In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* A Lot in “Of Interest” Today
* A Turning Point
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“For me, the witchcraft that is writing rarely rises to the front of my mind. When it does, I seem to screw up. I go to work, pound out words and pages, and somehow, when it’s all over, I’ve got a finished manuscript.” John Gilstrap
“A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body.” Steven J. Daniels, Weeds in The Garden of Love
“The mystery story is two stories in one: the story of what happened and the story of what appeared to happen.” Mary Roberts Rinehart
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” baseball legend Satchel Page
A Lot in “Of Interest” Today
Nothing earth-shaking, I’m sure, but there are several links in “Of Interest” today, some for knowledge, some for fun, some for the way they’re written. I hope you will enjoy them.
I should also note that there are a lot of new posts over at The Passive Voice that I did not include in today’s “Of Interest.” You might want to take a look at those too.
A Turning Point
I’ve always found it fascinating how something as seemingly unimportant as a short “filler” blog post can provide the catalyst for a turning point in one’s life.
Over on the Kill Zone blog today, Sue Coletta posted “Reader Friday: Writer Friends.” In it she asks readers to comment on “one special writer friend in your life,” who it is and why you chose that person. I left a comment, then decided to expand on it here.
I have several good writer friends, but in response to Sue’s question, I decided to go with the one I call my mentor. I will always be grateful to Dean Wesley Smith. I first met him at a writers’ conference in probably ’95 (Tulsa or Tuscon) where we were both presenters, he on fiction, I on poetry.
At the time, I had two nonfiction books (ironically, on writing fiction) and two book-length collections of poetry published via traditional publishing. I had also been vaguely outlining a novel for at least three years. I hoped to write it “someday.”
Dean, on the other hand, had approximately 100 novels published under various pen names, also through traditional publishing.
Years later in February 2014, I was fortunate to happen across Dean’s blog, where he talked about Heinlein’s Rules and a technique called writing into the dark. Back then, almost every post he wrote was about actual writing (as opposed to promotion).
Still, knowledge is only useful when it’s applied. Having knowledge is a fine thing, but at that stage it’s only theory, an exercise in thought, and you can choose to believe it or not as you wish. Only through applyication of that knowledge can you determine whether it’s actually true.
Frankly, I was extremely skeptical, especially of writing into the dark. After all, like everyone else, I had been taught for years to doubt and second-guess myself.
But I also had absolutely nothing to lose. I could always go back to outlining that novel I hoped to write “someday.” And the only way to know FOR SURE whether any technique actually works is to give it an honest try.
So I did. And WITD, combined with my dogged determination to prove or disprove its validity for myself, literally turned my entire life around.
After writing dozens of short stories between February and early October 2014, in mid-October of that year I took a deep breath and started my first novel. For many reasons, I wish I were just starting that first novel again. But that is not possible.
More than anything else, Heinlein’s Rules and WITD are both about moving forward, not back. Sue’s timely post and the memories it evoked brought that home to me. So today I’ll begin my 67th novel.
Talk with you again later.
See “One More Vague Post…” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/one-more-vague-post/. Maybe some help on your own planning.
See “Our Brains Are Wired For Story” at https://killzoneblog.com/2021/11/our-brains-are-wired-for-story.html.
See “Death of an Earl” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/death-of-an-earl/. Witty and entertaining.
See “6 Famous Writers Injured While Writing” at https://lithub.com/6-famous-writers-injured-while-writing/. I can only say if writing caused this much pain and despair, they were doing it wrong.
See “I Don’t Ask The Dangerous Questions” at https://killzoneblog.com/2021/11/i-dont-ask-the-dangerous-questions.html.
See “The If-Only Lawsuit” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-if-only-lawsuit/.
The Journal…………………………………… 750 words
Writing of WCGN 5: Tentative Title (novel)
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for November……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 623282
Total nonfiction words for November… 6760
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 185250
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 808532
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.