The Journal, Thursday, 11/2

Hey Folks,

Hmm… a meandering, personal-thought journey in today’s Journal….

I’ve still been thinking about challenges, but I think that’s almost over.

I thought about a challenge in which I would write at least one opening per day during the month of November.

If the opening took off, I’d write it. If not but if it piqued my interest, it would go into my Openings file. Either way, I’d still have to write a new opening every day.

But something didn’t feel quite right about that. Mostly it felt too contrived, probably because it was.

The main thing, I think, is that I don’t feel like I need to push or be pushed. I feel like when it’s time, I’ll write again. In short, I don’t want to force it.

That’s kind of an epiphany. So I’ll think about this challenge a little more.

No. I’m certain I won’t do the challenge, at least not as I first conceived of it.

Maybe I’ll make a few adjustments and then do it. Like if an opening takes off, I won’t write anymore openings until I’ve finished the story that took off. That might be all right.

But again, if I don’t want to force the issue, what’s the real purpose?

Maybe I’ll just forget the whole challenge silliness and trust that when I’m ready, the words will be there. (grin) We’ll see.

Okay, I called it “challenge silliness.” But back when I was first starting out, especially with writing novels, challenges were a very important part of that.

The various challenges I took-on drove me to the keyboard and kept me writing. Without them I probably never would have written a whole novel, much less 27 of them.

But today I don’t really need to be driven to the keyboard. Today when I get an idea that feels good, I just sit down and write. I break about once an hour, but otherwise I just write until I’m through the scene or chapter. Or too tired to keep going.

I stop with a jagged edge, then come back to it the next day, write my way out of the jagged edge and continue on. So maybe I’m beyond needing challenges. Is that possible? I do know that when the challenge is only about numbers, it no longer interests me because I’ve been there and done that.

And I have the kind of personality that rebels against being artificially psyched up or motivated.

Even back in high school when we were required to put our hands in the center of a circle, count one-two-three and yell “Team!” I was almost embarrassed. I just wanted to go play football already. I mean, does that sort of nonsense really help anyone?

It’s prevalent enough even in professional sports that I suppose it does, but it never did anything but annoy me. For me, it’s right up there with someone saying (with all good intentions) “I know you can do it.”

The truth is, the person “knows” no such thing. Again, artificial encouragement.
***

I was reading more of Stephen King’s take on writing in story introductions here and there.

SK writes into the dark, and he writes very fast, usually holding himself to four clean pages (around 2,000 words) per day When He’s Writing.

He also engages in cycling, going back over what he’s written each day, though I think I read somewhere that he’s more of a “taker-outer” than a “putter-inner.” (I’m definitely a putter-inner.)

Anyway, when SK isn’t writing, he’s mulling, observing, listening, reading and waiting. And when it’s time to write again, he writes.

A couple of days ago, I put up a quote of his here: ““Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work.”

The thing is, when he has something to write, he gets up and goes to work. When he doesn’t, he doesn’t.

It isn’t that he’s “taking time off” between books. It’s that he doesn’t have anything to write.

That’s kind of how I’m feeling recently. And more and more, I think that’s probably all right.

You’ll note, maybe, that I’ve removed the accounting for Pulp Novel 5 from the Journal. It’s officially stalled at something over 13,000 words. Should it revive at some point, I’ll put it back. I promise.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Wow. Via The Digital Reader, see “Interactive Ebooks? Almost…” at JA Konrath’s blog at http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2017/11/interactive-ebooks-almost.html.

Also via The Digital Reader, see “8 Tips on Pricing Kindle Ebooks” at https://selfpublishingadvice.org/how-to-price-an-ebook/. Note: I offer this only as additional information. Her tips look pretty good to me but nothing really new.

See “Lifelike ‘Sophia’ Robot Granted Citizenship to Saudi Arabia” at https://www.livescience.com/60815-saudi-arabia-citizen-robot.html. Yeah. This is not a joke.

Today I refer you to The Passive Voice website for a lot of interesting things. Visit http://www.thepassivevoice.com/. Enjoy.

Finally see Dean’s “False Start on Challenge” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/false-start-on-challenge/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 780 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 780

Writing of ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 1105
Total fiction words for the year………… 450547
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1380
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 169443
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 619990

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 704 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 11/1

Hey Folks,

Wow. November already. For that matter, 2017 already. What happened to 1978? Just sayin’.

I failed to mention yesterday that we had a little visitor.

In the pre-dawn pitch, I was at my outside desk when I heard a sound that seemed not part of the usual early morning sounds.

I grabbed my torch (I like the Brit “torch” so much better than “flashlight”) and went looking for my kitten.

As I stepped past the southeast corner of the house, I shined the light to the west.

Toward the southwest corner of the house, something was sniffing at the base of the double doors that lead from my bedroom into the back yard.

When I shined the light on it, the head moved and a pair of eyes shone back at me. But it was too black to be my kit and it was too small to be Hannah, my wife’s cat. Besides, Hannah was still in bed.

Thinking it must be one of the neighborhood toms, I stamped my right foot and yelled “Git!”

It blinked a time or two, then stuck its fluffed-out tail straight up in the air and turned around to leave.

In that flash of time, the broad white streak up its tail filled the beam of my light.

At that point — and I am thankful — the story ends. The visitor wandered off to the west, the aroma around the back of my house no worse for wear.
***

Out east of my house where I usually walk there are a few planted cottonwood (grandfather) trees. Until recently, the man who owns the little strip of land on which they stand was keeping them watered with a buried PVC system.

But the PVC kept breaking, I guess, and leaks kept springing up, so eventually he turned off the water to the whole row.

The two nearest my house had become oases for local wildlife. But for the past week, they’ve been dying.

At first I thought they were simply going dormant with the advent of autumn. But when I started walking again, I noticed the ground around them was dry.

My landlady knows the guy well, so I’d meant to ask her whether she might ask him to turn the water back on to the few trees that are (maybe) still viable.

I hadn’t seen her until this morning. She said she would talk with him. Then she asked whether, for the time being, I could rig up something to run from her water source at the back of the corral. Maybe I could at least run water to the “big” tree at the corner. (This cottonwood is well over a hundred feet tall and very full.)

So instead of walking this morning I spent a couple hours gathering old garden hoses, inserting new washers, and running a system. As it turned out, I was able to run water to two cottonwoods, so we’ll see whether we got to them soon enough. I hope so.

Cutting off water to ANYthing out here is just counterintuitive, or should be. And that’s a very nice way of expressing the red-hot thought that’s usually in my mind on this topic.
***

Well, I wrote right at a thousand words in a crazed hour today, but the thing didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t on the WIP. Not sure what’s going on with that.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Indie Authors on Indie Authorship” at http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/10/indie-authors-on-indie-authorship.html. Frankly, I didn’t read this. I thought some of you might be interested.

Fiction Words: 1105
Nonfiction Words: 600 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1705

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… 2834 words. Total words to date…… 13071
Day 9…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 1105
Total fiction words for the year………… 450547
Total nonfiction words for the month… 600
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 168663
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 619210

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 703 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Tuesday, 10/31

Hey Folks,

Happy Hallowe’en.

I’d planned to return to my WIP novel today, but didn’t. Other things took priority, but it was still a good day. No more pushing it. I’ll write when it’s time.

In the meantime, a brand new bundle launched today. The Trouble Comes Calling bundle contains my mystery novel, The Platinum Blond Perturbance. You can see the ad for the bundle at the top of the left sidebar on my website. The photo will take you to the bundle page.
***

“I’m not really that knowledgeable about police work. The real story is in the psychology of the characters.” ~ James Lee Burke

Worked on my website a little more this morning. I’m always trying to tweak it closer to being a writer’s website. I think it’s pretty much there. Take a look and let me know what you think.

The changes today were pretty big, so I thought I’d outline them for you here.

The main blog is still there, of course, but under the Home tab. As a related aside, I’ve thought about publishing a post occasionally on a Friday about my characters or my WIP or whatever. Then again, this Journal kind of covers the bases for that.

I got rid-of or reconfigured pretty much every tab. The new tabs for the long fiction are The Wes Crowley Saga with a drop-down menu, then Mystery/Action/SF with a drop-down menu.

It was kind of neat, grouping the non-Wes Crowley books. I found out I have 8 mystery novels, 6 Action-Adventure novels or novellas, and 7 Science Fantasy novels. Weird. I don’t remember having written that much. (grin)

After that is the Short Fiction tab with a drop-down menu. Then come the Writing Books, then For Writers with a drop-down menu, then my bio and personas.

Under the For Writers tab are Copyediting, Audio Lectures, Writer Resources, and Free Stuff.

Like I said, the change (or rearrangement) was pretty extensive.
***

I’ve come to understand that I’m motivated by the novels of Stephen King and James Lee Burke. I mention those two specifically because I know they write in much the same way I do. They just write off into the dark.

When asked by an interviewer, “How do you approach writing a new novel?” James Lee Burke replied, “I never know where a book is going. I have no plan. They just evolve and I incrementally discover the story.”

And King has said publicly he tries to make a habit of turning out four good pages per day (about 2,000 words). When he writes, he does nothing else.

So why am I motivated specifically by these two? Because even as I’m lost in the story, on some subsurface level I’m aware that they’re allowing the characters to shine through. They’re putting their fingers on the keyboard and trusting what comes. And what comes is amazing.

Soon, fingers crossed, I’ll get back to doing the same thing. But for today, no fiction writing. I’m going to read.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you read “A Story About Piracy” via The Passive Voice, you will be glad you did. See it at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/a-story-about-piracy/.

For an interview with James Lee Burke, see http://www.januarymagazine.com/profiles/jlburke.html.

To get JA Konrath’s The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing in PDF, visit http://harveystanbrough.com/downloads/ and click The Newbie’s Guide To Publishing.

Via The Digital Reader, see “Create an Ebook Cover with Spark and Canva: Which is Better?” at https://publishdrive.com/ebook-cover-with-spark. I mention this one mostly for the links in the article. Well worth the time to read and play.

Check out Dean’s “Catching Up And Pulphouse Fun” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/catching-up-and-pulphouse-fun/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 610 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 610

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… 2834 words. Total words to date…… 13071

Total fiction words for the month……… 15296
Total fiction words for the year………… 449442
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15380
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 168063
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 617505

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 702 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Monday, 10/30

Hey Folks,

This morning, in a piece I was reading online, I saw this: “In my opinion, less is more, just as it is when you’re writing, period.”

Oh dear god. I can almost see him primping.

Every time I hear a writer say “Oh, in writing, less is more,” I want to suggest they write nothing at all then. Based on their reasoning, their canon of work should expand exponentially.

But I can’t bring myself to do it. The vacant-eyed, slack-jawed stare that would ensue as the moron wondered whatever in the world I was talking about might be just enough to send me over the edge.

Hey, carpe jugulum.

And either the author of the article (James Ledbetter) or one of the bon vivants featured in the article tossed in a “try and weed out” where he or she meant to say “try TO weed out.”

The preposition “to” followed by a verb forms what is called an infinitive. Now, class, what do we call the conjunction “and” followed by a verb?

Yes, that’s right. A blatant illustration of ignorance.

Yeah, I know. Picky. But these things matter. You’re either a professional or you aren’t.

And the truth is, you don’t have to write a word of fiction to prove yourself a pretentious, condescending snob, uttering ridiculous platitudes that have zero meaning beyond the rhythm of the syllables themselves.

Hey, anything to add emphasis to that pinkie raised alongside the teacup or wine glass, eh?

Then again, the article was in the New Yorker, so maybe pretentious and condescending fits.

At any rate, I’ll ‘try and’ ignore my desire to hold the writer responsible for what he puts on the page. Instead I’ll ‘try and’ understand that he knew what he meant to say and so should I. After all, if the reader misunderstands, that’s the reader’s fault, right? Right? (Umm, no.)

Oh, the name of the article is “When British Authors Write American Dialogue, or Try To.” Perhaps it should have been titled “When American Essayists Write in the American Language, or Try To: Illustration of a Failure.”

Maybe before the New Yorker continues paying Mr. Ledbetter the big bucks, they should require him to ‘try and’ learn how to use the language.
***

I actually wrote fiction today. I’m not sure why. I thought I’d look back at the novel I started, read over it and see where it goes.

It went pretty well, actually, within itself. But I still don’t get a feeling that it wants to run to a full story.

Since today is the 30th and I have one more day in this month, I’ll give that one more day to this same story and see what happens. If it doesn’t take off, maybe I’ll shelve it and begin something new.

I really enjoy writing the two major characters currently in the WIP but I don’t know that they enjoy being written. Know what I mean? Maybe I’m intruding and they aren’t ready to tell this story yet.

Who knows… maybe my subconscious, realizing it’s under the gun, will cough up some good stuff. (grin)

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Some interesting stuff in Dean’s “Some Clutter Gone” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/some-clutter-gone/. For my money (at the risk of the pot calling the kettle seared), he fiddled around with his website as an excuse—albeit a worthwhile one—to put off writing until his challenges begin.

Via The Digital Reader, see “Checklist: Eight Items to Include in an Author’s Book Listing” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/29/checklist-eight-items-include-authors-book-listing/.

Also via The Digital Reader, see the rant-starting “When British Authors Write American Dialogue, or Try To” at https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/when-british-authors-write-american-dialogue-or-try-to/.

Fiction Words: 2834
Nonfiction Words: 550 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3384

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… 2834 words. Total words to date…… 13071

Total fiction words for the month……… 15296
Total fiction words for the year………… 449442
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14770
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 167453
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 616895

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 701 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Sunday, 10/29

Hey Folks,

Well, I didn’t stay up for the whole game last night but I still woke up later than my usual time. Sorry to see that Houston lost their first home game in the post season.

Plus although I’d like to watch a seven-game series, I was also kind’a hoping Houston would wrap it up at home.

This morning I tweaked my website again. Most notably, I changed the home page back to the ProWriters Blog, moved the bundles into the left sidebar, and moved Writer Resources onto a dedicated page.

And frankly, that’s about all I did today.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “Amy Tan on Writing and the Secrets of Her Past” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/amy-tan-on-writing-and-the-secrets-of-her-past/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 130 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 130

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 12462
Total fiction words for the year………… 446608
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14220
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 166903
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 613511

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 700 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Saturday, 10/28

Hey Folks,

Getting back in the habit of walking every day. Only a mile, but still. I’ll increase that later to maybe as far as three, but I won’t go nuts with it like I did a couple years ago.

Today started out pretty good. Had to clear a clogged outside drain. That was okay, but then it turned into a lot of other stuff that was mostly unnecessary. Had to do it to see that it was unnecessary though.

So I had a few of those wasted hours, where I might as well as rolled them into a ball and tossed them out the window. I don’t like hours like that.

Switched a lot of little stuff around in my office too. The writing desk and chair and ‘puter are across the (small) room behind me now, against the opposite wall.

My Internet router was in the window sill (the sills are around a foot deep) and it’s now across the room on an old chest of drawers. We routed the cable down the wall, around a table and past my desk and my guest chair, then past the chest.

It all looks a lot better. I don’t do much Fung Schway (yeah, I know that can’t be how it’s spelled) but I’m not in it for “flow” anyway. I just want the place to look a little more inviting and feel better.

Oh, and after the changes, my kitten approved so that’s pretty much that. (My office is her primary house, so….)

AnNeeWay, I’m gonna read away part of the afternoon (started a novel yesterday by JA Konrath) and then watch Game 4 of the World Series beginning at 5 my time.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Smart Author Podcast Launches with Four Episodes” at http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/10/smart-author-podcast-launches.html. Then listen to the podcasts.

More ugliness from the people with the Big Money. Via The Passive Voice, see “Stealing Intellectual Property” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/stealing-intellectual-property/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 330 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 330

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 12462
Total fiction words for the year………… 446608
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 166773
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 613381

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 699 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Friday, 10/27

Hey Folks,

I’m slow on the uptake lately. For example, I feel bad when I don’t have a lot of writing to report in this Journal. But I realized, finally, that’s just silly.

A lot of writers (most, even?) intentionally take time off between projects. Well, we assume they’re taking time off. In reality, we don’t know whether they’re just busy with other things, are in a slump, or are fighting some other battle.

The difference here is that I’m slathering great gobs of my writing life (and my regular life as it affects my writing life) in public. Probably I should be arrested.

Is slathering in public against the law? If it isn’t, possibly it should be. Something to consider for that next town council meeting.
***

Well, I almost left a placeholder post for today and headed out on a fairly long turnaround trip to NM. Eight hours each way plus the hour or so of turnaround in the middle.

Turned out it was a good thing I rethought the trip because there were a lot of considerations I hadn’t, you know, considered. Mostly because I didn’t know they existed.

Anyway, over the past 3+ hours I’ve settled tons of stuff. As you know, settled stuff ALWAYS beats unsettled stuff, even if you weren’t aware of it a short time before you settled it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “Donald Bain, Widely Read Author (but Not by That Name), Dies at 82” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/donald-bain-widely-read-author-but-not-by-that-name-dies-at-82/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 260 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 260

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 12462
Total fiction words for the year………… 446608
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13760
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 166443
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 613051

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 698 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, 10/26

Hey Folks,

Well, I did some work on my website today and thought about a few more things I’m considering doing but not sure about yet.

Also took care of a client’s website for her and chatted with a friend about holding tanks in camper trailers and things like that.

Got another Stephen King (Richard Bachman) book in the mail today. I recently bought (or re-bought) a few of his Bachman books. As long as I’m still working through this problem I might as well have something good around to read.

I’m not intentionally putting off my writing, but there’s no reason to rush this other process since it’s something I have to do. And there’s no reason to try to write while I’m immersed in this other. I have a feeling that would only leave me and whatever I write looking addlebrained.

So it just is what it is. In the meantime, I’m reading a lot, relaxing some, puttering around the yard, and getting back into the habit of walking, albeit only a mile or so at a time.

And then sometime this weekend I have to coat the top of the camping trailer with a rain-proof coating.

When I was a child, I helped my paternal grandfather coat the roof of their house in High Rolls, NM with hot tar.

Yes, I handled the stubby-headed straw broom sometimes. I was 4 or 5, and part of the time Grandpa wasn’t even up there. Of course, he wouldn’t have left me alone if he thought I didn’t understand the danger.

That couldn’t happen now. Some neighbor would be on the phone to the cops or the social justice warriors. Then Grandpa would be on his way to jail, and one of my few great memories from childhood would be turned into something ugly.

Just in case any of you are familiar with High Rolls, my grandpa’s house was about halfway down Cottage Row on the left.

Anyway, this won’t be that hot or that stinky, and it has to be done just in case it ever rains out here again. Wish I had a grandson close enough to help me. (grin)

Then tomorrow or early next week I have to go to Sierra Vista to take care of a pressing matter.

More than once I’ve almost “decided” not to write for a specific period, but that would be just silly. As I’ve said before, I’ll write again when it’s time.

By the way, GREAT baseball game last night. Houston won their first ever World Series baseball game. Most importantly, they illustrated to themselves last night that the LA Dodgers are not invincible even in their own home park.

Johnny-come-latelys, is what they are. (grin) I love underdogs. I hope they win it all. And I have a sneaking suspicion they might win the whole thing in Houston in Game 5.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Atlas Obscura at https://www.atlasobscura.com/. This is nothing specifically to do with writing, but of great interest to pretty much everyone, especially writers. If you don’t have a subscription, I recommend it. Today’s newsletter featured, for example, an article about the only man buried on the moon.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 540 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 540

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 12462
Total fiction words for the year………… 446608
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13500
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 166183
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 612791

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 697 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 10/25

Hey Folks,

Well, trying to use the camping trailer as a writing hovel just isn’t going to work. It’s constantly too cold or too hot and there are myriad other problems I won’t go into here.

I’m just gonna have to bite the bullet and do my writing in my office. I’ll have to let the separate small desk and the separate, dedicated writing computer constitute my “space,” and that will have to be enough.

I think I’ll also add a different, dedicated chair. Sitting in the same chair to write fiction that I use when I’m browsing the Internet can’t be a good idea. I know it seems only a very minor difference, but what seems minor in the conscious world can be huge trigger to the subconscious.

Went to bed early last night and got up late this morning to make up for it. In all, I slept, mostly, for 10 hours. I don’t remember the last time I did that.

I’ve written quite a lot over the past few days. But none of it interested me after the initial scene. Still, it feels as if the break in the dam is getting closer.

There have also been a few times when a strong idea popped into my head when I was in the middle of doing something else. Each time the idea left before I sat down to write it.

I’m not worried. I’ll do what I do when it’s time to do it. Until then, I’ll do other things. Like read.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

All of the following are via The Passive Voice:
See “California Rescinds Autograph Mandate for Booksellers” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/california-rescinds-autograph-mandate-for-booksellers/.

See “First, forget inspiration” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/first-forget-inspiration/. Short, but oh so sweet.

See “John Grisham reveals his biggest money mistake” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/john-grisham-reveals-his-biggest-money-mistake/. I would still be pursuing that agent.

Via The Passive Voice but at The Digital Reader, see “Seven WordPress Plugins for Author Bookshelves” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/25/review-roundup-seven-wordpress-plugins-author-bookshelves/. Wish I’d seen this a few years ago. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 340 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 340

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 12462
Total fiction words for the year………… 446608
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12960
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 165643
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 612251

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 696 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Tuesday, 10/24

Hey Folks,

One of my new favorite quotes: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work.” ~ Stephen King

Stephen King introduces the 1986 edition of The Running Man with an essay titled “The Importance of Being Bachman.” The essay is nothing short of a gem, and I encourage you to read it.

I took the liberty of transcribing it into a Word document, then saved it as a PDF file and added it to my Free Stuff page on my website.

Please go there and download it. Read it. If you don’t glean something important from it… well, I’m betting you will. UPDATE: Just in case the link gives you trouble, try this one: http://harveystanbrough.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/The-Importance-of-Being-Bachman.pdf.

In full disclosure, I did not get the man’s permission to reprint this. However, given my purpose for doing so, I believe strongly enough that he wouldn’t mind that I’m willing to risk having my rear end handed to me in court.

King had written a longer (and angrier) essay titled “Why I Was Bachman” a year earlier. It served as the introduction to The Bachman Books, which contains The Long Walk, Roadwork, and The Running Man.

I believe the 1985 essay is the one he was referring to in “The Importance of Being Bachman” when he said the too-nosy press’s outing of Bachman as King was not a good thing.

I agree.

Anyway, go. Download it. Learn stuff.
***

Welp, World Series Game 1 tonight on Fox. Only 4, 5, 6 or 7 games left in the year. I will miss baseball.
***

I wrote a little fiction today, but nothing I’m counting. It wasn’t really storytelling. It was more a kind of therapy, maybe.

Anyway, I’ll finish up this Journal entry then call it an early day. Huh. As I applied the numbers for today, I realized my nonfiction has outdistanced my fiction for the month.

Topic: We Few, the Fortunates

Awhile back I posted a blog over at HarveyStanbrough.com titled “Why Do You Write?” I think probably I can answer that now, at least for myself.

Possibly the most annoying aspect of human life is 20-20 hindsight and the realization that we don’t get a do-over.

When I graduated basic training for the USMC 47 years ago (November 1970), I was assigned the military occupational specialty (MOS) I wanted: 0331 (Machine Gunner). I was slated as a Feb/Mar 1971 replacement for the 3rd Marine Division in RVN.

But while I was on leave, my MOS was changed to 6700, Basic HAWK (missile) Fire Control Crewman, and I was ordered to report to Ft. Bliss at El Paso for training.

I was devastated.

And then 40+ years later I found out from another Marine who preceded me by a few years that I could have requested my MOS be reinstated. He knew because he had done it. He came out of boot camp as an Avionics tech, requested 0311 (Basic Rifleman) and got it.

All I knew back then was “Follow your last order first” and “The Corps sends you where they want you to be.” I never thought to question the change of MOS and orders. I never realized questioning it was possible.

Anyway, like I said, there are no do-overs. If you don’t know enough to get it right the first time, well, you’re just what we used to call Ess Oh Ell.

After all, there is no right or wrong. You do your best, then live with the ghosts.

But that’s where we, the writers, have at least a very minor advantage. We can’t do it over, but we can have others do it over in our stead. At least I realized that much in time.

So I wrote Wes Crowley and let him do what I couldn’t because I was born about a hundred years too late.

I wrote mafioso and let them do what I couldn’t because I wasn’t born into the right nationality or community.

I wrote an explosives expert and let him blow up a strategic train trestle because I wasn’t alive to do it myself during the Spanish Civil War.

I wrote PIs and detectives because I couldn’t put up with human garbage long enough to last more than a year as a cop. (When you begin to wonder how long juries give cops for murder anyway, it’s time to move on.)

I built a lunar settlement and wrote the settlers because I’ll never get to settle on the moon.

I wrote space travelers and alien species because I’ll never get to meet them unless, fingers crossed, they hurry up and come here.

And I wrote warriors, warriors, warriors of all kinds because I didn’t know enough to take charge of my own life at a young age.

And I’ll write more. Because it’s what I do. We who miss the boat write the wake. (Yeah, isn’t that a great double-entendre word?)

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

You can now download Steven Hawking’s doctoral thesis, “Properties of Expanding Universes,” once the website is back up. It had so many requests it crashed: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/251038.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 850 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 850

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 12462
Total fiction words for the year………… 446608
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12620
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 165303
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 611911

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 695 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182