Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  Writing in Public

New Challenge Starting

New Challenge Starting

I talked about a new challenge back at the first of the year, but realized after I had started it that my timing was off. So now the timing is right and I am starting up The Year of Short Fiction. See below for details.


The Day

Writers meeting up behind the new store, then worked on workshop stuff and writing stuff in my office at WMG until 7 p.m., then off to the grocery store, then home to cook dinner.

Did the workshop assignments, then went out and kept reading the book I have been reading lately. It’s got me hooked. (grin) Only reason I mention it is that I read longer than normal.

Got in here around 1 a.m. and worked on the writing side setting up my writing stuff for this new challenge, then came back here and did the announcement for the two new workshops starting in August.

No plan to write tonight, but it’s still early so I may do a nonfiction piece I have to do.


New Workshops Announced

In August, Writing Mystery and Reader Expectations workshops will start. Post above this with details if you missed it.

Taking sign-ups now. Got a hunch both of them might fill.


July Workshop Schedule

All July workshops have room. All are limited to five writers max. And they all start up a week from Tuesday and Wednesday. Just over a week away.

All details at

Class #1… July 5th … Author Voice
Class #2… July 5th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #3… July 5th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #4… July 5th … Plotting With Depth
Class #5… July 5th … Character Development
Class #6… July 6th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… July 6th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8… July 6th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… July 6th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10… July 6th … Teams in Fiction

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.


Topic of the Night: New Challenge

I’m going to put here an altered version of the post from last January. A bunch of stuff very different. But the challenge I started and then postponed to now is not forgotten. Here it is in new form.


I had so much fun writing those 32 stories in July (Stories from July now out in electronic and paper), I started instantly looking around for a way to do it again. Drove my friends nuts as I tried to work out a way to not make the idea of writing a lot of short stories every month something that made sense.

So finally, working with Allyson at WMG Publishing, and talking with Kris, I came up with the idea of THE YEAR OF SHORT FICTION: A Twelve Volume Series.

Here is the challenge in overall summary, then I will break it down to how it will work.

I want to write about 200 new and original short stories starting from July 1st and going to the last day of June 2017. Not flash fiction, but regular short stories of varied lengths. And I hope to write them in all my various series as well and come up with new series as well.

I will do what I did last July. I will start from a title and on the blog I’ll explain where the title came from and how the writing went.

The short term goal is to do at least 32 short stories in July to match what I did last year. That will get me off to a great start.

If you do math, you know I need to write about 17 stories per month to hit 200 stories in a year. Some months I will do more, others not so many. Nature of life and writing.

But 200 original short stories is more stories than most writers write in entire careers. So this should be interesting to watch over the year, to say the least.

I will also hope to write a dozen novels over the year while doing this and a few more nonfiction books.

Yes, I have done the math. If I manage to write 200 stories at an average of 4,000 words each, that’s 800,000 words. And twelve novels will add in another 600,000 words of original fiction. Not counting non-fiction and blogs and all that.

So that’s an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

So here are my bites.

I will continue to get out Smith’s Monthly every month to subscribers and Patreon supporters. That will be my major focus.

I will write on a short story every night that I can. I will just focus on the night and the story and not look much at the overall picture as I go. I will just enjoy the process of writing a short story.

And I will report here about every short story, as well as the writing of the novels.

As the fall goes, I will start putting the stories into 15 story collections, one labeled per month, starting in the month of January, 2017.

The January pub date will allow me to be ahead on the challenge and for WMG to offer subscriptions and other things on the twelve volume series. By then it will be clear I can make it through the twelve volumes as well. (grin)

Also, the reason I will write extra stories is that I hope to send some of them off to major magazines along the way and put some in Fiction River. And, of course, I will need stories for Smith’s Monthly at some point.  I will report on those as well.

So that’s my new year coming up, starting from July 1st as I renew the challenge of writing 32 short stories in July.

If nothing else, it should be entertaining to watch me struggle with some of this.

Thanks for all the support. Onward.


Totals For Year 3, Month 11, Day 26

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,012

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 66,600 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 900 words 

— Blog Posts: 1,900 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 17,300 words

— E-mail: 21 e-mails. Approx. 900 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 410 e-mails. Approx. 26,400 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 2 Covers


You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.

Or you can just toss a tip into the tip jar with a single donation at PayPal. Either way, your support keeps me going at these crazy posts.

And thanks.

If you would like to leave a tip just hit (Goes to WMG Publishing account, but I’ll get it just fine.)


  • Gnondpom

    I’m looking forward to following your challenge, it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch, and I hope for you too!

    I’m always impressed by the challenges you set for yourself, they sound flat impossible at first, and then, bit by bit, you manage to get there. It does really add up like you say, which is a good lesson. And then you write a 40’000 words novel in 10 days and nobody comments, since it just sounds normal for you! (grin)

    One question: I imagine the short fiction volumes will be available to your Patreon subscribers, like the Smith’s Monthly issues? It will be great to read your fiction after seeing you struggle to write so many different stories!

    • dwsmith

      Yes, they should be. I’ll talk with the fine folks at WMG Publishing to make sure, but I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t be.

  • James

    You mentioned writing in all your series for this challenge, and creating a few new ones.

    Have you ever discussed (in the blog or in a workshop) the intentional creation of a series of short stories? From following your blog, I know that your Jukebox series came about mostly because you kept writing Jukebox stories in an attempt to capture a story idea/feeling/etc. that you felt you hadn’t quite captured in the previous tales. The Bryant Street series doesn’t use the same characters (I think … I’d have to go back and re-read to be sure). The Poker Boy series has an ever increasing cast.

    Since your writing style is that you write to discover the story, at what point do you know you’ve created a series character and not a one-off?

    • dwsmith

      James, never thought about intentionally creating a short story series. Honestly, I have no idea I’m going to write a series story until after I start a story, so thinking ahead like that for me would just grind me down into a puddle I’m afraid. I just write what strikes me and sometimes it continues a series and sometimes it just goes off in another direction. Bryant Street has no regular character besides the street. I just go from house to house along the street and tell stories of something in the house. And yeah, Poker Boy tends to add in new gods and superheroes all the time, but the core team has stayed the same for some time now.

      As for what point do I know. Well, on one of my regular series, I tend to know quickly into the story. As for a new series, I only know if Kris tells me after she reads it that the story would be a good series start. And then I have to not think about it and just let my creative voice make its way back to the possible new series. If it doesn’t the story just stays as a stand-alone.

  • Martin

    This is interesting especially with the goal of still doing novels and nonfiction work.

    Makes me feel lazy with my 250-1500 words a day.

      • Martin

        I appreciate that. Plus using your investment metrics that you have written about in the past, my writing is doing very well. Not fulltime yet, but part time money.

  • Kevin Johnson

    Jeeze, Dean, I’m still trying to keep up with your last challenge for June. With the exception of one day, I’ve steadily written 3000 words a day. Re-read a book recently about story vs plotting, and decided to practice identifying and managing reader expectations as I cycle through previous chapters. No end in sight at 79k words. I’m certainly not completing 2 novels this month, but this current story is crazy fun.

    With the exception of two life events coming up this summer, I’m free for the most part so I’m tempted to keep up with you. At least to September. Then I have lesson planning to do. Call me crazy, but I’m still a youngish writer at 35 (or so I’m told), so I’m pretty “naive” and ambitious. I’m not making a living at this just yet, but I feel goals like this are what will help me get some experience and practice in to climb up a stage. So thank you for the inspiration. Just moved to the Seattle area last year and I don’t know any other writers around. You’re the only connection to a writing community I’ve got at the moment.

    • dwsmith

      Kevin, there are a bunch of writers in Seattle. A bunch. Like scratch moss off a tree and you’ll find a writer behind the moss.

      Sounds like you are doing great and having fun. It really is fun when you get going, isn’t it?

    • Leah Cutter

      Kevin – I’m one of the Seattle writers. you might want to look into the Meetup Group Capitol Hill Seattle Writers. They meet 3x a week at various coffee shops on Capitol Hill. All they do is write. No critique. No sharing manuscripts. just writing. If you want to contact me, I think you’ll be able to click my name on this comment and go to my web site.

      Leah Cutter