The Journal, Friday, 10/20

Hey Folks,

I love finding new resources, and I was handed one yesterday. A guy who represents another guy sent me a link to the second guy’s work and asked me to look it over.

There are so many scams in this world, at first I thought this was just another one. It wasn’t.

I looked it over briefly yesterday, then added two links to my website, one on Character Development under Writers’ Resources and one pointing to Jerry Jenkins’ website. That one’s under both Writers’ Resources and Quick Links.

Then this morning I spent a couple of hours reading different things on his website. It was time well spent.

When you have time to browse for awhile, check out the website of NYT bestselling author Jerry Jenkins.

Check out his Courses while you’re there, and maybe even his Writers Guild. But whatever you do, be sure to check his Resources tab. Some great stuff there.

His website is https://www.jerryjenkins.com/.
***

Not even thinking much about fiction today. I’m just gonna allow myself the time I need to drift through this major change. I have to admit, I didn’t think it would be this disruptive.

But regardless of expectations, what happens happens and it goes the way it goes and we deal with it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see “A Book Ban Like No Other” at http://blogs.ncte.org/index.php/2017/10/book-ban-like-no/. The utter idiocy of some people is simply unbelievable.

Visit Linda Maye Adams’ blog for some great items of interest at http://lindamayeadams.com/2017/10/20/adventures-around-the-web-october-14-20-2017/.

If you’re interested in the upcoming “Orionid Meteor Shower 2017” see https://www.space.com/34373-orionid-meteor-shower-guide.html.

Almost forgot to check Dean’s site. He says he’s coming “Back To Regular Programming” (soon) at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/back-to-regular-programming/.

Via The Passive Voice, see “An Exemplary Mouse” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/an-exemplary-mouse/. I still have the very first wireless mouse I ever bought. I’ll stick with that one for now.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 310 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 310

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… 10400
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 163083
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 609691

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 690 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, 10/14

Hey Folks,

Just want to take a minute to say thanks for hanging in with me.

When you write a daily blog like this, and especially when you’re determined to share the less-than-good along with the good, you’re going to have some off days.

I’m kind of proud of what I’ve done here for the past two-plus years. I’ve written every single day, even when that writing was only in this Journal.

Thus far, I’ve written one novel every month for this calendar year. (It isn’t lost on me that when I get back to writing on Monday, I’ll have exactly one-half of this month left.)

And I’ve tried to keep the Journal interesting otherwise with occasional Topics of interest to writers and with items in the “Of Interest” section below.

I intend to keep going in that regard as long as I can. But none of it would mean anything without an audience, so thanks again for being there.
***

Enjoyed Game 1 of the ALCS last night. Rolled out a little late this morning.

I’ll probably spend the balance of the morning with my son, messing with the 4-Runner. Then this afternoon and evening, more baseball.

I think some younger folks don’t appreciate baseball the way some older folks do. Sportscaster Howard Cosell once called baseball “two minutes of excitement crammed into three hours.”

But that’s kind of the allure of it for me. Moment by moment, the initial draw isn’t what IS happening but what might happen.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Linda Adams’ “Adventures at the book sale” at https://lindamayeadams.com/2017/10/14/adventures-at-the-book-sale/. Made me hungry to start visiting book sales.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 280 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 280

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… 7300
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 159983
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 606591

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 684 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, 10/13

Hey Folks,

Okay, I’m never again doing anything that’s personal-world earth-shattering while I’m in the middle of writing a novel. Losing a bunch of days to a magical, mysterious haze while writing a novel is not a good thing.

A lot of the haze is gone this morning. So my thought that the primary part of the trial would take three days seems to have held up. However, I’m still a bit foggy headed, and it comes and goes.

Another son and his family are coming to visit this weekend. They’ll arrive later today and stay through Sunday morning.

So I think I’ll take a few more nonwriting days. With any luck, I can dive back into writing on fresh on Monday. In the meantime, I’ll keep this Journal going and as interesting as I can.

I’ll be doing what some like to call “writing related” things. I’m considering putting together a boxed set or two of my mystery/suspense novels.

I was thinking of reading over my current WIP too, but I’ll hold off on that until I know I’ll have time to play. At that point, I’ll read over it and go if it goes or set it aside and write something else if it doesn’t.

If I write something else, probably it will be the same series character with a different crew around him. Anyway, that’s all supposition at this point.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “A Brief History of the ‘Danse Macabre’” at http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/danse-macabre-david-pumpkins-art-history.

Via Linda Adams, see “Write Like a Girl” at http://writerunboxed.com/2017/10/07/write-like-a-girl/. Very good article.

Also via Linda, I also enjoyed “Here’s How Not to Critique Romance Novels” at https://jezebel.com/heres-how-not-to-critique-romance-novels-1819188174. At least right up until the author of the article herself invoked a stereotype in the second sentence from the end of the article. So close. (grin)

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

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… 7300
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 159983
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 606591

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 684 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, 10/12

Hey Folks,

First, welcome to “fan2orcas,” the most recent subscriber to this Journal. Glad to have you aboard. I’m going through a personal transition at the moment, so not a lot of substance here for a few days. But hang in there. It will pick up again soon. (grin)
***

Woke up to good news this morning. I have another book, The Platinum Blond Perturbance (novella), in an upcoming bundle from BundleRabbit. I’ll post details on the website as they become available.

The request for that book caused me to look at my other similar books. I realized I have two series characters going. City police detective Lou Galecki and the PI Stern Richards. Hmmm. Wonder how they’d work together?

Actually, the last novel I finished, the one I recently got back from my first reader, has Stern Richards and a police detective, but it isn’t Galecki. Maybe I ought to change the name of the detective before I publish that one.

And that reminds me I haven’t published that one yet. I need to do a cover and get that thing outta here. I’ll do that today.

More notes on quitting smoking…

Feeling a little better this morning. Intellectually I know it takes three days to flush out the poison, but that’s not much more than an annoying little factoid when you’re actually going through it. (grin)

Wow. I started creating the cover at around 5:30. That and uploading the book to D2D, Amazon and BundleRabbit has taken 3 hours. The entire process usually takes an hour or less. Still operating through a haze.

I remember, before I took up cigars, there was a certain extra-clarity in everything: thoughts, vision, hearing, all of it. It isn’t that way again yet, but because I remember I know it will be. Clinging to that knowledge keeps me on task.

I was telling a friend this morning that I’ve discovered quitting cigars is considerably different than quitting cigarettes.

Actually, I expected it to be different, but I assumed it would be easier, maybe because I didn’t inhale smoke from cigars, there weren’t as many, etc.

But I’m finding the resurgent cravings are just as frequent but a LOT stronger. There are times when all I can do is sit and focus on taking the next breath.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I won’t give in. That simply isn’t an option. But it’s interesting (to me) to note these things as I’m going through them. It’s a kind of research, I suppose.

Interestingly, today (Day 3) seems as rough as Days 1 & 2, so I’m also wondering whether it might take longer than three days to flush the poison out of my system this time. I guess I’ll know more tomorrow. (grin)

Hope you don’t mind me sharing this stuff as well as the writing stuff. If my experience helps someone else, it’s all good. And I guess if you DO mind, you can just skip over the parts you don’t like. (grin)

I’m just looking forward to getting back to writing. A few days from now I’ll be wondering what all the fuss was about. I hope.

I’m feeling… different. I’m going to take one more day off. I have a feeling I’ll be fully back tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see “The great writers forgotten by history” at http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20171010-the-great-writers-forgotten-by-history. (I was disappointed when I tried to order the ebook and found it was available only to customers in the UK.)

From Linda Maye Adams on Dean’s site, an article on how the mega corporations get writers to write free at http://authorkristenlamb.com/2017/10/welcome-to-the-matrix-you-work-for-free-there-is-no-payday/. Though I must admit, I got lost after awhile. My be my mental cloud or it might be the article going on and on or maybe both, but I still don’t know a) how to unplug or b) from whom or what to unplug. Sigh. I was so looking forward to being unplugged.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 630 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 630

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… 7000
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 159683
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 606291

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 683 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, 9/29

Hey Folks,

Looks like I updated my website to include a page dedicated to bundles just in time. A new bundle started today.

I only have a short story in this one but still. (grin)

Well, I signed up this morning to support the restart of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine. There are some really cool “rewards” for pledging to the Kickstarter campaign.

I won’t tell you which one I pledged, but I do encourage you to at least go take a look at the various offerings. You can find those at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/403649867/pulphouse-fiction-magazine.
***

On a day when I could as easily have slept-in until 4 or even 5, I rolled out on time. Go figure. The little girl likes going outside early, so….
***

On her blog, Linda Maye Adams referenced an article that seems to prove Hemingway did not write the original six-word short story that many claim he wrote. You can see the proferred “proof” at https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/09/24/for-sale-baby-shoes-never-worn-tracing-the-history-of-the-shortest-story-ever-told/.

I choose to believe he wrote the story. The fact that it closely resembles advertisements that were published earlier doesn’t matter to me in the slightest. To paraphrase Uncle Hub from Secondhand Lions, I believe he wrote it simply because it’s one of those things that are worth believing in. (grin)
***

Smith’s Monthly is a monthly magazine in both ebook and print in which DWS fills every issue with his own work: a full novel, a novel serialization, short fiction and poetry.

And apparently he has a boatload of subscribers. Which means he’s not only filling the magazine, but he’s accountable to subscribers for filling the magazine.

Ever since I first heard of that insanity, I’ve wondered what it would be like to actually fill a magazine with my own work every month.

After all, I started this Journal to help increase my productivity by making myself accountable to others. (And Marines, as it turns out, need a place to report.)

Don’t worry. I’m not going to start a monthly magazine and go begging for subscribers.

But in this lax time after I just finished a novel, I’m using that as a model to think up a really good challenge for myself.

One that won’t create unnecessary pressure, but one that pushes me to produce and one for which I can duplicate the results month after month to create a streak.

Stay tuned.

Well, an old friend dropped by today. We enjoyed a good visit. No writing today, and no regrets.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

For those of you who are bent that way, take a look at StoryShop (Lite), a new free writing tool that allegedly removes all distractions and better enables you to write. You can see it at https://storyshop.io/.

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

Writing of (novel)

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 54526
Total fiction words for the year………… 434146
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15693
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 152093
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 586239

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 670 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, 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, 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

The Journal, Saturday, 8/26

Hey Folks,

Well, a Saturday. The sun is still a couple hours from coming up as I write this. I’ve done my daily rounds of the Internet, made my usual stops.

If you enjoy a bit of history along with really great photos and some personal insights, check Linda Maye Adams’ blog at http://lindamayeadams.com/2017/08/26/a-veteranwriter-looks-at-history-leesylvania-state-park/.

Over the past few days I’ve started several bits of fiction. Each time I let them go. I’m not sure whether they weren’t working or it was just that I wasn’t in the mood. Probably the latter.

I mean, you don’t have to be in the “mood” to write. You just have to write the next sentence. I didn’t.

Pretty sure when I first backslid off Heinlein’s Rules was back when I decided it was no longer important to have a daily word count goal. That’s the only thing I can figure.

Also I crave writing novels. So lately when something “feels” like it’s going to be a short story, I tend to let it go.

I can feel something welling up, something about to break loose. But recently I’ve been waiting for it rather than sitting down and making it happen.

So there are a few things I need to change.

I already blew my novel-a-month goal when I missed finishing the last one (in July) by one day. So that goal is broken.

But my annual goal to write fifteen novels or novellas this calendar year remains. To do that, I just have to break down what’s left to do, divide it by the number of months/days and get busy.

To reach 15 major fiction works for the year, I have to write 7 more novels or novellas. So if I go with 40,000 words per novel as a base, that means I have to write 280,000 words in just those novels.

So that’s only 70,000 words per month for the remaining 4 months or 2300 words per day for 122 days. And if I hit my previous daily word count of 3000 words per day, in that 122 days I’ll reach 366,000 words, more than enough for the 20 short stories I’d also like to write by the end of the year (see below).

Completely within reach. That will also give me a new daily word count goal. Duh.

I mentioned short stories above. I would like to reach over 200 short stories published by the end of the year. I’m currently still 19 away. (Twenty to cross it into 201, which is the real goal.)

Thing is, writing short stories often leads to writing novels, so maybe I should start with short stories anyway. Doesn’t matter, I suppose. The point is to start somewhere, and then keep going. Just write the next sentence.

My wife mentioned last night that this slump started about the time we got back from our trip to New Mexico to visit a few elderly uncles. One (he’s only 10 years older than I) is on his way out with the big C, and I didn’t even know he was ill. I file that in the Damnit category.

I have some beginner’s knowledge of how the human psyche works, that it most often operates independently of its host’s willpower, what we desire, etc. So all of that slump stuff probably is a consideration. But it’s also an excuse, not a reason.

So onward.

Topic: On Word Count Goals

In case you didn’t read it, James Scott Bell talked about his “secret” of success as a prolific writer recently at the Kill Zone blog. Or maybe in one of his short YouTube videos.

Anyway, the secret, he says, is to have a word count goal. Same thing I used to say. Having a daily word count goal drives me to the computer when nothing else will. That’s how it helps me.

Mr. Bell doesn’t set a daily goal because, he says, when he misses it he beats himself up. (That’s one problem I don’t have, thankfully.)

He sets a weekly goal, then divides it by six to get his daily goal. (Wait for it.)

He feels no pressure re the daily goal, though, because life happens. If he misses his daily goal, he knows he can still reach his weekly goal by making up the words he missed on another day.

Sounds like a good approach to me.

Oh, and he divides by six (not seven) because he takes one day off per week to recharge his batteries.

So there you have it, for whatever it’s worth.

Today and Writing

Philosophical Dud of the Day: I guess it’s all right that I continue calling myself a writer. I do write every day, even if it isn’t always fiction.

Neat sidestep, isn’t it? (grin)

I dropped the “Untitled” whatever it was below. Frankly, I got so wrapped around the wheel “thinking” (oh oh) about it that I paralyzed myself. Critical mind. Easy to do.

So I’m starting fresh. Again.

Around 9:45, off to Sierra Vista to shop for stuff. We’ll see what the rest of the day holds when we get back.

Got back late and then a storm started moving in, so I’m gonna post this. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Today I’m referring to the Kill Zone blog again. PLEASE don’t take everything you read there for gospel. Like any advice from anywhere, take what feels right to you and ignore the rest.

See Dean’s “The Value of a Paperback” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-value-of-a-paperback/.

See James Scott Bell’s “Baloney Advice Writers Should Ignore” at https://killzoneblog.com/2012/10/baloney-advice-writers-should-ignore.html. Notice this is from 2012. The guy is a fount of information if you just spend a little time reading. You can find all of Bell’s posts at https://killzoneblog.com/author/jimbell.

You might also browse Joe Moore’s posts at https://killzoneblog.com/author/admin/.

ALSO SEE “Writing a Novel They Can’t Put Down” at http://knockoutfiction.teachable.com/p/novel/. This is a course in novel writing (from James Scott Bell), and most impressively, you have lifetime access to the materials. I’ll probably take this one myself. After I read one or two of his novels. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 990 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 990

Writing of ()

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… 14270
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 133390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 513000

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 637 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, Friday, 8/18

Hey Folks,

Much of what follows is me thinking aloud. If you get something of value from it, good. But mostly it’s me using you as a sounding board. Sorry about that.

Wow. I’ve been at this literary stuff a very long time. And the marketing stuff. Both in-person, glad-handing bookstore managers and sitting for hours at book signings and all that, and the much less costly and smarter electronic marketing.

In fact, after I did some basic math I finally gave up (by and large) on book signings, etc. unless I happened to be speaking at a conference at the same time. From then through now, it’s all been electronic marketing.

The cornerstone of electronic marketing is a personal website. Even Kris Rusch’s book on Discoverability tells you so (see https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NCJL9AG/).

I’ve had a personal website since websites were first a thing, around 1991. I’ve done and continue to do everything else in her book. Yet I’m not a million-seller. You know, yet. (grin)

In a moment of epiphany yesterday, I finally realized what I’m doing wrong.

In the early days, I was a successful (meaning well-nominated) poet and an instructor and an editor. I scribbled a little fiction now and then, but I didn’t become a fiction writer until April 2014 and a novelist until October 2014.

Today I’m still an instructor, a little, and a copyeditor, sometimes, but mostly I’m a fiction writer.

Yet as a holdover from the old days, I’m still devoting my website mostly to other writers. Not readers. Writers. And that’s what I’m doing wrong.

If there’s one truism that stands the test of time, it’s that (with very few exceptions) Writers don’t want to buy your fiction. They want you to buy THEIR fiction.

I’ve said as much to several writers over the years, yet I managed somehow to miss the point myself. Sigh.

If I toted 10 copies of every novel and nonfiction book I’ve written to the next meeting of the regional writers’ group, chances are I’d leave with a small stack of cash, zero nonfiction books, and 260 novels.

Okay, so how do I change my main website from one that’s geared primarily to sell my nonfiction books on writing and my back-burner services as a copy editor to one that actively engages readers who might want to buy my fiction?

I mean, almost all of my fiction is displayed on the main site, but what do I blog about? Nonfiction, how-to-write stuff.

That’s where the epiphany came in. A Writer doesn’t blog about writing techniques. A Writer blogs about his writing. His stories. His novels. His characters.

He also engages the readers.

Maybe he writes a short story every day for a month. Maybe he offers to let them write alternative endings. Maybe he asks them what crime/puzzle/mystery the characters should solve next.

Maybe he starts his own electronic magazine with one original novel and several short stories in each issue. (I know, it’s been done. But so what?)

So I have to give this some thought (he said, just as if he needed something else to do).

First and foremost, it only makes sense that I turn harveystanbrough.com into an author’s website. So that’s a given. After all, that’s the name I write under most of the time. The only question is how.

I also have hstanbrough.com and hestanbrough.com. And I need new covers for most of my nonfiction books (on writing). So maybe as part of the rebranding of that series, I’ll change the nonfiction author’s name to H. Stanbrough.

Then maybe I’ll switch all the “instructor” stuff over to hstanbrough.com. (Yeah, that was gonna be the writing-in-public site but if I do that, it would be better to post it over on the main site.)

The only question re that site would be whether to move this Journal over there too. I like that it’s running every day. I like the streak. But streaks have to break eventually, and really, I don’t post writing-specific advice all that often, do I?

Maybe I’ll just move it over to the main site and revamp it to appeal more to R-E-A-D-E-R-S than writers. I dunno. (shrug)

But back to the main site for a moment: what exactly do readers want from an author’s website?

Any ideas out there? Especially from those of you who have writer-websites? Do you blog about your stories and characters?

One thing I know for sure. It won’t be a site where the only blog post is to announce a new release.

Got a little bit of writing done today. Not much. Now that I’m in the same room with my business computer though, I took the internet off my writing ‘puter again. Maybe that’ll help.

Sure be glad when this funk breaks loose. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “Seven Ways to Bring Characters Together” at https://mythcreants.com/blog/seven-ways-to-bring-characters-together/.

Via Linda Maye Adams, see Joanna Penn and Jerry Jenkins on “Writing Christian Fiction and Success Over a Long Career” at https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/08/14/writing-christian-fiction-long-career-jerry-b-jenkins/.

Fiction Words: 1205
Nonfiction Words: 840 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2045

Writing of “Untitled PI Story” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205

Total fiction words for the month……… 14786
Total fiction words for the year………… 377764
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9610
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 128720
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 506484

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 630 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, Friday, 8/11

Hey Folks,

I did pretty much nothing writing related today other than working on the handout for the upcoming intensive. Did a lot of stuff outside and around the office.

Man, I’d forgotten how difficult it is to put on one of these things and prepare for it. (grin) But it’s all good.

For one thing, I decided to scrap the nonfiction book idea for now. That will come after the seminar(s) is over, if at all. Right now I just wanna teach a good class.

Today I did a lot of back-and-forth stuff, going from the handout I’m preparing to various stories and novels for examples, and so on. Time-consuming stuff.

Of Interest

See Linda Maye Adams’ “Adventures around the web August 5-9, 2017” at https://lindamayeadams.com/2017/08/11/adventures-around-the-web-august-5-9-2017/. Lot of good stuff there. Take the article on Legal Myths with a grain of salt. I commented on that one in the Journal a few days ago.

For fun, via The Digital Reader, check out “I’m a Google Manufacturing Robot and I Believe…” at https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/im-a-google-manufacturing-robot-and-i-believe-humans-are-biologically-unfit-to-have-jobs-in-tech/. Pretty funny.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: XXXX (170, Journal; 1000, Handout)
So total words for the day: 1170

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… 6850
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 125960
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 502519

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 623 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)……………………………… 179