A Few Notes on Yesterday’s Post

In today’s Journal

* Welcome
* A Few Notes on Yesterday’s Post
* The Writing
* Of Interest
* The Numbers


Welcome to Noah(?) and any other new subscribers or readers of the Journal. I hope you will find it useful.

Get the Archives and other free downloads at the Journal website. Just click the links and a PDF will download in a new page.

I also recommend reading “I Believe in You”.

Oh, and check out this half-hour video where bestselling author Vin Zandri and I are chatting about writing on The Writer’s Life.

A Few Notes on Yesterday’s Post

1. I stick by what I wrote, but you don’t have to apply it to your own writing. It’s not like I’m gonna stop by your house and ask to see your WIP or something you’ve just finished. (grin)

I can only give you my best advice. Only you can decide whether to pick it up or leave it where you found it. I’m good with that either way.

2. Yes, the language evolves, whether from ignorance or pronunciation/spelling of a particular culture or small part of the population or from some dweeb like me making up new words. And that’s fine.

Change is inevitable. That does not mean it should be easy or simply accepted. And professional writers should be the ones vetting those changes. Or perhaps we should all just “write” via AI. I will never do that.

3. Yes, typos happen. Along with wrong words, misspellings and autocorrect errors and really stinky advice from instructors who don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. You can even pick the wrong word out of a thesaurus. I understand all of that.

I’m not saying writers should never make a mistake. I’m only saying readers will hold the writer personally responsible for them.

One quick example — In the midst of writing the second chapter of my current novel, I referred back to a character (by name) from the previous novel.

But when I checked the previous novel to find his name, I found that the character Juan Segura somehow magically became Juan Aguilar toward the end of the book. I had confused two characters.

I understand that readers might or might not have noticed, and that those who did notice might have forgiven me. But that isn’t the point.

In any case, I was thrilled I caught that mistake. I changed it in the previous novel, clicked Save, and then uploaded a new mss to both D2D and Amazon.

But again, that’s just me.

4. Characters, in dialogue, are exempt. Characters say what they say. (Correct typos, of course.)

5. Readers exist only to be entertained. Regardless of whatever excuses we make ourselves for our poor communication of a story, they won’t even make excuses for a writer like Stephen King, much less for me or anyone else.

I recommend knowing the nuances of the language intimately and then learning more.

6. Here’s some of that “best advice”:

Publish your work yourself and retain all rights to your intellectual property. If you do that, you get to set your own standards. And despite anything I say, whether and how you present your work to readers is strictly up to you.

If you’re going through a publisher, you will have to meet that publisher’s standards or go unpublished by that publisher.

7. Life is a series of choices. For example, from a readerly standpoint, I won’t read any novel that I know was written from an outline, etc. I like authentic stories.

Of novels I do start, I stop reading went I’ve encountered several typos or wrong words or other errors, or even one grossly erroneous fact (e.g., calling a 9mm Beretta a “revolver” or a magaine a “clip”).

If I pick up a book and flip through pages or use the “see inside” feature at Amazon and I encounter several long (more than 8 or 10 lines) paragraphs in a row, I put it down and move on to the next book.

If the writer pulls me into the opening scene and forces me to keep reading, I buy the book. If s/he doesn’t, I don’t.

As always, your choices may differ, and that’s perfectly fine.

The Writing

Okay, that’s probably more than enough for today. Back to the novel, which is racing along so well I can barely catch my breath, much less keep up. (grin)

Oh, one more thing. Because I trust them and WITD, the characters enable my success. A couple days ago, I surpassed 300,000 words of fiction since August first.

I couldn’t help but think once more of that “prolfic” writer who “churns out” 120,000 words of fiction per year in two novels. (grin)

I think I’ve never been prouder of any stat I’ve posted in Numbers below. And it’s all because of my characters and their willingness to let me write their stories.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest


The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 800

Writing of Blackwell Ops 15: Solana Garcia

Day 1…… 3034 words. To date…… 3034
Day 2…… 4389 words. To date…… 7423
Day 3…… 4327 words. To date…… 11750

Fiction for December…………………… 18329
Fiction for 2023…………………………. 419073
Fiction since August 1………………… 304528
Nonfiction for December……………… 5110
Nonfiction for the year……………… 260690
Annual consumable words………… 676256

2023 Novels to Date……………………… 9
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 7
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 80
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 235
Short story collections…………………… 31

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Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

2 thoughts on “A Few Notes on Yesterday’s Post”

    • Works for me. I studied a lot of poetry in college, and have written a lot of it too. Much of the poetry the professor had us study was unintelligible, either too vague to mean anything or too filled with symbolism that was so personal to the poet that nobody else could discern his meaning. Every word was open to “interpretation.” One such example was “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams.

      Anyone can write a poem (or a short story, or a novel, or a grocery list). Not everyone can write one that makes sense and conveys what the writer means to convey.

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