Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Challenge Hit!! 30 Stories in 30 Days


Challenge Hit!! Stories from April all done.

Wow, feels great to be honest. April turned out to be the worst month I could have tried this and yet I managed to do it by just chugging right along.

One story at a time. That really was the key.

The last story was one more Marble Grant story. 12 of the 30 are Marble Grant and I didn’t even have that character or realize she existed until the 9th story in the challenge.

The story tonight is called “Obvious Creeper” from two story-title halves slammed together. Turned out I wrote it in two sessions with a short break. 2,200 words.

Tomorrow or the next night I will go over the entire challenge and also do the blurbs for the stories so you all can get an idea of what the stories are.

What a fun challenge. Now I fire up on the novels starting tomorrow. I want to finish at least two per month for the next four months. That’s going to be fun as well.


Word Count for the Month…

Everything but responses to blog posts… 151,500.

77,000 words of short stories. Plus 29 covers.

Yup, a good month. Almost Pulp One speed with fiction alone, over Pulp Four speed for everything.



Speaking of challenges, there are wo of them now if you want me to be your first reader. 

30 short story challenge is starting either on May 2nd or June 1st. Your choice. Write 30 short stories in 30 days or 60 days. I have exactly six people signed up to try it. Three in May, three in June. Room for a few more crazy writers who want to get some stories done (as I am just finishing). Information, cost, and rules at

Novel a Month for three months challenge is starting June 1st.  Someone mentioned math. The minimum length for the three books is 30,000 words, so even if you didn’t get a half-book head start in May, you would have to write minimum only 90,000 words in three months, about 1,000 words per day, or about an hour for most. But it will get you three done in three months. I will limit this to five or so at the most, so don’t delay if interested. Information at

Again, I will be your first reader on both challenges. And both have bail-out points. See the rules on the links. Ask if you have questions.



I sent out all the letters yesterday for anyone signed up on the May online workshops. List below. If you think you are signed up and didn’t get a letter from me tonight, write me.

And all the workshops start on Tuesday and Wednesday and room in all of them. Even the new editing one.

The Time of Great Forgetting is setting in hard after this rough winter. But some doing the challenges are not forgetting. (grin) You can follow along here because I plan on not only April being productive, but the next four months as well, right through the Time of Great Forgetting.


Here are the Covers and Stories for the April challenge. (I’ll do the last cover tomorrow.)

Story #1… April 1… Not Easy to Kill the Light Next Door… 1,700 words 
Story #2… April 2… A Reason to Play a Hunch… 3,200 words 
Story #3… April 3… A Deal at the End of Time… 3,000 words
Story #4… April 4… A Nice Place for Murder… 3,400 words
Story #5… April 5… The Five Roads Tavern and Eatery …3,200 words
Story #6… April 6… The Last Short Putt of a Fearful Man …2,200 words
Story #7… April 7… The Wait …1,200 words
Story #8… April 8… Through the For Sale Sign …2,500 words
Story #9… April 9… Blind Date …4,100 words
Story #10… April 10… Keep Hoping for a New Tomorrow …1,700 words
Story #11… April 11… That Old Tingling …3,200 words
Story #12… April 12… The Last Man …2,500 words
Story #13… April 13… Smile …2,700 words
Story #14… April 14… Always a Way …4,000 words
Story #15… April 15… A No-Win Hand …1,800 words
Story #16… April 16… Habit …2,000 words
Story #17… April 17… A Thief of Regrets …4,600 words
Story #18… April 18… In the Dream of Many Bodies …1,400 words
Story #19… April 19… Wings Out …2,200 words
Story #20… April 20… Delightfully Dizzy …1,700 words
Story #21… April 21… An Immortality of Sorts …2,300 words
Story #22… April 22… Tombstone Canyon …2,600 words
Story #23… April 23… Hidden Canyon …4,300 words
Story #24… April 24… A Lady in Heat …2,400 words
Story #25… April 25… A Look at His Heart …3,900 words
Story #26… April 26… Black Coffee …4,000 words
Story #27… April 27… A Missing Sister Dream …2,600 words
Story #28… April 28… Lost Time …3,100 words
Story #29… April 29… Whistle for Help …2,200 words
Story #30… April 30… Obvious Creeper …2,200 words

(Plus seven novel starts so far…)


May ONLINE Workshops 

All May online workshops are available and have openings.


ALSO, the workshop schedule through August is now posted. You can sign up ahead for any workshop you want through August.

So for information on how to sign up, go to…

Any questions at all, feel free to write me. And if you are confused as to which workshop to take first, we have a full curriculum posted on its own page.

Class #41… May 2nd … Author Voice
Class #42…  May 2nd … Business
Class #43…  May 2nd … Endings
Class #44…  May 2nd … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #45…  May 2nd … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #46…  May 3rd … Depth in Writing
Class #47… May 3rd … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #48… May 3rd … Cliffhangers
Class #49… May 3rd … How To Edit Your Own Work (new)
Class #50… May 3rd … Plotting with Depth



Tracking Running… April 30th, 2017
3 miles. No running.
Weight 194. (Goal 170)
Month to date distance: 102 miles

Tracking Word Counts… April 30th, 2017
Totals For Year 4, Month 9, Day 30 (Year started August)
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,319

— Daily Fiction: 2,200 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 77,000 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,000 words 
— Blog Posts: 600 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 24,300 words
— E-mail: 31 e-mails.  Approx. 2,200 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 765 e-mails. Approx. 49,200 words
— Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories to date: 38 stories.
— Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 5 novels.


You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Thanks for your support.


  • Melissa Bitter

    Congratulations Dean!! 🙂 Looking forward to reading all of your stories from the month.

  • Dawn Blair

    Woo hoo! Congratulations. I certainly echo Isabo’s comment, and it has really helped me up my word count as well. Following your inspiration, I’m having so much fun challenging myself as well.

  • D J Mills

    Well done! I tried to keep up with word counts on my 5 day/week writing. Almost kept up. 🙂
    Looking forward to your posts on each novel you complete from your novel starts in April.
    And I love all the short story covers.

  • Gnondpom

    Congratulations! Not that I doubted your ability to do it, but very impressive nevertheless.

    And it was also fascinating to see a brand new series emerge from this challenge. It was very instructive to see it appear out of thin air, and then develop to the point that you got 12 stories in this series out of the 30 stories in total – and you didn’t even start with them until day 9!

    As usual, thank you very much for sharing, and I’m looking forward to following you on your novel challenge!

  • Joel

    This is all well and good, but how can I do the same? What is wrong with me that I can’t even consitently write at least your lowest output (1,200 story 7:The Wait) daily. I’m not sick, all my fingers work, I have a printer. My inane procrastination must be hiding some myth about writing. Also, I try to outline but get bogged down. I fear “pantsing it” (ie it will be a crappy story). I remember April! Everyday I would get to my writing desk and stare at my computer, or daydream, or worry, or etc etc.

    • dwsmith


      You can look at what you wrote in the comment and see all the problems. To you no story is better than some story that might be flawed. Actually the other way around, but you think not writing is better than writing and failing. Oh, oh…

      You think that you have to have an idea to start writing. Nope, just a character in a setting and let it go. But the fear of writing a flawed story makes sure that your critical voice wants a story first before you start and thus, same issue.

      You are trying to write from your critical brain. You are trapped in a perfection myth.

      So what would happen if you just sat down, without a plot or an idea, made up a character and put them in a setting and started typing with no care of the story working or not, no care if it is a short story or a novel, no care if it wins you money or no one reads it???? What would happen??

      Well, you might write 30 stories in 30 days instead of none. And you certainly would have a lot more fun.

      Stop worrying about writing a “crappy” story (your critical voice there) and just have fun writing. Get all the English teachers out of your head, any negative thoughts, and just write and have fun. You have nothing to lose by doing that. But by continuing to be afraid, you will fail, as you have done. It is automatic. Fear leads to failure. Fun leads to success in writing. Go have fun.

      • Joel

        Dean Thanks for that. When you said perfection myth, I thought, yes that’s it. I instantly remembered when I was a kid I would go the extra mile (or two or three) for homework . Even in sixth grade I recall we had to make a comic book version of the book the teacher read out to us (Farley Mowat’s ‘Owls In The Family’) generally summarizing the book’s plot. I still recall to this day I had to illustrate EVERY scene of that book otherwise it would not be ‘perfect’. And I did many scenes over and over because they weren’t ‘right’. It was over spring break and I used it all up rewriting, redrawing etc. If I had done it your way I would have been finished in the second day instead of the 10th.

        And your so right about the English teachers! It’s funny I remember all my English teachers names but none of the other teachers all the way till last year of high school. They were critics evry one of them . And all their grammar and story criticisms, critiques etc.

        I can’t argue with your logic: what WOULD happen? I would at least have 30 stories. Plus I can’t think of another job I would want to do , honestly. Ill try it your way then, I’ll do it then just for fun . You obviously have fun with your writing though it didn’t register in my head until now even though It oozes out of your website. You’re enjoying the ride as they say. It’s a relaxing poker game to you and you got all the cards counted while the mughles are sweating through it all.

        The way I write now (when I do write) feels like driving a car with the parking brake on! Ok I’ll try it staring now.

        • dwsmith

          Joel, the key really is to do your best with each moment, yet not care about the overall result. A Zen sort of state. (grin) And have fun.

          Also, keep clearly in mind. No story is perfect. Never has been one, never will be. Here is the fun of it. When you think you have written a “perfect” story. Yeah! Then five years later you look back at the “perfect” story and it is a mess. All of our skills are moving forward all the time if we keep learning and practicing. So we do the best we can, release and move on, knowing that story or novel was the best we could do at that moment. That is why I published my very first published novel written in 1987 without changing a word of it. It was the best I could do in 1987. And I am proud of that fact, not embarrassed by it.

          No perfect story. Do the best as you write and then release. That simple, that difficult. Write me if you get stuck on something.

          • Joel

            I get it : ” do the best AS you write” not after you’ve written. You didn’t change a word from that novel , of course since you were writing the best you could in 1987 just by writing in the moment you are saying you bring the best you got yo the page at the moment in time naturally by having fun not caring. I’ve never heard of such a thing It’s like being a little kid again for me (pre sixth grade).

            Thank you for your kind offer about getting stuck . I’ll write and read your blog here daily as I move along. We’ll see what happens by the time my bday rolls around in September. I’m going to get some tea now and go to it. Thank you sir!

    • Harvey

      Joel, ditto what Dean said. Plus maybe the wisest thing I’ve ever heard about writing (storytelling), also from DWS:

      Trust your subconscious. It’s been telling stories since before you even knew the alphabet.

      Believe me, it works. Just sit down, put your fingers on the keys, and write whatever comes to mind (character with a problem in a setting). Then write the next sentence, write the next sentence, write the next sentence.

      And TRUST it. The character(s) will lead you through to the end.

      In April 2014, I told an old friend (and writer) I was going to start writing one short story every week, and I explained writing into the dark. I did that for 70 weeks before I broke the streak.

      In October 2014, I told the same friend I was going to start writing novels the same way. He wrote back that I’d never pull it off. I’d burn out.

      To date, I’ve written just under 170 short stories, 24 novels and 3 novellas. I’m not burnt out. I started novel #25 yesterday, and I can only barely wait to get back to it today to find out what will happen.

      Trust your subconscious and go have fun!

      • Thomas E

        Pen names. I know from a commercial point of view they may be bad but…

        A nice closed pen name no one can ever associate with you.

        Because if the story is terrible… No one will ever know it’s you.

        Plausible deniability. That’s what got me through the first hundred stories without rewriting.

        • dwsmith

          Thomas, not sure dealing with fear is a valid business reason for a pen name. (grin) Not sure what anyone can do to you if you write a story that doesn’t work. Just saying. Writing a story that misses is not a capital offense. (grin) It’s not even an offense. It happens with all writers. Hurting your business and income because of not dealing with a fear is sort of compounding a problem.

          • Thomas E

            Oh I agree. From a business perspective…. Terrible decision:)

            I’m moving to my own name for fiction pretty much from now on.

            But… It did work for me at the time. Got me to the point where I’d written enough to no longer care about all the stuff in Joel’s post.

      • Joel

        Harvey thank you for that too. That’s so inspiring to me. 170 short stories , 24 novels & 3 novellas from 2014 till now . Brilliant! I’ll trust the subconscious , though my critical mind as dean rightly calls it , my critical conscious tries to get in the way. I think I understand why some writer’s drink now. They are numbing their critical minds maybe? To get them out of the way? I’m not going to drink though but I will treat it as a fun thing , like a game. I notice that when I played video games as a kid the perfection bug never bothered me , I was too busy just focusing on the fun.