Oh, is it February already?
It’s not easy, that hard smack of reality after a long pleasant dream. By which I mean, I just finished a long holiday visiting family and friends, and now I’ve returned to work. Ugh.
Travelling made it difficult to pursue my regular projects – they look at you funny if you try to put a PC tower through the airport x-ray machines. So I put those off and went with a side project for the three weeks I was away from home.
Full credit goes to my brilliant colleague Jodi Cleghorn, whose ability to come up with energising writing prompts eclipses my feeble efforts. Every time she make a suggestion I end up producing three times as much work as I expected to. I should really put her on a retainer.
Jodi’s prompt, via Facebook, was simple: write a story every day for a whole month. Write one line on the first day, then two lines on the second, and so on, until you’ve written 31 lines on the 31st of January. That is (if my maths doesn’t fail me) 496 lines in total.
It’s a brilliant idea – building momentum without building pressure, creating a habit that feeds itself, and creating a story that would not otherwise have existed. It’s the perfect low-pressure holiday writing job.
I made things harder for myself by interpreting “line” as meaning “complete sentence”, and furthermore estimated an average sentence length as being about seven words, for a story length in the vicinity of 3500 words.
You might note the last sentence I wrote contained 35 words.
My estimate was…a little off. I finished the month’s word count at roughly twice my original guess. And the story itself isn’t done – it still has two major scenes to add, which will run to at least another thousand words, if not two.
Length issues aside, the story has been an utter pleasure to write. It’s a Weird West fantasy of sorts, about an exiled seamstress haunted by her brother’s ghost, and a retiring military officer who makes her a barbed offer. It’s called “The Dressmaker and the Colonel’s Coat”, and right now I think it’s one of the best stories I’ve ever written.
(I could be wrong about that. I’m a lousy judge of my own work).
I’ll continue working on it for the next few days, keeping to the same accelerating pace. When it’s done, I’ll preview it in my newsletter, which should go out early next week.
And then I’ll get back to rebuilding my pre-holiday routine: editing the novel and writing the next chapter of my serial.
Oh, I suppose I should going my day job too. I’m suspicious though. It smacks of reality, and who needs that when you have fiction?