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Short stories spark your imagination. Join author Susan Quilty as she uses simple writing prompts to free-write her way into strange, silly, or poignant tales. Biweekly episodes offer new stories.To learn more about Susan and her books, visit SusanQuilty.com.Note: Prior to 2023, every 5th episode featured story commentary instead of a new story.
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In today's story, Tread Softly, a young woman reflects on lessons she learned from her older brother. Today's prompt was inspired by a book of the same title. When I was young, I loved Tread Softly by Corinne Gerson. I recently tracked down a copy and was delighted to read it again. As always, this story was written from the prompt, with no plannin…
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In today's story, Cake, thoughts of sweets freely ramble Today's prompt is a loose stream of consciousness ramble that begins with sleeping on a bed made of chocolate cake. Or something like that... Sometimes stories have less story and more nonsense. This is one of those times. As always, this story was written from the prompt, with no planning an…
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In today's story, Under Where, a fairy finds a career without collecting teeth Today's prompt is a bit of word play based on the phrase "under where" sounding like the word "underwear." Yes, very silly. Sometimes silly is good way to let your imagination flow. As always, this story was written from the prompt, with no planning and very little editi…
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In today's story, Out For Delivery, a casual conversation finds some feelings Today's prompt came up while I was waiting for a package to be delivered. Tracking information is great until it becomes a distraction you check every few minutes as your delivery get closer. As always, this story was written from the prompt, with no planning and very lit…
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In today's story, Breathe, life unfolds one breath at a time Today's prompt was inspired by my other job, which is teaching yoga. Breath is a key part of a yoga practice. Breathing practices can help you feel centered and better prepared to handle all aspects of your life. As always, this story was written from the prompt, with no planning and very…
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In today's story, Clockwork, romance blooms in a clock shop Today's prompt came from a hazy dream of gears moving like clockwork. Today's episode also includes a reintroduction for listeners who are new to Freely Written. As always, this story was written from the prompt, with no planning and very little editing. If you enjoy today's story, please …
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In today's story, Splitting Hairs, a detective meets the family Today's prompt was loosely inspired by a trip to get my hair cut... which doesn't really have much to do with the expression. The phrase just came to mind, which is enough to make it a writing prompt! As always, this story was written from the prompt, with no planning and very little e…
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In today's story, Boxing Day, an American family learns about a new (to them) holiday Today's prompt was inspired by Boxing Day, a holiday celebrated in many countries on December 26th, the day after Christmas. Happy holidays! As always, this story was written from the prompt, with no planning and very little editing. If you enjoy today's story, pl…
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In today's story, Advent, a neighborhood sitter has a very special advent calendar. Today's prompt was inspired by the Christmas season. Do you use an advent calendar to countdown the days to Christmas? Do you have a fun one to share? Let me know through social media or my website (links below). As always, this story was written from the prompt, wi…
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In today's story, Leftovers, a post-Thanksgiving breakfast includes pumpkin pie and questions. Today's prompt was suggested by my friend Wendy McMullan in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. What are your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers? How do you like to celebrate this and other winter holidays? As always, this story was written from the prompt, w…
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In today's story, Cozy Mystery Club, five friends decide it's time for their book club to investigate a real-life crime. Today's prompt was inspired by some thoughts about book genres. What is your favorite style of book? Do you like cozy mysteries, science fiction, romance, or another genre? Do you read a little of everything? As always, the story…
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In today's story, Cuckoo Catfish, Katie tells Cal about chaperoning their son's field trip Today's prompt was based on a recent trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. It's a great place to see a wide range of aquatic life. Apparently, it's a good place to get a story prompt, too! As always, the story was written from the prompt, with no planni…
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In today's story, The Wash 'N Dryer, Katie's taunting sends Billy on an adventure Since this is the 100th episode of Freely Written, today's story is not written from a random prompt. Instead, it is a story that Susan wrote way back in high school when she was about 16 years old. Enjoy this bit of fiction from the early '90s and our next episode wi…
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In today's story, Second Summer, Hillary overthinks her way to a coffee date Today's prompt was based on the weather. October is my favorite time of year, yet fall is often interrupted by second summer, a time when hot sunny days return for one last gasp before the chill of fall fully sets in. As always, the story was written from the prompt, with …
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In today's story, Vacation Mode, Hal is fascinated by his neighbors' smart home Today's prompt was based on my state of mind, since the story was written right before I left for a beach vacation! I'm home now and very glad I had a chance to spend a week with an ocean view and the sound of waves lulling me to sleep each night. As always, the story w…
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In today's story, No Help, Gramps teaches Dina a new trick Today's prompt came up when I asked my spouse for a suggestion. He couldn't think of one, so I joked that he was no help... which turned out to be a help after all. If you have a suggestion for a writing prompt, please let me know! As always, the story was written from the prompt, with no p…
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In today's story, Heart's Most Desire, Mary shops for the perfect gift for her niece Today's prompt was suggested by my friend Gretchen Schutte. While this story did not wander into the world of yoga, Gretchen is a fabulous yoga and meditation teacher. You can visit her website at PeaceinthePause.com! As always, the story was written from the promp…
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Hi, friends! No new story today... I'll be back with a new story next week. I'm taking this week off because I have a new novel coming out at the end of August and am particularly busy at the moment. My new novel, Elders and Aliens, will be the third and final book in The Psychic Traveler Society series. You can learn more about this series, and al…
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In today's story, Rusty, teenagers are surprised during a game of mini golf Today's prompt came to me while I was working on the layout review and final edits on my new book, which will be the third and final book in The Psychic Traveler Society series. I enjoy this part of the publishing process, but it's also been a while since my finalizing my l…
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In today's story, Wolves, two brothers share time away from their pack Today's prompt was suggested by one of my younger listeners, Lincoln McMullan. Thanks, Lincoln! If you have a prompt idea, send me a word or phrase and it may be used in a future story. You can reach me through social media or my website. As always, the story was written from th…
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In today's story, Fireworks, a meet cute occurs at a suburban block party Today's prompt was inspired by the Fourth of July holiday, also known as the U.S. Independence Day. Fireworks are a popular part of the July 4th celebration, from sparklers and bottle rockets to commercial firework displays. As always, the story was written from the prompt, w…
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In today's story, Fairytale, a group of fairy friends worry over a lost book Today's prompt was chosen because it's been awhile since we had a fantasy story. As always, the story was free-written from the prompt with no planning and very little editing. If you enjoy today's story, please share it with your friends and leave a review for Freely Writ…
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In today's story, Popcorn, a new house brings up some old feelings Today's prompt came up while I was explaining this podcast at a social gathering. There was a bowl of popcorn on the table, so I said a prompt could be anything, like popcorn. Then I decided to actually use that as my next prompt. As always, the story was free-written from the promp…
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In today's story, Conventional, friends discuss ideas of beauty Today's prompt was inspired by my recent book signing events, including one mini convention at a local comic book shop. Thinking about conventions spurred ideas of what it means to be conventional... or unconventional. As always, today's story was free-written from the prompt with no p…
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In today's story, Bright Idea, new tech sends Lynn running for her life Today's prompt came from a recent dream. Most of that dream was quickly forgotten, except for some shining stars that became the tech in this story. Though it was dream inspired, today's story was still free-written from the prompt with no planning and very little editing. It's…
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In today's story, Chicken à la King, farmyard friends can have big dreams Today's prompt came to me randomly, inspired by hunger and thoughts of what to make for dinner. I don't think I've ever had chicken à la king, but it's one of those recipe names I often hear and it seemed like it could lead to an interesting story. As always, today's story wa…
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In today's story, Crochet Party, some friends get together to try a new craft Today's prompt was inspired by a recent project where I crocheted a tissue box cover because I couldn't find one that I liked in a store. If you're curious about that project, I put pictures and a free pattern on my website: Crochet Tissue Box Cover As always, today's sto…
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In today's story, Rhyme Time, a friendly walk sparks rhyming talk Today's prompt was loosely inspired by a podcast I enjoy called Something Rhymes with Purple. It is a British podcast that delves into the origin of words. You can find the podcast here: Something Rhymes with Purple. The story today got a bit silly. I focused on rhyme, not meter, so …
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In today's story, Rhinestone Princess, a young girl finds beauty in her mom's jewelry box Today's prompt was inspired by a rhinestone hair clip sitting on my desk. I have no idea if rhinestone princess is a common phrase, but it popped into my head and seemed promising for a freewritten story. If you enjoy today's story, please share it with your f…
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In today's story, Layover, coworkers consider a bit of history Today's prompt was suggested by my friend and fellow yoga teacher, Gretchen Schutte. In addition to teaching at local studios and online, Gretchen also holds yoga retreats in lovely international destinations. Which may be why she had travel on the mind when suggesting this prompt! You …
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In today's story, Yellow Roses, a gift of roses has deeper meaning Today's prompt is in honor of my mom, who died 34 years ago and loved yellow roses. Freewriting is a great way to exercise creativity. It can also be a good way to explore deep emotion. If you enjoy today's story, please share it with your friends and leave a review for Freely Writt…
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In today's story, Sheet Music, a daughter's visit sparks memories of monkeys and music Today's prompt was inspired by a glance up from my desk, which landed my gaze on the sheet music sitting on my piano. A look around the room is often a good way to choose a prompt for a short story or other writing exercise. If you enjoy today's story, please sha…
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In today's story, Weird Blanket, a boy's trip to his local comic book shop takes a magical turn Today's prompt was requested by my husband, Peter, after hearing the phrase on an episode of Community. I started the story with no idea how I'd include a weird blanket, but I got there eventually! If you enjoy today's story, please share it with your fr…
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In today's story, Resolutions, space travelers pursue a legendary ghost ship called the Resolute. Happy New Year! Today's prompt is a seasonal nod to new year resolutions. Note: As we move into 2023, Freely Written will now have new stories every two weeks, skipping the commentary episodes that used to be included every 5th episode. More about Susa…
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In today's story, Winter Solstice, a teen pushing back on childhood traditions leads to a wider view of the world. Today's prompt was inspired by the Winter Solstice, which will occur on December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere. There are many ways to celebrate the longest night of the year. It's also interesting to consider what's happening on the o…
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In today's story, Invisible Work, Carrie wins some invisible help for her invisible work Today's prompt was inspired by the extra invisible work that can come up during the holiday season. Sending holiday cards, planning dinners, shopping for gifts, and more. On top of the daily effort that goes into laundry, groceries, cooking, and other chores. M…
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In today's story, Saying Grace, tensions rise over a Thanksgiving tradition Today's prompt was inspired by the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Many families have complicated holiday gatherings, and sometimes a small detail can trigger big feelings. More about Susan Quilty Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalone novels and her cur…
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In today's story, Confluence, a young woman goes on a mystical journey The word for today's prompt came up during a walk in the woods with my friend, Gretchen Schutte. Our walk took us to a confluence, where two rivers join, and our brief chat about the word stuck with me when I later sat down to write. Other aspects of our walk may have inspired t…
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Bonus episode today! Instead of sharing a new story, Susan is sharing her thoughts on the stories she told in episodes 71 to 74. Check back for new stories every other Tuesday. Every fifth episode (like this one) will offer bonus commentary on the previous 4 stories. To avoid spoilers, listen to those story episodes before this one! More about Susa…
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Today's story, Gift Baskets, is a story about gift baskets told by gift baskets Today's prompt was inspired by an episode of The Office where Michael Scott buys gift baskets for some potential clients. Actually, it was inspired by an episode of the Office Ladies podcast where Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey talk about that episode of The Office. Th…
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Today's story, Tell Me a Story, follows the life of a born storyteller Today's prompt was pulled from thin air while setting aside time for writing break. What better topic for a short story than a look at how stories can give color and meaning to our lives? More about Susan Quilty Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalone novels …
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In today's story, Pizza Party, the students aren't the only ones excited about a pizza party at school Today's story prompt came from an ad for pizza on TV. Nope, the ad didn't have a pizza party, but the simple sight of pizza was enough to suggest this great prompt. More about Susan Quilty Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalon…
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In today's story, Where Do I Begin?, an office conversation gets a little out of hand Today's story prompt came from an earworm. Yes, I had the theme from Love Story stuck in my head and its lyrics start with the phrase, Where do I begin... Which is, of course, a great place to start a story. More about Susan Quilty Susan Quilty mainly writes novel…
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Bonus episode today! Instead of sharing a new story, Susan is sharing her thoughts on the stories she told in episodes 66 to 69. Check back for new stories every other Tuesday. Every fifth episode (like this one) will offer bonus commentary on the previous 4 stories. To avoid spoilers, listen to those story episodes before this one! More about Susa…
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In today's story, Up, Up, and Away, two friends take flight before parting for college The prompt for today's story was inspired by my first ride in a hot air balloon. It was a fun and somewhat surreal experience, and I wanted to capture some its details while they were still fresh. If you have a suggestion for a story prompt, please let me know! M…
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In today's story, Cheese, a retro '80s photo shoot gets some added flair Last episode's prompt came from my best friend's son, Lincoln McMullan. Today's came from his older brother, Myles. Thanks, Myles! I'm not sure if this was a serious suggestion or more of a joke, but I ran with it! More about Susan Quilty Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, inc…
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In today's story, Getting Lost, Stanley explores the Maze of Mirrors The prompt for today's story comes from one of my younger listeners, my best friend's son, Lincoln McMullan. Thanks, Lincoln! I love when people send me prompt suggestions, so if you have an idea, please let me know! More about Susan Quilty Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, inclu…
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In today's story, The Frog and the Lotus, a frog goes on a quest for a magical blue lotus The tale in this story has the flavor of a fable, though you can draw your own conclusions about its moral! More about Susan Quilty Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalone novels and her current YA series: The Psychic Traveler Society. Susa…
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Bonus episode today! Instead of sharing a new story, Susan is sharing her thoughts on the stories she told in episodes 61 to 64. Check back for new stories every other Tuesday. Every fifth episode (like this one) will offer bonus commentary on the previous 4 stories. To avoid spoilers, listen to those story episodes before this one! More about Susa…
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In today's story, If I Could Fly, Jerry wants to go to the pool, his mom wants him to do a little writing first Today's prompt captures the struggles of parents who just want their kids to keep up with a little learning over the summer and kids who just want to spend their break with their friends. More about Susan Quilty Susan Quilty mainly writes…
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