The Short Story Day Trip

Photo by Vangelis Thomaidis


Which would you rather do this weekend: bang out a new short story or set out to do some sightseeing?  Good news – you don’t have to choose.

Author DOUG CRANDELL goes on a day trip and sets us a writing exercise.

I love road trips. I also treasure my time off to write. Like most writers, I hold down a day job, so it’s difficult to find time to write unless I plan for it. So I’ve learned to combine my two loves: I embrace my vacation sprees and turn them into fiction.

That doesn’t mean you have to spend a week in an RV tooling through the wine country, trolling for colorful characters and story ideas. Actually, just a day will do. You don’t even have to go far. By following the hourly schedule below, you can turn a brief expedition into a great short story.

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The Short Story Day Trip


This article first appeared in Writers Digest.


DOUG CRANDELL is the author of six books, one of which beat out former President Jimmy Carter for the Georgia Author of the Year Award. Doug’s novel, The Flawless Skin of Ugly People has been optioned by Big Talk Productions, with Jack Thorne writing the screenplay and James Griffiths set to direct.

Doug has won grants and fellowship competitions from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Hohenberg Foundation, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Booker Prize Winner, Peter Carey, chose Crandell’s story, ‘Even if He is a Slave’, for the River City Award in Fiction.

Doug’s short stories and essays have been anthologized in Mother Knows: 24 Tales of Motherhood; Stories From the Blue Moon Café III: An Anthology of Southern Writers; Glimmer Train vols 4649 and 58, and When I Was a Loser: True Stories of Barely Surviving High School.


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