In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Great Story Idea? What Next?
* Waiting and Watching? Um, No.
* Of Interest
Quotes of the Day
“Some writers struggle with ever getting one word of their Great Idea down on the page, for fear of crafting an imperfect beginning.” Joni B. Cole
“Now comes the waiting, the watching. Your book is out there on its own. The initial thrill begins to fade, replaced by that onerous irritant, expectations. You’re hoping—for sales, great reviews, a bestseller list, a call from Spielberg.” James Scott Bell
Oh my god, I think I’d rather shoot myself. h
Great Story Idea? What Next?
In today’s “Of Interest” there’s a post about how to get started once you have a “great idea” for a story.
Please, read the post.
Then, the next time you have a story idea, great or otherwise, sit down at your computer, put your fingers on the keyboard, and write the first sentence that occurs to you.
That’s the characters telling the story.
Then write the next sentence, and the next and the next. When you feel the story stalling, and you will, DON’T try to figure out what’s wrong or what comes next or even why it stalled. And DON’T wonder whether you should just throw out the story and start something else. That’s all negative, critical mind crap.
Instead, as boring and routine as it sounds, Just Write the Next Sentence, then the next and the next. Soon the story will be racing along again, usually in a direction that wouldn’t even have occurred to you if you’d “thought about it” or “figured it out.”
And just so you know, that new direction that wouldn’t have occurred to you is a truly wonderful feeling. It’s as if the characters are saying, “We’ve got this. Just keep typing and hold on for the ride.”
And it’s true. They do have it. If you just write the next sentence and the next and the next (that is you trusting your characters), they will lead you all the way through to the end.
Waiting and Watching? Um, No.
Also in today’s “Of Interest,” I’ve linked to James Scott Bell’s article titled “Is It Still A Thrill?”
The post is at best a cautionary tale. It and other advice like it is why so many writers are mired in the worthless, useless, harmful myths of writing. Or it is perhaps a set of instructions for what to do if you’d rather be part of the elite literati than just a plain old fiction writer.
I only mention it at all so I can display the comment I left on the post. If I can get through to even one reader over there, it will have been worth my time to write:
“I’m happy for those who have the time, energy and inclination to plan and attend or host actual or virtual launch parties for their books. Personally, I don’t. I don’t have time. But then, last year in 7 months and one week (up through August 6), I wrote 13 novels.
[Seriously, I am happy for them. If they’d rather do that than write, then that’s what they should do. And to those poor, lost souls who just thought But I have to do all that, don’t I? the answer is no, you don’t.]
“I didn’t write fiction at all from August 2021 through April of this year (life interfered) and I faltered through June, July and August. Finally around mid September I started easing back into my writing habit. Yet I’ve written two novels this year, am about 1/3 of the way through a third at 20,000 words, and have set a modest goal to write two more before December 31.
“I’m always thrilled to begin a journey with new characters or a new journey with old characters. I always grieve a little when the novel is finished and the journey’s over.
“All of that said, my novels are only a few hours’ entertainment [,nothing more]. As such, they are not important in the slightest.
“Or rather, whether and how important (or not) they are is the readers’ call. Not mine, not some critic’s, and definitely not some 20-something in New York. [Of course,] I hope readers like my characters’ stories, but whether they do is out of my hands so I don’t fret over it.
“As far as waiting and watching for sales, reviews, etc., nope. I’m too busy writing the next story or novel.”
And yes, folks, this stuff really does work. If you want to be a fiction writer, then get over yourself, sit down and write. If you’re only in love with the romantic idea of being a fiction writer, then all of that other stuff is fine. More power to you.
Talk with you again soon.
See “7 Ghost Stories That Will Haunt You” at https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/best-ghost-stories.
See “Better Call Brad: Hollywood’s Secret Problem Solver Speaks” at https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/hollywood-secret-problem-solver-brad-herman-1235233540/. Story ideas and fodder.
See “Queen releases unheard recording from 1988 sessions” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijj_hheGEi0. Hey, any chance to hear something new from Freddie Mercury….
See “The tiny worm that can help treat trauma patients and facilitate long-distance human space travel” at https://phys.org/news/2022-10-tiny-worm-trauma-patients-long-distance.html. Story ideas.
See “You Have a Great Idea for a Story. Where Do You Start?” at https://www.janefriedman.com/first-things-first-not/.
See “Is It Still a Thrill?” at https://killzoneblog.com/2022/10/is-it-still-a-thrill.html. A horrible, horrible cautionary tale. Waiting two years to see something published? The “thrill” of seeing your book available?
The Journal…………………………………… 920 words
Writing of The Stirchians (novel, tentative title)
Day 1…… 4106 words. Total words to date…… 4106
Day 2…… 3505 words. Total words to date…… 7611
Day 3…… 2392 words. Total words to date…… 10366
Day 4…… 3336 words. Total words to date…… 13339
Day 5…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 16566
Total fiction words for October……… 24768
Total fiction words for the year………… 141923
Total nonfiction words for October… 145150
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 165500
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 310650
Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 68
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: In this Journal, I discuss various aspects of the writing craft. I also illustrate, with my own writing, a Zen-like non-process called Writing Into the Dark and what is possible when you trust the characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living. WITD also leads to greatly increase productivity and a rapid ascension along the learning curve because you get a great deal more Practice. This is not opinion. It is all numbers and facts.