Whew! We’ve reached story twenty. Of a hundred. Which means that, what… I’m about halfway through this project now, right? Right?

For those of you who don’t know what I’m doing… let me quickly explain. I wrote a book of short stories, called Everyone’s Just So So Special. And to celebrate its release, I proposed that everyone who bought the one hundred special leatherbound editions would receive an entirely unique story of their own, featuring their name, of at least 500 words in length. And to prove that the stories really *were* unique, I’d post them all online, for all the world to see.

The problem is, they’re not 500 words. They’re a bit longer than that. But, hey, I like a challenge.

Everybody assumes I must be suffering horribly on this little slice of insanity. Fellow writers look concerned when they meet up with me – they put reassuring hands on my shoulder and speak softly, and ask whether I require medication. But, you know, selfishly, I’m having a great time working on this. There’s something strangely liberating about being able to write a story one day, and then post it to an audience on the next. Most of the time there’s such a great gap between the writing of something, and the time it finds a place within a published book – sometimes it can be years – that you acquire a bit of hard skin about it, and whether it succeeds or fails it doesn’t quite have the emotional connection you might expect. These stories, like them or not, are coming at you raw. It takes me back to the days I wrote only for the theatre, and you could see the change in audience reaction from night to night. It’s fun. It’s also a little scary.

And as a result I’m extremely grateful for all the feedback I receive – so if you’re one of the faithful who keep on reading these flights of silliness, thank you so much, it really keeps me going. (And if you’ve just dropped in – hello! And welcome!)

An especial hello, too, for the students on the MA creative writing course at Edinburgh Napier University. I’m rather honoured this year to be writer in residence there, and I wanted to be part of a project where I could literally be seen to be *writing*, rather than just hiding behind a closed office door ostensibly working on some nebulous novel that may not be published for yonks. I’m having the time of my life writing alongside you chaps, and it makes a huge difference that so many of you are following this. (And pointing. And shaking your heads.)

Twenty feels something like a milestone. (Because, what, it means I’m two thirds of the way through. That’s the figure we agreed, right?) And so I’m taking a bit of a breather. Six weeks for me to catch up with myself. To write a few *other* things that are nearing deadline, as well as putting more of the 100 safely in the bank. And to play with my cat. And go for walks. And sleep. Yes, please, sleep.

So I’ll be back with story 21 on Monday November 28th. I can’t tell you what it’s about yet. It might be about a cat that can recite Homer. It may be about a sailing ship that falls off the edge of the world. Or about the Missing Link, or about strange disabled balloon animals, or the sex lives of medieval vegetables. Or something altogether new I haven’t thought up yet. We’ll see. I hope you’ll come back and find out. And at that point I’ll resume the bi-weekly schedule, and proceed at full steam into 2012.

If you’re one of the twenty subjects featured already, rest assured that proper copies of your stories, signed and part handwritten by me, will be on their way to you soon. And cheers for having faith in me.

For the remaining eighty… let’s see what happens next.