Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

On day 5 of my personal challenge to write 100 stories in 100 days, I wrote story number four and it was a winner. I was extremely happy with it and think it has a good chance of getting accepted somewhere.

It is now day 11 and I’ve written a grand total of one story since.

This has been my problem for as long as I can remember. I’ll write something I like and then sit on it. That’s kind of the point of this challenge, to be prolific and not worry (yet) about quality, but every time I start a new one, I worry it won’t be as good and scrap it.

Bad Jaden, write faster.

Day: 11

Stories Finished: 5

Having been miserably incompetent in any sort of writing achievement for about a year, I was in need of some sort of plan to try and make up for lost time. Working on a longform story is fun, but I’m at that point where I want to market my stories to places, and generally it’s easier, if less rewarding, to shop short fiction than your novel.

My achilles heel is consistency. I am in no way prolific, like a certain other contributor to this blog. And I always make up a bunch of excuses, some of those excuses I was using this very morning. So my latest plan is an attempt to play around those weaknesses while working on improving them at the same time.

I am going to write 100 stories in 100 days.

OK so as I said, I am not prolific. I tend to half-finish most of my projects. If I half-finish this one, then by September 12th, I will have fifty stories ready to go. That sounds like a lot to me. When getting published as a new voice is such a numbers game, the more stories you have the better. And that’s what this is really all about.

I began the challenge for myself yesterday, finishing story 1, “Things That Happened While You Were Waiting for the Train,” today.


Fluorescent light gleamed on cold, metallic walls. The white and grey sterile corridors were freezing, as if the whole building were a giant refrigerator. There wasn’t a soul in sight.

Then a door was flung open and four figures burst out at tremendous speed: a mad-looking man in a tattered coat and scarf and three scientists in lab coats.

“Shut the door!” the man yelled. “Quickly!”

But the last scientist wasn’t quick enough. A black tendril ripped through the door, wrapping around him.

Everyone else ran. It was the only thing they could do.

Word Count: 94

This is for Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for running the challenge and Amy Reese for providing the prompt photo!


All around, there is sand, ash, dirt – stretching on and on to the blood-red horizon and the jagged outline of the desolate mountains. The earth is dry as old bones. Everything is dead here. It has been dead for a long time.

But there is the garden.

White flowers spout from grass, turning their heads to the sun blazing overhead. They grow out in all directions, refusing to stay in their neat rows. They are wild, free, alive, the last green things in a world of grey death.

They are the last embers of a dying fire, but they refuse to stop glowing. They refuse to surrender to night’s black cold.

An old woman tends to them as best as she can. She gives them what little water she manages to collect, saving almost none for herself.

There are no weeds to worry about now, at least, she tells herself. That makes things easier.

There is nothing here but her and her flowers. She knows that one day – one day soon, she fears, for her bones have begun to ache – she will be gone.

She hopes the flowers will remain.

And from them, life will begin anew.

Word Count: 197

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction.


George was certain that the yellow car – bright as a canary’s feathers, smooth and sleek like something from a gangster film – was hunting him, stalking him through the skyscrapers like a tiger through the trees. A glance out his window at lunchtime showed it was there, waiting, but he decided to risk going out anyway.

A hail of bullets almost got him just as the door of the yellow car was flung open and a man stuck out his hand, shouting “Come with me if you want to live!”

This is for Three Line Tales. Thanks to Sonya for running the challenge and Wolf Schram for providing the prompt photo!


They glowed like a field of stars: a net of lights, swaying gently in the breeze from the open window. As she looked at them, she wondered how much they’d cost and how long they’d taken to put up.

They’re beautiful, she thought.

The whole house was beautiful: the curving staircase, the wide window she’d climbed in through, the almost castle-like exterior. Mr. Englehart could afford beautiful things.

It’s amazing how much you can get just by charging thousands for life-saving medication. 

Her only regret was the lights wouldn’t fit in the bag with the rest of her loot.

Word Count: 99

This is for Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for running the challenge and Roger Bultot for providing the prompt photo!


Filled with ash, the marker sat at the heart of the courtyard, surrounded by squares of dew-bright grass. Each night the flame was lit; each morning the flame was naught but ash. That was the way of it: that the orange light of the cracking fire would give way to the spreading crimson of dawn.

To most, the lighting of the flame was just a quaint tradition, one more thing that was done, but to grey-bearded Rodrik, Keeper of the Flame, it was far more than that. His father had shown him the fire’s secret.

“Watch them,” he had instructed his son as they stood in the cold night wind, watching the flame twist this way and that. “Watch the beasts.”

Rodrik had turned his eye to the carved things worming their way around the octagonal base of stone: all teeth and claws and eyes. The fire had touched them with gentle, warm light.

And in that light they had moved.

“The fire gives them life,” his father had said. “They protect us.”

As Rodrik looked at the horrible beasts, now dead as ash in the morning light, he wondered what it was that such things protected them from…

Word Count: 199

For Sunday Photo Fiction.