Wednesday 26 February 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 03: “There’s a draft in here”

I bought a ring binder.

“Whoop-de-doo” I hear you cry. “Medals in the post”.

But there’s more to it than that. For me the purchasing of stationery forms a symbolic start to a project. I bought a ring binder, a 400 page refill notepad and some plastic wallets. £5.00 of TESCO stationery and I’m ready to go (in a tidy and organised way).

With a title picked for the collection (to be revealed at a later date) and seven stories of varying length for me to mould into something people might like to read, I have set off from the starting line.

Yet I’m bothered. In fact I’m a little annoyed with myself at this early stage because I’m spending more time on the planning than the actual writing. When I’m sat at work or taking my son out for a walk I’ve been thinking about which stories to use, what order they should go in and what to pick as a clever title.

I’ve even started writing little snippets to go at the end of the collection that tell you where the idea for each included story came from and why I wrote it. I know some people don’t like that much information about what they’re reading and they don’t have to read it. But I like it. Stephen King has done this in some of his books. I find the stories about the stories just as interesting.

When I’m not thinking about how I want the collection to look I’m writing a blog about writing. I won’t skip this though. It is as important as the stories I’m putting together, I feel. This will only work for me if one helps the other.

But it’s not getting my stories written, is it?

So what lies ahead of me?

I’ve picked seven stories. Two are pretty much finished and just need a final draft to tidy them up and iron out the kinks.

Another two are at second draft stage and need typing up so that I can give them out to friends and colleagues for feedback.

Two more have the most work and need to be pretty much written from scratch. I’m annoyed that one of these two has the first couple of pages in existence but I think they are boxed away somewhere while I’m moving. It’s a shame because I really like the intro to the zombie story I started several years ago but now I have to start again.

The final story is being rebuilt from its original, word count limited form into something a little bigger. This one is titled LOVE BITE and is about a man trying to come to terms with his wife’s new ‘condition’.

It was originally written for the online writing group I was part of but the word limit stifled it. That’s my fault though. The story wasn’t right for the purpose. But now I’m free of limitations so I’m currently expanding the main story and filling out the two main characters history together.

So the journey carries on. I’m going to plough through the current draft of LOVE BITE and get it into the hands of beta readers (you know who you are). While that’s doing the rounds I’ll get to work on the two that are lingering close to finished and then just keep going until I have a nice, well written, end product.
I just have to keep in mind two very important rules I’ve just thought of this very second.

“Every end must have a beginning”

“The number one rule about write club? You gotta write!”

So basically this just means that I can’t have a collection of short stories if I don’t write them. That’s quite obvious when you think about it.

See you in seven.


  1. I'm not sure if this is the right place to post but if it helps the planning process is what has got me back into treating writing like something I actually care about instead of a sort of half forgotten activity I once liked telling people I did in pubs. I told myself I had to write for an hour every day at least this year. I started off by doing exactly an hour but gradually, and with a lot of time spent planning deadlines and things I had to have done/finished etc. by certain dates on a calendar I made up specially for the purpose (and may have spent too much time making look 'pretty'). In the end I wasn't spending just an hour and my love and thrill in it had returned plus the deadlines appealed to my inner control freak and I can't bear not to meet them. Plan is one short story competition entered every month plus some deadlines for longer novels. I completely understand how much the planning and buying of folders etc. does actually matter. Never under estimate the power of stationary and day dreaming about a project! (not that I know anything much but am embarking on a similar journey myself, so it's nice to read your blog and have you share the way you are doing it.) Good luck!

    1. Thank you very much for your comment.

      I totally get what you mean about caring for the writing. I used to scald myself whenever I'd tell people that I write stories. A little voice would say "but when was the last time you finished one" or "it doesn't count if no one in the world reads them."

      Like you I'm now all about making it a part of my life, one of the first thoughts of the day, something that needs to get done before the sun goes down.

      Good luck with the competitions. One a month is a good way to build discipline. Keep us posted on how you do with those.

      Glad you're enjoying the blog. Nice to speak to a fellow writer.

  2. Sufficient planning is really important, try not to get too annoyed at yourself. Good luck with Love Bite!

    1. Planning is good. I even draft these blog posts on my lunch break before typing them up at home. I could never let the world see the the first stuff that came out of my head.

      Fingers crossed I'll have an excerpt of LOVE BITE up on the blog this Wednesday. Real second draft stuff.

      Hope the world (or at least the people who read this) enjoy.