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It started on the Kindleboards.  A discussion of author Dean Wesley Smith’s assertion that it is completely possible to make a living writing short stories.  It morphed into a challenge:

If making a living on short fiction is possible, well then, do it.

Ok.  Bring on 52 Shades of Short Stories. (um….. wait.  Site down this morning.  Will update)  The task is to write and publish one story a week for a year.

1000 – 6000 (+) words a week.  Or about 150 – 900 words a day.

And to that I say: Pfft!

But the word count is not really the challenge is it? 150 words a day?  I hit that on Twitter before breakfast.  The average twelve year old will probably text that in the hour between bells while pretending to take notes to boot.   I’ll blow by 150 in about half a sentence.   Rather, the challenge is creating good words in the right order.  If, after all, the argument is that a writer can make a living on short stories – without resorting to tricking readers – presumably the real argument is that they can write good short stories.

The idea goes that if a person writes this much and this regularly, it’s impossible not to create, eventually, something good.  And so really what this challenge tests is:  the commitment to create quality fiction, the fearlessness to test that quality in a court of readers, and the tenacity to keep it the fuck up.

5 Responses to “52 Shades Of Short Stories”

  1. crubin

    I sometimes think word count per day is over-emphasized as a means of measuring writing progress. Of course, it’s important. Without a good word count, we’d have nothing to work with. But a day of solid editing counts, too. And though I could probably produce a short story a week, it wouldn’t be a GOOD short story a week, that’s for sure.

    • aeliusblythe

      I agree. And I think Dean Wesley Smith’s mathematical analysis of how to build a writing career is simplistic to the point of moronic.

      That being said, I think there can be a stage at which you can press for not only good stories, but good stories produced fast. Think, for example, of good journalists who are able to put out great pieces on a weekly basis. That’s a real talent! Not that that’s a necessary element of fiction writing. But I’m curious enough to give it a try!

  2. Jonathan

    If one reads 150 (+/-) words in an average New Yorker article and a similar amount of words in any other publication I believe the difference can be seen with ease. I am bias. Yet I have read many article on subjects I would not have found interesting just because they were well written and presented. Is there any way this blog could present one short written piece each week from an aspiring person? Even if this is just off hand musings on any subject.

    • aeliusblythe

      A piece from someone other than me you mean? I’d absolutely be open to that. Of course, that’d mean people’d have to be willing to have their pieces published for free on a tiny blog like this!


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