Sunday, October 31, 2010

Drip-fed fiction – this November’s experiment

In November 2008 I wrote a self-contained story in 100 words every day for thirty days and posted them on my blog. You can read those stories here.

I enjoyed the process so much I decided to repeat the dose in November 2009, adding one further constraint that all of the stories would be set in the fictional South Island town of Marumaru South. The result was 3000 words that worked rather well as a single piece, and ’30 Ways of Looking at Marumaru South’ was published in Sport 38 in May 2010.

So what does this November have in store? Well, I have my eye on Unity Book’s competition the long and the short of it, which is open to stories under 1,000 words or over 10,000 words. I’m drawn to the over 10,000 word category but entries close on Christmas Eve and I don’t have anything on the go that fits that description. So...

November 2010’s prescription: 334 words a day for 30 days = 10,020 words.

I quite like the discipline a smallish daily word count imposes upon the writing process for a particular piece, so I’m going to try to write discrete 334 word chunks every day. To do this, I will — to begin with at least — jump around chronologically. The first day I will write a scene from the middle of the story, say, then write something that could be the beginning the next day.

At the end of the day I should have a jumbled first draft and a couple of weeks to turn it into a literary masterpiece.

Unfortunately, I won’t be posting any work in progress on my blog for this experiment as it may contravene certain rules about anonymity Unity’s competition may have (the judges aren’t supposed to know who wrote the entries). But I will keep you posted how things are going. Is 334 words a good length for this sort of exercise (this blog post is just over 334 words long)? How long does it take to whip up my daily dose? Did I choose the right story to compose using this method? What will I do next November?


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