The Write Life

The Short Story Experiment

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As you probably know, I have a Patreon. One of the reasons I decided to get one is that I figured it might be an effective way to get me to Make More Stuff. Because if people are giving you money on a regular basis, you will owe them Stuff and you will therefore have to make Stuff. Anyway, that was the theory.

I have a $500 milestone which I’m nowhere near achieving, where I promised a short story a month. And even though will need more than 10 times as many patrons to achieve that milestone, a few months ago I thought I should try it anyway. So I did.

In November 2018, I began my first Patron short story.

I’d written a short story before but most of my writing portfolio is comprised of novels. Short story requires a different (although probably intersecting) set of skills from those required to write a novel, and I, like every other author, want to keep getting better at Writing Stuff. And since I learned writing novels (mostly) by writing novels, I figured that if I wanted to learn to write short stories, I should just write short stories.

I posted the first part of what was supposed to be a 3,000-word short story on the 19th of November.

It did not go according to plan. Because apparently I cannot plan things and execute them properly to save my life. Like I said, it was supposed to be 3,000 words. But I wrote past 3k, and it still wasn’t finished. So I kept writing. And posting new parts, with no ending in sight. And apologizing.

The final word count was 8,100. I finished it around 6am today*, January 14. It took me two months.

Dirty Assistant - a short story

Okay, so ideally I should be able to knock an 8k-word short story in less than two months. Especially if the story requires very little research, which “Dirty Assistant” did. But I gave it a shot, and I’ll keep trying until I get better at it. Which is basically what it means to be a Person Who Writes Stuff.

Anyway, with DA in the can, I can now get started on my next short story. Like DA, it will be a patron-exclusive story — which means it will be available only to my Patreon supporters for a limited time. My goal this time is to finish a short story in a month. Wish me luck!

P.S. If you’re curious, I’ve posted the first part of “Dirty Assistant” here for non-patrons to read for free.

*One of my most effective techniques for Finishing Stuff is to refuse sleep until I’ve finished a chapter.

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