The Runner – The Process

The Runner is story number six in the #52ShortStories challenge.

**SPOILERS BELOW. If you have not read the story and want to be (hopefully) surprised, come back to this when you’re done.**

This one was unusual for me in several different ways:

I didn’t mind map at all.

I don’t know why, but I decided to skip the mind mapping and just use freewriting to flesh out the concept. It seemed to work.

I wrote in the first person.

The only reason I thought to do this was to help myself grow beyond my defaults. I always default to the third person because when I first started writing “seriously” six years ago, I had read that it’s what agents and publishers wanted.


I realized how stupid it was that I’ve stuck with this idea for so long. It’s always challenging to move beyond the defaults, but well worth it in the end. I know there are some tricky tense errors in there, but like all of these stories I’ve written, it’ll go through a copy editing process before being professionally published.

After a painful slog through the last story, writing this one was more enjoyable.

I needed this easy (easier) win. After the last couple of stories, this one seemed to fly off the keyboard in comparison. I don’t know if it’s a fluke. Is it because I didn’t mind map? Is it because I was more comfortable with the subject matter? Is it because of this…because of that? Will the next one be so easy? How about after that?

So many questions and I’m not sure I can answer them all. Still, I’m trying to keep track in the hopes that all of the data will amount to some insight.

One thing I found funny is how this all started.

There I was, in the middle of sit-ups at the gym, when my brain latched on to a setting that I hadn’t read about for some time–the running Tendai monks of Mount Hiei. Funny how the subconscious works. I’m sure the fact that I was abusing my body in the name of good health had something to do with it. I quickly made some notes on my phone (see Monday’s journal entry) and after some podcast inspiration from Ryan Holiday on getting over the fear of the blank page, I started writing as soon as I got home.

Again, you’ll see in the scratch file an evolution from concept to story. There are quite a few dead ends, but I found my way eventually.

I’ll wrap this up here, but thought I’d leave you with a little quote from Tuesday’s journal entry:

I’m having fun. I suppose that’s the most important thing needed to produce every day.

Here’s the general scratch file:

And the daily journal entries:


[Image courtesy of Guilhelm Vellut on Flickr]

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