I’ve been working on a short story collection lately and I really wanted to share with you a little of my process so far.
It has been a major goal for me this year to gather all my short stories together into a cohesive collection for publication.
I spent the first few months procrastinating.
I played around with what theme I wanted the collection to have, put the stories into different orders and came up with different methods of categorisation. I even made spread sheets and tapped print outs of the stories to the wall.
Why am I calling this procrastination, after all it does sound a lot like work? Well perhaps it is, and perhaps it isn’t, but either way it was not the right time to do all that stuff.
I didn’t even have enough stories written for a complete collection yet.
When the Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award (a prize for a collection due on April 30) was announced it really lit a fire under my bum. I had to get serious.
I reread all my previously published short stories to make sure I still liked them and thought they could sit together in the same collection. All of these I’ve decided to keep.
I reread the stories that had already undergone multiple rounds of feedback and editing, the ones I believed ‘finished’, but hadn’t found their forever home yet. Some of these I’ve included, one in particular I decided was unsalvageable.
Then I began the truly hard part. I had to read, edit and get feedback on all the stories still in various draft stages. Some of these are years old, some are only weeks old. I’m still in this part of the process now.
It’s hard work but it’s not bad work. I actually like editing stories. The thrill of making something better, that moment when everything clicks in your head, when you notice you did something awesome in the first draft without even meaning to is glorious.
I’m still 4000 words shy of the length I’m aiming for and the deadline looms ever closer.
Once I have my story list finalised then I can go back to those pre-emptive steps of ordering the stories and, eeeep, naming the collection.
This is the bit I’m most excited about, which is probably why I tried to do it first. But everything has its time and right now, I need to knuckle down and focus on the nitty gritty.
Wish me luck.
What writing projects are you working on at the moment?