The Journal, Wednesday, November 15

Hey Folks,

I started the day (and this Journal) with a brief write-up about an interview with Andy Weir, best-selling author of The Martian and now Artemis.

Some of his responses in the interview put me in mind of the film Idiocracy. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend it. More of the world that’s conveyed in it becomes real every day.

But the write-up sounded curmudgeonly even to me, so I replaced it with this. Frankly, I thought the guy sounded like a moron, and I decided I probably don’t want to risk buying his books.

But you can decide for yourself. You can read his interview at https://www.space.com/38725-artemis-andy-weir-author-interview.html.
***

Well, it’s already a wonderful day. I took care of a few things in Sierra Vista, and then returned to Saint David to check my mail. There was a complete collection of back issues of the old Pulphouse Magazine (c. 1991 – 1995) waiting for me. I am in Hebben.
***

I still haven’t hit on anything for a new challenge yet.

Dean’s current “little” challenge is to write a short story every day for what remained (at the time) of November. He started on November 11, so that would be 20 stories in 20 days.

I’ve decided to jump into that just for the heck of it. I’ll write a short story every day for the rest of November. Should be a piece of cake. After all, I don’t have near as much going on as Dean does. So 15 stories in 15 days. If I’m having fun at the end of that time, I’ll just keep going with it.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Not a lot out there on the Web today. If you’re interested in Dean’s progress on his story-a-day goal, you might stop by and check his second close call in as many days.

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

Writing of ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 2238
Total fiction words for the year………… 451680
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6420
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 174483
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 626163

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 717 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, 9/30

Hey Folks,

Rolled out slightly after 3 this morning and went straight to email and then Facebook.

As a result of one article in one of the several e-newsletters I receive each morning, I found a topic.

My reading and then writing the topic below formed the start for the day.

We have a trip planned to Sierra Vista a little later this morning. Between now and then, I hope to write a bit of fiction.

Topic: Try And vs. Try To

First, a disclaimer — When people are speaking in real life (or characters in dialogue in a fiction) and they use the “try and” structure as a colloquialism, it doesn’t bother me.

In fact, I usually don’t even notice. If I do notice, I assume the structure is necessary to that person’s (or character’s) manner of speech.

In a real life conversation, the usage is unintentional.

In fiction, the usage is usually intentional as it speaks subliminally to the character’s level of education and/or ignorance.

But when the structure appears in a nonfiction article or book, it slaps me right out of the topic. Most of the time I stop reading.

That happened this morning.

I was reading “Astronauts Are Roasting B.o.B’s Flat Earth Satellite And It’s Amazing” by Jacinta Bowler. Here’s the offensive passage:

“[B.o.B] … is currently crowdfunding to TRY AND get a satellite out to space….” (emphasis added)

How much credibility does the author really have if she doesn’t know the difference?

The article didn’t allow comments. If it had, I would have left one.

My comment might have been a snarky “Try and? Really?”

Or perhaps the more specific and illustrative “Your ‘try and’ grabbed me and tossed me right out of your article. I hope you’ll ‘try to’ do better next time.”

I like to think I’d have left the second comment instead of the first. Maybe it would help this hapless writer.

Am I being nitpicky? Not really. It wasn’t like I was looking for a fight. Shrug. I just wanted to read the article.

The author’s use of the phrase was her choice. It was a result of her ignorance, not my reading. It affected me so strongly I was unable to continue reading the article.

Fortunately, there was an article on the same topic by a different author in a different newsletter. I read it all the way through and never noticed what sort of grammar or syntax the author was using.

There’s a lesson here for fiction writers.

Readers don’t read critically. They don’t read for words or phrases or sentence structure. They read for Story. They read to be entertained.

We all have our little writing quirks. When you’re fortunate enough to have one pointed out, consider it and learn from it.

If readers are often suddenly shoved out of your story by boredom or an awkward construction, it’s your fault, not theirs.

Again, readers only want to read and be entertained.

Whether they read YOUR work is important only to you. So the question you have to answer is this: How important is it?
***

I didn’t get enough done to cause a ripple in a pond before we left. We were gone longer than we expected, and when I got back, I worked on my website. Basically, I changed the home page. Check it out at HarveyStanbrough.com.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Mars Colonization in Five Years? See https://www.livescience.com/60560-elon-musk-spacex-fly-people-to-mars-2024.html.

Here’s one on Musk’s vision for both the moon and Mars: https://www.space.com/38310-elon-musk-moon-base-mars-city-images.html.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 590 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 590

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… 16283
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 152683
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 586829

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 671 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