In today’s Journal
* Quote of the Day
* Topic: An Addendum
* It will be interesting,
* The Numbers
Quote of the Day
“My advice to writers who think they’re out of ideas is to tell them to write the word ‘The’ and then follow with another word and… bing-bam-boom straight to the Moon, Alice… there’s your idea.” Dan Baldwin
Topic: An Addendum
One addendum to yesterday’s post — Everything you are able to learn and absorb and put into practice about writing or anything else is dependent on whether you’re ready to learn and absorb the lesson.
Much as I like to say I wish I’d found Heinlein’s Rules and the writing into the dark technique when I was still in my twenties or thirties, chances are good that even if I’d stumbled across them back then, I wouldn’t have done anything with them. I might have been ready, or I might not.
It’s all a mind-set. An attitude. And really, what age you are or what stage of life you’re in don’t really matter in the slightest. What matters is whether you’re ready, and we all come to that (or not) in our own time.
A little math tells me Dean Wesley Smith was “ready” to follow Heinlein’s Rules and write into the dark (which he originally called “dare to be bad” after Nina Kiriki Hoffman) when he was in his 30s.
Ready or not, I didn’t stumble across the Rules or WITD until February 2014, when I was 61. Following the Rules and practicing writing into the dark has been hugely successful for me, but I’m not stupid. I know doing the same won’t result in success for everyone, for any of myriad reasons.
* Maybe you don’t trust yourself.
* Maybe you can’t separate your characters’ lives from your own because they, after all, are in your head.
As an aside, I personally believe the above is actually a common misconception. I personally believe my characters are living their lives in alternate dimensions, which I am blessed to be able to access through a “portal” in my creative subconscious mind. And because I access that portal often, it’s more readily available to me.
Maybe too that’s why it’s so easy for me to separate my characters’ incredibly interesting lives from my own frankly boring one. And maybe, of course, I’m wrong. But feel free to try my dimension [demention?] theory for yourself if you think it might help.
* Maybe you just need the multiple safety nets provided by what DWS calls the myths.
* Maybe you have trouble letting go of things from the past. (WITD is clearly a forward-looking technique.)
* Or maybe a lot of other things, including but not limited to that you’re just not ready yet. In that case, if the idea of WITD appeals to you, I encourage you to keep trying. Or not. Up to you.
For all writers, if you attempt to follow Heinlein’s Rules you will fall off one or more of them occasionally. Even Heinlein himself admitted that he found it difficult to follow them all the time. As with WITD, success in following Heinlein’s Rules is found is the attempt.
And for some writers, unfortunately, attempting to write into the dark will be never be anything but an exercise in futility. Especially for those who believe the preceding sentence. Because if you aren’t ready yet to trust yourself and what you know and to trust your characters to tell you the story they’re living, you won’t get it.
A blast from the past — Before I’d written even my first novel, I taught classes on writing. Not on writing novels, certainly, but on dialogue and narrative and the sounds of words and so on.
And at the beginning of almost every class, I said some version of “First, if I can dissuade you from being a writer, let me refund your fee and you can go away. Because writing fiction is hard…” and blah blah blah.
Today, having established myself as a successful novelist and short story writer, I sing a different tune: “Try this. If you trust it, and if you want it to, it will work for you.” My how times have changed.
It will be interesting, to me at least, to see whether I finished the novel yesterday. Right after I posted yesterday’s Journal, the idea for today’s flooded over me and, instead of moving to the novel as early as I usually do, I came back to the business computer and wrote this bit of tripe.
Oh well… as long as somebody gets something out of it, I suppose it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Anyway, now (as I write this at 7 a.m. yesterday) to the house for breakfast and a break, then back to the Hovel and the novel.
Update: I thought I might finish the novel yesterday but I didn’t. Or maybe I did and I just need one final cycling session. I’ll find out today.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Be An Original Writer” at https://mystorydoctor.com/be-original/. Right away he started listing conscious mind activities. (Not complaining, just stating fact.) So I posted this one without reading most of it. The best way I know to be an “original” writer is to write in your unique voice, and to do that you have to not muffle the creative subconscious with your (or others’) critical, conscious mind. Maybe bear that in mind as you read the article.
See “Leading Them to Water…” at https://killzoneblog.com/2021/02/leading-them-to-water.html.
The Journal…………………………………… 920 words
Writing of The Journey Home: Part 6 (novel)
Day 10… 3615 words. Total words to date…… 41146
Day 11… 3621 words. Total words to date…… 44767
Day 12… 4018 words. Total words to date…… 48785
Day 13… 4112 words. Total words to date…… 52897
Total fiction words for February……… 18523
Total fiction words for the year………… 116000
Total nonfiction words for February… 5530
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 30860
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 146860
Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 55
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 215
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31