Day 35

F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D No, it’s not an acronym. I finished my first novella! This was an extremely challenging project as I still feel so new to the fiction world. Though I had completed an 85K word novel in February, this 25K word project was a huge challenge for someone who tends to be long winded. I wasn’t sure I could tell a good story in so few words so I surprised myself.

I would never have been interested in writing a novella had it not been for the novella writing contest that Avon Romance is holding. What clinched it for me was the fact that my favorite author Debbie Macomber would be choosing the grand prize winner. I found the contest mid August but being the journalist that I am, kept putting off starting the story.

Finally on September 1 I started writing, realizing I would have only a few weeks to write, edit and submit the whole story. Within 10 crazy days I hit the 25K mark and completed the story. And do you know what? It turned out better than I could have ever imagined!

I owe it all to my journalism background and the woman who taught me how to write tight and write fast – Carolyn James. Carolyn is the owner and publisher of the Babylon Beacon, a weekly local paper that I spent six years writing feature and education reports for. Those six years were better than any college degree program I could have entered. Those six years of writing and learning are the reason why I can write at break neck speed, often times getting the words perfect on the first shot. It’s how I won a first place award from the Society of Profesional Journalists back in 2006. And it’s how I managed to write a 25K word novella in exactly 10 days, writing 8+k on the tenth day.

What am I doing now? This morning I edited the first chapter leaving me seven more to go. I plan to edit two chapters a day and then submit the novella to the contest. Whether I win the grand prize or even final at all doesn’t even seem to matter anymore. I’ve already won. I’ve proven to myself that I can do it. I’ve always been great at meeting deadlines, usually submitting my work at least two days early. But with this novella I’ve convinced myself that I have what it takes to be a storyteller. And that’s what I needed more than anything else.

What mountains have you scaled that have convinced you that you have what it takes?

Chris

 

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