Saturday, March 19, 2016


I completed and submitted my eleventh short story of the year this afternoon. This one's a 5,200-word confession I started writing April 4, 2013.


Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

I'm curious. Was it a story you abandoned because you didn't have an ending or because it didn't work the way you'd written it, or just unfinished for some reason?
I'm a lurker on the WWW yahoo site. You're pretty amazing!

Michael Bracken said...

Jess, my writing process is unlike that of anyone else I know. I write a great many opening scenes and/or rough outlines of stories. If the opening scene isn't written for a story I'm writing on assignment or by invitation, I often set it aside until there's an appropriate market or appropriate time of year.

For example, the story I just finished was a summer confession. Right now is the appropriate time to submit confessions set during the summer. So, I looked through my files, identified four incomplete stories that would be appropriate to submit now, and selected the one I thought would be easiest to finish based on what I'd already written. Then I finished and submitted it.

The window of opportunity for summer confessions will be open for about another month, so I've resumed work on one of the three remaining unfinished summer confessions. Soon it will be time to submit back-to-school and fall confessions and I will switch over to working on those when the time comes.

For me, no story is ever abandoned. Most often, stories are put on hold. There's no reason to write a story if there's no place to submit it, and I've had stories on hold anywhere from several weeks to several years. (That's why I usually make a note on my blog about when I started work on each story I submit.)

Occasionally, I stop work on a story because I don't know what the end should be. For those stories, I let the idea percolate in the background while I work on other things.

The disadvantage to my process is that I have hundreds of unfinished stories in progress at any moment. The advantage is that I always have something to work on.

Jessica Ferguson said...

Thanks for the details. And what I get out of this is ... you have super-fantastic organizational skills! :) Half the time I can't find my unfinished stories.