In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* A Tip for Reverse Outlines
* Writing Like a Maniac
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“Do something you really like, and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I’m concerned, that’s success.” Tom Petty
“That question of identity always confused me. Who are you? Why, that’s simple. I’m Matt. But that’s just a name. There are millions of people with that name and they aren’t me.” Matt Perryman (see Of Interest)
Think of your characters. They’re more than just a name, and they will reveal all if you let them. Don’t plan or tell them who they are. Let them show you.
“You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” Carrie Fisher
Welcome to Katy M, Kylie, Olivia, Corbin, Divyang, and any other new subscribers or readers of the Journal. I hope you will find it useful.
Be sure to check out the Archives and other free downloads at the Journal website. And I don’t do the ambush thing requiring an email address. Just click the links and a PDF will download in a new page.
And here’s a video where Vin Zandri and I are chatting about writing and a bunch of other stuff.
A Tip for Reverse Outlines
Awhile back I offered to send anyone who wants them a novel/short story template I use and/or the reverse outline template I use.
It’s simply easier to start a new story on the novel template and then Save As the title of the story. The one I use is in Microsoft Word, but you can easily adapt it for use with Pages or whatever word processing program you use.
The reverse outline is invaluable to help you keep track of character and place names and descriptions, weapons (if any), vehicles, and so on from a novel.
I abhor the thought of plotting or outlining in the traditional sense, but with the reverse outline I can fill in any important details from the story after I finish each chapter.
It’s far easier and quicker to glance at a reverse outline than to scroll or search back through your entire document to find whether Susie’s eyes are blue or brown. The reverse outline is a simple .txt document.
You can still get either or both of these free by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve developed a kind of shorthand for my reverse outline.
When I’ve completed a chapter in which a new character or location is described, after the character’s name or place name I add “desc.” The period helps me find everything I’ve described quickly with the Find feature in Notepad. I just search for “desc.” and it won’t ping on words that contain “desc”.
That tells me in which chapter to find that particular description.
For major recurring characters or places, I often write a description in a separate section of the reverse outline, but for lesser characters who reappear from time to time, this is a major time saver.
A New Story
“Excesses” published yesterday on my Stanbrough Writes Substack.
If you would like to subscribe, click the link and then the Subscribe button at the end of the story. You’ll receive a new short story every Friday, and it’s free.
Below the Subscribe button, there are other short stories you can read in most genres. Enjoy!
Writing Like a Maniac
a brief guest post and testimony from Philip “Big Philly” Smith
I’ve been writing like a maniac since I read your Critical Voice book. A few observations and lessons in my experience these past couple weeks.
My characters are better writers than I am. It sounds like woo woo garbage, but it really feels true to say we tap into some sort of Divine Creative Voice and let these characters come to life on the page. I’m thrilled letting them tell ME the story.
That said, I realized the biggest area Critical Voice attacked me was telling me my writing voice was wrong. I love darker fiction, but I can’t help but pepper it with humor, both dark and silly. I’d always quit stories in the past because my prose didn’t LOOK like the “right” tone of writing.
I realized I have to write in my own unique voice because it’s all I have. Let readers decide whether it’s right for them or not.
A note about revisions — I realized that our method of cycling—always in creative voice—to create one clean draft is not as sloppy as some might accuse it of being. I strongly believe if you could add up all our cycling revisions, it would equal many drafts. Our fiction is far from sloppy or off the cuff. It’s simply more efficiently polished.
I want to finish this novel by 11/15. I set a clear goal and challenge to do that. The lead character already identified himself as a series lead. A series is nothing I ever thought I’d write.
Thanks, Big Philly
Folks, Quiet the Critical Voice (and Write Fiction) is still available free for a limited time. You can read about it at the link. Or just email me to let me know you want it, and be sure to tell me which eformat you want: .mobi, .epub, or .pdf. I’ll send it right out.
Talk with you again soon.
Cover Design Services for Indie Creatives Fast service, inexpensive pricing and GREAT covers. Strongly recommended. (Thanks to Philip S for the info.)
Answering the Vorlon question Deep insights on being human found in a mostly-forgotten gem of 1990s science fiction television. Matt’s posts are always interesting. I encourage you to subscribe and exercise your mind.
Nightmare Fuel: Iterations of the Boogeyman in (Almost) Every Country Maybe good reference stuff for local color.
The Journal……………………………… 990
Writing of Blackwell Ops 12: Nick Soldata (novel)
Day 1…… 3683 words. To date…… 3683
Day 2…… 3186 words. To date…… 6869
Day 3…… 3315 words. To date…… 10184
Day 4…… 3260 words. To date…… 13444
Day 5…… 3175 words. To date…… 16619
Day 6…… 3649 words. To date…… 20268
Day 7…… 3061 words. To date…… 23329
Day 8…… 3705 words. To date…… 27034
Day 9…… 3237 words. To date…… 30271
Fiction for October…………………… 62311
Fiction for 2023………………………… 279853
Fiction since August 1………………… 165306
Nonfiction for October……………… 19410
Nonfiction for the year……………… 217750
Annual consumable words………… 497543
2023 Novels to Date……………………… 5
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 6
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 76
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 234
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. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.
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