Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Challenges Coming Up

I Am Getting Closer to Setting Some For Myself…

Since my challenge of publishing 67 major books in my 67th year failed so fantastically due to the life roll of a sudden move to Las Vegas (I will manage about 20 or so), I’ve been thinking about maybe doing 68 major published books for my 68th year. I have a little time to decide.

I am also thinking of the crazy idea that came up in some comments a week back. “Living at Pulp Speed Five.”  Writing ten finished novels in 100 days.  Yeah, that is crazy, but could be great fun. And it would be a great nonfiction book written along the way.

And for those of you who don’t know, Pulp Speed Five is about 160,000 words per month.

(Pulp Speed One is about 80,000, Two is 100,000, Three is 120,000, and Four is 140,000 words per month.)

Pulp Speed basically means writing one million words per year. Pulp Speed Five is writing around two million words per year if kept up for the entire year.

And yes, if I did the challenge, you would all be able to read the novels very shortly after I finished. In fact, my gut sense is the first one in the challenge would be coming out before I wrote the last one. (I love this new world.)

So I’m thinking about the challenges. But I have also opened back up the challenge to a few of you who want to give it a try starting in September. Write thirty stories in sixty days or three novels in three months. You get two workshop credits for even giving it a try and I will read what you get finished.

There are still a couple spots open in both challenges (I limit it to five per challenge.) So here is the information again.

Novel And Short Story Challenge

There are two challenges starting September 1st. A short story challenge and a novel challenge. The short story writers do 30 stories in 60 days, turn them in to me. The novel writers do three novels in three months and turn them in to me as they finish each one.

I read all the way along and take notes because I don’t want to get behind, but I tend to wait toward the end before mailing out my responses because the last thing anyone needs is my voice in their heads while they are trying to do their own work.

After you are done, you get your two regular online workshops ($600 value) to take when you want.

As a first reader, I comment as a reader and as an editor some. I say what I like, what doesn’t work for me, and general stuff like that. I D0 NOT COPYEDIT or REWRITE your story or help plot a story. However, I did tell the short story people if a short story would work as a novel. (grin)

And more importantly, if I thought a story worked, I said so. Simply and clearly.

Also a fun side detail on this. I have bought five stories for Pulphouse so far from the three challenges. I tell the people to send them off to other markets first, but if they don’t sell, send them back. Five have come back that fit my new magazine. A wonderful bonus for me I had not expected.

So I am going to do this again if anyone is interested to write starting September 1st and have me be your first reader. Both short story and novel challenges.

I WILL ONLY TAKE FIVE FOR EACH CHALLENGE.  So jump in real quick if you want to do this. They fill every time so far, usually very quickly.

SHORT STORY Challenge:

Write thirty short stories in 60 days. You can take the full time or you can write them in a month. Up to you.

— I will charge $600 to be your first reader. You get two online workshops of your choice, a $600 value when you are finished, just for giving it a try, even if you don’t hit all thirty. (In essence I read for free.)

— If you feel the challenge is not working for you, you can take an off ramp and get the two online workshops at any point. So you can try this risk free.

NOVEL Challenge:

Write three novels in September, October, and November You can take the full time or you can write them quicker. Up to you.

— I will charge $600 to be your first reader. You get two online workshops of your choice, a $600 value when you finish or the time runs out. (In essence, I will read for free if you do the challenge.)

— Novels can be any length over 30,000 words and at least half of the first one must be written during the time of the challenge.

— If you feel the challenge is not working for you, you can take an off ramp and get the two online workshops at any point.

My duties as first reader will be this:

I will read your story or novel as a reader, comment as a reader and as an editor some. I will tell you what I liked, what didn’t work for me, and general stuff like that. I WILL NOT COPYEDIT or REWRITE your story or help you plot your story.

— A warning… I have a thick skin and Kris can say if she liked a story or not or if it worked or not and I just shrug and write the next story. To finish a challenge like this, you would need to keep my comments out of your head. I might even suggest you don’t look at my comments that do I do send until the challenge is over. I more than likely will be reading, but not sending back comments so you won’t be tempted until done with the challenge.

— Cost is $600. No restrictions. First five signed up and paid for each challenge are in.

So in summary, pay $600 to get me as a first reader for thirty stories or three novels. Start on September 1st.  Short story challenge goes until the end of October, the novel challenge until the end of November. You get two $300 online workshops when over and my reading for free.

This was great fun for me this last three times. I am actually surprised at that.

So looking forward to being a first reader for some of your work. And if you have done the challenge before and want to do it again, fine by me.

Of course, you could always just do it on your own and play along, test to see if you can do it without me reading your stories.

Any questions, feel free to write me or ask in the comments section.

Yes, I am this crazy to do this a fourth time. But you all knew that.



  • allynh


    I was revisiting some of the older posts and in one you mentioned Edward D. Hoch. I finally looked him up and saw that he’d done over 900 short stories in his life. At a short story a week, that would take less that 18 years to equal. The different series of stories/characters look fun. I’ve just ordered a couple of his collections to sample, so I will know more as I read them. Thanks…

    BTW, I like the concept of writing a ten novels in a hundred days.

    • dwsmith

      My goal is to beat Hoch’s total on short fiction, but I do it a different way, writing thirty in a month, things like that. I tend to average between 60 to 70 per year, so not far off of one per week average.

  • Anon

    I have a couple questions about the novel challenge (assuming there are still spots open):

    1. Does the story have to be submitted on a certain schedule like once a week, or can it be submitted as a whole at the end of the month? (Meaning do you want in-progress submissions or is it okay to submit each novel once it’s finished?)
    2. Are there certain types of novels that would be better for this than others, as far as what you prefer to critique? I have an idea for books I want to get done, and they’re a lot more character-focused than plot-focused. I’m not sure how much in your area that is. What kind of feedback do you tend to give for books that aren’t what you’d ordinarily read for fun?

    • dwsmith

      Still spots open in the short story challenge. Nope, you turn in a story when you want to turn it in.

      And I DO NOT want to see anything in progress. I won’t even look at anything in progress. Finished is it, nothing more or less.

      No type of novel required. I read pretty much across the board, although there are some types of fiction I like more than others, of course. Personal taste, but you are not writing for me, you are writing for yourself. I basically read like a reader, nothing more.

      If a book works for me, I tell you. If a book didn’t work for me, I tell you. And I tell you why it either works or doesn’t work for me. But I read everything.

    • dwsmith

      Chris, just wrote you. For everyone else, to sign up for the challenge, just write me and tell me you want to jump into the fun. Spots open in both the novel challenge and the short story challenge.

    • dwsmith

      Yup, you are right. Pulp Speed Five is 1,800,000 words per year and Pulp Speed Six is two million. Since the math works out to 1.8 million words a year at the pace of the challenge, and I have the cover for the book done already (Living at Pulp Speed Five), think I’ll go with the 1.8. (grin)

      • Kevin McLaughlin

        Works for me either way! 🙂 I’m flying at Pulp Speed…er, what is 10,000 words a day?…right now. Want to see how long I can keep it up. 🙂