I have two writing goals for this year. One is to complete a novel to a publishable standard. The other is to have two short stories published. After extensive research I’ve discovered that in order to have a story published you need to actually finish one and send it to a publisher. Who’d have guessed it…
I’ve written numerous short stories in the past but it won’t surprise anyone who knows me that I have a habit of tinkering with them for years and rarely finishing any. In the many years I’ve been writing I’ve sent off exactly two stories.
So I’m planning to go about this in a logical (and more efficient) fashion by first identifying markets (e.g. magazines, competitions etc..) and then ensuring I write stories that are what they’re looking for in terms of subject matter, style and length.
I’ve decided to start with this competition to write a 1,000 word story about the end of the world. This is a well-worn subject in sci-fi so it’s something I’m familiar with. Unfortunately, therein also lies the biggest problem. How do you create anything remotely original?
I started by spending 10 minutes knocking up a quick mind-map of some ways the end of the world could come about.
I think my approach to this story will be to focus on the experience of the end of the world, rather than the method. But I don’t want to write something unremittingly despairing, which it’s going to be quite hard to avoid. It needs a story arc, some conflict and resolution, leaving the main character changed but what has any kind of relevance in the face of global extinction? Something that reaffirms human goodness, acceptance of fate, a last minute escape?
I did some thinking on the tube (I do all my best creative thinking while travelling) and I’ve come up with an approach I think could work. Now to get to work writing it.