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Thread: Fastest time you ever clocked a short story draft?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Zach Lancer's Avatar
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    Fastest time you ever clocked a short story draft?

    I've been struggling with a novellaish thing that was supposed to be a short story for several weeks now, mostly due to the fact that I didn't have a clear idea of the story when I started. At the rate that I had been going, it was impossible to imagine how someone could finish and submit a short story each and every week, as I hear some of the more prolific writers have done.

    To my great surprise however, yesterday I had an idea for a story that went the other way. I sat down to write, and some 3-4 hours later I had a finished first draft of about 2,000 words. How the hell did this happen? So, what are your experiences? What's the fastest time you ever finished a draft?

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Zach Lancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mypaperlab View Post
    i use my draft writing at my free time
    Er, me too? I'm pretty sure most writers here write in their free time.

  3. #3
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    My fastest was under 90 minutes, if I remember right. It was only 700 words, but I had one of those 3-second dreams right before waking up. It was the first story I ever got published. I've written other, longer stories in a few hours, and others in a few days, but I've tinkered with other stories for much longer than that. I revise as I go usually, so that slows me down.
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  4. #4
    resident curmudgeon
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    I really don't write in a way that says first draft or final draft, but short stories usually come pretty fast for me, or not at all. Three thousand words usually takes three to five hours from initial idea to final draft. Two of my biggest sales to national magazines took almost exactly four hours from the time I sat down to write until the time I actually submitted the stories. I made right at $250 per hour for those stories. If I could do that all day, every day, I'd be a happy camper.

    I once wrote twelve short stories in a four day weekend when the weather kept me pinned inside, and sold eight of them immediately. If it takes me more than a couple of days to write a short story of any length, I can be pretty sure it's not going to be one of my better stories.

  5. #5
    Oerba Yun Fang DragonHeart's Avatar
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    Under an hour, including revisions. To be fair it was flash and under 100 words. When it flows, it flows. I did sell both of the flash pieces I wrote this way, so make of that what you will.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW VeronicaX's Avatar
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    Writing short stories usually don't take me more than a few hours. First draft, that is. Flash fictions usually takes 20-30 minutes. If it takes me longer, I usually end up deleting the whole thing and go onto a new idea. If I find myself wondering where the story will end up, I reckon it's one of these stories that aren't ready to be written.

    The way I write is like this: I write whatever words that come to my mind, I don't think much. The moment I start thinking I get way too easily sidetracked by overthinking and it ruins the whole story. When I'm "not allowing" myself to think, it takes much longer time, I lose focus, and the story is usually never as good as the others.

    It does take me quite some time to get the story out of my head once it's done though. It's difficult getting started on a new one. I have to work on that

  7. #7
    Caped Codder jaksen's Avatar
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    About a day, during an ice storm. One of my shorter shorts, though. But I sold it to EQMM so I weren't complainin'
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  8. #8
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    I've had a few stories that went from raw idea to submission in just a few hours.
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  9. #9
    The fastest time I ever finished a draft was about five minutes, for roughly 500 words. However it was also littered with a few grammar and spelling errors as well. The key I guess is knowing what your going to write, and not worrying about it being perfect the first time, though I have a problem with the latter.

  10. #10
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    Fifteen or twenty minutes for a short of about 900 words, handwritten. Revised it once, moving one paragraph. Sold it to an Irish magazine.
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  11. #11
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    About an hour for a thousand word flash western parody, about 5 hours for a 9 thousand word piece, and 35 days (about 120-130 hrs) for a 65 thousand word piece.

  12. #12
    figuring it all out Nicrsing7's Avatar
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    It usually takes me a couple hours to draft stories that are about 2-3K. The trick for me is to write them as close to that moment of inspiration as possible.

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ExitTheKing's Avatar
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    The fastest I normally ever write anything is within a few hours. First draft, of course.

  14. #14
    I don't usually time my writing, but I know I've written short stories in one day before. And other times it's taken months.

  15. #15
    Short story-ist, editor for hire. Evan Henry's Avatar
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    I wrote a flash piece (really flash -- 5-600 words) in about thirty minutes once. It was awful.

  16. #16
    That hairy-handed gent
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    ~5 hours, for a ~5000 word story, which I've never felt need to revise significantly, other than some simple grammatical clean-up. Of course, it's never found publication anywhere.

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  17. #17
    Blissfully Clueless Mutive's Avatar
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    I think it was maybe...IDK. Under 15 minutes. But it was 500 word flash. Made a few really tiny revisions.

    Haven't sold it, though, so not sure I'd recommend the process. (I still find the story amusing, though, so whatever.)

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW phineas12gauge's Avatar
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    30 minutes and 1264 words ... 10 minutes later I put it out into the ether

    24 hours after, I got the first rejection.
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  19. #19
    I Pride with my Grandson! KTC's Avatar
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    I wrote one in 17 minutes for a short story contest deadline. When I was finished writing it, I sent it in. It didn't win, but it made the short list of Top 10 and was published in the anthology. (-:
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  20. #20
    In debt to AW Raphee's Avatar
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    Two hours for 4000 words and it got accepted.
    I have been searching for the same surge of inspiration and it's been missing.

  21. #21
    resident curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicrsing7 View Post
    It usually takes me a couple hours to draft stories that are about 2-3K. The trick for me is to write them as close to that moment of inspiration as possible.
    This seems to be the trick for me, as well. If I sit down and start writing when that flash inspiration hits, I not only write the story very fast, I can be pretty sure it's going to sell.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW
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    No idea. I'm not on a timer. But I think the Flash piece I ended up selling to ASIM didn't take me long to write. Maybe an hour? Less? Who knows?

  23. #23
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    My fastest was during an English exam :P I think it was about 60 mins and about 3 pages :P

  24. #24
    I aim to misbehave Myrealana's Avatar
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    I wrote a 750 word flash piece in about half an hour one day. It just came to me. It didn't need much revision either.

    As far as a "real" short story - over 1000 words, my fastest first draft was about 3 hours for 4000 words.
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  25. #25
    Benefactor Member alexshvartsman's Avatar
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    It's not unusual for me to write flash stories in one sitting (1-2 hours), including several that sold to pro markets with little or no further revision. It generally takes me forever to write longer stories. Except for the one last week:

    Wednesday 8:30am - Woke up to a solicitation from an editor to submit to an anthology they're putting together. Had zero stories in inventory that even remotely fit said anthology.
    Wednesday: 9am - Sat down to write and began brainstorming. Wrote 1500 words over a few hours.
    Thursday: 9am - Wrote another 1000+ words, and sent the story out to beta readers.
    Thursday night: Revised based on feedback and submitted.

    This is SUPER fast for me. I usually let an idea simmer in my head for days if not weeks before writing it down.

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