Using an Outline to Stick to a Deadline

In the last few posts I’ve begun to offer my own experiences as a helpful guide to tackling the 52 week short story writing challenge.  Though that last sentence was a bit of a mouthful, the next one is short enough to make up for it.  Today’s post is about using outlines.

Finishing one short story per week is challenging, even in a good week.  My greatest struggle was sitting down to write, often with very little time to work within, and finding myself unable to compose my thoughts.  Even with notes I would fumble with where my story should go next, how to end it or when to introduce a character.  Only in the cases when I had an outline did I seem to finish a story on time.  The outline, it would seem, was an integral part of making the most of each day’s writing time. Continue reading

Inspiration never sleeps

One of the most consistent challenges I faced when attempting to produce a short story each week was keeping track of my ideas.  It seemed inevitable that when I sat down to write my mind would suddenly lock up tight.  To get around this problem I began jotting down my ideas as those popped into my mind.  Doing this, in my opinion, can save you from weeks without finished stories, if you can only stick to the practice.

My advice to anyone attempting the 52 week short story challenge is to keep pen and paper, or whatever you prefer for making quick notes, nearby as much as possible each day.  And nighttime is no exception.  If you get an idea in the middle of the night, as inconvenient as it may seem, that idea may prove to be your story for the week, the following week or possibly the last touch on a story you’re already writing. Continue reading

How long is a short story?

This blog is dedicated to the idea that a writer or would-be author can’t write 52 bad short stories in the span of one year.  Ray Bradbury suggested it to be true.  And if you love Ray’s work then it’s tough to question his wisdom on the subject of writing short stories.

But what is a short story?  I mean, how long should it be?  Is there a magic word count, pass that number and you’re writing a novella instead of a short work? Continue reading

Can I write 52 short stories?

Ray Bradbury inspired me.  That is to say, Ray Bradbury’s address at The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea inspired me.

Among the advice offered, Mr. Bradbury suggested that a writer just cannot write one short story per week for one year and discover all of the stories are bad.  I’m putting his words into my own.  But you get the idea, I’m sure.

After watching that address twice I realized that I was feeling something that I’d not felt for many years.  I felt like writing.  It was an exciting feeling, but all at once it was also unsettling.  It made me feel very nervous, because I feared that I might be the one person to prove the theory wrong. Continue reading