Summer of Stories 2019


WELCOME TO YWP'S ANNUAL SUMMER OF STORIES CHALLENGE!
 
For 10 weeks this summer - June 3 to Aug. 9 - we'll highlight two writing prompts and one photo prompt each week here - and on the front page of the site. Click "Respond" on each prompt and write -- or post your photos and art! You can skip around, backtrack, dash forward. It's summer! There are no rules! But ...
 
There are PRIZES (to be announced Monday, Aug. 12):
  • MOST POSTS (1. Writing category; and 2. Art/Photo category)
  • MOST CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENTS on other writers and artists' work
  • BEST PIECE OF WRITING OF THE SUMMER
  • BEST ART/PHOTO OF THE SUMMER
The summer's best writing and art will also be published in YWP's digital magazine, The Voice, in September.
 

WEEKLY CHALLENGES

Each week has links to two writing challenges and a photo challenge! You can respond to any of the challenges any time, out of order, in order, doesn't matter. Just click on the title of any challenge you like -- and start writing or posting your art! Add audio if you can! And if these prompts don't inspire you, remember you can always, always write anything, anytime, using the General tag. And upload all your summer photos and art using the Visual tag.
WEEK 1: June 3-7
Cafeteria. Some school years have a distinct aroma -- kindergarten might smell like glue sticks, second grade like lunchtime in the cafeteria, maybe eighth grade smells like a new book. These aromas can take you back to that place and time. Write about your own experience with certain years having their own special scent.

Godin. Author Seth Godin says, “Art is a personal act of courage.” With art -- either in words or images -- show your own personal act of courage.

Photo-Lighting. Pick a stationary object, and place it near a source of natural light. Take pictures of it periodically through the day. When you're done, try to identify areas of front, side, and back-lighting. Post your photos in a slideshow.
WEEK 2: June 10-14
Ferocity. Write a poem about the ferocity of a thunderstorm. Use onomatopoeia sounds to convey the thunder, lightning, and rain.

Junk. Do you love an item that is typically considered “junk” like an old tire or a rusty wagon? Why do you find meaning in this item?

Photo-Tonal.  Tonal contrast -- the difference between the brightest highlight and the darkest low-light -- can make dramatic photos. Try taking photos of objects using high contrast lighting -- the whitest whites and the darkest blacks all contained in one space. Post at least four photos in a slideshow.
WEEK 3: June 17-21
Sandwich. In great detail, describe the best sandwich you’ve ever had. What was on this incredible sandwich? Who made it? Where were you?

Haiku-form.  Find an interesting place where you can sit and observe, uninterrupted. Focus on a tiny, detail -- a color, a texture, a movement. Create a haiku by describing (literally or figuratively) that detail in just 17 syllables.

Photo-Setting. Look at the photo examples in this challenge. Each one evokes a setting. Take your own photo of an inspiring setting -- so inspiring that writers will want to write about it!
WEEK 4: June 24-28
Ties. Is there something special or unusual about your family? Do you have a kooky aunt or a famous cousin? Do you have a favorite spot where you gather in the summer? Funny family traditions and rituals?

Intuition. Sometimes you get a feeling in the pit of your stomach about a person or situation. Was there ever a time when your intuition was right? What happened? What about a time when you were wrong?

Photo-LowKey. Set the mood with low-key lighting. Post your photos in a slideshow or post one photo and write a short story or poem inspired by your photo.
WEEK 5: July 1-5
Dear America. To mark the Fourth of July, write a letter, a poem, a song, a rant, a plea to this land. Begin with Dear America ...

Vonnegut. See author Kurt Vonnegut's "The Shapes of Stories" and try your hand at giving a story a shape. Draw or write your response and post it. (In brief, a story has a character, a dramatic arc, a climax, and a shift of perspective.)

Photo-Depth. Depth of field describes how much of a picture is in focus. With shallow depth of field, only a small portion of space is in focus. Wide depth of field involves a larger in-focus space. Experiment with both and post your favorites.
WEEK 6: July 8-12
Hungry. What are you hungry for? It could be a favorite food or a dream job or a change in your life. What is the thing that bites at the inside of your stomach and you can’t stop thinking about?

Peace. Where do you see the greatest opportunity to create peace in your community or the world? Write an essay or poem about what you can do to promote peace.

Photo-Shapes. Look around you for basic shapes that are either geometric or organic. Organic shapes are more free-flowing and unpredictable, while geometric shapes are more structural and well-defined. Your photos can also have a combination of geometric and organic shapes. Post them!
WEEK 7: July 15-19
Legacy. What do you want your legacy to be? What is the one thing or personal characteristic you would like to be remembered for?

Clash. Write about a time when you loved and hated someone or something at the same time. Describe the conflicting emotions you felt in this confusing situation.

Photo-Negative. With photos, it's important not only to think about what your subject is, but how it interacts with the space around it visually. Is there something in the background, or is it a solid color? What's the shape of the space surrounding your subject? In the simplest terms, positive space is your subject, and the negative space is what surrounds it. Take a few photos and be conscious of the negative space -- will it enhance or detract from your photo? Post your best!
WEEK 8: July 22-26
Tic Tac. Overnight, your character shrinks to the size of a Tic Tac. What dangers await this tiny being? What delights and surprises does the little Tic Tac discover?

Change. If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be, and how would you do it? You can write a rant, an action plan, a short story, a call to action... Anything that will explain what you want to change, and how you want to do it.

Commenting Tip: Pick another writer's cause, and champion it. Share it on social media; send it to someone who would appreciate it; offer up some suggestions on how to make it more impactful; print it out and post it somewhere; let them know what you did!

Photo Prompt:
5-Photos.
1. Create a story about what's happening in the sequence of these photos. And/or 2. Create your own 5-photo story. Try to find a place with a lot of movement, a busy street corner or even your own kitchen. Use your friends or family if you want to stage it. Let the photos tell the story, or add your own narrative.
WEEK 9: July 29-Aug. 2
Tell it! Choose an issue that really matters to you -- and write it! Don't stop to fix spelling or grammar. Get all your thoughts out. Shout it as you write. Whose your audience? Tell them exactly what you think! Record it and post it here.

Moment. What is the happiest you’ve ever been? How did it feel to be in that moment? Reflect and try to describe the sensation and the experience.

Photo-Proportion. Proportion is the size relationship between different elements and how they work together. Pick one object and play around with its proportional relationships in your photos. Take 5 to 10 photos and arrange them in a slideshow.
WEEK 10: Aug. 5-9
Comfort. Write about a time when you rely on an animal for comfort. Does the animal just know that you need help? What does it do? (Can be real or fiction.)

Blue. "It was the most beautiful shade of blue ..." Start or finish a story or poem with this line (an old YWP favorite!) Write about an object, a setting, a person's eyes, the twilight. Help the reader fully see and feel the color.

Photo-Summer. Post your favorite photos that shout "SUMMER!!"