June 10, 2017

Day 10: Short Story Marathon


Day 10! Into the double digits here on this marathon of writing.

Didn’t know what to write this morning and browsed some exiting starts and saw one I had tried 3 different times that had a simple, poetic idea and ignored the starts an started over. It is tentatively titled, “The Stars in Hoshi’s Eyes.” Got 1,600 words done early before working and then went for a run at lunch and the story snapped into focus. Also realized that the beginning of the story did not present the characters problem soon enough. Back to it in the afternoon and finished up at 2,500 words. Better length for this challenge.

Added two sentences to “Home in Time” and sent it off to Dean.

Took an hour and cleaned up “Wink, Plum, and the Bones that March.”

Read both “Wink, Plum, and the Bones that March” and “The Stars in Hoshi’s Eyes” to Aleia (she liked both) and can send them off to Dean tomorrow.

I’ve been writing enough lately (including last month’s ramp-up for this) that I am becoming more aware of my processes. I don’t start with an outline, I just dive in and write, starting with an idea or a line or a question. Some observations on this process:

  • Writing the opening is a bit slow, requiring a lot of hopping back and forth as I get to know the character and the story. This continues as the story grows, but less and less. The beginning is infinite possibilities, the end is a narrow target.
  • Everything is lean when I first write it and I tend to come back and add more details to characters and setting, and add sensory information.
  • By the time I get to the end, there is always a few tweaks needed earlier in the story, to accentuate theme, nail down plot, or to bolster important characteristics
  • After sitting with the story for a while things always occur to me that I missed
  • Random bits that pop out early in the story with no thought often become the little gems the story ends up being built around.
  • For much of the story things feel flat and lifeless and at some point it pops into focus and is a STORY. This often happens at the point where the story touches me or surprises me–since I don’t know where the story is going, I get to be surprised.
  • There is always doubt. Always. I’ve written seriously for almost 8 years now, but each story has an “oh shit” moment (or many of those) where I just know it’s not going to work. Most all the time, if I just keep at it, keep following the story along, and it works out. Trust is essential. Trust in the process, trust that the subconscious/creative mind knows stories and can take almost any random bits and assemble them into a STORY. Practice, of course, is essential here.

Stats for Today

Strategies Employed: Reused existing idea.

Lessons Learned: I can write a sub 3,000 word story if I try to write a 1,000 word story.

Words Written: 3,100

Hours: 4.5

Stories Sent to Dean: 1

Story Summary

# Story Total Words Done?
1 Woody and June vs. the Fungus-Head Zombies 5101 Yes
2 Daisy’s Heart 5800 Yes
3 The Disappearing Neighborhood 2773 Yes
4 Woody and June vs. the Grand Canyon 6070 Yes
5 Home in Time 4483 Yes
6 Wink, Plum, and the Bones that March 5972 No
7 The Stars in Hoshi’s Eyes 2530 No

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Robert J. McCarter

Robert J. McCarter is the author of more than ten novels and over a hundred short stories...... learn more

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