As I said in 2016 goal- to write badly, one of my major aims this year is to write with an emphasis on quantity rather than quality. Inspired by Emma Darwin, I’m writing for my own satisfaction, 45 minutes each weekday, stopping to change things as little as possible. The results, just over a week into the new year, are a revelation to me. I’m quite painlessly producing between 700 and 900 words. This means, I have drafted one short story and started another, in just over a week. My experience with Camp Nanowrimo a few years ago, wasn’t a one-off, then. More is more.

Because although I wouldn’t want anybody to read what I’ve written yet, I’m pleased with the potential in those stories. For once, there’s enough material to structure into something people might want to read.

Last time I submitted a short story, I received feedback along the lines of,”This reads too much like a Jane Austen novel.” I nursed my wound for half an hour and then cheered up. It wasn’t the nastiest criticism someone could have levelled at a piece about the domestic side of Abolition. I took it as a sign I should stick to longer work.

Of course, previously, I’d spent years with the same cast of characters. I thought I was drafting without worrying about editing, but I created my structure first. Here I was, trying to put people I didn’t know half as well into something manufactured. Even I, its author, found it a bit lifeless. This week, as I’ve written fast, characters and story have naturally developed. Dialogue has formed. And I now have something that feels more like plasticine, and less like sticklebricks to mold. I suspect this, completely unrevolutionary technique, will prove a much easier and more efficient way  of working.

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