Heinlein’s Rule 2

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Heinlein’s Rule 2
* Of Interest

Quote of the Day

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” William Pollard

“The arrogance of success”—this is why so many Stage 2 writers remain Stage 2 writers.

Heinlein’s Rule 2

Rule 1 is “You must write.”

Rule 2 is “You must finish what you write.”

I probably won’t break that rule, but I came close to bending it pretty severely. I was going to put off finishing The Stirchians for awhile.

I’ve decided not to. Some things worked out that I didn’t expect to work out, so I’ll continue with it, at least for now. But for your benefit, I’ll explain why I almost set it aside at over 40,000 words.

Some of you will remember me talking in the past about a novel titled Situation Solved. It was rolling along just fine. Then, as a buddy and I were talking, I told him a little about the story and he blurted out what he thought might be a perfect ending.

Of course, as soon as the words left his mouth we were both aghast: I for discussing a work in progress in the first place, and he for letting that “advice” slip past his lips. Writers don’t easily unhear things.

As a result, I set aside that novel for a few to several months (I forget now exactly how long it was). After I’d written other things and was able to come back to Situation Solved with fresh eyes (and without that possible ending hanging over my head), the story wrapped in only a few more days of writing. The ending was a complete surprise, and I moved on to the next project.

Before now, that’s happened to me only once or maybe twice.

But with The Stirchians, two weeks or so ago (by the calendar, not writing days) a fictional situation popped into my head from a copyedit I performed on another “they came here” SF novel series.

I conducted that edit around 18 years ago, but two or three situations from that series are still fresh in my mind. That’s how well the series was written. And that’s the problem. One of those situations popped into my head, and instead of immediately stopping writing my current novel, I continued, albeit haltingly and wondering what was wrong.

The author of that excellent series, Glen M. Glenn, and I lost touch over the years. To my knowledge, he never did publish most of those books. If I remember right he was having trouble with a contract from a subsidy publisher. So today only the first volume might be available to the public.

And that is a terrible shame. Each novel was well over 100,000 words, and in my opinion, those six books comprise the greatest science fiction story ever written, including even the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises.

As an aside, if you’d like to see whether you can find any of Glen’s books, look for The Wallingford Files: Last of the Firstborn. That’s the title of the first book. When I checked, a print edition was listed on Amazon. The other titles, in order, are A New God Is Born, The Storm Born, King of the Black Dawn, Prisoners of the Dawn, and Perpetual Dawn.

Anyway, as I wrote above, one twist of that novel series popped into my head and seemed like a really great idea. But anything that “seems like” anything is a conscious thought and a result of your critical mind.

Instead of setting The Stirchians aside at that point, for some stupid reason I thought maybe it would be all right. Now remember, I actually know better! But I reminded myself to ignore the mind worm, to Just Write the Next Sentence. And miraculously, the writing picked up again for a day or so.

But the problem, the conscious-mind change of direction in the novel, was still in place. So from that point, any writing I did took the story farther from what it would have been if I hadn’t imposed that conscious decision on it. I did a truly stupid thing, and as a result I’m paying for it.

If you have an questions about any of this or want me to clarify any of it, please let me know. I’m only admitting it in the first place so maybe you can benefit from my stupidity. (grin)

I wrote this yesterday morning. When I finished, I spent the rest of the day reading over the story (consciously), and looking for and rooting out any vestiges of that conscious-mind intrusion.

To be honest, I thought I might be too close to the story to even do that much. But surprisingly, even as I jettisoned the little tendrils of that critical-mind thought, the characters started taking over their story again.

So maybe I won’t have to set it aside after all. I should know before the end of the day today. If it takes off and keeps running once I’ve finished the purge, I think it will be pretty much a race to the finish.

If it bogs down because I’m unable to erase the harm I did, then I’ll set it aside and start something new. I’ll keep you apprised. (I should be able to list a new word count in the morning. Click this link for your own annotated copy of Heinlein’s Rules.)

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Here There Be Dragons” at https://killzoneblog.com/2022/11/here-there-be-dragons.html.

See “Editorium Update” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/editorium-update/. So much easier to just write the story as the characters convey it to me.

See “5 Great Book Binding Services” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/5-great-book-binding-services/.

See “DeviantArt upsets artists…” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/deviantart-upsets-artists-with-its-new-ai-art-generator-dreamup/. I included this one for PG’s take.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 950 words

Writing of The Stirchians (novel, tentative title)

Day 11… 2337 words. Total words to date…… 30836
Day 12… 2115 words. Total words to date…… 32951
Day 13… 2242 words. Total words to date…… 35193
Day 14… 1325 words. Total words to date…… 36518
Day 15… 1006 words. Total words to date…… 37524
Day 16… 2532 words. Total words to date…… 40056
Day 17… 2759 words. Total words to date…… 42815
Day 18… 1740 words. Total words to date…… 44555

Total fiction words for November……… 11604
Total fiction words for the year………… 173129
Total nonfiction words for November… 8460
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 184090
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 357219

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: Because It Makes Sense, I preach trusting your characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living. Duh. This practice greatly increases your productivity and provides a rapid ascension along the learning curve of Craft because you get a great deal more practice at actually writing. This is not opinion. It is all numbers and facts.