October 24, 2005
I was poking around on my hard drive last night, and I came across 1000 words of a mystery that I started a few years ago and never finished. It was actually pretty good. Good enough that the thought "hey, I should finish this thing and send it somewhere" crossed my mind. Followed immediately by the thought "aw, who are you kidding -- you don't even have the work ethic to finish a bowl of raisin bran, much less a short story."
Curiously, this followed just hours after another bout of literary defeatism. Earlier that day I had been at the National Novel Writing Month website, thinking, as I always do this time of year, that I should sign up and finally write my long-planned fantasy novel about obese wizards*. But then I did the math ("let's see, 50,000 words divided by 31 days -- no, wait, November only has 30 days -- carry the one, comes out to ... 1,700 words a day?! Fuuuuck no!") and that was the end of that.
So, yeah: writing a novel in a month ain't gonna happen. Not this year, not for me. But, hmm ... you know what I could probably do ...?
defective yeti is proud to announce
WriAShorStorWe"The NaNoWriMo For Lazy People&trade!"
Yes kids, October 31-November 4 is the blogosphere's first annual Write A Short Story Week!
Here's how it works: ummm, you write a short story. In a week. The End.
Wherein I answer questions that have been neither frequent nor, to be honest, asked, given that I just made this whole thing up 15 minutes ago
Q: No for real: how does this work?
A: Your goal will to be to write a short story approximately 5000 words in length over the course of five days. That's equals 1000 words a day! Even a someone too listless to divide 5000 by five themselves can write 1000 words a day for five days!
Q: What if I want to write a longer story? Or a shorter one?
A: A thousand words, ten thousand words, whatever. Hell, I don't care if you write it in Aramaic, so long as you have a rough draft by November 4th (unless you are Mel Gibson, in which case I am going to object to you writing it in Aramaic).
Q: Isn't "WriAShorStorWe" a pretty stupid name?
A: Yes. That's why it's funny.
Q: As a blogger I have conditioned myself to only write material that I can then post to teh IntarwWeb and have fawned over by millions of anonymous surfers. I must therefore regretfully decline your offer to participate in WriAShorStorWe.
A: Not so fast, Thomas Nast. On November 4th I will put up an official WriAShorStorWe post here on dy, in the comments of which you can link to your masterpiece. Actually, I think I'll have a WriAShorStorWe post each day of next week, so that those who want to post their story incremenatally (e.g., "Here's the 1000 words I wrote today") can do so.
Q: Is this like NaNoWriMo where I'm not allowed to start writing until the official start date?
A: Nah -- start now, if you'd like. Given that I already have 1000 words of my story written, it would be a little unfair for me to disallow other folks from headstarting (<--- just made that word up, you can use it). In fact, my plan is to get my rough draft done by November 2nd and then spend each day of WriAShorStorWe polishing 1000 words or so and posting the thing in installments.
Q: What if I plan to actually submit my story to a magazine or something? Wouldn't posting it on the Internet be kinda dumb.
A: Probably. But your story ain't gonna get published unless you write it, and if WriAShorStorWe is the only way to ensure that happens (as is the case with me), it's kinda of a moot point. Just do what I plan to do: save the story as an html file and then specify that webpage in your robots.txt file. This will ensure that search engines do not index it. Keep the story up for a week or so, remove it from your site, polish it up and fire it off to "CO-BALLED: The Magazine Of Contemporary Erotic Fiction By And About COBOL Programmers" or whatever-- Google should have no record of it.
Q: If I have questions about WriAShorStorWe, who should I contact?
A: Send 'em my way, and I'll add them to the AAQ (Actually Asked Questions). Since I'm just making shit up, here, you can expedite the process by including, with your question, an answer, which will then become part of Ye Olde Stardard Rules if consider it consistant with my overall concept of the event and/or I am too lazy to think up a better reply.
P.s. Do not write me if you don't know how to write a short story and are looking for tips, because I'm just gonna fake my way through this like everyone else. Go here and read until you have an epiphany, that'd be my advice.
* Totally not kidding about this. Someday I will write it and then you'll see.