In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* An Easter Egg from DWS
* Back to Writing Fiction
* Of Interest
Quotes of the Day
from Ernest Hemingway on “The Writer’s Life”
“I don’t think there is any question about artistic integrities. It has always been much more exciting to write than to be paid for it….”
“I only think about writing truly. Posterity can take care of herself.”
An Easter Egg from DWS
I used to read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog every day. More recently, I read the headline. If it seems more advertising than substance, I skip it. I skipped the one on Monday.
The title of this morning’s post grabbed me so I read it and found this at the end of the post: “Easter Egg from Monday’s blog is still active.”
Okay, so I had to go look. And in Monday’s post, which I had skipped, I found the Easter Egg:
“And something special for those of you who read this blog regularly. Not announcing this anywhere else but here. Until Friday night late, March 10th, anything on Teachable is half price for those of you who see this and use the code: DeansBlog03.”
So there you go. Enjoy. Passing that along is really the only reason I decided to post today.
But I can also share some good news. I’m headed
Back to Writing Fiction
I’m excited. And let me say up front, I’m not bragging but only sharing. The whole premise of the Journal is that what happens to me as a writer can also happen to you. What I achieve or accomplish as a writer, you also can achieve or accomplish.
It has been well over a month since I added any new words to the novel. I’ve had dozens of other story ideas dancing around in my head, with several new ones each day. I wrote the memoir short story “Five Tight Indians” on February 25, but otherwise I have written no fiction at all since January 27.
Now, happily, my wife is well along the path to a full recovery from her accident. We’ll attend her final session with the physical therapist later this morning. She’ll continue to do special exercises to rebuild strength in her back, but the difficult part is past. Of course, that alone is good news.
Plus, because she won’t require my attention and presence as often or as long at a time, now I can return to writing fiction. That is good news as well, even if only for my own mental well-being. (grin)
I’ve said many times before that every novel seems to write differently. I suppose that will be especially true for this one. As I return to it, I’ll be indulging a brand-new process, a new way of writing, that’s come to me recently.
Some history—Having written only a little over 10,000 words, I had decided I wouldn’t read back over any of that. I had decided instead to ignore what I’ve already written and start what would amount to a separate story with a new opening.
Then later, when that new story was close to ending (or somewhere along the way, if possible) I would “plug in” the chapters I’d already written where they fit best. In fact, I even talked about this briefly with a friend only a week ago during the book fair in Tombstone.
Then everything changed.
In the month or so that I’ve been away from writing fiction, I’ve been reading short stories and novels by a few writers whose work I admire. As usual, I re-read passages that affected me strongly to determine how they accomplished that. Nothing new there, and I made a mental note or two as I went along.
I also read and studied hooks. I read the opening lines from dozens of short stories and novels in my own collection and used Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to read the opening line (the hook) of several other novels. If the opening paragraph was short (no more than seven or eight lines) I read the whole opening paragraph.
Finally, I read and studied Hemingway’s collected thoughts on writing and writers as presented in Ernest Hemingway on Writing, edited by Larry W. Phillips (see https://www.amazon.com/dp/0684854295).
And as a result of all of that—plus, I suppose, everything that has gone before in my fiction writing experience—a new way of writing came over me. I feel brand new, with freshly opened eyes.
I won’t be leaving behind Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing Into the Dark or Robert A. Heinlein’s Business Habits for Writers, but building on them. In fact, I believe you can come to this particular way of writing only by devoting yourself to those two disciplines:
- letting go of the unnecessary (via WITD), and
- believing in yourself (via Heinlein’s Rules).
Note that I didn’t say you have to “master” those disciplines—I doubt that’s possible—but only devote yourself to them. I’m convinced that’s the only way you can you come to your version of this place.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Having Fun” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/having-fun/.
See “I Never Made a Living Wage…” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/i-never-made-a-living-wage-when-i-worked-in-publishing/.
See “Old and Middle English” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/old-and-middle-english/.
The Journal…………………………………… 870 words
Writing of Wes Crowley: Deputy US Marshal 2 (WCG9SF4)
Day 1…… 3231 words. Total words to date…… 3231
Day 2…… 2990 words. Total words to date…… 6221
Day 3…… 1805 words. Total words to date…… 8026
Day 4…… 2025 words. Total words to date…… 10051
Total fiction words for March……… XXXX
Total fiction words for 2023………… 52824
Total nonfiction words for March… 6230
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 47560
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 100384
Calendar Year 2023 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2023 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2023 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 72
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: Because It Makes Sense, I preach trusting your characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living. See My Best Advice for Fiction Writers at https://hestanbrough.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/My-Best-Advice-for-Fiction-Writers.pdf.