The Journal: Tidbits

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Tidbits * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “[Write] 400 words of opinion of setting from the character before you get all busy with plot. That will do wonders for the strength of your story openings.” Dean Wesley Smith in my notes from the Advanced Depth workshop “Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, nobody can produce in a vacuum. Well, I don’t know… maybe Stephen King can. I think he could produce in a vacuum, a washing machine, or a microwave.” Tracey Buchanan in “Writer Friendships” “My name is Stephen … Read more

The Journal: I Teach So I May Learn

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: I Teach So I May Learn * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “The upheavals [of artificial intelligence] can escalate quickly and become scarier and even cataclysmic. Imagine how a medical robot, originally programmed to rid cancer, could conclude that the best way to obliterate cancer is to exterminate humans who are genetically prone to the disease.” Nick Bilton “Observers typically attribute Hoover’s success to BookTok, the segment of TikTok dedicated to authors and readers.” from “The Unlikely Author Who’s Absolutely Dominating the Bestseller List” (Slate) (See “Of Interest” for … Read more

The Journal: Best Writing Practices

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: Best Writing Practices * So What’s the Problem? * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.” Lauren Bacall “You don’t want to dwell on your enemies, you know. I basically feel so superior to my critics for the simple reason that they haven’t done what I do. Most book reviewers haven’t written 11 novels. Many of them haven’t written one.” John Irving “[S]uccess or failure is all about how we navigate the challenges that arise.” Felix Torres in a comment on a post … Read more

The Journal: Mentorship Update

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Mentorship Update * Of Interest Quote of the Day “There’s no shame in failing. The only shame is not giving things your best shot.” Robin Williams Mentorship Update Thought I’d drop in with a mentorship update. It’s working out very well. Thus far, I have three students. I could handle a few more students like these. Two of them are focusing on crafting Openings. The third is focusing strictly on practicing and installing Heinlein’s Rules 1-3. All three of these students are taking a great approach. To get the most for … Read more

The Journal: How to Get Here, Part 2

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: How to Get Here, Part 2 * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “You have to believe in your long term plan, but you need short term goals to motivate and inspire you.” Roger Federer, professional tennis player (paraphrased) “Did you know that 94% of consumers in their 20s purchased boba (bubble tea) in the last three months?” 1440 Daily Digest Maybe a story starter? Soma, anyone? Topic: How to Get Here, Part 2 If you have chosen to opt-out of the responsibility-and-labor-and-drama-intensive myths and choose instead to trust yourself … Read more

The Journal: How to Get Here, Part 1

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Topic: How to Get Here, Part 1 * Of Interest Quote of the Day “[T]he absolute best promotion for your books, proven through history and thousands of surveys and studies, is your next book.” Dean Wesley Smith Topic: How to Get Here, Part 1 If you want to be a professional fiction writer, there are two ways to go about it. To my mind, they are the hard way — following the myths and turning what should be fun into labor — and the easy, fun way: Writing Into the Dark, … Read more

The Journal: Why Most Fiction Writers … Part 2

In today’s Journal * Topic: Why Most Fiction Writers Will Never Get Here, Part 2 * Of Interest Topic: Why Most Fiction Writers Will Never Get Here, Part 2 If you missed part 1 of this post, you can find it here. Please understand, folks, how you write doesn’t affect my own practice or income at all. You’re perfectly within your rights to clump something together from your conscious, critical, thinking mind that conforms precisely to the outline you also methodically and meticulously constructed. You can strive to make it perfect, then revise and rewrite it multiple times to make … Read more

The Journal: Why Most Fiction Writers Will Never Get Here

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: Why Most Fiction Writers Will Never Get Here * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.” Mark Twain “But they are amazingly hard to follow—which is why there are so few professional writers and so many aspirants, and which is why I’m not afraid to give away the racket!” Robert A. Heinlein on his “Business Habits” “What [Heinlein’s Rules] did for me was to finally get me out of the stupid teaching from school and allow me to … Read more

The Journal: How I Got Here

In today’s Journal * Topic: How I Got Here (and How You Can Too) * Of Interest Topic: How I Got Here (and How You Can Too) Yesterday, Alicia commented on my post, “I haven’t had a mentor for writing – I tried once or twice and it was not pretty. But I have read a hundred or more books on craft….” That’s enough to provide the context of today’s topic, but you can read the rest of her comment and my original response here. (Thanks for providing a catalyst, Alicia.) I tried that same approach for around 40 years, … Read more

The Journal: My Own (Past) Mentor and More

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Topic: My Own (Past) Mentor * And More * Of Interest Quote of the Day “[T]he whole thrust of academia is one that values education, in my opinion, in inverse ratio to its usefulness—and what you write in inverse relationship to its understandability.Academics are forced to write in language no one can understand so that they get tenure. They have to say ‘discourse’, not ‘talk’. Knowledge that is not accessible is not helpful.” Gloria Steinem Topic: My Own (Past) Mentor This brief post is a result of me having read “Overcoming … Read more