The Journal: How to Get Here, Part 2

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: How to Get Here, Part 2 * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “You have to believe in your long term plan, but you need short term goals to motivate and inspire you.” Roger Federer, professional tennis player (paraphrased) “Did you know that 94% of consumers in their 20s purchased boba (bubble tea) in the last three months?” 1440 Daily Digest Maybe a story starter? Soma, anyone? Topic: How to Get Here, Part 2 If you have chosen to opt-out of the responsibility-and-labor-and-drama-intensive myths and choose instead to trust yourself … Read more

The Journal: Attitude

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Attitude * Of Interest Quote of the Day (maybe quote of the year) “I don’t need easy. I just need possible.” Katie Bone, American Ninja Warrior contestant Attitude In “Of Interest” you’ll see the second link is to a post by Dean Wesley Smith about attitude. That post is almost as short as this one is. It’s also where I got the quote of the day. And in the article itself, shortly after that quote, Dean wrote, “Well folks, being a professional writer is possible. … It’s not easy, but it … Read more

The Journal: Mentorships Now Available

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Food for Thought * Mentorships Now Available * The Novel * A Few Words on Genre * Of Interest Quote of the Day “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” Herman Melville Food for Thought So I don’t forget, here’s a free copy of brand-new handout: Craft and Non-Craft Topics to Stir Thought. When you click the link, a blank screen will open and the document will download automatically. Mentorships Now Available Because it’s difficult for me to let go of a concept once I sink … Read more

The Journal: The Mentorships and the Novel

In today’s Journal * The Mentorships * Topic: The Novel (and Cycling) * Of Interest The Mentorships Well, the mentorships are definitely a go. I’ve already had a good response. (Thanks to those who responded so quickly.) If this is something that interests you, please email me at to let me know. I also decided against including the mentorships on the Patronage page. Instead, over the next few days I’ll develop a new page strictly for the Mentorships (I’ve decided now there probably will be two levels). I’ll also create a new PayPal subscription button specifically for the mentorships. … Read more

The Journal: Story Ideas

In today’s Journal * Topic: Story Ideas * Of Interest Topic: Story Ideas As I was telling a friend recently, story ideas can come from anywhere. Most often they come to me as a character or two popping into my head, usually with a line of dialogue that frames the genre and the story voice. Less often, something I see physically or overhear or read will spark a story idea. Regardless of the mode of their arrival, my stories are seldom born of whole cloth. A story idea is only a lever to get you to the keyboard. While I … Read more

The Journal: The Novel and a Broken Truck

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * The Novel and a Broken Truck * Of Interest Quote of the Day “Writing is fun, and that’s why we do it.” Reavis Wortham The Novel and a Broken Truck I’m posting this mostly to get the “Of Interest” items out to you. The novel continues to progress. I’ve had a few good days of writing, and a couple of slow days. Yesterday, due to a series of unfortunate events, I had only a little over an hour with the novel. My pickup vaporlocked (I thought) a couple of days ago … Read more

The Journal: Plot vs. Story

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Topic: Plot vs. Story * Of Interest Quote of the Day “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland Topic: Plot vs. Story I feel halfway silly even bothering to offer this as a topic. I do so only because some of “my people” (you guys) might visit Jane Friedman’s site, and you might see a post by a woman named Heather Davis. As always, I wanted to satisfy myself that Dr. Davis was a valid resource. Does she have experience writing … Read more

The Journal: Keep Coming Back

In today’s Journal * Two New Sources of Information for Writers * Topic: Keep Coming Back * When a Story Flows * Of Interest Two New Sources of Information for Writers I found a new source for reliable factual information and informed opinion: Interesting Engineering. One example of their articles is in today’s “Of Interest.” If you write SF, to my mind this is a must-have (free) subscription. If you don’t write SF, it’s still an extremely interesting source of information. You can find it at To sign up for the newsletter, scroll to the bottom and click Newsletter. … Read more

The Journal: Pure Writing Into the Dark

In today’s Journal * Welcome * I’m Back! * Topic: Pure Writing Into the Dark First, welcome to r2zajac and any other recent new subscribers. You picked a good time to drop in. (grin) I’m Back! I’m not bragging here folks. I’m celebrating. I just felt like sharing this good news with my friends. Starting Blackwell Ops 8, my current novel, has been nothing short of restarting my life as a fiction writer after a very long 10 months. I’ve written five or six different openings for this novel, and I struggled with all of them. It was like pulling … Read more

The Journal: The Squeaky Stair Technique

In today’s Journal * Topic: The Squeaky Stair Technique * Of Interest Topic: The Squeaky Stair Technique I’ve long wanted to write a topic about pulling the reader into the story quickly and more deeply by focusing down. That is, writing some small thing that causes the reader or viewer to focus his or her attention down on a fine detail. Doing so causes the reader to lean more closely (or deeply) into the story. In fact, I recommend you use this technique in literally every opening you ever write. The point of a good opening is to ground the … Read more