The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Sunday, January 30, 2005

WEEK #3--Be a published writer in one year!

All right, we get to a few more brass tacks this week.  Let's take a look at what you should have done, if you follow my system:
Week #1: write 1st draft of a short story.  I suggest no more than 2000 words. Put it aside.
Week #2: Write 1st draft of a second short story.
Week #3: Write 1st Draft of a third short story.  Polish the 1st week's story.  Submit  1st week's story  to a magazine .
Do you grasp the pattern?  You are to write the rough draft of one story per week.  And re-write/polish one story per week.  Give the rough draft time to filter out of your consciousness.  This will teach you to let go and flow.  Working one hour a day, five days a week, you can write a short-short story.  Give that two hours, and you can do the rough on a 2000 word story easily--as long as  you don't choke!
Read WRITER'S MARKET to get a better idea of the form of submission, and a preliminary list of magazines.  But you should be doing your own market research!
"But I want to write novels, not short stories," you say.  Fine.  I've heard this a thousand times, and my advice doesn't change.  If you want to run a marathon, start with a single mile.  A novel is such a sprawling monster that it can hide a thousand problems.  It takes so long to write that you can spend decades re-working a single one, and your learning curve will be agonizingly slow.  Working a short story a week (or every other week, in which case this process will take two years.   Or fifty stories.  Whichever is longest.)

Get to work!

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