve always felt intimidated by challenges such as this one. Once I started streaming my writing and discovering all these other authors in this community, however, I found my motivation to participate in this exercise. NaNoWriMo has never been for me, as I need to do a lot more planning to create a longer work; I could never keep up the pace for a single idea. On the other hand, I have plenty of experience of writing small, complete vignettes, stream-of-consciousness, all based on prompts and completed within a 10 minute time limit. This challenge was an extension of that format, and allowed me an opportunity to practice putting more depth in while still keeping the story concise. I felt plenty of freedom during the event. I wasn’t required to finish all of them (although that’s certainly the goal), and they can be connected to each other or not. That’s up to you! I think it’s an excellent way to exercise your creativity, keep your fingers moving, and put some ideas out there that you were hesitant to let out into the wildBrian Loughlin, Author and streamer