Sunday, September 21, 2014

The End: 2014 A Year In Stories

After twenty-one months, the 2014 A Year In Stories project has finally wrapped up. The last three volumes (October, November, and December) are available for purchase and/or download. All twelve volumes--a volume per month, a story a day, 31 novellas--are now out.


October (print, e-pub,
and for Kindle)
This project wasn't my first in print, but it was momentous in every other way, and not necessarily because of my inexperience, although I consider it a central milestone to my growth as a writer--as a person. Working with an editor of Matt Potter's caliber, on a project so broad, so ambitious, and interacting with the other authors, most of which felt to me like superstars--a walk-on wannabe on the stage with f*cking Humphrey Bogart, that was me.

Plus the writing itself, of course. This was my first long project to go to press. Although I consider myself a novelist, everything I've had published has been short; 1K words max, I think. I believe this is a good thing, starting with shorts. I believe proficiency in shorts--good shorts--is key to proficiency in longer works. (Otherwise you end up with those long-winded, never-ending novels full of extraneous detail that take fifteen pages to say what one good paragraph would--and with extra punch. I believe this, wholeheartedly. So I'm not complaining.

November (print, e-pub,
and for Kindle)
When you write shorts, you learn about economy of language. You learn to appreciate--and demand--the exact word; not just the right word, not just a good word: the exact word. You learn how to distinguish between the details that will give life to the story and those that will bog it down into best-forgotten. You learn about arcs--character, story, plot--and you learn how to recognize the tipping points. You learn how to make the most of these points, how to narrow down the narrative focus so they blot out everything, become everything. You learn pretty much everything that has an impact on brilliant narration.

Except how to sustain tension throughout a longer work.

And that's where the challenge was, for me, for the 2014 A Year In Stories project. Twelve stories, max 1.5K each (and believe you me, I used up every word in that allowance every month, even went slightly past it a couple of times); each story needed to stand on its own two feet in terms of arc and plot development, but at the same time the twelve stories together needed to form a single arc spanning the whole year.


December (print, e-pub,
and for Kindle)
Am I satisfied with the result? Yes. Could it have been better? Yes. Of course. And that's another lesson learned here: like Leonardo said, art is never finished--only abandoned. I could've gone on tinkering with the storyline for months. Years.

Thank god for editors.

Bottom-line: this project was the best, the most challenging, of both worlds. It deepened my ability for writing short, punchy fiction. It forced me to think about the long-term (fiction-wise) consequences of each story. It made me deal with the impossibility of tying all those loose threads of narrative into a single arc, the conclusion of which would feel (somewhat) satisfying to the reader. And to me.

Brilliant project. Brilliant.

P.S. -- January through August volumes have a 20% discount.


  1. That was an amazing experience-- and must have been a very challenging writing exercise. All the best with the book, look forward to reading it!

  2. Hi Giulie .. congratulations - you must have learnt so much and experienced so many things .. let alone write those stories ... good luck for the future .. cheers Hilary


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