Yesterday, while struggling through the roughest first draft of a story I was trying to write and getting discouraged, I started thinking about Neil Gaiman's Calendar of Tales project for Blackberry's Keep Moving campaign. He is a very busy writer with a lot on his plate, but he carved out the time to write twelve lovely stories in a very short time frame, all influenced by fan ideas based on prompts he provided for each month. They are twelve very good stories. You're looking at your screen right now with this face that says "Duh. It's Neil Gaiman. OF COURSE they're good." Of course! He makes storytelling look like some kind of secret magic. But I thought about how amazing it was, to take all of those random concepts from his fans, to find little gems to inspire such fantastic ideas...and then to turn around and quickly create stories that are compelling, thought-provoking, and fun. I realized, that's a challenge, right there. To write twelve stories. Maybe not all at one time. And maybe not Neil-Gaiman-level good stories. But I could probably write one decent - or at least fair to middling - story each month of the year.*
I took to Twitter and said I was making that commitment. One year. One story each month. And the unexpected happened: Neil Gaiman Retweeted me. The squeeing noises could probably be heard from space.
And then! My Tweet got Retweeted a bunch of times.
I got supportive comments full of encouragement and some people saying they thought it was a great idea, and others wanting to do it, too. I thought it would be helpful to set some guidelines for myself, and to share them here, if others want to do some writing along with me.
1) I'm going to use the crowdsourcing element of the Calendar of Tales project as a model, mostly because I want to see what my friends and connections come up with for prompts and themes. (The exceptions being January/February and March. I've set those as New Beginnings From Old Endings and Time, respectively.)
2) There will be no set limit as far as word count. The only limitation will be time - the stories need to be drafted and then fully edited before the last day of the calendar month. I do expect the stories I'm writing to be fairly short, because I have the most practice writing flash fiction.
3) Genre is wide open. I tend to lean heavily toward science fiction (which is my comfort zone), but I'd like to attempt some genres I haven't really written before just to see if I can.
4) I'll be sharing some of my progress as I go - here, on Twitter definitely, and maybe Facebook. That includes some of the stories that result, although I will likely not post all of them to the blog.
I'm probably going to need some nudges to keep me going sometimes, and with a class coming up and other projects in preliminary planning stages (:coughcough: ginormousmermaidmural :coughcough:), I might need to be talked down off of a ledge or two if things get stressful.
Finally, I need to give a big THANK YOU to Neil Gaiman, for being so amazingly engaged with and gracious to his fans, and to everyone for the stars, the RTs, and the positive feedback. I hope some of you will consider joining in on this, or doing something similar, so that we can motivate and support each other in the making of some great art!