Altering the Deal

In light of my most recent writing challenge, I’m looking back at the goals with a fresh eye. The challenge’s rules were pretty straightforward per my post where I outlined the basics:

I’m thinking that the challenge should involve the script that Ben hooked me up with, already pre-loaded with the 20 master plots, and, genres, settings, and elements that I already like. Each short story should be somewhere between 1,500 and 2,500 words (challenging for me – my average ‘short story’ is something like 5K-6K words).

Given the above, you can extrapolate:

– No longer than 2,500 words.
– Incorporate all elements from the script.
– One short story a week.

I’m wondering if all of these rules are good ones. Maybe it’s time to alter the deal.

I’m still down with the word count rules – in fact my stories have all been 2,000 words – and I am down with the deadline. What I’m having issues with is the script.

For all of the random permutations it could create, I find that I’m already starting to trip over things I’ve done in other stories. I can expand the entries – but ultimately, the master plots are going to be repeated at least twice for each if I spread them out evenly – some will get three times. And it’s clear I’m not good at some of them. Love and The Riddle come to mind – they don’t cram well into short works. And I’m ultimately, my goal isn’t to get good at them if I’m being really honest.

Riddle me this: why would I force myself to write something I don't enjoy?
Riddle me this: why would I force myself to write something I don’t enjoy?

I’m all about expanding my horizons and personal growth in my work – but isn’t life too short to be spinning cycles on things that don’t utilize my actual skills? I think my repertoire is pretty good with the things I am good at.

I’m finding that my deeper goal is that I want to write. I want to write about the things I’d want to read.

Is that enough?

I think it might be.

So, I may alter the deal. I’m thinking that I should be using the prompts as guidelines – not a rule.

First person to say parlay gets a cutlass to the face.
First person to say parlay gets a cutlass to the face.

As noted earlier, the script is great for mashing up ideas – but sometimes the plots or the settings don’t match (though there’s a case for this in stories like Moneyworkers) and as a result, there’s no flow. No flow means less writing, which in turn means more failed challenges.

I’m thinking the challenge would be modified as follows:

– No longer than 2,500 words.
– Alter the script to drop the master plot element (let me write the kinds of stories that work for me while retaining setting, genre, and elements)
– One short story a week.

It’s presently food for thought for me. I haven’t decided yet.

Ultimately, I have to do what’s best to develop and refine my skills. If you have thoughts on it, post to my Facebook Page. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

About the author: Maurice

Maurice Hopkins is an author, illustrator, blogger and part-time columnist for He is easily bribed with publishing offers, experience points, and diabetic-friendly cookies.