Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  Topic of the Night,  Writing in Public

Topic of the Night: New Challenges

Most people who have followed this blog for any period of time or who know me, understand that I hate sitting still and don’t do very well with the same-old-thing.Yet this blog sure looks like I am doing the same-old-thing every day, doesn’t it?But nope. Working to start a new physical store in a couple of months, having fun still teaching challenging workshops, both here and online, and I hope to do some travel this year for a number of reasons.

And I am still doing a monthly magazine that requires a novel per month and four or so short stories plus a serial of some sort. (Issues 26, 27, and 28 will be out in the next four or five weeks as the schedule finally gets caught up. And #29, the February issue won’t be far behind.)

Now this last year I wrote 1.2 million words or so. Decent year. Nothing to sneeze at. Not my best by a long, long ways, but decent. The fiction and nonfiction of that was just over 710,000 words. Also very decent, but not what I wanted it to be.

Also, I have been really working to ramp this web site around and over the next month or so I will finally have it in place with lists and links to my books. Won’t that be a shock? (grin)

So here are the new changes and challenges for 2016. 

I will start the newsletter, and with each newsletter I will sometimes give the subscribers something special for free to read.  But every month, just for newsletter subscribers, I will give out a free short story to read.

I have almost finished putting together a basic writer app. For those who go through the app to get to this web site, or just download the app for fun, I will give out a free short story every week, as well as other nifty things as time goes on. Apps are great fun. (That’s right, four different short stories a month.)

I will be selling signed novels and collections both on the app and here on this web site.

Patreon supporters will continue getting Smith’s Monthly at certain levels of support, as well as other nifty new stuff, including things like Heinlein’s Rules book when it is finished. WMG will also be pushing on a subscription drive for Smith’s Monthly.

I will be doing a YouTube channel where I will just do a topic of the night with some videos and put up a free video from one of the lectures or workshops another, to let people know what those workshops and lectures are like. I will link each new video here and through the app as they go up.

WMG Publishing will finally relaunch Poker Boy with all the new covers and a new web site and everything. A bunch of that will also go through the app and Poker Boy will have his own whacked-out newsletter later in the year. I also hope to write a few more Poker Boy novels at some point shortly.

I will be starting a brand new series of ten-story collections. Patreon supporters will get those every month at a certain level as well.

I will start up the short story of the week again here on this web site.

(So for those of you counting, you can get six of my short stories every month for free just for following here, the newsletter, and the new app when that launches. That’s a bunch of free reading. All of that should be up and going by February 1st.)

Now to the big writing challenge.


I had so much fun writing those 32 stories in July (Stories from July now out in electronic and soon 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 250 new and original short stories in 2016. 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 in July. I will start from a title and on the blog I’ll explain where the title came from and how the writing went, as I do below with the first story.

If you do math, you know I need to write about 22-23 stories per month to hit 250 stories in a year. Some months I will do more, others not so many. Nature of life and writing.

But 250 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 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 250 stories at an average of 4,000 words each, that’s 1,000,000 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. That will be a 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.

I will then, after the end of the month, put the monthly short stories in a volume for the month. A minimum of 15 stories to a maximum of 25 stories. The first volume, January, will come out at the end of March, and then monthly after that.

If by the time the first comes out, this is working (I’ll have three in the pipeline at that point), WMG Publishing will take subscriptions for the full twelve volumes. But we won’t offer the subscriptions until I see by the end of March if this is going to work or not.

So that’s my new year coming up. If nothing else, it should be entertaining to watch me struggle with some of this.

Thanks for all the support. Onward into a new year.


  • Vera Soroka

    Wow, that is a challenge. I wish you all the luck in it! I have set my own challenges this year and some of that involves short fiction. For the most part, for me, it’s about finding balance with the publishing and writing. I have to get all the stuff I’ve written out including the short fiction I wrote last summer in the challenge I did. Who knows, maybe I will even make something.
    Hope everybody meets their goals and has fun.

  • Harvey

    Excellent. SO glad to see you on the attack, Dean.

    My own goals (inspired by you and as an adherent of Heinlein’s Rules) are

    at least 1 short story per week (my previous streak was 70 weeks, so I have to break that)
    at least 3200 new publishable words of fiction per day (and I have to write at least 500 words per day every day to keep that streak going)
    at least 1 novel every month
    at least 1 nonfiction title on stuff I know every 2 months.
    plus my daily blog and my every-ten-days blog
    at least 1,000,000 new words of published fiction this year
    No goal for the nonfiction. Just whatever it comes out to be.

    You are an inspiration.

  • Christopher Ridge

    WOW… That really is awesome. I love the sound of all that. My goal this year is to write 100 stories and 6 short novels, doing something kinda like you did with the hundred stories you wrote a couple years ago, except I’m submitting mine to magazines, novellas I will Indie publish. I’m practicing short stories as much as I can to try and get my stories up to a more professional level but after reading what you’re planning on doing I think I’m going to up the ante and follow you to 250. I am really really really wanting to get some sells to professional magazines and I think this will give me the practice to help get me there. Thanks for sharing your goals and ideas. This is going to be fun.

  • Mark Kuhn

    Dean, the beauty of visiting your blog daily is finding inspiration in your challenges. Last July’s story-a-day was a tour de force, and including the daily blogs with the book was a tremendous idea. I can honestly say I read those stories over and over as the best learning tool I’ve ever seen.
    Part of my problem, well, my main problem, actually, is trusting my Creative Voice, trusting it to the point that even on days when I don’t have the energy to block out events of the day and sit and write, the Creative Voice will ALWAYS come through. It’s because Creative Voice is truly that 5 year old that never grew up and he/she lives inside all of us, and he also knows how to tell a story, he’s always there. Fingers, however, must be on the keys for him to talk.

    To you and everyone else who visits here daily, I wish you all a great writing year!

    Lead on, Dean. Straight on till dawn!

  • Jes

    Wow, big year planned, it sounds exciting. I can’t wait for the short stories. Just out of curiosity is it going to be difficult for Kris to keep up with your output as a first reader and her own projects or is she a fast reader and it doesn’t present any conflicts?
    Good luck this year

    • dwsmith

      Actually, I’m the slow one on reading her stuff. She has a new 170,000 word novel I am enjoying completely and have to keep stopping to go back to my own work. She reads constantly, so this is no problem for her. She won’t even notice it.

  • Bob Mueller

    Did you budget time for sleep in there anywhere? I know you’re a night owl and all, but…wow.

    In all seriousness – what’s your average typing speed? I hit the high 40s and low 50 in bursts.

    Really looking forward to the newsletter and app.

    • dwsmith

      I am a three-finger typeset and can manage about 1,200 words in a good hour with a short break. In other words, my typing sucks. I am the poster child for being able to produce fiction with no typing skills. (grin)

      • Joseph Bradshire

        Some quick maths…
        –1000 words an hour is 17 words a minute typing speed.
        –1200 words an hour is 20 WPM typing.

        Most people can hand write faster than that.

        I toss those numbers out to people who equate typing speed and writing speed.

        • Bob Mueller

          Good point, Joseph. And I know a guy who can transcribe conversations between 3 people, accurately, typing at over 100WPM. But he hasn’t written a book. It’s rather like the turtle and the hare, only most hares haven’t even put on their shoes for the race.

  • Dane Tyler

    Wow! Aggressive goals again, Dean! This is going to be an amazing journey. Can’t wait to see how it shakes out!

    Likewise, I’m determined to do something I’ve never done with my writing before, and I’ve determined not to let the critical voice dictate what will be written. Whatever strikes my fancy I’ll work on, whether short fiction, novel-length, or in between. So watching you rocket along will be great inspiration!

  • Gnondpom

    It sounds both amazing and absolutely crazy! Writing 250 short stories a year, and 12 novels, that’s an amazing new year’s resolution! And the craziest of all is that you might be able to pull it off!

    In any case it will be great to follow your journey through all that, and read many short stories as well along the way (as if the sheer amount of writing was not enough, you also have to add constraints to your schedule, with more monthly and weekly plans to follow!).

    I’m sure it will get clearer when you do it but I’m not sure to understand your 6 free stories per month if there is one coming through the newsletter each month, a weekly one on the app and a weekly one on the website. It seems that it would make 9, but maybe some of them would be the same?

    Anyway, it seems that you – and your readers – have an amazing year ahead, I for one am looking forward to it!

    • dwsmith

      Grandpom, yup, my math is wrong. Nine is correct. And I hope to not overlap for a while. If not the entire year. That will take some organization. (grin)

  • Michael Kelberer

    Amazingly ambitious, Dean, but what else is new? Very much enjoying following your writing life, and, of course, the output.
    Best regards,

  • Anita Cooper

    Wow!!! Fantastic challenge, Dean – watching what you did in July, I’ve no doubt you will meet your goals. πŸ˜€

    Here my little writing challenge is to practice Heinlein’s rules and put out at least one short story per week! lol

    And of course, to keep learning and writing.

    2016 will be an awesome year!

  • ed ryan

    Great challenge Dean, succeed and you’ll write in one year more than I read!!! (Or damn near it!)

    Good luck!

    I set a goal for myself and promptly missed it on Jan 1st. Ah well – 364 more days to get it right! (wI’m taking Feb 29th off!)

    • dwsmith

      Oh, trust me, John, this took some time, all fall, to think through and focus on. And I know for a fact it will get bumpy at times.

      This entire challenge will play out like writing a novel. I’ll be excited early on this spring, I’ll be annoyed by the summer, and hating it by next fall, and then happy again when I see the end in sight. (grin)

  • Chong Go

    Lol! You’re crazy, but in a really awesome way! Tell me you didn’t drive your school teachers crazy! πŸ™‚ And thanks for the Fiction River: Time Streams, I just realized I don’t have that issue. For what it’s worth (coming from the peanut gallery), WMGs as well as your covers have really gotten nice. I also really like the new Poker Boy covers. Those are quite a nice bit of branding there as well.

  • Kim Iverson

    Catching up on all your blogs so I’m just seeing this today. All I have to say is: you are an inspiration. That is all.

    Oh (haha my brain), and I’m excited for the app. That’s gonna be one app I make an exception with, and download. I have no doubt you’ll hit all those goals. πŸ™‚