In today’s Journal
▪ A productive day
▪ In the ongoing saga
▪ Another professional writer I follow
▪ Topic: Yes, Virginia, Writers Lie.
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest
▪ The numbers
I think I’m over the bug. I had a really productive day yesterday, both physically and otherwise.
I swapped-out parts of my in-home office with parts of my Hovel to make the latter more comfortable and more of an office. There’s more to do, but a lot of it is done.
I also did some major revamping of my main website (more to come). I hope you’ll drop by https://harveystanbrough.com and have a look.
Finally, I made a few small changes to this Daily Journal website. (Also a lot more to come.)
I’m excited about the changes, both current and upcoming.
In the ongoing saga of my current (previous? finished?) WIP, I’ve changed my mind again.
If you didn’t notice (I didn’t), my thought about reading through the whole thing was only conscious-mind stuff, a way to keep me from sending it to my first readers.
How do I know it was conscious-mind stuff?
Because conscious-mind stuff is ALWAYS negative and ALWAYS based on fear. (As you can see, I’m still reminding myself of that now and then after 5 years of telling the conscious mind to shut up when it comes to my fiction.)
I chose not to just send the thing to my first readers like I always do because I was afraid they might find fault. See how the conscious mind can creep in?
But I’m back to my version of normal now. I trust my first readers completely. They’re honest with me when something works (for them) and they’re honest with me when it doesn’t.
So this morning I’ll cycle through the last bit I wrote on the Blackwell Ops 6, then send it off to my first readers, put it out of my mind and move on to the next project.
Another professional writer I follow has just opened a Patreon account. He did so in order to write and publish (only to his Patreon subscribers) “short stories and novelettes” in the pulp tradition.
Good for him. My only question, if I wanted to ask it, which I don’t, is why isn’t he also publishing those works to the market a month after he publishes them exclusively to Patreon?
His business, but in my opinion, he’s missing a major bet. If he writes those works fast (i.e., into the dark) they will probably be better than his “normal” writing, for which he prepares outlines, revises and rewrites, etc.
I hope he’s doing this partly as an experiment to see what sort of feedback he gets from his readers on his “pulp” work. Just food for thought.
Topic: Yes, Virginia, Writers Lie.*
A day or two ago on another writer’s website, the writer went on and on, seemingly taking offense to the notion that writers lie.
Her take was this:
“No, good writers don’t lie. They build a world and characters from their own beliefs and worldbuilding so everything is true.
Bad writers who use sloppy or lazy writing to justify false behavior or world changes lie all the time.”
Seriously? (uneasy grin)
Yeah, I can’t agree with that.
I honestly don’t mind being considered a liar as a fictionist. I wear the term as a badge of honor. (grin) In fact, I openly brag about it. And that can’t possibly be a surprise to you, given that the tagline on my writer website reads, “I will lie to you. And you will enjoy it.”
Not once has anyone taken offense at that tongue-in-cheek statement. Well, not that I know of, though I suppose in today’s world, anything is possible.
But to my knowledge, not once has any potential reader read that tagline and decided to turn away because they don’t want to do business with a liar. (grin)
And believe me, readers like that are just mean-spirited enough to let you know why they refuse to even consider buying your books.
Of course, the joke’s on them. (grin) I’ve already been entertained by what I wrote. If they miss it, that’s their bad luck, not mine.
I don’t have to tell you, the word “lie” has many connotations. No mentally well-adjusted human being believes it’s all right to tell a lie with the intent of causing harm to others.
But my buddies and I get together now and then to philosophize and “swap lies” (recall and tell stories) and remember our past as it should have been (maybe) instead of how it really was. No harm, no foul, eh?
Along the same line, extremely good writers admit to “lying” all the time. For only one example of many, witness Lawrence Block’s nonfiction masterpiece (in my opinion) Telling Lies for Fun and Profit.
Do writers lie with bad intentions, attempting to do harm to others? No, of course not.
But if we can lighten up just a little bit, they do “lie” in a tongue-in-cheek, harmless, happy kind of way.
It’s a little like a two year old cupping a caterpillar behind her back after swiping that hand past her mouth.
With a faux-surprise look on her face, her mother says, “Where’d that caterpillar go?”
And the two year old, with a straight face, says, “I ate it.”
So did she “lie” or did she “tell a story”?
The answer is Yes.
Writers tell made-up stories. It’s what we do. Maybe the writer sees those stories as his or her “truth,” though frankly that seems more than a little haughty to me.
No matter what the writer believes, what s/he has written in a pure fiction are still harmless, pretty lies that transport the reader to an alternate reality for awhile.
That’s good enough for me.
*The title of this topic is a play on “”Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” one sentence from an editorial titled “Is There a Santa Claus?”. Via WikiPedia, “the editorial appeared in the September 21, 1897, edition of The (New York) Sun and has since become part of popular Christmas folklore in the United States.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes,_Virginia,_there_is_a_Santa_Claus)
Rolled out at 4, went to the Hovel to write a lot of the stuff above and to further update my writer website a bit.
To the house at 7 to visit a little with my wife (did I mention the poor baby has a raging head cold?), then back here to write more of the stuff above and glean items for “Of “Interest.”
At 8:30, I began cycling through the last scene of BO6. By 10 a.m., I’d added the necessary front and back matter and sent it off to my wonderful first readers. (Thanks, Nan and Robert!)
Now for a break, during which I will return to physical endeavors. (grin)
I finished rebuilding a small set of drawers for my new “desk” in the Hovel by 11.
I’m anxious to get back to writing, but I don’t want to hurry into my next fiction project. So I’ll take the rest of today to ease back out of my few days’ retirement and start writing again tomorrow or (more likely) Friday. (Tomorrow morning will be interrupted with a routine doc appointment.)
Talk with you again tomorrow.
See “W.S. Merwin” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/99843-2/. Wonderful.
See the comments on “Ignore Name Calling…” at https://harveystanbrough.com/pro-writers/ignore-name-calling-be-proud-of-what-you-choose-to-do/.
See the comments on “Fantastic Writing Advice” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/fantastic-writing-advice/#comments.
See “First Page Critique: They’re Gone” at https://killzoneblog.com/2019/04/first-page-critique-theyre-gone.html.
Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1240 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 1240
Writing of (novel)
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 0
Total fiction words for the year………… 261470
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1240
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 113100
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 374570
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