Yesterday, I finished the first draft of my second story for 2012. This is a seasonal story, but a somewhat light-hearted piece, touching at times, and I’m pleased with the first draft. I was aiming for 3,000 words and it came in at 4,200. Like the first story of the year, I’m setting this draft aside for a minimum of one week, or until I finish the second draft of story #2, whichever comes later. And like story #1, I already know where I’m sending this one which it is all finished.
I don’t believe I’ve written two story drafts in an 11-day period since I first decided I wanted to be a science fiction writer and started submitting stories. That was back in January of–gulp!–1993, nineteen years ago. Of course, the stories back then were pure junk. Indeed, it is hard to call them stories. They are more like mind dumps. The two stories I’ve written this month clearly show 19 years worth of accumulated writing experience. And while each draft is far from perfect, each one has all of the elements that make up a good story. At least that’s what I think. The stories have yet to be vetted by my beta-readers. The fact that I think I’ve written 2 solid drafts in January alone is pretty remarkable for someone who for the past several years has written 2 solid drafts a year.
But it also goes to show that the 500 words of new fiction each day can really work.
Beginning today, my writing day splits into two parts. During the first part (usually the early morning, but today is an exception) I write my 500 words of new fiction. During the second part (evening, after the kids are in bed) I work on the second draft of the previous story. In practice that means that today I’ll be starting the first draft of my third story for 2012 and tonight, I’ll be starting on the second draft of my first story of 2012. Actually, I’ve already started re-reading the first story after setting it aside for a week. I’ve made a lot of notes across the first few scenes, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well what I’ve already got hangs together.
The big question for me right now–and part of the reason I delayed my morning writing for later in the day–is which story to work on for #3. I went through my idea file to see what excites me the most. There are two longer stories I could attempt. By longer I mean likely in excess of 10,000 words. Or, I could go for something substantially shorter, under 2,000 words. The first drafts of the first two stories this year came in at 6,500 and 4,200 words respectively. I’m am, as of yet, undecided, but I’ll be making a decision soon.
In the meantime, I think I’ll have the second draft of story #1 finished by the weekend, at which point I can sent it to my beta-readers. Then it’s onto the third (and usually, my final) draft. After that and one final run through my proofreading checklist, it goes off to market. Could be on its way a week from now.