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, Monday, 6/26

Hey Folks,

Wow. I could post this right now and chances are you’d find value in it. Just check out today’s “Of Interest” to see what I mean. There’s a lot there.

***

By the way, I requested and received a “free website critique” of my main website from Nate Hoffelder.

In a word, the guy’s legit. He’s also super helpful. My website doesn’t suck, but (to continue the analogy) he pointed out a few places where vacuum leaks exist or are forming. So I’ll take care of those over the next week or so.

So once again I encourage you to visit The Digital Reader at https://the-digital-reader.com/. Not only for his usually useful notes on the publishing industry, but for his services.

***

For those following the Saga of Grandson Bryan, he’s safely ensconsed at my house again. I’ll drive him to Tucson early on Tuesday morning and he’ll begin his training with Job Corps and then his new life. The older I get (seemingly day by day) the more I envy the excitement of young people experiencing new discoveries.

But new discoveries are neither limited to the young, nor are we more-mature folks banned from them. With this chapter of his and my life closing, two new doors also are opening.

Bryan will set off in wide-eyed wonder on his life’s journey, and I’ll begin the new challenge I’ve been hawking here for awhile.

Topic: Goals, Life Rolls and Establishing Routines

Stealing a bit of thunder from the “Today, and Writing” section, there’s something to be said for the interaction of goals, life rolls and establishing routines.

For example, now that my current life roll has almost come to a close, I’m clearing the decks to prep for the upcoming challenge.

If I can finish that prep work today, the current plan is to begin the challenge tomorrow. If this effort carries through Tuesday, I’ll begin the challenge on Wednesday.

But the disruption of this life roll has also brought a new insight. Why not use the current challenge not only to reach a desired goal, but to establish a new routine?

So no matter when I begin the challenge, I’ve decided not to limit it to a set timeframe.

I still have to write a novel for July, but I also want to write a complete short story every day through at least July 31. No matter when I start.

I once logged a 26-hour workday in the oilfields of New Mexico in a single 24-hour day. So why can’t I expand “Stories from July” to span June 27 or 28 through July 31?

And by July 31, if I have a routine down, I see no reason to voluntarily stop at that point, to voluntarily end the streak.

Think about it: It’s all well and good to write 31 stories in 31 calendar days from July 1 through July 31 and then publish Stories from July.

But why not continue through August 31? Or September 30? You see where I’m going.

And I’ve come to realize that’s the real purpose behind this goal and this challenge: to continue in my training (or retraining) as a writer by establishing a routine.

Certainly the short stories and collections and novels will be a pleasing by-product (to some readers) of that training, but nothing more than that.

Carving out time to write is important. Writing is important. But the stories themselves are not important in the slightest. They’re something to enjoy and let go.

So what’s the importance of establishing a routine?

The best, most deeply imbedded routines are those that can be interrupted by life rolls but to which you return automatically when the life roll ends. You know, instead of erratically “starting over” each time.

If I can do that, maybe I’ll emerge feeling like a “real” writer. We’ll see. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Today, and probably the balance of tomorrow, I’m continuing to clear the decks for my challenge. The websites are done, all but minor tweaks. So I’ll finally design the covers and other promo materials for my 10 unpublished short stories, a novel and a novella.

Then I’ll publish them, then upload covers to the website, create new pages on the website for the novel and novella, etc.

UPDATE: As of 11:30, I finished formatting the documents and writing promo documents for them. Now I only have to find the cover pics, create the covers, and distribute them. Piece’a cake, amIright? (grin)

By 1:30, I identified pics for the novel, novella, and 7 of the short stories. I have a feeling the last three will have to wait awhile.

It’s almost 3 so I’m gonna post this. I have 4 covers done. I’ll do at least one more today.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Check out “Why Indie Authors’ Websites Need to Evolve Over Time” at http://selfpublishingadvice.org/is-it-time-to-evolve-your-author-website/.

More importantly, see “US Copyright Office recommends sweeping, welcome changes to America’s DRM laws” at http://boingboing.net/2017/06/23/us-copyright-office-recommends.html/. (I personally NEVER use DRM and recommend strongly against it.)

And see “Hoopla Digital and HarperCollins Disrupt Library E-Lending” at https://copyrightandtechnology.com/2017/06/25/hoopla-digital-and-harpercollins-disrupt-library-e-lending/.

From Linda Adams via email, if you’re a veteran and you’d like to start your own business (publishing, anyone?) check out “VetToCEO – Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Program” at http://www.vettoceo.org/.

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

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… 14710
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 104690
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 442647

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 578 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