4-Hour Short Story…go!

Right, at the last minute I decided to not submit to my own contest, but to just write for it using the same parameters.  I’m itching to write something fun and fast today, and I don’t have a lot of time.  We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, here’s my steps:

1) Pick genre (and market).  I’m planning to submit to Neverland’s Library: 9:37 a.m.

Neverland’s Library will be an anthology focusing on the rediscovery of the fantastic; magic, dragons, the supernatural, etc. We are looking for stories which highlight finding that which was once thought lost, incorporating fantastical and/or fictitious elements. We will not restrict how the story is told. All styles, settings, and tones are welcome.

2) Wrote log line and blogged.  9:57 a.m.

An insecure school teacher obsessed with finding a fiction blade, Flamestriker, from one of her favorite novels, flees her wedding to go to a lost temple in southern Mexico to find it.  But when she finds it, will she be strong enough to keep it from murdering her handsome tour guide…or her archaeologist fiance?


Opening done, 275 words.  10:21.

First try/fail cycle done, 803 words.  10:49.  Hungry, time to make some ramen.

Second try/fail cycle done, 1726 words.   11:50, with 20-minute break for lunch.  I went sliiightly overboard on this section, almost 1000 words.

Third try/fail cycle done, 2152 words.  12:12.  Poor, poor Elaine.

Climax done, 3054 words.  1:09.  Galadriel goes into the West.

Validation done, 3400 words. 1:21.

Ugh, editing.  The joy of writing is collapsed like a souffle poked by the brutal fork of analysis.

Time to quote myself:

The temple itself isn’t terribly large.  Once past the intimidating exterior and the baleful glares of monkeys stuffing their faces with cockroaches and mangoes, sunning themselves, and picking bugs out of each others’ fur in the dawn light, it is cool inside, and deliciously free of bugs, although admittedly the ammonia from the bat guano burnt my nose and lungs severely, to the point of coughing a few thin trickles of blood.  The stones are rather plain and free of carving, except for the first few dozen feet of the entrance hall.  For all I know, the twisted, grotesque carvings could mean, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” or “Twelve bedrooms, two baths, no insects!!! If you love bats, call Nahuatl Chimalli, 555-9973.”

Done editing.  3652 words.

Sent to Neverland’s Library and reported on Duotrope.com.  2:04.

Total time: about four hours.  That is, about four hours and 20 minutes, less 20 minutes for lunch.  (I also took another 10 minute break in there while I was working out the ending and did dishes.  Cleaning things helps put my thoughts in order.)

Final note:

Successfully ignoring the voice in my head–shouting–“You suck you suck you suck!!!!”  That is, I hear it, but now that I’ve clicked “Send” it’s too late for it to do anything about it!  Now off to do the editing and 1001 other things I’m already behind on.  But I feel pretty good anyway.

3 thoughts on “4-Hour Short Story…go!”

  1. Well…I ~was~ going to say I’d also decided not to enter your contest. After all, I flew home late last night and spent today with my girls after being away for 5 days.

    But now…reading this, and seeing that one of the difficult parts (finding where to submit) has been done for me (Yeah! I can submit to Neverland’s Library!) I’m wondering if I can do this in… ummm… it’s three hours to midnight my time, but I get two extra hours since you’re in the Mountain time zone.

    OK. I’ll see what happens when I start writing.

  2. Pingback: Following Directions | AmyBeth Inverness

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