Journey of a Short Story — Prelude

A. E. Engle
4 min readSep 16, 2021

The first draft of anything is sh*t — Hemingway (verified)

Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and now that I have a little break from “creation” on my novel (meaning I’m doing more clean up than new writing), I’m finally getting off my ass to do this. And by “wanting to do this for a while” I mean, at least a year.

A Brief History

In April of 2020 I decided it was time to start building a writing habit. I don’t remember the when's, why's, or anything like that. I think I was perusing a bookshelf and found two unused leather-bound Piccadilly journals sitting there. The kind you can get all day at Barnes and Noble for about $7. One of them was a gift from my oldest daughter. The journals were a constant reminder of what I should be doing…writing.

So, I just decided to…write. Daily. 20 minutes per day, working on short stories only. I wasn’t ranting, or journaling, or writing about my day. I was…creating.

And it felt good!

Output — The Compound Effect

Since April 2020, I now have 29 new short stories, and 1 in progress. I’ve created a new “world”, a city where odd events happen with strange or crazy people or as a place for stories to take place, similar to Stephen King’s Castle Rock or Derry, ME. I also have a concept for an 8 part series of short stories, and a new novella idea. The stories run across all genres including literary (which is totally not my style) to thriller to sci-fi to fantasy, and to just some plain undefinable weirdness because…these stories are not planned or outlined in advance.

Once the timer starts, I write for 20 minutes. If I finish a story 10 minutes in, I have to start a new story. That’s the rule.

I have a freebie coming soon to my website which discusses 7 steps (read: rules) to my method of madness. And by coming soon I mean…whenever.

If you’re a beginning writer wondering where to start, it is here: writing everyday. Creative writing, not ranting or journaling. Building and working on the craft, putting…

A. E. Engle

Author of the upcoming Darkness of the Northern Sky, writer, metalhead.