Thursday, 3 May 2007

Wrtng a txt stry in 100 wds & 450 chtrs iz hrd

Not tons to report here. I did write 1,230 words of the novel last night and am now only 492 words away from 36,000 words or 40% of novel written (which sounds v. nice). Must get down to it tonight.

In other news I also spent last night working on TWO 100 word text stories for thelondonpaper text comp that I mentioned a few postings ago. When I read the conditions in the newspaper I assumed that 450 characters (including spaces) would be plenty for a 100 word story. WRONG. To write 100 words and not go over 450 characters you have to reduce most of your words to some kind of text-speak equivalent. Now I send a LOT of texts but mostly I use full sentences, correct spellings and punctuation. I know some of the text abbreviations: e.g. txt (for text) l8r (for later) btw (for 'by the way') and LOL (for laughs out loud) and u (for you) and nxt (for next) etc etc but, faced with words like 'abandonment' I felt a bit flummoxed. Should it be abndmnt or abandmnt or abdonmnt? You see my dilemma.

When you abbreviate words the sense is clear to you, because you wrote the story, but whether or not the judges get it is anyone's guess. I didn't spend too much time worrying about it tho' and just sent off my attempts.

Oh - one thing I should point out. If you got the website ( and search for 'text competition' you'll find the rules. Unfortuanately they contradict themselves.

At the top of the page they say "no more than 480 characters (including spaces)" and add STORY and your name to your text.

Lower down the page they say "no more than 450 character (including spaces)" and add STORY to your text (no mention of name).

There was no mention of whether the 450/480 characters should include space taken up by STORY or NAME but I assume they didn't. In the end I decided to go with the lower character limit, to be safe and added STORY and my name to the front of the text. Each entry took 4 text pages to write which seemed like a lot so I hope I followed the rules properly.

Ah well - I can only wait and see.

I didn't get round to using the S/Cally Short Story Generator last night but I have the flat to myself tonight so hopefully I'll give it a go (after I've written my novel words).

How's everyone else getting on? What have you been writing recently?


Quillers said...

Ooh the text thing sounds like too much hard work, Cally.

Well done on the novel word count! It's coming along nicely.

I wrote a story using the widget last night and it was quite well received by my writing group, with only a few suggestions for improvements. This morning has been spent removing a few 'hads' from the novel (there were 681 of them! though some where hadn'ts, and a couple of shadows)

hesitant scribe said...

This made me laugh. I also text in full sentences with punctuation - blame predictive texting - and it makes my 14 year old laugh out loud. Hr txts luk mor lik dis n i nvr no wot she sayn!

Cally said...

Hey Hesitant Scribe, you've got the texting off pat (I could actually understand what you'd written). You should definitely enter the comp!

Sally - I still haven't written a story using a widget. Yesterday I got 'pregnant woman', 'cruise' and 'married lover' but the scenario I came up with was so cliched I couldn't bear to write it!

angelesque said...

I sent my text story in on Friday and refused to use 'txt' speak... which did of course maek it much harder!! I used 4 text pages too - came in at exactly 100 words excluding 'STORY' and my name...

Cally said...

angelesque - Wow, can't believe you managed to use no text speak! How did you manage that? Did you use words of one syllable? Were you still under 450 characters (including spaces) too? That's quite an achievement. Well done!

I'm looking forward to reading the different entries. Must make sure to pick up thelondonpaper when I can.

angelesque said...

It was a very short story, focusing on my drunken relationship with my travelcard!! Am really hoping it gets in the paper at soem point over the next two weeks, but they probably have hundreds of entries :(

Very good fun though!

Cally said...

Sounds great! Mine were both fairy morose but that would come as no great surprise to anyone who has read any of my short stories!

I read two of the entries in last night's paper and they were both spelled in full and correctly punctuated, both of which were under 100 words (unlike mine which was exactly 100 words, 450 characters including spaces, all text speak and no punctuation!)

I think I may have got it horribly wrong (in the paper it said 480 characters and no mention of spacing).

May have to give it another go!

Cally said...

Edit to my previous comment: fairly morose rather than 'fairy morose'