A Story A Week - 2017 Retrospective

October 25, 2017

So, from the end of 2016, on listening to the J Daniel Stone podcast from This Is Horror, I caught wind of the A Story A Week challenge. I figured, "cool, this sounds doable. 52 authors, each weighing in with a story for 2017. Sounds doable."
Little did I realise that all those who entered were to write 52 stories each. By the time I realised that, I'd already signed on for it and the challenge had already started.
Let me again say for the record: I never doubted I'd complete the challenge. For me, it was always an issue of 'when', rather than 'if.' Having done NaNoWriMo back in 2009 - and it was knocking out 52,000 words in 29 days that convinced me to run with this writing thing - I didn't feel I couldn't beat this challenge. Not for an instant. What I will say is that currently, as both as an author and reader, I prefer long fiction. Hell, I was working on a new novella when this challenge came along. So part of my motivation for working so damned quick on this was to get the short fiction out the way ASAP, so I could get back to the long game.
What occurred to me somewhere down the line was , yes, the challenge was titled A Story A Week, but that wasn't the bottom line. No, the bottom line was to have 52 stories done by the end of the year. And about 3 or 4 months into the year, it dawned on me that I could knock out the whole 52 ASAP and be done with the challenge. Cue me writing at breakneck speed. My author process had evolved too. About 30 stories in, once a draft is done, I then leave basic edit notes on the story. That means when I come back to it to do basic clean up of typos and such, I also have an indication on how the broad strokes can be smoother.
Despite dragging my heels, and showing signs of fatigue as I neared the end, I beat the challenge with two months to spare. I did have it in mind to review what the challenge would have been like after completing it. During FantasyCon2017 this year, Dion Winton-Polak suggested doing a more formal retrospective on it. And feeling the idea, I nodded in understanding and approval.

Anyhow. What follows, and what's attached here, is a list of the 52, FYI:

Smiling At The Wall
Ember To Filter
Sly Under Streetlamps
Janine Inside Me
The Old House Next Door
"D" Is For Quiet
Dancers Like Nishka
The 10th Week
Framed For Your Pleasure
Her Love Lies On The Surface
Lock That Scream Inside
Just Give Me A Call
This Is Where Misery Is
Curious, If Anything
Sand In My Eye, Blood On My Hands
Corners To Hide In
Ennui Mortis
Thoughts Of Damon
Listless Dancer
Sanity Slips Through Your Fingers
It Can't Stalk You
Let The Flies Tell You
Spoil My Darling
Close Up My Flesh
Wants Of The Other Woman
That's My Mr. Body
Lines Of The Monster
Dance In Them…
Glass Puppetry
Witness From A Stone
See What I Saw
Bittersweet Humanity
Speak To An Angel
Closets Are For Cowards
Dead Thing For A Child
Not An Inch, Not A Sound
Evil Sees You
Game Of Goodbye
White Beyond The Fabric
Poor Little Lucille
With A Beautiful Shadow
Bec's Halloween
Kin, We Are
The Horizon
Ink Is Not The Enemy
Someone Else's Pleasure

Nearly all of these drafts are as rough as when the last sentence was finished. Some, such as "Sanity Slips Through Your Fingers" and "Spoil My Darling" are cleaner. These are among my personal favourites out of the 52.


Let me also say that while I wouldn't do this challenge again any time soon, it's been a learning experience. A good one.

Thanks, people.



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