Short Story Writing Challenge

Nano is real popular insofar as challenges go.

Despite my current feelings toward it, it’s really good for people starting out, and it did a lot for me in getting my writing process down.

However, I’m finding my writing needs changing a bit. It’s hard to write long format now and I feel like that creative core inside me is atrophying a bit. I need to do something measurably possible in the time I have available to me.

So I think I shall devise a challenge of my own.

It will involve zero knights, and zero herrings. Well, maybe red herrings. But 2,500 words is a little short to be throwing out red herrings.

I don’t want to name it, so it’ll just be a personal challenge and I can post the results right here – and you can yell at me when it’s not getting done.

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).

With that in mind, my first story the script popped out was:

I’m writing a Dystopian Forbidden Love story, featuring Ghosts and Urban Exploration in The Middle of Nowhere.

Well… I’ll see you next Tuesday (Oh god. The pop culture meaning is killing me).

NaNoWriMo – Be Creative All the Damn Time

You Know What? I don’t think I’m gonna wait for NaNoWriMo this year. The past couple years have been fun, but I gotta say… I participated in it one out of those three years and finished a manuscript. I can cross that off the bucket list. Participation is fun and all, but this year I’ve decided I don’t just have to be creative in November.

I got my idea early this year and just couldn’t keep it in. Not even after compiling a database of all of my favorite stuff to create a killer mash-up generator – shout out to Ben for writing the script to make it happen. Not even with the promise of literary abandon and excitement. Not even with the sweet, sweet promise of a seal of achievement.

NaNoWriMo - eh

I think a big part of it is that a group of good friends in the past three years got together to take the challenge, but also to up the stakes. We’d toss stuff into hats for each other to write about and see what came out. But, as groups of adults are wont to do, some procreated, some got busy with their lives, tragedies struck. It’s just not gonna come together. Without that collaborative event, I think this year I’ll start working early. I think I’ve started to learn what a lot of NaNo critics say:

Why should we put all of this effort into just November?

I’ll be creative when I goddamn feel like it.

I felt creative three days ago and posted a bit from the most recent project, tentatively titled ‘Occupancy’ (you might even still see some of it here).  And then, I heard a ridiculous little voice say ‘just wait, it’s two weeks until November!

I strangled that little voice before it could say anything else as colossally stupid.

NaNoWriMo - hannity
I wonder if the little voice looked anything like this idiot…

Because why defer that which makes me feel right in the world (though writing a story about a seemingly abandoned apartment complex-slash-prison being a thing that makes me feel good is kind of frightening)? Why put it off when all of the cylinders are firing exactly as I want them to? Procrastination for the sake of Nano feels suddenly dumb. I can use that idea generator anytime I want. I don’t need target word counts, I don’t need a feel-good certificate from total strangers.

I need to sit my ass in my chair and work on my stories. I need to pump out words because they’re the right words, not because of an artificial time constraint. I loved NaNo  the years I participated, and some great stuff came out of it. But, this year, I think I’m in it because I want to be a writer. I want to have something I’m doing all of the eleven other months of the year too.

So I’m gonna write at my own pace this year. I’m gonna do my thing how I’d like to.

Cause the guy stuck in this weird apartment complex I’ve created isn’t going to go insane on his lonesome.

Better get writing.

It’s All About Halloween

For those who were not aware, I am a summer person. I love the long days, I don’t mind the heat so long as I have AC to sleep in, it’s beach weather. What’s not to love? So you might be surprised to know that October is my second favorite month.

While Autumn for me is the reminder of the harder, colder months to come, October gives me one last hurrah before the days grow too short and the temperature falls to fast. You can still get by without a jacket while the sun is up. Pumpkin everything arrives. When I could have them, gingersnaps and cider were high points for the gustatory as well. Ah, for the sugar highs of youth.

What it really comes down to in October though can be summed up in a single word: Halloween.

Halloween is that it’s the one time each year that you can be as weird as you damn well please and nobody says a word. I can watch as many horror movies as I want, show up to work dressed in costume, see gravestones all over the place and still feel normal. It’s a month long crescendo into the macabre and the weird. Everyone can join in too, from the tiniest child to the kind of creepy old man on your block who loves to scare the shit out of candy collecting youth.

Even Wilford is in the spirit - Halloween
Even Wilford is in the spirit.

It’s also prime writing time. I feel the hoary old spirits from beyond call out and push me to type well into the night. Well, figuratively anyway. It’s also the month leading up to Nanowrimo, and I really start turning my gears to work on new projects. I take my vacation the week of Halloween and usually use it to stay home and watch scary movies and play survival horror games. I’ll carve a couple pumpkins and help my folks hand out candy to the few kids that still come around the neighborhood.

My dad also would stand out in front of the house on Mischief Night with a goddamned sword and tell young punks to keep walking. which is terrifying and awesome all at the same time.

Halloween is a great time of year. I’m hoping to scare up some more good stuff this month and look forward to sharing it with you here.


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