The Journal: Best Writing Practices

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: Best Writing Practices * So What’s the Problem? * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.” Lauren Bacall “You don’t want to dwell on your enemies, you know. I basically feel so superior to my critics for the simple reason that they haven’t done what I do. Most book reviewers haven’t written 11 novels. Many of them haven’t written one.” John Irving “[S]uccess or failure is all about how we navigate the challenges that arise.” Felix Torres in a comment on a post … Read more

The Journal: How to Get Here, Part 1

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Topic: How to Get Here, Part 1 * Of Interest Quote of the Day “[T]he absolute best promotion for your books, proven through history and thousands of surveys and studies, is your next book.” Dean Wesley Smith Topic: How to Get Here, Part 1 If you want to be a professional fiction writer, there are two ways to go about it. To my mind, they are the hard way — following the myths and turning what should be fun into labor — and the easy, fun way: Writing Into the Dark, … Read more

The Journal: Why Most Fiction Writers Will Never Get Here

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: Why Most Fiction Writers Will Never Get Here * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.” Mark Twain “But they are amazingly hard to follow—which is why there are so few professional writers and so many aspirants, and which is why I’m not afraid to give away the racket!” Robert A. Heinlein on his “Business Habits” “What [Heinlein’s Rules] did for me was to finally get me out of the stupid teaching from school and allow me to … Read more

The Journal: Enough with “Pantser” — A Rant

In today’s Journal * Enough with “Pantser” — A Rant * Of Interest Enough with “Pantser” — A Rant Over at the Kill Zone blog today, James Scott Bell wrote that he’s often asked, “What do I do if I’m in the middle of my novel and there are so many things happening, so many characters running around, that I’m losing my way? [What do I do to get back on track?]” Well, if you’re asking me (and many have), shrug, I suggest you trust the characters enough to just write the next sentence. Then write the next sentence and … Read more

The Journal: Always Be Learning

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Topic: Always Be Learning * Of Interest Quote of the Day “There is nothing like the death of a moneyed member of the family to show persons as they really are, virtuous or conniving, generous or grasping.” Jesse Dukeminier and Stanley M. Johanson, estate planning attorneys. (Possible story idea?) Topic: Always Be Learning The old salesman’s mantra, the ABC of selling, is Always Be Closing. For the serious fiction writer, the mantra is Always Be Learning. Over at Kill Zone today, Garry Rodgers discussed Dieter Rams’ ten design principles and theorized … Read more

The Journal: A Turning Point

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * A Lot in “Of Interest” Today * A Turning Point * Of Interest * The Numbers Quotes of the Day “For me, the witchcraft that is writing rarely rises to the front of my mind. When it does, I seem to screw up. I go to work, pound out words and pages, and somehow, when it’s all over, I’ve got a finished manuscript.” John Gilstrap “A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body.” Steven J. Daniels, Weeds in The Garden of Love … Read more

The Journal: Fiction Writing and Pulp Speed

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * First, welcome * Second, today’s post * Let’s Talk Fiction Writing and Pulp Speed, Part 1 * Let’s Talk Fiction Writing and Pulp Speed, Part 2 * Of Interest * The Numbers Quotes of the Day “A Pulp Speed writer loves to just tell stories, one right after another.” Dean Wesley Smith “The crap rules the traditional publishers forced on writers are gone for writers smart enough to escape them. [W]riters are free to write stories again at whatever pace they want to write. … The second pulp era is upon … Read more

The Journal: Rewriting and Hemingway

In today’s Journal * Topic: Rewriting and Hemingway * Of Interest * The Numbers Topic: Rewriting and Hemingway Once again, a writer gave me a topic to write about here. Screenwriter MGP wrote to ask, “Why do you think rewriting is so embedded in the writing community?” He went on to talk about Hemingway and the allegation that the great writer “rewrote the last few sentences of Farewell to Arms 39 times.” Then MGP wrote, “in the article itself the writer uses that as ‘inspiration’ to allow himself to write sloppy and ‘fix’ it later.” My response to the direct … Read more

The Journal: 10,000 Trillion Ants

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Rewording Heinlein’s Rule 4 * An Analogy * Dean Wesley Smith’s post yesterday * An Anniversary of Note * Of Interest * The Numbers Quote of the Day “There are, by some rough estimates, 10,000 trillion ants in the world at any given moment, and their combined weight would match the total weight of the planet’s human population.” Christoph Irmscher, paraphrasing Edward Osborne Wilson in “The Ant Man’s World.”https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-ant-mans-world/ Idea for an SF novel or series of novels? Rewording Heinlein’s Rule 4 I was talking with screenwriter MGP again and he … Read more

The Journal: A Little More on Process

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * If you don’t currently practice * Questions from a screenwriter * Of Interest * The Numbers Quote of the Day “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” Elinor Smith If you don’t currently practice writing into the dark, and if you want to, read my previous two posts. I have a feeling some folks see “WITD” in the subject line or in the contents list and skip reading the post. … Read more