29 March 2010

All work and some play make Jack somebody I've never met.

I seem to be tolerably on course for this short story collection that I plan to publish later in the year. January was collecting all of my years of short-story ideas, and whittling them down to things that were still topically relevant and that hadn't been done by other writers between me thinking of them and actually setting about writing them.

I wound up with about 22 story premises worth writing, and 9 that have enough development to be actual stories. I spent most of February working on the first story, with the words coming like near-frozen treacle a lot of the time. It has a beginning, a middle and an end, but it still needs fleshing out and trimming. I reached the end a week ago last Friday, and I've set it aside so I can come back to it fresh after a few weeks.

The next story I started on Monday and finished at 4am on Friday morning (or Thursday night, I tend not to call a day by its name until I've woken up to it) and have spent Friday honing it. That's the fastest I've ever written anything like that. It's just over 7,000 words now, so I'll probably do a cut down version to send out for anthologies and competitions, and keep the longer one for my collection.

Writing is coming naturally for the first time in quite a while, and the usual distractions aren't. TV, internet, meals, dog walking, they get done but so does the work. That said, the story I just finished has been one I've been thinking of since about 2003, so it was 4 days in the writing, plus 7 years in the thinking. I'm relieved it all just came out exactly how I wanted it, and the ending, which I'd never actually thought through in all that time, came about naturally and is better than I could have hoped.

With both stories at over 6,000 words, 9 or 10 stories should make a very decent length for a story collection, so if my brain stays in this effective state and I can get the stories out, all seems set for a good product. Best part is, both times I've finished a story, I've wanted to start the next one straight away. When it comes, you have to use it.