June 5, 2017

Day 5: Short Story Marathon


Interesting day. Yesterday I left “Woody and June vs. the Grand Canyon” at over 5,000 words and not done yet, thinking I might have taken a wrong turn. So, I set it aside and started a new story, “The Disappearing Neighborhood.” This is based on an idea I had at the beginning of the year and I wrote a very short opening for. I didn’t go back and look at that, but started fresh. It’s a very different kind of story for me, with the plot being metaphorical and not literal. An experiment, in other words.

Aleia is out of town and not here to read to, so in the back of my mind I wanted to try doing a story from start to finish in a day and send it to Dean. So that is what I did. This a a first for me and something I wouldn’t have even imagined I could do before this challenge.

I’ve got 30 stories to write, so why not take some risks? Any why not take them when I’ve got a pro checking my work? Obvious, right? But you can’t be married to producing a perfect story and do this, and that’s not an easy lesson… and it wasn’t easy to let this story go so quickly. It feels strange.

Another important thing to know is what the goal really is. It’s not to write 30 perfect stories or even 30 good stories. It’s to write 30 stories and to do my best on each of them. In the arts “perfect” and “good” are completely subjective and poison to the creative processes. But, knowing what a story is and doing your best is much clearer. Clear, but not so easy.

Since I did this story in one day and only worked on this story, I have a good pace measurement for fished words per hour:  880. That’s a bit better than the 700 I predicted in my planning but in the ball park. Now, I have to get so more shorter stories in the mix to get my average length down.

Stats for Today

Strategies Employed: A story I had already thought about that was set in my own neighborhood and needed no research.

Lessons Learned: Flexibility. I can write a story in a day. Keep the goal in mind, but play loose with the plan. Take risks. Have fun!

Words Written: 2,800

Hours: 3.1

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 5050 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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