#SHORTADAY: Day 1…and What I Plan To Read

Participate in #SHORTADAY!

Day 1 of my #SHORTADAY Challenge is here. I have decided to read one of the most reprinted stories of all time: “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, by science fiction great Harlan Ellison.

This is a perfect story for me to kick off #SHORTADAY with. It’s only a couple pages long, and it is an award-winning short story. It won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1966, and the Nebula Award in 1965, which is the year I was born. My birthday is Sunday, so expect to see maybe another classic by Ellison on that day as well. I’ve already read I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream. It’s in the top five on my list of all time “must read” science fiction stories. I may read it again on Sunday, or investigate one of the other stories I have from his collection I’m reading: Alone Against Tomorrow.

Some folks have asked about the list I’m working from. It’s huge. I now have over 100 stories to choose from, enough to do three months worth of #SHORTADAY reading. Let me get through my one-month challenge, and we’ll see if I can manage more reading time. I have decided to post a few of the stories that I know I have to read for this:

That covers a few of the stories I definitely want to read for #SHORTADAY. And I’ve by no means mentioned them all. I’m going to try and read a little speculative and literary fiction from all publishing venues: indies and traditional. 
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My #SHORTADAY Reading Challenge

I was on Twitter the other day and I’d noticed a writer friend of mine, Benjamin Solah (@benjaminsolah) tweeting that he’d read a story for his #shortaday challenge. Curious, I asked him what it was all about and he directed me to read his blog post about it.

I read it and I thought “Wow, that’s great!” We writers are always tweeting about the challenges we set ourselves for word counts of our WIP’s and NaNoWriMo. We’ll even mention the book we’re reading or post reviews of books on our blogs. But I have never seen anyone talk about the good short stories they’ve read or setting themselves a challenge to read more short stories (outside of Friday Flash) until Benjamin’s tweets. Short stories rarely get the credit they deserve, and there are a lot of great short stories out there. As writers, we should be reading as often as we can. By reading, we learn what works. We learn what we like. We learn how to be better writers.

So…I’ve decided to jump in on this #shortaday challenge.

I’m challenging myself to read a short story a day for the month of July. It’s my birthday month, so it will be a nice little birthday treat for myself. It might spark me out of the doldrums I’ve been in lately and encourage me to start work on one of the novellas I have planned. I can see Jim Bronyaur pumping his fist at that! 😀

I made up an Excel spreadsheet last night with 80 plus stories on it. Yeah, I know that’s over TWO month’s worth of reading, but I wanted to give myself options. And I may extend my challenge, if I think I can. I’ve got a variety of stories on the list: from indies like my friend Jim Bronyaur to stuff from the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction to literary stories that I didn’t read from my Creative Writing textbook. I even have a science fiction story by Stephen King on the list (Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 5, October 2010, available from Kindle Store, if you’re interested).

I’ll be tweeting a mini-review of each story I read daily on Twitter.

I’ll probably be starting with some short short pieces and flash stories (and there are still some stories in BOFF 1 I haven’t read) until school is over, but I’ll be reading and that’s what counts.

One short story a day for the entire month of July.

Care to join me?