Stupefying Stories is currently CLOSED to unsolicited submissions. For more information about what we’re likely to be looking for when we reopen to submissions, see our Submission Guidelines, but be advised that they are subject to change.

Search for...


Blog Archive

Friday, September 10, 2021

Talking Shop: Eric's Writing Challenge Update 12

As per Wednesday's post on the perils of organic novel writing, this weeks Writing challenge update is a little weird. So, let the oddness being with the Writing Challenge itself.

In theory, I wrote about 4000 words this last week. Great, right? Yeah, except no. The decision to split the space opera into two parts meant that, while most of what I'd written worked just fine, I had to roll back basically everything I wrote last week. A version of that work will appear in the book, but a substantively different version of it. It was less a change in theme or tone than one of focus. The end result, however, was that my net gain for the writing challenge is about 500 words for the week. I suppose I could count those deleted words toward the challenge, but I'm not going to. It's one thing to count words that you know may get some editing. It's something else to count words that don't exist anywhere anymore. So that makes my average for this this last week about 75 words per day or so. That puts my current total for the writing challenge at around 56,400 and around 64% completed. 

On to Rinn's Run.

Total Words Completed: Approximately 64,750

Total Chapters Completed: 32 (almost 33)

Percentage Completed (theoretical): Around 81%

I was just going to leave the post there with the very modest update to Rinn's Run, but I changed my mind. I'll admit that chucking around 3500 words stung a bit. Yet, it was for the greater good. The new version puts me on a clearer track toward the conclusion for part one. That means a better book. While I have gone on endlessly about how important getting the words on the page is, it does create dangers when you pair it up with organic novel writing. I ran face first into one of those dangers. The tradeoff for that approach is that I had to be willing to take the hit on deleting what had seemed like perfectly good words on the page in service to a major change in the game plan. It happened to me. It could happen to you. 

The takeaway here is you can't let something like that put you into a tailspin. Let yourself feel bad about it for a little while. I gave myself about 10 minutes and had some popcorn because popcorn makes me feel better about everything. After that brief period of feeling bad (and I'm talking like half an hour, max), you need to get back to putting words on the page. The longer you let yourself feel bad, the less and less you'll want to get back to it. This is a prime example of the need to get back on the horse as quickly as possible. Once you start putting words on the page again, it will make you feel better and you'll fall back into a rhythm pretty quickly.


Eric Dontigney is the author of the highly regarded novel, THE MIDNIGHT GROUND, as well as the Samuel Branch urban fantasy series and the short story collection, Contingency Jones: The Complete Season One. Raised in Western New York, he currently resides near Dayton, OH. You can find him haunting obscure sections of libraries, in Chinese restaurants or occasionally online at


Roxana Arama said...

Popcorn is an excellent idea! Also, thanks for keeping this worklog going. Enlightening and inspiring.

Eric Dontigney said...

I'm glad it's helpful. I meant it as an accountability thing, but it's good to hear that someone is able to get some value from my ramblings.