The Journal, Monday, 10/30

Hey Folks,

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

Oh dear god. I can almost see him primping.

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

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

Hey, carpe jugulum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

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

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

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

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

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

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

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

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

The Journal, 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, Monday, 10/9

Hey Folks,

Well, we had a good visit with our youngest son and our oldest grandson. Also very much enjoyed watching the baseball games yesterday, especially Cleveland at New York. Even though Cleveland chose to put off sending New York home until today or until they make them travel back to Cleveland first. (grin)

Today it’s back to writing. For anyone who cares about nominal personal nonsense, today is also my last day as a cigar smoker.

I have three left, including the 1/3 that’s currently clenched between my teeth. I figured it’s only fair to my wife that I do the Nicotine Withdrawal Shuffle while she’s at work tomorrow through Friday.

I realize I should be curled into a fetal position in a shadowy doorway in a seedy neighborhood in major metropolitan area, but where I am will have to do. The whole thing wasn’t properly staged.

And now, as promised and just as if it matters to anyone but me, here’s…

My Updated Fiction Length and Price List for 2017/2018

First, a few explanatory notes —

1. In everything below, I’m talking about indie publishers, like you and me. All signs indicate the traditional publishing model (the agency model) is dead or dying across the board.

I’m also talking here about ebooks. If you want to deal with print, see my excerpt from Dean’s post at http://hestanbrough.com/the-journal-friday-106/. And remember that DWS’ pricing guidelines are for trade paperbacks, not mass-market paperbacks.

2. As DWS mentioned a few days ago, in short fiction, Length, not Genre, matters in pricing.

In long fiction, however, Genre, not Length, rules in matters of pricing. This is a major change for me and one I had a little difficulty getting my head around.

To mitigate that “lost at sea” feeling, it helped me to remember that most well-selling genres have general length guidelines (e.g., Westerns are most often around 40,000-50,000 words).

It also helps to remember that dedicated readers of a particular genre have come to expect certain price points (e.g., most Romance readers are used to paying around $3.99 regardless of the length of the novel).

3. DWS also mentioned, in response to a comment, that the terms “novelette” (long short story) and “novella” (between a novelette and a short novel) have no meaning for readers. I agree. However, to add two more price levels that pertain to Length in short fiction, I use the designations for myself as a publisher.

All of that comes into play in what follows:

For short fiction, Length, not Genre, matters:

To 2999 (Short-short Story)………………………………1.49
3000 to 6999 (Short Story)………………………………..1.99
7000 to 14999 (Novelette or Long Short Story)…2.99
15000 to 24999 (Novella)………………………………….3.49

For long fiction, Genre, not Length, matters:

Romance……………………..3.99
Western……………………….3.99 – 4.99
SF/F……………………………..3.99 – 4.99
Mystery, Suspense……….4.99 – 5.99
Thriller (big book)…………5.99 – 6.99

The pricing variations above (for me) afford room to take into account pricing for Length. For example, Cozy Mysteries generally are short novels or novels. Mysteries and those that crossover into Suspense generally are novels or long novels.

So the second tier below illustrates my own divisions for length. I suspect this is a kind of security blanket for me:

25000 to 44999 (Short Novel)
45000 to 69999 (Novel)
over 70,000 (Long Novel)

Will these change? Possibly. And of course you should feel free to use this (or not) as only a guideline.

Hope this helps.
***

Rolled out late, mostly intentionally, mostly as a time-management technique because I have only three cigars left. (grin)

I browsed the Internet, added the “Of Interest” stuff, then wrote most of this Journal entry.

Spent a couple of hours while it was still cool outside pre-cleaning a car I just got. Now it’s almost 10 and I’m headed to the novel for awhile.

Well, I keep ekeing out these little writing days. The novel is moving along fine, a spurt here, a spurt there. I’m not worried about it. This one just isn’t writing in 3,000 – 5000 word chunks.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Author Pen Names: 5 Reasons they’re a Bad Idea in the Digital Age” at http://annerallen.com/2017/10/author-pen-names-digital-age/. Great article.

Strictly for fun, see “10+ Times Writers Took Book Dedications To Another Level” at https://www.boredpanda.com/creative-book-dedications/. There are actually 57 dedications.

Fiction Words: 1180
Nonfiction Words: 670 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1850

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 12462
Total fiction words for the year………… 446608
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6020
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 158703
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 605311

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 680 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Sunday, 10/8

Hey Folks,

Not a lot to see here today. I thought I might return to the story today, but I’m not going to.
It’s been a tiring and emotional day, just family stuff. Two big-deal (to me) baseball games coming on, so I’m gonna watch those.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “Anthology Workshop Surprise” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/anthology-workshop-surprise/. If you write short fiction, you could potentially earn enough from sales to editors at this workshop to make back your investment. Just sayin’.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 100 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 100

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 11282
Total fiction words for the year………… 445428
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5350
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 158033
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 603461

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 679 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, 10/7

Hey Folks,

Well, it’s Saturday. A very short post today, maybe making up for the longer ones recently.

Today was to be my first day as a nonsmoker (leaving cigars behind) but I thought that might not be fair to my visiting grandchildren. (grin)

So I’ll make a trip later to Tombstone or Sierra Vista to buy enough sticks to get me through the weekend. I’m looking forward to leaving the habit behind me.

Ah, after the sun came up, I found out my son and one adult grandson are here, but the little ones aren’t. So maybe I’ll buy just enough cigars to get through today (since I already had one this morning).

Anyway, nonwriting day today and probably tomorrow. I’m not worried. The novel story is in a good place, so I can easily jump back in pretty much at will.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you’re interested in space stuff, I encourage you to visit https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/ and browse awhile. Excellent.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 160 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 160

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 11282
Total fiction words for the year………… 445428
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5250
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 157933
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 603361

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 678 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, 10/6

Hey Folks,

Well, another long post, but one I think you’ll find is worth it.

First, while searching for something else, I ran across an article titled “Master of Magic Realism Harvey Stanbrough is Offering a Free Short from His Collection of Cantina Tales.”

You can see the brief article at https://davidjrodger.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/master-of-magic-realism-harvey-stanbrough-is-offering-a-free-short-from-his-collection-of-cantina-tales/.

I remembered I had left a ‘thank you’ note in a comment below the article. I never received a reply or a follow-up comment.

This morning I clicked the home page of that WordPress.com site, and I learned that David J. Rodger passed away the same day that post about me went public.

I had never heard of David before he was kind enough to mention me in his blog.

I haven’t read any of his work, but I intend to order some today. To read a bit more about David J. Rodger and his books yourself, please check his main website at http://www.davidjrodger.com/.

Guest Topic: Pricing in 2017

The following is excerpted from Dean Wesley Smith’s blog post this morning. You can read the full article at the link in the “Of Interest” section below.

Electronic Pricing… Novels

Genre matters. Range from $3.99 to $6.99, with romance being on the lower side, mystery on the upper side.

Length does not seem to matter at all.

All the studies have shown that you get above $6.99 and you start hitting price resistance for electronic books unless the book is something really special.

You go below $3.99 and you leave yourself no room for discounting or short-term sales.

You get down into the 99 cent area and you are in a trash ghetto.

And yes, I do know about the stupidity of ever-free. Just say no.

[….]

Electronic Pricing… Short Stories

[….]

A general rule of thumb of short fiction… Genre does not matter. Length does matter. Exactly opposite of novels.

Under 3,000 words, 99 cents or $1.99. I would favor the $1.99 to stay out of the trash pile.

Over 3,000 words, $2.99. (I know some writers who are doing $3.99 and making fine money on short fiction, but I like the $2.99 as a good balance.) [Editor’s Note: The $2.99 or higher price point also gets you a 70% royalty at Amazon too, vs. 35%.]

Over 10,000 words, $3.99 and above 20,000 words price it as a novel in the genre and call it a short novel. [….]

Paper Pricing… Novels

The old general rule of $2.00 profit in extended distribution in CreateSpace has become meaningless. [Editor’s note: If you remember, I mentioned this extended distribution only a day or two ago. Ignore what I said, and go with this instead.] Get your price down as much as you can. Under $10 is the best for trade paper. $12.99 is fine as well. Above that you hit resistance unless the book is longer.

Length not only matters, it causes [your cost] to go up. You have no choice, but try to keep the [price] down as low as possible.

[B]ookstore distribution [is] a folly in 2017 because as Author Earnings have reported, almost 80% of paper books are sold online these days.

[….]

Keep the price low as possible, especially in romance. Very price conscious group.

Paper Pricing… Short Stories

Yes, why not do a paper edition of your stand-alone short story? It’s free to do, easy with Vellum to lay out, and makes your $2.99 electronic price look pretty good with the $4.99 paper there linked. [….]

Audio Pricing

Not getting anywhere near audio. You are on your own. But do realize there are new players on the field in audio. Go slow and learn them and give them a chance to grow some.

That’s it.

2017 sure has made things a ton easier. The drive of pricing to hit the bottom leveled out a few years ago and now we are stable.

And if we indies keep our prices in those ranges, it makes those traditional electronic prices look downright stupid. And more readers will go to indie books.
***

A couple of quick, related things — In the original post, Dean talks about using IngramSpark to try to get Ingram to list your book IF you follow his advice and don’t go with Extended Distribution at CreateSpace (so you can keep your price low).

So One, I guess IngramSpark is a thing and that it’s part of Ingram. I stand corrected (and surprised).

Two, if you DO still go with Extended Distribution (and the required higher price) at CreateSpace, your book will be offered in many more stores than “just Amazon.”

Most of my sales are in ebooks and most come through Amazon.

Now, you might think I’d visit CreateSpace later today to lower the prices on all of my paper novels.

Nope. I’m gonna leave them right where they are and in Extended Distribution.

So will my books be overpriced, even for trade paperbacks?

Sure. But price also goes to perceived value, and mostly I publish in paper only so readers will see the price comparison between paper and ebook when they look up my books.

In other words, I use paper only to drive the purchase of ebooks. I think I’ll continue in that vein.
***

I found Dean’s thought on pricing longer fiction very interesting, that genre, not length, is what matters. I have a question in to him via email.

After I hear back from him, I’ll post my own new pricing guidelines in case you might find them of interest.

UPDATE: Dean responded, and he said pretty much what I expected. I’ll post my new personal pricing guidelines as a topic in a day or three.
***

Today will be a light writing day probably. My son and his family are coming to visit for the weekend, so I have preparations to make. Grocery, laundry, stuff like that.

Finally back from doing chores just before noon. Now to the novel for a little while. There are also division baseball games on today, so… (grin). But I’d like to advance the novel a bit before I go to that for the day.

Okay. I got the story back on track. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

See “Pricing Silliness and a Learning Lesson” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/pricing-silliness-and-a-learning-lesson/.

From The Digital Reader, see “Author Website Checklist” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/05/author-website-checklist-2/.

Fiction Words: 1407
Nonfiction Words: 1000 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2407

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 11282
Total fiction words for the year………… 445428
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 157773
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 603201

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 677 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, 10/5

Hey Folks,

Well, another long post today. Sorry about that. (grin)

It turns out I wrote quite a bit yesterday, considering. I revised the total yesterday before the Journal posted, and today’s numbers are current.  I don’t remember the last time I had such a great day as yesterday. It’s like someone turned on a light.

One thing I realized was that my current WIP isn’t “just” a PI-noir novel but a PI-noir suspense novel. That’s what it was wanting to be, and that’s where I took the wrong turn.

Topic: Writing Environment

The post by Nate Hoffelder in “Of Interest” yesterday keyed this post. It started me thinking (again) about my own writing environment.

As most of you know, I like the idea of a dedicated writing computer without Internet, games, etc. Why? Because when you sit down at a computer that’s dedicated to your fiction, it keys your subconscious that it’s time to play.

But when writing fiction I also enjoy the ease of hopping online for a moment to check a reference, etc. And I am able to do that without being drawn to check emails, Facebook etc.

For the better part of two years I did that in a structure I call The Adobe Hovel. It’s basically a stacked-mud storage-room structure about 150 feet from my house.

I put a LOT of short stories and novels through my dedicated writing computer out in that Hovel.
Unfortunately, the distance combined with the 3-foot thick walls, put the Hovel JUST outside the range of my WiFi.

So to “jump online” I had to use my phone’s hotspot, and that takes time, another distraction. It also involves data, and that gets expensive. Then a family of scorpions moved into the Hovel and I moved back to my home office.

I also have an outside desk, a plastic-coated wire-frame desk just outside my office window, where I write quite a bit. Of course, it’s within range of WiFi, so it’s all good.

But awhile back, I decided to try to do everything on one computer. My “new” Lenovo. I chose that one mostly because the battery lasts close to 5 hours vs. a little over an hour on my old HP computer.

But I’ve struggled with writing on the new computer. The keyboard has a slightly different feel, the screen is a different configuration, and so on. Just little things, but things that almost continually interrupt my writing.

And recently I’ve realized I’m more prone to spending longer online (email, FB, etc.) or playing a game on the new computer than I was on my dedicated writing computer.

So yesterday I switched back to my dedicated writing computer. And I had the best day I’ve had in a long time.

No doubt part of that was because I took the time to cycle back through the WIP and let the characters tell me where I took a wrong turn. But part of it was because I felt like I was Home again.

I also ran the power cord through the window so I won’t have to worry about the battery. (grin) And once again I can say writing fiction is the most fun a guy can have with his clothes on.
***

I rolled out late this morning after watching the wildcard baseball game last night. Great game.

I was chomping at the bit to get back to the story. I looked it over again. Turns out I cut a little over 2000 words, so a little more than the new number of words I wrote yesterday.

Anyway, I read the revised version to my wife. She didn’t miss any of the stuff I cut during my cycling session yesterday. Some of what I cut probably will make it back into the novel later.

I wrote around 400 new words this morning, then stopped to take a look at a manuscript a guy sent me for which he wants me to provide a copyedit.

Then for some reason my writing ‘puter went glitchy, so I dealt with that for awhile. Finally I restarted it and everything’s fine again, but that ate up a couple of hours.

I was headed back to the novel a little before 11 when I received notes on the previous one from my first reader, Kenneth Flowers. I can’t say enough about how good this guy is at being a pure first reader. If you need one, email Kenneth at krf1952@gmail.com.

NOW back to the novel. (grin) It’s a little after 12.

Well, I’m a little disappointed. It’s not being the big day I was expecting, but good enough I guess. I was so impressed with the technique I realized yesterday that I practiced a lot of the same thing today. (grin)

I let the writing rip for awhile (subconscious), then went back and checked (conscious) to be sure I was applying what I learned recently. Then I allowed myself to touch it on the way through (subconscious again). It’s coming along.

This will definitely be a learning novel, and I think it will be a plateau novel. It will take me to another level. And I’m not bragging here. As with any art form, there’s a natural progression.

A musician learns how to make that particular note, a painter how to create the exact shade, and a writer how to add just enough description (always through the POV character’s senses) without drowning in it.

From what I’ve heard, the first million words of writing novels gets you to the point you’re more or less a “novelist.” After that, if you continue to learn and apply what you learn, from time to time you attain a new level as certain epiphanies occur.

By my count, this will be my fourth transition.

I read a lot, and I judge my own work against that of some of the authors I whose work I read. There are a few who put out a quality I still feel like I’ll never approach.

But at the moment I’m closing in on the quality of craft of one of my favorite authors (James Lee Burke). I’ve surpassed a couple of best-selling authors. I won’t mention those names publicly. If only I were a master at marketing. (grin)

In the meantime, I’ll keep hacking along at whatever speed I can manage.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “Text-only news sites are slowly…” at https://www.poynter.org/news/text-only-news-sites-are-slowly-making-comeback-heres-why. This is VERY good news.

And it might be time to get on Instagram. Again via The Passive Voice, see “The Instagram Poet Outselling Homer Ten to One” at https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/profile-rupi-kaur-author-of-milk-and-honey.html.

Fiction Words: 1193
Nonfiction Words: 1110 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2303

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 9875
Total fiction words for the year………… 444021
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 156773
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 600794

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 676 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 10/4

Hey Folks,

Well, this is a long post.

Awhile back, Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader mentioned that soon Google will begin prioritizing sites (in search results) that are secure (https vs. http). As a result, I was going to spend part of the day today converting my main website over to https.

But the more I read, the more I suspect SSL is primarily a necessity for monetized sites, which mine is not. Everything on the site itself is free, and anything that can be ordered goes through a secure site elsewhere: Amazon, B&N, PayPal, etc.

The cost involved in installing SSL myself isn’t all that great, but it’s a seemingly involved process that would take a professional web designer two to three hours. So it would probably take me three to four hours.

Then there’s the fact that my site still hasn’t migrated from my web host (ehost) to the new host (JustHost), to which ehost sold out. Therefore an SSL certificate is not currently available to me, so I can put off this process for awhile.

So the reason I wrote all of that: Does anyone out there have knowledge of SSL and converting a site from http to https? If so, please email me.

Topic: Print (Paper) Books (a word to the wise)

If it’s important to you to put your books out in paper, you have to do so via POD (print on demand) unless you are extremely well-heeled and can afford to send an order (10,000 books or so) to an offset printer.

My choice for POD is CreateSpace. Always has been, always will be. Yes, it’s an Amazon company. I don’t care.

I pay a designer, Kat MaGee at https://daringcreativedesigns.com/ to turn my covers into paper covers and to design the interior layout of my paper books. It costs me $100 per book. It’s an investment, and it’s my only cost. CreateSpace costs nothing. In fact, Kat even uploads them to my CS account for me.

Awhile back, a friend told me he’d heard a speaker say “in public” that books published through CreateSpace are not available at Barnes & Noble and other brick and mortar stores. My poor BS Detector almost exploded.

That is a bald-faced lie. So if you hear that, disregard it.

To make your CreateSpace books available for order by brick and mortar stores, you have only to select Expanded Distribution on CreateSpace. You should also set the price so that you earn at least a $2.00 royalty. (Yeah, that’s a measly two dollars. Not a typo.)

The price will seem high to you, but that’s because you devalue your own work and you’re comparing trade paperbacks (your books) to mass produced mass-market paperbacks.

You can set your price too low, then order a trunkload and sell them yourself, but then you aren’t concerned about whether they’re in B&N anyway. So why not set the price to get Extended Distribution and then sell the ones in your trunk at a “substantial discount” (or not)?

Anyway, that speaker also recommended a printer called Ingram-Spark. That tells me she has an iron in the fire. A dog in the hunt. Maybe stock options. Hey, she might even own the place.

At any rate, Ingram-Spark is NOT affiliated with Ingram, the distributor, and shame on them for leaching off the Ingram name. I have a feeling it’s just another scam aimed at writers.

Now, Ingram (the distributor) DOES have a printer in its family. The name of that printer is Lightning Source.

Lightning Source does pretty much the same thing CreateSpace does, but they charge a fee. CreateSpace does not. (CS does have paid services of which you can avail yourself, but there’s no reason to.)

So if you want to publish your books to paper, I strongly recommend using CreateSpace. If you want to pay money to have your books published to paper, use Lightning Source.

CreateSpace puts out an excellent product. In my case, I publish to paper only so shoppers at Amazon, B&N, etc. can see and compare the print price with the ebook price. In other words, I use print books to drive ebook sales.

This sort of thing really annoys me. When someone sets herself up as an authority figure and then delivers intentionally misleading information, it makes me wanna chew wheels and spit nails.

If I ever attend an event where she says that in public, you can bet I will call her on it. Also in public.

A Brief Factoid

To earn only $1,000,000 (ONE million dollars) in a single year, you would have to work 365 days, 16 hours per day (that 5840 hours). And you would have to earn $171.23 per hour.

Think about that the next time you hear a professional baseball player gripe about the “long season” or the next time you see an NFL or NBA player disrespect the very nation that enables them to be so rich.

(And we can’t really cite “Freedom of Speech” because they aren’t allowed to speak their mind on myriad other topics.)
***

Re my WIP, I don’t have the patience I used to have. My strongest urge is to simply drop it and move on to something else.

But I really like the main character.

So this morning I’m going to review some notes, then read over the WIP from the beginning and try to discern where it took a wrong turn into a dead end.

My main problem is that I’m not trusting the process. Been there before. I’m allowing things I’ve learned recently (conscious mind) to leach into the writing so that I’m watching for those things (again, conscious mind) and allowing the story to grind to a halt as I add them.

So there y’go. Again I find myself wanting to get back to the basics of writing. Writing a story like this is so much fun that grinding to a halt is really annoying.

So that will be today. It’s currently 6:15 a.m. We’ll see how the day turns out.
***

Well, by 10 (while doing several other things) I went back through some of the videos of a recent workshop and even added to my notes, then went over the more pertinent notes.

I also wrote a topic for tomorrow (I’ll count those words tomorrow) and mentioned I’m going to switch back over to my dedicated writing computer and why.

I made the switch today, then had to wait for Dropbox to sync about a b’jillion files. Now it’s almost 1 p.m. and I’m just about to begin reading over my WIP to see where it slipped off the deep end.

Oh wow. I found the problem. Major, major critical mind stuff. So I’m cutting a lot. And I don’t really care. I’m just glad I was able to save this WIP and especially this character. (grin)

I’m also writing a little, but I doubt the new stuff will add up to more than a few hundred words. It’ll take a couple more hours to finish going over this, and that’s about all the time I have left in the day.

Okay, so officially I’m calling today a nonwriting day. I’ll include any new writing with tomorrow’s count.

UPDATE: I wrote a lot more than I thought I would, considering. I’ve amended the totals below. (grin)

See you then.

Of Interest

To stir thought, see “What’s the Best Way…?” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/03/whats-best-way-create-distraction-free-writing-environment/.

See “Found: A Lost Dictionary of Slang…” at http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/anthony-burgess-slang-dictionary. I started a dictionary myself years ago and have added to it ever since, one akin to Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary.

From Space.com, see “Best Space Books and Sci-Fi” at https://www.space.com/28973-best-space-books.html. They have five separate lists, including one of the best SF. I’m not on it. Oh darn. (grin) But the four nonfiction lists look pretty good. I added four new links to my website that begin with “Books” under Writers’ Resources.

Two of Dean’s posts made the cut today. See “Novel Structure Workshop Announced” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/novel-structure-workshop-announced/ and “One Time Science Fiction Cover Branding Workshop” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/one-time-science-fiction-cover-branding-workshop/.

Fiction Words: 1840
Nonfiction Words: 1320 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1320

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 8682
Total fiction words for the year………… 442828
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2980
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 155663
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 598491

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 675 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Tuesday, 10/3

Hey Folks,

Rolled out on time this morning and went through my usual routine, albeit in 47 degree weather. It wouldn’t be bad, but there was a light breeze. Brrr.

For my first sojourn outside this morning I was in sweatpants, a long-sleeved thermal shirt, and a thick, hooded zip-up sweat shirt. (grin) It wasn’t pretty, but it was dark, so….

And to think when I was living in Indiana I was running around outside without even a t-shirt on in 30 degree weather. Of course, I was wearing pants ’cause the cops get picky over stuff like that.

After making my rounds of the Internet, I read what I’ve written on the WIP thus far to my wife. She liked it, but then, that’s part of her job. (grin)

I wrote for awhile, then broke away and wrote a blog post for the big blog. It will go live Friday. It’s part of the expansion of the main site from a Writers’ Resource to a Writer’s Resource AND a Writer’s Website.

Back to the novel at around 10:30.

Well, I hit a glitch. I won’t talk about it here because I don’t think doing so would help anyone else, but I’m temporarily stalled in the novel.

Way too early in the story for nonsense like this. I’m not worried about it, not to the point of fretting or anything. I have nine novels on the year, and I don’t doubt that before the end of October I’ll have 10 or 11.

But for the rest of today, I need to just forget about it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “Working On Pricing Post” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/working-on-pricing-post/.

Fiction Words: 1370
Nonfiction Words: 890 (280 Journal, 610 main blog)
So total words for the day: 2260

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 6842
Total fiction words for the year………… 440988
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1660
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 154343
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 5953311

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 674 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