I’ve submitted the draft of my story “Abso”* for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the process.
(I just thought in my head “Number One” and now the rest of “Ten Duel Commandments” is spiraling through my head, because my household is OBSESSED with Hamilton.**)
Writing a short story with a VERY strict word limit of 2,500 words is oddly purifying. My story is set on Mars (no, I’m not ripping off The Martian). The physical location of the story is therefore stark and harsh and somewhat sterile, yet full of beauty and a type of purity. I cut Every Possible Word from my original draft, then fleshed out certain places, then had to cut more words to compensate for the additions. What I was left with felt very much like Mars itself. The ruthless word counting improved the story so very much in the end.
I enjoy writing short fiction. Why don’t I do it more? New resolve: to write more short stories and to look into SFF publishing markets for such things. To do list: Work on new edits for Waxing Moon, Finish draft of Rising Wolf, write short fiction when I need a break from this trilogy, work on the other novel idea that’s rattled around in my head for a year.
Not only do I enjoy writing short stories, I’m enamored with “Abso,” the short story I wrote for this contest. Now…who knows what the judges will think about it, and I make no prediction.
I’m certain this story has legs. I will rework it–probably add another 500 words so that I can deepen the development of one character. And I’m going to submit it for publication, regardless of how it does in the contest.
I even see the possibility for a set of linked short stories about this world and these characters. Musing on that. I’ve not written linking short stories before, but I will read some of that genre and think about the option.
All right, folks. Well, those are my musings on the contest and my short story. We’ll hear from the judges in March and I’ll let you know the results. If you want to read it, shoot me an email.
Now: back to my main WIP. Or editing. So much to do!
*Autocorrect wants to turn Abso into Also and it is driving me mad with its insistence.
* We are seeing Hamilton in Chicago over Labor Day Weekend! I know that is in like a zillion years, but we are thrilled. Also: side note to the side note, for a few days after my three children became obsessed with Hamilton, I had them agree to say, “Here comes the General! Rise up!” whenever I came into the room. That. Was. Amazing. Sadly, they have discontinued the practice.