Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dissecting the Short Story Preview & October/November Goals

Every other Wednesday I announce the story for this week's "Dissecting the Short Story" entry, to be published on Friday. This week, I'll be looking at "The Gap" by Mikal Trimm from the December, 2011 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. If you have a copy of that magazine and would like to "read along" with me, now would be the time!

Like in the previous entries from the "Dissecting the Short Story" series, I'll be looking at this story to see what techniques the writer used and decisions they made to help make the story effective. The ultimate goal is to use this information as a way of better understanding how professionally-published short stories are written.

Frequently I take a few minutes on a Preview Wednesday to talk about the status of my writing goals for the month.

1) Add at least 15,000 words to my novel with the working title Learners. - This one's not going to happen. For a variety of reasons, I stalled on this after getting another 8-10,000 words in this month. I could force this goal to happen, but it wouldn't be the best use of my time right now.
2) Write at least two short stories of 1500 words or more. - I'm in good shape for this one. I wrote a 700 word story (which doesn't count for these purposes) earlier this month, a 5000 word story (which does) and I'm about 1800 words into a story which I expect to wrap up around 3000. Unless I totally implode on that last one, I'll meet this goal.
3) Perform prep work for NaNoWriMo. - OK, this one is poorly defined. What would be a metric that would define success here? I guess I'll have to say that I know it when I see it. For now, I'll give myself an "on-track but behind schedule" here. I've made some progress, but not nearly enough, and have under a week to wrap this up. I suspect I'll be able to in good conscience call this goal met but maybe not until 10/30 or 10/31.
4) Arrange to write a guest post for another blog. - Sort of. Not a guest post, exactly, but I will be featured in a spotlight on someone else's blog soon as part of the Writer's Campaign. I wrote a fair amount of text for that spotlight, so I'll give myself this one with the caveat that I would like to do a more formal guest post somewhere post-NaNo.
5) Stick to my planned Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday blogging schedule. - Done.

So, two clearly met goals, one which I'm behind on but think I'll meet, one where I'm giving myself a pass on sort of half-meeting it, and one where I clearly failed to meet the goal but made a strategic choice to do so.  I'd call this a "good but not great" month. Which is OK. We're all going to have some of those.

For November, my goals will be as follows:

1) Write 50,000 words of new fiction.
2) Complete ("win") NaNoWriMo. [1 and 2 are sort of counterpart goals. 1 is a bit of a "safety net" in case I something goes truly awry with my NaNo project. If I complete NaNo, I'll meet both goals. If not, I can still meet goal #1.]
3) Keep my regular blogging schedule.
4) Write at least one short story of 1000 or more words.


  1. Great goals. Two thumbs up for honest inspection of where you are compared to where you were hoping to be...BUT, continuing to set great goals to keep yourself active and on course.

  2. Thanks, Angela. I appreciate the encouragement!

  3. You plan on keeping up the blogging schedule, too? That's great. I'm wondering how I'll be able to blog once a week. lol Good luck!

  4. Miranda, that's my intention at this point. Like with all my goals, I'll re-evaluate if need be. If I'm running behind on NaNo and feel like I need to skip a post or two, then I may end up doing so, but I'm going to aim to not have to do that.

    Thanks for the good luck wishes!