Category Archives: Story of the Week

Story of the week: yet another update

Okay. Between jury duty (for a rather intense trial) and extra hours of work to make sure our website doesn’t explode this month, I’m finding I just don’t have time to write this month. So my Story of the Month project will resume in February instead of this month.

Sorry about that.

Story of the Week: An Update

I started my second Story of the Week project in July, then lost the momentum in September. Then I said I’d restart in December. Now I’m saying that I’m going to restart my Story of the Week project in January, with the first story coming out on Sunday, January 5. How’s that for a great way to start the new year?

Remember, if you’re interested in receiving each story as they come out, you can sign up here. A Yahoo membership is apparently required these days. Sorry about that.

This is not a Holidailies entry.

 

Story of the Week #10: “Death Poodles of Doom”

Yesterday I sent out the tenth Story of the Week, “Death Poodles of Doom”, to the subscribers of the Story of the Week mailing list. Remember, you can sign up for that mailing list here.

Story of the Week No. 8: “Tumbleweeds”

“Tumbleweeds”, I’m told, defines the “carnivorous mobile plant” genre. To read this story (which some of you may have already read) and the other stories of the week, sign up for the Yahoo group here.

Story of the Week Nos. 4 and 5

Whoops, I forgot to post a notification of Story of the Week Number 4. It was called “writing down some”, and it was actually one that I wrote something like twenty years ago, and edited heavily for this project. That was me cheating. Sorry about that.

This weeks story, “Heavens Help Us”, is a sort of prequel to a story called “On the Road to Orlgrunt” that I wrote in 2007, the first time that I did this story of the week thing. It’s not a spoof of the novel entitled Heaven Help Us (which is apparently so out of print that Amazon doesn’t carry it), nor the 1985 film of the same name.

Anyway. If you want to read “Heavens Help Us”, you have to sign up for the Story of the Week Yahoo group. Do that at the following link:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/storyoftheweek/

That’s it for now. Ta!

Story of the week #3

Story of the Week No. 3 is out! Actually, it went out yesterday. It was four days late, but who’s counting? Anyway, it’s Part Two of “Flash Drive”, which is going to end up being a three-parter. Sorry about that.

Anyway, to get this Story of the Week, you have to sign up for the Yahoo group. Do that at this URL:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/storyoftheweek/

I hope you sign up! And enjoy!

Story of the week #2

Story of the Week No. 2, “Flash Drive”, has been sent out to subscribers. Well, technically it’s not a complete story. It’s just part one. At any rate, if you want to read it, you need to sign up for the Story of the Week Yahoo group. You will need a Yahoo account to sign up, it appears.

 

A Minor Miscellany

Thing Number One: This past weekend was Westercon, a smallish con that actually took place in Sacramento, so we only had to travel ten minutes to get there. As we always do at such cons, we sat in on some panels (the two we attended on Sunday — Climate Extremes: Fiction and Reality and Bad Science — were particularly interesting), met some friendly people, wandered the dealers’ room, and so on.

The high point for me was the panel on National Novel Writing Month. Not only did I get to sit on this panel, I was actually the moderator. When I found out I was going to be the moderator, I was surprised; I had never been on any panel at any con before in my life, let alone moderated one. But the panel went well, and a couple of audience members came up to me afterwards and told me they had a lot of fun, so I consider that a win.

Thing Number Two: My first weekly story, “The Wrath of Grapes”, has been written and sent off to the participants in the Story of the Week mailing list. Remember, if you want to sign up, you have to do so at the Yahoo Groups page for the group. My first story, a goofy little thing about a sentient grape and the futility of ambition, went over well. I don’t expect that every story will, but I do hope that they’ll at least be entertaining. I do hope you’ll sign up.

Hm. I think that’s all the things for now.

Once again…

Back in 2008 and 2009 I did my “Story of the Week” project, wherein I… well, I wrote a story each week for a year. I defined a story as at least 250 words. Most of them were complete stories, but some of them (such as “Sangrilicious” and “Teh K1ng in Y3ll0w”) were serialized. Some of these stories were really good, and at least one of them (“Trying to Stay Dead”) has been published. Some of them were really bad, and will never be read by anyone else. Most of them were mediocre, I think.

Recently, I realized that I hadn’t written a single original story since then, and this was a sort of depressing realization. So, starting in July, I’m going to do it again: Yep, a story a week, at least 250 words, for a year. We’ll see how it goes.

When I did this before, I posted the stories online for all to read. This time, I’ve decided that I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to simply post the title and the summary each week. But I’ve also set up a Yahoo group that readers can sign up with so that they can receive the stories in their mailbox. To view the group and sign up, go to the following link:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/storyoftheweek/

I think this will be fun at times, and frustrating at times — and, at times, really crazy-making, especially during National Novel Writing Month, when I’m going to write my novel and write a story each week.

I hope you sign up. Here’s hoping that I don’t go completely mad.

Story of the Week Project: What I Think I Learned

So that was that. For an entire year, from July 2008 to July 2009, I wrote a short story every week. Well, I posted a short story every week. A few of them were stories I’d written years ago and revised in order to post here as part of my little experiment in self torture. The vast majority of the stories, though, were original, written specifically for this project. And even though one story — “Mixed Signals” — turned out to be an almost word-for-word rewrite of another story I’d written a few years ago, a phenomenon I’m chalking up to cryptomnesia, I still consider it an original.

So what was the point? What was I trying to accomplish? Well, at first, I was hoping to produce some quality stories. I think I did write a few stories that are pretty good, but I also know that “atrocious” is a pretty charitable term for some of these stories. I was also hoping to hone my craft as a writer; however, when you write a story in less than a week, you don’t really have time for revision, which means that craft sort of falls by the wayside. I definitely learned that it takes longer than a week to craft a quality short story.

One other thing I learned was that when writing — especially under a deadline — you have to trust your own ideas and your own creative process, especially if your time is also occupied by your full time job and your other major writing projects. This was an important lesson for me, since I frequently have trouble with believing that my skills are up to the project I’m working on. Every story, someone said, is the wreck of a beautiful idea; but you still have to make that wreck happen. You just have to sort of plow through and get the story written. I suspect this is good practice for me future projects, but I think it also shows I’m just not cut out to be a journalist (despite my flirtation with journalism in high school and college).

I also discovered that sometimes the stories I’ve written that I think are really awful can be other people’s favorites; and the ones I think are really cool can earn nothing but derision from my readers. Thankfully such derision was never reflected in the comments, while I received positive comments, both on my main blog and on my LiveJournal, where my stories were cross-posted.

All in all, it was a good experience, something I’m glad I did, but something I’m also glad is over. Writing to my self imposed deadline was often frustrating and annoying. I’m amazed that I churned out fifty-two stories (fifty-three, if you include 51.5, “Pushing Dogs, Part Three”). I have a hope — probably an unfounded one, but there nonetheless — that I’ve also inspired other people to engage in similar projects. And I also hope that some of these stories, with some work, will be suitable for paid publication.

On a final note, if you had a favorite story or one (or more) that you particularly enjoyed, I’d really appreciate hearing about it. You can find all of them on my writing page.