The Journal, Tuesday, July 31

Hey Folks, I’m posting this early so those of you who get it via RSS will get it sooner. This is one benefit of not reporting my numbers. I can post earier when necessary. Dean is back. See his post “Just About Clear” at Scroll down in his post to “Short Story and Novel Challenge.” This is exciting, and an excellent opportunity to jumpstart both your writing AND your learning. If you’ve been thinking about signing up for some of Dean’s online workshops, this is an absolutely excellent value. I might even do it myself, though there aren’t many … Read more

The Journal, Monday, July 30

Hey Folks, First, thanks to writer friend Bob C. who sent a URL for an article for the “Of Interest” section. You will find it below. With it, Bob sent an email that read in part, “This struck me as a con artist who knew just the right buttons to push for a certain well-heeled market of aspiring writers. The lesson here is that there are a ton of people hovering around would-be authors looking to take their money.” From the article, “Today Anna March … offers private literary consulting — manuscript consultations for $1,600 to $3,000 and coaching for … Read more

The Journal, Sunday, July 29

Hey Folks, A lot in “Of Interest” today. Some of it’s spot on, and some of it, not so much. With the abundance of writing advice out there, I’ve taken to carrying a shaker of salt with me as I read, so I can take a grain as necessary. I receive James Scott Bell’s infrequent newsletter. In today’s edition, he notes that his stand-alone thriller, Don’t Leave Me, is on sale for 99 cents. But the tagline is what prompted me to add this entry: “When they came for him it was time to run. When they came for his … Read more

The Journal, Saturday, July 28

Hey Folks, Today’s Journal entry is all about writing advice, the Kill Zone blog, and the “Of Interest” section of this Journal. In my own hunt for writing advice, I seek out other professional writers who are farther along the road than I. Once I find them, I gauge whether their advice is valuable to me overall. If a blog post is rife with misspellings and wrong word usages, awkward phrases and misplaced modifiers, or if they display a certain level of ignorance about the language (for example, ignorance of the difference between “likely” and “probably” or “if” and “whether” … Read more

The Journal, Friday, July 27

Hey Folks, Yesterday, Amazon hosted a free webinar on Paperback Formatting Essentials. I was registered for it, but I missed it. Probably because taking my books to paper isn’t the priority it used to be. Anyway, Amazon was kind enough to send a link to a recording of the event. It’s in “Of Interest” today. If you’re interested in taking your books to paper (or even if you already do), I suggest you take a look. Even if you don’t want to use Amazon, I suspect you can still learn something about paperback formatting. Plus the video is only 20 … Read more

The Journal, Thursday, July 26

Hey Folks, A few decades ago I started writing aphorisms and definitions, more as a mental exercise than anything else. Be forewarned: Of the definitions, some are serious, some are attempts at humor (ala Ambrose Bierce) and all are cynical. Which, if any, you perceive as humorous will depend on your own life and experiences. So today, here are a few random thoughts, definitions and aphorisms. Except where noted, these are original to me. If any of them spur story ideas, please feel free: From a poster I saw on Facebook — “The past is in your head. The future … Read more

The Journal, Wednesday, July 25

Hey Folks, Still not fully back up to speed with my writing. At times, I’ve found myself actually hoping “other things” (website construction, copyedits, etc.) will come up so I can delay it a little longer. It’s a conundrum. I want to write. I want to give myself wholly over to my stories and play with my friends. For me, there is no better feeling than being lost in a good story as it unfolds. And then there’s that legacy thing I talked about a couple days ago. And of course, if someone else said to me, “But I really … Read more

The Journal, Tuesday, July 24

Hey Folks, Not a lot to talk about this morning. I didn’t write much fiction today. Worked on a website for a new writer. I still have a lot to do on it but I’m waiting for more input. I find that more and more often I have to re-learn to separate Advice from Outcome. Specifically, to not look back and rate my recommendations in light of what various writers do with them. For example… 1. I can talk ’til I’m blue in the face about the pitfalls of traditional publishing (I’ve been there), but writers still choose to chase … Read more

The Journal, Monday, July 23

Hey Folks, A Brief Memoir with a Point When my dad passed away around 30 years ago, I was thrilled to find some of his writings in an old suitcase. It wasn’t a suitcase full of manuscripts or anything like that. The suitcase was an old two-tone brown pressboard affair. It had a kind of fishnet container stretched across the inside of the lid. Inisde were old New Mexico State Police shoulder patches, an old pair of glasses and other things. And inside that fishnet area were a few poems typed on an old manual Remington. Dad never talked about … Read more

The Journal, Sunday, July 22

Hey Folks, Not much to write about yesterday, so I skipped the Journal, though I did add a few items to “Of Interest.” Yesterday Mona and I did yard work, then cooled down and went to Sierra Vista for a few hours. It was a nice diversion. Not sure yet what today will hold. But I’ll post this so I can get the “Of Interest” items out to you. A few have asked what I mean by “character-driven fiction”; a few others have wondered why I pay such close attention to settings. Here’s the short answer: Maybe 10% of a … Read more