Farewell to HEStanbrough.com

Hi Folks,

No, it isn’t the end of The Daily Journal. But I’ve moved it.

Now if you want to see The Daily Journal, the easy way is to subscribe via email. To do that, click The Daily Journal in the header at either HEStanbrough.com or at HarveyStanbrough.com. You will receive a new post each day at around 7 p.m. Arizona time.

If you prefer to subscribe via RSS, add http://harveystanbrough.com/category/daily-journal/feed/ to your RSS reader.

In the meantime, feel free to browse the Journal entries below. Many contain topics directly relevant to the process and craft of writing.

You might also consider buying The Professional Fiction Writer: A Year in the Life from your favorite e-retailer. This is a universal link that will enable you to buy it from any of several vendors: https://www.books2read.com/u/3GMwep.

Happy writing!



The Journal, Thursday, 11/24

Hey Folks,

Well, I hope you have a good Thanksgiving day. This will be a nonwriting day for me. A few thoughts….

Frankly, I find the whole idea of a “special day” to give thanks for what we have a bit ludicrous. Don’t we all do that pretty much every day?

Still, I’m glad this day gives fortunates an excuse to gather with family and friends and so on. I’m glad it spurs some to extend good will outside of that small circle, many for more than the one day.

I’m glad it reminds us to give coats for the coming winter and food and other necessities year round to those less fortunate than we.

Maybe today should be called Fellowship Day instead. Or Fellowship Reminder Day.

Anyway, I’m thankful and grateful for my Life and all aspects of it: persons, experiences, and opportunities. And no matter how ludicrous I find this day personally, I’m grateful it provides the opportunity to announce my thanks publicly.

Life 101

Part I: Don’t follow the crowds; be the one the crowds want to follow.

Part II: Upright is not a matter of degree.

Of Interest

Not much around today.

Today’s Writing

I rolled out late this morning. Getting to be a habit.

On Thanksgiving 2014, I wrote 4497 words on Longing for Mexico, my second novel. On Thanksgiving 2015, I wrote 3092 words on The Scent of Acacias, Book 9 in the Wes Crowley novel and my eleventh novel.

Today, having made a great re-start on a novel here in my camp, I will take a nonwriting day.

Today Thanksgiving occurs during a time when several untoward things are happening in my extended family.

Those things range from two seriously ill (and elderly but stalwart) uncles, to a younger brother with a severe physical problem but a never-ending sense of humor, to traffic accidents (no one seriously hurt), to one grandchild saying something, in the complete and utter ignorance of youth, that cut her father, my son, to the quick.

So today I’m taking the day off. I’ll spend the day with my bride, wife and life partner, Mona, and consider again how very fortunate I am.

May your Thanksgiving be the best ever.

See you tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 370 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 370

Writing of Snubbing the Gods (tentative title)

Day 10… 2829 words. Total words to date…… 22264
Day 11… 2493 words. Total words to date…… 24757
Day 12… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 14899
Total fiction words for the year………… 670054
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14210
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 253050

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 923104

The Journal, Wednesday, 11/23

Hey Folks,

Well, I messed up. I forgot I’m probably going camping from 2-4 December. So I’ll make the switch with the Journal to the big site sooner than that. Again, it won’t make a difference to those of you who are signed up to receive the Journal via email.

Well, yesterday after I sent this, I got some admin stuff out of the way. I finished formatting and uploaded The Professional Fiction Writer: A Year in the Life, which actually contains almost TWO years of this Journal.

And that leads me to today’s topic. (And the topic within a topic.)

Topic: Distribution

I mentioned a day or two ago that I wasn’t looking forward to manually creating a TOC (table of contents) for The Professional Fiction Writer: A Year in the Life. But to distribute it through Smashwords, an interactive TOC is required. Just the thought of it made me tired. As it turns out, I had no idea.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me share with you the process for manually creating an interactive TOC. Consider it a topic inside a topic.

1. Go through the entire document, stopping at each chapter heading. (You can use the Find function to do this easily.) At each of those headings, create a bookmark. (For specific instruction on anything in Microsoft Word, visit HarveyStanbrough.com and click the MS Word for Writers tab.)

For me, in this book, that would be each date heading and each topic.

2. Save the document with another file name (I just hit Save As and add TOC to the current file name).

3. Use the Find and Replace function again. This time under Formatting > Font, search for normal font face. Leave the Replace With block empty, and click Replace All. This will leave you with nothing but your chapter titles. Copy/paste this and use it as your table of contents listing.

4. Now go to each TOC item in the list, right click and create a hyperlink that links back to the corresponding bookmark. (In the hyperlink dialogue menu, you’ll also have to select Place in This Document the first time.)

5. Finally, make the heading of the TOC listing (Contents) a bookmark. I call mine TOC. Then I add “Contents” at the end of each chapter and link it to the Contents bookmark. (Actually, after I create the first Contents hyperlink, I copy/paste it at the end of each chapter.) When the reader clicks Contents anywhere in the book, the link will take him directly to the Contents listing.

Very mechanical, and therefore boring and easy-peasy, right?

In my process with this book, thankfully I first created a new document (see 3 above) and created a TOC listing first.

I searched for any “normal” text, then replaced it with nothing. That left only bold text, and that was what I would put in the TOC.

But the result of that process only magnified my sense of dread. Exponentially. The TOC listing alone, even single spaced, added THIRTY-SIX PAGES to the book. There were 1004 (that’s one thousand and four) individual TOC elements in my listing.

That’s a lot of bookmarking and hyperlinking. To create an interactive TOC would take something close to 4,000 mouse clicks. And that’s a conservative estimate.

Okay, back to Distribution.

No way was I going to create an interactive TOC for 1004 items. So for the Smashwords edition I created a TOC that had only six items (Dedication, Intro, A Year in the Life, About the Author, Frontmatter and About StoneThread Publishing). Then I submitted it.

Now, if Smashwords comes back after their human review and wants to make me manually create a full interactive TOC, I just won’t do it. The book will still be live and for sale in their store. They just won’t distribute it to a bunch of minuscule markets.

I’d LIKE to have the book available in those markets, but not enough to take on the headache of creating such a massive TOC. Priorities, right?

But what about the larger markets like Apple?

Enter Draft2Digital.

I used D2D for distribution of this massive book to the Big Four (as I think of them): Apple, Kobo, B&N Nook and Tolino. They also distribute to Page Foundry and 24Symbols, a subscription service. I used D2D because their conversion engine creates the TOC for me based on formatting. How cool is that?

I also uploaded the book separately to Amazon, of course.

So The Professional Fiction Writer: A Year in the Life will go on sale “live” as scheduled on January 15 in all venues.

Later I’ll separate out the topics and put them in a separate book or (more likely) books. Not sure yet what format those will take. Maybe I’ll group them per subject.

But I have no pressing need to slap them together and rush them out by a certain date. And you can bet my major distributor for those will be D2D as well.

So why the cheap price for a 500,000 word nonfiction book?

Because I’ve already invested the time in creating the thing. I think it’s valuable to some readers (who are themselves writers), and I want to give something back.

Oh, and I also created a PDF version of the book, which I will sell myself for $9 per copy. I’ll make around $7 per copy for every sale at Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Kobo. A Smashwords sale will bring me around $8. And person sales will bring me $9. Not bad.

Now let’s all join hands and hope it sells a million copies. (grin) If it does, the party’s on me.

* * *

Rolled out late again around 4:20 this morning. Around 6:30 I created a PDF file of the nonfiction tome (over 1300 pages) and then moved the whole folder over to my Nonfiction folder. Later today (or soon) I’ll add it to my website.

I could’ve sworn a few days ago I created a spreadsheet to hold all my nonfiction titles. But yesterday and thus far this morning, I’ve been unable to find it. That is truly annoying. I hope I don’t have to completely redo it, but I guess I will if I have to.

For now (a little after 7) some breakfast and then to the writing.

Of Interest

Extremely interesting discussion in the comments over at Dean’s (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/chasing-the-market/#comments).

At his 11/22/16 Daily post (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/112216-daily/) Dean put up the first video of his Writers Block lecture.

Dean also continues the ongoing discussion of Artistic Freedom with Writing to Market… Timing at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/writing-to-market-timing/.

StoryBundle. If you sign up for an account (you don’t have to buy anything) over at http://storybundle.com, you can download a free book: Jo Lallo’s The Book of Deacon Anthology. It “includes the entire Book of Deacon trilogy as well as Jade, a short novel set after the events of The Book of Deacon, The Rise of the Red Shadow, a prequel to the trilogy, and more!”

Today’s Writing

I revived Snubbing the Gods. I decided to quit sniveling, put my fingers on the keyboard and just write what comes.

I listed it back on October 16 as “stalled” at 22,264 words. I brought those words forward (from Day 10) so the count will remain unbroken.

A fairly decent day today punctuated with a trip to the store and messing around in the yard at the house.

Feels good to be writing again.

Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 2493
Nonfiction Words: 1200 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3693

Writing of Snubbing the Gods (tentative title)

Day 10… 2829 words. Total words to date…… 22264
Day 11… 2493 words. Total words to date…… 24757

Total fiction words for the month……… 14899
Total fiction words for the year………… 670054
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13840
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 252680

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 922734

The Journal, Tuesday, 11/22

Hey Folks,

Up way late at 4:30 this morning. In the rush to get a lot of other things done or started (laundry, etc.), I forgot I have the Week 4 vids from the POV workshop to watch and listen to today.

Finished the vids. Excellent as always. Even though I didn’t turn in the “homework” assignment from last week, there was a TON of great information in the first video, in which he talked about the assignments. I took voluminous notes (over 1200 words). Great workshop.

Folded and put away laundry, showered and changed clothes, and straight to the writing by 10 a.m.

Finished “Being Martha Ramis” by 11. Then I turned to creating a cover, distributing it, etc.

I decided to do all that on my new computer with the new program I loaded yesterday. Of course, I hadn’t set up the program to match the older version on my other computer yet, so that took awhile.

Got the cover done, got the short story distributed, then allowed myself to be distracted with a bunch of other stuff (a comment on my “big” blog, etc.) and frittered away a few hours. So after a relatively good day yesterday, I let today slip away to almost nothing.

The rest of the week is taken up with the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ll be writing, but who knows how much I’ll get done. Frankly, I’m already looking forward to December.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s place, Chasing the Market (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/chasing-the-market/). I also recommend scrolling down to read his 11/21/16 Daily.

For the future, in March there will be an Indy Publishing Expo with several big-name speakers in Tucson. For info, please visit www.tucsonselfpublishingexpo.com. I’ll repost this after I’ve moved the Journal.

Today’s Writing

Not much. Sigh.

Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 520
Nonfiction Words: 300 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 820

Writing of “Regarding Martha Ramis” (short story)

Day 1…… 3269 words. Total words to date…… 3269
Day 2…… 0520 words. Total words to date…… 3789 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 12406
Total fiction words for the year………… 667561
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12640
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 251480

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 919041

The Journal, Monday, 11/21

Hey Folks,

Well, there’s been some confusion about what will happen when I move the Journal over to the main site.

First, if you receive the Journal via email subscription, you won’t notice any difference and you won’t have to make any changes. You’ll still receive the Journal at the usual time every day.

But if you receive the Journal via RSS feed, the feed itself will change. The current RSS feed is http://www.hestanbrough.com/feed/.

The new RSS feed will be http://harveystanbrough.com/category/daily-journal/feed/. To continue to be notified of the Journal every day, you’ll need to add that feed to your reader.

As it stands currently, I plan to make the switch on December 1. You can add the new feed any time between now and then. You won’t receive any notifications of the new Journal posts from the new feed until December 1.

But again, if you receive the Journal via email subscription, you don’t have to do anything. Your service will continue uninterrupted.

A Note on Post Catgories

When I put up a new post, I click a box next to a specific category. That causes the post to go out (via MailChimp) to a specific list of subscribers through a specific RSS feed.

If you happen to visit the “big” website at HarveyStanbrough.com and click the Pro Writers Blog tab in the menu, you will see only the weekly posts from the Pro Writers category.

Likewise if you click the Free Story of the Week tab, you will see only the most recent short story or two. (After a story has been up for week or so, I remove it.)

And after I make the switch, if you click the Daily Journal tab, you will see only the Journal posts. (If you click it right now, you’ll see the archives of the Journal before December 16, 2015.)

And again, that’s only if you’re on the website itself.

A Few Other Notes

Yesterday I mentioned that the home page of the “big” website displays the most recent post, whether the weekly Pro Writers blog or free short story or (soon) the Daily Journal.

That’s true. That most recent post displays at the top of the page. But if you scroll down, you’ll see whichever post came before it (in any category), and so on.

Until I make the switch, you’ll see alternating Pro Writers posts and Free Story of the Week posts. I post to each of those only once a week, so they alternate. The Pro Writers post appears at the top of the main page from Tuesday through Friday. Then the Free Story appears at the top of the page from Friday through Tuesday.

But after I make the switch, because I post to the Journal every day, posts from the other two categories (Pro Writers and Short Story) will appear at the top of the page for only part of one day each.

Specifically, the Pro Writers post will appear at the top from 8 a.m. on Tuesday until I post the Journal on Tuesday afternoon. The Free Story will appear at the top from 8 a.m. on Friday until I post the Journal on Friday afternoon. On Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the Journal post will appear at the top of the page.

I hope this isn’t terribly confusing. If you have any specific questions, please email me. I don’t want to run anybody off.

* * *

I have some running around to do today. First I have to drop off my Lenovo (main writing) computer this morning with a techie so he can mess with it. I hope he’ll be able to get it to accept an external DVD/CD drive. Otherwise I won’t be able to load a new cover-design program I bought. Sigh.

UPDATE: Turned out the drive was just no good. The whole line of them. So I ordered a new one as recommended by my tech friend. In the meantime, he let me use his to upload and install my program. Pretty good guy.

I also hit the PO. Got all that done and was back by noon-thirty. And I realized, I still have to create a TOC for the big nonfiction book. That probably will take several hours. So I’ve backed out of being in a rush on that. I’ll make time to work on both nonfiction books now and then and hope to have them both finished and uploaded by December first.

Now for some fiction before the whole day disappears.

Of Interest

Some email programs block emails that contain “too many” live links. For that reason, since I’m adding the link in text, I’ll no longer include live links.

At Dean’s site, two very important posts:

In 11/20/16 Daily (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/112016-daily/) he explains what he’s doing now. It’s a good read, and as a bonus, he added the first video from his Heinlein’s Rules lecture. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

In Artistic Freedom (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/artistic-freedom/) he shares a GREAT topic post. Enlightening and freeing. Enjoy.

And Free Fiction Monday should be up over at Kris’ site. I just visited her Facebook page. She has TWO stories up. One at WMG Publishing (http://www.wmgpublishinginc.com/pudgygate/) and one on her website (http://kriswrites.com/2016/11/21/free-fiction-monday-blind/).

You might want to friend her on Facebook and then click Get Notifications below the little Friends icon. Her personal Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/kristinekathrynrusch.

Today’s Writing

Just for grins, with my thus-far very low monthly word count this month, I checked back to see what I’d written in November 2016. Only 30,118 words.

Weird to know that even with fewer than 9,000 words this month so far, I could still easily surpass last year’s November total by the end of this month. (grin)

Got a little writing done today on a short story (I think) and it felt GOOD.

Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 3269
Nonfiction Words: 860 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4129

Writing of “Regarding Martha Ramis” (tentative title)

Day 1…… 3269 words. Total words to date…… 3269 words

Total fiction words for the month……… 11886
Total fiction words for the year………… 667041
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12340
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 251180

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 918221

The Journal, Sunday, 11/20

Hey Folks,

Today again will be a nonwriting day for fiction, working on the nonfiction book. I didn’t get as far as I thought I would yesterday. I hope to finish formatting it today.

The third Hobbit movie was good, but not as good as the first two or as The Lord of the Rings. Actually there was too much tension, too many battles, stacked one atop the other. (In any writing, too-much anything waters down the effect.)

And the final wide-scale battle was over much too quickly, too easily. So for the wide-scale battles, they were just a little unbalanced. The final focused battle between two kings was about right.

* * *

Yesterday I turned 26 years old, albeit having gained one more year of experience at being 26 years old. I now have 38 years’ experience. My lovely wife presented me with a pair of thermal gloves without fingers (so I can type) but
with handy mittens attached. Very nice. They’re thick, though, in the palms, so typing with them on is a learning curve. Still, better than my hands freezing. (grin)

* * *

I mentioned yesterday that this URL (hestanbrough.com) registration expires on April 15.

For that reason I’m thinking (again) about moving this Journal over to the main site. (I considered this before back in June, but then I was going to force-feed this Journal to the subscribers of my Pro Writers blog. I won’t do that.)

Currently, that website displays the free story of the week from Friday when the story posts through Tuesday morning. Then it displays the Pro Writers post from Tuesday when that one posts through Friday when the new story of the week posts.

If I move the Journal over there, here’s what would happen:

Because the Journal would still go to the Stanbrough on Writing list at MailChimp, your delivery would be uninterrupted.

The Journal would become more visible because the home page of the “big” website displays the most recent post.

the free story of the week would still display on Friday morning, but only until the Journal posts on Friday afternoon.

The Pro Writers post would still display on Tuesday morning, but only until the Journal posts on Tuesday afternoon.

On Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, the current edition of the Journal would display.

I’m asking—Any thoughts or recommendations? You may respond in comments below or via email. I value your opinion, and thanks in advance.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, he’s gone back to what he calls the “cluttered” posts that include his word count. Yay! The guy motivates me, and it was difficult for me to adjust to checking the separate word-count page.

As another commenter wrote, Dean’s word counts “remind me that
a) I can always strive to write more, and
b) whatever I write is a win, and
c) no words doesn’t mean the end of my writing world.

I also recommend reading (or re-reading, as I just did) Go Slow (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/go-slow/). A truly great post.

Today’s Writing

Nada, pero está bien.

I worked on the nonfiction book again today. I finished formatting the Journal (slightly over 2 years of it) at 4:45, then posted this.

Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 550 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 550

Writing of (tentative title)

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 8617
Total fiction words for the year………… 663772
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11480
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 250320

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 914092

The Journal, Saturday, 11/19

Hey Folks,

First, thanks to all of you who came out of the shadows to let me know you’re there and you’re glad the Journal will continue. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

Today and tomorrow, unless some character walks up and slaps me, will be nonwriting days for fiction, though I will be working on the nonfiction book. Actually, I hope to finish formatting it today.

That process will be interrupted for a few hours as my wife and I watch the third film in The Hobbit series. Talk about special effects! Woof!

Anyway, with a little luck, I’ll have TWO nonfiction books formatted today. Nothing like getting those dollars rolling in. (grin) If I don’t finish both today, I probably will continue with them tomorrow.

Topic: Reverse Outlines Revisited

This topic sprang from a comment (a question from another writer) on Dean’s site this morning.

Awhile back I talked about writing a reverse outline.

The idea is, as you write your novel off into the dark (no pre-plotting, outlining, etc.) sometimes keeping track of characters, what they’re wearing, major situations, etc. becomes cumbersome.

Now when I write a novel, I open the Word doc (novelname.doc) and start typing whatever comes.

But I also open a Notepad text (novelname notes.txt) document. I use Windows but Mac has something similar. I keep it open and minimized on my screen as I’m writing the novel.

In that .txt document, at the end of every chapter or major scene, I fill in a few details about the chapter or scene.

Those details might include

character names and anything significant (wearing a brown leather vest or a grey longcoat, what sort of weapons or car or whatever else is involved),

place names (was the hotel called The Amarillo Inn or the Amarillo Inn? did the scene or chapter take place in Justin, Texas or Eustace, Oklahoma?),

names of any minor characters introduced in that scene or chapter and their occupation (does that guy run the livery stable or the general store?), and so on.

Anything at all that I think I might need to remember later in the novel.

This takes only a few seconds per chapter or major scene and it keeps me from having to scroll back or use the Find function to search for the information.

On Dean’s site, the question the other writer asked was about series short stories.

I know many writers (like Dean) can set out to write short stories in series.

I can’t.

But sometimes, a character from a short story (or novel) I wrote awhile back tugs at my sleeve and pitches another story to me.

So when I write a short story, I also keep a reverse outline of it. Then if I do return to that world to write another story, I don’t have to open the original story and read through it for information. I only have to open the “shortstoryname notes.txt” document and I’m good to go.

Try it. You’ll like it.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, Sometimes It’s Just a Day. (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/sometimes-its-just-a-day/)

I also recommend reading (or re-reading, as I just did) Go Slow (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/go-slow/). A truly great post.

Today’s Writing

Nada, pero está bien.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 510 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 510

Writing of (tentative title)

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 8617
Total fiction words for the year………… 663772
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10930
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 249770

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 913542

The Journal, Friday, 11/18

Hey Folks,

As I glance back over the Journal for the past two years (putting it together and formatting it for publication), I see that I stopped publishing it twice.

I also checked the registration date for this particular URL (hestanbrough.com). I found it doesn’t expire until April 15, 2017.

I enjoy this quasi-connection, chatting with other writers, even though it seems mostly a one-way chat. I’ve also recently had one new member subscribe.

So (here’s a shock) I’m going to keep going on it.

I find the 6 p.m. post time a little too tight sometimes, so I might adjust that soon. But otherwise I’ll just keep sharing. I might also make other changes from time to time.

I really hope some of you enjoy this Journal and that it helps some of you. I don’t know any other place where you can find a professional fiction writer who shares all the day to day bumps and bruises as well as the “good” stuff.

Anyway, if you’d rather not receive it, please just email me and let me know. I’ll unsubscribe you. If you want to keep receiving it, just hang in there.

* * *

In an enjoyable back and forth email session with Kris Rusch, I happened on a realization. An epiphany, even.

All the recent political turmoil and the worry over it, whatever “side” you’re on, is just more conscious mind stuff. That’s all it is.

Get that? It was nothing more than the conscious mind giving at least me one more “reason” not to write.

I didn’t recognize it before because this particular conscious-mind stuff isn’t related directly to writing. But it sidetracked my writing anyway.

So really, whether and how much and when I (you) write all boils back down to priorities.

I’ve made a lot of noise about priorities in this blog over the past two years. My number one priority is writing, I said. Repeatedly.

But recently, in an email with a like-minded friend who is also a writer (I was amazed!), when he wondered aloud how many Facebook followers I’d lost because of expressing my right to free speech, I wrote, “…some things are more important than writing.”

But that simply isn’t true unless you allow it to be true. And it certainly isn’t a blanket statement. How important one thing is when compared to another thing is a function of priorities. And priorities, as I’ve said many times, are up to the individual.

Again, I’ve always said my number one priority is writing. I still feel that way, so I guess maybe I’d better get back on the stick.

If something adversely affects your ability to write, and if it comes from the conscious mind, you can choose whether to set it aside.

Certainly some major life events take precedence. For example, the illness or death or other departure of a loved one. But not politics. Politics, for most of us, remains nothing but a bothersome, tiresome hobby.

By relegating politics to that insignificant category (a bothersome hobby), I can move on with my writing. If things come to a head and I am forced to choose between upholding my oath or reneging on it… well, that isn’t really a choice. Not for me.

But otherwise, I’ll leave politics to others. Now if I can just remember.

* * *

I worked on the nonfiction book from around 8:30 until 11, then took a break for lunch. I hoped to work my way up through October 31, 2015. I ended up getting through March 8, 2015. So a win there.

I’ve also decided I’m going to get at least two books out of this process. One will be the whole Journal, pretty much uncut except where I repeated a topic or something. The other will be a collection of the topics themselves. I believe both will sell to different folks. At least this way I give them a choice.

Of Interest

Something else I’ve learned as I’m formatting the past two years of this Journal: I can’t put live links in it. So from now on I’ll show them here physically as well as hot linking them for your convenience.

At Dean’s place, see The Power of the Creative Voice. Absolutely excellent, and a bit astonishing even if you already practice WITD. (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-power-of-the-creative-voice/).

Just to clarify something from yesterday’s post. I strongly support Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She is (IMHO) the best fiction writer alive today in either gender, bar none. She also has the sharpest, most analytical business mind (re the writing business) of anyone whom I’m aware. And she shares her knowledge in both fields. No downside.

Today’s Writing

I played with my current wip (Jonah) a bit over three hours, but frankly, very little came. I’m just not into the story anymore. Hey, stuff happens.

I’ve gotten two short stories from it, one horror and one sort of church-lady humor. Go figure. Unless lightning strikes with a new direction before tomorrow, I’m shelving it.

Then I’ll work on the nonfiction book until I get it finished. It isn’t writing, but it’s writing-related admin stuff, and I really want to get it out there and be done with it.

So here I am. I hope you’re still out there too. If you aren’t — if I’m just blissfully talking to myself — well, that’s all right too.

Fiction Words: 0719
Nonfiction Words: 790 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1509

Writing of Jonah (tentative title)

Day 1…… 3945 words. Total words to date…… 3945
Day 2…… 2018 words. Total words to date…… 5963
Day 3…… 1358 words. Total words to date…… 7321
Day 4…… 0719 words. Total words to date…… 8040 (stalled)

Total fiction words for the month……… 8617
Total fiction words for the year………… 663772
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10420
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 249260

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 913032

The Journal, Thursday, 11/17

Hey Folks,

I don’t like to leave anywhere on a low note.

After I posted yesterday’s Journal, I glanced through one of the books on the reading list: Block’s Telling Lies for Fun & Profit. It’s a compilation of many of the articles he wrote for a writing magazine.

The titles of two of those articles caught my attention. Given my recent predicament, you won’t be surprised to learn those titles were “Time Out” (p. 95) and “Do It Anyway” (p. 99).

In the first, he wrote “The writer who gets things done is the writer who shows up for work day in and day out. Regular hours and regular production are the keys to productivity.” Okay, I knew that.

Then he wrote that in one book he was writing, the first part went like gangbusters. Then he came to a place where he had to switch the POV to a different character. And he bogged down.

EXACTLY what happened to me with the current WIP.

And enter the conscious, critical mind. If you remember, a day or two ago I wrote in this Journal that I’d “already gotten a short story out of it anyway.” Right? Meaning if I don’t complete the novel, no big deal.

But it is. It’s a HUGE deal.

If I quit this novel—a novel that’s based on a ready-born novel-sized idea (do you know how rare those are?)—it will just make it easier to toss out the next one. I might as well consign myself to taking long, quiet walks in the desert and abandon this whole silly notion of writing novels.

Wow. Okay, I’ll skip to the end.

As a result of reading those two articles, and combinining what Block wrote there with my self-description as an disciple and adherent of Heinlein’s Rules, I was determined to start writing again this morning. That didn’t happen, but I will start tomorrow morning on the same novel, the working title of which is Jonah.

I’ll start with the new POV character in a new chapter. So it will be like writing a new novel from word one. I’m no longer even certain where the scene that was also a short story will fit, and I don’t really care.

I’ll just be happy to get back to writing at all. As I also realized from Block, if you’re a writer, it isn’t important that something be “good.” That’s a value judgement that I, as the writer, am not qualified to make anyway. What is important is that I finish the thing.

So I will.

Given my track record, I’ll probably finish it in 30 writing days or less. That would put the finish date somewhere around the middle of December. I can’t think of a better early Christmas gift to myself.

I also looked over his take on using pen names (and by extension, personas). As a result, I’ll be making some sweeping changes in that arena too. Everything the man wrote made perfect sense.

Tomorrow I will update you below (those of you who want to know) on my progress with the novel.

And then, having regained a modicum of my discipline for writing, tomorrow (Friday, November 18) probably will be the last post from this Journal. And I’ll be able to leave on a high note after all.

Bless you for being there. I hope you will take advantage of the reading list I left for you yesterday, the free audio seminar, etc.

I noticed I had one new subscriber yesterday. (grin) Just in time to get the free stuff as it turned out, but not soon enough to have to put up with most of my bellyaching. (grin)

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, he’s running an Online Workshop Special for one week. Worth a read if you’ve considered taking his workshops. And the price is definitely right.

Kris Rusch, in her Business Musings column, shared Running A (Writing) Business In Uncertain Times. There are some good thoughts in it.

Kris Rusch remains the best fictionist I know and obviously has a very good business mind. In the past, her mantra has been “Keep political opinions to yourself. Put it in your fiction.” She even mentions that again in this post.

But as forewarned by the title, she begins again on the results of the election, with which she strongly disagrees. That is her prerogative. If you agree with her or can wade through the muck, I recommend her Business Musings. And I always recommend her fiction for pleasure and study.

The Writing Day

I wrote all of the above yesterday afternoon (after I posted yesterday’s article) and this morning from 4:30 to about 6. Now to change into my day clothes. The painters will be here in less than an hour.

Well, today the painters brought a radio. Loud. I’m working on the nonfiction while they’re here. I’ll get back to the novel after they leave. I’m hoping that’ll be around noon.

Uhh, no. It’s almost 3 p.m. and they’re still here. After they leave I have a few necessary chores to do, so no writing today.

The Journal, Wednesday, 11/16

Hey Folks,

Spent the early morning hours outside (until around 6) tapping away on this Journal entry. Also rearranged a menu item or two on my main site, did some updates on other sites and removed the link to subscribe to this Journal.

The painters painted the body of the house today. They hit here about 7 and didn’t leave until close to 1 p.m. I spent most of the morning outside with them and didn’t even think about writing. I’ll get back to it when I get back to it.

Wow. Can you remember all the stuff I’ve passed along to you over the past two years? I can’t, but as I said, I’ll leave this Journal up for awhile so you can refer back if necessary.

In the meantime, here’s a synopsis for you.

Topic: The More Important Writerly Things


Heinlein’s Rules — You can get a free copy, annotated, by clicking here.

Writing Into the Dark — Trust your subconscious to tell your stories. It’s been telling stories since your pre-alphabet days. Those of you reading this can listen to my audio lecture free. Click http://hestanbrough.org/category/12-writing-into-the-dark/ and enter this password: WTD10hY41No1A4 (case sensitive). This is my way of saying thank you for having been part of this experiment.

Cycling — Write the best, cleanest draft you can the first time through.

Set Long-Term, Mid-Term and Short-Term Goals — then break them down into manageable bites and work toward them. Make some of your goals recurring to set yourself up for streaks.

If you must fail (and you will, if your goals are set correctly), Fail to Success.

In words and works produced, average is what matters.

Dreams are nice to have, but they are not within your control. Goals are completely within your control.

Regularly check your priorities and adjust them as necessary — You are responsible for setting your own priorities.

Keep Learning, Part I — If you are weak on subject/verb agreement, punctuation or any other mechanical aspects of the language, learn them. You owe that much to your readers.

Keep Learning, Part II — If you are weak on the craft aspects of writing (depth, pacing, dialogue, etc.) learn them. You owe that much to yourself.

Find More Than One Knowledgeable Source — Even if they say the same thing, one might say it differently enough that you’ll “get” it in a way you didn’t get it before.


Don’t be the Almighty Writer On High. Get down in the trenches and run through the story with your characters.

Use the Five Senses — Insert the POV character’s opinion of the setting in every major scene. Filter that opinion through all five (when possible) of the character’s physical senses and emotions (not yours). Characters, like all other real people, have different opinions of dark, light, cold, warmth, a smoky room, a clean room, etc. This is the only way to ground the reader in the scene. It’s also an excellent way to let the reader know who the character is, the “character” of the character.

Focus Down on a detail to immediately pull the reader deeper into the scene.

Keep Coming Back to your writing.

Just write the next sentence.

When in doubt, hit the Return (Enter) key to begin a new paragraph (pacing).


Heinlein’s Rules (see above).

Any fiction that really impressed you by any writer. Read it through once for pleasure, then go back and focus on the sections that blew you away to see how he or she did that.

Lawrence Block’s Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel

Lawrence Block’s Write for Your Life: The Home Seminar for Writers

Lawrence Block’s Telling Lies for Fun & Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers

Lawrence Block’s Spider, Spin Me a Web: A Handbook for Fiction Writers

Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art

Harvey Stanbrough’s Writing Realistic Dialogue & Flash Fiction

Harvey Stanbrough’s Punctuation for Writers (2nd Edition, and ignore the segment on italics)

Harvey Stanbrough’s Creating Realistic Characters

Dean Wesley Smith’s How to Write a Novel in Ten Days

Dean Wesley Smith’s blog

Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s blog

Harvey Stanbrough’s Pro Writers blog (subscribe link)

Harvey Stanbrough’s Free Story of the Week (subscribe link)

The Creative Penn blog

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, Go Slow. It never ceases to amaze me how much my writing life and his seem to run in parallel sometimes. Wow.