Recommendations for Study, and the Novel

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: Recommendations for Study
* The Novel
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” Orson Welles

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

“A rut is a grave with the ends knocked out.” Dr. Laurence J. Peter (Thanks to Dan Baldwin)

Topic: Recommendations for Study

In his post today, Dean Wesley Smith talks about “advanced classes” on which he and Kris received input and which they plan to present in the near future.

I have to break with my mentor on this point. I read the list, and I honestly don’t see any of them as necessary. Not for me, and not for you. I have a feeling most or all of them will be repetitive mishmashes of previous courses. To be clear, I don’t believe this is an intentional ploy or scam or any such thing on his part.

The instruction I most strongly recommend from Dean (aside from searching his website for posts on various topics) are all either lectures ($50 to $75) or classical workshops ($150).

Some that are not on the list below are also valuable, but I found that these listed all offer a great deal more in the way of gems than most of his lectures and workshops:

Recommended Lectures

  • Heinlein’s Rules (the lecture, not the workshop): $75
  • Endings $50
  • Short Stories to Novels $50
  • Designing Mystery, Cozy and Thriller Covers $75 (?)
  • Starting or Restarting Your Writing $50

Recommended Classic Workshops ($150 each)

  • Productivity
  • Ideas to Story
  • Writing Science Fiction (contains a lot of info that spans genres)
  • Pacing
  • Cliffhangers

To find these and more lectures and workshops, visit

Recommended Books (Dean’s)

How to Write Fiction Sales Copy

Writing Into the Dark

Heinlein’s Rules

and while I’m on the topic…

Recommended Books (Mine)

Quiet the Critical Voice (and Write Fiction)

Writing the Character-Driven Story

Poetry Techniques for the Fictionist (Because it’s all one language.)

Punctuation for Writers (2nd edition) (You’ve never seen punctuation presented like this before.)

Writing Realistic Dialogue & Flash Fiction

The Novel

I finished reading The 13-Month Turn and even published a new, slightly updated version. And wow, was I way off on some of my facts as I tried to write the sequel.

No wonder it was difficult. My creative subconscious knew I was screwing up the storyline. (grin)

So it’s a good thing I stopped, went back and read the first book. As I planned, I also created a series bible. Today I’ll break that bible into at least four separate documents (different storylines) to make searching it easier. And of course, today I’ll start the new novel. (grin)

I’ve also decided to toss out my second start. In rereading the first book, I found that I’d already written in the first book much of what I wrote in that start (and in the earlier start). My creative subconscious was stalling me again because I was on the wrong path.

I know it was the creative subconscious because it was always positive: “Here, try this. Here, start again.” It was never negative, as in, “Ugh, this doesn’t work.”

I very much enjoyed reading the story and at times found myself thinking, “Wait. I wrote this?” (grin) Being immersed in the storyline again was absolutely as exciting as I’d hoped it would be. I’m amazed I didn’t write the sequel as soon as I finished the first book.

That thought roused my curiosity so I looked back at my records. I wrote The 13-Month Turn in February 2017 (published in March). It was my 22nd novel, and I wrote three PI mystery novels and a novella over the next three months. And then I got busy with other projects and just never returned to it until now. Weird.

Like Wes Crowley, this is more of a saga than a series, meaning it’s a chronological continuation of the same storyline(s). At the moment, there are five distinct storylines:

1. what happens on Luna now that Will Perkins has returned to Earth;
2. what happens with Rose Perkins (separate of Will) attempting to hide from the Stirchians;
3. what happens with Will Perkins in his attempt to find Rose and his other endeavors (grin);
4. what happens with one rogue Stirchian general who doesn’t care for the commander of the mission and is thinking of rebelling (and a younger general who looks up to him);
5. what happens with the commander, his second, and their oversight of the new Earth Outpost.

And of course, the continued Stirchian developments on the planet, the Assessment and Indoctrination Centers, the Melding Production and Birthing Centers, and so on.

If you can’t tell, I’m very excited to get back into the story. I hope your writing is going as well or better.

Oh, and if you’d like a free copy of The 13-Month Turn, email me at and let me know which ebook file version you would like. (Your chance to see whether I have any clue whatsoever about what I teach with regard to writing, WITD, etc. grin)

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Ranked: The World’s Most Surveilled Cities” at

See “Creative Marketing: Beyond the Bookstore” at

See “James Scott Bell’s 10 Commandments for Writers” at I’m with you on 1 and 2, brother, but 3 should be “Thou shalt publish and start the next story.”

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 890 words

Writing of The Stirchians (novel, tentative title)

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for October……… 12205
Total fiction words for the year………… 132587
Total nonfiction words for October… 8270
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 161490
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 294077

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 advocate trusting the characters to tell the story that they, not the writer, are living. This is by far the easiest, most liberating, and most fun way to tell a story.