The Journal: A New DWS Series of Posts

In today’s Journal

* I no longer subscribe
* A New DWS Series of Posts
* A promotion myth revealed
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

If it matters to you that you get market news, etc. from Authors Publish, you’ll want to go to and subscribe. It’s free. I’m no longer subscribed, so I won’t be passing along their information any longer.

Likewise for David Farland’s writing tips newsletter. Go to, scroll to the bottom of the page, and enter your information to subscribe (free). I’m no longer a subscriber. Too much nonformation for me.

This morning, DWS started a new series of blog posts titled The Wet Blanket Reality. I found it eerie how closely on-point he was with my own recent blog posts. Especially in the third section, “So Why Call the Introduction ‘The Myths’?”

Remember I was talking about what we all learn from well-meaning teachers in school? Here’s an excerpt from Dean’s post:

“The … myths of writing fiction are taught to all of us in school from a very early age. Myths like ‘Fiction writing is special.’ Or ‘Fiction writing is hard.’

“It is neither special or hard. But as kids in school, we watch teachers who have never written a novel take apart novels, find them amazing, and thus teach that writing novels or stories must be special and must be hard. Teaching out of ignorance. Teachers just don’t know that sitting alone in a room and making stuff up is great fun and scary easy if you are willing to keep learning.”

A few paragraphs later, he makes another great point: “If you could hold a pen as a kid, you could become a writer as long as you don’t … outline and world build so much ahead of time [that] there is nothing left to write.”

That was a point I failed to make in my recent posts, but it gets straight to the heart of the matter. If you outline, write character sketches, world-build, etc. when you sit down to actually write the story there will be nothing left to write. You will have written everything that’s interesting about the story, and you’ll face a boring exercise of filling in the blanks.

And that is my personal anathema: If I already know the whole story of a novel because the author spilled the plot into the sales copy, why would I bother reading it? I won’t, because what entertainment value is left?

Likewise, if I already wrote the whole story of a novel in an outline, why would I bother writing the novel itself? Why would I put myself through that slogging drudgery when there are tons of other good stories to write that I haven’t heard yet? Again, I wouldn’t.

I’ve related the story here before of a crime novel I was working on a few years ago: Situation Solved. When I was around 34,000 words in, a friend visited. As we chatted, I told him a little about the novel. Before he could stop himself, he blurted out what he thought would be a great ending.

He was right—it would be a great ending—but knowing it in advance ruined the story for me, so there was no reason to write more on that story until the memory went away. (This is why you should never talk with anyone about your work in progress.)

So I set the novel aside, and I moved on to write several other novels before returning to finish that story sometime later. It finally wrapped at 58,000 words with an ending that was unexpected but occurred naturally from writing into the dark.

Anyway, Dean’s post is a good one (typos, etc. aside) and promises to lead to a good series of posts and a good book.

Not surprisingly, another myth is presented in today’s Kill Zone blog: If you want to sell books, you have to sometimes “sit at a lonely table full of books in front of Barnes & Noble, directing people to the restroom.” In other words, you have to do physical book signings, etc.

Nope. You can, of course, put the time and money into a self-styled book tour. I’ve done that before back when I was traditionally published. And yes, book sales went up when I toured or when I spoke at writers’ conferences.

I invested days at a time and hundreds of dollars in gasoline, hotel rooms, and time to those endeavors, and I made 95 cents per book sold. (I had a very lucrative 10% royalty from the publisher.) So when I’d sold 100 books I’d made $95. I’ll let you use your imagination to subtract hotels, gas, etc.

Each time an ebook of that same title sells today (and the ebook is priced at only $4.99), I make $3.50. When I’ve sold 100 books I’ve made $350. And there is no cost for hotels and gas. But again, you do the math.

So all in all, I find it much wiser and more time effective to invest minutes in social media, my Amazon author profile, etc. instead of days on the road.

Of course, your results might vary, so I’ve included the Kill Zone blog post in “Of Interest” as well.

Talk with you again later.

Of Interest

See “The Wet Blanket Reality… Introduction” at

See “With a Little Help from My Friends” at

See “Ancient Footprints Push Back Date of Human Arrival in the Americas” at

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 860 words

Writing of WCGN 5: Tentative Title (novel)

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

Total fiction words for August……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 623282
Total nonfiction words for August… 9920
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 165140
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 788422

Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 13
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 66
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.