Welcome to the Library

This is where you’ll find Surviving the Novel’s collection of short stories, poems, web series, full length novels, and literary doodles meant to serve as examples of completed writing prompts.

If you’re feeling low on inspiration, your creativity is trapped behind a foggy wall in your mind (aka writer’s block), or you’re just looking to kill some time with a good read…

This is the best place on the internet you can be.

Short Stories

How do you have the most amount of fun, in a short amount of time, while also practicing the essential skills that every storyteller needs to write awesome stories? Write short stories!

The really nice thing about short stories is that there is no other genre of writing better tailored to training a writer to be a storyteller.

A good short story has everything that a long story needs, but in a faster paced, more compact format—which means that the author of a short story needs to be flexible and actively think about what they’re doing with their story, and how to best tell it. Every writer, every storyteller, should start by writing short stories.

Skills developed from writing short stories
Character development
Show don't Tell
Complicated plot devices
Concise, hard-hitting storytelling

Featured Short Story—To See a Fish

An elderly man walked alone down a shaded path lined with tall birch trees. It was only one of many such paths in this park, but this one was her favorite. He missed her. He always missed her, of course, but here, on her path, he missed her even more—if that was possible. He would have to visit her tomorrow though, it was getting late, and she was all the way on the other side of town.

A soft breeze rustled the leaves over his head as he walked. His breath caught in his throat when he looked up: it was early autumn, when the leaves were just starting to change color. Her favorite time of the year. She loved the colors of autumn on these old birches. He found himself wishing once again that she could be here to see. Although, I suppose she is here, in a way, in my memories, he thought as his eyes began to mist.

He laughed to himself. Had he planned this? No he couldn’t have: he came to the park on impulse. Really, he had no idea why he came so late. One moment he was in his home, comfortably watching Tv, the next he felt drawn, somehow back here—back to a place he hadn’t visited in such a long time.

As he rounded a bend, he suddenly found himself staring at her bench—the one that sat three feet away from the edge of the pond. Her quiet escape—that’s what she had called it. “A place for her to be alone with her heart.” Yet despite all her talk of being alone, she never came here unless he was by her side.

Not knowing why, he sat down and looked out over the water. Maybe it was because he felt something of her here? He quietly laughed at that thought. A nice idea, though, I don’t know how true that is, now. No, it was most likely just the countless memories they had made here. He sighed as those times came flooding back to him.

She used to swear that fish jump out of this pond. She always said they came out just as the sun was about to set. With the last light of day they would jump out of the water “all silver and golden sparkles.” He had never seen these fish. Even though he was sitting right beside her whenever she claimed to see something—she always did have a better imagination than me.

He sat on that bench for a few minutes longer, watching the sun slowly set, letting memory after memory fill his head until he felt like he really could, somehow, feel her there. Then suddenly, as the last light from the setting sun swept across the tiny pond, a fish jumped out of the still waters. It was silver, and its scales sparkled just the way she had said.

He smiled and let a single tear roll down his cheek.


Poetry is a simple thing, really. Anyone can write it. If you dig deep enough and find the thing that you really care about, the poetic language simply comes to you.

That’s the thing about poetry: so many people who try to write it are focused on the wrong thing! they think that poetry is all about the words you use; they think that if they could just find the perfect words with the right amount of syllables to fit their specific meter and rhyme scheme, then they would be writing poetry.

What these people fail to realize, is that poetry isn’t about the words you use, but about what the words are saying!

It’s about emotion, not meter; subtext, not rhyme; finding the perfect analogy to make the abstract clear, not finding the perfect word to fit a pattern…

Skills developed from writing poetry
Mastery of of language
Understanding rhythm of language
Show don't tell
Effectively communicating complicated thoughts

Featured Poem—The Road Home


I travel down this road alone,

driving home on my own,

and pass by the roads I’ve never known

on this set course I know as my own

which leads passed places I’ve never roamed

and faces I’ve never seen,

belonging to voices I’ve never met

and people I’ve never heard,

that all live lives

more alive than I.

That’s the way it seems tonight,

looking in from the outside

and wondering if their life could be mine.

Or shared at least

if I left this path and turned down that side street

to meet the people with voices I can’t place

and face the faces I fear to face

and take a moment out of my “busy” day

to go a little out of my way.

Maybe, then, I wouldn’t be so alone.

If I stepped out of the car I wouldn’t be driving on my own.

I would be walking in this new place

side by side with a new face,

and maybe I’de find that this unknown road

still, somehow, takes me home.