I’m seriously trying to avoid making this blog all Kosmo, all the time. Nonetheless, I have been focusing so much on writing the end-of-quarter short story that this makes a natural topic for today.

I’m about 5000 words into the story. The story will likely be between 10000 and 12000 words when I’m done, meaning that I have about 1/3 of it written. Why the funny math? Because some of the words that have already written will surely fall to my editing scythe before I am done.

Writing a story of this length is really a fairly big undertaking. While I can sometimes crank out 1500 words in an hour, I probably average 500-1000 polished words per hour meaning that this story will take between 12 and 24 hours of work. I really should put a stopwatch to it. Maybe next time.

What exactly is going on with the story at this point? Well, I don’t give away plot details, but I’ll share some insight into the process.

  • Proofreading – When I get 3500+ words written, I start convincing myself that this would be a good time to read through the initial draft and correct some errors. Sure, a lot of the story still needs to be written, and errors will pop in the later work. Nonetheless, I try to make this an iterative process to avoid too much proofreading at one time, since the task kind of sucks. On the bright side, I get more of a feeling of accomplishment once the story has been printed it feels more real.
  • The plot When I first beginning writing a story, I just start writing various bits and pieces, with just a basic high level plot. When I get to 3000 4000 words, I can start shaping the plot a lot more. I divide the story into scenes that each have a somewhat independent plot. I also begin to look more closely at the timeline. Are certain events in the correct location, or would they make more sense in a different spot? I also look for gaps in the plot and starting thinking of ways to fill those gaps.
  • Character lifestyles A basic foundation for fiction is that readers must suspend belief and allow themselves to be carried away by the story. However, I try to blend at least a bit of realism into my stories. Right now, I’m taking a look at the residences of some of my characters and comparing them to the income they would likely earn from their jobs. Are their inconsistencies? Is a character living in a place that would obviously be unaffordable? If so, something must change either the type of apartment/house, or the occupation.
  • Brainstorm A substantial amount of the story has been written at this point, but I want to make sure to keep myself open to new ideas. I’ll agree that it is difficult to force brainstorming to occur, but I do try. Essentially, I try to take a step back from the actual work at time, and let things stew on the back burner. I turn the car radio off when I’m driving, to force my brain to go into an unstructured thought process. I’ll jot down some very brief ideas for the plot or question about how certain situations will be resolved and go to bed without making and effort to answer them. I’ll let the ideas kick around the next day, and waiting until some new ideas pop up.


Share this article via email

Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

The permanent URL for this article is: