I haven’t had time to post in a while, but I did tweet (@aainscott) my progress on my 2011 Short Story Challenge– to write 40 short stories in a year, which I revised on the fly to shoot for 50 stories instead– and this is how it went:
- Dec. 1st: Short Story #40 mailed (flash fiction)– challenge met! How many more I can get done in December? Race score=33.
- Dec. 2nd: Received rejection #100 on the year, mailed short story #41 of (another flash fiction piece). I don’t give up easy.
- Dec. 12th: Finished stories #42, 43, 44. Two flash fiction pieces mailed to professional markets and a longer story which I moved direct to e-pub.
- Dec. 22nd: Mailed stories #45-48 of my 2011 Short Story Challenge (three flash pieces, one longer short story).
- Around this time I also got a really nice personal rejection letter from Flash Fiction Online, a professional SFWA-qualifying market: “I really enjoyed your story. It’s well written, with a lot of powerful imagery, and a compelling voice.” The problem? Oops, I exceeded the PG-13 criteria for the publication.
- Dec 31st: Mailed story #49, about 7,000 words, to the Writers of the Future contest. Struggled with this one, the story just wouldn’t flow, but got it done.
Alas, I didn’t quite make 50– but I came really, really close because the short novel (~30,000 words) that I wrote earlier in the fall is incredibly close to being ready to go up. But my priority was to get something mailed to the Writers of the Future contest, so I had to bump that back to January.
My overall 2011 results were:
- 49 new pieces of fiction completed
- 152 manuscripts mailed
- 122 rejections
- 30 manuscripsts currently still in the hands of editors who might buy them
- 14 personal rejections
- 1 story currently shortlisted
- 1 acceptance (“Piss Match,” Penumbra Vol. 1 No. 4, a professional-paying market)
So overall I’d have to say that 2011 was an unmitigated success on the writing front even though I fell just a tad short of the updated goal of 50 stories finished & mailed to professional markets or e-published online.
The 2012 Hundred Fictions Challenge:
Produce 100 New Pieces of Fiction.
For 2012 I’ve decided to go all-out. I hit a nice rythym the last quarter of 2011 so I think I can produce a lot more this year than last year.
My goal is 100 new pieces of fiction. Any length counts as long as I mail it to a professional market (or e-publish it). I like to write at flash lengths and to be honest I have had the most encouraging comments from the pro markets with my shorter pieces, so I see no reason not to keep at it, so long as I am writing a mix of longer pieces as well to keep building those storytelling muscles.
Because I want to stay on the learning curve for e-publishing I am also going to include in that count any e-pubbed collections of short stories, to give me an incentive to assemble those. But individual stories e-published don’t count.
I also will have 5 short novels in that count of 100 pieces, including the one just about ready to go up. Any length of about 15,000 words or more counts, i.e. any works that I would put up at $2.99 or higher. And at least one must be 60,000 words or more.
Other goals for 2012, in no particular order:
- Do at least one POD (print-on-demand) book because I want to learn how to do that.
- Practice writing faster. My typical pace is around 500-800 words per hour, sometimes up to 1000 or 1200 words/hour when things are going well. I’d like to more consistently hit that 1,000 words plus per hour range.
- 250,000+ new words written.
My main goal for 2012, however, is to keep firing short stories at the professional markets. My race score topped out at 35 in 2011. I want to see how much higher I can push that this year, while still producing a number of novella/short novel length works.
So that’s it and I’ll look forward to shooting off short stories side-by-side with you as you progress on your own writing challenges. We can have a bit of a wild west short fiction shoot-out here on the rugged coast of the Pacific Northwest!