Last week and twenty hours into my 4K story, I read this post by Dean Wesley Smith's. Five hours for a 3 thousand word story? How wonderful, I thought. I'll have some of that.
(Twenty hours? Well, the story is set in the asteroid belt, and I've somehow accumulated 30K of notes on asteroids, plus I needed to research how to have a fight in zero-gravity, plus there is a space-plague aspect that needs research, and so on and so forth.)
A quick check with my writers' group, revealed a big spectrum with me at the slow end of it. So I thought I'd try an experiment: the five hour story, from start to finish including research.
1st story: 'White Hole Colony.' Fail. Literary SF. Needs too much research into the physics of time, time-slips and reality.
2nd story -- 'Dead Letter Girl.' Fantasy. Fail. Load of old nonsense.
3rd story -- 'Broken Messenger of the Gods.' Success and subbed, but only because I cheated and used an unfinished story.
4th story -- Fail. Oh my. I'm not kidding guys, I have rustled up the most wonderful outline for a SF short. I've even got the perfect ending. I'm almost afraid to write it for fear of spoiling it. It won't be done in five hours, though.
So what have I learnt? Well, that a five hour story is too optimistic for me. I'm still slow, that's okay. SF is going to take me longer than fantasy because I like to do a lot of research.
I've learnt that its worth splitting my time into slots, to cut down on my wasted time, and to be more aware of where the time goes.
I've also found lots of interesting pictures of knights fighting snails. Could be the basis of a new story.
Now, I need to go back and finish up those stories.
What about you, readers? Are you happy with your speed? Is it something that you think about? Have you ever tried to speed up or slow down? And has it helped?