Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Story Fifteen… Halfway Through the Challenge


Halfway and having fun. Yes, writing a short story per day is fun. And Kris says she is enjoying reading my stories every morning. 

I imagine I would enjoy reading a new story (and making light notes) on a story a day from someone as well. (Yes, I would charge for that (grin).) Only problem is that no one I know could tackle that kind of challenge.

But if you are crazy enough to think you could do it, write me and I will tell you how much I would charge to be your first reader for a month of short stories. (What a nuts idea. I might change my mind. (grin))

So halfway through my challenge. We shall see if I can make it. Tonight I got another late start, and then ended up trying to figure out where a Poker Boy story I stumbled across was published. It hadn’t been in Smith’s Monthly yet, but my note on the file said it was published.

(I really wish I kept better records sometimes.)

I ended up spending a half hour and finding not one, not two, but three published stories that have not been reprinted in Smith’s Monthly yet. And two of them were Poker Boy stories. So I added them to my board where I am tracking contents of coming issues and then went to write a story.

I was about to go after my half-title pages when a sentence popped into my head and I typed it as an opening line. “Sometimes cold cases are easy to solve, even after forty years.”

Nifty first line, which did not end up being the first line, but I fired up a Cold Poker Gang short story and it didn’t even blow up into a novel. In fact, it stayed at 1,800 words that I did in two sessions and finished by 5 a.m.

Then I titled it, “A No-Win Hand: A Cold Poker Gang story.”

So a win for me tonight.

Here at the Covers and Stories for the April challenge. 

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

(Plus six 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 15th, 2017
3 miles. No running.
Weight 194. (Goal 170)
Month to date distance: 53 miles

Tracking Word Counts… April 15th, 2017
Totals For Year 4, Month 9, Day 15 (Year started August)
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,304

— Daily Fiction: 1,800 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 36,500 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,000 words 
— Blog Posts: 500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 10,300 words
— E-mail: 22 e-mails. Approx. 800 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 414 e-mails. Approx. 25,500 words
— Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories to date: 23 stories.
— Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 5 novels.


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  • Scott Gordon

    When you started this challenge, did you consider extending it slightly, say by 10%? Such as: “This time around, I’m going to do 110% of the original goal, or 33 days.” Or is a month of continuous writing short stories plenty of challenge enough?

    • dwsmith

      More than enough, Scott. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean. (grin) Besides, starting in May I have a ton of novels to write, so will be doing at least two per month through the summer to get Smith’s Monthly back on track. I needed the thirty short stories to fill the seven issues of Smith’s Monthly I am short on. Plus if I manage this, it will be the second monthly challenge done and I can start a series. Stories from July and Stories from April. In ten years I can have all twelve months done. (grin…that’s a dream)

  • Mike Lawrence

    For some reason, I thought you were writing these in the open? Or is there somewhere else I need to look to read them? Or are they behind lock and key until they hit Smith’s Monthly?

    • dwsmith

      Smith’s Monthly. All Patreon supporters and subscribers will get them first over the next six months.

  • Harvey

    No need for the added pressure of writing them in public on top of reporting them in public.

    Motivated by you, I wrote a new short story every week for 70 straight weeks. I posted it “live” to my website as the Free Story of the Week the same week I wrote it (as well as publishing it “wide,” creating collections, etc.).

    I still think the pressure of posting it every week is what finally killed that streak.

    I tried later to “restart” another one-a-week story, but it never got off the ground because I couldn’t shake the elephant out of my head. I was writing one at a time, but I could never shake the sense that I had to do that for at least 71 weeks to surpass what I’d already done. (grin)

    I’ll try the one per day for a month sometime, but not soon. Having too much fun playing with novels right now. Noir flatfoot detective things with a dry bit of humor tossed in. A ton of fun.

  • Thomas E

    I’ve succeeded on a story a day challenge for a month once but it’s a tough challenge!

    My next challenge is 500,000 words in 90 days. Gulp.