Sunday, September 04, 2005

Readers: First, my heartfelt thanks to all of you who read my last story. I really appreciate it. Your comments were all thoughtful and helpful. You're an amazing bunch of friends.

Now, I have kind of an insane request.

First, let me be up front that I'm confident the answer this question will mostly be no. In fact, I expect "NO's" all around.

Here's the situation.

I want to put myself through a writing "boot camp" for one year. From now until the end of next year, I want to write one story a week, and rewrite one story each weekend.

Most of these would be short stories (less than 7,500 words) although occasionally, I might write a longer story over a two-week period. Also, I'll probably miss a lot of weeks, especially in the beginning.

The hope is that by the end of next year, I'll have 50 stories kicking around, and that I will have learned a little something about the process of writing. About the discipline that it takes to get words out consistently, about the process of turning a fraction of an idea into a story, and, most importantly, about entertaining readers.

It's this last part I need help with. What I'm wondering is if there's anybody who's willing to read at least some of this massive amount of stuff I'll (hopefully) be cranking out.

It would be reader-response criticism, like I've talked about before. It doesn't require anything more than what you already are good at--reading something and deciding what you like and don't like about it. Letting me know when the story was exciting, when it was boring, when you cared about the characters and when you didn't. It's not just criticism, but also an accounting of your experience as a reader.

In other words, I will try do one thing when I write the story, but your job is to tell me what I actually did.

No obligations to finish anything. If you read three pages and decide it isn't for you, great. Send it back and tell me why you were able to put it down. No obligations to do it every week. If you don't have the chance to get to a bunch of them, don't sweat it.

But what I'll do is post here each week that I finish one, and then, if you think you might be able to get to it, email me and tell me. If not, don't sweat it.

This will give me a motivation to write, because I know people will see here if I finished anything, so it will be a kind of check-in.

What I'm looking for, though, are thoughts on whether anyone feels they'd even be able to participate partly. If not, that's fine, like I said. But if so, then please let me know either in the comments here or in my email.

If you're someone who reads this blog, but has never read my fiction, here's a little info: I'm a decent fiction writer. I've been an Honorable Mention in the Writers Of The Future contest, been published semi-professionally, and received lots of encouraging comments from editors. In other words, I'm getting ever closer to that precipice that separates the pro from the amateur, and I really want to make the leap.

This means the fiction you read will not be unspeakably bad, but it will need comments, suggestions, tips and help to make it be, as they say, all it can be.

And, hopefully, it will gradually get better.

So if anybody is willing to hang in there with me, to any degree, please let me know, so I know whether or not to worry about posting the info here as each story becomes available.


theFrog said...

Post away! I can't speak for anyone else, but I've always loved reading your stories. :)

Rebecca said...

I absolutley agree with theFrog. I can't promise that I'll get to every story, but I'll get to them as I can. In fact, if you want to just automatically include me in your distribution of the story without me responding to your posts, that's fine too. :)