The Daily Journal, Saturday, April 13

In today’s Journal

▪ Not a lot
▪ Topic: Take Your Time
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest (a LOT of links)
▪ The numbers

Not a lot around the internet this morning, so probably a realtively short post today.

I did take a few minutes to improve the copyright notice. It appears at the bottom of every page. Stop by and take a look.

Topic: Take Your Time (Revisited)

As I was discussing with one of my mentoring writers a day or two ago, sometimes it’s necessary to take your time while writing.

Yes, I write around 900 to 1200 words per hour.

But if you do the math, that’s only 15 to 20 words per minute. And a minute is a long time. For comparison, how many WPM did you type in high school? (Mine was around 80 WPM.)

So I’m just saying, even writing 900 to 1200 words per hour leaves a lot of time for staring off into space.

This doesn’t mean you invoke the conscious, critical mind or try to figure out where the story’s going next. That isn’t your job. Your job is only to convey what the characters say and do.

But sometimes you have to slow them down.

Like me, my POV character wants to rush from one action scene to the next or from one dialogue-filled scene to the next. It’s tempting at times even to leave a placeholder, such as <insert maid description here> and move on.

My advice is don’t do it. Slow down a little.
Take the time necessary to describe what the POV characters notices about the maid. It will take only a sentence or two, and then you can move forward, still in the creative subconscious.

Take the time necessary to convey what the POV character sees, hears, smells, tastes and feels (physically and emotionally) in the setting, and his/her opinions of that setting. I do that at least once in every major scene, usually at the beginning. It’s called “grounding the reader.”

Again, it takes only a few minutes, a few sentences, and it will enable the reader to feel as if s/he is in the setting and the scene with the character. And a reader can’t be more engaged in your story than that.

And again, then you can move forward, still in the creative subconscious.

But what about the alternative? What if you WANT to just leave a placeholder and forge ahead?

You will evoke your conscious, critical mind when you “look for” that placeholder (or those placeholders) later.

And when you find the placeholder, you’ll still be in the conscious, critical mind. You’ll want to get the description of the maid “right” instead of just recording what the POV character notices. And chances are, you’ll bore the snot out of your reader.

So don’t do it. Rein-in your POV character’s (and your) desire to rush forward to the next heart-pounding, high-action scene.

Write what’s necessary in the moment to pull your reader into the setting. Write what’s necessary in the moment to enable your reader to see the maid, to scent her perfume, to visit for a moment the scents from the POV character’s grandmother’s kitchen evoked by the maid’s perfume, etc.

Your writing (and your bank book) will be richer for it.

For more on this topic, see my previous post “Take Your Time” at

Rolled out a little after 2 a.m. this morning, as I planned last night. Today should be a big day of writing, but it’s also Saturday, so I need to knock it out early. (grin)

I hit all my usual haunts, answered several emails, and wrote the topic above. I took a break at 4:10.

Back to the Hovel and the novel at 4:30.

Cycling through what I wrote yesterday and writing, occasionally interrupted by emails, most often notifications from posts on which I previously commented. I tend to jump out of my story, read and/or respond to those, then jump back into the story. It’s going to be a short (but good) day anyway. (grin)

I decided to call it at 10:30, but a pretty good day. Gonna spend the balance of the day on an edit (for another writer) and with my girl. (grin)

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Black Hole Dreams” at

See “Do Books Become Outdated?” at

See “Tom Nolan on the Enduring Legacy of Ross Macdonald” at

See “Who Really Cares About Research?” at

Fiction Words: 2662
Nonfiction Words: 750 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 3412

Writing of Blackwell Ops 6: Charlie Task (novel)

Day 1…… 2774 words. Total words to date…… 2774
Day 2…… 1776 words. Total words to date…… 4550
Day 3…… 4190 words. Total words to date…… 8740
Day 4…… 2662 words. Total words to date…… 11402

Total fiction words for the month……… 21440
Total fiction words for the year………… 239241
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15420
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 92490
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 331731

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 42
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 193
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

2 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Saturday, April 13”

  1. Take Your Time had my name written all over it. I would urge anyone who feels the same to check his link to a previous post too! (Goes back to Feb 2018 I think). Excellent examples. Just because I can sense it all doesn’t mean my readers can– unless I let them in on it. Thanks Harvey!

    • Thanks, Karen. Had my name all over it too. (grin) I have to take a breath and slow myself down now and then. Just calm my mind so I don’t miss writing part of the story. And then I still add some detail (as deemed necessary by the characters) when I cycle back.

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