Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Story Twenty-Three plus stuff


Started off the day at the writer’s lunch around 2 p.m. About twelve or so writers and great discussions, since five or six were there from the just-finished science fiction workshop. Great lunch, folks. Great discussions. Thanks!

Then I basically took the rest of the day off until around 2:30 a.m. I napped, watched a bunch of television, napped some more. Didn’t even do the cover for the story from yesterday. So two covers to do tomorrow.

Then around 2:30 a.m., very groggy, I got to my writing computer.

Since last night I did the origin story of Tombstone Dan, one of the two main characters in a Thunder Mountain novel I am going to write, it dawned on me that the woman named Maggie, the other main character, had a nifty origin story as well. I didn’t know what it was, but I had a hunch it was nifty.

So off I went writing that as a short story. Took a break around 3:30 a.m. at just over 900 words.

Wrote another 1,300 words by 4:15 a.m., took another short break.

Then wrote another 1,000 words by 5 a.m., got myself some cereal, then finished the story just before 6 a.m. at 4,300 words.

Fun story and I think it stands alone just fine. We shall see.

ONE OBSERVATION… This challenge has been tough the last few days. I’ve been tired, not really wanting to do much, focused in other directions. If I didn’t have this challenge going, the last four or five days would have been zero writing days for me without a doubt. Instead I wrote more stories in the last five days than many writers write in a year.

Onward until I get this challenge done and can fire up on the novel challenge starting in May.


STORY CHALLENGE… Get Me to Read 30 Short Stories

The story challenge that I talked about where I will be a first reader has a few brave souls signed up on it. Yes, there are a few people as nuts as I am.

It’s going to be fun for me to read the stories. It will be a wonderful break every evening from writing on the novels I will be doing.

Information on the challenge is a few posts back. And keep in mind, if you can hit 30 stories in thirty days, WMG will give you credit for two online workshops and if you hit 30 stories in 60 days, you get credit for one online workshop. A fun challenge that will keep your feet to the fire. (grin)

And you will have days like I had today, when life just wants you to lay down and take a nap and you don’t feel like writing. Those are the days you sit down and write anyway. This is not a challenge for the muse, this is a challenge for a writer.

A writer is a person who writes, in case you have forgotten. (grin)

You can start either May 2nd or June 1st. See the post a few days back for details. As I said, I only have three. I feel comfortable reading a few more than that per night.

ONE ADDED NOTE: If you pay for the challenge and start the challenge, but can’t get me 5 stories in ten days, you can bail at that point and the money will go for two online workshops.

The reason for this escape ramp is how difficult this challenge is. (I’ve done it twice now, I know.) I’m not doing this challenge to take your money and you fail and get nothing. I want everyone who signs up to win in one way or another. So if you sign up and pay for this challenge and say start on May 2nd and ten days later you don’t have five stories to me, we call it (If you want to, your choice) and WMG gives you two online workshop credits.

You have five stories turned in to me, you are past the no-return spot. (grin)



Once again tonight I want to point out that Kris has put together one of the most amazing bundles to help writers I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of.  And AbleGamers is the charity on this bundle, which is one of the best causes I have ever seen.

Authors in this are Mary Buckham, Tonya D. Price, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lawrence Block, me, Maggie McVay Lynch, Leah Cutter, Chuck Heintzelman, and Joanna Penn. Plus a $50 lecture from WMG, a discount to get Jutoh, and a discount to all the stuff at a Writer’s Cafe.

You can get it all for $15.00. If you are serious about learning your craft and business of writing, this is about as cheap as it comes.

The Write Stuff Bundle 2017


Here are 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
Story #16… April 16… Habit …2,000 words
Story #17… April 17… A Thief of Regrets …4,600 words
Story #18… April 18… In the Dream of Many Bodies …1,400 words
Story #19… April 19… Wings Out …2,200 words
Story #20… April 20… Delightfully Dizzy …1,700 words
Story #21… April 21… An Immortality of Sorts …2,300 words
Story #22… April 22… Tombstone Canyon …2,600 words
Story #23… April 23… Hidden Canyon …4,300 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 23rd, 2017
3 miles. No running.
Weight 194. (Goal 170)
Month to date distance: 79 miles

Tracking Word Counts… April 23rd, 2017
Totals For Year 4, Month 9, Day 23 (Year started August)
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,312

— Daily Fiction: 4,300 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 56,600 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,000 words 
— Blog Posts: 800 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 17,900 words
— E-mail: 12 e-mails. Approx. 800 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 603 e-mails. Approx. 37,900 words
— Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories to date: 31 stories.
— Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 5 novels.


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  • Nicole

    Playing along with Dean on the sidelines, finishing a novel, Day 1: 1,463 words today.
    A slow start, but hopefully I can ramp up as I go.

  • Sheila

    Dean, you are going to love this. I’m sitting around not quite tired enough for bed, wasting some time away with a little before-bed chill. Not in the mood for any serious thinking, so just googling various things about short stories and playing with prompts. I come across a writing website which informs me that it takes 10-20 hours to write a short story. !. !!. !!!. The hell?!

    1.5 hours to write the story. .5 hours to figure out who the main protagonist is. 1 hour to write the perfect first line. 2 hours to write the scene list. 3 hours for research. 10+ hours to write, edit, write, edit, write, edit. 1 hour to publish.

    I can’t even…. 1/2 an hour to figure out who the protagonist is? (Duh, its the person who is knocking around in your brain telling you to write their story down!)

    Don’t worry. I’m not falling for it. I’m going to do step one. Then do a quick pass for stupid. Then its in your inbox. The plan is that the good is going to come from practice actually writing stories, and not from research or perfect first lines.

    • Thomas E

      If I ever go on one of those writer podcasts where they ask you your methods I’m sunk:

      Other writer : After dancing thrice wildershins around the church I get a ouiji board and channel the ghost of Shakespeare to produce a full 100 page character outline… After that the going gets hard!

      Interviewer:And what about you Thomas?

      Thomas E: I get a nice cup of coffee, sit down on a comfortable chair, and type.

      Interviewer: What about outlines? Plotting? Don’t you spend ages having to edit?

      Thomas E: nope.

      Interviewer: What about promotion? How do you get reviews?

      Thomas E: Er… I don’t bother.

      Interviewer: (Silence)

      Other Writer: I got reviews at, it was a real reasonable offer…

      • dwsmith

        Thomas, LOL. That was funny. And sadly, what you would say is what I have said on many interviews. It does bring on some pauses. (grin)