Maybe you are new to this little blog. Maybe you are just passing through. Maybe you are a faithful reader (there are a couple of you). Whatever the case, welcome! If you are new here, let me tell you about last year’s writing goal: write one continuous story every 5-Saturday month. That may sound like an odd goal so let me explain.
It all started in 2020. I realized that I was never going to improve my writing skills if I didn’t practice writing. My blog had plateaued. I was going through motions. “What if,” I thought, “I write short stories?” I determined it was a lofty goal to just immerse myself in writing nothing but short stories. A goal doomed to fail.
After some deep thought (more than it probably required) I decided to write a short story every month with four Fridays. Okay, first of all, I didn’t realize that four-Friday months occurred quite a lot. So, I adjusted it to five-Friday months. Yes, that seemed more my speed. Then I decided to move my posts from Friday to Saturday. So, there we go. That’s why I write short stories on five-Saturday months. It’s for me to practice and hopefully not fail.
I managed to hit my goal. But the new trouble was, coming up with stories. The well is starting to run dry. That’s when I had the brilliant idea of sharing one story for all of 2021. Every five-Saturday month a new installment.
Great idea! But that still didn’t help me decide on what to write. December 2020 I happened to be binge watching the television show Chuck (2007-2012). It was a fun show. Surely, I could write something along that line. I mean, they used the phrase “spy stuff” to dumb it down for us average viewers. I could do that.
The Samson Pill was born.
After January though, I hated the story. I realized early on, “spy stuff” is not my forte. I am not smart enough to write a story focused on current events. A trip to the library to cram for the next installment did not help. I ended up reading a book about a disillusioned war vet.
But I had set a goal and I needed to see it through. What to do?
Write what you know
One of the very first rules of writing is to write what you know. I don’t know the world of spies but I do know relationships. I focused on that.
Write around what you don’t know
Tied very close to the first rule. The story did a lot of telling of how smart Cooper was because I’m not a genius. I couldn’t show Cooper being a genius. You just had to take my word for it. I also had him downplay it a bit to make him more relatable to me.
I am horrible at describing people. Mainly because I want the reader to see the character for themselves. But I know I need to work on this. After all, if I was good at it I would probably be making my livelihood by writing instead of sharing for free online for an audience of two people. Here is what I pictured though. Cooper was a mixed race young man. His mother and uncle were black, his father white. Al probably had some Latina blood in the mix. Malone was a blond-surfer dude. I never mentioned any of this in the story though. I don’t think. Definitely something I need to work on.
As it happened, 2021 only had four five-Saturday months. I really wanted to finish the story in October. In fact, I started to finish it up. But I just couldn’t. By then, I had come too far to just have poor Cooper and friends end suddenly. As much as I wanted to be done with the story, I let it continue for one more month – January 2022.
The story is now done. I accomplished my goal. Thank you to anyone who stopped by and read some of the story. Funny but what kept me going was the realization nobody really cared if I finished or not. The story didn’t have to be perfect; it was just a writing exercise. That was actually quite liberating.
So, that’s the story behind the post. My odd little goal to work on writing. I have a couple of months to come up with the next adventure – that will not be a year long story. I mean I checked that off my to-do, why would I do it again?