I've learned a lot about taking my stories from first draft to something resembling acceptability. I've learned that I often forgo logic in place of aesthetics, and that this means my early drafts are messy and hard to fix. I've learned that you can't polish a turd: if there is something seriously wrong with the first draft, it will not become a shiny story just because you correct grammar and trim excess and add a few neat tricks. You have to make a story true. Just because it's fantasy doesn't mean that you can skimp on compromise or conflict. Just because it's horror doesn't mean you automatically earn the right to make everything relentlessly terrible.
All this editing has slowed down my raw word count output substantially. By raw word count, I mean first draft, fountain pen on lined paper, pantsing like it's 1999, and otherwise just enjoying the act of trying to get story down on paper. I've drafted a few shorts in the name of Write 1, Sub 1, but for the most part, I've been trying to get stories out of the virtual trunk of my hard drive and into the world.
It is time to do something a little bit different, since this slog is getting a bit stale. I woke up yesterday excited about the prospect of Story a Day in May, because I'm really looking forward to the chance to just practice laying out beginnings, middles, and ends for a while. I plan to get out some substantial raw word count this month - maybe even reaching NaNoWriMo proportions.
For today's story, I used my "Agonize" post as a story prompt. The piece I wrote features a disgruntled actor in ancient Greece who wants to be more than part of the chorus. The working title is "Goat Song." It came in at 2032 words, and took me about two and a half hours to draft, in between conversations with my writing pal Chris Kelworth at a local cafe. Good times!