The Journal, Monday, 8/14

Hey Folks,

I know at least one writer who still does extensive research before writing.

That said, most of us use the hunt-and-peck method.

In the midst of a story (sometimes a sentence) we pop online for a moment, do some quick research on the type of tree the hero is leaning against, which months a particular river flows, etc. Then we pop back into the story, add what we learned and move on.

Most often, that search is accomplish on Google or Bing or one of the other popular search engines.

For us, now there are a lot more resources. Check out “Of Interest” below.

***

If you know me at all, you know I’m dead-set against exclusivity in book selling — specifically, distributing only through Amazon.

For yet another take on why, see “The Only Rule Amazon Truly Cares About” at https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/the-only-rule-amazon-truly-cares-about/ (via The Digital Reader and David Gaughran).

***

I spent some time going back over the first session of the workshop I’m taking with Dean. Didn’t find what I was looking for.

Also read the first few pages of the James Patterson novel Private. I hoped to be impressed. My intention was to be impressed so I’d want to go back through it later and learn from him.

But I wasn’t impressed. A few years ago I said I thought he wasn’t a very good writer but he’s a masterful marketer. I thought I’d give his work another shot, but my experience today only bolstered that negative opinion.

On the upside, it was unimpressive enough that it made me think more highly of my own work. So there’s that. (grin)

Finished the handout for Wednesday’s seminar. Also got some laundry done, used the string trimmer on some unruly grass alongside the carport, etc.

Of Interest

For those of you who like reading about other writers’ process, see “Business Musings: The Third 2017 Process Blog” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/08/02/business-musings-the-third-2017-process-blog/.

Via The Passive Voice, see “The state of ebooks: Anti-DRM sentiments…” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/08/the-state-of-ebooks-anti-drm-sentiments-at-worldcon-75/.

Via The Digital Reader and Paul Biba, check out “Ten search engines for researchers that go beyond Google” at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/ten-search-engines-for-researchers-that-go-beyond-google-11-jul-2013/.

Additionally, be sure to see these “more well-known search engines and databases” at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/ten-search-engines-for-researchers-that-go-beyond-google-11-jul-2013#/.

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

Writing of “” ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 13581
Total fiction words for the year………… 376559
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7500
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 126610
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 503169

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 626 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, Friday, 8/11

Hey Folks,

I did pretty much nothing writing related today other than working on the handout for the upcoming intensive. Did a lot of stuff outside and around the office.

Man, I’d forgotten how difficult it is to put on one of these things and prepare for it. (grin) But it’s all good.

For one thing, I decided to scrap the nonfiction book idea for now. That will come after the seminar(s) is over, if at all. Right now I just wanna teach a good class.

Today I did a lot of back-and-forth stuff, going from the handout I’m preparing to various stories and novels for examples, and so on. Time-consuming stuff.

Of Interest

See Linda Maye Adams’ “Adventures around the web August 5-9, 2017” at https://lindamayeadams.com/2017/08/11/adventures-around-the-web-august-5-9-2017/. Lot of good stuff there. Take the article on Legal Myths with a grain of salt. I commented on that one in the Journal a few days ago.

For fun, via The Digital Reader, check out “I’m a Google Manufacturing Robot and I Believe…” at https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/im-a-google-manufacturing-robot-and-i-believe-humans-are-biologically-unfit-to-have-jobs-in-tech/. Pretty funny.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: XXXX (170, Journal; 1000, Handout)
So total words for the day: 1170

Writing of “” ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 13581
Total fiction words for the year………… 376559
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6850
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 125960
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 502519

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 623 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)……………………………… 179

The Journal, Thursday, 8/10

Hey Folks,

I don’t remember whether I’ve mentioned this before, but if anyone would like to read “The Fiction Factory” (being the Experience of a Writer who, for Twenty-two Years, has kept a Story-mill Grinding Successfully) by John Milton Edwards, send me an email and I’ll send you a PDF copy. Very interesting stuff. Chock full of gems.

Part of my recent problem (“problem” is too harsh a word) is that my brain is trying to shut down to allow for the new knowledge I’ll absorb during the workshop I’m currently taking from Dean.

Of course, that’s absurd. Nothing I’ve already learned and made my own through application of my fingertips on the keyboard will be replaced or changed. I’ll grow a bit in understanding, but that’s all.

Nothing he says supplants anything he’s said before. Much he says enhances what’s gone before, but nothing detracts. I think that’s why I’ve taken so many of his workshops (10 at this point) and listened to so many of his lectures.

If you’ve never taken a DWS workshop, and if you’d like to try a free one, I still have the URLs for all six weeks of his Originality workshop (he offers it free on YouTube). Email me and I’ll send the whole list. Forty videos in all, probably 7 – 10 minutes each. Please be sure to remind me it’s the Originality video.

Speaking of workshops, I now have 6 hearty souls signed up for Wednesday, 16 August. (That’s next week!) The latest addition was someone I’ve never met or talked with. A friend referred him. Anyway, if you’re local/regional and you want in, there are only a couple of slots left.

If the thing goes even nearly as well as I think it will, I’ve already decided to do it again, probably in October. That session will be on a Saturday. I have a particular writer in mind. I’ll let her pick the Saturday, then announce it.

Well, for the past several weeks I’ve been trying to adapt to my old writing space (The Hovel). I pumped a lot of words through my laptop out there.

I couldn’t quite make it all work out, and finding a nest of wood scorpions out there a couple days ago put a cap on it for me.

What I need is a space, not necessarily that space. This morning, just about the time it got too hot for physical labor, I carried my small desk from The Hovel up to my office. It fit.

My cat has more surface to walk and lounge on, so she’s happy, and it’s comfortable for me. I can switch from prepping workshops, email etc. on this computer to writing on Hal by simply backing up a foot or so and turning right.

I don’t even have to say I’ll see how it goes. It felt right as soon as I put the little desk in place. So The Hovel is once again the storage shed.

I did buy a portable swamp cooler to use out there not long ago. But I’ll transfer it to the camping trailer we use as a spare bedroom for guests. It’s all good.

I’ll spend the balance of today putting together some things for the upcoming workshop. I’ve decided to write a nonfiction book based on the upcoming workshop. I’ll write it first, then deliver the workshop(s), then revise and publish the book sometime probably next year.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see “7 Ways to Support Your Favorite Authors” at http://bookriot.com/2017/08/09/ways-to-support-author/.

Some good comments on “WRITING INTO THE DARK: A New Online Workshop” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/writing-into-the-dark-a-new-online-workshop/#comments/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1880 (580, Journal; 1300, Storytelling with Depth)
So total words for the day: 1880

Writing of “” ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 13581
Total fiction words for the year………… 376559
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5680
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 124790
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 501349

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 622 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)……………………………… 179

The Journal, Thursday, 8/3

Hey Folks,

Well, the curator giveth and the curator taketh away. One of the bundles my work was going to be in was deleted by the curator. I think maybe he scheduled it too soon (August 15). Anyway…

Topic: Creating .epub and .mobi Files… Uh, No

In “Of Interest” today, Nate Hoffelder (The Digital Reader) mentions that Amazon has released a Kindle Create file creation tool as an add-in for Microsoft Word.

He goes on awhile too about creating .epub files, for which there are various programs.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t understand why this would matter, ever, to a writer. Even when I was eformatting for other folks, I did all the formatting in Microsoft Word. I’ve never created a .mobi (Kindle) or .epub (everything else) file.

When I upload my MS Word document to Draft2Digital, D2D automatically generates a clean, validated .epub file and a clean .mobi (Kindle) file that I can use any way I like. In fact, that .epub file is the one I upload to BundleRabbit.

The fact that you can upload your .doc or .docx file to D2D is exactly why I wonder why ANYbody in this day and age would opt NOT to publish to ebooks as well as paper.

Yes, I DO understand that if you create your own .epub and .mobi files manually, you can control more of the formatting, etc. Like adding drop caps, etc.

But I also know that on most e-readers, final formatting is up to the reader. So all the hours the “writer” (turned “formatter”) spent formatting his .epub or .mobi file can be negated in half a heartbeat. Dropcaps gone. Orientation changed. Font faces and sizes changed.

Besides, I’d rather spend those hours writing. Or, you know, rolling a sheet of paper into a cone and poking myself in the eye.

If anyone out there knows what I’m missing (i.e., a good reason to spend time creating .epub and/or .mobi files), please let me know.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little early this morning. Even after doing the email and Facebook thing (and writing the above), I turned to the novel for the first session at 3:30 a.m.

Well, this is gonna be one of those books. I wrote most of a new chapter, then just stopped. There were a few interruptions, but I’m used to those. I can be interrupted, take a few minutes to an hour or longer off, and come right back to the novel and pick up as if I’d never left.

But not this morning. What I wrote this morning wasn’t right. Now, this isn’t me reading it and being critical. This is my subconscious, as I’m writing, saying I’m not getting the right words on the page. Or maybe not in the right order.

So I’ll move what I wrote this morning to the end, put it in the “Cuts” section, and make another run at it in a little while.

Nope. The whole time I’ve had in the back of my mind that this would be a novel. It isn’t. It’s about one event. It’s a short story.

Oh well.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The joys of volunteering for Distributed Proofreaders” at https://teleread.org/2017/08/02/the-joys-of-volunteering-for-distributed-proofreaders/. Just in case it’s your cuppa tea.

Via The Digital Reader, “Kindle Create Add-in for Microsoft Word Released” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/08/02/kindle-create-add-microsoft-word-released/. Note that both tools are currently in Beta (testing) phase.

Fiction Words: 2389
Nonfiction Words: 580 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2969

Writing of “Pancho & Lefty: An Alternate Ending” (short story)

Day 1…… 2738 words. Total words to date…… 2738
Day 2…… 1975 words. Total words to date…… 4713
Day 3…… 2389 words. Total words to date…… 7102 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 8220
Total fiction words for the year………… 371198
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1590
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 120700
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 491898

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 616 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)……………………………… 179

The Journal, Thursday, 7/20

Hey Folks,

I’m so excited about this first bit I can barely breathe. Truly a drop-the-mic moment.

Via The Digital Reader (Thanks, Nate!) you can now download and read — FREE — a huge archive of Amazing Stories magazines. They are available in several formats, and both Kindle and PDF downloaded quickly for me.

If you like SF, this is a treasure trove. If you want to study masterful writers, this is an atomic treasure trove.

(And please, if you think you have to want to write SF to learn from masterful SF writers, you shouldn’t have access to sharp objects.)

To take advantage of this incredible opportunity, visit Open Culture at http://www.openculture.com/2017/07/a-huge-archive-of-amazing-stories-the-worlds-oldest-longest-running-science-fiction-magazine-since-1926.html.

***

In response to Dean’s recent comment that he tossed out about 3,000 words on his current WIP, a writer said he’d started a few ideas but they soon ran out of steam, that they didn’t interest him.

That seemed really familiar to me. That’s exactly what happened to me earlier this month. So, he said, he set them all aside.

He mentioned that in addition to the “character with a problem in a setting” starter, he now relies on something called Storymatic for ideas (see “Of Interest” below).

The guy went to his Storymatic deck of cards, drew two or three, and started writing. (This reminds me of Dean’s penchant for crashing two half-titles together to begin a story.)

I mention this only because I wonder what he’ll do with the story openings he’s already written.

When I finally started writing again, I just went back to the openings I wrote earlier this month, opened one, and made up my mind to finish it. Basically, ever since then, my mantra has been “write the next sentence.”

The story itself interests me somewhat, but I’m still not excited about it. I don’t look forward to getting back to it.

So I’ll be interested to see how this turns out.

I’m a little conflicted. I like adhering to Heinlein’s Rules, and Rule 2 is “You must finish what you write.” I’m certain that isn’t a hard, fast rule so much as a stringent guideline.

But I have a feeling the more times you start and then abandon a story, the easier it gets for the conscious mind to creep in and find a reason to abandon the next one.

That’s the main reason I’m still writing my WIP. That and the bonafide fact that I can’t possibly know what might excite some reader.

I use all the techniques I’ve learned, but beyond that I let the chips fall where they may.

Today, and Writing

I moved out to the Hovel early at around 7:30. Did some cycling to get back into the story, and by 9 I’d written only about 1000 words.

I have a feeling this isn’t one of those novels in which things suddenly break loose and it runs. At least not until it nears the end.

Until then, probably I’ll spend a lot of time piecing together a patchwork of scenes. I’ll have to remind myself to trust my subconscious even when it seems to want to write something that isn’t apparently pertinent.

An incredible day of writing for me, mostly in 15 and 20 minute snippets with a couple of hour-long sessions tossed in.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you’re one who has trouble coming up with ideas, consider Storymatic. You can read about it at https://thestorymatic.com/products/the-storymatic-classic/.

Fiction Words: 4913
Nonfiction Words: 580 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 5493

Writing of Graham’s Road (tentative title, novel or novella)

Words brought forward…… 1070
Day 1…… 3012 words. Total words to date…… 4082
Day 2…… 2675 words. Total words to date…… 6757
Day 3…… 2181 words. Total words to date…… 8938
Day 4…… 4913 words. Total words to date…… 13851

Total fiction words for the month……… 17669
Total fiction words for the year………… 355626
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8510
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 116340
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 471966

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 602 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 179

The Journal, Tuesday, 7/18

Hey Folks,

If you aren’t distributing through Draft2Digital.com (D2D) yet, here’s another reason to do so.

I received an email this morning saying D2D has partnered with Findaway Voices to provide audio books starting, actually, today.

To read about this innovation, visit https://draft2digital.com/blog/d2d-partners-with-findaway-voices-to-provide-an-alternative-to-acx-starting-7182017/.

Of special note, if you use Findaway Voices via D2D, the former even waives their normal $49 admin fee. Worth checking out. Best of all, it gives readers one more way to find your work, and it gives you one more trickling stream of income.

Today, and Writing

I did little or nothing but reading and researching the stuff in “of Interest” below during the first few hours of the day.

I did get a pretty decent photo of the thumbnail moon early this morning and post it to Facebook. You can see that on my page at https://www.facebook.com/harvey.stanbrough/. Worth the effort if you like pictures of Miss Luna.

Went to the grocery at around 7. Then back to check Facebook, email, etc. Mowed part of the yard (the tall part) and didn’t get to the Hovel until after noon.

Man, this story is teaching me what Dean means when he says a novel is “twisted.” Whew!

A pretty good day of writing, though I didn’t hit my daily goal. Just got started too late. But I’ll take it.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see “Neo: A Word Processor for Authors” at http://www.hughhowey.com/neo-a-word-processor-for-authors/. Even though Neo is a dream for now, there are some gems in the article and in the comments.

If you’re looking for a distraction-free text editor, check out “7 Distraction-Free Writing Environments for Authors” at https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/07/7-distraction-free-writing-environments-for-authors/.

For those of you with WordPress websites, also via The Digital Reader, see “Four things I learned at WordCamp DC” at http://valiantchickendigital.com/blog/four-things-learned-wordcamp-dc/.

See Dean’s “Novel Three: Day One” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/novel-three-day-one/.

I haven’t fully understood it yet, but take a look at “Digital marketing scales…” from Mike Shatzkin via The Passive Voice at http://www.idealog.com/blog/digital-marketing-scales-create-new-opportunities-capable-publishers/.

Fiction Words: 2675
Nonfiction Words: 320 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2995

Writing of Graham’s Road (tentative title, novel or novella)

Words brought forward…… 1070
Day 1…… 3012 words. Total words to date…… 4082
Day 2…… 2675 words. Total words to date…… 6757

Total fiction words for the month……… 10575
Total fiction words for the year………… 348532
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7530
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 115360
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 463892

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 600 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 179

The Journal, Friday, 7/14

Hey Folks,

Probably another full day of editing in my camp today. Then that will be behind me and I’ll turn my hand back to fiction.

Topic: POV—It Belongs to the Character, Not the Writer

This is massively important.

Summed into one sentence, Everything in every setting in your story or novel must be described through the POV character’s senses and flavored with the POV character’s opinions of the various aspects of that setting.

The POV character’s description of a setting enables the reader to see (hear, smell, taste, feel) it. The POV character’s OPINION of that setting brings it to life.

Combined, the POV character’s description of the setting and his opinions of that setting ground the reader in your story.

When the writer intrudes, inserting something himself rather than filtering it through the POV character, the passage often feels external to the story.

That’s because it is. It’s boring, uninteresting, and most often called an info dump. Most often, writers make such insertions to educate the reader, bring in back story, etc.

And every time they do, it’s unnecessary. Every time, that passage can be deleted without adversely affecting the story.

This is a master’s level difference in narration that took a long while (and a few hundred thousand words of fiction writing) to sink in for me, especially that “opinion” part.

I still practice it, and the most-often heard comment I get on my stories is, “I felt like I was there with the character.”

To make it easier, here are a couple of examples. The setting in both is a private library in a mansion in which the owner occasionally smokes a pipe. In an actual story, there would be more to it, but I think these will suffice as basic examples.

POV Character 1

The door squealed on its hinges as it opened. A couch and two wingback chairs came into view, both upholstered in a dank, forbidding, dark-brown leather. A bear skin rug glared menacingly up at me. Dark wooden shelves covered every wall from floor to ceiling. They were tight, and crammed full of books.

The dim, recessed lighting coupled with the stench of tobacco smoke only enhanced my impending sense of doom. The poor sap probably died just to escape the necessity of ever again entering this room.

POV Character 2

The door swung open easily, the hinges announcing me as if to invite me in. A couch and two wingback chairs came into view, both upholstered in a warm, chocolate brown. The shelves beyond were impressive, and economically spaced to house a voluminous collection of books.

The room was subtly, quietly lit with recessed lighting and aromatic, sweetly scented with a hint of black cherry pipe smoke. This must have been the decedent’s favorite room in the house.

Both POV characters provide the same description of the setting, but each has a very different opinion of the aspects of that setting.

I hope this helps.

Today, and Writing

I knew going in there would be no writing today unless a story insisted. I won’t finish the edit today either, but I’ll finish it tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice and from the Better Novel Project, see “How to Write a Fight Scene (in 11 Steps)” at http://www.betternovelproject.com/blog/fight-scene/. I was happy to see that apparently I’ve been doing it right for awhile now. (grin)

From Linda Maye Adams, several interesting items in her Around the Web post at https://lindamayeadams.com/2017/07/14/this-week-around-the-web-july-9-14-2017/, including one on an attractive looking course for writers. It costs less than many books, so I spent the $22. I’ll report later. UPDATE: I checked it out. It seems term-ridden. Not really of much use to me, but I encourage you to at least check out the courses. Maybe they’ll be right for you.

Via The Digital Reader, Bookbaby just published the results of a survey on self-publishing. You have to give them your contact information to download it at https://www.bookbaby.com/free-guide/official-self-publishing-survey-results/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 650 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 650

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 4888
Total fiction words for the year………… 342845
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6290
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 114120
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 456965

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 596 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 179

The Journal, Monday, 7/10

Hey Folks,

This is important, so it goes up front.

Just in case you happen across “How To Easily Proofread And Edit Your Own eBook” (by The Digital Reader), IMHO there’s only one piece of valid advice in the whole article: Read Your Work Aloud.

Everything else there either lets someone else into your work or won’t work.

Topic: What a Writer Needs, Post-Story

You need a good first reader. By “good” I mean someone who enjoys your work, but someone who will also point out four things: misspellings, wrong words, inconsistencies, and any place where he or she feels “kicked out” of the story or otherwise confused.

A good first reader also is very seldom a writer. You don’t want opinions on “what I would have done.” From a first reader, you want only what I listed above. Nothing else.

If you read your work aloud (and allow yourself to touch the mss here and there as you do so) you’re being your own first reader.

After that, trust yourself and publish it.

If something’s still twingeing that little voice in your head about the story, you might also send it to a good copyeditor. In this case, by “good” I mean knowledgeable but non-intrusive. (Using a copyeditor is an especially good idea if you don’t have a good first reader.)

But avoid “story” editors and “developmental” editors and “critique groups” etc. literally like you would avoid the plague. Seriously. Don’t let anyone (especially other writers) into your work.

Strictly FYI (this is not an advertisement), I am also a copyeditor. You can see what I do at http://harveystanbrough.com/copyediting/. If I can help, email me.

* * *

Well, I have edits coming in. I just sent one out a couple days ago. I received one this morning, I have a promise for another, and I’m kind of assuming a third.

That’s okay. In fact, it’s good. It’s helping me refine my schedule. Or maybe start a schedule again.

One, I need to climb back up on Heinlein’s Rules. I put myself out there as an HR “adherent” but I haven’t been adhering lately even to Rule 1: You Must Write. My plan is for that to change today, with or without the “in public” part. Actually, I’ve been writing a bit. More on that below.

When I have an edit, I’ll work on that from the time I get up until my wife heads off to work. Then a transition break, then writing fiction.

When I finish anything during the day, I’ll create a cover, promo doc etc. and publish it. Then, if there’s time left in the day, I’ll return to the edit.

Today, and Writing

This morning I did the usual email and Facebook stuff. That will change in coming days too when I have an edit in the in-box. Then I’ll do the email/FB stuff during breaks.

So starting an edit way late at 6 a.m., then on to writing at around 9 a.m.

I started writing at 10. Wrote what I thought was a good opening, but it fizzled.

That’s happened a couple of times in the past couple of days. I get through the opening and at some point the story just doesn’t seem to matter to me anymore.

Don’t be concerned. I’m just whining. I’ll get over it.

I really need to figure this out.

Anyway, I wrote the words in those openings, so I’m counting them. I’ve gone through and revised the numbers on the last two posts to reflect those openings and numbers.

I’ll keep plugging. Maybe something will take soon.

See you then.

Of Interest

If you’re bent that way, check out The Somnium Project at https://somniumproject.wordpress.com/. “Somnium” has been called the first-ever science fiction story.

If you’re a verbivore, check out “More Than 600 New Words, Phrases, and Senses…” at http://www.infodocket.com/2017/06/30/600-new-words-phrases-and-senses-added-to-oxford-english-dictionary-june-2017-update/. Scroll down on that page for the New Words List and other interesting links.

Fiction Words: 1070
Nonfiction Words: 650 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1720

Writing of OPENING for “Graham’s Road” (yes, Linda Maye, from your sign)

Day 1…… 1070 words. Total words to date…… 1070 (fizzled)

(All of the numbers below are revised to reflect totals from 8, 9, and 10 July.)

Total fiction words for the month……… 4888
Total fiction words for the year………… 342845
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5050
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 112880
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 455725

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 592 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 179

The Journal, Thursday, 6/29

Hey Folks,

I love to enter a room to find most common sense has fled. The absence makes me feel superior.

Yeah, I need to stay away from Facebook more. (grin)

Hey, both Christopher Ridge (http://creaturecritter.blogspot.com/) and Linda Maye Adams (http://lindamayeadams.com) are taking on a major writing challenge at the moment. Visit their websites to follow along and support their efforts.

I’ve also added a link to their pages on my main website under Readers’ Resources.

Last night my brain was full and I thought I was finished with website stuff. Then I sat down and hovered my cursor over a book cover on my Wes Crowley Series page (under Books) and found the URL still pointed to StoneThread Publishing.

So I revised the page, uploaded the covers and redirected them to the appropriate book pages on the main site. NOW I think I’m finished. You know. Mostly.

While I was browsing this morning, I came across a comment on the article in “Of Interest.” It prompted a comment of my own and the topic for today.

Topic: The Purpose of Punctuation

First, punctuation is not meant to be noticed. Its sole purpose is to direct, subliminally, the reading of the work. In the comment I mentioned above, the guy wrote that if punctuation draws attention from the text that’s a good thing.

What? How is that possibly a good thing?

Reader thought and any ensuing water-cooler conversation should be about the story, not the punctuation (or capitalization or odd spellings or the lack of or inclusion of quotation marks, etc.).

Readers noticing and commenting on punctuation is like casual observers standing around a beautiful mansion and commenting on the type of nails the carpenter used.

Words and punctuation are tools, nothing more.

As to punctuation, the comma forces a short pause, the semicolon and em-dash force a medium-length pause, and the colon and other end punctuation force a long pause.

And yes, I mean they “force” pauses. Ever try to read through a mark of punctuation? And that pause thing is why the em-dash follows a list that introduces a sentence but the colon follows a sentence that introduces a list.

The em dash (a medium pause) enables the reader to more quickly get to the reason for the list. In the other construction, the colon is fulfilling its role as end (long pause) punctuation. The longer pause builds drama.

Any gratuitous, unnecessary use of em dashes or any other punctuation, and any odd combination of marks (other than the interrobang) is distracting and annoying to most readers.

They’ll put the book aside and find something more enjoyable to do, like poking their eyes with a stick. And most of them won’t even know why they’re annoyed.

Today, and Writing

I started the day with a very brief sojourn on Facebook. And email.

I did have one request for the folder/promo file I put together for each publication.

Then I remembered I covered that in The Essentials of Digital Publishing. But that part needed to be updated anyway.

So I wrote “A Fact Sheet Toward Efficiency in Epublishing” and posted it on the Free Stuff page. (You can get it free at http://harveystanbrough.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/A-Fact-Sheet-Toward-Efficiency-in-Epublishing.pdf.)

It’s 6:30, time for a break. Then I’ll see whether I have anymore deck clearing to do or maybe start writing.

Well, still some to do on the website. Behind the scenes stuff. I save the .txt version of all pages in a folder. In case of a crash, I have everything I need to rebuild. So I’m doing that now.

Got finished with all of that finally, then went to the store.

Gearing up to writing. It’s really cool, feeling the urge to write build in me.

I’m going to work on a friend’s website for the rest of today, then begin my new challenge tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

If you’re bored and a wordophile, you might check out Nate Hoffelder’s “On Standard eBooks’ ‘Light Modernization'” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/28/standard-ebooks-light-modernization/. The guy at Standard Ebooks commented to set some things straight.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1220 (670 Journal) + 550 Fact Sheet
So total words for the day: 1220

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 17410
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 107390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 445347

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 581 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Tuesday, 6/27

Hey Folks,

Wow, there sure are a lot of blank spaces on my spreadsheet where there should be fiction numbers.

I don’t imagine that bothers you a lot since they’re my goose eggs and not yours. But just in case, I can promise you they’re going to change pretty soon. (grin)

Probably in a big way.

What follows is a bit of personal rambling, which is why it isn’t preceded by the word “topic.”

I might have mentioned here before an old Marine Corps acquaintance of mine. I won’t mention his name here. It wouldn’t mean anything to you, and with any luck at all he’s changed.

The guy was a corporal when I was a young PFC. He was my first NCO, and about the first one I met outside of boot camp.

But the guy was a head. (That’s what we called them back then.) He smoked dope. A lot.

That’s the only thing the guy ever introduced me to by the way of leadership. I looked up to him, and that’s what he offered me. Literally.

And yeah, I took him up on it. Until I realized I couldn’t function as well as I did otherwise while my head was melting. I like having a clear mind. Fortunately, I was smart enough to say No Thanks after the first couple of times.

I only mention that because I got back in touch with him around 3 years ago. About the time I was launching all this writing stuff seriously.

Excited, I told him all about Heinlein’s Rules and writing off into the dark. I told him eventually I hoped to write a novel in six months or less, and to turn out two or more every year thereafter. Along with the occasional short story when a tale didn’t want to stretch into a novel.

In short, he said it was impossible. That I’d burn out. That even trying it would destroy me.

I wonder what might have happened if I’d come away from my early Marine Corps experience actually trusting the guidance of that guy? What might I have been today if I had learned early on that it was better to listen to him than not?

Wow.

Anyway, I didn’t. And this year, if I weren’t messing about with challenges and the like, I’d have a novel a month made in the shade. I might even get close to two a month if I wanted to.

Still, I’m glad he and I met all those years ago. After all, who knows where I might be and what I might have accomplished if I hadn’t learned from him, inadvertently, to think and decide for myself?

And I actually like to think he’s one of the reasons I get so annoyed at “writing instructors” who pass along really bad advice. Not just the clichéd stuff, but maybe especially the clichéd stuff.

Maybe he’s one of the reasons, too, that I’m so stubborn about sharing what I’ve learned and know to be true. Especially the stuff that goes against conventional “wisdom” but actually works.

Odd thing, this Life Trip. Sure glad I get to tag along with the likes of you.

Today, and Writing

Yesterday, I wound up formatting everything, then created nine covers. I still need pics for three short stories, but everything else is done.

Today I’ll upload what I did yesterday to my distributors and BundleRabbit, then work to find a few more cover pics. Of course, all of that is after I get back from delivering Bryan to Tucson.

Around 5, getting Bryan up and ready to go. We’ll leave about 6 for Tucson.

I got back about 8:30 and turned-to, updating my main website. (Swing by and let me know what you think.)

I’ll also be tweaking it to implement some of Nate Hoffelder’s recommendations over the next week or so, but it’s mostly finished now.

Then I walked down the lane, clippers in hand, trimming overhanging mesquite tree limbs back. By the time I got back I thought sure it was 110 out there. It was only 96. I’ve gotten to where anything over 90 is rough on me I guess. Sigh.

Anyway, it’s almost 12:30 now. I’m gonna distribute the stories I completed covers for yesterday and then see what the rest of the day holds.

Well, publishing is a thoroughly disgusting process. I started around 1:30, uploading to D2D. Less than a half-hour later I was done with that part.

Then I went to Amazon. One book loaded cleanly. All the others encountered an “error,” asked me to try again later, then let me refresh the page, which took me back to the previous page. There they processed my upload again, etc. Sigh. Truly annoying.

When I do the challenge, I might well just not publish the stories that result. I love writing, but I’m really close to giving up on the idea of publishing them anyplace but my websites.

Anyway, I’m gonna post this, then go back to trudge through Amazon some more. Oh, and then BundleRabbit.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

If I may slip back into the personal for a moment, this film clip (about 25 minutes) should be mandatory viewing for any who call themselves Americans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oUtJxE4sjs. I especially believe it should be part of every college orientation session.

I recommend “Bookselling in the Age of Amazon” along with Passive Guy’s take on it. See http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/06/bookselling-in-the-age-of-amazon/.

If you write, typos are a continual and unavoidable nuisance. Check out these typos from famous authors’ works: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2017/jun/16/misprint-the-legends-famous-typos-from-james-joyce-to-jk-rowling/. (Thanks, Gary.)

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

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15630
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 105610
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 443567

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 579 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176