Friday 14 July 2023: Horror stories give me nightmares

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

The last thing I did on Wednesday night was read another short story from the first set book for the fantasy thriller writing workshop. It was a horror story and I don’t really do horror stories. I thought I’d scanned the worst of it, but when I woke up on Thursday, the poet asked me what my nightmare was about… I didn’t even remember having a nightmare, but apparently I nearly gave him a heart attack when I woke him up screaming. When he asked what was wrong, I just kept saying ‘Stop!” Apparently.

I still have more of these things to read, so I can see us having a great time if I’m going to have nightmares.

The first thing I did Thursday morning over breakfast was read the penultimate story in this set book. That left me with just one more to read, and I wanted to get it done by the end of the day. While I made breakfast, the poet hung out some washing. Then we both reconvened in the office.

I updated the power board and the Trello board with the story I’d written the day before, and I added the colour-coded stars to the visual calendars. Although this one has actually gone forward as an assignment, in real truth it’s in limbo between first draft and second draft. For the workshop next week, my assignment has to be a first, unpolished draft. For this week’s 12 Stories in 12 Months assignment, it just had to be one I’d written especially for the assignment.

We are given four weeks to write this short story. The day after the last one is submitted, the new prompt goes up along with the word-count and deadline. Last month the prompt was ‘1852’, the word-count was 1,800 words, and the deadline was 12 July. Already the next prompt is up, the word-count is 750, and the deadline is 9 August. I went through and added it to my story writing calendar and to the various spreadsheets. This is my first live August deadline, so I also created a new monthly word-count spreadsheet for August.

Next, I started to amend the Trello boards so that they reflect the power board. I can access Trello from anywhere if I have an internet signal, via the phone. So if I’m not in my office and don’t have the power board or the diary or the calendars in front of me, I can still see where I am with everything if anyone should ask. I can also access ClickUp from anywhere, which is still where I thrash out my working weeks before I commit jobs to the diary.

I had two more short stories to write this week, from scratch. One about a haunted house for a competition, deadline Saturday, word-count 1,000 – 3,000. One as my first assignment for the fantasy thriller writing workshop, deadline Sunday, word-count 3,000 – 7,000 words. At the moment I’m trying to get stories finished by the Friday before deadline. At some point in the future, I want that lead time to stretch a bit further until it’s at least a month between completion and submission to cool and allow for contingencies.

Well, at this point I had no idea where to start with either of them. I had themes, deadlines, word-counts, and maybe the germ of something bubbling away. But I didn’t know where to start, or which one to start. So I broke for dinner, made us both a sandwich, and read the final story in the first set book to see if something would emerge.

I still wasn’t feeling inspired, so I brought out Diary of a Pussycat and did some proofreading. I thought I may as well do something while I was cogitating, and the more I got down now, the less I’d have to do later.

A story idea did start to bubble up, but I was on a roll with the proofreading and decided to see if I could finish it. I did, proofreading 101 pages by the end of the day. This proofreading job is now done. I have a few corrections to make, and then the book can be published. Yay!

There was no way I would write a 3,000-word story now, though. So instead I pulled out Catch the Rainbow, just so I could log some words written yesterday. I added 441 words, bringing the running tally to 25,696 words.

Tea was on its way by then, so I closed down, deciding to tackle one of the stories on Friday and the other on Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

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