Challenge,  On Writing

January Challenge Stories

List of All 31 Stories for January…

Well, after an amazingly difficult month in the real world, and basically just starting cold after a tough fall and December, I wrote 31 short stories, one per day, in January.

Many, many nights I thought about just skipping the story and catching it up later, but I didn’t. All the stories were short stories except one I didn’t wrap up very well and it is a clear novel start. About eight of the stories are novel starts that I wrapped into short stories until somewhere in the middle of the month I managed to actually just write short stories.

They ranged from over 4,000 words to the shortest one I wrote tonight at 1,350 words.

All 31 of them are in one series or another of mine, plus starting one new series, with the most stories by far on Bryant Street.

Three of the 31 Kris wants me to send out to the top magazines. I’m thinking about it. A little promotion if they take one wouldn’t hurt at this point.

I am expecting to get caught in story arches that expand over numbers of stories going forward. That happened in a small way twice this month. A few stories in the Seeders Universe and a few stories in the Pakhat Jones world. Not done in either, so more stories next month as my creative brain tells me it wants to do one.

How I started was every night I would sit in my writing chair and save my story template to the date and then the word story. So for example, tonights story I started off with a file that was Jan 31st… story.

Then I grabbed my title sheet and looked at titles. However, tonight while looking at titles, I glanced over at the screen on my Serius Radio which is set on the 60s channel and I noted the song “It’s My Party” playing. (I have the sound down when writing.)

So that caught me and I wrote on my manuscript title spot “It’s My Party” and put Bryant Street Story under it and started typing. A twisted Bryant Street story.

So that’s what I did every night, found a title and started typing.

Only three days of the month did I actually get to my computer before 11 pm and normally it was midnight. Got to change that going forward, do more in the afternoons.

I am having one issue with Critical Voice. Nothing at all with any of the writing or the stories or anything like that, and I want to get to the computer every day, so nothing like most have at all. My critical voice is trying to stop me with the simple saying, “What are you going to do with 365 short stories?” That is a killer question and it has been coming at me a lot. You see, if I actually wrote at my real speed, I would overwhelm the crew at WMG and I don’t want to do that. And writing that many short stories and putting them in large collections and in Smith’s Monthly will not bury them. It will be a lot of work, but it won’t bury them. But that does not stop my critical voice from asking that question.

And also the question, “How are you going to keep track of that many stories?” Another killer question from the critical voice. So fighting that battle which I know is way, way different than all of your critical voice battles. But still real and only comes at people like me who are prolific and steady over years.

I will keep you up on how that battle goes.

And my word count is about 95,000 words of short fiction and about 10,000 words of blogs and about 5,000 other misc consumable words, so for the month about 110,000 words, So about 1,320,000 words in a year at that pace so Pulp 2.5. And I haven’t even added in the novels yet. Okay start for a tough month.

So here is the list of the stories that will be in the book SHORT STORIES FROM JANUARY. I will also get all of these out on Patreon (except maybe the three I will submit to magazines. If I decide to do that I can’t put them on Patreon until after they are published.

Jan 1st… The Curious Reasons For Death. Mary Jo Assassin Story
Jan 2nd…Trail Guns Meet. A Thunder Mountain Story
Jan 3rd… The Beauty in a Puzzling Case. A Sky Tate Story
Jan 4th… Death and Life in a Long Hot Day. A Marble Grant Story
Jan 5th… And Blue Finds Home. A Thunder Mountain Story
Jan 6th… Kill For A Statistic. A Bryant Street Story
Jan 7th… The Birth of a Superhero. A Poker Boy Story
Jan 8th… A Gift from the Centuries. A Seeders Universe Story
Jan 9th… Mission to Drift. A Seeders Universe Story
Jan 10th… The Galactic Missing. A Seeders Universe Story
Jan 11th… No Place Like HOA. A Bryant Street Story
Jan 12th… Enough Time. A Thunder Mountain Story
Jan 13th… It Happened Behind the Walls. A Dead People’s Home Story (New Series)
Jan 14th… The Woman In The Wall. A Mary Jo Assassin Story
Jan 15th… Deadly Invisible Sky. A Pakhet Jones Story
Jan 16th… Lost Canyon. A Thunder Mountain Story
Jan 17th… Start With Butter. A Sky Tate Story
Jan 18th… For the Show of It. Bryant Street Story
Jan 19th…A Home for the Books. A Bryant Street Story
Jan 20th… The Wife. A Bryant Street Story
Jan 21st… Lost Canyon Cave. A Thunder Mountain Story
Jan 22nd… Ashes to Weddings. A Marble Grant Story
Jan 23rd… Subdivision Survival: The Game. A Bryant Street Story
Jan 24th… Without a Ripple. A Thunder Mountain Story
Jan 25th… Lost Sense. A Seeders Universe Story
Jan 26th… Attic Voices. A Bryant Street Story
Jan 27th… Distant Star. A Seeders Universe Story
Jan 28th… Too Damned Hot. A Pakhet Jones Story
Jan 29th… The Panic of the Rain. A Pakhet Jones Story
Jan 30th… Notes Toward My Next Book. A Thunder Mountain Story
Jan 31st… It’s My Party. A Bryant Street Story

And a learning point for all of you reading this. If you catch yourself thinking, “They all can’t be good.” when looking at that list, you have some work to do to clear out that critical voice thinking that is stopping you and slowing you down.

First five covers…


  • Mihnea+Manduteanu

    So regarding the story arcs that you said expand over more stories in the same series. Is this so you can combine them in novels later, or simply sequels or whatever to the same stories?

      • Rebecca M. Senese

        That happened to me twice when I was doing the Great Challenge of a short story a week. I ended up with two series of ten stories each. So much fun!

        So many writers write novels that way. James Blish did it and so did Stuart Kaminsky.

  • Philip

    Two things I think of when I see this list. First, I love that there’s a lot of Bryant Street stories (my favorite). Second, I’ve only had one YEAR where I hit that output. It motivates me to keep my own short story challenge going.