The Journal, Monday, 9/11

Hey Folks,

Well, have you guys heard me whine enough?

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

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

***

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

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

***

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

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

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

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

The Journal, Sunday, 9/10

Hey Folks,

Rolled out late again this morning. That’s all right.

Had an urge to write something different, so I started another story. Then I got stuck. Then I sat back and thought about that. It’s been happening a lot over the past couple of months. Then I realized what’s going on and wrote the topic below.

TOPIC: Introspection

Recently, privately, a friend applauded me for sharing the down sides as well as the up. Possibly he didn’t realize he was only encouraging me. (grin)

I find myself in a ridiculous predicament, though “predicament” is too strong a word. Besides, it’s so ironic I have to laugh.

After 182 short stories, 26 novels and 4 novellas, I’m stuck. I can’t say I’m blocked. I don’t believe in writer’s block as others have desribed it to me: a general inability to come up with anything to write about.

Um, if nothing else, write about the writer’s block. Soon your brain will grow tired of you wasting its time and move on to something more interesting. It worked for me back when I still believed writer’s block was possible.

So I’m not blocked, but I am stuck.

Now it seems to me when a professional encounters a problem, he simply takes a deep breath and works through the problem to a solution. He keeps working the problem. Diagnose, attempt and repeat.

In Writer World, that simply means Practice.
I’ve diagnosed why I’m stuck.

I write an opening, concentrating on grounding the reader. Then I seem unable to Just Move On.

Why? Because I’m concentrating.

Allowing my conscious mind in to make sure I’ve pulled the reader deep into the story at the opening.

How do I get past it?

Practice.

In coming days (as long as it takes) I’ll practice writing openings and moving past them to finish stories. I’ll resist the urge to cycle back until I’ve written at least a thousand words.

And when I do cycle back, I’ll just read what’s there, allow myself to briefly touch it, then move on. That’s the practice part.

I won’t stick on it.

I won’t become encumbered (and allow the story to become encumbered) with details.

I already know how to ground the reader, and my subconscious has it. I’ve forgotten how to move on because I’m not trusting my subconscious. So that’s what I’ll be practicing. Trusting. Moving on.

If I can do that, my novel goals for the calendar year are still well within reach.

***

Today is an excellent day. It is a lazy day. We made a necessary shopping trip.

I walked our quarter-mile lane, clippers in hand, to cut back the encroaching mesquites. I watered our large cactus-and-succulent garden (attempting to tempt some rain to fall).

I read. I did some online stuff. I took a few pictures. I rooted for the gathering cumulus clouds.

I even wrote the earliest beginning of a story (about 100 words), which led to a bit of Deep Thought and the topic above. But the only real writing I did today was on this Journal.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Nothing really of note that I saw around the web today. I didn’t receive a newsletter from The Digital Reader (supposed to come every day) or Science Alert (ditto).

I did receive The Passive Voice and it was fair, but nothing specifically that I thought I should point out.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 580 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 580

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 16444
Total fiction words for the year………… 396064
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5750
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 142150
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 538214

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 652 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8 Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Saturday, 9/9

Hey Folks,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

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

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

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

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

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

The Journal, Friday, 9/8

Hey Folks,

Especially if you’re a writer of science fiction or science fantasy, check out Science Alert at http://www.sciencealert.com/.

Bear in mind, though, it’s a good idea for writers to absorb knowledge on all sorts of topics, not only those that are genre specific.

I saw articles and photos on Science Alert today that would easily lend themselves to ideas (and stories) in Mystery, Psychological Suspense, Noir, Romance and other genres. So pretty much everything.

***

I rolled out late, then spent part of the morning updating my website and redesigning the sidebars.

If you go looking for stuff on the site, here’s what I did:

On the left sidebar

▪ The Donate button
▪ The revised Writers’ Resources

On the right sidebar

▪ Links (icons) to connect with me
▪ The revised Quick Links
▪ The revised Readers’ Resources
▪ The revised Bundles I’m currently in
▪ Recent Posts
▪ Archives

I also created a footer widget and put the tag cloud down there.

After that I remembered I hadn’t added “The Tarp” to my Short Fiction page yet, so I did that. ***

Finally to the novel at 11.

Well, I got my 1000 words easily enough. Then I dealt with stuff around the house and online.

A few things came up that annoyed and distracted me, so I didn’t write much more than that.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Just for something to put in this section, see “I put the duster away” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/09/i-put-the-duster-away/. Kind of appropriate for how I felt late this afternoon.

Fiction Words: 1302
Nonfiction Words: 260 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1562

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 16444
Total fiction words for the year………… 396064
Total nonfiction words for the month… 48000
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 141200
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 537264

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 650 days
Days of writing at least 1000 WPD…………………………… 3
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8 Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, 9/7

Hey Folks,

Rolled out a little early at 2:20. My recliner came in yesterday. And it’s So Big my feet dangle when I’m sitting in it. Makes me feel like I’m five again. The seat is too deep too, front to back. (We ordered it online.)

And honestly, in hindsight I also wish both my wife and I could sit on it at the same time. That’s how sappy I am.

(This thing would fit my friend Robert Sadler just about perfectly. But, you know, he’s in Dallas holding down the southeastern front.)

So this morning I told my wife I’m going to take it back. While I’m at the store (tomorrow morning), after they credit my account, I’ll look around. Best case scenario: I’ll see one I like, I’ll give them my money again, load up the new one and bring it back.

So covering the recliner with protective quilts (we have kittens), making the appropriate phone calls and all that stuff took up a lot of the morning. Then I wrote a lot of the stuff on this edition of the Journal. Then I went to the novel.

Onward.

I started writing at around 10:30. Added around 1200 words and took a break.

Around noon-thirty I went back to the novel again. I’m at a bit of a sticking point, but I think I’ve figured it out. I think this will be the first novel I’ve written that’s broken down into Parts. I’ve pretty well finished Part 1: The Murder. (grin) Each part, I think, will be like starting a new story.

Got quite a bit done. I’m happy with it.

Topic: On Priorities, Goals, et Cetera Ad Nauseam

You guys are probably tired to the bone of hearing me talk about word counts and goals and all that. Just one more (for now) and I’ll shut up.

Most of this year has been a transition period for me. Some, frankly, is a result of aging and getting used to all that aging entails for me personally, with my experiences, health, etc.

But most of my transitions have had to do with my writing.

The number of transitions might seem unusual, given that I’ve only been really writing, by which I mean devoting myself to writing, for 3 years.

But if you consider the number of long and short Quality stories (quality was and remains paramount) that I’ve written and published during that 3 years, maybe all the transitions make a little more sense. Basically I just speeded up the process.

Even when I was writing “fast,” I strived always to write the best story I was able to write. Not the best story I could write “at speed,” but the best story I could write, period. Without that provision, nothing else matters, and that remains key.

In my own fiction, the more evident growth during the past three years was in the quality of Setting Description (through the POV character’s senses and opinions, not mine) and in the quality Pacing, a key element in engaging the reader.

My stories have always had strong characters and dialogue and good plots. Though I always cringe a bit when I talk about “plot” since I agree with Bradbury that the plot is only what the characters leave behind as they run through the story.

In the past, my transitions came as the result of external forces. They were reactions to what was going on around me.

Now I’m being proactive. I’m forcing a new transition period by setting new priorities.

I recently decided to back off a bit and reset my goal to 7,000 words per week. But I didn’t do that so I could write better stories. I did it so I could spend less time in the chair when necessary without feeling guilty. And I did it so I would be more likely to get back to writing every day. (Hence, “be a writer.”)

I might still turn out 3,000 or 4,000 words per day on some days. But I no longer feel that I “have” to.

What it all means is this: Instead of turning out a 60,000 word novel in +/-20 writing days, it might take as long as +/-60 days.

Will the quality of the works change?

A little, probably, as I learn and apply new techniques, but not significantly.

One major difference is that I’ll have more time to read and study works that I really enjoy by writers I want to emulate. That’s huge.

I’ll also have more time to read nonfiction “how to” books by people like Lawrence Block and James Scott Bell. (I’m not a fan of Bell’s fiction, but I’ve learned a ton just reading a few of his blog posts.)

And I’ll have more time to spend with my wife, visit with children and grandchildren and great-granchildren and friends (camping? shredding philosophy and strewing it across the wilderness?) without feeling torn.

Finally, nothing I do or propose here is submitted as a cure-all for anyone else. This is just what I’m doing, as I’m doing it, submitted for your leisurely perusal and adoption if the fit feels right to you. (grin)

***

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At long last, via The Passive Voice, “Amazon targets authors and marketers for alleged abuse of Kindle Direct Publishing system” at https://www.geekwire.com/2017/amazon-targets-authors-marketers-alleged-abuse-kindle-direct-publishing-system/.

Also via The Passive Voice, see “What to Post on Each Social Media Platform” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/09/what-to-post-on-each-social-media-platform-the-complete-guide-to-optimizing-your-social-content/. He links to the original post. I posted it this way so you could read what he says about Buffer.

Fiction Words: 2460
Nonfiction Words: 920 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3380

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061

Total fiction words for the month……… 15142
Total fiction words for the year………… 394762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4540
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 140940
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 535702

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 649 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, Wednesday, 9/6

Hey Folks,

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

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

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

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

What I saw:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

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

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

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

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

The Journal, Tuesday, 9/5

Hey Folks,

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

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

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

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

Topic: New Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that is not good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

 

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

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

***

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

Another Time Another Place

Back to my twisted WIP for awhile.

Pretty good day today. I’ll take it.

See you then.

Of Interest

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

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

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

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

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

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

The Journal, Monday, 9/4

Hey Folks,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today and Writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you then.

Of Interest

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

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

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

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

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

The Journal, Sunday, 9/3

Hey Folks,

I read the story I just finished to my wife yesterday, but she didn’t quite get the ending. I said, “Would it help if I had mentioned perfume” in a particular place in the story? She said it would. That was the one clue that was missing.

This was an interesting story for me. It appears to be very convoluted, but really there are only two major scenes.

And you can tell I’ve been reading a lot of Hemingway recently. This story is very detailed and very strange. (grin)

So I added the bit about perfume this morning. Actually, 18 words in three sentences, and I think it’s finished. And just in time. Today is Sunday.

The alternative was to write a brief prologue to show the crime that’s revealed at the end of the story, but I think it would give away too much. Very fine line to walk.

Still, just to be sure it works I bundled it off to my first reader, Kenneth, to see what he thinks of it. We’ll see what he says.

Today and Writing

I rolled out on time this morning at 3. But I didn’t feel like doing a lot, so I made my way slowly through my rounds on the Internet.

Then, an hour or so into the day, I added a few sentences (and fragments) to “Salvatore” (working title), ran a spell check and sent it off to my first reader.

Now I’m back to doing nothing for a little while.

I didn’t really feel well through the morning. My wife and I walked a 3.6 mile circuit. Then I got a shower and wrote a little, but I didn’t really feel into it. So back to doing nothing.

Around 11 I was thinking of calling this a non-writing day and starting fresh tomorrow.

Around noon a line popped into my head. I happened to be close to my computer at the moment, so I opened a Word doc and wrote an opening scene. Very pastoral in an upper middle-class neighborhood.

Around 12:40 something traumatic happened (in the story). So I wrote a cliffhanger and put Chapter 2 below it. Then I went to make myself some lunch. There might be nothing better in the world than tangy macaroni salad and cottage cheese on the same plate.

So the nonwriting day will end up as a writing day after all, though I can’t be sure how much writing.

But the opening is there and the cliffhanger is there and a second character, who is also affected by the trauma, is there. And the story wants to run, so I only have to write the next sentence. Then write the next sentence.

Oh, I heard back from the first reader, and I am stoked. He wrote, “Good story. The characters are believable and it flows well. It is also demanding of the reader’s attention (maybe not the best descriptor, but it is too aggressive to be called merely compelling). Not something that will allow one (me?) to read only part and put aside to finish later. I enjoyed the mystery of it.”

Yeah. And this is a guy who wouldn’t lie to save himself. I like it. By the way, the title of that one now is “The Tarp.”

So a little after 1, lunch is over and back to the story.

Calling it a day a little early. I haven’t felt good all day. My new WIP is a very interesting thing, very deep psychologically (I love that stuff), and it’s flowing.

I read the first two chapters aloud to my wife and touched it here and there as I read.

Tomorrow morning I’ll begin by reading back over everything up to this point and then writing more. I’m not worried about the light day because, as I said, this one’s really flowing.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Especially if you aren’t in BundleRabbit yet, or if you enjoy DWS’ fiction, see “Bundles in BundleRabbit.com” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/bundles-in-bundlerabbit-com/. And remember, I have a couple of works in the Guns of the West bundle right along with him. (grin)

Fiction Words: 1781
Nonfiction Words: 660 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2441

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781

Total fiction words for the month……… 8862
Total fiction words for the year………… 388482
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1480
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 137880
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 526362

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 645 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, 9/2

Hey Folks,

Well, the story I started yesterday will definitely be a short story, though longer than my usual short story. My short stories are usually around 3,000 words. This one will come in probably at around 5,000 or 6,000.

It might also expand into a novel, but right now it’s about one event. So a short story.

***

Finally checked Dean’s site (it’s not quite noon here) and I am stymied. See “Short Story Finished” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/short-story-finished/. Uncanny. Some of the parallels between his writing world and mine are just eerie at the moment.

He wrote “only 25,000 words of fiction” in August due to life intervening. I wrote not quite 17,000.

He decided to make September 1 “a new start.” I did the same thing. He doesn’t track his numbers like I do, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn he wrote 3212 words of fiction on his story to finish it.

Of course, he had a banner month in July. I haven’t had a 100,000-word month this year. But I probably will if I make my goals for the rest of the year.

Today and Writing

I planned to get up at 2 or 3 this morning. I figure on weekends I want to get up a little earlier than I have been recently so I can get some writing done before the world comes to life.

I rolled out at 3:30. There wasn’t a lot of email or FB stuff, so I still got some writing done on the story early.

When I realized “Salvatore” was going to be a short story I moved a couple things around in it. My rust is really showing. I cycled back through the whole thing, moved a few things around and added a lot that I missed in the initial writing.

Took a break for a shopping trip to pick up a lot of odds and ends that don’t make it onto the weekly list.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Just the thing about Dean above.

Fiction Words: 3869
Nonfiction Words: 340 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4209

Writing of “Salvatore” (working title, short story)

Day 1…… 3212 words. Total words to date…… 3212
Day 2…… 3869 words. Total words to date…… 7081 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 7081
Total fiction words for the year………… 386701
Total nonfiction words for the month… 820
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 137220
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 523921

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 644 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