Wednesday, 12 October 2011

How I Write . . . Pack Ratting My Unfinished Stories

I don't like to throw things away. We've got two spare hamster cages in the shed-- just in case. In case of what I'm not quite sure.

I'm the same with my stories. Now, brace yourself, because what I'm about to say is scary. After three years of writing I've five hundred unfinished stories on my computer. Ahem. Probably about the same amount of stories I've actually completed and subbed. They range from a couple of hundred words to almost complete stories of thousands of words.

Not good, you might thing. But aha, something happened yesterday which completely justifies my hoarding. I was looking at  the Mortis Operandi anthology from Harrow Press, an anthology call for investigation of crimes with a supernatural element. Hold on thinks I, I've got an unfinished story concerning a missing person with a supernatural element. I couldn't remember the title so I had to search through my files, while doing so I found another short story which I thought might make a good sub for the Nasty Snips II flash horror anthology from Pendragon Press.

I found the crime story, 2500 words. It's a gift from the shed. I polished the other story and submitted, and now I'm working on the Mortis Operandi story.

So, my pack ratting habits are totally justified. Now . . .  to find a home for the other 498 stories.

22 comments:

  1. We learn from all our writing. I've abandoned a few stories, though not that many. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Theresa, thanks for the follow.

    *laughs* 500 unfinished stories is a bit embarrassing. Still, there's hope for them all.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Holy crap: that's a lot of work! My goal is to have 100 stories published, but maybe I should set the bar higher. =]

    ReplyDelete
  4. You know me Milo, I do love my short stories. I'd like to have 100 stories published at pro level, how's about that for a challenge? hee, hee.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My mom, whose name is Pat so we call her "Pack Pat," would agree with your post 100 percent. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's great when that happens isn't it? Plus, I'm pretty sure all those stories will be mating and evolving and cross-pollinating while you're not looking. Who knows what they'll end up like?

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's why I never throw anything away. Even if you don't actually dust off an old trunk tale, you can pick its bones for elements to include in another story.

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOL I am so like you. Stories that are truly truly baaaaaaad get delegated to a line in my plot bunnies file, the rest stays on the hard disk until I decide to write it :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow. You must have an incredible imagination. 500 stories? I'm flabbergasted. How do you stay sane with so many voices in your head?

    ReplyDelete
  10. 500 stories? I'm in awe. And you definitely have sound advice for being a packrat.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Alison. Didn't mean to be bragging about how many stories I've got. I'm luckier than most, I usually write about five hours a day.

    Hee, Michael. Stories are a habit. I can't stop writing them now. Interesting point though, to consider: where were all the voices before I started writing?

    ReplyDelete
  12. There's more pack ratting around, than I imagined: Joe, Sylvia, and Michelle's Mom. Pack rats of the world unite.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You know, Simon. You've just given me a great idea. I wonder if I could combine some of the fragments. Mate them together, to create a beautiful story baby.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't feel so bad now about the couple dozen works in progress not progressing :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. 500! Wow, but like you said, it's a repository of ideas that could be something great.

    New follower, I found you from Milo's blog.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi, Lydia,

    I'm on a bit of role. I've just subbed another one. Thanks for the follow.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow! 500, I feel a bit put to shame. I've got a few tucked away, maybe 20 or so. Glad you found a story to fit!

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Interesting point though, to consider: where were all the voices before I started writing?"

    You just gave me chills. Plus inspiration to write more and harder.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

    Lola x
    http://lola-x.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. 500 unfinished stories!!!

    I have nothing more to stay except...

    500 unfinished stories!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Caitlin, you don't want 500, believe me!

    @Elizabeth, yay. go for it. Can't wait to read your next one.

    @Cate. Thing is, Cate, they spawn at an unholy rate. I was feeling very pleased to get three out of the shed. Then yesterday I wrote two more. Ah, well. I'm going to call it my process.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I read this a couple of days ago. Woke this morning and lay in bed quietly amazing all over again at 'five hundred' stories ... wow. And all kudos to you for your hard work - both writing AND subbing which (I think) is by far the harder.
    Well done.

    ReplyDelete