The Journal, Friday, 9/22

Hey Folks,

Rolled out on time this morning, then spent an enjoyable hour or so talking via email with my young granddaughter, Taylor.

By the way, just in time for my topic today (see below) DWS is finally back to busting myths with another Killing the Sacred Cows chapter. It’s in “Of Interest” today.

Topic: Lying to Readers

It’s annoying when Dean Wesley Smith is SO right on everything he says. Well, on most things. He does occasionally say he’s going to make me angry when he’s busting some idiotic myth, but that has yet to happen.

But on the other stuff, he’s always right. Always. At least so far.

And it always annoys me a little. Especially on stuff that I initially believe is bunk and later come to learn (through being beaten to a pulp, and therefore gaining enlightenment) is true after all.

My most recent annoyance wasn’t with DWS, but it was based on something I read in his blog a long time ago.

He wrote (paraphrasing), If you want readers to value your work (meaning “buy your books”) you have to lie to them.

I’ve come to understand that’s true.

Readers by the droves automatically assume, sight unseen, that a novel that’s written in a month or two or three is not worth reading.

As you know, I don’t post my numbers as some sort of competition; I do it to illustrate what’s possible if a writer simply spends time in the chair.

If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t tell anyone how quickly I go from the title to “the end” when I write a novel. And I would revert to using my personas and/or pen names.

Given that I write, on average, 12 novels and scores of short stories per year, I would have at least 12 different pseudonyms for novels and probably three or four times that many for short fiction.

Why? Because of math.

As simply EVERYbody knows, it takes at LEAST a year to turn out a quality novel. And a 2- or 3-year, labor-intensive process will result in an even better novel. Hence, at least 12 pseudonyms for novels.

With those pseudonyms, I could still turn out a novel every month, but each pseudonym would publish only one novel per year (or less frequently).

Gervasio Arrancado would release a new magic realism novel every January. Nick Porter would release a new noir novel every February. Ray Sevareid would release a new SF novel every March. Eric Stringer, bless his heart, would release a new horror/psychological-suspense novel ever April. See where I’m going with this?

And if I had 36 novel pseudonyms, each one would turn out one novel every THREE years. Get the idea?

It’s all in the math.

I write, on average, 1000 polished, ready-to-publish words per hour. That a crawling-on-all-fours 17 words per minute. It gives me plenty of time to find just the right word from the thesaurus (not ‘green stuff on a rock’ but lichen). It gives me plenty of time to jump online to find out the name of that particular cross street on San Antonio Drive in downtown El Paso in 1887.

So say it takes me 100 hours to write a 100,000 word novel.

Okay, so if it takes me 3 years to write a novel and I take two days off every week and two weeks off every year for vacation, that’s 150 weeks or (with two days off per week) 750 days.

So to write a 100,000 word novel in 3 years, I’d have to write an average of 134 words per day. (I refuse to talk about rewriting. Writers are paid to write, not to rewrite. They are paid per word, or per haps, not per endless word-erasure-word-erasure-word.)

To write the same 100,000 word novel in only 1 year, I’d have to write at a blazing-fast rate of 400 words per day.

Well, that wouldn’t be so bad, I guess. At least that’s almost a whole half-hour workday 5 days per week.

But to write the same 100,000 word novel in a 30-day MONTH (4.285 weeks) of 5-day weeks, I’d have to develop an actual work ethic.

I’d have to sit at my laptop and churn out 4,668 words every day for 21.425 days. Still less than a 5-hour workday. And still only 5 days a week.

And many MANY of my novels are in the 25,000 to 70,000 word range. My average is around 60,000 words.

In case you’re wondering, for a short novel of 25,000 words I’d have to write 34 words per day over 3 years or 100 words per day over a year.

For my average novel length of 60,000 words, I’d have to write 80 words per day over 3 years or (Oh No!) 240 words per day over a year. And if I write that novel in a month, I have to actually write 2800 words per 5-day week. Three hours per day.

Again, it all boils down to math. But unfortunately, so does reader opinion. So you have to lie to them.

I’m a resonable guy. It’s true that I tell lies for a living. Still, I don’t like the dishonest feeling of telling someone it took me much longer to write something than it actually took.

So tell me again why, if I churn out a novel over a 3-year period it “just might be a masterpiece”; if it takes “only” a year, I’m rushing it but it “still might be worth a look.”

But if I write the SAME 60,000 words in one month or less, it isn’t worth the time it takes to sniff and turn up a nose.

Sigh.

Okay, so if you’re reading this, and if you’re young (meaning you expect to turn out novels for at least another 10 years or so), and if you have a work-ethic AT ALL, get yourself a stack of pseudonyms.

Just sayin’.

***

I did very little in the early morning other than some Internet stuff and writing the masterpiece topic above (grin, took all of a half-hour), then moved straight to the novel around 9.

In a little over 3 hours, I read the whole thing through, skimming, to correct one more problem, an awkward metaphor that wasn’t working for me. In all that time, I added around 400 words.

Well, something happened to me today that has never happened before on a novel. Sometimes I’ll enjoy writing a short story so much that I really like the story as a reader. So I read it again, later.

That happened today with this novel. As I was reading through it, I was pulled in and actually enjoyed it. So I kept going.

So that’s all the writing I did today. Just little bits here and there. Welp, every novel writes differently.

And tomorrow might be a light day too. I have to go to Sierra Vista tomorrow morning. We’ll see what shakes out.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Beta Readers Help You” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killing-the-sacred-cows-of-publishing-beta-readers-help-you/.

Via The Digital Reader, see Kris Rusch’s “I Spent Decades Developing My IP” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/09/20/business-musings-i-spent-decades-developing-my-ip-contractsdealbreakers/. Seriously, this is a must-read.

Some good stuff on Linda Maye Adams’ blog today. She does an “around the web” thing each week. Check it out at http://lindamayeadams.com/.

Fiction Words: 1146
Nonfiction Words: 1223 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2369

Writing of Loose Ends (novel, working title)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… 1146 words. Total words to date…… 35881

Total fiction words for the month……… 42962
Total fiction words for the year………… 422582
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13293
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 149693
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 572275

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 663 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Friday, 9/15

Hey Folks,

Welp, I started the day closer to my usual time. I read a lot (see “Of Interest”) and then checked Dean’s site.

Much of his post for today is a rehash of the previous couple of days, so it didn’t make “Of Interest,” but parts of it keyed something in me.

So I wrote the topic for today. Actually, I also wrote the topic for tomorrow (I won’t count those words until tomorrow).

I had so much fun with the latter, I decided to cross post that one to the main blog where it will appear on September 19.

You, lucky readers, get to see it tomorrow. I almost titled it “How Warped Was My Rainbow,” but decided finally on “On Challenges, Part 2.”

In the meantime, here’s the first part.

TOPIC: On Challenges

In today’s post, DWS writes “challenges … are a way to prioritize writing time. … [That is o]ne of the many values of a challenge and why I do them regularly for myself. I get far more writing done when I have challenged myself…” (see http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/time-is-everything-these-days/ if you want).

Yeah, what Dean said. I’ve noticed that too.

Back in June when I challenged myself to write a short story every day, I failed miserably. But I still wrote 8 or 9 short stories in a row. I was hyper-productive because of the challenge.

Engaging in a personal challenge is a kind of partnership between the conscious mind and the subconscious creative mind.

The conscious mind says, “Ha! Bet you can’t do this!” and the subconscious responds with “Yeah? Hold my beer and watch this!”

Obviously, this works better if you happen to have an inborn stubborn streak, and the stronger the streak the better.

I do. And it is.

Now I’m not on the verge of announcing a new personal challenge. I’m not in that place at the moment. At the moment, I’m just getting back to writing every day.

At the moment, I’m more the curious observer, watching my own progress on my WIP and marveling that the new (to me) process I’ve come up with apparently is going to enable me to finish a novel in what many would see as record time.

And for now, for me, that’s good enough. I’m happy with it. Writing is fun again.

But if you’re a seasoned writer and you find yourself stuck in the doldrums, or if you’re just starting out and feeling a bit overwhelmed (or even just whelmed) and not sure what to do first, try giving yourself a challenge.

I almost wrote “a realistic challenge,” but if it’s too “realistic” it won’t be a challenge, will it?

***

Yesterday, I guess, I mentioned in passing that when I started writing I was “stuck.” A few folks wrote me about that. Thanks.

But I didn’t really mean “stuck” in a bad way. I remember one novel I wrote that was like pulling teeth with a pocket knife pretty much all the way through. Fortunately, most of mine aren’t like that.

Most of mine flow straight from get-go to been-there-done-that.

In this particular WIP, I’ve been “stuck” two times that were big enough to mention. One of those was yesterday.

But notice too, being “stuck” lasted only until I’d stared at it long enough. I wasn’t stuck so much as mired. There were a lot of “little” bits of the scene I wanted to form and fashion and sequence just right.

You could say I rewrote that segment several times, but I wouldn’t call it that. I did make several passes until it was “just right.”

But each pass was in the creative mind and each pass made the scene (it turned out to be a chapter) a little better. A little fuller. Once I waded around in the muck and found a few rocks, I came straight on out and moved ahead.

So that’s all that was about.

Went to the grocery around 8, spent half a boatload of money and got everything put away around 9:45.

After that I did some other small things, including playing online for awhile. Finally around 11 I started to cycle back over the last couple of chapters.

When I finished cycling, I went right on writing instead of taking a break. Including what I added in cycling, I hit around 1800 words by 12:30. Then I took a break. (grin)

Flying along on the novel again for a bit, then took a break to chat with a friend via email. For a long while, I’ve told folks if you need cover or layout design check out CovertoUpload.com.

Kat Magee, the owner, changed it. She’s rebuilding the site and the new name is Daring Creative Designs. And she’s very good. Check it out at https://daringcreativedesigns.com/.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see “Business Musings: Rethinking A Title” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/09/13/business-musings-rethinking-a-title/. Hint: This is only peripherally about retitling a book. It’s more about Kris’ process, and in that way it’s both rare and very insightful.

Via The Digital Reader, see “You Are Already Living Inside a Computer” at https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/09/you-are-already-living-inside-a-computer/539193/. It’s very long, very thought provoking, and chock full of story ideas.

Check the comments on “The Attitude of a Challenge” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-attitude-of-a-challenge/#comments/.

Fiction Words: 3614
Nonfiction Words: 880 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4494

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… 3182 words. Total words to date…… 12545
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467
Day 9…… 2780 words. Total words to date…… 22247
Day 10… 3614 words. Total words to date…… 25861

Total fiction words for the month……… 32942
Total fiction words for the year………… 412562
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8200
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 144600
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 557162

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 657 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, 9/14

Hey Folks,

Man, I hate outsmarting myself. And I’ve done that twice recently.

The most recent was yesterday, when I planned to watch the historic Cleveland Indians’ game against Detroit. Cleveland won and extended their streak to 21 games. But I didn’t get to watch it.

When MLB Network advertised they would show the game live at “noon Eastern,” I counted the hours the wrong way. I expected it at 4, when actually it came on at 9. Sigh.

And a couple weeks ago, I decided to take down my 10-volume Wes Crowley saga from Smashwords and D2D. The series was experiencing low sales, so I decided to give Amazon KDP Select a shot at it.

This morning, as I started to institute that process, I did an online search for the books. And of course, the paper copies are still available for sale all over the place.

So I can’t do KDP Select. Duh. All I accomplished was removing my books from consideration around the world for almost three weeks.

And I created another couple hours of work for myself, reviving them on Smashwords and D2D.

I realize I ought to let this go and just quietly re-upload them. But I thought I’d mention my costly (and stupid) error on here just in case it might save you the trouble of making the same mistake.

Anyway, it didn’t take two hours. It took an hour and fifty-five minutes. So there’s that.

I don’t think I’m going to bother putting them back up in BundleRabbit. I mean, they’re a bundle all by themselves, and a bargain at almost 500,000 words of quality stories for only $20.

Or maybe I’ll put up the first book in the series so it can be included in bundles.

Anyway, now for about an hour-long break (mostly so I can calm down), and then back to the novel.

***

Weird. Today is turning out like yesterday, so far. I started a new chapter but it wasn’t quite right. The characters wouldn’t let me move on. So I hovered.

In about 3 hours (like yesterday) I managed about 1000 words (like yesterday). I can only hope now things will break loose and the novel will run for awhile (like yesterday). (grin)

Well, it ran pretty good. Frankly I just got tired. Figured I didn’t want to push it. The story’s still speeding along just fine, and I have zero clue how the characters are going to solve what’s going on. But I’m sure looking forward to finding out.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, see “Bet You Didn’t Know I Wrote YA” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/bet-you-didnt-know-i-wrote-ya/. I swear, the guy’s more of a ham than I am.

For more Raymond Chandler from The Passive Voice, see “When I got home” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/09/when-i-got-home/.

Fiction Words: 2780
Nonfiction Words: 450 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3230

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… 3182 words. Total words to date…… 12545
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467
Day 9…… 2780 words. Total words to date…… 22247

Total fiction words for the month……… 29328
Total fiction words for the year………… 408948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7320
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 143720
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 552668

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 656 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8 Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/13

Hey Folks,

Not a lot other than reading and writing (very little arithmetic) going on at the old homestead today.

It feels like a do-nothing day, but I don’t want one. Besides, I need that like I need a cliché in my head.

I finally broke down and took my lawn mower in to a repair shop. That and surrounding details and sidetracks ate up the first two working hours of the day.

I started playing at the novel right at 10:30. It’s now almost 1:30 (I’ve done some other little stuff too) and I’ve written barely over 1000 new words.

I had to stop and check the total word count because I knew I hadn’t written much. I was actually surprised to see it was over 1000 words. My focus has just been scattered a bit thus far today. (For a reason, see “Of Interest.”)

It will be interesting (to me) to see what happens for the rest of the day re that focus.

Well, I really thought this would be a small day, but it worked out all right. I also have a great starting point for tomorrow (a jagged edge) and a ball game starting in about 8 minutes (grin). Tonight Cleveland might extend its winning streak to 21 games. That would be history in the league.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, something perhaps “relevant to author promo, website and cover design decisions.” See “Designing for Human Attention” at https://uxplanet.org/designing-for-human-attention-ac0abe3d657d.

If you use Smashwords, see “Smashwords Introduces Global Pricing Control…” at http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/09/global-pricing.html/.

See “The Attitude of a Challenge” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-attitude-of-a-challenge/. Some good notes there re attitude.

For any Facebook users, via The Passive Voice, I read that FB is changing its mission statement. See https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n16/john-lanchester/you-are-the-product.

For some witty wordplay from The Passive Guy, see “Much Ado about Lavender” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/09/much-ado-about-lavender/.

Fiction Words: 3147
Nonfiction Words: 290 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3437

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… 3182 words. Total words to date…… 12545
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467

Total fiction words for the month……… 26548
Total fiction words for the year………… 406168
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6870
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 143270
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 549438

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 655 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8 Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Tuesday, 9/12

Hey Folks,

Okay, I mentioned a couple of times a workshop I’m taking with Dean. It ended this morning, so here’s my report.

On the Online Workshops tab of his website, the title (if you want to read about it) is officially “Writing Mysteries.” If you’re interested, I encourage you to read the writeup there.

First, I found that the actual workshop more than nailed the description on the website.

This is an actual writing workshop. He teaches you how to write mysteries in the ten most popular subgenres. Plus there are extensive notes on writing Thrillers (used to be a subgenre of Mystery, but is now on its own).

He doesn’t teach plotting, but he does teach what’s required in each subgenre of Mystery (in other words, How To Write it).

In each subgenre, he provides instruction on five areas:

1. Focus-of and details-about the sub-genre.
2. Types of writers best suited to write the sub-genre (with examples).
3. Can it be used in other genres?
4. Focus on the POV character “type” needed and the focus of the POV character.
5. Focus of the opening. What needs to be in the opening. What will draw readers in.

Those five areas make this workshop pretty much invaluable if you want to learn to write mysteries. It’s also a good idea to study those five areas of any genre you’re interested in writing. Just sayin’.

The weekly assignments were also good. I won’t comment specifically on those because how well they work for you will depend on your level of skill. If you’re a beginning writer (a few novels/a couple dozen short stories under your belt), I have no doubt you’ll find them all very useful.

So I recommend this workshop if you

1. Want to write in a Mystery subgenre, or
2. If you want to learn Mystery elements to include in other genres (SF, Young Adult, etc.).

***

Started cycling through what I wrote yesterday at about 8:30. Allowed myself to touch the manuscript, but very lightly, always looking forward to resuming the story.

By 9:30 I was through cycling. During that hour I also answered some email, etc.

One of the emails I worked with was the notice that the next bundle my work is included in, Death Before Defeat, a 10-book SF omnibus, is available for presale at only $2.99. For details, see https://bundlerabbit.com/b/death-before-defeat/.

Too much playing. By noon-thirty I’d written only a little over a thousand words. My fault. When I pay attention to it, the novel’s flying.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “The Only Rule Amazon Truly Cares About” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/09/the-only-rule-amazon-truly-cares-about/. PG’s response is priceless. Of course, in his posting of the article you can also click through to the original post.

Via The Diginal Reader (and strictly for fun), see “10 Books That Were Written on a Bet” at https://electricliterature.com/10-books-that-were-written-on-a-bet-5e0343dd3030/.

Also via The Digital Reader, for anyone who believes publication in TradPub is a golden ticket, see “Publishers Are Now Shedding Best-Selling Authors” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/09/11/publishers-now-shedding-best-selling-authors/.

Anybody need an SF novel idea? See “We Can Finally Read The ‘Clock’ That Tells How Long Human Cells Have Left to Live” at http://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-can-now-check-how-long-live-human-cells-have-left/. This could go in MANY diferent ways.

Dean posted “Some More Challenge Details” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/some-more-challenge-details/.

Fiction Words: 3775
Nonfiction Words: 530 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4305

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… 3182 words. Total words to date…… 12545
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320

Total fiction words for the month……… 23401
Total fiction words for the year………… 403021
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 142980
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 546001

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 654 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Monday, 9/11

Hey Folks,

Well, have you guys heard me whine enough?

The thing is, I’m either a writer or I’m not. For awhile now, I haven’t been. Not really. So I’ll see about cutting down on the whining, and instead go back to tending to business.

I am somewhat heartened, because in the original essay in which Robert Heinlein laid out his Business Habits for Writers, he mentioned that he himself had violated his own rules on occasion.

***

Today in “Of Interest” you’ll see that Dean’s going to offer his services as a first reader again in two challenges, short story and novel. Something to consider.

Even if you don’t want to take advantage of his generous offer (if you finish the challenges or opt out after paying, you still get two online workshops), it still might be a fun challenge for some of you to do on your own.

***

I’m going to read back on my novel start to see where I took a wrong turn and get back to writing.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “New Story and Novel Challenge For You” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/new-story-and-novel-challenge-for-you/.

See “Humans Have 27 Distinct Emotional States” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/09/humans-have-27-distinct-emotional-states/. The Passive Guy’s take is excellent in my opinion.

Do yourself a favor and visit Science Alert at http://www.sciencealert.com/. Several stories today that might be of interest to writers. Read Skeptically. For example….

If you want a laugh and an example of Orwellian Doublespeak, see “The World Is Facing a Global Sand Crisis…” at http://www.sciencealert.com/our-world-is-facing-a-global-sand-crisis-because-we-re-mining-way-too-much-of-it/. (One of the major ways nations are using mined sand is to repair beaches. So picking it up, then relocating it, and putting it down.)

“RIP Jerry Pournelle, the first author to write a novel on a computer” at https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2017/9/9/16279582/jerry-pournelle-science-fiction-author-writing-computers-obituary/.

Fiction Words: 3182
Nonfiction Words: 300 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3482

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… 3182 words. Total words to date…… 12545

Total fiction words for the month……… 19626
Total fiction words for the year………… 399246
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6050
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 142450
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 541696

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 653 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8 Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Saturday, 9/9

Hey Folks,

Well, I didn’t take the recliner back yesterday. If it doesn’t rain today, I’ll probably do that today.

It did rain what seemed like all night last night, but less than 1/10 of an inch in the gauge this morning.

Left about 8:30 for Sierra Vista. Back around 12. Not sure what else I’ll get done today.

My WIP is kind’a weird. I mean, I keep hearing that all books write differently, and my experience has shown that’s true.

In this one, not only will it (probably) be presented in “Parts,” but I’m getting the feeling I need to just write the different scenes and then shuffle them around and put them all together after the fact. I’ve never done that before.

I currently have two major POV characters, a PI and a criminal, and I think there will be a third. Not sure yet who or what that will be.

But I have several scenes in mind at any given time for each POV character. Not the whole scene but a particular direction. Like the caracters are children, tugging at my hands.

I’m writing along in the Criminal’s POV, but the PI character is tugging on my other hand. “No, go this way!” And when I write in the PI’s POV, the other guy is tugging at my other hand.

It’s kind of neat, but annoying too. And I’m left to wonder who the third POV will be. It’s almost as if the Criminal and PI characters are saying “Not yet.”

Very strange. And I’m not complaining. Just wanted to share that in case it helps you in your own writing.

Anyway, it’s 2:20 as I write this. I haven’t written on the novel today, not even 1000 words. I took the recliner back, then worked on my 4Runner a bit. It’s hot and I just want to Do Nothing, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you’re an SF fan, see “Dr. Jerry Pournelle” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/dr-jerry-pournelle/.

For any female warriors out there (Linda Adams), see “This Viking DNA Discovery Is Our Best Evidence to Date of Female Viking Warriors” at http://www.sciencealert.com/this-viking-dna-discovery-says-there-really-were-shield-maidens/.

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16444
Total fiction words for the year………… 396064
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5170
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 141570
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 537634

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 651 days
Days of writing at least 1000 WPD…………………………… 4
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8 Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/6

Hey Folks,

Now I know what the kids mean when they write OMG.

Via The Passive Voice from yesterday, there was this wonderful gem:

“What begins as a raindrop on our heads turns into a cloudburst of rain. If we deny its messages, it becomes a thunderstorm. Still not listening? Look out for a hurricane, a tornado and an accompanying tsunami.”

Are you kidding me? Talk about mixing metaphors. And even mixing them WITHIN a metaphor. This is supposed to be a serious post about what might happen if we “fail or refuse to learn the lessons we are supposed to learn.”

What I saw:

“a cloudburst of rain” — um, as opposed to a cloudburst of what?
And then somehow a thnderstorm is bigger than a cloudburst.
And then a tornado is bigger than a hurricane, and is accompanied by a tsunami. Really?

She might at least have substituted “waterspout” for “tornado” to keep things in the same family. And then maybe made the waterspout smaller than the hurricane. And then done away with the tsunami.

Or at least begin with a gentle ripple that grows to a wave that increases to whatever’s bigger than a wave and then to a tsunami.

I guess I was in a bad mood or something. I actually signed up for Medium (it’s required if you want to view the original post) just so I could leave a comment. And that was, “I laughed so hard at this. Either the first or fourth sentence might be a really good submission to the Bulwer-Lytton contest.”

TPG was silent on this one too, surprisingly, so I also left the comment on his site where he links to the original.

If you want a good chuckle, or if you want to see what not to aspire to as a writer, see the original post at https://medium.com/@literacychampion/you-create-your-own-lessons-378948ad87a8/.

Seriously, OMG. I thought about turning this into a contest to see who could find more category mistakes and/or silly similes and messed-up metaphors. Woof.

***

Rolled out a little late (by plan). My wife bought me a recliner (my first ever), and it’s due to arrive late this afternoon or early evening. I wanted to make sure I’m still awake and coherent when it gets here. (grin)

Today begins my new very low-pressure goals. I’m still feeling a sense of relief. It doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t write 3,000+ words in a day. It just means I don’t have to. It feels so good to actually relax my way into the day.

Of course, I don’t want to slip too far the other way either. There will be a period of adjustment.

***

I finally started reading over what I’ve written on the novel at around 9, allowing myself to touch it on the way through.

I did notice I’m more prone to cycling more often now that I know I have time. I write what’s flowing at the moment, then run back over it, allowing myself to touch it.

Played an on-again, off-again game of Catch The Umbrella each time the wind came up while I was outside. One of those days when there’s almost no wind, and then a sudden gust.

And then around 10:30, I went inside to turn on the swamp cooler. I noticed the temp in the house was actually climbing. I put my hand up in front of a vent and felt warm air.

So I went outside, put a nozzle on the hose and sprayed the pads on the swamp cooler (it’s on the roof) from the ground. Went back inside to check, and sure enough the air coming out of the vents was cooler.

Got the ladder out, went up on the roof thinking (hoping) I just needed to unclog the spider, but the pump is out. So I came back inside, emailed to ask my wife to pick up a new pump on her way home.

All of that took a little over 2 and a half hours.

If I still had my big word count to worry about, I’d have called the day at that point. As it was, I went back to the novel.

Dean’s been saying for years he doesn’t do word counts for fiction. He just figures out what he wants to do, then determines the number of hours he has to spend in the chair to do it. I have to admit, I like it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Ooh! Check the comments on “A Matter of Perspective” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-matter-of-perspective/#comments/.

Fiction Words: 1142
Nonfiction Words: 760 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1902

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601

Total fiction words for the month……… 12682
Total fiction words for the year………… 392302
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3620
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 140020
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 532322

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 648 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Tuesday, 9/5

Hey Folks,

I rolled out a little early today. I spent the first half-hour or so on a little bit of Internet stuff. Then I listened to Week 5 of my online workshop with DWS.

The main topic this week was the primary reason I took this workshop, especially when combined with the main topic in Week 4. So I went back and reviewed a couple of videos from Week 4 as well and enhanced my notes for Week 5.

The topics in Weeks 1 – 3 weren’t really of interest to me, but I listened to them anyway because Dean often drops useful little gems as he moves among topics.

Next Tuesday will be the final week, so I’ll report then on this workshop. It’s the Mystery workshop, by the way, so I took it partly to learn new things and partly to verify that I was on the right track with some things I was already doing.

Topic: New Goals

I have been feeling pressured — pressure is not a good thing — ever since I reset my goals for the last four months of the year.

So I’m going to reset them again. Goals exist to serve me, not the other way around.

It’s important to me to write Every Day. That’s more important to me than numbers.

I’m convinced that some of the stories that have died over the past several months did so because I was away from them for a day or two or twelve.

It’s difficult at best to get back into a storyline after an absence. It’s much easier to just drop it and start something new.

So my “big” new goal is to write Every Day.

To that end, and to make it more realistic, I’m going to reduce my word count goal. Drastically.

Because frankly, with my current goal of 3,000 words per day, if I have only a half-hour or an hour or even two free in a given day, it’s much easier to throw in the towel and just skip it. (That pressure I mentioned earlier.) And then I feel like crap because I had a nonwriting day.

And that is not good.

So I’m going to try a version of James Scott Bell’s weekly goal. I’m going to shoot for 7,000 words per week. That’s only 1000 words a day for 7 days. One hour per day. I might write more than that, but I don’t want to write less than that.

If I find (as I hope) that I’m regularly exceeding that goal, well good. Then I’ll adjust it again later. Or not. Maybe I’ll just roll with it.

Now, if I write only 7,000 words per week for the rest of this year, I won’t reach 16 novels and novellas by year’s end. But so what? I already have 26 novels and 4 novellas. And over 180 short stories.

So I’m good with that. Right now I just want to get back to where I feel like a professional writer, by which I mean a person who sits down and writes every day.

Will I take a day off? In emergencies, yes. And maybe even in a time of no emergencies if I’ve just finished a work. Maybe I’ll take a day off before I start another one.

But in the meantime, I’ll plug along, putting down at least 1000 words per day of fiction.

I’m already sighing with relief. And of course, I’ll still be reporting my numbers below every day.

Now, at least a couple of you felt intimidated in the past. A couple of folks felt I was putting up numbers too big to “compete” with, although it was never meant to be a competition.

So if this method works for you too, and I truly hope it does, feel free to steal it from me the same way I stole it from James Scott Bell. Who, by the way, is in “Of Interest” below.

***

 

This WIP is a truly twisted piece of work. And I don’t mean that in a good way, like convoluted. I mean twisted as in bizarre, ugly, misshapen. Something that might be described as “slouching” toward some holy site. That kind of twisted.

So I’m gonna give it its head and see what happens. (grin)

***

I’m very pleased to report I have a new bundle out. My short story collection Mobster Tales is one of eleven ebooks (I think they’re all collections) in the Another Time, Another Place bundle. Here’s the graphic. It should also be a link. $2.99 for eleven ebooks folks. (If it doesn’t link, go to http://bundlerabbit.com/b/another-time-another-place/.)

Another Time Another Place

Back to my twisted WIP for awhile.

Pretty good day today. I’ll take it.

See you then.

Of Interest

Wow. See Dean’s “A Matter of Perspective” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-matter-of-perspective/.

In The Kill Zone blog, see “Two Writing Mind Tricks to Get You Rolling” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/09/two-writing-mind-tricks-to-get-you-rolling.html. (I can’t even tell you how much I’m going to take this guy’s advice.)

Some good stuff in The Passive Voice today. See http://www.thepassivevoice.com/.

Fiction Words: 2678
Nonfiction Words: 830 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3508

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459

Total fiction words for the month……… 11540
Total fiction words for the year………… 391160
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2860
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 139260
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 530420

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 647 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Monday, 9/4

Hey Folks,

I told my wife last night I needed to get back in the office and publish “The Tarp.” I didn’t. So after most of my Internet stuff this morning, I did that.

I’m rusty there too, so it took a little longer than usual. Anyway, I’ll be emailing it to donors shortly.

Actually, I ended up emailing the last three stories to donors. I might have sent the first two before, but I don’t think so.

I sent them “Going Home,” a war story about a sniper who encounters some unusual circumstances; “Pancho and Lefty: An Alternate Ending,” a story based on the popular song by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard but with a more redeeming ending for Lefty; and “The Tarp,” a story about a wise guy with too much on his plate.

Description and psychological suspense play large roles in all of those stories. They were written within a month of each other, yet oddly, they illustrate an improvement in my writing. I think. Then again, what do I know? (grin)

I was going to write a short topic on resetting goals, but I decided to just mention DWS’ post in “Of Interest” today.

The gist is this: There’s a third of the year left. It’s a great time to revisit your goals.

If you’re on track, great. Pat yourself on the back and keep plugging.

If you aren’t, there’s nothing wrong with setting new goals and starting fresh.

Even getting there isn’t as good as striving to get there. (grin)

Today and Writing

Rolled out a little before 3, did the Internet stuff, then realized I forgot to upload my story to D2D, Amazon and BundleRabbit last night. So I did that.

Then back to the Internet for awhile, then here to write this. Now it’s a little after 5.

Out for a walk around 7. Only a couple of miles but a good start to the day.

Well, I had a feeling maybe I should’ve taken a day off walking. But I was thinking just a liesurely 2 miles wouldn’t hurt anything and I’d feel better through the day because of it.

Turns out I should’ve taken a day off walking. (grin) Making the adjustment is difficult for me. Realize, only a year ago I was walking every day, and sometimes up to 12 miles in a day.

But my back didn’t like what I did to it yesterday. It started yelling at me just after the 1 mile mark.

Not sure what else I’ll do today. Some lounging for sure, and I hope some writing but even my desk chair isn’t comfortable right now.

Still, I have a good story waiting for me. I’ll get back to it when I can.

Well, we had a trip to the store and back. Then lunch with part of a ball game.

I read over what I wrote yesterday and added a few hundred words, but nothing big. I won’t count this as a writing day. I’ll include the little bit I did today in tomorrow’s numbers.

See you then.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “Time of Great Forgetting” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/time-of-great-forgetting-2/.

Via Linda Maye Adams on Facebook, see “A Curated List of Creative Writing Competitions, Contests and Awards” at https://www.dystopianstories.com/writing-competitions-contests/.

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 8862
Total fiction words for the year………… 388482
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2030
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 138430
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 526912

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 646 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182