In today’s Journal
* Possibly A Brief Hiatus
* Last Day of Dean’s Workshop Sale
* Topic: Getting It
* Of Interest
Possibly A Brief Hiatus
There’s a good chance I’ll take a brief hiatus from posting to the Journal for a few days to reset my fiction-writing schedule. I was reminded recently of how very prolific I was a year ago. I want to get back to that all-consuming joy. I also want to reset my Journal-writing, mentoring (seriously considering adding another level), and other-stuff schedule.
Of course, I’ll continue to make my rounds of the internet, and sometimes things I see on there set me off. When that happens, well, it most often causes the Journal to happen.
Anyway, I’ll be back before too long. In the interim, I recommend you use the time you usually spend reading the Journal to write.
Last Day of Dean’s Workshop Sale
Dean’s running a workshop sale every month now, but the last day of this month’s sale is today. If you’re interested, check out “New Workshops and Last Day of the Sale” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/new-workshops-and-last-day-of-the-sale/.
Topic: Getting It
Of five writers with whom I’ve recently come in contact, two are bookends. One is a self-confident young woman who probably doesn’t need a formal mentor at all. The other, a young man, might need more help than I’m able to give him in a limited time.
Of the other three writers, they all seem to be getting what they need from me and advancing. Nothing wrong with any of that. We’re all different. But for the most part, if you want to be a fiction writer, you can. Just tell a story. Writing a story on paper or on the screen should be as natural and easy as telling your significant other an anecdote about your recent trip to the grocery.
Becoming a fiction writer — a successful fiction writer — is exactly the same for all of us, except that it’s easier for some and more difficult for others. All of that depends on what interests you or doesn’t interest you, what you’re good at or not good at, and how bullheaded you are or are not.
Learning to both write well and have fun doing it — for me, those two things go hand-in-hand — has certain requirements. Basic to those is a fundamental knowledge of the rules of grammar and punctuation. If you have those, good. If not, I suggest you brush up. You owe that knowledge to your readers, yourself, and your craft.
A feel for syntax is nice to have too, but any lack in that area can be corrected by reading and absorbing others’ work and by practice. “I sing the electric body” sort of makes sense. But “I sing the body electric” both makes sense AND releases a lightning storm in your mind. Syntax.
Beyond those basics, all you need are
1. a writing technique or writing process — this is usually a combination of writing myths and safety-nets. Some of us trust ourselves enough to write into the dark. Others create a weird mixture of myths, safety-nets and “organic” writing. (Hey, whatever works.) And
2. the various aspects of the writing craft: setting, scene, pacing, etc.
To develop your technique and to acquire each aspect of the craft, you have to follow exactly the same process: study, absorb, and — most importantly — make it your own through practice. When you’ve done all that with your process or with an aspect of the craft, you can say you’ve “got it,” or at least that you’re “getting it.”
As long and intensely and prolifically as I’ve been at this fiction-writing stuff, I still experience the occasional aha moment. It usually comes as a realization or epiphany while reading someone else’s fiction or some question someone asks.
With me, usually the epiphany isn’t a ‘what’ but a ‘why’ or a ‘how’. My most recent epiphany was that characters are pure — that they don’t care either way about any writing technique, or any aspect of the writing craft. They’re simply living their story and allowing you to come along and record it for them.
The kicker is, the only way to get to that truth for yourself is to trust your characters completely. If you can develop that level of self-confidence, you’ll be enjoying the freedom and fun of writing into the dark in no time. I like that.
But whatever your path to your definition of ‘success’ as a fiction writer, I wish you many epiphanies or realizations or lightbulb moments: “Ah, NOW I get it.”
There really is nothing better.
Talk with you later.
See “Social Media and The Finklemeyer Propositions” at https://killzoneblog.com/2022/08/social-media-and-the-finklemeyer-propositions.html.
See “Nuclear Fusion Is No Longer Science Fiction” at https://interestingengineering.com/science/nuclear-fusion-is-no-longer-science-fiction.
See “A Book from 1952 Predicted Someone Named ‘Elon’ Would Guide Humans to Mars” at https://interestingengineering.com/culture/a-book-from-1952-predicted-someone-named-elon-would-guide-humans-to-mars. 1952 was a very good year. (grin)
See “UFOs have non-human origins and threats are increasing ‘exponentially’, US Congress warns” at https://interestingengineering.com/culture/pentagon-study-ufos-with-non-human-origins.
See “How to Promote a Book on Social Media: 13 Tips for Indie Authors” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/how-to-promote-a-book-on-social-media-13-tips-for-indie-authors/. I have my doubts about this one, but decide for yourself.
See “10 Tips for Authors on Using Social Media from a Literary Agent” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/10-tips-for-authors-on-using-social-media-from-a-literary-agent/.
See “Substack is Anti-Social Media, and the Next Social Media” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/substack-is-anti-social-media-and-the-next-social-media/.
The Journal…………………………………… 840 words
Writing of (novel, tentative title)
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for August……… 13935
Total fiction words for the year………… 66431
Total nonfiction words for August… 19950
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 126190
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 192621
Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 67
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: Along with discussing various aspects of the writing craft, I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. WITD is “the only way” to write, but it is by far the easiest, most liberating, and most fun.