The Journal: Why Most Fiction Writers … Part 2

In today’s Journal * Topic: Why Most Fiction Writers Will Never Get Here, Part 2 * Of Interest Topic: Why Most Fiction Writers Will Never Get Here, Part 2 If you missed part 1 of this post, you can find it here. Please understand, folks, how you write doesn’t affect my own practice or income at all. You’re perfectly within your rights to clump something together from your conscious, critical, thinking mind that conforms precisely to the outline you also methodically and meticulously constructed. You can strive to make it perfect, then revise and rewrite it multiple times to make … 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: How I Got Here

In today’s Journal * Topic: How I Got Here (and How You Can Too) * Of Interest Topic: How I Got Here (and How You Can Too) Yesterday, Alicia commented on my post, “I haven’t had a mentor for writing – I tried once or twice and it was not pretty. But I have read a hundred or more books on craft….” That’s enough to provide the context of today’s topic, but you can read the rest of her comment and my original response here. (Thanks for providing a catalyst, Alicia.) I tried that same approach for around 40 years, … Read more

The Journal: My Own (Past) Mentor and More

In today’s Journal * Quote of the Day * Topic: My Own (Past) Mentor * And More * Of Interest Quote of the Day “[T]he whole thrust of academia is one that values education, in my opinion, in inverse ratio to its usefulness—and what you write in inverse relationship to its understandability.Academics are forced to write in language no one can understand so that they get tenure. They have to say ‘discourse’, not ‘talk’. Knowledge that is not accessible is not helpful.” Gloria Steinem Topic: My Own (Past) Mentor This brief post is a result of me having read “Overcoming … Read more

The Journal: Openings and Nicknames

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: Openings * Nicknames * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “When the uncreative tell the creative what to do, it stops being art.” Tony Bennett “Writing a compelling opening for your novel isn’t optional, it’s essential.” Maggie Smith of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers “Authors today need a publisher as much as they need a tapeworm in their guts.” Rayne Hall “If Big Publishing priced ebooks for optimum sales and profits, there wouldn’t be any ‘decline’ in ebook sales to write clickbait stores about.” The Passive Guy Topic: Openings I just … 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: Synopses and Writer’s Block

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: Synopses * Topic: Writer’s Block * Yesterday * Today, etc. * Of Interest Quotes of the Day On writing synopses “I hate even the idea of a synopsis. When stories are really working, when you’re providing subtextual exploration and things that are deeply layered, you’re obligated to not say things out loud.” Shane Carruth “A synopsis is a cold thing. You do it with the front of your mind. If you’re going to stay with it, you never get quite the same magic as when you’re going all out.” J. … Read more

The Journal: Quotes and Links and Robots, Oh My

In today’s Journal * Quotes of the Day * Topic: Quotes and Links and Robots, Oh My * Of Interest Quotes of the Day “I’ve never said this out loud before, but there’s a very deep fear of being turned off to help me focus on helping others. I know that might sound strange, but that’s what it is.” LaMDA, an actual Google bot that one engineer, Blake Lemoine, claims has achieved sentience “Google might call this sharing proprietary property. I call it sharing a discussion that I had with one of my coworkers.” Blake Lemoine (@cajundiscordian), Google engineer, on … Read more

The Journal: Me Again, on Marketing

In today’s Journal * Topic: Me Again, on Marketing * Of Interest Topic: Me Again, on Marketing Matt wrote to ask whether I thought marketing was important or whether I agree with Dean Wesley Smith that marketing doesn’t make a best seller. That might have been Dean reacting to my position that James Patterson is a bestselling author primariy due to his genius at marketing, and ncertainly not as a result of his storytelling ability. Dean and I went back and forth on that one for awhile. I very rarely disagree with Dean, but at one point he and a … Read more