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Husband, father, and writer working on a short story project and submitting my novel, The Windsmith, to agents.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Getting Ready

So, it’s update time.

Stage one (this website) is complete. And now, with Christmas done, it’s time to start Stage two. Stage two is pretty simple, at least on paper. I need to go through my logs and journals and find all my story ideas. I’ll separate out all the ones that sound like they could make good short stories (as opposed to ones that are definitely a novel) and then organize them into the order I want to write them in. I am hoping to get some basic outlining done on at least a few of them as well, to help me get through them faster when I go to write.

I’ve started looking through the notes I have already, and I have to say that some of these ideas are just plain bad. However, if I can’t come up with 52 story ideas, I may just be using some of these. In fact, I might just use some of these ideas early, just to get them out of the way. After all, the idea is to “get out the junk.”

That said I have a new distraction that I received for Christmas that’s going to be tough to over come and focus on writing. That would be my new Complete Farscape box set. I am super excited about this. I love that show, and am looking forward to watching all 88 episodes, probably at the rate of about 2 or 3 a week. I have a feeling that it will affect my story ideas. We’ll see.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great holiday (whatever you celebrate), and that the New Year is a good one for you! I’ll see you all next week, on day 1 of week 1, January 3rd!

-Christopher Blanchard

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Welcome!

Welcome to 1 Story a Week, my little writing experiment.

Allow me to start by introducing my self. My name is Christopher Blanchard, and I am an aspiring fiction writer. Thanks to the self imposed deadlines of National Novel Writing Month and the weekly inspirations of Mur Lafferty on her podcast, I Should Be Writing, I have managed to write a novel and a half. I am currently editing my first novel (it’s on like draft 4 at this point), and working to finish my second novel’s first draft. But, even given all that, I never felt really focused on my writing. I mean, I’ve stated to friends and family that my goal in life is to be a professional writer, but I’m not really working hard to get there. November seems to be my big writing month, and I start a new project each time. I wanted to get more focused.

With that running around in the back of my mind, I was rummaging around through my various note books in which I keep story ideas, plot pieces and characters for future use. Opening one of these note books, I saw a bunch of lecture notes I had written down, and instantly remembered what these were from. A few years ago, my wonderful wife bought me probably one of the best birthday presents ever. A seat in a writing seminar run by none other than Ray Bradbury himself. I took lots of notes from that seminar, and then, in typical fashion, I put the note book away, and didn’t look at it until about two months ago.

Looking over my notes, I realized some of what he said had stuck with me, and even had affected my writing. But then I saw something that I had in quotes, meaning it was a direct quote from him, rather than my own paraphrasing. It read, “Write one short story a week for 52 weeks and get out the junk.” It was perfect. It was exactly what I needed.

That phrase ran through my head, collided with my desire to get more focused, and mixed with some of Mur’s podcast topics about mastering your craft, and then started a bon fire in my brain. I would do just this. I would dedicate myself to taking a whole year and write 52 short stories, one story a week. I mentioned this to my wife and some friends, and they were all excited about the idea. One friend suggested that I wait until January to start this, and make the project a calendar year. I agreed. I also thought that it would be a great idea to not only write these stories, but do something with them, so I created this blog so I could post the stories here as I write them.

The ground rules are simple. The Nebula Awards define a short story as being between less than 7,500 words, so I am using this as my guide line for the individual story size, and am aiming for between 5,000 and 7,500. This should be pretty doable in a week. I am defining a week as being seven days between Sunday and Saturday, and thus Week 1 will start on January 3 and end of January 9. The story will be posted on this site on the following Sunday, meaning the first story will be posted here on January 10.

And that’s where you come in. I am looking for more than just people reading my stories. I’m looking for feedback. Did you like the story posted? Great! Post in the comments and tell me why. Or, send me an email. Same for if you didn’t like it. Comment and tell me why. Tell me what worked, and what didn’t. The goal here is to improve as a writer, to master my craft. And then later apply what I learned from this experience to my novel writing. Keep in mind that this will be a rough, first draft of the story. That said; don’t feel like you should hold back on criticism. I’m not one of those writers that get’s attached to his stories to the point of being unable to accept critiques. I’m written some bad stuff in my time, and I am fully aware that I will write some bad stuff in the future. I’m just looking for people to help me find it when I do it.

I think that just about covers it. I’m going to be mostly using this blog to post the stories, but I may post other things like updates or other things I feel the need to post here. Otherwise, you can find and follow me on Twitter, I am there as BlanchardAuthor. And so, I’ll see you in January!