In today’s Journal
- Quote of the Day
- In the past two days
- Topic: How to Write “Complicated Stories” into the Dark
- Daily diary
- Of Interest
- The numbers
Quote of the Day
From The Passive Guy: “Writing well means never having to say, ‘I guess you had to be there.'” Jef Mallett
In the past two days, I came up with two topics that are so huge they want badly to be nonfiction books. One is How to Quiet the Critical Voice, and the other is Writing High-Action Scenes.
Of course, the former probably won’t sell five copies. (grin) The latter will sell well, but the market is saturated with books on the topic.
Well, unless you weed out all the nonfiction book writers out there who have never written an action scene in their life. Of course, most people don’t tend to weed-out anything.
Problem is, I’m in the middle of a WIP. So I really don’t WANT to “just” write a nonfiction book right now. So I’m thinking about how I can do that.
So anyway, I’ll kind’a sort’a be thinking about that. Any input, feel free to comment on the site or email me at email@example.com.
Topic: How to Write “Complicated Stories” into the Dark
On Dean’s website yesterday, Mark Kuhn suggested Dean do “a workshop that covers how to write complicated stories into the dark.”
Mark then mentioned a specific story and wrote, “I can’t see how such an incredibly readable story like that can possibly be written into the dark. It is so intricate. … It’s just heckin amazing.”
I had exactly the same doubts almost exactly five years ago when I first stumbled upon Dean Wesley Smith’s website. In his post that day, Dean was talking about a technique he called Writing Into the Dark (WITD).
To keep this topic fairly short, here’s what I wrote (slightly revised) in response to Mark’s comment. For the more recent Journal subscribers, this will also provide a quick rundown of yours truly as a writer and instructor:
I’ve been writing fiction in earnest for only five years and one month. Dean Wesley Smith and my willingness to take a chance made that possible.
I was certain WITD would work fine for such an experienced writer as Dean, but it could never possibly work for me.
So to prove to myself it wouldn’t work… I tried it. After all, it isn’t like there are any consequences if it doesn’t work, right? (grin) So what did I have to lose?
Only it DID work.
I had to keep pushing down my critical voice at first and remind myself to just let the characters tell their own story. (After all, they’re the ones who are living it.) But it worked, and it worked big time.
So I did these three things:
- I established a daily word-count goal,
- I entered the amazing world of WITD, and
- to keep me on track, I decided to adhere to Heinlein’s Rules.
And I haven’t looked back.
Today, thanks to Dean and thanks to me taking that chance, I have over 50 novels and novellas and almost 200 short stories. All in five years. And yes, they sell well.
As an added bonus, folks, I swear, WITD is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
Now, in this blog and by example, I try to pay it forward by teaching others the same things I learned from Dean, including my own spin as I practiced and made the techniques my own.
Some of the stories you write will be complex, complicated stories. Some will be simpler and more straight-forward. But the point is, only the characters know in advance.
If you trust them, quiet your conscious, critical mind and Just Write the Next Sentence, Write the Next Sentence, Write the Next Sentence, they will lead you through to the end.
Along the way, they can (and will) sometimes come up with twists and turns and complications you won’t believe.
But if you trust them and Just Write the Next Sentence, you’ll be amazed at the stories they’ll tell you.
Tomorrow, a topic on ways to quiet the critical mind. Probably.
Rolled out at 2:30, made my way to the Hovel and wrote the stuff above. A break at 5.
Back to the Hovel at 5:20 and to the novel at 5:40.
Amazing where the time goes. I wrote off and on for almost two hours yet got fewer than 1000 words. Took a break at 8:20 to see my wife off, then remembered I have a webinar to listen to at 9. So I’ll be back after the webinar.
At 9:20 I bowed out of the webinar. It was right on the edge of being a bait and switch. It was advertised as being presented by Jeff Goins, who instead only popped in now and then. So annoying when they do that.
Taking a break up to the house at 9:45, then back to the novel at 10:30.
A lot of write/cycle/write/cycle bits today. I’m in another high-action scene. I might do another topic on that in a day or two.
I keep distracting myself, and I’m tired, so I’m going to call it again. Another low-number day, but still having a ton of fun when I dive in. Have I said how much I’m loving being back with ol’ Wes Crowley?
Talk with you again tomorrow.
See “Tribute to a Mentor” at https://killzoneblog.com/2019/05/tribute-to-a-mentor.html.
See “That Was Nuts” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/that-was-nuts/.
See Dean’s “Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing” series at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killing-the-sacred-cows-of-publishing/. Bookmark it. Take your time. Or just order the books.
Need book covers? Via Linda Mae Adams, see “CoverMint” at https://www.covermint.design/.
See “Book Cover Refresh #2” at https://lindamayeadams.com/2019/05/14/book-cover-refresh-2/.
See Duke Southard’s “A Tale of Two Books — Part Two” at http://prowriterswriting.com/a-tale-of-two-books-part-two/.
In a bit of serendipity, see “Paragraphing” at https://harveystanbrough.com/pro-writers/paragraphing/. This should go nicely with Duke’s post above.
See “Exonerations and Complications: The Evil Side of DNA Evidence” at https://www.leelofland.com/exonerations-and-complications-the-evil-side-of-dna-evidence/.
Fiction Words: 1365
Nonfiction Words: 1010 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 2375
Writing of In the Cantina at Noon (novel)
Day 1…… 1538 words. Total words to date…… 1538
Day 2…… 2456 words. Total words to date…… 3994
Day 3…… 1876 words. Total words to date…… 5870
Day 4…… 1038 words. Total words to date…… 6908
Day 5…… 5807 words. Total words to date…… 12715
Day 6…… 1957 words. Total words to date…… 14672
Day 7…… 1867 words. Total words to date…… 16539
Day 8…… 1748 words. Total words to date…… 18288
Day 9…… 1221 words. Total words to date…… 19509
Day 10… 1365 words. Total words to date…… 20874
Total fiction words for the month……… 20874
Total fiction words for the year………… 282344
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15410
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 127270
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 409614
Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 6
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 193
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31