The Daily Journal, Tuesday, August 6

In today’s Journal

* Topic: I’ve Been Pushing an Idea Too Hard
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers

Topic: I’ve Been Pushing an Idea Too Hard

The idea is writing into the dark.

As everyone who’s followed this Journal for longer than a few days knows, I write into the dark. All lengths. Believe it or not, long novels and series are the easiest, followed by novels, novellas, novelettes, and then short stories.

Writing the shortest of all complete short story forms, flash fiction, is the most difficult (for me) to write into the dark. That’s because of the word-count constraint. I am forced to invoke the conscious, critical mind to stay within that constraint.

Writing into the dark is fun for me, and that’s why I do it. For me, WITD is the only legitimate way to tell a story in my own unique, original voice. But then I’m also a staunch advocate and adherent of Heinlein’s Rules, which fit nicely with WITD.

Finally, I’m also a self-actualized writer. I’m confident in my abilities and I trust my voice and my creative subconscious. I don’t need (or want or invite) anyone else’s criticism of my writing.

For those who haven’t been around awhile…

Basically, WITD means taking a deep breath, sitting down at the keyboard, and allowing my characters to tell the story that they, not I, are living, albeit through my fingertips.

I don’t outline or otherwise plan in advance. I just write. Occasionally as a scene advances, I come to realize how it more than likely will end. But not always. And whether it does or doesn’t, I just trust the process.

I do my best keep my conscious, critical mind at bay (meaning I immediately dismiss any negative thoughts). And I Just Write the Next Sentence.

If the next sentence is there but it feels a little bogged down, I trust the process and write it anyway, trusting my characters to lead me through. And they do. Every time.

If the next sentence just won’t come, more than likely I’ve reached the end of a scene. So I read back a little. Chances are I’ll find where the current scene resolved. If so, I skip ahead, write the first sentence of the next scene, and continue.

I’m writing, sure, but much more than that I’m the first person EVER being told that particular story. Because I’m writing into the dark, it’s unfolding as I go.

But eventually the story ends and I publish it. Now the fact that I wrote into the dark becomes even more important.

Because I had no idea what was going to happen in the story before it happened, there is no possible way the eventual other readers of the story can guess where the story’s going either. A surprised reader is a happy reader, and a happy reader returns to buy more books.

That’s how writing into the dark works. That’s how I write and why I write the way I do.

All of that being said, writing into the dark is not the only way to write fiction. Again, the key is to make the writing a fun escape so you’ll keep doing it.

Now, a disclaimer: if you’re avoiding letting go of the myths and writing into the dark because of some unreasonable fear, I urge you to at least try WITD.

But it’s really all up to you. If you have fun with the process of outlining or planning ahead as you go or second-guessing your characters (if you aren’t ruled by fear and you honestly really do enjoy it), by all means have at it.

Likewise, if you enjoy writing word by meticulously chosen word for a total of 50 or 150 “polished, perfect” words or sentences on a full day, do that. Seriously.

But please, don’t for an instant believe your version of perfection will match the reader’s version of perfection.

It won’t.

And no, my characters’ choices as I write into the dark won’t match the reader’s version of perfection either. But it will keep them on the edge of their seat, turning pages as they read. It’s also in my unique, original voice, and it’s fun.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Rolled out at 3 this morning with absolutely no idea what the day will hold. I suppose at this point I’m “living into the dark.” (grin)

I listened to yet another workshop with DWS and enjoyed it. Nothing (in this case) I didn’t know before. Also did some laundry and some other necessary things around the house. Finally, I interacted with a mentoring student for awhile.

I almost forgot to post the Journal today.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The Past, A WIP, and WITD” at

See The Passive Guy’s take on “What Writers Need to Know About Morality Clauses” at

See “Copyright Class 4 – Superstars Special Edition” at Read the others from that link forward. You can skip “Copyright Class 5” though. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 810 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 810

Writing of ()

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 358737
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7400
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 225470
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 584207

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 194
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31