The Journal: What Makes for Good Writing

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Even though * Topic: What Makes for Good Writing? * Adios for a While * Of Interest * The Numbers Quotes of the Day “I can repeat Mr. Heinlein’s advice to writers. If you pay attention to his dictums, you don’t need to know much else.” Dr. Jerry Pournelle, upon being asked his advice to new writers “The only opinion that counts of your story is whether or not someone will pay you money for it.” Dr. Jerry Pournelle Even though I haven’t written anything for almost two months, I still … Read more

The Journal: Culling Sites and WITD

In today’s Journal * Cullilng sites * On WITD * Congratulations * Of Interest * The Numbers I’ve culled my own list of sites that I check daily (or to which I subscribe). My list is down to Dean (because he’s my friend), David Farland’s Writing Tips (subscribe at, and The Passive Voice (for general interest). I still check Kill Zone blog too, but that usually takes only a second or two (long enough to read the title and the blogger’s name and move on). Only one or two bloggers on TKZ still provide worthwhile, original advice. And I … Read more

The Journal: Snippets and Priorities

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Snippets and Priorities * Of Interest * The Numbers Quote of the Day “What they call you is one thing. What you answer to is something else.” Lucille Clifton (via The Passive Voice) Snippets and Priorities The following are snippets of what might have become topics or essays had I followed them through. I thought it might be fun to give you a glimpse at how my brain is working at the moment. Where a new mini-topic begins I use bold and italics. A few days ago I received an article … Read more

The Journal: In Case You Missed It

In today’s Journal * In Case You Missed It * Of Interest * The Numbers Since I’m posting much less frequently now, I’ve retitled the “Of Interest” section to “In Case You Missed It.” Seems more appropriate. Not much to talk about right now. Hope you’re all well. I’m posting this primarily to pass along what’s in the section below. Talk with you again when I can. In Case You Missed It See “Let The Critics Out To Play, A Guide For Unruly Writers” at See “Switching Gears” at For the record, I personally use (and advocate) a … Read more

The Journal: Browsing for Information

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * I’m not back * Topic: Browsing for Information * Of Interest * The Numbers Quote of the Day “As a child I’d run into Wilde’s witticism ‘The only true talent is precociousness.’ I took my writing seriously, and it seemed to pay off.” Samuel R. Delany In the early part of the movie Twister, Bill keeps saying, “I’m not back.” It provides a quiet comedic undertone. Which is a little how I feel this morning. I’m not back. But I found a few things I hoped you would see and I … Read more

The Journal: Update and Adding Italics

In today’s Journal * End of a personal era * Still looking * Topic: How to Create Font Attributes * Of Interest * The Numbers For me, an era has ended. No longer having the need for a place to enjoy my cigars and with my wife’s help, I spent most of the day yesterday moving my writing and business computers out of the Hovel and back into my office in the house. So dispatches from the Hovel have come to an end. For those of you who follow the saga of Little Bit, my youngest daughter, the move annoyed … Read more

The Journal: Taking a Step Back

In today’s Journal * Taking a Step Back * Of Interest * The Numbers Taking a Step Back Hey folks, I’ve been publishing this Journal off and on almost every day for about six years. Doing so was/is my attempt to pay forward what I’ve learned during my journey as a fiction writer. I hope to get back to publishing the Journal regularly, but for now it’s time to take a step back. For the foreseeable future I’ll publish much less frequently, more like JA Konrath or Neil Gaiman than Dean Wesley Smith. In the meantime, I strongly recommend you … Read more

The Journal: Some Things Can’t Be Taught…

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Topic: Some Things Can’t Be Taught… * Of Interest * The Numbers Quote of the Day “The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was 12.” Ray Bradbury Topic: Some Things Can’t Be Taught… Ironically, I’ve come to realize the most important writing-related technique I’ve ever learned—Writing Into the Dark—can’t be taught. I really wish I could teach the … Read more

The Journal: Putting a Cap on It

In today’s Journal * Putting a Cap on It * Of Interest * The Numbers Putting a Cap on It By way of clarification, in this case “it” is the craziness. And by way of further clarification, “the craziness” is my own and society’s. And this essay, I guess. So my own craziness, society’s craziness, and what some of you probably will see as the craziness of this essay. Feel free to substitute the word “insanity” for “craziness” at any point. Pain is relative. Inconvenience, too, and distruption of the norm are relative. I think everyone knows that. What you … Read more