The Journal: Finished My 50th Novel

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Little Richard
* Yesterday, and Done
* Topic: On Cliffhangers…
* Shared World Stuff
* Today
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“If only we could remember that fame and money are gifts given us only after we have gifted the world with our best, our lonely, our individual truths.” Ray Bradbury

“What The Subconscious is to every other man, in its creative aspect becomes, for writers, The Muse.” Ray Bradbury

God bless the family and loved ones of Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman), who passed away yesterday at the age of 87.

Yesterday, finally, I typed the last words of The Good of the Galaxy 2 (see Day 17). I have to admit, I’m glad this one is over. For now. As I’ve mentioned before, this is my 50th novel. Feels like a milestone to me, so I’m feeling a little celebratory.

And yes. It’s the second book in a series, so there’s what some might call a cliffhanger of sorts at the end. (It isn’t really a cliffhanger, but a light enticement to watch for the next book in the series.) The story wraps in and of itself, but it also is open to continue.

Plus this isn’t really a series so much as a saga, an ongoing story, much like the Wes Crowley Saga.

Topic: On Cliffhangers and So-Called (Not) Cliffhangers

First, Dean Wesley Smith teaches an EXCELLENT online workshop on Cliffhangers, and it’s a Classic, which means it’s regularly priced at $150. Which means until 5 p.m. Pacific time tonight (see “Of Interest”) you can get it for only $75 at Teachable. The last few posts on Dean’s site had details, links, the code, etc.

Anyway, as some famous writer (Raymond Chandler, I think) once said, your opening sells your current book; your ending sells your next one.

Recently there was a flap over on PWW about cliffhangers. The most hardcore insisted when they’re reading a series, if they encounter a cliffhanger at the end of a book, they will flatly refuse to continue reading the series.

I suspect they don’t know what a cliffhanger is. (Even most writers know only one or two of the several types.) Here are a couple of assertions that might help:

If the novelist leaves major plot elements unresolved at the end of one book, ostensibly to be resolved in the next, that is not a cliffhanger. It’s poor writing and poor marketing.

If the novelist leaves an enticement at the end of one book (in or out of a series) to get the reader to read the next book, that is good writing.

(And to anyone who will cross their arms over their chest and disrespect my work without having bothered to read it, may a thousand bedbugs infest your navel. But I digress.)

Cliffhangers are used most often (by good writers) at the end of major scenes and/or chapters, and their function is to entice the reader to continue reading past the section or chapter break.

They do not accomplish that task alone. At the beginning of the next major scene and/or chapter, the writer must fashion a “hook” (an enticing opening that pulls the reader to depth in the scene or chapter) that will couple with the cliffhanger to pull the reader through the book.

I am much more likely to stop reading a book when I hit the end of a major scene or chapter that does not have a cliffhanger. That’s an excellent place to exit.

But if I’ve read a full novel in a series and encountered a satisfactory resolution, I will more than likely read the next novel in the series whether or not there’s a “cliffhanger” after the resolution (for example, “To be continued”) at the end the novel I just read.

Why? Simply because I enjoyed the first one enough to read the whole thing.

Then again, what the hell do I know? I’m just a writer.

For more on all this, see “Scene and Chapter Breaks and Hooks” at There are other articles there that will help too. Use the Search feature.

Shared World Stuff

I haven’t had a lot of interest from folks wanting to write in this Good of the Galaxy Shared World. If you’re interested, email me at (If you’ve expressed interest before and you’re still interested, please email again and remind me. This time I’ll put your name on a list.)

I’m being very generous. The shared world abounds with story ideas. All I require is that anything you write based on this world is a note in the front matter of you story or novel that it’s “Based on For the Good of the Galaxy: The First Nine Days by Harvey Stanbrough” and a link to the book’s page at StoneThread Publishing.

The “bible” for the shared world will consist of these first two books plus a volume of notes covering characters, locations, and major situations. Of course, if nobody’s interested, that’s fine too. It will save me some work. (grin) And yes, you can share this info with your writer friends, writing groups, etc. All are welcome as long as they agree to the stipulation above.

During my upcoming “time off” I will finalize For the Good of the Galaxy (Book 1) and it will be released on June 1.

More than likely I’ll release Book 2 (the one I just finished) on either July 1 or August 1.

If I glean some interest in the shared world, I’ll send those folks the first two books as they’re finalized and the volume of notes when it’s ready.

Today, first, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I hope it’s a great day for you.

Today also, once I post this Journal, will begin what will probably be a few days off and/or admin days. During that time, I’ll read and finalized Book 1 and Book 2 of For the Good of the Galaxy.

During this time, I also plan to put the finishing touches on a new, more affordable mentoring project, one that focuses on a particular topic in the client’s writing.

I will also test out the D2D print (paper) beta, and I might even run a Kickstarter project. Of course, I’ll report on all of that here when I come back.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Last Day on Summer Learning Sale” at

See “The Magic in Observation” at

The Numbers

Fiction words yesterday…………………… 2382
Nonfiction words today…………… 1070 (Journal)

Writing of The Good of the Galaxy 2 (novel)

Day 9…… 3258 words. Total words to date…… 34842
Day 10… 4682 words. Total words to date…… 39524
Day 11… 3881 words. Total words to date…… 43405
Day 12… 4361 words. Total words to date…… 47766
Day 13… 4121 words. Total words to date…… 51887
Day 14… 2338 words. Total words to date…… 54215
Day 15… 3914 words. Total words to date…… 58129
Day 16… 4382 words. Total words to date…… 62511
Day 17… 2382 words. Total words to date…… 64893 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 30061
Total fiction words for the year………… 309655
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6160
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 109270
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 418925

Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 4
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 49
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

4 thoughts on “The Journal: Finished My 50th Novel”

  1. Congratulations on finishing your 2nd book in the world and your 50th novel.
    I wish you a lot of fun writing the next one.
    Did you start anything already?

    • Thanks. No, I haven’t started anything new yet. I’ve done a lot. I might take some time off now.

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