First of all, allow me to apologize for falling off the internet. I have (ahem!) been writing.
Story a Day continues. As I'm headed into the second half of this challenge, I am ecstatic to report that I've written somewhere in the vicinity of 33 000 words since the beginning of May, and I've completed 12 stories, seven of which I consider to be viable. Of those stories, two took me more than a day to complete. Two others were "do-overs" - in other words, I had an idea, wrote it in a day, and decided it was not what I wanted it to be, so I tried again the next day.
Here's what I've learned about the art of writing short story first drafts, or at least about my art of writing short story first drafts:
It's possible to compress the process. 24 hours is a reasonable amount of time to go from vague idea / prompt to concrete idea to plot to completed first draft.
Compressing the process is fun. How satisfying is it to think about a story and work through a basic plot, only to be done with drafting it by the time you go to bed (even if bedtime gets pushed back just a wee bit)? Very satisfying.
I tend to procrastinate in the name of "working on a plot" or "ironing out potential problems" with a story. In truth, I am just putting off actively thinking about it or doing the writing, while hoping that some magical muse will drop the answer on my head. I am forming a much better idea of the intensity I need in order to make a story happen. It's much more intensity and active troubleshooting / what-iffing / cause and effect logic-grinding than I'd previously thought.
I have been lazy, or maybe helpless, or maybe clueless. I am less so now.
I can do much, much more than I thought possible.
If I don't like the way a first draft worked out, I can always rewrite it. The best time to do that is the very next day, when the potential problems and solutions are fresh in my mind.
Writing is performance. Like all performances, it can go horribly wrong, or descend into slapstick. On the other hand, some days are better than others. Any draft can be much more brilliant than I thought. Any idea can suddenly blossom into something very cool. Any plot can become magic - but it has to play out on the page.
I'm looking forward to the second half of this challenge.
Meanwhile, if you came here for the camels, here they are. Headphones up!