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, Sunday, 8/20

Hey Folks,

Well, I had to smile at Dean’s post. See http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-non-event/.

A few days ago he was annoyed, expecting a deluge of tourists in his little town to see the eclipse:

From “A Fun First Day” on August 16, “Now if we can just survive this stupid eclipse, we will be fine. Shadow goes right smack over the top of us as it makes landfall. The actual center is about two miles from the new store. No telling what will happen here with that many people trying to cram into a 60 mile wide area. We just don’t have the roads for it.”

I understand the annoyance. He and others had just rushed around for a few days getting his three stores ready for the deluge of tourists. But it’s still funny. (grin)

***

Today I’ll be working with my friend, showing him how to create book covers with the Serif PagePlus program. Probably no writing today.

Nope, no fiction writing. Back tomorrow.

Quite often I find myself wanting to respond with a Raymond Chandler to some people. This Raymond Chandler quote: “I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings.”

Of Interest

See Kris Rusch’s “Business Musings: My Day in Negotiation” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/08/16/business-musings-my-day-in-negotiation/. This is a great post, and I didn’t fall asleep because of business-apnea even one time. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 230 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 230

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10620
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 129730
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 509350

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 632 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)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Monday, 8/14

Hey Folks,

I know at least one writer who still does extensive research before writing.

That said, most of us use the hunt-and-peck method.

In the midst of a story (sometimes a sentence) we pop online for a moment, do some quick research on the type of tree the hero is leaning against, which months a particular river flows, etc. Then we pop back into the story, add what we learned and move on.

Most often, that search is accomplish on Google or Bing or one of the other popular search engines.

For us, now there are a lot more resources. Check out “Of Interest” below.

***

If you know me at all, you know I’m dead-set against exclusivity in book selling — specifically, distributing only through Amazon.

For yet another take on why, see “The Only Rule Amazon Truly Cares About” at https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/the-only-rule-amazon-truly-cares-about/ (via The Digital Reader and David Gaughran).

***

I spent some time going back over the first session of the workshop I’m taking with Dean. Didn’t find what I was looking for.

Also read the first few pages of the James Patterson novel Private. I hoped to be impressed. My intention was to be impressed so I’d want to go back through it later and learn from him.

But I wasn’t impressed. A few years ago I said I thought he wasn’t a very good writer but he’s a masterful marketer. I thought I’d give his work another shot, but my experience today only bolstered that negative opinion.

On the upside, it was unimpressive enough that it made me think more highly of my own work. So there’s that. (grin)

Finished the handout for Wednesday’s seminar. Also got some laundry done, used the string trimmer on some unruly grass alongside the carport, etc.

Of Interest

For those of you who like reading about other writers’ process, see “Business Musings: The Third 2017 Process Blog” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/08/02/business-musings-the-third-2017-process-blog/.

Via The Passive Voice, see “The state of ebooks: Anti-DRM sentiments…” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/08/the-state-of-ebooks-anti-drm-sentiments-at-worldcon-75/.

Via The Digital Reader and Paul Biba, check out “Ten search engines for researchers that go beyond Google” at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/ten-search-engines-for-researchers-that-go-beyond-google-11-jul-2013/.

Additionally, be sure to see these “more well-known search engines and databases” at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/ten-search-engines-for-researchers-that-go-beyond-google-11-jul-2013#/.

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

Writing of “” ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 13581
Total fiction words for the year………… 376559
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7500
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 126610
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 503169

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 626 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)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Sunday, 7/9

Hey Folks,

Doing very little thus far this morning but relaxing my way into the day.

And did very little the rest of the day so far too. Puttered around outside, a little yard work, a little more on the Hovel, some automotive stuff.

The highlight was a trip to the store for tea and locking gas caps. (Hey. There’s a title for you. “Tea and Locking Gas Caps.)

Today, and Writing

Nothing today. Unless a plane lands on my house tonight and I’m in it (plane or house) I’ll be writing fiction tomorrow. Probably all day.

See you then.

Of Interest

From yesterday, see Dean’s “Novel One: Day Seven…Finished” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/novel-one-day-seven-finished/. Go on and read today’s post too. (grin)

Via The Passive Voice, see Kris Rusch’s “Business Musings: Define Your Target Audience: The Intermediate Stages” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/07/05/business-musings-define-your-target-audience-the-intermediate-stages-brandingdiscoverability/.

Fiction Words: 1512
Nonfiction Words: 140 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1652

Writing of OPENING for “Marshal Garrett”

Day 1…… 1512 words. Total words to date…… 1512 (fizzled)

Total fiction words for the month……… 3818
Total fiction words for the year………… 341775
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4400
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 112230
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 454005

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 591 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 179