Oops. I Finished a Short Story.

I didn’t mean to, honest. A few months ago, I started writing a short story by emailing a few paragraphs to myself on my Blackberry while I waited for my sandwich at Cosi’s. Over the course of a month or two, I emailed half a dozen bits to myself while standing in line to buy lunch or other mundane tasks. Then I lost interest.

Tonight, I opened it up to see where it was. I finished the job of importing the emails into Scrivener, and realized I was just about done. So I took half an hour (hey, it’s my birthday) and finished it.

The first draft of “Dear Mr. President” is 2,080 words long. I’ll try to finish revisions by Sunday night, and submit it Sunday night or Monday morning. There are a few online markets that I think I’ll try; I don’t plan to shoot for the moon with this one, but I won’t consider non-paying markets until I’ve run out of paying options.

Is it my best work? No, probably not. But I think it’s a fun little alternate history story, and there might be a place for it somewhere. I don’t have as much invested in it as I did in “Test Tube Beneficiaries” (no response yet to the second submission, but thanks for asking), which I hope means I won’t need to go through six sets of revisions before I can let it go.

But how about that? When I sat down tonight, I had no plans to work on this story at all, and now I’ve gone and finished the first draft. What the hell, though; it’s my birthday. Yay, me.

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9 responses to “Oops. I Finished a Short Story.

  1. Write yourself a story over Blackberry. That is cool. I’ve been trying to do that with my cell phone for a while, but don’t know how to go about it.

    Cool idea. Hope it get’s published.

  2. Thanks. I rethought the ending during my run this morning and fixed it on the train (using my laptop, not the Blackberry), which added about 250 words. Aside from proofreading edits, I want to fix up the POV character’s voice and add one or two short (100-200 words each) scenes, so the final product should still be under 3000 words — if I can keep it to 2500, I will.

    Doing it on a cell phone, though — that sounds hard. I know texting is all the rage with the kids today, but typing out anything more than a few words using the phone keyboard makes me crazy.

  3. But the cool idea about all this is that you focus on your story for only a short amount of time for each session. Then forget about it. Then add to it when you have more free time.

    Did you do this with SMS or email?

    With SMS your messages would have to be more focussed.

  4. Well, you know, focus isn’t really my thing…

    I used email. Not my work email, but my gmail — Google has a useful little app that lets me access my gmail directly from my Blackberry (without having to deal with the painfully slow browser). There is an indeterminate limitation on length, though — if I wrote too much, the app would freeze and I’d lose everything I’d written that session. That happens once or twice and you learn pretty quickly to be brief.

  5. That’s crazy. Aren’t Blackberry’s those things that have a little tiny keyboard? Do you get fast at typing on it eventually? I’ve hesitated to purchase anything like it because my brain works faster than my hands…and I’m a darned fast typer. I just can’t slow my thoughts down so though my mind might be on sentence 27, my fingers are still on sentence 10. So anyway-that’s my excuse for not using this new piece of technology. You’ve inspired me though. ~Karen

  6. Wow, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard anything like that. Just goes to show, I guess, all you can accomplish in your *free time. Good luck with getting it published – I know I for one already want to read it! And happy birthday!

  7. Karen – Blackberries do have tiny little keyboards. I was very fast at typing on my old one. About 9 months ago, I got a new one, the 8700, and my typing has gotten markedly worse. Not slower, just less accurate; the keys must be slightly closer together or smaller. In any case, the form of this story happened to lend itself to staccato bursts of prose, which is about all I can handle on the crackberry.

    Diane – Thanks! We’ll see how it goes with the story. I’m glad to have it done — I originally wrote down the idea three years ago.

  8. I use my cell phone to write haiku to my wife, usually about one a week. Occasionally they have depth, but most of them are about cats.

  9. Are you saying that haiku about cats categorically lack depth? Unfocused Girl would take great offense to that on behalf of all cat kind.

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