Shortly after Christmas last year, still dealing with the fact that we cancelled Jane’s family Christmas due to COVID-19, I discovered that the writer Dean Wesley Smith was running a sale on his courses to help writers during the pandemic, among them was The Great Challenge.
The challenge was to write a short story every week for a year.
Now, I write a lot – not as much as some, but tonnes compared to the majority of traditionally published authors. But the thought of taking on the challenge appealed to me, especially after a weird year.
At this point, I might add that I found 2020 to be a fascinating year – difficult, yes, but fascinating – largely because I read David Quammen’s excellent nonfiction book Spillover in November and December 2019, and then suddenly, damn me if it didn’t come true! I honestly think that book helped me get through the year, just like watching the film Contagion did – an earlier favourite of mine, pre-pandemic and also frighteningly prescient. I should add that I’m not blind to the horror of COVID-19, but reading that book allowed me to take a step to one side and to think of the virus as a living thing, and the challenges of stopping it.
But I digress.
I was looking for a different kind of challenge, and I found one.
I started in the first week of January this year, and have hit the short story a week every week alongside my other projects. Sometimes I wished I didn’t have to write another short story but I did, every week.
Some of the stories have been Christoffer Petersen stories, others by other pen names such as Bran Nicholls. In addition to the fun of writing stories, I’ve had a blast making the covers for them too.
This week will be number 46.
A new story, a new cover, and a new pen name – this one’s secret, the second of my secret pen names. 😉
I’m getting there.