The Journal: All Knowledge is Pertinent

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Welcome
* All Knowledge is Pertinent to WITD
* Moaning No Longer
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.” Ambrose Bierce

“November, n. The eleventh twelfth of a weariness.” Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Welcome to Lexy, and any others who subscribed recently. Good to have you all aboard. If I can do anything to help, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me.

All Knowledge is Pertinent to WITD

The Kill Zone blog has made the Journal a lot recently, and today is no exception. When I read the opening paragraph of Debbie Burke’s “Timing and Punchlines” I actually got excited at what she missed. Debbie wrote

“Note: Today’s discussion concerns later drafts when you rewrite, edit, and polish. It doesn’t apply to first drafts where the main job is to get the story down.”

With all due respect to Debbie, a good storyteller in her own right, yes, her post DOES pertain to the first draft. It pertains to writing fiction, period.

Those of us who write into the dark—meaning we’ve learned to write a clean, finished draft the first time through—understand that we have to trust what we know.

We have to trust the knowledge we’ve internalized about writing fiction, and we have to trust that our creative subconscious will draw on that well of knowledge as necessary while we’re racing through the story with our characters.

Our entire writing process in a nutshell:

1. We write a story from our creative subconscious to the best of our current ability. We never allow our critical, conscious mind to intervene.

2. To do that, we write for a session, then cycle back through what we just wrote (reading as a reader, not a writer, with the creative subconscious) to allow the characters to clean up any little glitches. Then we write the next session. We continue in that way until the story is finished.

3. We submit or publish the story, then take a class or lecture or read a post or book on writing to learn something new. Anything will do as long as it speaks to us and excites us. (If it speaks to us or excites us, we will internalize it. If it doesn’t, we won’t.)

4. We practice the new technique while writing a story from our creative subconscious to the best of our (new) current ability. We never allow our critical, conscious mind to intervene.

So the information imparted in Debbie Burke’s article is ABSOLUTELY pertinent to “first drafts.” It’s knowledge—valid, valuable knowledge—about writing fiction.

The difference is, we who write into the dark will read, study and internalize the information. Then we’ll simply trust that it’s there as part of our new knowledge base.

Those who have bought into the myths that they must second-guess their creative subconscious (revise, seek the opinions of other critical minds, then edit and rewrite etc.) probably will go back and re-read the article, then attempt to apply the information with their conscious, critical mind. Some of the more doubtful in their own abilities probably will even go article to story, article to story, article to story.

All of which is fine, of course. To each his or her own. But that’s far too much work for me, especially given that All We Do is provide readers with a few minutes’ (short story) or hours’ (novel) entertainment. That’s it. Nothing more important than that.

For we who write into the dark, THAT we write is all-important. But WHAT we write, the individual story, isn’t important in the slightest. Not to the writer. Any importance is assigned by the reader.

To improve our craft and become better storytellers, we read and consider new information (Yes, engage the conscious, critical mind for learning). Then we allow what we learn to sink into our creative subconscious. Then we fuggidaboutit. The information will reside there until our characters need it.

Trust me. It works.

By the way, Debbie Burke actually writes similarly to the way I do, trusting her creative subconscious. You can see her books and her website at I encourage you to visit.

Moaning No Longer

As I wrote above, “trust me, [writing into the dark] works.” Thing is, I’ve been moaning a lot here about my inability to write fiction for the past four months, ever since I quit cigars. That was a major life change. Obviously more major than I expected.

But even with that four months off, I’ve written well over 600,000 words of fiction this year. At present I’m finally working myself back into writing again. And I have to say I’m enjoying every somewhat excruciating minute of relearning all the techniques I took for granted four months ago.

So thanks for hanging around. I’ll be fully back before you know it.

Talk with you again later.

Of Interest

See “Workshop Question…” at

See “Ghostwriters Come Out of the Shadows” at A nod to my friend, Dan.

See “Art and Commerce Need Not Be at Odds” at Just in case this helps or speaks to some of you. See PG’s excellent take.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 840 words

Writing of WCGN 5: Carmelita Ramos (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… 9710
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 188200
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 811482

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.

2 thoughts on “The Journal: All Knowledge is Pertinent”

  1. Thanks for mentioning my TKZ post, Harvey. I agree with your process b/c that’s also the way I write, trusting the subconscious to deliver what’s needed when it’s needed.

    But I added the disclaimer to reassure writers who use a different process–they need to get the story down first then polish later.

    Bottom line: whatever works for you, works!

    Happy Thanksgiving, my prolific friend!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Debbie. I hoped you would. (grin) Your disclaimer was a good idea for those who needed it, and I assumed your reasoning. But thanks too for providing such a great launch pad for my own post. And happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well.

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