Elizabeth: Discovering Sunday Stories

200067117-001Going through my magazine pile recently, I found an article in the Romance Writers Report (April 2014)* by Holly Jacobs about Sunday Books. Rather than writing that is contracted or scheduled in the 5-year career plan, a Sunday Book represents a story that is written for fun, for the joy of writing, and/or for the chance to try something completely different. It may ultimately wind up in print, like Jacobs’ Just One Thing, but the pleasure of writing is the real goal. She referenced several other authors in her article that write Sunday Books as well.

“I hate having to say no to my ‘story generator.’ That part of my brain might shut down if I don’t use the ideas it gives me. . .” ~ Susan Meier (RWR April 2014)

I like the idea of having a story that you’re working on just for fun, in the midst of whatever other writing is going on. In my day job, I always have multiple projects going on at the same time. When there is a break in the action (or a roadblock) in one project, there is always something to be done on a different one. Sometimes, the work on one project will generate ideas applicable somewhere else or point towards a previously un-thought of solution. Different projects also require different skills and give me a chance to flex different mental muscles. It makes sense that this would also apply to writing.

Over the past year, my writing was stuck in a single-track as I focused on reaching ‘The End’ of my work in progress. I had a lot of new story ideas during that time, but they all wound up gathering dust as I doggedly kept plugging away on the WIP. Holly’s article caused me to rethink that plan and make time to work on some Sunday Stories of my own. I’m already seeing the benefit (besides the creation of some new stories 🙂 ). Taking a break now and again to work on something completely different has allowed me to step back and look at my WIP with fresh eyes. I’ve been able to work out a few plot-black-holes and have generated new ideas for solving some nagging problems. As a plus, I no longer feel like the story ideas my brain likes to throw out at random times are completely going to waste (at least not all of them).

I’m currently polishing up one of my recent Sunday Stories to submit to the RWA for consideration for their upcoming short story anthology about ‘second chances.’

He’s tall, dark, and damaged and she’s got trust issues. Their first attempt at happily ever after was a crash and burn, but when they’re unexpectedly trapped together at a week-long family gathering, they have a chance to rewrite their ending.

I’ll let you know in May how that all works out.   Having the story accepted would be icing on the cake, but the real treat was getting it out of my head and on the page. The contemporary story features Molly and Sam, who were a lot of fun to write, and a nice change of pace from Regency Michael and Abigail.

So, do you have something you’re writing (or doing) that’s just for fun?

 

* Note: Though the Romance Writers Report is accessible to members only, you can find a related article by Holly Jacobs on the Contemporary Romance Cafe website here.

8 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Discovering Sunday Stories

  1. I’m not doing anything outside of my WIP right now, but I got an idea for a novella that I think I might take a stab at when this is finished. It’s a fun idea and it would be a big change-up from what I’m doing. A break in story type might be right up my alley. Your Sunday Story sounds terrific! The last time I accepted a writing challenge like that, the story found a publisher. You go!

    • Kay – I’ll keep your writing challenge success in mind. So glad that worked out for you. Hope you get a chance to work on your story break too.

  2. I have several ideas that intrigue me. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough shor-term memory to handle more than one story at a time. In fact, it’s a stretch to manage a novel and my day job.

    • Jeanne – it is a challenge balancing more than one story, especially since my characters are always named Michael and Abigail by default until I figure out their real names 🙂 Fortunately, having stories in different time periods is helping me keep things straight.

  3. This gives me pause for thought. You know, I think everything I do is basically a Sunday story, and I tend to get frustrated (and sometimes blocked) because I think it should progress along the lines of a full-time writer story. I try to stick to a schedule, but I’ve already got a dayjob.

    Maybe I should just let my story unfold like the flower it is. I’ve been trying to consciously do that with this story. I think about it everyday. I have made progress on it. And it certainly is fun. I have to stop beating myself up over the lack of progress.

    • Michaeline, as we’ve been told, there are many paths to Oz. If letting your story unfold like a flower is working, I say go with that. No need to beat yourself up – unless you’re enjoying it 🙂

  4. Hi, Elizabeth!

    I’m so glad that the article made sense to you. For me, Sunday Books are play time. I can pick away at them, or binge on them. Some get traditionally published, like Just One Thing, some I’ve indie published, like my mystery series, and some stay under the bed…but all have helped me stretch my writing! I’m glad you’re enjoying your own Sunday Books!

    Best of luck with your writing!

    Holly

    • Hi Holly,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m always looking for new ways to stretch my writing skills, so your article was very helpful. Best of luck with your writing as well.

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