Thursday, April 19, 2012

30 Day Writing Challenge - 30 Days of Writing. Done!

Thirty days of writing. Thirty challenges. 31,118 words. And now it's over and I get a chance to go back and reread some of what I wrote at last...

In doing so, I realised that it might be a tad tedious to have to cycle through the various days without knowing what they are all about and so decided to create this page, which provides a brief summary of each day (and a link) enabling anyone who reads this to have a little more information to hand in picking and choosing which of the writing challenges they want to look at.

Ernest Hemingway said the first draft of everything is shit, so the fact that the vast majority of the challenges in here represent the first draft of whatever I wrote means you may have to forgive a certain lack of refinement in what follows. My usual process throughout was to have a general idea for what I was going to write on a particular theme and then sit with my laptop, bashing aggressively against the keyboard, until I'd concluded and then fight to resist my natural urge to reread and edit and rewrite. I did this because I can sometimes find it difficult, when working on my novel, not to want to go back and revise the chapter I've finished the previous day - and I think it's likely far healthier to get into the mindset of ploughing on and writing the full story before you go back and revise it.

So, without further ado, here are all thirty of the challenges.

Day 1 - A Place that you love
For this challenge, I chose to write a short piece about a childhood haunt of mine 'The Hill'... [read more]

Day 2 - Facing The Fear
I decided, for Day 2, to head straight off into SF territory and write a short piece detailing a mysterious assignment for Alana Dshae, as she is whisked off to the furthest reaches of the galaxy to meet with an ancient alien race. [read more]

Day 3 - A genre you've never written in before
I've always held a fondness for Westerns but had never attempted to write anything even remotely close to one; so for this challenge I wrote the story of a group of killers, led by a man called Six Finger Bob, heading into the town of Desolation on the hunt for a man called Danny Ringo... [read more]

Day 4 - Dialogue only, please
I decided to use the challenge of today to flesh out some of the characters from Day 3's short story and provide a slightly ironic, and hopefully comedic, insight into the minds of the Little Jake and Slim Decker... [read more]

Day 5 - Inspired by your favourite song
After considering writing a piece of fantasy, I decided to make Day 5 an honest evaluation of how Stevie Ray Vaughan's version of Little Wing makes me feel. [read more]

Day 6 - Second person coffee
Writing in the second person is always fun and, once you're writing in this perspective, it's very hard to resist the lure of noir. Of course, there had to be some comedy in there as well as your morning coffee is somewhat spoiled by the arrival of The Mob... [read more]

Day 7 - A day in the life of your favourite comic book character
I decided to use this challenges as an opportunity to take a slightly alternative look at a much beloved comic book character... [read more]

Day 8 - A place that exists only in your mind
For today's challenge I visited a place that exists only in my mind; the hugely mechanised city of Trinity that crawls slowly city-wise on its path around the globe. This is a small excerpt from the first draft of my current novel. [read more]

Day 9 - El Diablo
This one kind of got away from me - or, rather, I ran out of time to finish it - and so there is only a tiny snippet of a very strange story that I intended to feature a Mexican drug lord and a Lovecraftian sub-text... [read more]

Day 10 - The Interview
After a few days of being (relatively) serious, I abandoned myself to the comic and wrote a short fantasy piece about the interview of a potential minion by a Dark Lord. [read more]

Day 11 - A Point in History
A short SF piece detailing the machinations of Alfred J Pollock, a scientist of dubious repute, who hoped to use his newly fashioned time machine to return to the past and enslave civilization... [read more]

Day 12 - Your passion
My passion is writing. So, I write about writing. Very meta. [read more]

Day 13 - The place I grew up
A slightly rose tinted view of the town of Halesowen, where I spent my formative years. [read more]

Day 14 - In the style of a favourite writer
A couple of possibilities suggested themselves but I decided to embark upon a short homage to the SF of Iain M Banks... [read more]

Day 15 - The road goes ever on
For some reason, I found this one of the hardest challenges to actually get an idea for but when I did I fashioned a short story that features a car trip, a powerful sense of deja vu and a realisation that all might not quite what it seems. [read more]

Day 16 - How an event from yesterday could have gone
This is, quite possibly, the silliest day out of all 30. I'll say nothing else. [read more]

Day 17 - The Ocean
A different tone entirely to the previous day, this challenge details the diary of a mariner stranded in the middle of the Atlantic... [read more]

Day 18 - The taste of your favourite meal
I don't want to give anything away about this; but it begins with a serial killer following a young woman as she exists a bar...[read more]

Day 19 - The day of randomness
Today's challenge involved heading to wikipedia and using their random page link to find the subject of your day's challenge. I got Pedro Aznar, a musician and so fashioned this short story about an encounter on a Rio beach. [read more]

Day 20 - A place you want to visit
An opportunity to reveal my desire to follow in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong! [read more]

Day 21 - Night
This offered me an opportunity to slip briefly into horror fiction as a man is assailed in his house by deadly visitors... [read more]

Day 22 - Standing at the precipice
A man stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon and has to decide whether he believes enough to jump. [read more]

Day 23 - First person blind date
This turned out to be almost as silly as Day 16 as it considers the perils of extra-terrestrial blind dating... [read more]

Day 24 - The City
A short piece that is derived from a fantasy world that I've had knocking around my imagination for many years. [read more]

Day 25 - A Poem
Today I created a SF sonnet... [read more]

Day 26 - Something you witnessed today
A short story that touches upon the more invasively dystopian possibilities afforded by the advances in augmented reality technology... [read more]

Day 27 - A snippet from a novel you want to write
This is a snippet from a novel I am writing - part of the same novel as seen in Day 8 - as we are introduced to Militza Tio; warrior,  member of the Shield Guard and soon-to-be renegade. [read more]

Day 28 - Second person bank robbery
From the perspective of you, an undercover FBI agent, waiting for a notorious gang to rob a bank... [read more]

Day 29 - Blue Powder
A chance encounter in a Parisian bistro allows the tale of the legendary Count of Saint Germain to be told. [read more]

Day 30 - The End
Best read after having read Day 29's story, this takes us to the very end of the Universe... [read more]


Anonymous said...

A very enjoyable bunch of short stories. You are adept at jumping from genre to genre and writing in each genre convincingly. These stories have a lightness of touch, some pleasing humour, but depth also. And you always seem aware of that that most important of facts; readers like a decent and interesting plot!

Have you read the David Mitchell novel "Cloud Atlas"? He connected a similarly diverse bunch of short stories into one narrative (he did the same trick in his first novel "Ghostwritten"). Your style reminded me of his ability to ape various genres while bringing something new and fresh to them.

Also your "applications-for-unsuitable-jobs-saga" gave me a chuckle. How goes your application for, what was it, ruler of the entire world? (imagine the paperwork)

Anyway good luck with your novel.

Oliver Davies said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for your kind words. Gave me a smile to go with my Sunday morning cup of tea... :-)

I've not read any David Mitchell but, based upon your recommendation, I now have a hankering to check him out!

Glad you enjoyed the unsuitable jobs. I do need to get around to finally finishing those off and applying for the last few jobs that will complete the 100...