Tag: 2012 StoryADay Challenge

September StoryADay final update #storyaday

As expected, I completely sucked at the September StoryADay Challenge.

The goal was to write 30 stories this month.  Here’s how I did:

  • Stories finished: 5.  Two are almost ready to submit. A couple more have the basics but need to be fleshed out.  One may end up being scrapped (it was written for a very narrow prompt).
  • Stories started: 3.  A couple were just a few pages; one was a decent 3k chunk that’ll probably end up being a novella some day.
  • Stories tweaked:  7.  One I finished the ending on, but it still doesn’t work quite write so I’ll keep tweaking.  Two more were some sections of longer stories that are on their way to being finished, someday.

Once again, I made it about halfway to the goal, with two stories that are good enough to submit and a half dozen more that need just a bit more work.

I think the takeaway from this is that I while I’m never going to win one of these challenges (including NaNo, which starts four weeks from today), if I push myself I can at least make a dent in the piles of stories drifting inside my head.  And that’s something, I suppose.

How do you respond to writing challenges – do you finish, or are your results, like mine, less than stellar?

September StoryADay update no. 1 #storyaday

It’s about halfway through the September StoryADay Challenge.

I’m not sure why I even bother with these challenge things.  So far, I should have 14 stories.

I have 7.

Two written from scratch, although one needs to be expanded.

2 already-started stories finished, although one needs to be expanded.

1 I’m cheating on: it’s a 7-part story (alternating narrators), and for the purposes of this challenge I’m counting each section as a story.  I’d already written one section, and I wrote a second.

1 story started and about 1k in.  Based on the depth of the plot, this might turn into a novella – probably at least 10k when I’m done with it, maybe 15k.

And 1 nonfiction essay, written as an example for a writing test.

Conclusion: I need to get my butt in gear.

If you’re doing the StoryADay Challenge, how’s it going?

Six Sentence Sunday 9/9 #sixsunday

Today’s six are from a piece I’m working on for the September StoryADay Challenge.  I’m cheating on this one, though; it’s told in seven interconnected chunks, and I’m counting each one as a story.

In this one, a little girl named Evie has been whipped by her grandmother for breaking a vase, then sent to bed without dinner.  Her brother Peter has snuck food up to her, but she fell asleep before eating it.

The weight on the bed was back.

“Peter, you shouldn’t be in here,”she hissed into the darkness. “It’s not safe if Grandmother finds you.”

A hand took hers and squeezed it. She blinked and the night was gone, replaced by a hazy brightness and a boy about her age, wearing too-big, hole-filled clothes.

“Who are you?” she asked, watching him closely.

Post a link to your six sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Six Sentence Sunday website.  

2012 StoryADay Challenge, take 2

It seems there’s always a writing challenge, if you know where to look.

January: Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest
February: FAWM (February Album Writing Month)
March: NaNoEdMo
April:  Blogging from A to Z April challenge,
May: StoryADay Challenge
June: CampNaNo
July: break time?
August:  CampNaNo
September: StoryADay Challenge through Scribophile
October: GothNoWriMo
November: NaNoWriMo
December: The Plot Whisperer

Einstein is credited with the quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”  I’m obviously insane, because I’ve decided to once again try the StoryADay Challenge.

It’s day 5, and so far I’ve finished two already-started stories.  I have a full folder of ideas and started stories, so it shouldn’t be too hard to beat my performance in May 2012’s challenge: 15 attempted, 7 finished.

If you’re doing the StoryADay challenge, how’s it going?

Six Sentence Sunday 8/26 #sixsunday

Today’s six are from a story I wrote in May as part of the StoryADay Challenge, and have slowly been working on for the past few months.  It’s about a guy, Daniel, reflecting back on his relationship with a woman named Mira.

Daniel releases the tight hold he had on his bag, wipes the thin line of drool from his face. His head whips around as he checks to see if anyone has noticed his wet face, but no one meets his eye so he considers himself safe.

Mira was good about that too; whenever he did something embarrassing, like drool in his sleep or spill wine on his shirt, she never pointed it out. He could always tell she noticed by the way she stared straight at the spot, but she never said anything.

Of all the things he misses about her, he thinks that might be one of the biggest: the little things that she let slide. And of all the things he regrets most about her, about what happened, he thinks the biggest is not letting those little things slide too. 

Post a link to your six sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Six Sentence Sunday website.

Six Sentence Sunday 6/24 #sixsunday

This week’s six are from “Innocence,” a StoryADay Challenge companion to my flash piece “The Kindness of Strangers,” which was published last year in The Indiana Horror Anthology 2011.  While passing through a small town, not-quite-human Alec stops at a bar and tries to find the most desperate woman he can.

By the time Alec had reached her apartment Brianna had fully regained consciousness, although experience told him she’d never be the same, not that it bothered him.

Like a gentleman, he came around and opened the door for her, then half-carried her to her apartment, and as he opened the door, she spoke up, startling him.

“I must of drank too much cuz I don’t remember getting home, but I know I had fun tonight,” she said with slurred words, as much from the alcohol as from what he’d taken from her. “No one’s ever paid attention to me like you do.”

Alec scowled as he realized her fear had melted into acceptance, into – dare he say it – love. What was wrong with this girl, that she could have feelings like that for him after what he’d done to her? 

Post a link to your six sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Six Sentence Sunday website.

StoryADay update No. 5 (final update) #storyaday

So, the  May StoryADay Challenge is over.  I know I’m a week late with the wrap up, but I’ve been preoccupied with herding recently-graduated students now set adrift in a big scary world, as well as finding a new job (I won’t go into details; suffice it to say the split was less than amicable).

So, how did I do?

Stories began: 15.
Stories finished: 7.

It’s not as good as I’d hoped, but about what I’d expected. And it reiterates something I’ve learned from NaNoWriMo the past two years:  I can’t force myself to write.

First, it comes down to time, and other hobbies and obligations.  My son comes first; any writing done needs to fit around his schedule.   My job, obviously, is next – lesson planning, grading, etc.   And then sometimes I just feel the urge to make crocheted monkey finger puppets.  Or grill up some kafka to go with the parsley pilaf and tahini sauce I made for dinner.

While writing is important, it’s not everything.

Maybe more importantly, however, is inspiration.  Or ideas, perhaps. 

For example, I have a short story, “Hope for Change,” in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine.  When I sat down to write that I knew who the main character was – a homeless guy.  I knew what the story was about – his life on the streets.  But until I had a plot arc – a guy gives him money and it spurs him to make a life change – I couldn’t write the story.

On that vein, I have a ton of stories like that.  Maybe I’ve written a page.  Maybe I’ve written ten chapters.  But unless I have that plot arc, I can sit and write all day and nothing will come of it.  I need time to let that idea organically grow.  And once it’s formed, I can crank out the story in a couple days (assuming I have the time and I’m in the right mood – I can’t write dark stuff if I’m feeling silly, for example).

I’ve noticed I have a hard time responding to prompts as well.  There are two contest pieces I’m working on right now:  one is slipstream (kinda like magical realism, I think), and the other has to have a horse, a dog, and a boat.  Fortunately I was already working on a slipstreamy story that I can submit.  And another story can easily have those three things woven in.  Which worked out well, because I’ve spend several days trying to come up with stories specifically for those prompts.

So, lesson of this challenge:  I need to find a way to force myself to write.  Or perhaps I need to stop signing up for these challenges.  :)

Six Sentence Sunday 5/27 #sixsunday

Here are another six from a story I wrote last week as part of the StoryADay Challenge. It’s a romancish story I’ve written the bare bones of and am working to expand.

“You’re so beautiful,” Daniel murmured, leaning in to kiss Mira’s ear.

She sprang away from him as if bitten, exclaiming, “Don’t say that!”

He sat up, tried to draw her into his arms, said, “But you are; you’re the most beautiful–”

Non,” she said as she beat at his chest with her small fists, “don’t ever say that to me!”

Baffled, all he could do was apologize and try to shield himself from her blows. As if sorry for her actions, Mira kissed him, and while Daniel was grateful for her touch, for her body pressed against his, he had trouble moving past the distant look in her eyes, as if he were someone else, as if she were someone else too.

Post a link to your six sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Six Sentence Sunday website.  

StoryADay update No. 4 #storyaday

Here’s my report on this week’s progress for the May StoryADay Challenge.

So, I might’ve cheated a bit this week to make my goal.

  • I wrote five microfiction stories (50 words each) for a writing competition.  Three of them have already been submitted to various publications.
  • I’m also 1300 words into a short story, but I lost my mood for it.  I know where I want it to go, and hopefully I can finish it this weekend.
  • I wrote half a flash piece one day during my lunchtime monitoring duty, but haven’t had a chance to come back to it.

The official count: eight stories written and subbable.  Another eight are in various stages of being written. 

I’m officially done with the school year on Friday, and then all summer I’ll have projects and lesson planning but it’ll be more laid back, with time for writing so I can pull out fifteen finished stories. Hopefully.

If you’re doing the StoryADay challenge, how’s it going?

Six Sentence Sunday 5/20 #sixsunday

This week’s six are again from a story I wrote this week as part of the StoryADay Challenge. Coworkers Mira and Daniel were caught out in the rain and end up taking shelter at Daniel’s nearby apartment.

Mira had been to his place before, for lesson planning and brainstorming class activities and the occasional French lesson, but today was different – perhaps the impromptuness, the unexpectedness of her standing in his foyer?

“It’s a mess, sorry,” Daniel said, rushing in to knock books and clothes off the couch, to pull shut the door to the kitchen so the dirty dishes weren’t visible.

 “C’est rien,” Mira said as she stepped over a pile of laundry as if it didn’t even exist and alighted on the couch. That was Mira, always ignoring the little things that popped up, taking it all in stride.

Daniel grabbed a mostly-clean towel from the bathroom and sat down next to her. As he gently wiped the rain off her face, her ears, her hair, she leveled such an intense, unreadable gaze on him that he couldn’t help it; he leaned forward and kissed her lips. 

Post a link to your six sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Six Sentence Sunday website.  

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