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Short Story a Week

I've been a big critic of NaNoWriMo in the past. This year, when it came up and my list of friends blogs started obsessing over this gigantic waste of time, I wrote a short perl script that hit Wikipedia and generated a 50,000 word novel in minutes. It didn't make a great deal of sense, but having seen what some people pass off as their "nano", that is obviously not a consideration.

Anyway, I'd like to throw out my current undertaking, with the same goal (getting writing) but without the numerical goal. Something that I think will really tie in nicely with the goals of Oort Cloud.

I am going to write a short story a week. I encourage others to do the same. A few pages- it doesn't really matter, so long as you're putting out a complete story seven days after you start. And seven days after that, there's another story.

Unlike the goal of 50,000 words in a month, which really isn't a goal at all, the goal of ShortStoryAWeek (that old sSaw) is to produce a good, readable short story once a week. Not great, not something that's definitely publishable- but one week to write a short story gives you time to polish and edit, to focus on improving your writing, not just getting words on paper.

I started this on 2/13, and I'll be posting my first story here on 2/20. To join up with sSaw, just post your intentions. There is no official start date and no official end date- although, for the competitive, keeping score of how many weeks you've been at it strikes me as a cool competition. How long can you go before you miss the self-imposed one week deadline? If you don't get a story up a week after your last story, you've gotta reset your count. Or whatever.

So, anyway- who's going to write a short story this week?


Sounds good. I'm game.


Reality is better than drugs and alcohol any day - fantasy on the other hand, makes reality look like B&W TV with no sound and bad reception...making fantasy real - now that's a fun challenge

This is a great idea. And I

This is a great idea. And I agree, I think it fits in very well with what we were hoping for Oort.

I never tried keeping up with NaNoWriMo myself, but I had friends who did. Maybe Oort can be a complement or an alternative to that, depending on how people want to look at it.

Either way, I'm looking forward to what you and the other sSawers (sSawyers?) will be posting!

I did the nano, but only as

I did the nano, but only as a conglomerate of short stories...

I'm in.

Regarding your criticism of nanowrimo

You know, I can't see doing the nano year after year as some do, but the effort of producing around 50K words in the space of one month is empowering for some (it was for me). I agree with the site's stated benefits ... it gets people writing, and more writing is better than none, no matter how bad the writing may be. It creates the habit of writing, something that 1 in 1,000 or 10,000 participants may keep, and go on to write something actually readable. It's like a lot of sparks where there was none generated before, and one of those might catch and create a grand fire ...

Sure, a lot of crap is generated, but that is true of most human processes.

That said, ssaw is a good idea, too.


Since I'm on vacation next week, and can get a running start, I'll take up your challenge, and see how far I can get.

I'm curious as to why you

I'm curious as to why you think NaNo is a waste of time. My experience with it has been nothing but empowering... i.e. I now write novels.

Also, 50,000 words in a month is really nothing. Pro writers often write 2000-5000 words a day. A determined amateur with a day job can handle 1667 words a day without difficulty if they have the discipline.

Have you actually tried it?

Steve Libbey


Did it once. By the end, I was literally just flinging words out since I didn't give a damn about the story I was writing. Did it a second time, and just let a computer program parse sentences out of Wikipedia and string them together for me. My level of personal investment was higher the second time around because I at least had an interesting solution to a problem instead of an embarrassing pile of crap I didn't even want to bother editing and fixing later.

50,000 words in a month is a _lot_ if you have a job and interests other than writing. I'm never gonna do writing for anything more than a fun hobby. I don't want to have to write every stinking day.

Mind you, I have no problem writing 2,000+ words in an hour or two. I can bang out five pages of decent first draft in a very short space of time- but I can't and don't want to do that every day. My first story for sSaw worked out that way (it's not _done_ yet- still haven't tacked a good ending on- but I've got till Tuesday).

sSaw has all the same goals as Nano- the goal is to get writing. The difference is sSaw emphasizes quality and has a much shorter deadline with much more difficult goals (and less quantifiable goals).

As for "empowering"- that's always struck me as an annoying weasel word. Maybe that's because I've never felt "empowered". I've felt powerful, successful, awed at a variety of things. Struck with wonder. Never "empowered".


Not Responsible


I take your meaning regarding the term; however, any word or phrase can be a 'weasel word' in the right context. Witness the devastation of 'Political Correctness' on the American English language over the last 30 years.

Still 3 days to follow up on my own commitment ... what to write, what to write?

sSaw sounds like a good idea to me

I'm not so much a budding writer as a person thinking about becoming a budding writer, but I've found that putting words down on paper every day is staggeringly helpful for improving technically and creatively. I can't say I expect to "score" highly in weekly submissions, but I'll happily participate!

"I love deadlines. I love that wooshing sound they make as they fly by." - Douglas Adams