Recommendations for Reference and Craft Resources

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* One Final Bit of Writing Advice
* Recommendations for Reference and Craft Resources
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” Philip K. Dick (Be sure to see “Of Interest” today.)

“Certainly it constitutes bad news if the people who agree with you are buggier than batshit.” Philip K. Dick

“It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.” Clay Shirky

One Final Bit of Writing Advice

Never one to leave well enough alone (except in my writing) I thought I’d add one more bit of writing advice:

14. You Do You. Hey, it’s only fiction. It’s only a story of whatever length. In the overall scheme, it doesn’t matter in the slightest except as it is valued by the individual reader.

I literally can’t remember what most of my novels are about except in the most general terms (genre, theme). I can’t remember the story itself, the major scenes, turning points, etc. That’s how important a story is.

But then, specifically because it isn’t important, I don’t go over and over and over it. I follow the characters around, write down what happens and what they say and do as the story unfolds. That is incredibly entertaining. But when the story ends, I ship it off and move on to the next story.

Frankly, if you can remember major scenes, turning points, etc. from your own novel, I’d bet good money you’re mired in the myths. But that’s fine too. Hey, if you’re comfortable there, snuggle in. I’ve certainly had my say.

In this series and for the past eight years I’ve done my best to give you a way out, a way to actually have fun and be entertained while you’re conveying the stories that your characters, not you, are living.

If you trust yourself and your characters and write into the dark, the result will be a few minutes’ or hours’ entertainment for you, and then for the readers.

If you don’t trust yourself and your characters—if you outline and revise and seek-and-apply critical input and rewrite and polish—the final result probably won’t be entertaining for you. After all, you constructed the story block by block by miserable block, so you probably know the whole thing backward and forward.

Frankly, I really don’t know how you do it. Once I’ve finished a story and learned the ending (almost always in less than a month), I can hardly wait to get it off my desk and move on to the next one. I can’t even begin to imagine how anxious you are to get your story off your desk after you’ve lived with it for months or years, going over and over and over it. Ugh. But I digress.

Writing into the dark doesn’t require you to “do” anything. It’s only a suggestion that you stop doing things that are harmful to the unique, original, authentic story your characters gave you. It isn’t a set of requirements; it’s a Zen-like letting go. It’s running through the story with your characters, having fun with them, instead of overstaying your welcome by months.

I hope you will at least try WITD, if only to prove or disprove it for yourself. But if you choose not to, that’s all right too. It really is all up to you.

You do you. Write however you want. Seriously, I don’t care. I learned a long time ago that what doesn’t adversely affect my paycheck or my liberty is of no significance.

Anyway, there you go.

Recommendations for Reference and Craft Resources

If you use Microsoft Word when you write and if you are not familiar with its Paragraph Formatting feature or its Find & Replace feature (in particular) I encourgage you to visit my Downloads page at and click on the first link.

That will take you to my series of posts on Microsoft Word for Writers. The Paragraph Formatting and Find & Replace features are explained thoroughly there (along with all the other features), and learning to use them will greatly enhance your writing and save time with your formatting.

You might also browse that Downloads page for other useful resources. And right next door you’ll find other Resources for Writers. Check it out.

My Writing Books

Not recommending my own nonfiction books on writing would just be insane. I don’t pad them with a bunch of foo-foo BS. They’re entertaining, informative and straightforward. To see all of them, visit

I especially recommend Quiet the Critical Voice (and Write Fiction), Writing the Character-Driven Story, and Punctuation for Writers. Those are the three most important nonfiction books I’ve ever written. The others on the page are just as informative in their specific subject areas.

If you need help with publishing, I recommend The Essentials of Digital Publishing. Some of the information is slightly outdated, but wow is it a great step-by-step guide to publishing electronically.

While we’re at it, let’s do a flash sale. I’ll send you any three books from that page for $20, and any seven books from that page for $40. Email me to tell me which titles you want and your preferred eformat, then either mail a check or pay via PayPal, and I’ll send them right out.

(Mail your check to PO Box 604, St. David AZ 85630.)

Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing Books

You can see all or most of Dean’s writing books (WMG Publishing’s Writer’s Guides) at

I especially recommend Writing Into the Dark, How to Write Fiction Sales Copy, the two Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows books, and How to Write a Novel in Ten Days.

I also recommend Think Like A Publisher: A Step-By Step Guide to Publishing Your Own Books at

Lawrence Block’s Writing Books

You can find all or most of Lawrence Block’s writing books at

The World Intellectual Property Organization website

In particular, “Valuing Intellectual Property Assets” at

That’s it for now. Happy writing!

Of Interest

See “The Stanford Guide to Acceptable Words” at This should be satire, but it isn’t.

See “Changes In Publishing With Jane Friedman” at Be sure to read the comment.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 1080 words

Writing of WCG 7 Santa Fe 2 (novel tentative title)

Day 10… 2524 words. Total words to date…… 27438
Day 11… 3156 words. Total words to date…… 30594

Total fiction words for December……… 47008
Total fiction words for the year………… 261982
Total nonfiction words for December… 19230
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 217310
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 479292

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 4
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 70
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. Because It Makes Sense, I trust my characters 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 “Recommendations for Reference and Craft Resources”

  1. Thanks for these posts, Harvey – they probably comprise the most succinct discussion of writing into the dark that I’ve seen.

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