The Journal, Wednesday, 9/13

Hey Folks,

Not a lot other than reading and writing (very little arithmetic) going on at the old homestead today.

It feels like a do-nothing day, but I don’t want one. Besides, I need that like I need a cliché in my head.

I finally broke down and took my lawn mower in to a repair shop. That and surrounding details and sidetracks ate up the first two working hours of the day.

I started playing at the novel right at 10:30. It’s now almost 1:30 (I’ve done some other little stuff too) and I’ve written barely over 1000 new words.

I had to stop and check the total word count because I knew I hadn’t written much. I was actually surprised to see it was over 1000 words. My focus has just been scattered a bit thus far today. (For a reason, see “Of Interest.”)

It will be interesting (to me) to see what happens for the rest of the day re that focus.

Well, I really thought this would be a small day, but it worked out all right. I also have a great starting point for tomorrow (a jagged edge) and a ball game starting in about 8 minutes (grin). Tonight Cleveland might extend its winning streak to 21 games. That would be history in the league.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, something perhaps “relevant to author promo, website and cover design decisions.” See “Designing for Human Attention” at https://uxplanet.org/designing-for-human-attention-ac0abe3d657d.

If you use Smashwords, see “Smashwords Introduces Global Pricing Control…” at http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/09/global-pricing.html/.

See “The Attitude of a Challenge” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-attitude-of-a-challenge/. Some good notes there re attitude.

For any Facebook users, via The Passive Voice, I read that FB is changing its mission statement. See https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n16/john-lanchester/you-are-the-product.

For some witty wordplay from The Passive Guy, see “Much Ado about Lavender” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/09/much-ado-about-lavender/.

Fiction Words: 3147
Nonfiction Words: 290 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3437

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 26548
Total fiction words for the year………… 406168
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6870
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 143270
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 549438

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 655 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, Monday, 9/11

Hey Folks,

Well, have you guys heard me whine enough?

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

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

***

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

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

***

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

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

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

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

The Journal, Friday, 9/8

Hey Folks,

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

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

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

***

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

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

On the left sidebar

▪ The Donate button
▪ The revised Writers’ Resources

On the right sidebar

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

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

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

Finally to the novel at 11.

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

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

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

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

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

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

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

The Journal, Thursday, 9/7

Hey Folks,

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

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

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

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

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

Onward.

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

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

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

Topic: On Priorities, Goals, et Cetera Ad Nauseam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will the quality of the works change?

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

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

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

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

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

***

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

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

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

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

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

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 649 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/6

Hey Folks,

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

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

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

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

What I saw:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

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

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

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

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

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

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

The Journal, Friday, 9/1

Hey Folks,

Welp, happy Labor Day. Time for me to get to laboring again. (grin)

More Adjustments

Getting three hours per day to write (and writing during that time) shouldn’t be a problem even if it’s in snippets on some days. But it would be better if the time were blocked off.

With the coming cooler weather, I can walk a little later in the day, so that helps. As long as the temp isn’t over about 85 I’m good for a couple of miles.

My previous early rising seems to work out fairly well, so I’ll probably stick with that. Now I need to get in the mindset of writing the first two or three sessions in that early space.

Today and Writing

Rolled out a little late at 4 this morning. I realized last night I’m going to have to try to use my time a little better.

I piddled around this morning with the usual Internet stuff and a game or two of Spider solitaire.

Left for my walk around 7:20 and was done with that before 8.

Welp, around 9 I sat down and started writing. Took about 400 words to find the opening scene. Then I knocked out what will be the first chapter, then stopped for lunch around 11.

The 400 words will now come in Chapter 2 or (probably) 3.

Man, am I rusty or what? (grin) But that’s all right. When words are flowing onto the page at any speed, it’s difficult to think anything’s wrong.

Between 9 and 11 I also put the water on the back yard, then moved it about an hour later. I started a load of laundry, moved it to the dryer and started a second small load.

By the way, my wife does a lot of that stuff too, but she works elsewhere five days a week, so I’d rather she wouldn’t have to do so much when she’s home. So when I say I’m doing laundry, etc. that’s why.

More laundry, more writing, and barely remembered to check my email for stuff for the “Of Interest” section below. The second one, despite the title, is more about book covers than about websites.

I was hoping, honestly, to get a lot more writing done today what with the weekend coming up. What’s more, what I’ve written today might be “just” a short story but it might also be a novel start. We’ll see.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Strictly for a good chuckle, see “7 key things I’ve learnt from a year of blogging” at http://www.martynfiction.com/blogging-2/7-key-things-blogging/. He was at it for a whole year? And he published two books and 50 blog posts? And no results? I am amazed. (grin)

To more serious stuff, via The Passive Voice see “The Typographic Details Behind Typewolf’s Favorite Sites of August 2017” at https://www.typewolf.com/blog/favorite-sites-of-august-2017/.

Fiction Words: 3212
Nonfiction Words: 480 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3692

Writing of “Salvatore” (fiction)

Day 1…… 3212 words. Total words to date…… 3212

Total fiction words for the month……… 3212
Total fiction words for the year………… 382832
Total nonfiction words for the month… 480
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 136880
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 519712

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 643 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, Saturday, 8/26

Hey Folks,

Well, a Saturday. The sun is still a couple hours from coming up as I write this. I’ve done my daily rounds of the Internet, made my usual stops.

If you enjoy a bit of history along with really great photos and some personal insights, check Linda Maye Adams’ blog at http://lindamayeadams.com/2017/08/26/a-veteranwriter-looks-at-history-leesylvania-state-park/.

Over the past few days I’ve started several bits of fiction. Each time I let them go. I’m not sure whether they weren’t working or it was just that I wasn’t in the mood. Probably the latter.

I mean, you don’t have to be in the “mood” to write. You just have to write the next sentence. I didn’t.

Pretty sure when I first backslid off Heinlein’s Rules was back when I decided it was no longer important to have a daily word count goal. That’s the only thing I can figure.

Also I crave writing novels. So lately when something “feels” like it’s going to be a short story, I tend to let it go.

I can feel something welling up, something about to break loose. But recently I’ve been waiting for it rather than sitting down and making it happen.

So there are a few things I need to change.

I already blew my novel-a-month goal when I missed finishing the last one (in July) by one day. So that goal is broken.

But my annual goal to write fifteen novels or novellas this calendar year remains. To do that, I just have to break down what’s left to do, divide it by the number of months/days and get busy.

To reach 15 major fiction works for the year, I have to write 7 more novels or novellas. So if I go with 40,000 words per novel as a base, that means I have to write 280,000 words in just those novels.

So that’s only 70,000 words per month for the remaining 4 months or 2300 words per day for 122 days. And if I hit my previous daily word count of 3000 words per day, in that 122 days I’ll reach 366,000 words, more than enough for the 20 short stories I’d also like to write by the end of the year (see below).

Completely within reach. That will also give me a new daily word count goal. Duh.

I mentioned short stories above. I would like to reach over 200 short stories published by the end of the year. I’m currently still 19 away. (Twenty to cross it into 201, which is the real goal.)

Thing is, writing short stories often leads to writing novels, so maybe I should start with short stories anyway. Doesn’t matter, I suppose. The point is to start somewhere, and then keep going. Just write the next sentence.

My wife mentioned last night that this slump started about the time we got back from our trip to New Mexico to visit a few elderly uncles. One (he’s only 10 years older than I) is on his way out with the big C, and I didn’t even know he was ill. I file that in the Damnit category.

I have some beginner’s knowledge of how the human psyche works, that it most often operates independently of its host’s willpower, what we desire, etc. So all of that slump stuff probably is a consideration. But it’s also an excuse, not a reason.

So onward.

Topic: On Word Count Goals

In case you didn’t read it, James Scott Bell talked about his “secret” of success as a prolific writer recently at the Kill Zone blog. Or maybe in one of his short YouTube videos.

Anyway, the secret, he says, is to have a word count goal. Same thing I used to say. Having a daily word count goal drives me to the computer when nothing else will. That’s how it helps me.

Mr. Bell doesn’t set a daily goal because, he says, when he misses it he beats himself up. (That’s one problem I don’t have, thankfully.)

He sets a weekly goal, then divides it by six to get his daily goal. (Wait for it.)

He feels no pressure re the daily goal, though, because life happens. If he misses his daily goal, he knows he can still reach his weekly goal by making up the words he missed on another day.

Sounds like a good approach to me.

Oh, and he divides by six (not seven) because he takes one day off per week to recharge his batteries.

So there you have it, for whatever it’s worth.

Today and Writing

Philosophical Dud of the Day: I guess it’s all right that I continue calling myself a writer. I do write every day, even if it isn’t always fiction.

Neat sidestep, isn’t it? (grin)

I dropped the “Untitled” whatever it was below. Frankly, I got so wrapped around the wheel “thinking” (oh oh) about it that I paralyzed myself. Critical mind. Easy to do.

So I’m starting fresh. Again.

Around 9:45, off to Sierra Vista to shop for stuff. We’ll see what the rest of the day holds when we get back.

Got back late and then a storm started moving in, so I’m gonna post this. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Today I’m referring to the Kill Zone blog again. PLEASE don’t take everything you read there for gospel. Like any advice from anywhere, take what feels right to you and ignore the rest.

See Dean’s “The Value of a Paperback” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-value-of-a-paperback/.

See James Scott Bell’s “Baloney Advice Writers Should Ignore” at https://killzoneblog.com/2012/10/baloney-advice-writers-should-ignore.html. Notice this is from 2012. The guy is a fount of information if you just spend a little time reading. You can find all of Bell’s posts at https://killzoneblog.com/author/jimbell.

You might also browse Joe Moore’s posts at https://killzoneblog.com/author/admin/.

ALSO SEE “Writing a Novel They Can’t Put Down” at http://knockoutfiction.teachable.com/p/novel/. This is a course in novel writing (from James Scott Bell), and most impressively, you have lifetime access to the materials. I’ll probably take this one myself. After I read one or two of his novels. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 990 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 990

Writing of ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… 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… 14270
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 133390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 513000

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 637 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, 8/25

Hey Folks,

Well, we take our fame where we find it, don’t we? As I posted to Facebook this morning,

Hey, who knew I was still so unpopular along the gulf coast of Texas? I mean it was only the one night of drunken debauchery, pillaging, etc. In the Corps I was “Taz.” Now I’m upgraded to a hurricane? And anyway, shouldn’t that be a himmicane?

***

I started the day by adding universal links to each of my collection covers on my 10-story and 5-story collection pages on my website.

Each of my novels has its own page but that seemed like a lot of work. To do the same thing for my collections I would have had to create 29 new pages on my website.

So now prospective readers can click the cover of a collection to go to a universal link where they will see a larger cover image, a description of the book, and all the venues where it’s carried.

Y’gotta love Draft2Digital and their universal links. (grin) If you aren’t distributing through D2D yet, that’s one great reason to start. You can even add links to the universal link for places where D2D doesn’t distribute.

Wrapped all of that up before 10. But in the process, I discovered I had three collections I hadn’t even displayed on those pages yet. So now everything’s up.

***

I spent much of the rest of the day changing my two Nicolas Z Porter novels over to Harvey Stanbrough (covers and manuscripts) and uploading them to Smashwords, D2D, Amazon and BundleRabbit.

In the midst of that a major storm hit, so interrupted the process a few times. We got a little over a half-inch of rain in about twenty minutes. The attendant lightning lasted for a few hours.

Then I spent the rest of the day reading. Big things coming. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

I love writing about the time period of the Spanish Civil War. Via The Passive Voice, don’t miss this short video: https://youtu.be/_NcrzjPbrMw/.

In case you might get something from it that I obviously missed, see “Why a Party is a Perfect Literary Device” at http://lithub.com/why-a-party-is-a-perfect-literary-device/.

And I loved to see these “9 Reasons Why We All Need Accessible Ebooks” at http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2017/9-reasons-why-we-all-need-accessible-ebooks/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 380 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 380

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… 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… 13280
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 132390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 512010

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 636 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, 8/18

Hey Folks,

Much of what follows is me thinking aloud. If you get something of value from it, good. But mostly it’s me using you as a sounding board. Sorry about that.

Wow. I’ve been at this literary stuff a very long time. And the marketing stuff. Both in-person, glad-handing bookstore managers and sitting for hours at book signings and all that, and the much less costly and smarter electronic marketing.

In fact, after I did some basic math I finally gave up (by and large) on book signings, etc. unless I happened to be speaking at a conference at the same time. From then through now, it’s all been electronic marketing.

The cornerstone of electronic marketing is a personal website. Even Kris Rusch’s book on Discoverability tells you so (see https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NCJL9AG/).

I’ve had a personal website since websites were first a thing, around 1991. I’ve done and continue to do everything else in her book. Yet I’m not a million-seller. You know, yet. (grin)

In a moment of epiphany yesterday, I finally realized what I’m doing wrong.

In the early days, I was a successful (meaning well-nominated) poet and an instructor and an editor. I scribbled a little fiction now and then, but I didn’t become a fiction writer until April 2014 and a novelist until October 2014.

Today I’m still an instructor, a little, and a copyeditor, sometimes, but mostly I’m a fiction writer.

Yet as a holdover from the old days, I’m still devoting my website mostly to other writers. Not readers. Writers. And that’s what I’m doing wrong.

If there’s one truism that stands the test of time, it’s that (with very few exceptions) Writers don’t want to buy your fiction. They want you to buy THEIR fiction.

I’ve said as much to several writers over the years, yet I managed somehow to miss the point myself. Sigh.

If I toted 10 copies of every novel and nonfiction book I’ve written to the next meeting of the regional writers’ group, chances are I’d leave with a small stack of cash, zero nonfiction books, and 260 novels.

Okay, so how do I change my main website from one that’s geared primarily to sell my nonfiction books on writing and my back-burner services as a copy editor to one that actively engages readers who might want to buy my fiction?

I mean, almost all of my fiction is displayed on the main site, but what do I blog about? Nonfiction, how-to-write stuff.

That’s where the epiphany came in. A Writer doesn’t blog about writing techniques. A Writer blogs about his writing. His stories. His novels. His characters.

He also engages the readers.

Maybe he writes a short story every day for a month. Maybe he offers to let them write alternative endings. Maybe he asks them what crime/puzzle/mystery the characters should solve next.

Maybe he starts his own electronic magazine with one original novel and several short stories in each issue. (I know, it’s been done. But so what?)

So I have to give this some thought (he said, just as if he needed something else to do).

First and foremost, it only makes sense that I turn harveystanbrough.com into an author’s website. So that’s a given. After all, that’s the name I write under most of the time. The only question is how.

I also have hstanbrough.com and hestanbrough.com. And I need new covers for most of my nonfiction books (on writing). So maybe as part of the rebranding of that series, I’ll change the nonfiction author’s name to H. Stanbrough.

Then maybe I’ll switch all the “instructor” stuff over to hstanbrough.com. (Yeah, that was gonna be the writing-in-public site but if I do that, it would be better to post it over on the main site.)

The only question re that site would be whether to move this Journal over there too. I like that it’s running every day. I like the streak. But streaks have to break eventually, and really, I don’t post writing-specific advice all that often, do I?

Maybe I’ll just move it over to the main site and revamp it to appeal more to R-E-A-D-E-R-S than writers. I dunno. (shrug)

But back to the main site for a moment: what exactly do readers want from an author’s website?

Any ideas out there? Especially from those of you who have writer-websites? Do you blog about your stories and characters?

One thing I know for sure. It won’t be a site where the only blog post is to announce a new release.

Got a little bit of writing done today. Not much. Now that I’m in the same room with my business computer though, I took the internet off my writing ‘puter again. Maybe that’ll help.

Sure be glad when this funk breaks loose. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “Seven Ways to Bring Characters Together” at https://mythcreants.com/blog/seven-ways-to-bring-characters-together/.

Via Linda Maye Adams, see Joanna Penn and Jerry Jenkins on “Writing Christian Fiction and Success Over a Long Career” at https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/08/14/writing-christian-fiction-long-career-jerry-b-jenkins/.

Fiction Words: 1205
Nonfiction Words: 840 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2045

Writing of “Untitled PI Story” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205

Total fiction words for the month……… 14786
Total fiction words for the year………… 377764
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9610
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 128720
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 506484

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 630 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