Author Ray Bradbury , most famous for his novel Fahrenheit 451, was known to hand out advice to struggling writers. There’s a fair amount of it available on the net, including a talk he gave back in 2001 (see link below).
He issued two famous challenges. The first, which seems to me to me the lesser of the two in terms of payoff, is to read a short story, an essay, and a poem per night for 1,000 nights. The second, and I think by far the harder challenge, is to write a short story per week for 52 weeks. Lots of people, like Lin and some weird guy living in Japan, have accepted one or the other challenge. It’s fun to watch how these exercises are changing writers.
With that in mind, last week I accepted the second challenge albeit in a modified form. I will write a short story a week, not for 52 weeks, but until I get to 80,000 words. When I hit 80,000 words I’ll self-publish the collection at Smashwords.
Last week’s story is called Shiflett Courier Service and it’s about a cop who, after getting shot in the face during a robbery in progress, retires and starts his own courier service. Years later, when he least expects it, he once again finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun.
This week’s story is called The Assassination of Jhoon Hebren. Speaker of the House Hebren and his protoge Nico Carter find themselves embroiled in a Justice Department investigation concerning a secret group called Kensho Hat. Hebren denies everything because he isn’t involved. Or is he?
This is going to be fun ride. Shouldn’t be too hard to keep my pencil sharp while the editors are reading my novel The 14th Mansion. But it’s going to get really challenging when the proofs come back and I start the novel re-write.
Will I be able to write a short-story a week and finish the final draft of the novel at the same time?
I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out…