Okay, I stole my title straight from Toy Story. Don’t even care. Right now I’m working on a science fiction novel. I’m roughly 10k words in it and my goal is 40 to 50k words depending. However, I’ve also challenged myself with another goal (I’m way too ambitious for my own good). I want to come up with 365 short story ideas and try to write one or two a week. Maybe even more if I’m on a roll.
Of course, writing 365 stories is many stories and I don’t plan to complete that many for quite a while.
The strategy is two-fold:
1. I want to have a deep well of story ideas I can use so that I don’t have to depend on inspiration to get to my next short story. It’ll just be there waiting for me to complete it.
2. Having multiple short stories completed will give me an advantage when I submit them to publishers. By having multiple stories in my arsenal, I can shoot them off and try to play a numbers game, so to speak.
Why 365 stories?
The answer to that should be fairly obvious. Having a years worth of story ideas is a good start to having a wide collection. Naturally, the list will only grow larger as time goes on. 365 makes the most sense at this point in time.
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Right now I’m numbering 62 story ideas. So far the Horror genre section is far and away the longest of them all but Science Fiction and Fantasy are catching up. The goal is to come up with at least 10 story ideas a day so that within a month and a half, I’ll have reached the brainstorming idea goal.
The Idea Process
All of these story ideas are cataloged in a spreadsheet I keep. I’ll write the basic idea in the cell and then include a note to help give me a better idea of the plot. Spreadsheets are your friend, everyone. Use them like a wizard wielding magic.
The Writing Process
I’m thinking I’ll sit down and write a short story from start to finish, catalog it, and set it aside for a week to let it marinate and simmer while I move on to the next short story that I’ll pump out. Once I’ve reached 20 first draft stories, I’ll go back to the first one and start editing and preparing it for publication. This will be the general process of writing. I’m sure it’ll change as time goes on.
I can write roughly 1,000 words an hour if I’m going at a moderate pace. If I really wanted, I could push things to 2,000 words. Most short stories are 3,000 to 5,000 words, but many publications really hate reading anything over 4,000 it seems like. So, I’m going to make it a goal to keep mine short and below 3,000 words.
The Art of Choosing
Choosing the story will prove tricky unless I just find one that works and go with it. I might go down the list or go by genre, hopping back and forth between genres to change things up. Hopefully, I’ll have so many to choose from that choosing won’t become too much of an obstacle. But, regardless, it will be an art to my choosing, finding the right stories for the right time and making sure I’m also finding a zeitgeist moment.
All in all, these are the current happenings of my on-going and neverending writing life. The neverending story. Hey, maybe that should be a book. Oh, it is?