Friday, 18 April 2008

Womag Group

I've been thinking about this for a while...starting up a collaborative womag writers blog that is....and think now might be the right time even though I'm supposed to be writing novel #2 (see counter on the right, I've nearly written 5% now!).

Anyway, what I'm missing at the moment is the impetus to write short stories. I seem to thrive on deadlines (which is why Slingink's Eurofiction comp worked so well for me, I had to write one every 2 weeks. Also why I like writing for themed competitions, I have to get it in by the closing date) but I haven't got any deadlines at the moment. So what I'm thinking is...

1) Set up a closed blog for womag writers (via email invite)

2) Every fortnight one member of the group posts 10 prompts (story titles, first lines, phrases etc) and the rest of the group has two weeks to write a story to one of the prompts. We could even make it a challenge like "Write a 1,000 word twist in the tale to one the prompts" or "write a 1,500 word romance to the prompts" etc..

3) When two weeks are up the group members post whether or not they managed to write a story or not (it doesn't matter if it's rubbish and you decide to scrap it)

4) We keep a league table. So every time you manage to write a story within the fortnight you get a point. That way you're spurred on to write or fall to the bottom of the table. Maybe there should be some kind of forfeit or something? Dunno.

5) OR the stories are posted anonymously and the members vote for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and points are awarded (so it's kind of like Eurofiction in that your points accumulate in a table). If people don't want their names to be associated with their stories or rank we could use pseudonyms.

Basically what I'm saying is that I need some kind of impetus to write regularly. I need a deadline. But it needs to be fun. I need to write with the internal editor off and just get the stories out. If this system were to work anyone doing it would have 26 new stories within a year. That's a lot of stories. And some of them could well result in sales.

Are people interested? Do you have any opinions? Suggestions? I'm very open minded about how this could work. The only thing that I'm 100% sure of is that it must be a closed group. No lurkers.

What do you think?

16 comments:

Helen said...

You know, I think that is a really good idea Cal (so good I have come out of my blogging holiday to say so).

I would be interested. I don't have much (any) experience of writing short stories but the deadlines would be a good exercise as would forcing myself to think creatively. Like you say it may result in sales but for me it would be more about getting my arse into gear.

L-Plate Author said...

Hmm, I'm torn. On the one hand, what a fantastic idea, you had me at the words league table.

But a) not sure if I could come up with short stories having never been successful with them before and b) with working on book three, I'm not sure if I could commit the time to think about something else.

....But....

what a cool idea. I think I might like it. x

Maddie Moon said...

I'd be interested, Cal. I need an incentive to get some short stories written and this sounds as though it might give me a push in the right direction. I've not had any experience of this type of group before so I'm not bursting with suggestions, but if I come up with anything I'll let you know!

Leatherdykeuk said...

I'd be interested. I like prompts and deadlines and short stories tend 9for me) to be the core of a novel.

Tam said...

I'd be up for it, if you'll have me...like Maddie Moon, I don't know much about this kind of thing but I'm enthusiastic.

KAREN said...

Sticks hand up like school-girl. Miss, I love this idea, as I'm determined to crack the womag market this year. I have a few stories out there at the moment, but also work much better with a deadline, and prompts work for me too :o)

Kerry said...

Hi Cal,

I'd definately be interested - as all I am writing this year are short stories(!) - but I don't really write stories suitable for the womens magazine market - too much swearing for one!!

If that wouldn't be a problem then count me in!

Quillers said...

You can count me in Cally! Maybe the person that posts the prompts gets that fortnight off, so that no one is having to produce something every fortnight.

I think the league table anonymous posting is a good idea, and maybe the person who posts the prompts could put up everyone's stories (which are sent to them via email?) so that no one has to make up any names. It might be a good idea if that's optional though as not everyone wants to share their work. These are just ideas, so please don't think I'm taking over here!

Erm, one proviso, which I'm sure you'll understand. I don't do grids ;-)

Leigh said...

Count me in!
I don't mind how it works, as long as we don't all end up writing stories on the same themes (as for Writers' News comps), and thus all try to sub similar stories at the same time. Perhaps a list of prompts, one per writer? First come first served?

HelenMH said...

I'd be interested as well, but I agree with Leigh that we'd need some way of making sure that we didn't all come up with a lot of similarly themed stories - maybe the prompts could be very general, or very obscure. My productivity is dire at the moment, so anything that could help with that has to be a good thing!

Jumbly Girl said...

This is a great idea. Even though I am concentrating on my novel I want to keep writing short stories and I'm with you on the 'switching off the internal editor' and just getting the stories down. I have to admit though that so far I haven't been writing for this market - but if that wouldn't exclude me then please count me in

womagwriter said...

Me too! My plan this year was to write two stories a month, but I've been a bit lax lately (blame it on the diy). This might get me going properly again.

womagwriter said...

Oh, and can I advertise this on my blog? I think most of my readers come here too, but there might be some who don't and who would be interested.

(I'm out all day tomorrow though.)

Cathos said...

Great idea - I've been setting myself all sorts of targets about writing and haven't kept any of them - this could be just the sort of thing to keep me going.
I think it would be really interesting to use the same prompts at least the first time to see if people were coming up with similar themes or whether they were totally different.

Elizabeth Moulder said...

Have you not thought of simply entering a short story comp in any of the writing mags each month? You would get the topic/ deadline and possible prize money. I've been doing this for a year now as a way of writing on topics and with treatments which wouldn't fit into the women's magazine format. So far one long listed, one runner-up and one winner. Fun. Elizabeth Moulder

Elizabeth Moulder said...

Have you considered entering a short story competition in any of the writing mags? I've been doing this all year and have logged 1 long-listed, 1 runner up and 1 win.
It will give you topic and deadline and enable you to write stuff outside the restrictions of the magazine market. It's fun.

Elizabeth Moulder