One More Question, and the Writing

In today’s Journal

* One More Question
* Bradbury Challenge Reminder
* The Writing
* How to Make Writing Hard Work
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

One More Question

In a comment on “Organizing Saves Time,” Sebastian asked the purpose of “Title of Book.jpg” in such a huge file size: 6250 x 9375 pixels. He wrote “I assume this is for POD pdf or maybe just an archive?”

My response:

“Title of Book.jpg” would be a master cover file, saved as a .jpg (photo) file by the program with which I created the cover. I also save the file in three reduced sizes: 2000 x 3000 (to upload), 300 x 450 for the main book page of larger works like novels and collections, and 180 x 270 for thumbnail applilcations.

I keep the original file because it’s the highest resolution, largest and clearest, so I can alway make other sizes or copies if I need to.

You could use the file (or the 2000 x 3000 file) as the front cover of a POD book, but you would still have to create the back cover and spine. The easiest way to do that is probably through either Amazon or Draft2Digital. I haven’t checked them out because I don’t currently put my books in paper.

I create covers with with Serif PagePlus 6, 7, or 9. Serif products are no longer available except used. I now recommend Affinity Publisher (the next step up from Serif). It’s as good or better than Adobe products, and instead of paying for a subscription, you purchase it outright. But no matter what program you use to create covers, you can save them as .jpg files to use for various reasons.

Bradbury Challenge Reminder

Today ends week 21 of the Bradbury Challenge for those who have been along the whole time. Get your stories in before the Journal goes live tomorrow morning.

Of course, you can jump in at any time and begin your own challenge. How difficult could it be to write one short story per week? (grin)

Really, if you write into the dark and trust your creative subconscious, it’s pretty much a snap. And if you start this week, you’ll be ahead of where you would have been if you’d waited and started next week, or next.

Also a good idea to write the story early in the week. Takes the pressure off.

The Writing

When I don’t feel like writing or too much other life stuff is in the way, I just don’t write. (This is not what I recommend but what I have to do right now.) But on days when I can and do write, things are finally starting to turn around. Radically, in the current novel.

It’s kind of neat. The current novel, though I thought it was a Blackwell Ops novel and thought it was about Cameron Stance (isn’t that a cool name?), might not be.

It might actually be a B Ops novel about a different character (a woman who is either an operative or a future operative) or it might be a novel that isn’t actually in the B Ops universe at all.

I’m giving the characters free rein, and they’re telling their story. Not what I thought would happen or could have planned to happen but what actually happened. And as you might have guessed, it’s actually fun.

If I can keep this up through this novel and one or two more, I will consider myself finally back from the hinterlands.

How to Make Writing Hard Work

or How to Squelch the Creative Voice

I am not being facetious. I am being truthful.

If you’d like to read preaching from that authorial ivory tower I talk about now and then, read James Scott Bell’s “The Basic Formula of Fiction” in today’s Kill Zone blog. Just to be crystal clear, I am not recommending it.

The article has nothing to do with a formula. It lays out step by menacing step ways to stop your creative voice cold, beginning with the notion that “Many writers are not content merely to write a good story. They want to ‘say something.'”

Actually, that’s the sort of thought at the root of “advocacy journalism,” reporting heavilly biased opinions rather than facts. Can you say “fake news”? And um, people who have a point to make or a position to represent and are not content merely writing a good story should not be fiction writers.

Then he goes into how writing is a “calling,” and it all goes downhill from there, ticking off the myth checkboxes as it goes. I’m amazed people still buy into crap like this. But by all means, to each his or her own.

I am not amazed, however, that some long-term writers sell this particular bill of goods. After all, the more would-be writers are dependent on the myths, the larger the audience for “how-to” books on writing that say exactly the same thing all the other how-to books on writing say.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Netflix Making a Murderer – Brendan Dassey’s Confession” at I strongly urge you to subscribe to Garry’s free blog. Garry is also a regular contributor over at the Kill Zone blog, but this is different.

See “The rise of BookTok titles…” at Read PG’s take. Are you on BookTok?

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 880

Writing of Blackwell Ops 9: Cameron Stance (novel)
Brought forward………………………… 4087

Day 1…… 1595 words. To date…… 5682
Day 2…… 2101 words. To date…… 7783
Day 3…… 2573 words. To date…… 10356

Writing of Rose Padilla (WCG10SF5)

Day 1…… 4283 words. To date…… 4283
Day 2…… 3963 words. To date…… 8246
Day 3…… 1463 words. To date…… 9709
Day 4…… 2445 words. To date……12154

Fiction for August……………………… 16872
Fiction for 2023………………………… 131419
Fiction since August 1………………… 16872
Nonfiction for August…………………… 10950
Nonfiction for the year……………… 160850
Annual consumable words………… 292269

2023 Novels to Date……………………… 2
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 73
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)… 221
Short story collections…………………… 31

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Following the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

6 thoughts on “One More Question, and the Writing”

  1. I’m not on TikTok, period, but I wouldn’t go to BookTok for the same reason I backed away from BookTube after barely getting my ankles wet: They all reviewed the same books. (Which, I assume from the title of the linked article, is what’s happening with BookTok?)

    It didn’t happen just once or twice, but often enough that I started to think, only somewhat in jest, it was a conspiracy by the publishers to push those books. So there was no point in continuing, especially since none of the handful of BookTubers I ever watched had an opinion similar enough to mine to make it worthwhile. (Or, conversely, as directly opposite to mine as would be helpful; there was a local newspaper movie critic many years ago that I swore by: if she loved it, I’d hate it, and vice versa.)

    Though maybe that’s a niche market for me: my own YouTube channel talking about any OTHER books than what are currently getting a push on BookTube/Tok?

    • Sounds right, Peggy. I asked my wife-and-person-in-charge-of-stuff about it, and she said BookTok is just part of TikTok. Not worth my time. Besides, although some teens would no doubt enjoy some of my work, that isn’t the audience I wrote for specifically. Moreover, I wouldn’t pay BookTok etal the compliment of mentioning them on my YouTube channel.

      My watchwords generally are Stay Positive and Move Forward.

  2. I have never understood the whole ‘you need to have something to say’ bit. What does that even mean? Its like the term ‘serious writer’ or ‘serious novel’ what do they even mean?
    At this point I’ve given up trying to figure it out. I write stories I enjoy, if people find meaning or ‘messages’ in them that’s great, but I never intentionally try to put anything besides a story together. I’ve been on that train before back when I thought writing was this big special ‘Calling’ since I thought that’s what ‘real’ writers did, and it just made writing hell (not to mention boring).
    I’m happy I’m off that train and actually enjoy what I do now instead of hovering, worrying, and all that other nonsense that plagues many early writers.

    • Agreed. Frank O’Connor, the famous Irish short story writer of “Guests of the Nation,” when asked about the symbolism in that story, said (paraphrasing) “We (writers) don’t put in symbolism, at least not intentionally. Symbolism is what college professors find so they can publish papers, and it’s what college students find because they’re told to look for it.” I think he was spot on.

      • I do as well. It always amazes me how literary critics, whether they work for a newspaper or in a university, think they know what a writer meant by a certain phrase or why he used ‘certain symbols.’
        Its a weird coincidence because last night I received a comment on a story I wrote a few years ago and the reader said they loved the way I handled the symbolism and messages in the story. I thanked them but I have no idea what they meant haha.
        I remember writing the story and all I remember is how fun it was, there was no intentional symbolism or messages. I did use Christian themes and theology somewhat as that’s what the story called for, but it wasn’t to push a message or a theme.
        In many ways people see what they want to see, I think, whether or not the writer intended it.

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