That’s it for Wolves at the Door. Huge thanks to everyone who liked and/or followed the story: I’m not sure I would have stuck with it this long without knowing you were out there reading it.

Having a daily deadline certainly kept me writing, and I always managed to get a page up before midnight – even if the occasional last-minute rush wasn’t ideal for writing quality. But hey, that’s what second drafts are for.

What did I learn?

  1. Writing a page at a time brings with it a certain discipline. It encourages you to wrap up one thought before moving on to the next. Speaking of which…
  2. A page is not 250 words. I think I started out averaging in the low 400s, and by the end the overall average was up to around 470. Which made things more difficult because…
  3. I am not a fast writer. At least, not when I’m thinking about what I write – and if I didn’t, then what’s the point? Still, there’s an upside to that, because…
  4. Writing over a long period allows time for ideas to germinate and mature along the way. There’s a lot of ideas that would have been left out if I’d written this over the space of weeks instead of months. But…
  5. Writing a page at a time can distort your sense of length. Anything that takes more than three pages seems excruciatingly slow. Sometimes that impression is accurate, but not always. But slow or fast…
  6. Writing in strict chronological order keeps things moving, even if the pace varies. It’s not always the best way to tell the story, but that sort of thing is relatively easy to edit later on. And finally…
  7. The characters will do what they’re going to do, and sometimes you just have to get out of the way. This happened a few times when things just refused to go in the direction I had planned. It’s super annoying when it happens, but the story ended up better for it.

I think I’d have to call the experiment a success: I did end up with a complete story, even if it took five times as long and nearly ten times as many words as originally anticipated.

I’d definitely do something like this again, though next time I might try a chapter per week instead of a page every day. Or, like, an actual short story. Watch this space! In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. You can leave a comment, tweet me, or just take a few seconds to vote in the polls below.

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