The Journal, Friday, 9/22

Hey Folks,

Rolled out on time this morning, then spent an enjoyable hour or so talking via email with my young granddaughter, Taylor.

By the way, just in time for my topic today (see below) DWS is finally back to busting myths with another Killing the Sacred Cows chapter. It’s in “Of Interest” today.

Topic: Lying to Readers

It’s annoying when Dean Wesley Smith is SO right on everything he says. Well, on most things. He does occasionally say he’s going to make me angry when he’s busting some idiotic myth, but that has yet to happen.

But on the other stuff, he’s always right. Always. At least so far.

And it always annoys me a little. Especially on stuff that I initially believe is bunk and later come to learn (through being beaten to a pulp, and therefore gaining enlightenment) is true after all.

My most recent annoyance wasn’t with DWS, but it was based on something I read in his blog a long time ago.

He wrote (paraphrasing), If you want readers to value your work (meaning “buy your books”) you have to lie to them.

I’ve come to understand that’s true.

Readers by the droves automatically assume, sight unseen, that a novel that’s written in a month or two or three is not worth reading.

As you know, I don’t post my numbers as some sort of competition; I do it to illustrate what’s possible if a writer simply spends time in the chair.

If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t tell anyone how quickly I go from the title to “the end” when I write a novel. And I would revert to using my personas and/or pen names.

Given that I write, on average, 12 novels and scores of short stories per year, I would have at least 12 different pseudonyms for novels and probably three or four times that many for short fiction.

Why? Because of math.

As simply EVERYbody knows, it takes at LEAST a year to turn out a quality novel. And a 2- or 3-year, labor-intensive process will result in an even better novel. Hence, at least 12 pseudonyms for novels.

With those pseudonyms, I could still turn out a novel every month, but each pseudonym would publish only one novel per year (or less frequently).

Gervasio Arrancado would release a new magic realism novel every January. Nick Porter would release a new noir novel every February. Ray Sevareid would release a new SF novel every March. Eric Stringer, bless his heart, would release a new horror/psychological-suspense novel ever April. See where I’m going with this?

And if I had 36 novel pseudonyms, each one would turn out one novel every THREE years. Get the idea?

It’s all in the math.

I write, on average, 1000 polished, ready-to-publish words per hour. That a crawling-on-all-fours 17 words per minute. It gives me plenty of time to find just the right word from the thesaurus (not ‘green stuff on a rock’ but lichen). It gives me plenty of time to jump online to find out the name of that particular cross street on San Antonio Drive in downtown El Paso in 1887.

So say it takes me 100 hours to write a 100,000 word novel.

Okay, so if it takes me 3 years to write a novel and I take two days off every week and two weeks off every year for vacation, that’s 150 weeks or (with two days off per week) 750 days.

So to write a 100,000 word novel in 3 years, I’d have to write an average of 134 words per day. (I refuse to talk about rewriting. Writers are paid to write, not to rewrite. They are paid per word, or per haps, not per endless word-erasure-word-erasure-word.)

To write the same 100,000 word novel in only 1 year, I’d have to write at a blazing-fast rate of 400 words per day.

Well, that wouldn’t be so bad, I guess. At least that’s almost a whole half-hour workday 5 days per week.

But to write the same 100,000 word novel in a 30-day MONTH (4.285 weeks) of 5-day weeks, I’d have to develop an actual work ethic.

I’d have to sit at my laptop and churn out 4,668 words every day for 21.425 days. Still less than a 5-hour workday. And still only 5 days a week.

And many MANY of my novels are in the 25,000 to 70,000 word range. My average is around 60,000 words.

In case you’re wondering, for a short novel of 25,000 words I’d have to write 34 words per day over 3 years or 100 words per day over a year.

For my average novel length of 60,000 words, I’d have to write 80 words per day over 3 years or (Oh No!) 240 words per day over a year. And if I write that novel in a month, I have to actually write 2800 words per 5-day week. Three hours per day.

Again, it all boils down to math. But unfortunately, so does reader opinion. So you have to lie to them.

I’m a resonable guy. It’s true that I tell lies for a living. Still, I don’t like the dishonest feeling of telling someone it took me much longer to write something than it actually took.

So tell me again why, if I churn out a novel over a 3-year period it “just might be a masterpiece”; if it takes “only” a year, I’m rushing it but it “still might be worth a look.”

But if I write the SAME 60,000 words in one month or less, it isn’t worth the time it takes to sniff and turn up a nose.


Okay, so if you’re reading this, and if you’re young (meaning you expect to turn out novels for at least another 10 years or so), and if you have a work-ethic AT ALL, get yourself a stack of pseudonyms.

Just sayin’.


I did very little in the early morning other than some Internet stuff and writing the masterpiece topic above (grin, took all of a half-hour), then moved straight to the novel around 9.

In a little over 3 hours, I read the whole thing through, skimming, to correct one more problem, an awkward metaphor that wasn’t working for me. In all that time, I added around 400 words.

Well, something happened to me today that has never happened before on a novel. Sometimes I’ll enjoy writing a short story so much that I really like the story as a reader. So I read it again, later.

That happened today with this novel. As I was reading through it, I was pulled in and actually enjoyed it. So I kept going.

So that’s all the writing I did today. Just little bits here and there. Welp, every novel writes differently.

And tomorrow might be a light day too. I have to go to Sierra Vista tomorrow morning. We’ll see what shakes out.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Beta Readers Help You” at

Via The Digital Reader, see Kris Rusch’s “I Spent Decades Developing My IP” at Seriously, this is a must-read.

Some good stuff on Linda Maye Adams’ blog today. She does an “around the web” thing each week. Check it out at

Fiction Words: 1146
Nonfiction Words: 1223 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2369

Writing of Loose Ends (novel, working title)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… 1146 words. Total words to date…… 35881

Total fiction words for the month……… 42962
Total fiction words for the year………… 422582
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13293
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 149693
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 572275

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 663 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182