Different Strokes

In today’s Journal

* Different Strokes
* Memorial Day Weekend
* Of Interest

Different Strokes

If you’d like to see how pervasive the myths can be, you might want to read the comments at https://hestanbrough.com/well-fix-it-in-post-production/#comments.

Folks, if you have a different process for writing fiction than I do, that’s fine. If you believe “thinking” your way through a story is the best way to write it, knock yourself out. It seriously doesn’t matter to me.

You may even choose to edit (a critical-mind process) and then call it “cycling.” That’s fine too. Different strokes and all that. But please make your claim somewhere else. Don’t bring it to me here at the Journal. The Journal is a myth-free zone and a place where I do not allow others to reassign definitions to specifcally defined terms and words.

For example, writing into the dark and cycling, by definition, are functions of the creative subconscious. There is no grey area. Likewise, revising and editing, by definition, are functions of the conscious, critical mind. Again, there is no grey area.

How you prefer to write fiction and which part of your mind you prefer to engage in the practice of that endeavor is strictly up to you. If you choose to redefine what you do for whatever reason, that’s also fine pretty much anywhere around the Internet world. But not here at the Journal.

The creative subconscious does not think. It doesn’t devise or construct or determine or decide or figure-out or work-out any facet of a story. It simply observes, reacts, feels, and senses.

Trusting the creative subconscious is what enables the writer to record the story as it unfolds in real time without intruding on that story or on the characters who are actually living it. That is called writing into the dark.

You certainly are not required to trust yourself or believe in yourself and write into the dark. But if you write fiction, you must do so either

  • authentically (conveying the actual story as it unfolds around you in real time) from the creative subconscious or
  • inauthentically, in a construction from the conscious, critical mind: you “make stuff up.”

In other words, any story is either a creation (authentic) or a construction (inauthentic). A hybrid isn’t possible because any application of the conscious, critical mind to the story changes everything that comes after it and robs the story of the power to simply unfold on its own. So any application of the critical mind to the story renders it inauthentic.

Please don’t get misunderstand. I’m not saying that whether a story is authentic should matter to you. That isn’t my place. As I wrote at the outset, different strokes. If you would rather plan everything out and force events, reactions, dialogue and whatever else on your characters, that’s strictly up to you.

I’m only saying if authenticity DOES matter to you, there’s only one way to achieve it, and that is to trust your creative subconscious and trust that the story will unfold as it should as you and your characters race through it.

Oh, and if you’re one who chooses to believe that your pre-planned, critical-mind constructs also are “authentic” stories, that’s fine too. Just not here at the Journal.

Memorial Day

Mea culpa. As I’ve explained before, one day for me is pretty much like every other day. The sun comes up, I do stuff, the sun goes down, and another day is gone.

Last week I overheard someone talking about Memorial Day and assumed it was that weekend. I could easily have checked, but I didn’t. And of course, it wasn’t. But it is now.

So again, wishing you and yours a thoughtful and considerate day of remembrance on this Memorial Day.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Just Writing Fiction Tonight” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/just-writing-fiction-tonight/. Some thoughts here helped me, so I thought they might help you as well.

See “The Scent of a Story” at https://killzoneblog.com/2023/05/the-scent-of-a-story.html. Smell and taste are closely related. Smell can also trigger memories.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 670

Total fiction words for May……… 14404
Total fiction words for 2023………… 97868
Total nonfiction words for May… 23950
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 105640
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 203508

Calendar Year 2023 Novels to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2023 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2023 Short Stories to Date… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 73
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.

2 thoughts on “Different Strokes”

  1. I went back and looked at your comment thread from yesterday, and about fell over. I have read some things of Linda’s before and found her advice decent. But she is so misunderstanding cycling. First Dean Wesley Smith and then you taught me very much that cycling is from the creative mind, to get your mind flowing back in the story so you can continue writing, or to run back and add a detail because you creative mind just have somebody pull a gun out that had never been seen before. The idea of cycling 30 times an entire story, no!

    I don’t blame you for limiting your Journal to what you believe in. It is yours after all. And I will continue to read it as long as you continue to put it out. In my writing I find the myths will not shut up. So I need reinforcement from you and other true WITD practitioners so that I can do what Ray Bradbury said: Don’t think. Relax. Right.

    By the way that was from the video suggested in the comment. Thank you for providing the Journal and encouragement. Now I just need to follow the way.

    • Hi Loyd, yes, you’re absolutely right. Having the knowledge is great, but only you can cross your arms, put it into practice, and Just Do It. Exactly what I did around 8 years ago, and that’s the sole reason I’ve accomplished all that I have with writing fiction.

      If you waver even slightly, make even the slightest excuse-for or compromise-with the myths, they will eat-alive your self-confidence and your ability to write. Once you begin to question the truth of what your characters are conveying, you’re lost.

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