The Journal, Tuesday, February 13

Hey Folks,

Not sure what’s going on in my head currently. I have to slow down, I know that much. Probably today I’ll try to finish getting StoneThread Publishing up to par, and then do the necessary things to publish my previous novel.

I gave up on the notion of reading it to my wife. We’re both too tired in the evenings for that sort of thing.

When I do return to writing, well, I’m kind of losing interest in my WIP, The Age Exchange. Not really, but sort of.

The thing is, I’m itching to write a true thriller. I love writing action and convoluted story lines, and thrillers are mostly non-stop action and convoluted story lines.

So that itch has morphed into a possible desire to make The Age Exchange an SF thriller, which would be really cool. But to do that, I have to let the basic premise boil around in my head for at least a few more days.

In the interim, if another thriller crops up, I might set aside the WIP and come back to it after I write what would then be the new WIP.

I have two ideas for thriller series at the moment (plus the one-off that would be The Age Exchange).

One began with “what would I do if I could do it over” thought re my own life, and the other has to do with the sequels I mentioned yesterday.

Not sure which of those (or perhaps something else entirely) I’ll write when I start again, but I do know for now it’s important to slow down, do things that are necessary. Those include gtting StoneThread Publishing done, then designing a cover, formatting and publishing Keeper of the Promise.

I plan to keep publishing this Journal every day too even through this brief non(fiction)-writing period, so we’ll see.

Well, as of noon-thirty all I’ve done is read through Keeper of the Promise. About a third of the way through, converting the necessary text to italics, etc. After I finish that (probably tomorrow) I’ll move on to StoneThread Publishing and put that behind me.

Okay, so I’m gonna go ahead and post this and get on with it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The Latest Trends In Cover Design: Think Pink?” at https://killzoneblog.com/2018/02/the-latest-trends-in-cover-design-think-pink.html. Remember, these are suggestions, not ironclad rules. (grin)

Linda Maye Adams touched on something that’s been bugging my obstinate self for awhile in “Apologizing for What’s in Our Stories?” at https://lindamayeadams.com/2018/02/12/apologizing-for-whats-in-our-stories/.

For some great humor, see “I Am the Very Model of a New York Times Contrarian” at http://amp.slate.com/culture/2018/02/i-am-the-very-model-of-a-new-york-times-contrarian.html. I was amazed to find this on Slate.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan (I’m not) you might enjoy “Infographic: Getting from A to B like Harry Potter” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/02/12/infographic-getting-b-like-harry-potter/.

To see the value of a regular schedule, see “Still Having Sleep Issues” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/still-having-sleep-issues/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 480 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 480

Writing of The Age Exchange (novel, working title)

Brought forward…… 6985
Day 1…… 1285 words. Total words to date…… 8270
Day 2…… 1120 words. Total words to date…… 9390
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 2405
Total fiction words for the year………… 40561
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3720
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 11740
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 52301

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 1
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 28
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, February 8

Hey Folks,

Good stuff in “Of Interest” again today.

Well, mostly a day off today. Mona will be at work this morning. While she’s doing that I’ll be working on a copyedit of her recent memoir. That will probably take up the morning and part of tomorrow.

Otherwise, I’ll spend an hour or two reading today.

Then this afternoon we’re going to Sierra Vista for a combination of shopping and just getting away for a few hours.

Of Interest

See “Eight Ways to Tell if Your Author Site Has Been Hacked” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/02/07/eight-ways-tell-author-site-hacked/.

There’s a cute video re Dean’s new Kickstarter campaign. See “We Have Liftoff… North by Northwest Kickstarter” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/we-have-liftoff-north-by-northwest-kickstarter/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 120 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 120

Writing of The Age Exchange (novel, working title)

Brought forward…… 6985
Day 1…… 1285 words. Total words to date…… 8270
Day 2…… 1120 words. Total words to date…… 9390
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 2405
Total fiction words for the year………… 40561
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1950
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 9970
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 50531

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 1
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 28
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Friday, January 26

Hey Folks,

Wow. It’s been an eventful week, and it isn’t over yet. Mona and I both caught the creeping crud hyper-flu that’s apparently going around in various parts of the US. I am a writer, so my first thought was Conspiracy.

But I was too weak to even think about writing (or holding my head up) and besides, The Stand was already written.

Got another copyediting job in late last week or early this week. (Thanks for the referral, Robert!)

I’m publishing this today only to let you know things finally SEEM to be clearing around the Stanbrough camp, and I hope to be back in full force (no idea what that means, but I’ve always liked the sound of it) by Monday.

Well, and to pass along a few interesting items. See you again on Monday, I hope.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “Tip of the Week” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/tip-of-the-week/.

Via The Passive Guy, see “New Author Earnings Report” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2018/01/new-author-earnings-report-2/. I recommend you don’t just skip to Dean’s place to read the OP, but see PG’s take on the whole thing.

And see “Walmart Now Kobo’s Retail Partner…” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/01/25/walmart-now-kobos-retail-partner-us-will-sell-kobo-ereaders-store/. Very exciting.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 200 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 200

Writing of (working title)

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 38156
Total fiction words for the year………… 38156
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7280
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 7280
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 45436

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 1
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 28
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, January 3

Hey Folks,

I’m constantly amazed at the variations among writer experiences.

In that regard, there are several informative comments on Dean’s post from yesterday. You can see those at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-few-words-about-starting/#comments. I was gratified to see that a couple of commenters on Dean’s post took away some of the same things I got out of it. Amazing. We aren’t quite as insulated and alone as we sometimes believe we are.

I also get an occasional blog post from a young writer named J.R. Murdock. You can see his latest at https://jrmurdock.com/2018/01/02/looking-back-moving-forward/.

Like some of the folks who commented on Dean’s post, J.R. experienced a major life event, the near loss of his job. J.M. Ney-Grimm, an experienced professional fantasy writer who commented on Dean’s post, lost her mother in October. Those are massive life rolls.

In the case of J.R., I exceeded his word count goal although I fell far short of my own annual goal. (I wrote 75% of the 12 novels I planned to write in 2017, but only 60% of my extended goal (15 novels). Yet I wrote only 41% of the overall annual word-count goal I hoped to reach.

Yet J.R. reached almost 74% of his own annual word count goal.

What does all of this mean? Only that goals, discipline, and life rolls are very personal things. I’ve always believed in comparing myself to others as a way of stretching myself. Dean has been the dangling carrot to my mule for years.

But the only truly valid comparison (the excused absence granted by life rolls aside) is comparing your own production with your own realistically set goals.

J.R. set a much lower goal than mine last year, and he missed it, though in my book at 74% he did pretty well. Especially considering that he has a stressful full-time job, still has children at home, and lives in Southern California, which perhaps holds the crown for the most attractive-nuisance distractions per capita. I applaud the guy, and I’m pulling for him.

I’m always surprised a little, in a good way, at the energy pouring out of the new starts we make at major junctions, like the recent beginning of the new year.

You saw that same thing recently from me (http://hestanbrough.com/the-journal-friday-december-29/), despite my cynicism regarding the way humans think about Time. I’d like to hear about your writing goals too, if you have time to add a comment below.

***

Despite rolling out at 3 a.m., I didn’t get started on the novel today until 9 a.m. That’s fine, in keeping with my new, more-relaxed attitude toward writing.

My daily word count goal drives me to the computer, but once I’m there I trust that I’ll get the words I need. So driven and relaxed. The best of both worlds.

In the first two sessions (still cycling) I added just over 1200 words in the Hovel. Up to the house for early lunch and to spend a little time with the baby (my cat).

I went back to play. I didn’t really think I’d hit the word count goal today, but I actually exceeded it. Man that feels good!

Back soon.

Of Interest

See John Gilstrap’s “Note to Copy Editor” at https://killzoneblog.com/2018/01/note-to-copy-editor.html.

Some of the other posts at The Kill Zone blog might be of interest and/or useful to you as well: https://killzoneblog.com/.

See Dean’s “I’m Back Writing As Well” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/im-back-writing-as-well/.

See “The Kindle for Nonfiction Already…” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/01/02/kindle-non-fiction-already-exists-might-not-recognize-not-book/. Excellent, insightful article.

Kevin Tumlinson, who is a major mover at Draft2Digital, is also a good thriller writer and a podcaster, among many other talents. Check out his site at http://kevintumlinson.com/. He also personally answers his own email.

Fiction Words: 3189
Nonfiction Words: 620 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3809

Writing of The Origin Novel (working title)

BF…………… 32658 words.
Day 1…… 2689 words. Total words to date…… 35347
Day 2…… 2636 words. Total words to date…… 37983
Day 3…… 3189 words. Total words to date…… 41172

Total fiction words for the month……… 8514
Total fiction words for the year………… 8514
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1910
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 1910
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 10424

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 0
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, December 27

Hey Folks,

On Christmas Eve I created a test site I can use to try out new things before making them live here or on HarveyStanbrough.com. I was able to use a cloning engine, so I basically just moved HarveyStanbrough.com over there. Took about an hour to create a whole website. The technology amazes me.

Anyway, while I was messing around on that test site, I noticed a few “drafts” of posts. I don’t use the Draft feature on WordPress, at least not intentionally, so I clicked one to have a look.

Turns out it was an early draft of a Journal entry I posted back on April 18 of this year.

In it, I talked about a short story I’d finished: “Beats All.” It worked as a short story, but it also wanted to keep going. So that’s one possibility for my next novel.

Another possibility is an extened version of an SF short story titled “Going Back.” Even as I finished that one it began haunting me. The idea of it grabbed me, and a year and a half later it’s never let go.

It might also be one of the very few purely original ideas I’ve ever had. I’ve never seen it written or filmed anywhere else. Not even close.

If I turn that one into a novel I won’t even need to read over it first. I’ll write an opening, then just keep writing until the story ends. The concept is just that strong.

So that’s kind’a what I’m doing as my current copyedit winds down. Mentally clearing the decks, getting ready for my return to the writing ‘puter. It feels like it’s been years. It’s definitely been too long.

Anyway, for now, back to the copyedit. Should finish in today.

***

Five days left on the Smashwords End of the Year sale. All of my books — nonfiction, novels, short fiction and collections — are on sale for 50% off. To take advantage of it, visit https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/HEStanbrough, make your selections, and enter promotion code SEY50. Enjoy!

Back soon.

Of Interest

From Robert A. Heinlein via The Passive Voice, see “A human being” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/12/a-human-being/. I love this quote.

From The Digital Reader, see “Tech Tools for Authors #2” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/12/26/tech-tools-authors-2/.

Dean’s doing it again. See “Want to Be Challenged Into the New Year?” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/want-to-be-challenged-into-the-new-year/. This is an extremely good offer for anyone who’s considering taking a couple of his online workshops. What could be better than buying two of his workshops and getting all the benefit of those, and as a bonus getting Dean Wesley Smith free as your first reader?

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

Writing of “”

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

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5390
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 180943
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 634705

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, December 21

Hey Folks,

From The Passive Guy:

Barbara Walters: “But what would you do if the doctor gave you only six months to live?”

Isaac Asimov: “Type faster.”

***

I started the day with a good walk, which was more wandering aimlessly about in the desert out back. Then back home for breakfast and to work on the copyedit.

Those of you who wrote regarding the villanelle that Stanley Grill will include in his composition, thank you. I appreciate the kind thoughts.

Here’s the poem, in case you want to see it:

Roses?

When pink and red entwine, their dreams to share,
and climb as one, combining strength and grace,
then will the scent of roses fill the air.

The pink, its petals soft, its scent a rare
and gentle one, will take its rightful place
when pink and red entwine, their dreams to share.

No longer will the wind easily pare
the strengthened petals from the coral face;
then will the scent of roses fill the air.

The red, upon a stem that’s long and fair,
will learn humility and grow in grace
when pink and red entwine, their dreams to share.

No longer will the pride outweigh the care
that ‘neath the sun, all have an equal place;
then will the scent of roses fill the air,

and each of them, with petals strong and fair,
will give and take with ease and grow in pace
when pink and red entwine, their dreams to share;
then will the scent of roses fill the air.
***

I’ve long held that whatever a poem “means” to the reader is correct. The poet’s original intention seldom matches the reader’s take. (I’ve long said when you write a poem and give it to a hundred people, you’ve written a hundred poems.)

If you read the column on WebExhibits.org from yesterday, you saw one reader’s take on the poem. It was a nice interpretation, and I wouldn’t begin to tell that person he or she was wrong. What it meant to him or her is as correct as what it means to anyone else.

But what that columnist took from the poem is not what led me to write it. My intent was to attempt to illustrate that by and large we all begin with equal value, no matter our race, gender, nationality, etc.

We don’t even have to set aside our differences; we have only to accept that others are a great deal more like us than they are different. And if we work together…. So there you go.

As I mentioned to a few of you, the composer said he would send me a track of the composition when it’s finished. I’ll share it here.

Back soon.

Of Interest

Go read the comments on “Five Shots at Your Own Sales” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/five-shots-at-your-own-sales/#comments.

Then follow up with “Talking About Sales Blurbs” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/talking-about-sales-blurbs/. You won’t be sorry.

See the Passive Guy’s take on The Digital Reader’s “Far Too Many People Are Still Using “Password” as a Password” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/12/far-too-many-people-are-still-using-password-as-a-password. PG mentions some very neat password and test tools.

And just for a laugh, read PG’s “Type” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/12/type/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 530 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 530

Writing of “”

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

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4460
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 180013
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 633775

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, November 14

Hey Folks,

Well, again today I’m not going to publish my upcoming challenge. Frankly, I’m not certain yet what form it will take.

For the new folks who’ve recently joined us here on the Journal, welcome. To bring you up to speed, I’ve been a very prolific writer (by most standards) but have experienced something of a slump off and on for the past few months.

This morning, like a jolt of electricity, I realized the reason for the slump. More on that in a bit.

The last story I finished was a novel titled Loose Ends. That was in September. I published it on October 12, after my first reader had a go at it. But I have to tell you, it seems as if it were a year ago.

At times like this, I look back at numbers. They don’t always show what I’d like to see, but they don’t lie. And my spreadsheet tells me I’ve had a far less-than-productive year.

My fiction production started out well with a 92,000-word January. That fell off to a still somewhat respectable 59,000 words in February and 56,000 in March.

It dropped to 39,000 in April, and enjoyed a slight resurgence to 45,000 in both May and June.

But from there it took a nosedive to 25,000 words in July (that’s also when my seeming slump started), then to 16,000 in August before surging back up to 54,000 in September. Much of that was the novel Loose Ends.

But in October my engine stalled again and my production dropped to 15,000 words of fiction. Thus far in November, I’ve written hardly any fiction.

Somehow, in the midst all of that, I managed to eke out 7 novels, 2 novellas and several short stories in over 451,000 words.

Still, I feel like a slacker. Ugh. And worst of all, I haven’t been able to figure out what’s going on. Well, as I mentioned earlier, until now.

This morning, while searching for a particular blog post for a friend over on my main website, I came across a post titled “Epiphany.”

I took a moment to read it and realized exactly what went wrong: I fell off Heinlein’s Rules. Or more to the point, I allowed conscious-mind garbage to shove me off Heinlein’s Rules.

It happened in the midst of a story I was writing back in July. I’ve been struggling ever since.

Now I’ve long considered myself an “adherent” of Heinlein’s Rules. They really are simple, but incredibly difficult to follow.

The first rule is, “You must write.” The second is, “You must finish what you write.” See? Simple to say. Not so easy to do.

If there were a Rule 6 to Heinlein’s Rules, I suspect it would be “If you attempt to follow these Rules, you WILL occasionally fall off.” What’s worse, when you do fall off, it takes awhile to realize it. In the meantime, a kind of mental paralysis sets in.

If you don’t have a copy of Heinlein’s Rules, you can get an annotated copy free at http://harveystanbrough.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Heinleins-Business-Habits-Annotated.pdf.

I’m not coming back just yet. I have some other things to do. But now that I know what’s going on, I’ll be back to fiction writing soon. And I’m able to breathe again.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

PLEASE read “Important. And Pass It On” at http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2006/10/important-and-pass-it-on.html.

If you like, see “Epiphany” over at http://harveystanbrough.com/pro-writers/epiphany/.

See “Story Four a Slight Miracle” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-four-a-slight-miracle/. Interesting.

Well, here you go. In a continuation of yesterday’s topic (and via The Digital Reader), see “Author Blogging 103: Guest Blogging, or How to Write for Exposure” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/11/13/author-blogging-103-guest-blogging-write-exposure/.

Note: For some reason Nate added, “You can find links to several good posts in the comments of this blog,” but I saw only two comments on that particular post and neither of them contained a link. So I’m not sure what he was talking about there.

Anyway, for those of you who pursue “writing for exposure,” best of luck. Frankly, beyond what I already do, I’d rather just spend the time writing fiction.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 690 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 690

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… 6120
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 174183
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 625863

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 716 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, November 3

Hey Folks,

Yesterday after I posted the Journal, I noticed it looked as if it read “Thursday, One and One-Half.” So I’ll try to remember to spell out the month from now on.

More on writing…

In my ongoing mental-morphosis, I’m coming to understand more of what’s going on.

Nothing. Nothing’s going on. (grin) Well, nothing sinister. Maybe.

I got so used to a daily word count and then other goals that it feels odd not to be writing constantly. That’s all.

I’ve become comfortable with storytelling, and comfortable with knowing stories will come. At least that’s what I think has happened.

I can’t take the coming of stories for granted, but neither do I want to worry them into existence.

Somehow I feel like all of this is still tied up with me kicking cigars, a process that’s ongoing.

But what I wrote above about being tied to productivity and challenges and goals — that seems like something I don’t need anymore. Yet on the fringes of my mind, something about not having a set goal nags me.

Could I have met my novel-a-month goal in October and kept it going?

I think so.

But do I need that?

Maybe.

I talk about S. King and others, but I don’t know what goals they set for themselves, if any. And I don’t have to emulate anyone else, but it’s a luxury to know what’s possible.

Ah well, the battle continues.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Linda Maye Adams’ “Writing Around the Web” at https://lindamayeadams.com/2017/11/03/adventures-around-the-web-oct-28-nov-3-2017/. Very good post. At least the first two thirds of it.

If you read the articles she lists, read the third article (8 Things…Fight Scenes) with a HUGE grain of salt, or not at all. It’s filled with so many generalities and, in places, outright inaccuracies that I actually shudder to think how many young writers will take it to heart.

Via The Digital Reader, see “‘Carat’ vs. ‘Karat’ (vs. ‘Caret’)” at https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/usage-carat-vs-karat.

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

Writing of ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 1105
Total fiction words for the year………… 450547
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1720
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 169783
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 620330

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 705 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, 11/2

Hey Folks,

Hmm… a meandering, personal-thought journey in today’s Journal….

I’ve still been thinking about challenges, but I think that’s almost over.

I thought about a challenge in which I would write at least one opening per day during the month of November.

If the opening took off, I’d write it. If not but if it piqued my interest, it would go into my Openings file. Either way, I’d still have to write a new opening every day.

But something didn’t feel quite right about that. Mostly it felt too contrived, probably because it was.

The main thing, I think, is that I don’t feel like I need to push or be pushed. I feel like when it’s time, I’ll write again. In short, I don’t want to force it.

That’s kind of an epiphany. So I’ll think about this challenge a little more.

No. I’m certain I won’t do the challenge, at least not as I first conceived of it.

Maybe I’ll make a few adjustments and then do it. Like if an opening takes off, I won’t write anymore openings until I’ve finished the story that took off. That might be all right.

But again, if I don’t want to force the issue, what’s the real purpose?

Maybe I’ll just forget the whole challenge silliness and trust that when I’m ready, the words will be there. (grin) We’ll see.

Okay, I called it “challenge silliness.” But back when I was first starting out, especially with writing novels, challenges were a very important part of that.

The various challenges I took-on drove me to the keyboard and kept me writing. Without them I probably never would have written a whole novel, much less 27 of them.

But today I don’t really need to be driven to the keyboard. Today when I get an idea that feels good, I just sit down and write. I break about once an hour, but otherwise I just write until I’m through the scene or chapter. Or too tired to keep going.

I stop with a jagged edge, then come back to it the next day, write my way out of the jagged edge and continue on. So maybe I’m beyond needing challenges. Is that possible? I do know that when the challenge is only about numbers, it no longer interests me because I’ve been there and done that.

And I have the kind of personality that rebels against being artificially psyched up or motivated.

Even back in high school when we were required to put our hands in the center of a circle, count one-two-three and yell “Team!” I was almost embarrassed. I just wanted to go play football already. I mean, does that sort of nonsense really help anyone?

It’s prevalent enough even in professional sports that I suppose it does, but it never did anything but annoy me. For me, it’s right up there with someone saying (with all good intentions) “I know you can do it.”

The truth is, the person “knows” no such thing. Again, artificial encouragement.
***

I was reading more of Stephen King’s take on writing in story introductions here and there.

SK writes into the dark, and he writes very fast, usually holding himself to four clean pages (around 2,000 words) per day When He’s Writing.

He also engages in cycling, going back over what he’s written each day, though I think I read somewhere that he’s more of a “taker-outer” than a “putter-inner.” (I’m definitely a putter-inner.)

Anyway, when SK isn’t writing, he’s mulling, observing, listening, reading and waiting. And when it’s time to write again, he writes.

A couple of days ago, I put up a quote of his here: ““Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work.”

The thing is, when he has something to write, he gets up and goes to work. When he doesn’t, he doesn’t.

It isn’t that he’s “taking time off” between books. It’s that he doesn’t have anything to write.

That’s kind of how I’m feeling recently. And more and more, I think that’s probably all right.

You’ll note, maybe, that I’ve removed the accounting for Pulp Novel 5 from the Journal. It’s officially stalled at something over 13,000 words. Should it revive at some point, I’ll put it back. I promise.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Wow. Via The Digital Reader, see “Interactive Ebooks? Almost…” at JA Konrath’s blog at http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2017/11/interactive-ebooks-almost.html.

Also via The Digital Reader, see “8 Tips on Pricing Kindle Ebooks” at https://selfpublishingadvice.org/how-to-price-an-ebook/. Note: I offer this only as additional information. Her tips look pretty good to me but nothing really new.

See “Lifelike ‘Sophia’ Robot Granted Citizenship to Saudi Arabia” at https://www.livescience.com/60815-saudi-arabia-citizen-robot.html. Yeah. This is not a joke.

Today I refer you to The Passive Voice website for a lot of interesting things. Visit http://www.thepassivevoice.com/. Enjoy.

Finally see Dean’s “False Start on Challenge” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/false-start-on-challenge/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 780 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 780

Writing of ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 1105
Total fiction words for the year………… 450547
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1380
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 169443
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 619990

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 704 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, 10/31

Hey Folks,

Happy Hallowe’en.

I’d planned to return to my WIP novel today, but didn’t. Other things took priority, but it was still a good day. No more pushing it. I’ll write when it’s time.

In the meantime, a brand new bundle launched today. The Trouble Comes Calling bundle contains my mystery novel, The Platinum Blond Perturbance. You can see the ad for the bundle at the top of the left sidebar on my website. The photo will take you to the bundle page.
***

“I’m not really that knowledgeable about police work. The real story is in the psychology of the characters.” ~ James Lee Burke

Worked on my website a little more this morning. I’m always trying to tweak it closer to being a writer’s website. I think it’s pretty much there. Take a look and let me know what you think.

The changes today were pretty big, so I thought I’d outline them for you here.

The main blog is still there, of course, but under the Home tab. As a related aside, I’ve thought about publishing a post occasionally on a Friday about my characters or my WIP or whatever. Then again, this Journal kind of covers the bases for that.

I got rid-of or reconfigured pretty much every tab. The new tabs for the long fiction are The Wes Crowley Saga with a drop-down menu, then Mystery/Action/SF with a drop-down menu.

It was kind of neat, grouping the non-Wes Crowley books. I found out I have 8 mystery novels, 6 Action-Adventure novels or novellas, and 7 Science Fantasy novels. Weird. I don’t remember having written that much. (grin)

After that is the Short Fiction tab with a drop-down menu. Then come the Writing Books, then For Writers with a drop-down menu, then my bio and personas.

Under the For Writers tab are Copyediting, Audio Lectures, Writer Resources, and Free Stuff.

Like I said, the change (or rearrangement) was pretty extensive.
***

I’ve come to understand that I’m motivated by the novels of Stephen King and James Lee Burke. I mention those two specifically because I know they write in much the same way I do. They just write off into the dark.

When asked by an interviewer, “How do you approach writing a new novel?” James Lee Burke replied, “I never know where a book is going. I have no plan. They just evolve and I incrementally discover the story.”

And King has said publicly he tries to make a habit of turning out four good pages per day (about 2,000 words). When he writes, he does nothing else.

So why am I motivated specifically by these two? Because even as I’m lost in the story, on some subsurface level I’m aware that they’re allowing the characters to shine through. They’re putting their fingers on the keyboard and trusting what comes. And what comes is amazing.

Soon, fingers crossed, I’ll get back to doing the same thing. But for today, no fiction writing. I’m going to read.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you read “A Story About Piracy” via The Passive Voice, you will be glad you did. See it at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/a-story-about-piracy/.

For an interview with James Lee Burke, see http://www.januarymagazine.com/profiles/jlburke.html.

To get JA Konrath’s The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing in PDF, visit http://harveystanbrough.com/downloads/ and click The Newbie’s Guide To Publishing.

Via The Digital Reader, see “Create an Ebook Cover with Spark and Canva: Which is Better?” at https://publishdrive.com/ebook-cover-with-spark. I mention this one mostly for the links in the article. Well worth the time to read and play.

Check out Dean’s “Catching Up And Pulphouse Fun” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/catching-up-and-pulphouse-fun/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 610 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 610

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… 15380
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 168063
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 617505

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 702 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