Friday, May 4, 2012

A - Z or how I wrote 26 stories without going insane

[photo credit: karindalziel via photo pin cc]
Last January an RVing friend who also happens to be a writer, mentioned the A to Z Writing Challenge to me. Intrigued, I headed to their website to check it out. My blog was new and my readership was still confined mostly to family and friends. I had no real direction for my blog,

I signed up on faith, hoping I could work it out. April was going to be a really hectic month for me since on March 27th, my husband was getting a double knee replacement. I already knew about the scheduling capabilities of Blogger and was counting on getting most of my blogs written and scheduled in advance.

The first thing I did was start a text document where I listed the letters, A to Z, down one side. Then as a word came to mind, I'd add it. There was no rhyme or reason to the words I chose other than when I picked Closed, I immediately added Open.

I had participated in several flash fiction challenges that used a photo for inspiration. I had discovered that this really helped my creative flow so I headed over to where I selected a photo or two for each word.

Now it was time to think about a theme. One of the tips I had read was to keep the blog short. Since they anticipated over 1500 blogs signed up, blog length could be an important factor in keeping readers returning for more.

Once again, flash fiction jumped out at me since I was really enjoyed the tight writing it required. I had written several entries for Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction [ Exquisite - Hunger - Clandestine - Radiance - Nineteen ]. But I knew that trying to write my stories in five sentences would really create stress in such a timed environment. So I upped my sentence maximum to ten. Thus the 10 by 10 was born....a max of ten sentences with a minimum of 100 words.

You'd think that would be good enough. Not when I read a pre-A to Z post by Damyanti looking for story starter prompts. After reading her previous year entries, which she had compiled into a book, I knew two things. One, I needed to submit some ideas for her A-Z and two, I needed to solicit some prompts for my stories. BTW, she chose mine for A, H and Z. Hope you'll take time to read her amazing stories for all the letters!

Thus was born my first A to Z flash fiction themed stories. I really enjoyed writing them, almost as much as I enjoyed reading other entries in the challenge.


  1. Well done for completing the challenge, Donna :) I also wanted to schedule mines in advance (but ended up cramming them in the night before or on the day!)

  2. I enjoyed your posts so much Donna - I don't know about you, but I went from somewhere in the range of 50 blog followers to 136 - plus my Twitter count is close to 500 - about 100 new followers since A-Z started. That's pretty cool.

  3. Catherine, you folks that did it on the fly truly amaze me. Good job!!!

  4. Thanks Jaye, glad you enjoyed them. Great job on the followers!!

    I went from about 25 followers to 80. I've jumped up to 99 with the Insecure Writers Group & Triberr hits. I have been steadily adding Twitter followers, up to almost 800 now. Definitely cool!!

  5. You've had a brilliant AtoZ Donna. The 10x10's were an excellent idea and got everyone talking. Those of us that sent prompts in felt like we'd really participated too. Thanks for the links.
    I only started blogging early January. As for stats I went from 3 to 22. Not many more but an increase of 600 fold! I was very impressed with that.
    During the month I had almost a week sick and a weeks leave so was glad I'd pre written most.

  6. Thanks so much, Lynne. It was funny how a starter prompt took me in directions that were very different from what I thought would be the story. Fun!

    Congrats on the increase, keep on blogging!!!

  7. I'm so glad we both did this challenge so we were given the opportunity to meet! I've enjoyed getting to know you!

  8. Same here, Beth. I look forward to reading Allie's final story, you have talent!!

  9. Going into the Challenge with a plan and a theme makes it all go much more smoothly.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog


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