The best stories I wrote in 2017
2017 was the year I became a writer. Before that, I spent more than a decade toying with the idea of writing a novel. All I have to show for it is a series of failed New Year resolutions I never made it past the first page.
Last year, I decided to do something different. On the 1st of January, I promised to myself I wouldn't even try to write a novel. Instead, I decided to follow Ray Bradbury’s advice: “Write one hell of a lot short stories.”
“If you can write one short story a week, it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start — at least you’re practicing. At the end of the year you have 52 short stories. And I defy you to write 52 bad ones. It can’t be done." — Ray Bradbury
That’s what I did. I wrote more than a hundred short stories in 2017, 70 of which were posted here on Medium. They all have a lot of room for improvement, of course, but that doesn't stop me from feeling proud of some of them.
To finish 2017 on a high note and get ready for another year of writing, I decided to make a list of the ten best stories I wrote this year (in no particular order).
Huge thanks to S Lynn Knight and Aura Wilming from The Weekly Knob and Julie Duffy from StoryADay.org for all the prompts, as well as Dan Moore, Stephen M. Tomic and all the other publication editors who published my work this year.
My first post for P.S. I Love You, based on a wonderful StoryADay prompt. It was my most read story of the year, and also the first to get an audio version.
The Day You Convinced Me to Leave You
From the beach, I can hear the sound of seagulls crying. Or are they laughing? Every grain of sand underneath my body…
This one was based on artwork from one of my best friends: a fantasy tale about night creatures that feed on human dreams.
The only nonfiction piece on the list: a childhood love story based on memories from when I was eight years old. This one has an audio version, too.(Thanks to alto for the prompt!)
A short story about a talented editor who witnesses the demise of print journalism. As a former journalist, this one hits a personal note for me.
A non-scary Halloween short story based on a StoryADay prompt.
After a series of improbable events, a Mexican construction worker finds himself face to face with the president.
I don't usually write horror, but this Weekly Knob prompt (spider web) inspired me to take a dark turn.
Thinner than Silk
“I have the perfect dress for you,” said Pierre, just a few seconds after greeting Sonia. “Will you go inside that room…
A tale of long-distance love with a clickbait title designed to trick nonfiction readers into reading fiction. Shameless, I know.
A little piece of satire about the commercialisation of religion.
The Holy Ribbon of Our Lord: User Guide and FAQ
Thank you for purchasing the Holy Ribbon of Our Lord. We're glad you chose us and hope to continue being the one stop…
A little mafia tale starring a clueless foreigner, a dangerous woman and a rising crime lord. I like the ending.
When you write a hundred short stories in a year, there's no way you won't end up with at least a handful of stinkers. I'm a huge advocate of publishing crap, and I practiced what I preached in 2017.
I thought it would be nice to make another list to pay tribute to the five worst stories I wrote this year. Whenever I'm not sure if a piece of writing is worth publishing in 2018, I can look back at these pieces and feel reassured: "Well, at least it's not as bad as that…"
A couple’s road trip turns gruesome when they start being chased by superfast children.
A boy decides not to go on an adventure. Unsurprisingly, nothing happens.
A football-obsessed teenage girl discovers that her television can predict the future. Then she goes to Twitter.
The nagging recurring dreams of an engineer whose only characterisation is “I'm an engineer”.
A man approaches a TV executive to pitch a reality show based on stealing shopping carts.
These five stories are neither as good as the top 10, nor as bad as the ones I have just listed. I really enjoyed writing them, but they're a bit weird. Read at your own risk.
A man starts dreaming of a big black bird. Then his wife dies for some reason.
I saw the bird again in my dream. Now I know it’s a bird. On the previous nights, I could just see a shadow, a dark and…
A posh wedding in a private island goes really weird, really fast.
A tale of teenage love and astrology built entirely on the aquarium/Aquarius pun.
The final moments of a dying spider in search for redemption.
The misadventures of a boy called Captain.
I wrote a pantoum for no reason!
I also wrote a bunch of one-line poems for Chalkboard. These two are my favourites:
Thanks to everyone who read my work in 2017. I'm even more grateful to all the readers and writers who left comments on my stories and helped me improve. Here's to another productive year of writing and learning!