In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* So Much Easier
* Bradbury’s “Full” Challenge
* Some Publishing Nostalgia
* Of Interest
Quotes of the Day
“A writer should have this little voice inside of you saying, ‘Tell the truth. Reveal a few secrets here.'” Quentin Tarantino
“Writing is my job. Selecting what to read and judging it is the reader’s job. I like my job better.” Me, in a comment on yet another article on AI at The Passive Voice
So Much Easier
Although I read only the first five (very short) paragraphs of the article on “Backstory” I’ve linked to in “Of Interest,” doing so left me feeling almost exhausted. So much work. And for what?
It is SO much easier and actual fun to just write the charcters as they are, as they and you move through the story that is unfolding all around you. Any necessary “backstory” will come out naturally, and any that does not is not necessary.
Bradbury’s “Full” Challenge
Bill Sinclair is a writer friend and a new participant in the Bradbury Challenge to write at least one short story per week. (Coincidentally, Bill also shares his name with a former colleague of mine in the USMC, a fact that greatly piqued my curiosity when this Bill and I first met. Per his cropped-circle photo, his facial features even resemble those of Captain Bill Sinclair of old.) (grin)
Anyway, all of that nostalgic nonsense aside, yesterday Bill emailed me to say he was joining in the Challenge, but with a twist. He’s going to follow another piece of Ray Bradbury’s very good advice and “read a short story, an essay, and a poem” every day.
Bradbury originally recommended that discipline as a way for a writer to fill the well from which s/he would later draw material. (By the way, I still have that list of Bradbury interview links if anyone wants them. Just email to let me know.)
Bill also recommended I expand my own challenge to include the reading too. I won’t do that, but it’s a great idea if you aren’t already widely read. Which is to say, if you haven’t already absorbed more Story than most folks have, and continue to do so. Why? Because writers should have absorbed more Story than most folks have.
When I say “absorbed more Story” I mean read and watched enough to learn by osmosis the constituent parts of Story: so Structure, Hooks, Openings, Grounding the Reader, Cliffhangers, Metaphor and its appropriate uses, Simile and its appropriate uses, the Rhythms of the language and so on.
Reading novels is strangely absent from Bradbury’s list of recommended activities, probably because one generally can’t read an entire novel plus a short story, essay and poem in a sitting.
However, if you’re interested in writing novels, I recommend that you read a chapter or XX number of pages of a novel every day in addition to the short story, essay, and poem.
But again, I won’t require this of myself for my own challenge because I’ve been doing that my whole life (and I’m old). And I won’t require it for participants in the challenge because that would presume they don’t already do it (or their own version of it).
Some Publishing Nostalgia
A few days ago, another commenter over at The Passive Voice and I shared a back and forth nostalgic look at software over the years as computers and the programs they ran steadily progressed.
First, I realized PG and I had similar paths with regard to the transition from IBM Selectrics to dedicated word processors (my first DWP was a Smith-Corona that diplayed six lines of text at a time) to personal computers.
Before all that, my favorite manual typewriter was a Remington portable that folded into its carrying case, then a large, electric Olympia that was somehow clunkier than my little Remington, and then those wonderful iterations of the Selectric.
I can still hear the series of Zs the Royal emitted as I rolled a sheet of paper behind the platen, the confident clacking of the keys and their soft puff of sound on the paper, the smooth vibration and the quiet ding as I worked the lever to slide the carriage back when I reached the end of a line.
Anyway, our discussion eventually brought me to remember Aldus PageMaker, which I understand is the precursor to Adobe In-Design. I first learned PageMaker in a desktop publishing course in college. It was the only software on which I took a formal course.
Back in the ’90s I founded, edited and published 3 quarterly little literary magazines (The Roswell Literary Review, The Raintown Review: Essay Edition and The Raintown Review: Poetry Edition, at least one of which I believe is still publishing under other owners). Anyway, I was editing, printing, stapling, cutting (a local print shop had a machine), stamping and mailing around 500 copies of one or the other every month. All with Aldus PageMaker. Great times.
I did pretty much nothing yesterday, being a bit under the weather. Today and for the rest of the week I’ll work on the novel, at least unless and until a story starter pops into my head. (For me it’s usually a character uttering a line of dialogue or something drastic happening.)
If that happens I’ll write my story of the week, then return to the novel. If it doesn’t happen before Sunday morning, I’ll drop a character with a problem into a setting and go with that. (grin)
Talk with you again soon.
See “Chabelo: The Mexico TV legend who became a meme” at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-55734398. I used to watch this guy. He will be missed.
See “Subtext…” at https://killzoneblog.com/2023/03/subtext-guest-post-by-karen-albright-lin.html. Sounds a lot to me like “deep POV” which is actually regular POV with every word coming through the POV character, the POV character’s physical and emotional senses and the POV character’s opinion of the setting.
See “How to Make Backstory Work for You” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/how-to-make-backstory-work-for-you/. SO much easier to just write the charcters as they are as they and you move through the story that is unfolding all around you.
See “Do Donkeys Know About Spiders? …” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/do-donkeys-know-about-spiders-some-thoughts-about-the-impact-of-ai-on-book-publishing/. Yet another article on AI.
The Journal…………………………………… 1040 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
Day 5…… 1451 words. Total words to date…… 11502
Day 6…… 1886 words. Total words to date…… 13388
Total fiction words for March……… 10302
Total fiction words for 2023………… 63126
Total nonfiction words for March… 18030
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 59360
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 122486
Calendar Year 2023 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2023 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2023 Short Stories to Date… 2
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 72
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 219
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 https://hestanbrough.com/the-daily-journal-archives-gifts-dvds/ for free stuff on writing.