Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two Challenges: 2011 Ideas for Year 2011 and A Story a Month

Dean Wesley Smith's self-challenge to write and publish (electronically) 100 stories in 2011 has inspired a challenge in me.  To create a list of 2011 ideas for stories in 2011.  These ideas range from a simple idea of "magic bees needed to pollinate plants" to something a little more full-fledged with plot or characters.  Now from these ideas, I want to write and produce a publishable story or novella every month (i.e., e-publish it) in addition to any novels planned. 

By doing this, I hope to learn to write good works at speed, and a great deal many of them, and to make a career out of selling them as ebooks.  That part of the idea also came from a D.W. Smith post concerning the time it takes to write a novel while having a day job and another post on speed as necessity for e-self-publishers. 

These articles called back to mind the time I wrote almost two novels in a Nanowrimo challenge.  These were not short novels either, like the kind I favor now (in the 45-65k word range).  No, one was around 80,000 words and the other around 60,000 words (and incomplete), if memory serves me.  I can't recall if I was working at this time, in between jobs, or in college.  I also know that later on I decided these two needed some major rewriting--not because of speed, but because I used the plotting method of only knowing what scene I would write tomorrow and nothing more. 

The point is, I wrote about 4,667 words a day to get that 140,000 words in November.  Why can't I do 4k daily today?  Even if I revise in the same day I write (to get rid of my great novel killer, revision time), I should be able to do 2k a day on new words and revise 2k a day.

I started this challenge this week, gave it a test drive, and decided for several reasons, it is a keeper. For one, it gave me some insight into why I no longer can do 140,000 words:  I talk myself out of neat ideas.  My reasons range from "I don't know enough about medieval society to write a story like that" to "That sounds a little like another novel or story, and I rather save that for a novel or story."  I'm going to work on my little Doubting Thomasina.  Even if I just write a snippet of something new every morning, I need to loosen up.  It's not that I am deciding against writing an idea until I have a plot, but I am deciding against trying the idea well before that step.  Worse yet, the ideas excite me, but my doubt is greater.  More than ever, I need to give this challenge a real try. After all, the students I tutor at college grow in confidence the more they write, why not I?


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