The Journal, Saturday, June 30

Hey Folks, Adios, Junio! Dean’s post on what he learned from other writers (see “Of Interest”) started me thinking about influences on my own writing and my life as a writer. I’ll post more about those influences here in other posts, but for today, the six most important life-changing lessons I’ve learned from Dean and Kris over the years (counted down): 6. Heinlein’s Rules, 5. The importance of grounding the reader, 4. Use all five of the POV character’s physical senses and his/her opinion of the setting, 3. Put time in the chair, 2. Keep Coming Back, and (drum roll, … Read more

The Journal, Friday, June 29

Hey Folks, Only two days left before my new daily word count goal officially begins, today and tomorrow. I’m not even going to begin the “streak” portion of it until after I have the minor surgery to replace my pacemaker. Until then, the plan is to write as much as I can, tempered by the copyedit I’m currently doing. If you couldn’t tell, I’m excited about this. (grin) Meeting the new daily goal will be difficult while I have other professional things to do. So it’s exciting in that way. And when I don’t have other professional things going on, … Read more

The Journal, Thursday, June 28

Hey Folks, All right. For the past few days I’ve been practicing, putting together new habits. Today I’m ready to announce my new daily word-count writing goal. I picked a number that is easily attainable for me when I don’t have anything else professional going on, like copyediting, teaching, etc. When those things are going on, the number is a stretch. But it’s still attainable. Beginning on July 1 and running through June 30, 2019, my daily word count goal will be to write 2000 words of publishable fiction per day. Yesterday I exceeded that goal slightly. That’s fine. And … Read more

The Journal, Wednesday, June 27

Hey Folks, Long post today. Below is the topic I’ve been promising. Dean’s back, sort of, with a post that proves he’s human. You’ll see it below in “Of Interest.” You all know Heinlein’s Rules. (To get an annotated copy, Click Here. Following Heinlein’s Rules is like riding a bicycle. Eventually, you’re going to fall off. And the only thing to do is climb back on. Topic: Take Your Time This is a bit of advice I’ve never heard specifically from any writing instructor. The nearest even good writing instructors come is when they say your readers can’t see what’s … Read more

The Journal, Tuesday, June 26

Hey Folks, Nothing really to report today. I took too many days off (got used to it). I’m glad I started working toward next month a little early. So this is mostly to send you the “Of Interest” stuff below. See you soon. ​ Of Interest See Sue Coletta’s “9 Ways To Build Suspense ~ Fiction Writing” at See Sue Coletta’s “Pinch Points In Fiction Writing” at See Sue Coletta’s “How To Craft A One-Page Synopsis Using Story Beats” at Fiction Words: 1816 Nonfiction Words: 90 (Journal) So total words for the day: 1906 Writing of Stern … Read more

The Journal, Monday, June 25

Hey Folks, Not a lot to report today, but at least I’m writing fiction again. After such a long layoff, it feels great. Awhile back I started my 9th Pulp detective novel. I’ll probably push through from here and finish it first, then either back to something else or forward to something new. My “novel goal” at the moment is to have two more novels finished by the end of July. That should be fairly easy to do. I’ve started three in the past few months that I allowed to lapse for one reason or another. Had a lot of … Read more

The Journal, Sunday, June 24

Hey Folks, No post yesterday. No anything else writerly either as I spent the day with my wife, celebrating 34 years together and wondering how she’s put up with me that long. Probably I won’t write today either, fiction I mean. I’ll start fresh on Monday, and that will give me a week to gear up to my new work ethic (fun ethic) and the coming challenge. Today that challenge got a little more difficult too. Another copyedit came in, and a few days ago another writer told me to expect his manuscript for copyedit also. I look forward to … Read more

The Journal, Friday, June 22

Hey Folks, Even when Dean Wesley Smith doesn’t write specifically about writing in his posts, I often glean something of value. His short post today is about a practice poker tournament. At the end, he turns it into a brief analogy about writing. That spurred my own thought process. Topic: Practice Is Important Part I — Rationale and a Harsh Truth About Hovering As it is in all art, practice in writing is important. Without practice, the writing craft and the writing itself goes stale. And as it is in all art, practice in writing is fun, if uncomfortable. Many … Read more

The Journal, Thursday, June 21

Hey Folks, Well, yesterday I spaced the Journal again. I think mostly it’s because I’ve been editing instead of writing. I’ll finish the copyedit today, and soon things will get back to normal for at least awhile. As a reward for your patience, here’s a very long look at tag lines, their uses, and words that should never be used to introduce or carry dialogue. Topic: Tag Line Verbs Okay, first, to get us on the same page, what I call a “tag line” is what some call a “narrative beat.” I guess there are other names for it too, … Read more

The Journal, Tuesday, June 19

Hey Folks, Wow. Not posting on Sunday was intentional, but yesterday just slipped away from me. Had a good day on the edit yesterday. This morning I have to do a little real work, moving back a section of barbed-wire fence. Then a walk. Then back to the copyedit. Topic: Safeguard Your Credibility, Part 3 A long while back, in two parts, I published a post titled Safeguard Your Credibility. If you missed those, Here’s the Original Post and Here’s Part Two. Both posts were all about not displaying ignorance. Yet the only way to avoid displaying ignorance is to … Read more