Speed Short Story writing

How many short stories can you write in a week? How many in a day? I’ve just read a feature in Writing Magazine,  October Issue, about a guy who wrote, edited and formatted a novella length story in a week.

Did it suffer for being written fast? Is it possible to write good fiction fast? It got me thinking.

When I first started writing full time in September 2000, I wrote three short stories a week. The first one on Monday morning, the second on Monday afternoon, and the third on Tuesday morning. I edited them across the week. I did this every single week without exception. Holidays – pah! who needs them!

I also taught four creative writing classes, one on Wednesday morning, One on Thursday morning, one on Thursday afternoon and one on Friday morning. These all needed preparation too. Hence I had to cram the short stories into the earlier part of the week.

Did my work suffer for this? I don’t think so. I’m judging this by the yardstick of sales and I sold 90% of my work.

Interestingly, this pattern of working has changed across the years. I haven’t written three short stories a week for a while. I’ve been doing other things, for example, writing novels and non fiction, editing for a publisher, as well as teaching, although interestingly I only now teach two classes a week. I must be getting lazy 🙂

But this week, I reverted to my original working pattern. I wrote one short story on Monday morning, one on Monday afternoon and one today.

They were – in case you are interested – 2400 words, 1000 words and 2300 words respectively. Although that might change on the edits.

Oh it was so brilliant, so exhilarating, so exciting. I haven’t felt so inspired or motivated for absolutely ages. I’m not sure why. Is it something to do with speed writing. Is this speed writing. It certainly was compared to what I’ve done lately.  But the ideas for more short fiction are also coming thick and fast. It feels brilliant.

I will let you know if I sell them. But does anyone else write like this. Do share.

Della xx








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15 Responses to Speed Short Story writing

  1. Vikki says:

    At the beginning of the year Della I was writing a short story a day….I did that for a couple of months, using a daily prompt. Now, I still use the daily prompt, but the written pieces are more like scenes/extracts that need developing 🙂

    I’ve thought about doing a short story a day or Nano 😉


  2. Della – I’m so impressed that you used to teach 4 classes as well as all that writing. Until Easter this year I taught 3 Creative Writing classes a week and it was hard work! Did you take in homework too (I used to)? I’m planning on setting up one or two new classes in the area I’ve moved to so I’m just wondering about the homework thing – it does take up a lot of time if you take work in to mark. But do people expect it, as part of the class?

    • Della Galton says:

      Hi Helen
      I have to confess I don’t take in homework. What I do do, though, is set a piece of writing every week as homework and then students bring it in the following week or whenever they like to read out for constructive feedback. I do take stories home most weeks as well though because not everyone wants to read out. These get quite a brief written crit. But yes it’s hard work.

  3. Toni Sands says:

    I do this in fits and starts, Della! It’s so easy to be distracted. But that’s no excuse, as I very well know!

  4. Della Galton says:

    oh I love being distracted. Blogging and Facebook are quite good distractions 🙂

  5. Penny says:

    In awe of your Work Ethic, Della 🙂 But truly, success breeds success. I do not write as much as I used to, but often have two stories ‘on the go’ so that if one runs into the sands there’s always another to be working on. Thinking Time is an essential, too, as much goes on away from the computer screen.

    • Della Galton says:

      Hi Penny, do you have two unfinished stories on the go? Just out of interest. I tend to finish them but have quite a few unedited ones on the go sometimes. Like now 🙂 Wrote four this week so far and I’m flagging a bit now. You’re right about the thinking time. I need that too.

      • Penny says:

        Yes, Della – many ‘skeleton’ story plans/ideas remain unfinished, of course. But I usually find that of the two unfinished titles I choose to work on one suddenly feels more viable and I go with that. (It appears in my mind’s eye as a setting jelly!) I try not to edit as I go – it’s not a helpful habit – but I always do. There’s always more editing when a story’s finished!

  6. Wendy Clarke says:

    Since I started writing for magazines in March, I have managed to keep to one story a week. this usually means I have about twenty stories ‘out there’ at one time – any less and I get stressed. This works well with my other commitments and means it never becomes a chore – always a pleasure!

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