Write-a-thon Wreckoning

Goal: Six stories or story-length novel snippets.


One 8,000 word story based on a premise that I’ve been kicking around for years.
I thought it was going to be a novel, and it just wasn’t. Now I’m not sure it’s
even a short story. Paul tells me it’s good but I’m afraid it’s kind of boring.

One 6,000 word story that came from a premise that hit me while having drinks
and super-garlicky shrimp on the porch at Duke’s, on the evening after the Locus
Awards. A couple of weeks later, on July 4, the story was begging, pleading,
demanding to be written. So I spent much of the fourth and fifth of July being
antisocial while other people blew stuff up. This is the story that I think
is the best in terms of pacing and emotional effect.

One 3,000 word story where I went out for a walk until I had a premise and
then came back and started writing. Once I finished writing, I actually knew
what the story was. So I think I have to go back and redo it from the beginning
before I have a real first draft.

One 1,000 word story that I deliberately wanted to be a flash piece. I started
writing without even a premise and kind of liked where it ended up, but I think
it needs more sensory detail to really pop.

One 5,000 word story based on a premise that I have been kicking around forever.
I think it’s not a bad start, but the ending is really abrupt and it needs to
be more rigorously thought-out in science fictional terms.

One bunch of words, notes, names, concepts, and associated other things that
are closely related to being a story, but are not, in fact, a story. This is
another idea that I’ve been kicking around for a long time, and each week of
weeks 2-6 I would start out the week intending to write this story, and then
at some point I would realize it just wasn’t happening and I would write something
else instead.

So, chief lesson learned: if the story isn’t happening, it isn’t happening.
If a story isn’t happening, but it might happen in the future, a week is probably
not long enough to let it ferment before checking to see if it is ready to happen
now. It’s like making pickles. It’ll never work if you keep opening the crock
to check on its progress!

Other lesson learned: the constant attempt to write a short story, any short
story, results in more short stories being written. Which seems kind of blindingly
obvious, but there it is.

Thanks everyone for your support in this write-a-thon.


  1. I intended to kind of informally do the write-a-thon, but I ended up working on my novel the whole time, so I ended up with this vague, “I wrote XK words during this time.” I’m much more impressed by your


    list of accomplishments. If you want an opinion that isn’t Paul’s… >:) Also, I should invite you to our write-in on Sunday the 31st. We’ll be sitting around on couches, dining room chairs, rolly desk chairs, the floor, and the porch while we all write write write! This is that same thing I did 10K at last time, but you don’t have to be nearly that crazy–we had some people very proud to have accomplished 3 or 4K. There are snacks and drinks and anything yummy you want to bring. I think we had fresh omelettes and later we had pizza, last time.

    AND we don’t read it out loud so you don’t have to share.

    1. Author

      Heh heh
      The desk continues to hang out in my house, mocking me, I mean you.

      Actually, at some point, if it’s on a weekend and all, we might actually be able to drop it off at your place.

      If we are not at Bumbershoot, the write-in sounds like fun. Kind of a mini-rainforest thing?

Comments are closed.