In a few days it will be December – and for regular readers of this blog that means one thing… my advent story challenge (sorry). If you’re new to the blog (hello and thank you!) then let me explain how it works. I have an idea for a story and over the 24 days I write and post small chapters (chapterretes?) of the story; but there’s a challenge. Each day MUST feature the advent toy from the Lego City Advent Calendar – and it must be included in the story so it seems it should be there. So if you were to use the roller skates from the above picture, I would have possibly had to work out how to cool the can quickly (probably has some radioactive food for Santa’s reindeer) and rather than run I used the skates (possibly because the tail tripped me up). So there’s a reason – even if it is tenuous.
All makes sense? Great!
As my blog title said though, there’s a but (stop sniggering). In previous years (I think this must be the fifth year I’ve done this) I’ve had a couple of other rules:
- each section cannot be less than 500 words
- I can’t know what the advent toy is BEFORE I start to write the chapter
I put those in to really test my creative writing. When I started, I had time and opportunity to sit, photograph (there’s always a couple of pictures with the story), edit, write and post. Last year it became a lot more difficult to do all that – there was little time and it started to be a bit too much of a challenge and almost stopped being fun. Because I work from home during much of the week, last year I got my wife to carefully package the toys into their own bags ahead of me taking them away. But it seemed unfair to put pressure on someone else. So, here are my advent challenge rules to myself for this year:
- There has to be a post for every day of advent and it has to feature at least one picture.
- There is no minimum word count (and there is no maximum word count either)
- I can be aware of the advent toy ahead of the day that I write the story (but see the notes following)
So here’s the thing about that last point. Last Monday, whilst the advent box was still firmly sealed, I wrote the notes for the overarching story line. That’s the basic flow that I want to achieve for the story and is made up of one or two short sentences for that day. So as I prepare for the week ahead, I have started to pull together by Advent Story Box (things that I think will be useful for the pictures) and that includes packaging up the first 5 advent toy gifts – but I wanted to be clear that the bigger story hasn’t been influenced by the toys (and actually as the story goes ahead I think that will be very obvious!)
It was pointed out to me that this is a personal challenge and that I really didn’t need to create difficult rules for myself – in fact it didn’t matter if I didn’t do it. I did agree that this was a fair point – ultimately a blogger is only writing for him or herself but then chooses to share with the world. But I do like the challenge – heck I love the opportunity to really flex the creative part of my mind like this – and my relaxation of the rules is only to ensure that I still have fun doing this and don’t end up finding myself desperately trying to write the short story at 2 in the morning (again).
So there you go. Wordpress tells me I’ve been writing this blog for 9 years now and I’m not about to stop any time soon – and certainly not for the 24 days of Christmas!