It’s December 21st, the SHORTest day of the year. What better date to take the plunge and sign up for a short story challenge? So, without further ado…
Welcome to the Short Story Reading Challenge, Deal Me In 2015!
Yes, I know you’re being bombarded with news about all sorts of reading challenges, and they all sound like a lot of fun. But here’s a unique challenge where your reading burden is relatively light AND where you still can experience a lot of different authors and genres.
What is the goal of the project?
To read 52 short stories in 2015 (that’s only one per week)
What do I need?
1) Access to at least fifty-two short stories (don’t own any short story collections or anthologies? See links to online resources below)
2) A deck of cards
3) An average of perhaps just thirty minutes of reading time each week
Where do I post* about my stories?
(*You don’t have to post about every single story, of course, but if you have something to say about the story you read any given week, your fellow participants would love to hear it.)
1) On your own blog or website if you have one (I will link to your post at the bottom of my weekly post. I currently plan to do my weekly post on Sundays)
2) if you don’t have a blog or website you may comment on my weekly post, sharing thoughts on your own story – or start one at WordPress or blogspot – it’s easy and free to create a basic blog.
How do I pick which stories to read?
(The 52 stories themselves are totally up to you.) Before you get start reading, come up with a roster of fifty-two stories (you can use any source) and assign each one to a playing card in a standard deck of cards. It can be fun to use different suits for different types of stories, but that is optional. Each “week,” (if you’re like me, you may occasionally fall a story or two behind) you draw a card at random from your deck and that is the story you will read. There are links to last year’s participants’ rosters here if you want to see some examples.
What if I don’t have time to read a story every single week?
Try one of the challenge variations noted below, the Fortnight (or “payday” if you prefer) version is one story every two weeks or the “Full Moon Fever” version with just thirteen stories read or selected on seeing each full moon…
How do I sign up?
Leave a comment below with your URL and I will link you. My first wrap-up post of the year (I post weekly, usually Sunday night or Monday morning) will include links to any new Deal Me In posts and a list of the participants with links to their roster of stories.
What is the purpose?
To have FUN and to be exposed to new authors and stories and maybe get in the habit of reading a short story a week. Isn’t that enough? 🙂
Some short story resources:
Classic Horror Stories:
AmericanLiterature.com short story of the day
EastoftheWeb’s short story of the day:
The Library of America’s short story of the week archive:
Looking for some really short stories? Try here
Deal Me In Variations:
The Deal Me In “Fortnight Version” – just use two suits from your deck and assign a story to each card, drawing a card every two weeks. If you get paid bi-weekly, you can use that as a reminder to draw a new card (I guess this makes the fortnight variation a.k.a. The “payday version.” 🙂 If you work for “one of those companies” where you only get paid twice a month on the 15th and 30th, e.g., drop two cards or better yet, use a euchre deck!
The Deal Me In “Full Moon Fever Version” – this would be the baby steps way to ease into the Deal Me In routine, basically reading just one story a month (who doesn’t have time for that?). Just use one suit or face cards only and you’re set. Seeing the full moon in the sky can also serve as a reminder – “hey, I need to read my next short story!”
Dates of the full moons in 2015: 1/5, 2/3, 3/5, 4/4, 5/4, 6/2, 7/2, 7/31, 8/29, 9/28, 10/27, 11/25, and 12/25.
Full moon bother you? You can try the using the new moons, but there are only 12 of them in 2015. 🙂
Other participants in the past have added their own wrinkles: Reading a story a week for only half the year, reading two at a time and trying to find a “connection” between them, reading essays or famous speeches. No one’s done it yet, but at breakfast yesterday a friend asked me, can you read poems? That’s another great idea. Wish I’d thought of that. Maybe for DMI 2016…
Last of all, please help spread the word about Deal Me In. It’s been so much more fun the past couple years with others playing along. 🙂