July 4, 2017

Day 34: Short Story Marathon. FINISH LINE


And… done!

A quick pass on “Through Other Eyes,” a bit of cleanup, and off to Dean!

And if you are wondering, I was up early and writing. Started another story that is a follow up to “Wink, Plum, and the Bones that March.” I wanted to dig into Woody and June #5, but needed to do some research first. Not a lot of writing today, but I gotta write!

Stats for the Marathon

Here’s the number for this thing as planned and as executed (since I did very little for the challenge today, I used 33 for the per day stats).

Planned Actual
Stories 30 30
Average Story Length 3,500 3,955
Total Words 105,000 118,638
Words/Hour Finished 700 863
Total Hours 150 138
Days in Challenge 60 33
Finished Words / Day 1,750 3,595
Hours / Day 2.50 4.17

Key call outs:

  1. I did this much quicker than I though and that made the hours/day high and my days very long.
  2. Stories were longer than expected and finished word pace was better than expected. Total hours came in under my estimate which helped keeping the quicker pace.
  3. I’m glad I did it faster. 60 days is way too long to keep this kind of challenge going. I think if I had taken that much time I would have ended up with longer stories. The faster pace forced me to get better at shorter stories and got me to the point, at the end, where I wrote 4 stories in 2 days.
  4. This completely blows away all my productivity records. Looking back at my records, the most words I ever wrote in a month was 35,000. The scale has been completely re-calibrated.
  5. This was exhausting and often difficult, but it was also extremely rewarding and frequently fun. I’m more in as a writer now than when I started.
  6. This would not have happened without the steadfast support of my wife, Aleia, friends cheering me on, and the guidance of Dean Wesley Smith. Seriously. I feel so lucky and am so grateful for all the support.

I’ll be back soon with more reflections. I’ve got a busy few days and then heading out of town (glad not to be writing stories on a challenge, though I will be writing).

Next Steps

This is how things look today (will change, of course, as these things always do):

  • Slooooow down some. No days off and some very long days, need to gear down a bit.
  • Catch up on all the little business and household things I set aside while doing this.
  • Reading fiction. That went to nothing a week in. I just didn’t have the energy or focus for it.
  • Focus on writing Woody and June for a while. Both Aleia and I love this series and they’ve been so much fun to write. It will be a novel and likely will be serialized somewhere (stay tuned)
  • I’ve got 39 stories (with this challenge and the 9 I wrote in my training month) to wrap up and keep at market. That’s going to take some time. I’ll follow up from time to time on how these stories fare out among the editors.
  • My third “A Ghost Memoir” novel, Of Things Not Seen,  is back from the proofreader. That will be my next release and I will be re-branding the covers on the first two novels, so that’s going to take some time.

If you’re interested on future developments, sign up for my newsletter (big blue box on the top right of the page). I don’t email often and it’s always about releases or sales.

Final 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 Yes
7 The Stars in Hoshi’s Eyes 2532 Yes
8 Android Eve and Adam 3512 Yes
9 A Long, Hard Fall 8475 Yes
10 Fitz’s Second Chance 2800 Yes
11 Fake Jake 1565 Yes
12 With Light Years Between Us 4670 Yes
13 Life and a Starling 2278 Yes
14 Dancing Kite 1524 Yes
15 Jump in Time 8768 Yes
16 Death by Vodka 2100 Yes
17 Death by Cookie 4094 Yes
18 Ela and the Naiad 3655 Yes
19 Is Anyone Receiving This? 1717 Yes
20 Breathing in the Stars 2400 Yes
21 Woody and June vs. the Ex 10232 Yes
22 Article Seventeen 2918 Yes
23 One Last Trick 4312 Yes
24 Death by Apathy 3373 Yes
25 A Changeable Face 5241 Yes
26 Last Days with Mary 2818 Yes
27 Let Go the Stars 861 Yes
28 Goodbye Mrs. Hopkins 1329 Yes
29 Death by a Kiss 3912 Yes
30 Through Other Eyes 3372 Yes

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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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  1. Congratulations, and thanks for taking the time to make it all public, the insights into your process were really invaluable!

    I hope you manage to keep the ball rolling, even if you slow down things a little bit, so as to get to a more sustainable rhythm.

  2. Hey, I just binged this marathon. I know it’s been a minute since you finished, but i just wanted to say congrats.
    Did you ever do a follow-up detailing how the stories did at market?

    1. Gai, thanks for reading.

      So I did do a one year follow up over here: https://robertjmccarter.com/2018/06/ssm-followup-2/

      One of the stories made it into the online version of The Saturday Evening Post (pretty cool!)

      More of these stories look like the will find a home, but I don’t comment on specifics until I have a contract in hand. So once I do have one I’ll post again, probably a 2 year followup.

      In addition, the Woody and June stories are starting to role out (episode 1 was prereleased on 2/13/2019). More over here: https://robertjmccarter.com/woodyandjune/

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