OK, so: I’m writing every day, and doing my best to maintain my streak, which means I have a few different irons in the fire at all times. Options are good! That’s how I’ve met my reading goals year after year - by reading at least a half-dozen books at the same time.
I have three (maybe four) stories that I would currently consider “active” right now. What I mean by active is that I’m actually trying to complete them and get them ready for submission. On days when I’m not ready to dive in to one of my stories, I’ve been trying to prioritize blog posts, although there are a handful of days when I’ve fallen back on writing a journal or rewriting an existing story.
Story #1: A listicle that takes a turn
The first story I started this year is a variation on an idea I originally tried writing for a submission prompt a year or so ago but never finished. I thought it would be entertaining to tell a story in the form of a Thrillist best-of list that slowly turns into something else entirely.
I have a completed draft of this story, but it feels like it needs a lot of work. I’m planning on giving it another pass and trying to pull out the story arc a little more, but I definitely need to pick it up soon before I forget what I wanted to do with it. I’ve taken some notes on hoe I think I should re-work it, but I haven’t picked it up again and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.
Story #2: My Kelly Link cover song
Have I mentioned that Kelly Link is one of my most favorite short story writers? I love basically everything she’s ever done, and I aspire to pulling off something half as unsettling as what she achieves in even her lesser works.
This story is definitely in the Link wheelhouse, but hopefully I’ve put enough of my own stamp on it to make it stand apart. It helps that it’s easily the most autobiographical story I’ve written in a long time.
It’s also the longest piece of fiction I’ve finished since my currently-abandoned story about a man falling in love with an Amazon drone. I actually feel pretty good about it right now, which is a new feeling. I’m currently waiting for feedback from a few people and letting it lay fallow before I take another pass, but as soon as I do, I’m going to send this one out for submissions until my fingers fall off.
The craziest thing about this story is that I started it because I was trying to write for a prompt from The Five Hundred, but it quickly grew into a much bigger story that didn’t end up working for the prompt at all.
Story #3: Flash for Mash
Mash Stories is quarterly prompt-based competition for flash fiction. The rules are as follows: every story has to be a maximum of 500 words and include all three words for the quarter. This quarter’s words are mug, extractor and happiness. I wrote a story for the prompt a few days ago, but I’m not quite sure if it’s ready for prime time.
Honestly, it’s really hard to tell a proper story in under five hundred words. I haven’t shared this story with anyone yet, but I think I will soon. I want to give it at least one more pass before I submit it to the competition. I have until April 15th, so I have plenty of time to make this story work.
Story #4: The one I wrote before
I actually posted a very different version of this story on my blog years ago, but it’s been knocking around in my head ever since, and I’ve come up with a number of variations and new interpretations. I’ve actually mapped this one out in [Scrivener][s] and everything, but I haven’t touched it in a few weeks.
I’m only including this in my “active” list because I’ve outlined it enough that I can totally finish it if I just sit down and make the effort. This will probably be the story I work on next, just because I’d like to release this idea from my brain.
Writing every day is a tough challenge, but knowing that I’ve got a solid streak going is definitely a good incentive to keep me writing.
Pretty soon I’m going to start a screenwriting class - on the 30th - and whenever Eddy decides it’s time, we’ll start writing another episode of The Leet World. That should help keep me busy.
No matter what, I think I’ll keep doing this regular check-ins to keep me honest… and give me an option when I need to find something to write.