The “Short story a week” challenge.

Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite authors. His prose, imagination, and succinct style of writing is one of the first things that got me into how amazing writing truly can be. I’ve dabbled at stories in the past, but usually I am over ambitious, and am drowned in my own goals, abandoning an idea before it gets too far along.

This is where this challenge comes in. I recently watched a Ray Bradbury talk. He mentioned that aspiring writers too often think too big when they first set out. Trying to make their first piece of writing their best piece of writing. Completing their great novel before they even have the hang of writing. Instead, Bradbury suggests cranking out short stories. Ones that have a beginning, middle, and end. This keeps the creative juices flowing, and the short stories can always be expanded upon if the idea so strikes you.

So that is my goal for the foreseeable future. Before I start any more ambitious novels, I need to make sure that I can have a middle and an end. Short stories are great, in this regard. Instead of fully building a world and a setting, characters and their backgrounds, you can just take a quick snapshot of what life is like in a particular story. Like you get dropped in a universe and are glancing around.

I don’t have a hard word count set. I’d like to shoot for around 7,000 – 20,000 words per short story, but if I can wrap it up before than, I won’t punish myself and start trying to pad numbers. I just want to tell stories. In this regard, they will also be lightly edited. I don’t aim for a perfect piece of fiction, instead, I just want to get into the habit of fiction. I might do a quick read through, and fix any obvious spelling or grammatical errors, but that is about it.

One issue I have is being consistent with my tenses, and that’s okay. Like I said, I don’t aim for these to be perfect, I just want to finish my stories. To have something to go back and improve upon. Writing isn’t always about first drafts. It’s about revising and rewriting. That is what this challenge is for. To create a solid body of work for me to improve upon, instead of ideas simply bouncing around in my head.

This should be fun. I’ll be posting my first short story I’ve completed after this post. It was inspired by a friend who pitched the idea, “What if it was like, Speed the movie, but instead of a bomb, the guy just had OCD and had a brake light out?”

Interesting, I thought. And there we go! My first short story, from beginning to end. Here’s to many more like it.

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