Editing, Mentorships, Streaks and a New Story

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* No More Editing
* Why No Streak Challenge?
* Mentorships End
* A New Story
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” Alfred Hitchcock

“Film your murders like love scenes, and film your love scenes like murders.” Alfred Hitchcock

“If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.” Alfred Hitchcock

“Wanting or believing in something—the concept of critique groups, for example—does not validate its usefulness.” Harvey

No More Editing

I’ve decided I won’t be doing anymore copyediting for other writers. Unfortunately, editing for others takes too much time away from my own writing. To make it worth my while, I’d have to charge too much, and nobody wants that. (I actually removed the copyediting link from my Resources for Writers page several days ago.)

As I wrote to a friend yesterday, I want to devote as much time as I can to this Journal (while it lasts) and to my own writing.

If I may, I do suggest you find a first reader, someone who preferably is not a writer. Ideally your first reader should be an avid reader who enjoys your work. The first reader

  • should be up front and honest (willing to hurt your feelings)
  • should just read for pleasure (should not “look” for anything)
  • should get back to you to let you know of any misspellings, wrong words, or inconsistencies in the story
  • should let you know anyplace where s/he felt pulled out of the story, and why if s/he knows

I send my first reader a PDF version of the manuscript.

He highlights areas where there are problems and uses the Comment function to add a brief note.

Getting to see your work first will be your first reader’s payment. Ask him (yes, or her) to Just Read for Pleasure, then get back to you with anything that pops out at him or kicks him out of the story.

As a work-around, until you find a first reader you can simply read the stories aloud to yourself. Reading them aloud For Pleasure As a Reader will enable you to catch things you don’t catch when you’re reading silently.

And yes, you can do that with novellas or novels as well as short stories. Just take your time, read for pleasure, and enjoy the story.

Why No Streak Challenge?

I got a few emails wondering why I decided to discontinue my 2000-wpd streak challenge.

The short answer is because I don’t care. I was going to start and maintain a streak and blah blah blah. Then I realized I don’t want to.

What practical difference would it make if I wrote a set number of words every day for 365 days instead of 364 days or 3 days?

None. It makes absolutely no difference. So why add the pressure for zero reward?

That’s also one reason I’m considering publishing the Journal less often or not at all after the new year.

I don’t EVER want to find myself posting to my little Journal just to keep posting, even when I have absolutely nothing to say, or strictly as an advertising platform, or to beg people to send me money like some folks I know.

Mentorships End

Speaking of money, I’ve also decided to close my mentorship offering. In fact, this morning I refunded a payment from my sole-remaining mentorship student after I haven’t heard from her since early October. Apparently $25 per month is too much to pay to get answers to any question about fiction writing, cover design, indie publishing, etc .

Here’s the deal: To become a prolific professional fiction writer, you need

  • the drive to keep learning,
  • to read or consider some things over and over again until you get them,
  • to trust all the knowledge you’ve gained subconsciously over a lifetime of absorbing Story,
  • to trust your characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living (it’s their story, not your story), and
  • to write.
  • And maybe you need a place to report, assistance in holding yourself accountable.

But seriously, nobody who’s reading this needs a mentor. You just don’t.

Why? Because you can find literally anything you want or need about the writing process, writing craft or indie publishing by downloading my free, fully searchable PDF Journal archives (see below) or by searching and reading the Pro Writers Blog posts (see below) over at my author site.

If you need support, (for example, a place to report your numbers), I suggest

  1. creating a spreadsheet so you can watch your numbers grow (now THAT’S a streak that matters), and
  2. teaming up with another, like-minded writer for your mutual benefit.

But team up with another like-minded writer NOT to critique each other or any of that ridiculous nonsense, but just to support each other by providing a little external accountability.

(I know some of you find critique groups valuable. That’s your fear talking. People want all sorts of things. Wanting something does not validate its usefulness. However, it’s your life to waste, your story to dilute.)

For the Journal archives,visit https://hestanbrough.com/the-daily-journal-archives/ and click on each link to download the archive for that year. The archive for 2022 will be up early in January.

For the Pro Writers Blog posts, click https://harveystanbrough.com/category/pro-writers/. There you’ll find all sorts of posts going back several years on the writing craft and on indie publishing.

And yes, you’ll stumble across a few self-serving promotional posts, but not nearly as many as you might find elsewhere.

Finally, if you don’t mind spending a few dollars to learn a TON of informationi as a very small investment in your writing career, visit https://stonethreadpublishing.com/writing-books/ and browse my books on writing. (Don’t buy the Year in the Life book. That’s just one year of my Journal archives.) Otherwise I strongly recommend at least the whole top row. And yes, you can get a discount if you email me and let me know which titles you want.

A New Story

I started a new story. Yes, with Wes. It will be the 7th Gap novel, the 19th overall Wes Crowley novel, and the 2nd Santa Fe sub-series novel.

It’s only natural that I’d continue with Wes’ story. Like all humans everywhere I spend more time with the people I like the best, and I really like Wes.

As I told a friend via email earlier, I’m feeling very locked-in with Wes Crowley at the moment. It’s as if he lives just down the road and he and I might walk out to a cow tank later this morning with our rods and a small frying pan. You know, like back when the world was a little more innocent.

There we’ll dig up some red earthworms and go fishing for a couple of perch or a catfish for breakfast. We won’t be checking our hand-held computers for messages every other minute, and we won’t have to key “sunrise” into a search engine to see one.

Back to writing stuff.

The start of a novel (when the novel is in a series) is always the toughest for me, so if you’re the same way, you aren’t alone.

Even very brief research drives me nuts (IT’S FICTION!) but if you don’t get things right at least within the world you’ve created, you’re cheating the reader. I have to get real place names and fictional place names and people names from the past right and so on. That takes time.

Fortunately, much of the setting for this one and for future novels in the sub-series will be new and different so I can let the characters run wild.

It dawned on me just now as I was writing this that there wasn’t a lot of action (guns being drawn, people being shot, Indians marauding, etc.) in Santa Fe: A New Era. It’s almost as if the characters were resting up for what they expect is coming.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they release all that pent-up frustration in the current novel. By the way, I don’t have a name for it yet. So for now I’m just calling it WCG 7 Santa Fe 2.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “More Words You’re Probably Using Wrong” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/more-words-youre-probably-using-wrong/. This! (But remember it’s all right for characters to make mistakes in dialogue.)

See “The Year in Review Part 3: Bestsellers” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-year-in-review-part-3-bestsellers/. Probably would be a good idea to click through to Kris’ site and find Part 1 and Part 2.

See “Cozy Mystery Book Covers” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/cozy-mystery-book-covers/.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 1300 words

Writing of WCG 7 Santa Fe 2 (novel tentative title)

Day 1…… 2190 words. Total words to date…… 2190

Total fiction words for December……… 18604
Total fiction words for the year………… 233578
Total nonfiction words for December… 8750
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 206830
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 440488

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 4
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 70
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. Because It Makes Sense, I trust my characters to tell the story that they, not I, are living. This greatly increases my productivity and provides the fastest possible ascension along the learning curve of Craft because I get a great deal more practice at actually writing. It will do the same for you if only you trust it.