The Story Totaliser 2016

Happy new year! Did you know I’ve not got around to writing one of these blogs since before Christmas? Of course you did! You’ve been on tenterhooks for the last three-and-a-half months about my whole “12 stories in one year” challenge, haven’t you? Did I manage to catch up with my aim to send out a finished story or “thing” per month? Is finding out the answer enough to get you to read the rest of this blog post? Well how about a hand-drawn Blue-Peter-style totaliser? Yes, there is one and it’s only a few short paragraphs away…

Here’s how I did with my 2016 writing resolutions:

  • I did join a writing group and I blogged a bit.
  • I didn’t listen to the song “Scott Pilgrim” by Plumtree first thing every morning for the rest of my life. (That seemed funny back in January 2016. What a different era we live in now.)
  • I definitely spent at least four hours a week on the writing process but only in the last couple of months of 2016
  • I read more on the bus but spend too much time on Twitter still.
  • Not only did I learn by reading about writing… I did a Short Story Masterclass. So… bonus points?
  • Did I send out one finished short story a month to writing competitions or other opportunities? Well, here comes the totaliser…
I did it! The hand-drawn Blue-Peter-style totaliser says, “Yes!”


Back on the 28 October, I had sent out three stories: A short story about Judge Dredd for a 2000AD competition, a rewrite of a 2015 story for Titter, and A Story About A Box for Cast Iron Theatre’s Horror Story night. I decided to send out another nine before the year was out to meet my “one a month” target.

Before the end of the month I sent “Orange Spray Paint” to my writing group’s anthology, A Haiku to a haiku competition (Cheating!?), “Dinner before Death” to a Tower Hamlets competition and “Escaping the Shackles” to the Commonweath competition. These were all rewrites of stories I had been working on previously, hence the quick turnaround (except the Haiku / which was a Haiku so / easily written).

In November and December, I sent off four newly-written short stories and did a short story masterclass. Strangely, none of the stories I sent off were a result of the Masterclass. There was more work there that might see the light of day in 2017. Three of the stories I did send off were 100-word-stories for the Drabble. These also allowed for a quick turnaround.

The three Drabble 100-word-stories were “A Quick Snifter” in November, “The first time she met him” in December, which was also rejected, and “Beneath the Surface” which was also sent in December. It’s about a lady throwing bread at some ducks. I thought it was still too quirky for them, and I was right because it, too, was rejected. Hey ho.

The other newly written piece was my first short play for Cast Iron theatre, “The Queen’s Messy-age” which is covered here.

That’s eleven pieces so far. There was one left. I sent the final piece off on new year’s day. It was for the Fiction Desk’s Ghost Story competition. I read about the competition a couple of months previously and had a piece in mind: A rewrite of my 2015 Halloween Dukeanory story. It was the first competition I’d paid to enter (£8) so I wanted to submit the best story I could. I had done quite a bit of work on this one since it had been read at Dukeanory. I also got feedback on it during my masterclass as well as from friends, so it should have been as spiffy as it could be.

I recently found out that it didn’t make the short list…

Ah, whatever. The point is, I accomplished my own goal. Which wasn’t to win competitions but to enter them. It’s the taking part that counts, etc, etc. So really, I’m very pleased.

…Convinced yet?

I feel I’ve already cheated a bit with the Haiku and the 100 stories, but by my own low standards I have acquitted myself. Twelve stories sent out into the world / void in one year!

Since the flurry of activity at the end of the last year, I haven’t done much writing. “Real life” has intervened and I think I was a bit burnt out from writing stories, writing this blog and doing the short story course at the same time. I have just come back from a couple of weeks holiday which allowed me the time and space to write again. I wrote a few little first drafts. Nothing very good as yet. But it got the cogs turning again and I will try and make a regular space for writing amongst all the hectic life gubbins.

All of 2017 is ahead of me!

Alright, well… some of it.

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