Short stories are not something I feel especially qualified to write these days. There have been lots of story ideas jotted down, but only one written.
It’s time to change that.
I’ve been giving some thought to how I can get around the short story ‘block’ I’ve developed for myself. I had planned to write several over Christmas holidays, but, as it worked out, I wrote exactly 0 new words.
You might wonder why I’d be concerned about short stories. Books are the way to go… aren’t they? Ultimately, I’d say that I DO want to spend the majority of my time with novel-length works, but I also know that many of the story ideas I get shouldn’t be stretched that far. I also know that a novel is a LOT of work; I need something smaller to play with when I just don’t feel like digging into a much longer work.
Last Tuesday I had an thought about how to get that much needed practice. It seemed like it could work, so I thought about it some more. The longer it percolated in my brain, the more excited I became. Here’s the idea:
I’m going to write 30 new short stories in 30 days. Let’s call it NaShoStoMo (National Short Story Month) just to rip off Nanowrimo and Nanoedmo. Maybe a better name will come to me later.
The rules I’ve set myself are pretty simple: 1 story per day, length must be a minimum of 6 words and a maximum of 6,000 words per story and every story must be different. No story can be continued beyond the end of the day and must be a finished work. Editing is optional.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m not starting this at the beginning of the month. You are correct about that; I probably should have thought of this either earlier or later in the year. For this year, I’m doing it now. Next year, I’ll look at finding an actual month (like April) that has 30 days in it and go from there.
Hopefully, when I’m done the 30 days, I’ll have at least one work of fiction that can find an audience. If not, I will have gotten into the habit of writing every day again and will feel comfortable writing a short in a single sitting.
Just to keep myself honest, I will report every week on my progress. You will get story titles and word counts. If you want to join me, please do. Just post your progress in the comments every week. It should be fun.
Since you’re reading this 2 days after I’ve started, try 28 in 28 and see how you do.
My progress so far:
- Tuesday, February 19th: Title: The Exhibit Length: 946 words
- Wednesday, February 20th: Title: The Blood Red Moon Length: 759 words
- Thursday, February 21st: Title: Politics Length: 6 words
As I said before, I’m hoping that this exercise will get me writing again everyday. At worst, I’ll have a number of short stories that will never see the light of day. At best… well who knows?
It could very well be that you already have a plate full of projects and simply cannot take the challenge. How about writing 1 short story? I’d love to see just how many new stories we as a group can finish in the next 4 weeks (Sean, I know you have several you’re working on).
We’ll set the timer: Start on February 21 and finish at midnight on March 20th. Sound good?
If I do this alone, no biggie. But I’d love to have two or three partners (or more) to keep me going. Let me know what you think.
Talk to you next week.