In today’s Journal
* Another New Story
* A Final Note on the Challenge
* A Final Note on Generative AI
* Another New Story, Part 2
* Of Interest
Another New Story
My previously unpublished science fiction short story “Fifth Mind” went live yesterday over at Stanbrough Writes. To read it free, visit https://harveystanbroughwrites.com/fifth-mind/.
The story also went out to a list of subscribers in the Stanbrough Writes substack. To subscribe, visit https://stanbroughwrites.substack[dot]com/p/fifth-mind and click the Subscribe button that appears just below the story.
A Final Note on the Challenge
Apparently there have been some misunderstandings.
The Bradbury Challenge is a personal challenge I set for myself mostly to jumpstart my writing after a slump. I only invited others to join me for the same reason, to help them jumpstart their own writing and, above all, to have fun. No other reason, and certainly no pressure.
You may join me in the challenge at any time, even later in the year if you want. The only benefit to joining my challenge (other than to jumpstart your writing and have some fun) is to have me list each Monday whatever stories you’ve written during the week and where others can read them.
Certainly, Dean also has win/win paid challenges in which you can take part and receive massive rewards win or lose. You can find those on the WMG Teachable page. And of course, you can always start your own challenge yourself. You don’t have to tell me or anyone else.
A Final Note (Please) on Generative AI
For some reason I still occasionally receive a comment or email extolling the virtues of generative AI, and the tone is always just as if that use is something I endorse. It isn’t.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I am also a bit saddened, and flatly amazed that so many writers are expending so much effort toward finding a way to reach Author status (Author = have-written) without actually doing the writing (Writer).
My work has been both traditionally published and self-published. I have glad-handed bookstore owners and signed stock and talked endlessly with readers while smiling and entertaining how they “would have written it.” I have found many different ways to say exactly the same things over and over and over since the early 1990s while teaching others how to write, and I have had those same writer-students flash sly looks at me as if I’m trying to put something over on them.
I have listened patiently from behind a tight-lipped smile as would-be writers and beginning writers lecture me on the “right” way to write a short story or novella or novel. And I have gently extricated myself from more conversations than I can remember in which the other party was spewing the myths of writing just as if s/he had come up with them as original thoughts in that moment.
And I told you all of that to tell you this: The Writing Is The Fun Part. If I gave the writing over to AI, I would no longer be a writer. But apparently (sigh) not everyone feels that way.
Well, that’s fine. You do you. But let me be absolutely clear:
Please do not talk with me ever again about the “benefits” of generative AI. They are exactly the same benefits a college student gets from paying someone else (or some AI platform) to write his or her thesis: all of the credit and none of the effort. I will never see generative AI as anything but a way for a writer to cheat.
Another New Story, Part 2
Now back to something fun. Wow. I think maybe my creative subconscious is glad I’m back.
You know how I’ve said before if you don’t let your creative subconscious play when you write, it might shut down on you? Happily, I’ve just experienced the opposite reaction.
The first story I wrote for my challege gave me some problems. My conscious, critical mind kept coming at me, trying to bully its way in. I kept fighting it off. I restarted the story four or five times, each time throwing out what I’d written before and starting fresh.
That’s why it took me two days to write a short story that was only around 3500 words. I probably put seven or eight thousand words into the story before I finally finished it.
But that persistence paid off and sent a message directly to my creative subconscious. Yesterday, I was playing a silly computer game (Mah Jong) to relax for a half-hour or so. Then I was going to return to writing the novel.
But as I was playing the game, a line popped into my head. So I opened a Notepad document and scribbled it down. I was going to stop there and go back to the game, but the characters kept doing things and things kept happening and then the characters were talking and I just wrote it all down.
When I came to a natural break, I copied and pasted the text into a Word document, saved it under a tentative title, then came here and wrote this.
What scribbled out across the page came so fast that I don’t even know the characters’ names yet. (That’s never happened to me before.) I used all-cap fillers (NAME and NAME2) for both of them. The names will come to me later today as I write the story, I’m sure, but in the meantime I have an opening of 630 words.
And yes, for a fleeting second, I thought I ought to let this one sit until after Sunday so it will count for next week.
But I’m not gonna do that. I think doing that would tell my creative subconscious I’m hedging my bets. That’s the wrong message. I want it to know I trust it completely to come up with more and more stories. (grin) So I’ll finish “Sinister” tomorrow and then see what happens.
I shared this only to recommend you do the same. If stories start coming hot and heavy, run with them. Remember THAT you write matters above all; WHAT you write doesn’t matter in the slightest. Have fun.
Talk with you again soon.
See “An Adventure In My Own Fiction” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/an-adventure-in-my-own-fiction/.
See “How to Kill a Character Without Enraging Readers” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/how-to-kill-a-character-without-enraging-readers/. Whatever. I just write the story that happens as it happens.
See “5 Reasons to Write Your ‘Taboo’ Stories” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/5-reasons-to-write-your-taboo-stories/.
See “Humanly Possible” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/humanly-possible/. I posted this link only for PG’s take.
See “Golden Haiku: 2023 Winners” at https://goldentriangledc.com/events/golden-haiku-2023-winners/.
The Journal…………………………………… 1090 words
Writing of “Sinister” (tentative title, short story)
Day 1…… 630 words. Total words to date…… 630
Writing of “The Writing of Hortencia Alvarez” or “The Siren” (short story)
Day 1…… 2164 words. Total words to date…… 2164
Day 2…… 1319 words. Total words to date…… 3483 (done)
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
Day 5…… 1451 words. Total words to date…… 11502
Day 6…… 1886 words. Total words to date…… 13388
Total fiction words for March……… 7450
Total fiction words for 2023………… 60274
Total nonfiction words for March… 15710
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 57040
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 117314
Calendar Year 2023 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2023 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2023 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 72
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 218
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.