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I have finished all 14 stories!! While I had a few plot/character surprises like the story surprises from January, this month everything seemed to fall into place. The dialogue came easy, the settings rattled and smoked, and I’m incredibly happy with the opening and closing lines of the final two stories.

writing journal

Finished the final story in the collection while at a writing business retreat in Carolina Beach, NC.

The core of my work for the next three months is on typing and critiques. I wrote all of the stories by hand. Now it’s time to get them loaded to the digital world so that I can share them with critique groups. I normally run one monthly critique group, but from March-April I’m running three every month. This will allow me to pass each story through a critique group before I revise and send off to editors!

Now that I have a full complete handwritten rough draft, here is a brief breakdown of the story premises:

Eyes – A boy questions his paternity and discovers a family secret.

The Day Eleanor Arrives – After his mother runs away, Al resists a new live-in housekeeper who ultimately knows the truth he cannot accept.

Doll Maker – A man’s affair comes at the perfect time for his wife.

Ribbon – A typewriter factory worker tries to make a family the only way he can, but he needs help.

Porte-Cochere – After her dog runs away, a woman skips work with a friend to search an estate by a cemetery, but they discover more than a gravedigger’s secret.

Fishing – A widower stuck in tradition finds himself alone in a summer cabin in Maine when he discovers a woman through notes she left in a Bible.

Newsboy – A candy store robbery sheds light on more than just a thief.

Rose Window – Confined to the attic of his family’s home, a paralyzed man starts to get a new perspective in the house.

Returning to Roots – Forty years after their affair, a woman is named executrix of her first lover’s estate.

Together Again – Three siblings unexpectedly meet at their mother’s grave, but the chance of their meeting sparks paranoia and pandemonium.

For the Birds – On the eve of a historic snowstorm, two bullies steal a boy’s pet and then the boy teaches them a lesson in bullying.

Hudson River – A sane woman finds herself in a mental asylum.

Charlie – Haunted by deceiving his mother, a man lives on trains searching for a way to make amends with the world.

Widow’s Sister – Two sisters stuck living together later in life face an emergency that reveals one sister’s true values.

Typing is the next step in this multi-month process. In order to get the remainder of my longhand stories currently in Moleskines transferred to Microsoft Word, I’ve plotted out a schedule to type one story each week. This means that by the end of April I’ll have an approximate word count of the entire collection. I’m thinking it will land at about 51,000 words. Make your predictions now!