A Week of Writing: 4/13/20 to 4/19/20

I’m settling in, writing more frequently, and my days now resemble something like my old routine. Time to dust off the weekly update posts.

Words to Write By

Today’s quote comes from Stephen King.

“I believe the first draft of a book — even a long one — should take no more than three months… Any longer and — for me, at least — the story begins to take on an odd foreign feel.”

— Stephen King

As you might have guessed, I’m writing the first draft of a new novel. I tend to write first drafts in the time frame King mentions here. It generally takes me between 60 and 90 days to complete a draft between 90,000 and 120,000 words. That said, the last first draft I wrote took me almost 111 days, almost four months, and that odd foreign feel King describes did begin to set in. For me, I think it’s because I start to lose the thread of the story as more time builds up between where I started and where I’m at. If I get the story out quicker, it all feels more cohesive. Now, of course, King’s prescription for first drafts isn’t going to work for everyone, but it resonates and works for me. There are no few authors who take much, much longer and produce excellent work.

The (New) Novel

Last week I wrote the first three chapters of a new novel tentatively titled Hell to Play. I wanted 10,000 words for the week, but I ended up with just over 6,000. That puts me a little behind the pace I set, but not too far, and I should be able to make up lost ground in the next couple weeks. I like what I’ve written so far, and I’m sticking pretty close to the outline. The first and third act are very clear in my mind, but the second act is still a little murky. I know what needs to happen, but how the characters navigate the middle part is still unclear. My hope is that it will come to me as I complete the first act.

Short Story Submissions

I had a pretty good week of submissions.

  • Submissions Sent: 3
  • Rejections: 4
  • Acceptances: 1
  • Publications: 2
  • Shortlist: 0

I sent three submission last week, all for the same piece. That generally happens when I have a new short story I’m shopping it to all the pro markets, many of which get back to you a few day (or even a few hours). The rejections include three for the above mentioned story, all form rejections, and a nice personal rejection from a pro market for a reprint flash story. The three submissions last week give me 6 for the month and 30 for the year, which is slightly off my goal of 100. If I can knock out another four subs this month, that should put me back on track.

The acceptance and first publication was a microfiction story at 50-Word Stories, which you can read right here.

The second publication is one I’ve been waiting for. My story “The Back-Off” is in the latest issue of On Spec Magazine. You can click the link in the cover below to get more info on the issue.


Still writing #vss365 microfiction. I used to give you the entire week, but I think I’ll shorten that and just give you the best or at least the most popular microfiction. As always, if you want to read my microfiction in real time, follow me on Twitter @Aeryn_Rudel.

April 18th, 2020

Those who survived the plague lost the ability to see color. At first it seemed a small price to avoid the fate of millions dead, but suicides spiked in the months and years after. I remember the first we investigated. His note said only: Remember #blue?

I still can’t.


The goals for this week are going to be kind of the template for the next few months. I want to get at least 10,000 words on Hell to Play and submit two or three stories. I think that’s all pretty doable. I mean, I’ve done it before, but it’s a weird and stressful new world we live in, so I need to remember it’s okay to extend myself a little grace if I need it.

That was my week. How was yours?

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