I belong to a small writing forum which has been doing bi-weekly free-writes on and off for a while. Someone hosts and provides a topic / inspiration, and everyone writes for an hour. I almost never finish, but I've gone back, finished and sold many of these stories. This week, I plopped down to write up a list of what I had and had some surprises. The general statistics:
Total free-writes: 58
Finished: 34 (of these, 1 was trunked for being, well, terrible)
Sold / Published: 5 (+1 that was sold and hasn't come out yet)
Currently in Submission: 2
Several patterns appeared. There was no real science fiction here; a few stories had far future settings, but were closer to science fantasy. Most of the stories were in secondary worlds, usually with significant worldbuilding basis, but a handful were contemporary. Most of the protagonists were female. There were far more stories that involved cooks, bakers or confectioners than I would have expected - keeping in mind these free writes were done long before I decided to attend culinary school. Four of these stories were in worlds I had used before ... not including the two Ishene and Kemel stories, since the first story started as a free-write, and the story start from the perspective of Ishene's apprentice, decades later.
Some of the free writes were experimental. One of the finished stories I had forgotten about is completely in dialogue, the arguments of two minds who end up in the same body. Another is present tense, first person plural. Then there's one that I have to blame on the prompt: the entire story is one sentence. Well, two, but the last sentence is used as sort of a cap to the run-on insanity. A lot of the finished stories are way too long, and almost all of the unfinished ones need tightening.
So what did I learn here? ... I need to start doing free-writes again, of course.