30 First Drafts

I'm probably going to regret this.

I am not attempting to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November 2010.

I am not attempting to write 30 nodes in the month of November 2010.

I am attempting to write 50,000 words of fiction in the month of November 2010, most likely in the form of 30 short stories of 1,667 words or more.

These are first drafts, written at lightning speed, with no editing whatsoever.

Today in 30 First Drafts...

A deeper explanation

As you may know, both from the (typically month-long) delays between consecutive installments of Fine Structure, and from the six months which have elapsed since I last wrote a piece of fiction, I am not a fast writer.

For the most part I spend a great deal of time thinking about how the current work will fit into larger story (particularly future stories), I write the actual prose quite slowly and carefully with much delay for research, I put effort into selecting the correct words, and I spend a great deal of time editing for maximum clarity, punch and non-stupidity.

Until now.

This month, I am writing in extreme hardcore mode. I have been dwelling on a very wide range of short stories for some months now, uncertain about how to pin them all together, but I knew that if I procrastinated enough NaNoWriMo would come along and I would have an excuse to loosen up a little. I am writing at extreme speed with very little regard for forethought, just letting prose go where it wants. I am making very light use of the backspace key. I am explicitly refraining from using reference materials-- quoth Stephen King, it breaks the writer's trance, and if the specific details matter to the story, then it is the story that needs work, not the details.

In my mind, November is the month in which you force yourself produce 50,000 words. December is the month in which you edit those words into something presentable-- assuming that there is anything left afterwards, of course.

Stay with me.


In case anybody is wondering, these drafts seem to take approximately two and a bit hours each to write. So far.


These are first drafts. Some of them, I'm now developing into finished stories.

The stories Thaumic, Magic NASA, Placebo Engineering, Laura Ferno And The Bomb and The Self-Reliant Heroine all take place in a shared "magic as engineering" sort of universe. I took the best of these concepts and used them for a new and longer story, Ra, which is in progress. Please read!

Discussion (12)

2010-11-02 22:18:22 by Col:

This should be good :)

2010-11-03 01:35:34 by Anonymous:

Huzzah! Sam Hughes, I love your fiction. Fine Structure was _awesome_ And so is NaNoWriMo. Good Luck!

2010-11-03 08:00:39 by skztr:

Will the unedited versions remain once the editing has finished?

2010-11-03 22:47:38 by Publius:

Good luck! I know you can do it! After learning about nanoreemo, I've decided to try it... starting today 11-3, I shall write 2000 words each day. I passed it today, but I don't think I'll be able to finish it. I'm rooting for you to get 50K words in a month!

2010-11-04 19:31:48 by Lucas:

I've been waiting for some more fiction for quite a while... let's see how this goes.

2010-11-05 15:56:25 by Snowyowl:

I agree with Lucas, it's nice to see some of your ideas come to fruition.

2010-11-09 14:55:48 by dankuck:

You and NPR inspired me to do something similar, but with drawings. Starts here: http://foolishmortal.org/user/1/message/1/ae80058a8c196084cb9f315152c3252c

2010-11-15 03:47:54 by Revan:

WHOO! I was in the IRC channel for my NaNo node, and I mentioned Fine Structure to someone...and when I come to the site, first thing I see in the fiction section? "NaNoWriMo" xD Good luck!! (Also, I loved FIne Structure)

2010-11-27 10:40:23 by MHD:

I love your writings. I am a bit of a hobby writer myself and you simply inspire me.

2011-05-30 07:04:51 by Andy:

I discovered this site some 10 days ago. You've completely destroyed my sleep cycle, and it has been completely worth it. Keep up the excellent work.

2011-06-14 19:22:18 by Mike:

Wow, it seems like just yesterday that you were writing these. Somebody should compile this into an ebook; I have neither the means nor skill (nor patience) to do so.

2013-10-14 21:30:38 by Mike:

I'm exceedingly late to the party, but I finally read 30 First Drafts to investigate Ra's prototype stories. S-Hell, The Bird, A Better Monster, Oceania Has Never Been At War, and especially No Car Chases In Books, Are There? are my favorites; I also like the loopy whimsicality of Always Morning, Never Breakfast and the surreal whimsicality of Agile + Cake.

New comment by :

Plain text only. Line breaks become <br/>
The square root of minus one: