Author Archives: Jess Zafarris

About Jess Zafarris

Jess Zafarris is the Content Strategist of Writer’s Digest and an energetic multimedia journalist with more than 7 years of experience in digital and print publishing, writing and editing. She spends much of her spare time researching curious etymologies and writing about them at UselessEtymology.com. Follow her at @jesszafarris or @uselessety on Twitter.

The Wonderful What of Where?

In memory of L. Frank Baum, choose one of these quotes from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, fill in the blanks, and use it as the opening to a story of your own. (Bonus imaginary internet points if you can include more than one.)

Fourth Wall

Write a story or scene in which one or more of the characters knows that they are in a story. How long have they known? Do they care? If you want, take it a step further: The narrator absolutely hates the main character.

Flavor of the Month

First, write down 12 flavors you can think of (ice cream or candy flavors, savory flavors, etc.). Next, use all 12 flavors to write a story or scene (in 500 words or fewer) beginning with the following: The sparkling water was…

Extraordinarily Ordinary

Describe something ordinary in an unrelated genre style. For instance, you could describe your living room in the style of an epic fantasy, a pigeon in the style of a western, your breakfast in the style of a steamy romance, or an office building in the style of a sci-fi thriller.

Blahbarian

Write a scene that includes a character speaking a different language, speaking in a thick accent, or otherwise speaking in a way that is unintelligibe to the other characters. (Note: You don't necessarily need to know the language the character is speaking—be creative with it!)

That’s Not What I Meant

Writing Prompt: Write a story that involves confusion over homonyms (words that have the same spelling but different meanings) or homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently). You can use any homonym or homophone you can think of, but here are a few examples to get you started.

Interview: Jessica Strawser Discusses the Journey from Editor to Author, and Her New Book ‘Not That I Could Tell’

In her nearly 10-year tenure as the former editor-in-chief and editorial director (and now editor-at-large) of Writer’s Digest, Jessica Strawser has interviewed hundreds of globally recognized authors, learning what she needed to write her 2017 debut novel, Almost Missed You. Now we turn the mic around to talk to Jessica about her...

Spoken Stories

For World Storytelling Day, share the best story you've ever heard or told by word of mouth, or have a fictional character recount their favorite story.