The Journal, Wednesday, 9/27

Hey Folks,

First, for any veterans out there, beginning on November 11, 2017, the online Exchange System (PX) is open to all veterans who served honorably regardless of length of service.

Note that this is only the ONLINE exchange. Still, they lists tons of stuff, and it isn’t all high-ticket merchandise. Great discounts.

To qualify, visit https://www.shopmyexchange.com/veterans. Again, you don’t have to have a current ID card, and you don’t have to have retired.
***

Also too important to be shuffled down to the “Of Interest” section…

Much as I (and other amateur photogs) like to think we can always take pics that are good enough for our book covers, that just isn’t always the case. (grin) At least in my case.

Before this, I’ve bought cover photos from sites like Bigstock.com and Canstockphoto.com. I paid only a pittance since I had a subscription each time(around 56 cents per pic), but Free beats a pittance every time.

Now, via The Digital Reader, comes “Fifteen Free stock photo sites that will keep your website sizzling” at http://valiantchickendigital.com/blog/15-free-stock-photo-sites-will-website-sizzling/.

Don’t let the “keep your website sizzling” admonition fool you. Many of these are cover-quality photos. Some are operated by pay sites, but the pics are still free on the specific free sites.

Some also are public domain picture sites. Be sure to read the terms of use/service on each site before you join.

Hey, if you find even one good cover pic, the time you spend searching will have paid for itself. And even if you don’t do your own covers, you can get TONS of story ideas from checking out stock photos.

In the first half-hour after I started searching through just one site, I had added around a dozen prospective cover pics to “lightboxes” to download later. Just sayin’.
***

Rolled out late this morning, intentionally. I had a Negra Modelo (with lime!) with my enchiladas yesterday, and I’m not used to alcohol anymore. So I let it steep appropriately. (grin)

I won’t get to the novel until around 9 this morning. There’s a good chance I’ll finish it today, though I kind of hope the characters come up with a twist that keeps the story running a little longer. We’ll see.

Finally to the novel a little after 9:30.

Writing, a few chores and moving the water around on the yard. At 2000 words so far today I’m rapidly approaching the ending. Taking a lunch break at 12:15.

At 12:45, I think I know the ending now. If so, it shocked the tar out of me. (grin)

I’m always trying to learn more. Because I like the way he teaches and because much of what he says/writes makes sense to me, I ordered three of James Scott Bell’s Kindle ebooks today: Voice: The Secret Power of Great Writing, Marketing for Writers Who Hate Marketing, and How to write Dazzling Dialogue.

Yeah, I think I’m pretty good at dialogue. But I want to see whether maybe there’s something I’m missing.

I was headed back to the novel at 2 p.m., but I think I’ll wait and finish it tomorrow. I have a few more chores to do, and frankly I’m a little out of sorts today.

Either way, I’m kind of excited.

This will be my 27th novel, and it will have been written all in this month. So in the 9th month, I will have written 9 novels on the year. Woohoo!

Maybe I ought to read Bell’s marketing book first, eh?

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

For what it’s worth, see “The Weapon of Surprise” by James Scott Bell at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/09/the-weapon-of-surprise.html.

Fiction Words: 2108
Nonfiction Words: 580 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2688

Writing of Loose Ends (novel, working title)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… 1146 words. Total words to date…… 35881
Day 17… 1102 words. Total words to date…… 36983
Day 18… 3723 words. Total words to date…… 40706
Day 19… 1650 words. Total words to date…… 42356
Day 20… 1422 words. Total words to date…… 43778
Day 21… 2108 words. Total words to date…… 45886

Total fiction words for the month……… 52967
Total fiction words for the year………… 432587
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14943
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 151343
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 583932

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 668 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Monday, 9/25

Hey Folks,

“Many would-be novelists never get around to writing a novel for the same reason nobody ever gets around to eating an elephant.

“Wrong focus. To eat an elephant, you have to take one bite at a time. Focus on the bite.

“It seems impossible to write a whole novel, but you can write a scene. So just write a scene. Then write another scene. Then write another one. Forget about writing a ‘novel.’ Lather, rinse, repeat.”

I posted that to FB this morning, spurred by my 15 year old granddaughter’s complaint (via email) that her teacher had assigned her to write “a 150 page story.”

Such an assignment forces the student to focus on the page count.

My granddaughter wrote, “I’ve written 984 words on my story so far, but it’s only 3 pages.”

Poor kid. Angry grandpa.

I suppose learning to pad a paper has its advantages.

Wait. No, it doesn’t.
***

I have stories or novels in five bundles now. The latest is Without A Clue in the Gumshoes Bundle. As the name implies, this bundle is all mysteries, all about detectives and the crimes they solve.

To see all the bundles my stuff is currently in, check the right sidebar at http://HarveyStanbrough.com.
***

Rolled out a little late, and I’m back on the Internet, but learned a lot this morning, so it’s all right.

My wife looked out her window and noticed the neighbors’ horses were out, and one was growling at something out in the mesquites (probably the cattle out there).

So we went out and put them back in the corral, fed them, and secured the gate. Interesting start to the day.

After that, a lot of little niggling but necessary things to take care of. Finally to the novel at 10:30 a.m. Some cycling over the chapters I wrote yesterday first.
***

Before she left, my wife reminded me I have a doc appointment in Tucson tomorrow. Gotta get the battery replaced in my pacemaker.

It occurred to me, I can recharge the battery in my phone and all sorts of other devices wirelessly, but for this I have to have invasive surgery. Reckon maybe the priorities are a little skewed somewhere? (grin)
***

This morning as I cycled back through the chapters I wrote yesterday and glanced over my reverse outline, I realized I have to enhance a character.

I almost wrote “add” a character, but the character himself is already in the book. I have to let him talk with me a bit, name himself, let me know what he does for a living (he’s old and wealthy), etc. All of that’s to bring him into the fold, so to speak.

That’ll take probably two more chapters earlier in the book. (Told you this one’s writing weird.) Anyway, either this guy or another guy who’s already developed in the book is the antagonist.

Then it’ll be a rush to the finish and I’ll be done.

Well, another light day for word count, though it doesn’t really reflect how much I accomplished today. (grin) But that’s all right. The novel still feels good.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

From The Digital Reader, see “The HTTPocalypse is coming – Is Your Website Ready?” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/09/24/httpocalypse-coming-website-ready/.

Read This: “Michael Hyatt Has Something To Sell You” at https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/michael-hyatt-has-something-to-sell-you/.

Fiction Words: 1650
Nonfiction Words: 560 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2210

Writing of Loose Ends (novel, working title)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… 1146 words. Total words to date…… 35881
Day 17… 1102 words. Total words to date…… 36983
Day 18… 3723 words. Total words to date…… 40706
Day 19… 1650 words. Total words to date…… 42356

Total fiction words for the month……… 49437
Total fiction words for the year………… 429057
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14193
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 150593
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 579650

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 666 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, Friday, 9/22

Hey Folks,

Rolled out on time this morning, then spent an enjoyable hour or so talking via email with my young granddaughter, Taylor.

By the way, just in time for my topic today (see below) DWS is finally back to busting myths with another Killing the Sacred Cows chapter. It’s in “Of Interest” today.

Topic: Lying to Readers

It’s annoying when Dean Wesley Smith is SO right on everything he says. Well, on most things. He does occasionally say he’s going to make me angry when he’s busting some idiotic myth, but that has yet to happen.

But on the other stuff, he’s always right. Always. At least so far.

And it always annoys me a little. Especially on stuff that I initially believe is bunk and later come to learn (through being beaten to a pulp, and therefore gaining enlightenment) is true after all.

My most recent annoyance wasn’t with DWS, but it was based on something I read in his blog a long time ago.

He wrote (paraphrasing), If you want readers to value your work (meaning “buy your books”) you have to lie to them.

I’ve come to understand that’s true.

Readers by the droves automatically assume, sight unseen, that a novel that’s written in a month or two or three is not worth reading.

As you know, I don’t post my numbers as some sort of competition; I do it to illustrate what’s possible if a writer simply spends time in the chair.

If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t tell anyone how quickly I go from the title to “the end” when I write a novel. And I would revert to using my personas and/or pen names.

Given that I write, on average, 12 novels and scores of short stories per year, I would have at least 12 different pseudonyms for novels and probably three or four times that many for short fiction.

Why? Because of math.

As simply EVERYbody knows, it takes at LEAST a year to turn out a quality novel. And a 2- or 3-year, labor-intensive process will result in an even better novel. Hence, at least 12 pseudonyms for novels.

With those pseudonyms, I could still turn out a novel every month, but each pseudonym would publish only one novel per year (or less frequently).

Gervasio Arrancado would release a new magic realism novel every January. Nick Porter would release a new noir novel every February. Ray Sevareid would release a new SF novel every March. Eric Stringer, bless his heart, would release a new horror/psychological-suspense novel ever April. See where I’m going with this?

And if I had 36 novel pseudonyms, each one would turn out one novel every THREE years. Get the idea?

It’s all in the math.

I write, on average, 1000 polished, ready-to-publish words per hour. That a crawling-on-all-fours 17 words per minute. It gives me plenty of time to find just the right word from the thesaurus (not ‘green stuff on a rock’ but lichen). It gives me plenty of time to jump online to find out the name of that particular cross street on San Antonio Drive in downtown El Paso in 1887.

So say it takes me 100 hours to write a 100,000 word novel.

Okay, so if it takes me 3 years to write a novel and I take two days off every week and two weeks off every year for vacation, that’s 150 weeks or (with two days off per week) 750 days.

So to write a 100,000 word novel in 3 years, I’d have to write an average of 134 words per day. (I refuse to talk about rewriting. Writers are paid to write, not to rewrite. They are paid per word, or per haps, not per endless word-erasure-word-erasure-word.)

To write the same 100,000 word novel in only 1 year, I’d have to write at a blazing-fast rate of 400 words per day.

Well, that wouldn’t be so bad, I guess. At least that’s almost a whole half-hour workday 5 days per week.

But to write the same 100,000 word novel in a 30-day MONTH (4.285 weeks) of 5-day weeks, I’d have to develop an actual work ethic.

I’d have to sit at my laptop and churn out 4,668 words every day for 21.425 days. Still less than a 5-hour workday. And still only 5 days a week.

And many MANY of my novels are in the 25,000 to 70,000 word range. My average is around 60,000 words.

In case you’re wondering, for a short novel of 25,000 words I’d have to write 34 words per day over 3 years or 100 words per day over a year.

For my average novel length of 60,000 words, I’d have to write 80 words per day over 3 years or (Oh No!) 240 words per day over a year. And if I write that novel in a month, I have to actually write 2800 words per 5-day week. Three hours per day.

Again, it all boils down to math. But unfortunately, so does reader opinion. So you have to lie to them.

I’m a resonable guy. It’s true that I tell lies for a living. Still, I don’t like the dishonest feeling of telling someone it took me much longer to write something than it actually took.

So tell me again why, if I churn out a novel over a 3-year period it “just might be a masterpiece”; if it takes “only” a year, I’m rushing it but it “still might be worth a look.”

But if I write the SAME 60,000 words in one month or less, it isn’t worth the time it takes to sniff and turn up a nose.

Sigh.

Okay, so if you’re reading this, and if you’re young (meaning you expect to turn out novels for at least another 10 years or so), and if you have a work-ethic AT ALL, get yourself a stack of pseudonyms.

Just sayin’.

***

I did very little in the early morning other than some Internet stuff and writing the masterpiece topic above (grin, took all of a half-hour), then moved straight to the novel around 9.

In a little over 3 hours, I read the whole thing through, skimming, to correct one more problem, an awkward metaphor that wasn’t working for me. In all that time, I added around 400 words.

Well, something happened to me today that has never happened before on a novel. Sometimes I’ll enjoy writing a short story so much that I really like the story as a reader. So I read it again, later.

That happened today with this novel. As I was reading through it, I was pulled in and actually enjoyed it. So I kept going.

So that’s all the writing I did today. Just little bits here and there. Welp, every novel writes differently.

And tomorrow might be a light day too. I have to go to Sierra Vista tomorrow morning. We’ll see what shakes out.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Beta Readers Help You” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killing-the-sacred-cows-of-publishing-beta-readers-help-you/.

Via The Digital Reader, see Kris Rusch’s “I Spent Decades Developing My IP” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/09/20/business-musings-i-spent-decades-developing-my-ip-contractsdealbreakers/. Seriously, this is a must-read.

Some good stuff on Linda Maye Adams’ blog today. She does an “around the web” thing each week. Check it out at http://lindamayeadams.com/.

Fiction Words: 1146
Nonfiction Words: 1223 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2369

Writing of Loose Ends (novel, working title)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… 1146 words. Total words to date…… 35881

Total fiction words for the month……… 42962
Total fiction words for the year………… 422582
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13293
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 149693
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 572275

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 663 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, 9/21

Hey Folks,

Up a little late this morning. I’ll work on the edit for awhile, then on the yard for awhile, then maybe go play with the novel.

Edited ’til about 8:20, then mowed the front (north) yard and around the north and east sides outside the fence.

Back to the edit a little after 9 while I’m cooling down from doing actual work. (grin) Also running a couple loads of laundry.

Worked on the edit until 10, and now off to fold laundry and put another load in the dryer. While that was working, I mowed a little more, finished the yard. Then it was time to fold another load and put it away.

Now it’s almost 1 p.m. and I’ve been basically screwing off for the past couple of hours. I was reading something on FB and it annoyed me. One of those “why do I bother doing what I do” moments.

Anyway, I’ve decided today will be a nonwriting day. I’ll spend the balance of the day editing a truly excellent memoir and come back fresh tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see “How to Prevent Every Writer’s Worst Nightmare” at https://thewritelife.com/losing-your-writing/.

Via Science Alert, you can now create your own nuclear blast scenario at http://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/.

At the KillZone blog, James Scott Bell talks discusses “How to Cure Mid-Novel Sag” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/09/how-to-cure-mid-novel-sag.html. As for me, I make sure I have a reverse outline (or I create one) and then I Write the Next Sentence.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 250 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 250

Writing of Loose Ends (novel)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 41816
Total fiction words for the year………… 421436
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12070
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 148470
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 569906

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 662 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, Wednesday, 9/20

Hey Folks,

I had a copyediting job come in, so I decided I’ll work on that during the early morning hours. I seem to do most of my own writing in the late morning and early afternoon anyway.

Worked on the copyedit (an excellent memoir) for a few hours, then to the repair shop to pick up my no-longer-busted lawnmower, then back here.

I should have gone straight to the novel, but I didn’t. I played with creating a new meme that has a half-crazy pic of yours truly. I posted it to Facebook.

That was fun. Now to fetch some iced tea, then to the novel. It’s not quite 10:30.

(I like that word, “fetch.” It’s an Auld English word that, roughly translated, means “Hey, brang me some’a that!” Or maybe not.)

Well, I sat down, looked at the novel, got up and went out to mow the back yard. And now it’s 11:30. (grin)

TOPIC: Process Stuff

This isn’t really a planned topic, but I thought it might make a good topic for some of you.

Um, realized I hadn’t put together a reverse outline for this thing. No wonder I was getting lost. So I spent the next 40 minutes glancing through chapter starts and ends plus any significant events and created two-thirds of a reverse outline.

And a glaring error popped out at me. The chapters go from Friday to Saturday, then back to Friday, then to Sunday. So more shifting of components is in my future. Very weird novel.

Took a brief break to fill the mower with gas, then back here to finish the reverse outline. Then I’ll read over it as a whole document and maybe start rearranging some things in the timeline.

Finally started putting new words down at 1:30. It doesn’t look like a lot, but MAN did I get a lot done today! And the novel’s back on track.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see Anne Allen’s “Want to Increase Your Blog Readership? Kill that Popup!” at http://annerallen.com/2017/09/increase-blog-readership-kill-popup/.

Via The Digital Reader, see “Hyphens, Em Dashes, En Dashes—Everything You Need to Know” at https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2017/09/hyphens-em-dashes-en-dashes-everything-need-know/.

Fiction Words: 1149
Nonfiction Words: 370 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1519

Writing of Loose Ends (novel)

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
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467
Day 9…… 2780 words. Total words to date…… 22247
Day 10… 3614 words. Total words to date…… 25861
Day 11… 1514 words. Total words to date…… 27375
Day 12… 3452 words. Total words to date…… 30827
Day 13… 1747 words. Total words to date…… 32574
Day 14… 1012 words. Total words to date…… 33586
Day 15… 1149 words. Total words to date…… 34735

Total fiction words for the month……… 41816
Total fiction words for the year………… 421436
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11820
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 148220
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 569656

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 661 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Monday, 9/18

Hey Folks,

Rolled out considerably early this morning, yet two hours later I’m still reading and toying with this thing. I even wrote a topic based on the article on Comic Sans typeface referenced in “Of Interest.”

Then I remembered that a longer, more well-thought-out version will hit the big blog on October 3, so I’ll wait.

Well, my eyes are a little fuzzy this morning for some reason. I’ve tried polarized (brown) shades, my regular grey-tinted glasses, and a cheap pair of flip-up blue blockers I bought on eBay.

The last few days my eyes haven’t been bad, but for some reason today they’re giving me fits. So we’ll see what I can get done.

After email and FB, just doing things around the house until about 9. I went for a walk, just a bit over a mile. By the time I got back and settled in, my eyes were okay again.

So finally to the novel around 10. I took a wrong turn yesterday, so I spent a few hours cycling through (off and on) and moving bits to the CUTS section at the end of the document.

Usually I add words when I cycle. Today I’m taking words out. Well, it’ll be what it’ll be. I’m just enjoying the process, and as I keep telling myself, every novel writes differently.

So I added only around 500 new words by about 1. Hey, there are days like that. Anyway, I think all the adjustments are done. I’m starting a new scene soon, so things should pick up.

Uh, no such luck. Not today. I had a timeline problem and a bunch of stuff moved up one full day.

So I’m adjusting another chapter, and then maybe writing another scene. Or not. Overall it’s probably not going to be a very productive day. On the other hand, it’s already been a pretty productive week. (grin)

Well, I hoped to hit at least 2000 words today, but it’s not going to happen. Still a pretty good day.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Especially if you design your own covers, see “Hate Comic Sans?” at https://blog.prototypr.io/you-hate-comic-sans-you-dont-know-anything-about-typography-5133fbd4c8c4. There are a few gems in this that you need to know.

See “What the “Book People” Won’t Tell You” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/09/17/book-people-wont-tell-print-dead/.

See “David Sarnoff Library … Images” at http://digital.hagley.org/.

Via Science Alert, see “BREAKING: Light Has Been Stored as Sound…” at http://www.sciencealert.com/breaking-light-was-just-stored-as-sound-for-the-first-time-ever/.

Fiction Words: 1747
Nonfiction Words: 400 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2147

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
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467
Day 9…… 2780 words. Total words to date…… 22247
Day 10… 3614 words. Total words to date…… 25861
Day 11… 1514 words. Total words to date…… 27375
Day 12… 3452 words. Total words to date…… 30827
Day 13… 1747 words. Total words to date…… 32574

Total fiction words for the month……… 39655
Total fiction words for the year………… 419275
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9670
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 146070
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 565345

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 659 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, Friday, 9/15

Hey Folks,

Welp, I started the day closer to my usual time. I read a lot (see “Of Interest”) and then checked Dean’s site.

Much of his post for today is a rehash of the previous couple of days, so it didn’t make “Of Interest,” but parts of it keyed something in me.

So I wrote the topic for today. Actually, I also wrote the topic for tomorrow (I won’t count those words until tomorrow).

I had so much fun with the latter, I decided to cross post that one to the main blog where it will appear on September 19.

You, lucky readers, get to see it tomorrow. I almost titled it “How Warped Was My Rainbow,” but decided finally on “On Challenges, Part 2.”

In the meantime, here’s the first part.

TOPIC: On Challenges

In today’s post, DWS writes “challenges … are a way to prioritize writing time. … [That is o]ne of the many values of a challenge and why I do them regularly for myself. I get far more writing done when I have challenged myself…” (see http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/time-is-everything-these-days/ if you want).

Yeah, what Dean said. I’ve noticed that too.

Back in June when I challenged myself to write a short story every day, I failed miserably. But I still wrote 8 or 9 short stories in a row. I was hyper-productive because of the challenge.

Engaging in a personal challenge is a kind of partnership between the conscious mind and the subconscious creative mind.

The conscious mind says, “Ha! Bet you can’t do this!” and the subconscious responds with “Yeah? Hold my beer and watch this!”

Obviously, this works better if you happen to have an inborn stubborn streak, and the stronger the streak the better.

I do. And it is.

Now I’m not on the verge of announcing a new personal challenge. I’m not in that place at the moment. At the moment, I’m just getting back to writing every day.

At the moment, I’m more the curious observer, watching my own progress on my WIP and marveling that the new (to me) process I’ve come up with apparently is going to enable me to finish a novel in what many would see as record time.

And for now, for me, that’s good enough. I’m happy with it. Writing is fun again.

But if you’re a seasoned writer and you find yourself stuck in the doldrums, or if you’re just starting out and feeling a bit overwhelmed (or even just whelmed) and not sure what to do first, try giving yourself a challenge.

I almost wrote “a realistic challenge,” but if it’s too “realistic” it won’t be a challenge, will it?

***

Yesterday, I guess, I mentioned in passing that when I started writing I was “stuck.” A few folks wrote me about that. Thanks.

But I didn’t really mean “stuck” in a bad way. I remember one novel I wrote that was like pulling teeth with a pocket knife pretty much all the way through. Fortunately, most of mine aren’t like that.

Most of mine flow straight from get-go to been-there-done-that.

In this particular WIP, I’ve been “stuck” two times that were big enough to mention. One of those was yesterday.

But notice too, being “stuck” lasted only until I’d stared at it long enough. I wasn’t stuck so much as mired. There were a lot of “little” bits of the scene I wanted to form and fashion and sequence just right.

You could say I rewrote that segment several times, but I wouldn’t call it that. I did make several passes until it was “just right.”

But each pass was in the creative mind and each pass made the scene (it turned out to be a chapter) a little better. A little fuller. Once I waded around in the muck and found a few rocks, I came straight on out and moved ahead.

So that’s all that was about.

Went to the grocery around 8, spent half a boatload of money and got everything put away around 9:45.

After that I did some other small things, including playing online for awhile. Finally around 11 I started to cycle back over the last couple of chapters.

When I finished cycling, I went right on writing instead of taking a break. Including what I added in cycling, I hit around 1800 words by 12:30. Then I took a break. (grin)

Flying along on the novel again for a bit, then took a break to chat with a friend via email. For a long while, I’ve told folks if you need cover or layout design check out CovertoUpload.com.

Kat Magee, the owner, changed it. She’s rebuilding the site and the new name is Daring Creative Designs. And she’s very good. Check it out at https://daringcreativedesigns.com/.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see “Business Musings: Rethinking A Title” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/09/13/business-musings-rethinking-a-title/. Hint: This is only peripherally about retitling a book. It’s more about Kris’ process, and in that way it’s both rare and very insightful.

Via The Digital Reader, see “You Are Already Living Inside a Computer” at https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/09/you-are-already-living-inside-a-computer/539193/. It’s very long, very thought provoking, and chock full of story ideas.

Check the comments on “The Attitude of a Challenge” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-attitude-of-a-challenge/#comments/.

Fiction Words: 3614
Nonfiction Words: 880 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4494

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
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467
Day 9…… 2780 words. Total words to date…… 22247
Day 10… 3614 words. Total words to date…… 25861

Total fiction words for the month……… 32942
Total fiction words for the year………… 412562
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8200
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 144600
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 557162

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 657 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, Tuesday, 9/12

Hey Folks,

Okay, I mentioned a couple of times a workshop I’m taking with Dean. It ended this morning, so here’s my report.

On the Online Workshops tab of his website, the title (if you want to read about it) is officially “Writing Mysteries.” If you’re interested, I encourage you to read the writeup there.

First, I found that the actual workshop more than nailed the description on the website.

This is an actual writing workshop. He teaches you how to write mysteries in the ten most popular subgenres. Plus there are extensive notes on writing Thrillers (used to be a subgenre of Mystery, but is now on its own).

He doesn’t teach plotting, but he does teach what’s required in each subgenre of Mystery (in other words, How To Write it).

In each subgenre, he provides instruction on five areas:

1. Focus-of and details-about the sub-genre.
2. Types of writers best suited to write the sub-genre (with examples).
3. Can it be used in other genres?
4. Focus on the POV character “type” needed and the focus of the POV character.
5. Focus of the opening. What needs to be in the opening. What will draw readers in.

Those five areas make this workshop pretty much invaluable if you want to learn to write mysteries. It’s also a good idea to study those five areas of any genre you’re interested in writing. Just sayin’.

The weekly assignments were also good. I won’t comment specifically on those because how well they work for you will depend on your level of skill. If you’re a beginning writer (a few novels/a couple dozen short stories under your belt), I have no doubt you’ll find them all very useful.

So I recommend this workshop if you

1. Want to write in a Mystery subgenre, or
2. If you want to learn Mystery elements to include in other genres (SF, Young Adult, etc.).

***

Started cycling through what I wrote yesterday at about 8:30. Allowed myself to touch the manuscript, but very lightly, always looking forward to resuming the story.

By 9:30 I was through cycling. During that hour I also answered some email, etc.

One of the emails I worked with was the notice that the next bundle my work is included in, Death Before Defeat, a 10-book SF omnibus, is available for presale at only $2.99. For details, see https://bundlerabbit.com/b/death-before-defeat/.

Too much playing. By noon-thirty I’d written only a little over a thousand words. My fault. When I pay attention to it, the novel’s flying.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “The Only Rule Amazon Truly Cares About” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/09/the-only-rule-amazon-truly-cares-about/. PG’s response is priceless. Of course, in his posting of the article you can also click through to the original post.

Via The Diginal Reader (and strictly for fun), see “10 Books That Were Written on a Bet” at https://electricliterature.com/10-books-that-were-written-on-a-bet-5e0343dd3030/.

Also via The Digital Reader, for anyone who believes publication in TradPub is a golden ticket, see “Publishers Are Now Shedding Best-Selling Authors” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/09/11/publishers-now-shedding-best-selling-authors/.

Anybody need an SF novel idea? See “We Can Finally Read The ‘Clock’ That Tells How Long Human Cells Have Left to Live” at http://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-can-now-check-how-long-live-human-cells-have-left/. This could go in MANY diferent ways.

Dean posted “Some More Challenge Details” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/some-more-challenge-details/.

Fiction Words: 3775
Nonfiction Words: 530 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4305

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
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320

Total fiction words for the month……… 23401
Total fiction words for the year………… 403021
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 142980
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 546001

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 654 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, Wednesday, 8/30

Hey Folks,

Not a lot to talk about today.

I started the day a little late. Still catching up on my sleep, I guess.

I made my rounds of the Internet. DWS is back, mostly. I listened to the vids from Week 4 of my current workshop and enjoyed it. A lot of meat there. I guess maybe there was a lot of meat in Weeks 2 and 3 as well, but I wasn’t as interested in those. It would depend on where your interests lie.

I also received a link to my FREE copy of “Write. Publish. Repeat Conversations” (videos on Udemy) in which the guys I told you about a couple of days ago share a ton of information.

If you haven’t done so yet, see “10 Steps to Making a Living as a Self-Published Fiction Author” at https://sterlingandstone.net/make-living-self-published-fiction-author/. That’s where the “Write. Publish etc.” stuff above came from.

They probably will try to upsell you on some things, but it isn’t high-pressure stuff and they’re offering a wealth of information free.

In the past three days I’ve read To Have and Have Not and The Sun Also Rises. But I’m about read out. Or maybe rested out. I want to get back to my version of work.

It seems today is mostly gone already. I’ll read a little more, probably some noir PI stuff, and call it a day.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see “The Truth Behind Popular Copyright Myths” at http://writerunboxed.com/2017/06/26/the-truth-behind-popular-copyright-myths/. The bottom line is Learn Copyright Law.

If you run a WordPress website and need something else to worry about for the future, see “WordPress is about to have its New Coke moment” at http://valiantchickendigital.com/blog/wordpress-new-coke-moment/.

For more stuff, see “Morning Coffee – 30 August 2017” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/08/30/morning-coffee-30-august-2017/.

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……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 16540
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 135650
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 515270

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 641 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Tuesday, 8/29

Hey Folks,

In the interest of “fair and balanced reporting,” via The Digital Reader check out David Gaughran’s “The Visibility Gambit” at https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/the-visibility-gambit/. Spoiler Alert: This is in favor of going with Amazon KDP Select, but be sure to read the comments too. Hey, whatever works for you.

To learn more about KDP Select (this feeds Kindle Unlimited) and determine whether it’s right for you, visit https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/.

Be sure to also read https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/A6KILDRNSCOBA?ref_=kdp_KDPS_faq/ and then click the link for KDP Terms and Conditions and read that.

I decided today to take a chance, though really it isn’t much of a risk on my part. I took down every Wes Crowley publication (10 novels plus The Wes Crowley Saga Parts 1 & 2 plus one short story) from both Smashwords and D2D.

In about a week, when I know those books have had time to clear all the vendors to whom Smashwords and D2D distributes, I’ll add them all to Amazon’s KDP Select.

I also changed the buy links on my website for those books to only Amazon.

Yep, I’m gonna give exclusivity a shot. I figure it’ll be a good test, given that western-genre fiction is about the worst selling anyway.

I know my (dismal) sales numbers from all the other venues, and I can still do double-digit math, so the comparison should be revealing in one way or another. Either a lot more sales through KDP Select or not.

Topic: Writing to Market

DWS always says fervently “Don’t write to market!” I’ve always followed that advice and simply wrote whatever came out of my subconscious next. It’s a little like shooting at a flea thirty yards away with a twelve-gauge loaded with birdshot.

But the guys I referred you to yesterday say writing to market isn’t necessarily a bad thing IF it’s in a genre you want to write anyway. To me, that makes sense.

I’ve written a lot of westerns. I have 10 novels, a 10-novel box set, two 5-novel sets, a novella and a slew of short stories. So if reader interest ever swings back to westerns, I’m pretty well positioned.

I’ve written several SF books and stories. But SF (either fiction or fantasy) is at the lower selling end of the market too.

But I also enjoy writing psychological suspense stuff. In that, I’m including mysteries, crime fiction and thrillers. And that’s where “writing to market” comes into play.

Those sub-genres — especially mystery — are selling near the top of the market.

So I’m gonna bend my mind in that direction for awhile. I have a few ideas for a psychological suspense series main character. Now all I have to do is be patient as I work through this time-off period and then write.

The point of all this — if you want to write to market, and if it’s in a genre you enjoy writing, go for it.

Today and Writing

Wrote all the stuff above, looked for my online workshop but the password isn’t up yet (see “Of Interest”).

I’ll finish readng To Have and Have Not (Hemingway) this morning, then check for the workshop again, then do something else.

Well, as you might have imagined, I read for the rest of the day other than checking to see whether the password for this week’s installment of the online workshop is up yet. It wasn’t.

It will be wonderful to write stories again when that time comes. It’s coming soon. I can feel it. But not yet.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

DWS is going through some sort of personal stuff. He said it’s not a big deal (see http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/some-issues/) but this is the first time I’ve seen him NOT post even the passwords for the online workshops in time. So something’s up. If you pray, you might send a few his way.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 640 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 640

Writing of ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 16240
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 135350
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 514970

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 640 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