Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Digging the Hole Deeper

Just Decided to Take the Night Off…

I decided that because I am getting up silly early tomorrow morning to help with some stuff on this move we are doing, (in essence, help get a place ready to move stuff into from here) I would take the night off.

And get a full night’s sleep for the first time in a while. Go figure.

So no story.

And I have some assignments I have not gotten to and some email I will try to work on tomorrow afternoon and evening, as things finally settle back out here after a wild and crazy ten days. Sorry for the delay on that.

So now I am four stories down which means I need to write 15 stories in the next eleven days. I honestly think I can do that. So the towel is solidly still outside the ring.

I knew that this challenge was going to be different. And it is shaping up to be exactly that. But so far I have 15 short stories I didn’t have nineteen days ago. That’s a win.




All the details we have right now are in a couple posts below this one. Both the Master Business Class in October and the Anthology workshop will be moving to the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. I will be contacting everyone already signed up in the next week.

Still room in both workshops. Write me with questions.


Day One… Scared Money… 2,700 words…. Total April words… 2,700 words.
Day Two… Rainbow Peak… 4,900 words…. Total April words… 7,600 words.
Day Three… A Beautiful History… 2,300 words…. Total April words… 9,900 words.
Day Four… A Song For The Old Memory… 2,050 words…. Total April words… 11,950 words.
Day Five… A Brush with Intent… 1,000 words…. Total April words… 12,950 words.
Day Six… Ghost Diet… 2,700 words…. Total April words… 15,650 words.
Day Seven… Rescue Two… 3,300 words…. Total April words… 18,950 words.
Day Eight… The Woman Who Knew The Time… 3,200 words…. Total April words… 22,150 words.
Day Nine… Long Hair Henry… 4,400 words…. Total April words… 26,550 words.
Day Ten… I’ll See You… 1,500 words…. Total April words… 28,050 words.
Day Eleven… Girl on the Bed… 2,000 words…. Total April words… 30,050 words.
Day Twelve… Everything Got Colder… 2,050 words…. Total April words… 32,100 words.
Day Thirteen… (did not write)… 00 words…. Total April words… 32,100 words.
Day Fourteen… (did not write)… 00 words…. Total April words… 32,100 words.
Day Fifteen… Old Memories… 2,700 words…. Total April words… 34,800 words.
Day Sixteen… Models’ Four.. 1,900 words…. Total April words… 36,700 words.
Day Seventeen… (did not write).. 00 words…. Total April words… 36,700 words.
Day Eighteen… Green Canyon.. 2,500 words…. Total April words… 39,200 words.
Day Nineteen… (did not write).. 00 words…. Total April words… 39,200 words.



— Insider’s Guide to Writing Serial Fiction (2,000 word parts of a novel) (Starts May 6th)
— Insider’s Guide to Writing Detective Fiction. (Starts May 6th)

$300 each, limited to ten writers plus lifetime subscribers. One time workshops. They will not be regular. Sorry.




Sign up directly through Teachable or if you have a credit, write me. Everyone who wrote me and signed up through me.

Class #49… May 1st … Depth #3: Research
Class #50… May 1st … Author Voice
Class #51… May 1st … Dialog
Class #52… May 1st … Writing into the Dark
Class #53… May 1st … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #54… May 1st … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #55… May 2nd … Depth in Writing
Class #56… May 2nd … Business
Class #57… May 2nd … (open)
Class #58… May 2nd … (open)
Class #59… May 2nd … Novel Structure
Class #60… May 2nd … Writing Fantasy



  • Harvey

    I admire your tenacity, Dean. It has to be difficult too having your life partner physically so far away. The phone and computer connections are there, but it isn’t the same as having the energy of the person. Plus you’re going through a major trauma, moving out of the house you’ve been in so long. Plus all the other things you have going on. That’s a lot. Hang in there. I’m sure a lot of fans and students are pulling for you.

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Harvey. Appreciate the kind thoughts. The hard part is that the last week was so intense with work stuff. That is easing and I feel like I got a shot at this. I might be nuts, usually am, but still… (grin)

  • Philip

    Many of us haven’t written 15 stories in a YEAR! My money is on you succeeding in the challenge.

  • JM

    You’ve mentioned how Kris is your first reader and, frequently, how she will tell you that a story works, even when you’re not sure of it yourself. Are there any stories these days where she says it doesn’t? Or have you practiced enough that it never happens any more?

    If she does tell you a story doesn’t work, do you ever try to fix it (obviously, if you disagree, you’ll keep it the way it is)? Or toss it and rewrite it? Or just toss it (because you’ve also mentioned how bored you get looking at the same story again)?

    • dwsmith

      Yup, all of the above. (grin) Our rule is that we won’t let a story out of the house that will embarrass. Sometimes a story doesn’t work exactly the way we would hoped, but it’s all right as it stands.

      It has been a long, long time for either of us since we completely killed a story on first read. So long I can’t honestly remember, but that comes from the years of writing and our skill levels. The used to say that Stephen King could write down his laundry list and it would sell. Well, yes, because if he did write it down, it would be a fascinating and maybe horrifying story. Story is so engrained after decades that it is tough to not write a decent story. People might not like it, but it will still work at its core as a story.

      I often don’t listen to Kris about some details and she doesn’t listen to me about some things either because they are our stories, not our first reader’s story. So we have that in perspective.

      So most things go out for both of us, with typos and nits fixed.

  • Scott Gordon

    I hadn’t planned on it, but I guess I’m doing the challenge with you.

    For the past three days, I’ve been averaging at least 4,200 words. This doesn’t mean that my stories are exactly 4,200 words–the combined total must break this number. My goal is to do this for an entire month, along with using the principles of Writing into the Dark and Heinlein’s Rules.

    Today’s story worked out to 2,868 without cycling back. I tend not to cycle because it disrupts my rhythm. I guess I’m more of a “fix draft” kind of guy. I cycle over the whole work after it’s out of me; otherwise, it feels like I’m letting the editor out of the box too early. I try to keep it all in creative voice, but it still feels like my mind switches over to semi-editing mode when I cycle frequently. Every once in a while is fine, though. I’m not strictly adhering to the principles, but I’m implementing them the best I can. It’s all about practice at this point and showing up to the page.

    To get started, I simply want to write. I’ve chosen humor as my springboard because it’s one of my great loves, but I understand that my humor isn’t for everyone. Little by little, I’ll gravitate to more serious works of fiction. But for now, why not have fun with it? And that’s what I’m doing.

    So far I have:

    Wednesday: Short work about writing + Author’s Note (4,200 words/complete)
    Thursday: Added 2,300+ words to a humorous WIP + 2 sections/2,000 words of a humorous book about writing (a different WIP) / Neither are complete yet
    Friday: Humorous story (2,868 words/complete) + Author’s Note (434 words) + 1 section of a humorous book about writing (385 words)

    I just need approximately 600 words to hit my goal for the day.

    One observation: It’s nice to have these longer works in progress that I can continue to add to as I try to hit my word count each day. Occasionally, I’ll hit the desired length or exceed it with a new story. If I come up short, I can always extend the lines of the longer Works in Progress (WIP) which are simply too big to tackle in one day.

    And yes, I realize that some individuals are against strict word counts. For me, my goal is to get a certain amount of practice each day, regardless of the obstacles. I want the reps, and I feel that the most honest way to do this is to set a word count goal. I’ve found that if I set the bar lower, I’ll get less, and my stories will be shorter because some days, “I just want to get it over with.” This is me keeping myself honest. If there’s a better way to do this, I’m open to suggestions, but it’s working for now.

    • dwsmith

      Scott, way cool! Sounds like it is going great. No suggestions when something is working. The key is to keep it fun.

  • Scott Gordon

    BTW, I just wanted to add that I hit my goal and wound up with about 4,500 words. I could have done more, so if I have the opportunity again, I’ll push past 5,000 as long as it doesn’t drain me.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comments, Dean. I realize you’re busy and appreciate a few moments of your time.