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

The Journal, Sunday, 7/30

Hey Folks,

Cool. I woke this morning to a request to include yet another of my books, Rise of a Warrior, in a bundle at BundleRabbit. Not only is it a good stand-alone novel, but it’s also the first book in the Wes Crowley series. Uh, yeah. I’ll do that. (grin)

If you don’t have your work listed with BundleRabbit yet, why not? Check it out at http://bundlerabbit.com. The account is free, and every time your story or book is bundled, you gain access to new readers.

And yes, you can upload short stories and collections as well as novellas and novels. Just do it already.

***

Still a few slots open for the writing intensive. As a reminder, it’s on Wednesday, 16 August, here in beautiful downtown St. David.

***

I actually sacked out early last night and rose early this morning. Feels good to be back on track. I spent the first couple of hours playing, looking at parlor-sized (3/4 sized) guitars online.

But I don’t think I’m gonna buy one just yet. I still have stories to tell, and I really don’t have time for more than one passionate pursuit.

Today, and Writing

To the novel at 6. I’m getting anxious to have this one over and done. That string of three-digit word counts is bugging me.

Ran into another problem with the situation. I know the end is close, but I also don’t have a clue where it is. Exciting but frustrating too.

I’m pretty sure now I won’t wrap this one until tomorrow. I won’t rush the ending either, but I don’t think I’ll need to anyway. As I said, it feels like I’m in the proximity.

Worked on it off and on during the day, mostly in 15 and 20 minute bits. Around noon I took a couple hours off to watch the Cubs play the Brewers. Then around 2:20 I headed out to the Hovel (first time since I’ve been back) to put in at least one solid session today.

Little girl’s been really needy today, following me around and so on. Right now she’s under the bed (thunder in the area) so I went to the Hovel.

I have to find a way to get to the Hovel more often. All day in those short bits, I wrote about 1700 words. In one hour and a half session in the Hovel, I wrote the rest. Wow. That’s the power of having a place where your subconscious is trained to write.

I think I could have written more too, but I worked myself into a corner and ran out of time. I might need to rethink what time I post the Journal. (grin)

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via Linda Adams on her Facebook page, you’re cheating yourself of a great time if you don’t read “Self Publishing Destroys the Universe at https://medium.com/@kevintumlinson/self-publishing-destroys-the-universe-9b4cb0276518/. It’s a little long, but a ton of fun.

See Dean’s “Novel Four: Day Four” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/novel-four-day-four/. Incredible. Here I am struggling to finish a single novel of only around 30,000 words (maybe) and he’s about to finish his fourth 40,000+ word novel of the month.

I don’t compare myself to Dean, but I do use him for inspiration and to realize what’s possible. (grin)

Fiction Words: 3725
Nonfiction Words: 550 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4275

Writing of Graham’s Road (short novel)

Words brought forward…… 1070
Day 1…… 3012 words. Total words to date…… 4082
Day 2…… 2675 words. Total words to date…… 6757
Day 3…… 2181 words. Total words to date…… 8938
Day 4…… 4913 words. Total words to date…… 13851
Day 5…… 2543 words. Total words to date…… 16394
Day 6…… 1207 words. Total words to date…… 17601
Day 7…… 0816 words. Total words to date…… 18417
Day 8…… 0869 words. Total words to date…… 19286
Day 9…… 0503 words. Total words to date…… 19789
Day 10… 0761 words. Total words to date…… 20550
Day 11… 0653 words. Total words to date…… 21203
Day 12… 3725 words. Total words to date…… 24928

Total fiction words for the month……… 25021
Total fiction words for the year………… 362978
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11280
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 119110
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 482008

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 612 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

The Journal, Friday, 7/14

Hey Folks,

Probably another full day of editing in my camp today. Then that will be behind me and I’ll turn my hand back to fiction.

Topic: POV—It Belongs to the Character, Not the Writer

This is massively important.

Summed into one sentence, Everything in every setting in your story or novel must be described through the POV character’s senses and flavored with the POV character’s opinions of the various aspects of that setting.

The POV character’s description of a setting enables the reader to see (hear, smell, taste, feel) it. The POV character’s OPINION of that setting brings it to life.

Combined, the POV character’s description of the setting and his opinions of that setting ground the reader in your story.

When the writer intrudes, inserting something himself rather than filtering it through the POV character, the passage often feels external to the story.

That’s because it is. It’s boring, uninteresting, and most often called an info dump. Most often, writers make such insertions to educate the reader, bring in back story, etc.

And every time they do, it’s unnecessary. Every time, that passage can be deleted without adversely affecting the story.

This is a master’s level difference in narration that took a long while (and a few hundred thousand words of fiction writing) to sink in for me, especially that “opinion” part.

I still practice it, and the most-often heard comment I get on my stories is, “I felt like I was there with the character.”

To make it easier, here are a couple of examples. The setting in both is a private library in a mansion in which the owner occasionally smokes a pipe. In an actual story, there would be more to it, but I think these will suffice as basic examples.

POV Character 1

The door squealed on its hinges as it opened. A couch and two wingback chairs came into view, both upholstered in a dank, forbidding, dark-brown leather. A bear skin rug glared menacingly up at me. Dark wooden shelves covered every wall from floor to ceiling. They were tight, and crammed full of books.

The dim, recessed lighting coupled with the stench of tobacco smoke only enhanced my impending sense of doom. The poor sap probably died just to escape the necessity of ever again entering this room.

POV Character 2

The door swung open easily, the hinges announcing me as if to invite me in. A couch and two wingback chairs came into view, both upholstered in a warm, chocolate brown. The shelves beyond were impressive, and economically spaced to house a voluminous collection of books.

The room was subtly, quietly lit with recessed lighting and aromatic, sweetly scented with a hint of black cherry pipe smoke. This must have been the decedent’s favorite room in the house.

Both POV characters provide the same description of the setting, but each has a very different opinion of the aspects of that setting.

I hope this helps.

Today, and Writing

I knew going in there would be no writing today unless a story insisted. I won’t finish the edit today either, but I’ll finish it tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice and from the Better Novel Project, see “How to Write a Fight Scene (in 11 Steps)” at http://www.betternovelproject.com/blog/fight-scene/. I was happy to see that apparently I’ve been doing it right for awhile now. (grin)

From Linda Maye Adams, several interesting items in her Around the Web post at https://lindamayeadams.com/2017/07/14/this-week-around-the-web-july-9-14-2017/, including one on an attractive looking course for writers. It costs less than many books, so I spent the $22. I’ll report later. UPDATE: I checked it out. It seems term-ridden. Not really of much use to me, but I encourage you to at least check out the courses. Maybe they’ll be right for you.

Via The Digital Reader, Bookbaby just published the results of a survey on self-publishing. You have to give them your contact information to download it at https://www.bookbaby.com/free-guide/official-self-publishing-survey-results/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 650 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 650

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 4888
Total fiction words for the year………… 342845
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6290
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 114120
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 456965

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 596 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

The Journal, Friday, 7/7

Hey Folks,

Long post today. Sorry about that. But I think you’ll like most of it.

I’ve been a bit remiss in not mentioning another bundle that contains one of DWS’ SF books. The Sci-Fi July Fever Fun bundle is on sale at https://bundlerabbit.com/b/sci-fi-july/. I’m not in this one, but if you enjoy great SF, it’s bound to please.

Topic: “Real” Books vs. Ebooks

On my Facebook pages, I recently announced the BundleRabbit bundle (Guns of the West) that includes two of my books, two of DWS’ books, and one each by five other writers. (You can see it at https://bundlerabbit.com/b/guns-west/.)

I’ve had a great response thus far, and I know at least 20 people have bought the bundle as a result of my letting them know it was available.

I hope the old “80-20” rule holds true in this case. (grin) And if you’re one of those who has already plopped down $2.99 (no tax) of your hard-earned cash for the bundle, thank you.

But this morning, I checked Facebook to find this question and comment:

“Can’t I buy the actual books? I don’t like reading on line. I like to hold the real books in my hand.”

This question/comment is flawed on at least three levels, which I find amazing in our current age of technology.

This is like saying you’d rather watch a “real” film in a theater for $15 a pop instead of buying it on DVD for $5 or $6.

“But the movie is the same on DVD or in the theater,” detractors say.

Yes. It is.

And the ebook is the same as the paper book. Every word.

Okay, so here is my response to the three flaws in the question/comment:

One, ebooks ARE “actual books.” Every word of every story or novel is included in both ebook and paper editions. The assertion that a paper edition is “real” intimates that the ebook edition is not, and that’s an insult to the author.

Additionally, the ebook edition often contains little extras that are not available in paper editions (just as the DVD of a film often does). In my ebooks, I include those extras as a special Thank You for not insulting me and for being wise with your money.

Two, you don’t have to read ebooks “on line.” To continue the analogy with film, this is like saying “I don’t like to watch movies on my TV.”

You can read ebooks on your phone unless it’s the kind that’s permanently tethered to the wall. You can also read them in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (Apple, B&N and others), or .pdf formats on dedicated e-readers or tablets made by numerous manufacturers.

If you don’t want to spend the money to buy a dedicated e-reader (I don’t blame you), you can download a free app for your phone or your tablet or your computer and read them on that. You can find links to a few free e-readers on my website under the Readers’ Resources tab in the left sidebar.

But with current novel prices at around $16 and up for paper books and $5 for ebooks, a dedicated e-reader pays for itself pretty quickly.

Three, it really isn’t that difficult to find out whether a title is available in both paper and ebook. Simply key a title or author that interests you into any search engine (or Amazon or Barnes & Noble) and see what pops up in paper and ebook editions.

Identical titles are most often displayed alongside each other, which I particularly like as a writer and as a proponent of ebooks because it gives the reader an immediate price comparison.

If you key in “Harvey Stanbrough The Right Cut” for example, the first four entries are Amazon Kindle, Amazon paper edition, Smashwords (ebook only but with a link to the paper edition) and a single entry for Barnes & Noble.

Then the listings continue with Amazon UK, Amazon Japan, etc.

At B&N, you DO have to click one more time (See All Formats and Editions) to learn that the book is available in both ebook ($6.99) and paper ($15.99).

And that’s just for The Right Cut, the last book in the Wes Crowley Series.

You can also buy the entire 10-novel series in paper for around $150, or you can buy all 10 novels in one big volume (but still with all 10 covers plus the cover for the compilation) in ebook for $20.

As an added bonus, if you’re going on vacation and you don’t want to limit your reading choices, you can carry an extra bag with several of your wanna-read-someday paperbacks, or you can simply slip your e-reader (or phone) into your bag and carry them all that way. I prefer less weight.

Finally, Support Your Favorite Authors.

Strictly as an example, if you buy the ebook version of The Right Cut, I’ll earn 70% of the purchase price. You’ll spend $5.99, and I’ll get $4.19.

But if you buy the paper version for $16.99, I’ll earn about $2 per sale. Yes, that’s two dollars. It’s also very bad math from a standpoint of personal economics.

(Yes, writers who are dedicated to publishing only paper editions, I can earn more per sale if I want to order a stack of them myself, then schlep them around in the bed of my pickup or sell them at book signings, etc. But I’d really rather be writing, wouldn’t you?)

So the upshot is, the reader spends a lot more per book for the paper edition, and the author gets a lot less. As Yakov Smirnov used to say, What a country, eh?

Ebooks are here, folks. They aren’t going away. And they’re a boon to readers, not something we writers do to annoy you.

Chances are you already have the ability to read ebooks in your smart phone or on the tablet you carry with you pretty much everywhere you go. The app is free and the SAME STORIES cost a lot less. What in the world is the downside here?

Please, dive on into the 21st century and let’s get back to things that actually matter, like writing more stories.

Oh, and if any of you writers out there are not publishing your works as ebooks yet, feel free to ask me anything you want. I’ll be happy to help.

Today, and Writing

Today I didn’t write. I know. Massive shock. But I did delve deeper into my own private stock of maladies and figure out what’s wrong.

If my writing had a physical body, it would have started shutting down back when I moved my big desk out to storage and switched everything around. Only I didn’t recognize the symptoms.

Ever since then, confusion has piled on confusion. In addition to my “writer self” dying, I had the thing with Bryan and I’m worried about a couple of uncles in NM (my only remaining links to my dad), and and and. Life stuff.

As a result, I’ve been so overwhelmed that I haven’t been able even to clearly see the problem until this morning. I mean the personal writing problem, aside from all the life stuff. (Can’t do anything about the life stuff but ride it to a standstill.)

Basically, I’ve been in a kind of mourning for the routine I used to have. I think I’ve been sort of hoping something would happen to enable a new routine. But that isn’t what I really wanted, so it didn’t happen. Duh.

Epiphany: What I wanted was the old routine back.

I had (and have) a writing ‘puter. But I also had a writing PLACE. The Hovel. Almost everything I’ve written for the past year or so has gone through my fingers in the Hovel. Then I switched everything around and my previously well-oiled machine ground to a rusty, whining, shuddering, grinched-up halt.

So today I worked hard for about three hours in 100+ degree weather to set things right. Now the massive (too tall to write on) desk that was in the Hovel is in the open storage bay next door. My small writing desk is back in the Hovel. And I will be too, tomorrow morning. (grin)

On top of that, I just ordered a portable evaporative cooler to cool the Hovel. It’ll be here on July 12.

So finally, once I gave the problem the time and focus it needed, everything is back on track.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Linda Maye Adams has become a resource similar to The Passive Voice, The Digital Reader, et al. See her “Adventures Around the Web…” at https://lindamayeadams.com/2017/07/07/this-week-around-the-web-july-2-8-2017/. Some good stuff there.

See “10 Viral Strategies” at http://www.toddbrison.com/10ViralStrategies/. Some good stuff there too. Of course, you’ll have to translate some of it to your purpose, but….

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1410 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1410

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4140
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 111970
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 449927

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 589 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

The Journal, Wednesday, 7/5

Hey Folks,

If you like good westerns, two of my books are currently in the Guns of the West Bundle. Dean Wesley Smith also has two books in this bundle, plus there are books by 5 other writers.

This is an excellent opportunity to get 9 amazing tales of the wild west for one low price. Visit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/guns-west/.

Okay, I’ve mentioned a time or two a couple of other writers who currently have ongoing “writing in public” challenges.

To watch their challenges unfold and support their efforts, visit these websites:

Linda Maye Adams at http://lindamayeadams.com/.

Christopher Ridge at https://creaturecritter.blogspot.com/.

Topic: The Value of Openings

For a long time I’ve preached DWS’ statement that to write a story opening all you need is a character with a problem in a setting. And the problem doesn’t have to be “the” problem of the story. Just something to get you started writing.

That holds true.

More often than not, the opening takes off. And the next thing you know, you’re in the midst of a story. The subconscious is at play and all is right in the world.

My own lack of production recently emanates from the fact that I hadn’t (until today) written any openings. I allowed other priorities to creep in.

Like everyone, sometimes I need a jump start. A few days ago I found one.

Sometimes the significance of something isn’t in what’s said, but in how it’s said.

This excerpt from James Scott Bell’s “The Opening as Part of the Closing…” struck me hard:

INSET[T]he opening page and, indeed, the opening paragraph (and even further, if you can do it, the opening line) should be about a disturbance to that character’s ordinary world. Why? Because the reader doesn’t know who the character is yet. So what’s the quickest way to get them interested? Trouble.

INSET(Note that a disturbance doesn’t have to be “big” like a car chase, ghost, or awakening in a hospital room. Just something that causes at least a ripple of portent in the character’s life.)

Mr. Bell, an accomplished thriller writer, echoed DWS’ take. He just said it in a different way.

So just in case you haven’t read it, here’s an encore chance. Read the entire post at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/03/the-opening-as-part-of-the-closing-of-the-deal.html.

As I often recommend, I also suggest reading the comments that follow the post.

Today, and Writing

No writing today. Just editing. It’s coming, though.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Just as a matter of interest, you might check out https://www.toddbrison.com/. There’s free stuff for joining his newsletter. I found one gem in about ten minutes of reading.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 440 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 440

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2280
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 110110
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 448067

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 587 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