Learning The Craft of Writing

Join me on my journey on learning the craft and business of writing

A Finished Story

2017-07-18 status Michael


  • Word Count: 1,374 (narrative)
  • Session Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

I’m done with my first story! Okay, done is a bit of a strong word. I’ve finished my first draft, but I finished and that is the important part! This would be my third short story I’ve written but it’s the first story I’ve hit the first draft milestone since I decided to write. I haven’t really mentioned it by this point, but this short story is for the XPrize short story competition. The rules are simple, write an optimistic tale about what the future will look like in 20 years from the point of view of someone on a flight from Tokyo to San Francisco. The story has to be between 2,000 and 4,000 words.

When I first decided to write, I wanted to write a short story for Writers of the Future competition, but after several days of brainstorming story ideas I couldn’t come up with any short story ideas. My ideas tend to be much larger than fits in a short story length. So I gave up on that idea and tried to picked up my old NaNoWriMo story I started about 4 years ago. The problem there is, the story is broken and there wasn’t a very solid plot. I tried working on it, but I just felt like I was spinning my wheels and I didn’t want to write. After a couple days of procrastinating my NaNo story I got an email about the XPrize sci-fi writing contents and I immediately started coming up with story ideas. That is what I needed.

As I mentioned before, the word cap is 4,000. My first draft came in at 5,704 words. And as I was writing the closing scene I realized I had missed a pretty big story element and I have several notes of things that I need to fix as well. So after first edits the word count may actually grow. My plan is to focus on obvious grammar issues and adding in the fixes. Revision two will likely be the one to bring the word count down under 4,000. It’ll probably take me a few edits till I think it’s as good as I can get it before the deadline of August 25th.

I’ve heard a lot of advice that once you are done with your first draft, to put it “on a shelf” and start a new story. After some time (usually months), come back to the shelved story and then start your edits. I don’t think I’ll have much time to shelf mine, but maybe I’ll give it a couple of days before I jump back in. Hopefully that will be enough of a breather.

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