The Journal, Friday, November 17

Hey Folks, Topic: On Describing Setting How much description in setting is “too much”? Here’s a rule of thumb: If the description is something you, the author, are adding, it’s too much; you’ll bore the reader to death. If it’s the POV character’s opinion of the setting that he absorbed through his own physical senses, it will be just right and the reader will be hooked. Every character (like every human) has a unique POV that is determined by his or her physical senses (including any limitations or enhancements of those senses) and filtered through his or her past experiences. … Read more

The Journal, Thursday, November 16

Hey Folks, Okay, so my challenge is a copycat of Dean’s current short-term effort. UPDATE: Not a copycat, not quite. My short-term challenge is at least one short story per day for the rest of November. If I miss one day, my challenge is busted. Dean’s challenge apparently was to write 20 short stories in the last 20 days of November. Not quite the same thing as having to write one per day. If he misses a day, he can simply make it up later. (See “Of Interest” below.) In my case, I’m doing this primarily to jumpstart my writing … Read more

The Journal, Wednesday, November 15

Hey Folks, I started the day (and this Journal) with a brief write-up about an interview with Andy Weir, best-selling author of The Martian and now Artemis. Some of his responses in the interview put me in mind of the film Idiocracy. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend it. More of the world that’s conveyed in it becomes real every day. But the write-up sounded curmudgeonly even to me, so I replaced it with this. Frankly, I thought the guy sounded like a moron, and I decided I probably don’t want to risk buying his books. But you … Read more

The Journal, Tuesday, November 14

Hey Folks, Well, again today I’m not going to publish my upcoming challenge. Frankly, I’m not certain yet what form it will take. For the new folks who’ve recently joined us here on the Journal, welcome. To bring you up to speed, I’ve been a very prolific writer (by most standards) but have experienced something of a slump off and on for the past few months. This morning, like a jolt of electricity, I realized the reason for the slump. More on that in a bit. The last story I finished was a novel titled Loose Ends. That was in … Read more

The Journal, Monday, November 13

Hey Folks, Well, this should be an interesting week. This is a convergence week for me, when several different events, sequences, and changes are coming together to consume blocks of time. I went to Benson this morning to renew my driver’s license and combined that with a shopping trip to settle our cupboard and refrigerator accounts after this past weekend. By the time that and a couple other necessary chores were done, that was the morning. It’s now approaching noon. On Wednesday morning, I have to head for Sierra Vista (Fort Huachuca) to renew my military ID card, and while … Read more

The Journal, Sunday, November 12

Hey Folks, Well, the last day of the visit of two of my sons, their wives, and five grandchildren (3 knights-in-training, 2 warrior princesses). It’s been something akin to exhausting, but also great fun watching the cousins run and romp and play together. On the adult side, we’ve all shared good visits, mixing and matching and drifting among each other. Today will be a day of final visits and hasta-la-laters, then laundry etc. to move back toward a semblance of normalcy. For what’s left of the day, I’ll watch Casablanca for the billionth time (and enjoy it). Tomorrow, my life … Read more

The Journal, Saturday, November 11

Hey Folks, To all the veterans out there and the spouses who support them, I hope you have an enjoyable and thoughtful Veterans Day. Or as we in the Marine Corps call it, Hangover Day. (grin) I’ll be back with regular, longer posts beginning on Monday, so thanks for hanging in there with me. It’s been something around 3 years since I started this, and most of you have been here from the beginning. Then I broke the streak (not sure how long it even was) and started again almost two years ago. In 16 more days, this blog will … Read more

The Journal, Friday, November 10

Hey Folks, This is mostly a placeholder post, but with some good stuff in “Of Interest.” It’s early morning and cold (well, chilly at 40°). Let the ladies outside for awhile since they’ll spend most of my sons’ visit hiding under the bed. Anyway, posts for today, tomorrow and Sunday probably will be pretty sparse. Thanks for hanging in there. Back tomorrow. Of Interest I’ve been remiss recently in posting items of interest from James Scott Bell. See “Be Productive, Persistent, and Professional” at I also recommend “What is Originality?” at See “Adventures Around The Web November 4-10, … Read more

The Journal, Thursday, November 9

Hey Folks, Tomorrow marks the 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Happy Birthday and Semper Fi to any Marines out there. Sometime tomorrow, I’ll get off by myself and drink a toast (probably a shot of Beam Devil’s Cut) to those brothers and sisters who are no longer with us. To those who are still around, May your days be vibrant, your evenings calm, your heart safe and warm at home. Semper Fi *** The air is damp and chilly this morning. Probably around 40-some degrees, but damp so it feels colder. We got 3/10ths of an inch … Read more

The Journal, Wednesday, November 8

Hey Folks, Well, I believe (knock on wood) the worst of the cigar madness is behind me. Something in my mind sort of snapped late yesterday, leading to a lot more clarity than I’ve enjoyed in a while. I hope it stays that way. *** I wrote for a little while, just some dialogue between two wise guys over a poker hand, something to get my hand in. One wise guy is complaining that his associates think he doesn’t understand the concept of LOL all that well. The other asks him for an example. The first one says, “Oh. Well, … Read more