In today’s Journal
* Quote of the Day
* Auditions Are Open
* Slightly Slow Going
* Of Interest
Quote of the Day
“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” Katharine Hepburn
Auditions Are Open
Back when I first started the Journal in early 2014, I hadn’t written a novel. I’d successfully written a ton of poetry (previous life) and articles and essays and even a couple of nonfiction books on grammar and dialogue and the language. But I’d written only a handful of short stories.
In fact, when I started the Journal, my first selfish priority was to hold myself accountable by reporting my numbers publicly. A very close second priority was to illustrate for others what they could accomplish if only they would sit down, shove aside all the negative critical-mind crap, and just write what came.
In the Journal I explored writing fiction. I explored (and greatly expanded, if I do say so myself) “writing into the dark,” and I became a practicing adherent of Heinlein’s Rules, especially Rule 3.
In order to not revise or rewrite (both functions of the conscious, critical mind) I learned the value of cycling (a function of the creative subconscious) and focused on shutting off the critical mind any time I was seated at my writing ‘puter.
I experimented, tried, failed, succeeded, and shared all of that, honestly and openly, warts and all, in the almost-daily diary that is the Journal. Facts are the result of honest, straightforward experiments, not scattered, random shots in the dark or faux attempts for the sake of appearances.
Lying to yourself and making a half-hearted attempt at anything is a waste of energy and effort. That’s why I had to push down my own unreasoning fears and honestly try WITD, to prove once and for all to myself that it either did or didn’t work. I will be forever grateful it did and does.
And that’s why I’m always up front and honest in my Journal posts. It’s my way of being your advocate. It’s my way of helping shore-up your nerve when you finally decide to really, honestly try WITD for yourself.
Writers can get lies, insincerity, and sales pitches all over the internet. The writers who are the source of those sales pitches might or might not outline or revise or invite citicism of their work or rewrite. But they will blatantly tell you in blog posts that you “have” to do those things.
Why? Because if you believe them (and most writers and would-be writers do) then you’ll buy their how-to books on the topics. It has nothing to do with your betterment as a writer. It has to do with increasing their bank account. Nothing else.
So at the risk of sounding haughty, this Journal is an important voice, an important but minuscule beacon in a landscape that’s chock full of flashing neon Look At Me advertisements for the writing myths.
Sometime in the future, my time with the Journal will come to a close. Because I do consider it an important, honest touchstone in a sea of garbage, I would like very much to see it continue. To be clear, I have no intention of quitting. I’m just trying to set up a contingency plan by which the Journal will continue.
Not that you need anything more from me personally anyway. As I’ve said here before, I’ve given my very small subscriber base a lot more than I had when I started, and almost all of it completely free of charge. And I’ve been happy to do so.
But all of that was in my voice and from my point of view. For the Journal to continue and remain an important if very small voice in the void, it needs new blood.
For just one random example, yesterday a writer commented,
“That’s how I view outlining: it’s homework. You have some fun outlining a whole plot and now you’ve turned the actual prose writing into a damned homework assignment. Specifically, your homework is now to slog through dramatizing a story you already told yourself.”
No matter how many different ways I come up with to say outlining is a horrible way to start, I never would have come up with that analogy. Thanks to Philip S. for sharing it with me.
I would like for the Journal to remain a place where writers and would-be writers can hear about and have the opportunity to learn
- writing into the dark and
- trusting themselves and all they’ve absorbed about story and
- trusting the characters to tell the story that they, not the writer, are living and
- grounding the reader and
- the five senses and
- pacing and
- Heinlein’s Rules and other related matters.
But it will be written from the point of view and experience of another fiction writer or writers.
So the upshot.
A few days ago, I invited guest posts. Today I’m going to put a more precise point on that:
Auditions are now open. I’m searching for someone (or a few to several someones) to enter into a sort of apprenticeship with me and eventually take over the Journal.
I am aware that most writers would not be interested in posting every day to the Journal even if they owned it. If they were, that would be fine. But I would like to see the Journal continue as at least a weekly publication.
For the time being, I’ll continue posting to the Journal, but I do consider this is a transition time. And if nobody steps forward (completely up to you) then one day the Journal will stop.
If you would like to write a guest post once a week for publication in the Journal, with the possible intention of one day taking over as the voice of the Journal (or as one of the voices of the Journal, it could become a community effort), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can easily think of five or six writers right now who probably would be perfect for this, alone or as part of a rotating team.
You don’t have to have a lot of publications. Remember, when I started I had very few, and no novels.
All you need is a good grounding in grammar and punctuation, a strong belief in yourself, a devotion to writing fiction into the dark and Heinlein’s Rules, and a willingness to share your successes and failures. You would be growing in public and enabling others to grow too.
For your guest post(s), you can write a column on a particular craft topic, or you can simply share your thoughts on writing or your experiences as a writer or anything in between.
The Journal is all about sharing and paying forward what you’ve learned from others. You could even get a jumpstart by posting text from an older blog post or, I dunno, say a podcast you’d written? (grin, private joke with CP) Up to you.
Then as long as I keep going, you’ll have a home for your column or guest posts. And when I step back, you’ll take over.
Note: I can’t believe I actually feel a need to write this, but here goes: I will reject out of hand anything that advocates or promotes the myths of fiction writing, so please don’t waste your time or mine. There are plenty of other venues out there where you can peddle those particular feel-good drugs and safety nets. Around here, we’re all about promoting personal achievement. Writing fiction does not take a village and it does not require a community effort.
Slightly Slow Going
For various reasons, my own writing is going a little slow right now. It has nothing to do with critical voice and a lot to do with time management. I’ve been writing the last few days up at the house. Tomorrow I’ll either go back to the Hovel or close the guest room (home office) door and pretend I’m on Mars or somewhere. I still anticipate finishing the novel in the next few days.
Talk with you again soon.
See “I Feel Bad For New Writers… Part Five… The Upside” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/i-feel-bad-for-new-writers-part-five-the-upside/.
See “Deep Fakes Lead to Deep Trouble” at https://www.suecoletta.com/deep-fakes-lead-to-deep-trouble/.
See “Biphasic Sleep and “The Watch” Syndrome” at https://killzoneblog.com/2023/05/biphasic-sleep-and-the-watch-syndrome.html.
See “BBC to tackle high proportion of women prosecuted for licence fee evasion” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/bbc-to-tackle-high-proportion-of-women-prosecuted-for-licence-fee-evasion/. So THIS is why we don’t get to see the latest seasons “live.” That’s fine. The quality is superior, so I don’t mind waiting.
The Journal…………………………………… 1420
Writing of The Road to Amarillo (formerly Wes Crowley: Deputy US Marshal 2, WCG9SF4)
Day 11… 0323 words. Total words to date…… 19819
Day 12… 2445 words. Total words to date…… 22264
Day 13… 3184 words. Total words to date…… 25448
Day 14… 3509 words. Total words to date…… 28957
Day 15… 1595 words. Total words to date…… 30552
Day 16… 1875 words. Total words to date…… 32427
Day 17… 2016 words. Total words to date…… 34443
Day 18… 1454 words. Total words to date…… 35897
Total fiction words for May……… 10449
Total fiction words for 2023………… 93913
Total nonfiction words for May… 11810
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 93500
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 187413
Calendar Year 2023 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2023 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2023 Short Stories to Date… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 72
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 221
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark, adherence to Heinlein’s Rules, and that following the myths of fiction writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.