Everybody’s Sleeping

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Everybody’s Sleeping
* Two Years in (Quick) Review
* Happy New Year
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” Rudyard Kipling

“I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t remember what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.” P. G. Wodehouse

Everybody’s Sleeping

If that’s you too, and if that’s what you want, I’m happy for you. I’m wide awake, but I’m not complaining.

I am aware of ‘holidays’ and celebrations and mournings. I even revel in the sweet irony of a lot of people getting what they want and then bemoaning the outcome. Absolutely delicious.

All of it is fodder for stories and novels, and in my world, beyond the health and well-being of my family and friends, nothing is more important than my stories and novels. I liken them to children.

As a writer, I birth what I am given. My mind, my choice, of course, but only on the near side of the equation. I carefully assess and choose the character or characters with whom I engage. That is solely my responsibility.

After that, the story takes its course and unfolds as it will. If it isn’t a viable story within itself—if the words are stumbling all over each other with no obvious, meaningful direction or purpose—I kill it and start over, or engage with a different set of characters.

But if the story is viable—if it wants to live and run and play—the whole thing is out of my hands. Having made my choice to engage with a particular set of characters, I carry the story or novel until it ends and then deliver it to the world.

Soon, with any luck at all, so I can engage with another set of characters and do it all again.

Naturally, I will think each story or novel is wonderful or even special in one way or another, but I generally keep those thoughts to myself because they don’t matter. I’m as entitled as the next person to my opinion, but my opinion is not the one that matters.

The only judgements that matter are those wielded by the people who choose whether to adopt my story or novel and bring it into their home.

As an enticement, I keep the adoption fees as low as possible, but that creates a conundrum of its own. Especially in our current society, in which we’ve been conditioned to focus on differences and suspect literally everyone, humans tend to equate generosity with treachery.

Songwriter and performer Barry Manilow once said—in a song, of course—”I write the songs.” He wasn’t boasting. He was stating a fact and holding forth about a topic that filled him with joy.

Likewise, I am a prolific professional fiction writer. Because I have learned to trust the characters, I am blessed to convey the stories that they, not I, are living. What could be better than that?

Anyway, all of that is far more than enough responsibility for me. And sure, I know the stories aren’t human children. I don’t have to worry about who they hang out with or whether they’re smoking dope or whether and which college or profession they’ll enter.

I probably should fret a little over their future, though. Things like licensing not only the stories but the settings and characters inside them, farming them out to different media and venues (audio, paper, maybe even film).

But I consciously try not to think about any of that. Letting business into the creative side is inviting a murderer to your dinner table. Besides, that would take time away from engaging with that next character or set of characters.

That is something I can’t personally allow to happen. On the other hand, if you have that superpower, go for it.

Two Years in (Quick) Review

Last year (2021) from January through July, I wrote 13 novels, an average of one every two weeks. Then I imposed a special kind of hell on myself from which I am still emerging and was unable to access my characters for over a year.

Finally, from September through December of this year, I’ve written five more novels, a much lower average of one every 3.4 weeks, or every 23.8 days. I expect that will improve as I move ahead into 2023, but I will be happy to take whatever the characters are willing to give me.

It’s heartening to know if I form a “writing year” from the first 7 months of 2021 and the final 4 months of 2022 (a short year of 11 months), I wrote 18 novels during that time.

And that’s quite more than enough to get the items in “Of Interest” out to you, which was the real purpose of today’s edition of the Journal. Well, that and to say

Happy New Year

If I don’t talk with you again tomorrow, I hope you will all have a happy, enjoyable and safe New Year’s Eve. Remember to include a daily word-count goal and possibly other writing challenges in your resolutions.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Thirteen Sites for Making a Spectacular Book Cover (Updated)” at https://the-digital-reader.com/14-sites-making-spectacular-book-cover/. Note: This is a throwback. Apparently the old Digital Reader site was assimilated (resistance is futile) by some foo-foo feel-good company.

See “Bite-Sized Copyright” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/bite-sized-copyright/.

See “‘Missing link’…” at https://interestingengineering.com/science/scientists-finally-unveil-source-life. Story ideas.

See “Mastodon rejects…” at https://interestingengineering.com/culture/mastodon-rejects-more-than-five-investment-offers-to-stay-a-non-profit. Alternatives are good.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 900 words

Writing of Santa Fe: A New Office (novel, WCG8, Santa Fe 3)

Day 1…… 2815 words. Total words to date…… 2815
Day 2…… 2034 words. Total words to date…… 4849

Total fiction words for December……… 64828
Total fiction words for the year………… 279802
Total nonfiction words for December… 24430
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 222510
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 502312

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 71
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. I convey the stories of my characters. Because It Makes Sense, I trust them 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.

2 thoughts on “Everybody’s Sleeping”

  1. Hello!
    And again, you gave me an explanation of how the writing should work. First, I thought it was the critical mind to chose whose story to tell – but actually it isn’t. I write a novel now, and the main character seemed a bit dull for a while. But I chased away the critical thoughts and started to enjoy his story. After all, he is the one whose story it is. And more and more words I write about his story, the more excitement I feel.

    The key was the instance you used, to simple change the character if nothing exciting happens. I always forgot I actually can do this. I don’t have to write gold, did I? Or at the very least I don’t have to write “perfect” words. I have to do my best, but this is not my responsibility to tell wether it was a good text or not.

    I wish you a happy new year! May the words be with you. 🙂

    • Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Balázs. And I love the toast. May the words be with you as well.

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