The Journal, Friday, March 30

Hey Folks,

This is a process post.

I started reading my latest novel to Mona yesterday morning. Reading aloud is the best possible way to proofread. The ears process words less quickly than the eyes, so you catch more stupid mistakes.

Also, this morning, I remembered there was one chapter (one I haven’t read aloud yet) in which the two detectives are in the bullpen.

As they work on preliminary computer stuff for a few upcoming cases, the POV character relates an overview of two cases they’ve recently closed. One was a very odd suicide and the other was a previously unsolved cold case.

Each overview was roughly 600 words. Each overview was an excellent synopsis for a separate novel. Apparently, as I wrote this one, my subconscious was way ahead of me, already considering the next two books in the series.

This morning I recognized that and cut that chapter, about 1200 words.

I replaced those words with maybe three sentences, then combined those few sentences with the next chapter.

As a result, the whole book reads much more quickly and is much more fast-paced.

Frankly, I think I’m using this mystery series to practice a few techniques on my way to writing my first thriller series.

In a mystery, there is room for a slower pace in places. That leaves me room to focus more tightly on upping the pace in the action scenes.

I do that when I write. I do more of it when I cycle back, and then a bit more, if necessary, as I read it aloud after it’s finished.

When the dust clears, I will have written a clean “first draft” beginning to end, andI will have published a fast-paced mystery with several thriller components. (grin)

I don’t usually read or pay any attention to reviews, but I can hardly wait to read the reviews on this one.

My donors will get a copy of this novel automatically as a reward. But I’ve decided if any of you, my loyal Journal followers, would like a copy to see what the old man’s up to, you need only send me an email to let me know.

Be sure to tell me whether you want it in Kindle, Nook/Apple or PDF format. (Paper won’t be available for probably two or three months.)

Short Rant: Censorship

Well, the C word is rearing its ugly head again. This time Radish, an app on which readers can read serialized fiction (and to whom I applied as a mystery writer), is bowing to the almighty Apple.

Who, even as they’re barring erotica from their iBook store, are also airing programs that are a great deal more than sexually suggestive.

I have a problem with that.

I don’t write erotica (by my definition), but that’s exactly the problem. One person’s erotica is another person’s romance and another person’s pornography.

That the reading public has to bow to Apple’s (or anyone else’s) definition of “erotica” is just wrong.

They, and we all, have the right to define the term any way they want.

But we don’t have a right to force that definition on anyone else.


Started a new novel today. It will be the next in the Stern Talbot, PI—The Early Years series: The Case of the Missing Body.

Great fun. (grin)

Anyway, talk with you tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Radish Bans Erotica from Its Serial Fiction App” at

Just to check in with Dean, see “Headed Back To The Coast” at

See “Microsoft Quietly Rolls Out Its E-bookstore” at

Fiction Words: 2790
Nonfiction Words: 600 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3390

Writing of Stern Talbot, PI—The Early Years: The Case of the Missing Body

Day 1…… 2790 words. Total words to date…… 2790

Total fiction words for the month……… 62236
Total fiction words for the year………… 113541
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14150
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 33480
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 155041

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 3
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 29
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

2 thoughts on “The Journal, Friday, March 30”

  1. Hello Harvey,

    you’ve mentioned several times, that you read your stories to Mona.
    Do you give them to a first reader before you read them loud? Do ypu print everything and make comments? Or do you read from screen and modify if needed on the fly, making a little pause in reading?

    Just wondering. I’m working on getting better writing a clean only draft, but, alas as a newbie I’m a long way away from perfect. *laughs*

    • At my 30th novel, I’m still a long way from perfect too. 🙂 They say you need to write a million words of fiction before you really start to get better. I’ve written well over that, but I’m still improving.

      Great question. Against common wisdom, I actually pay my first reader. It’s a very small amount, and basically I pay him to tell me the harsh truth.

      But when I want immediate feedback or if I just don’t want to use a first reader for that book, then I read my work aloud. (I can do it by myself, but I find I use the characters’ inflections etc. when I have an audience. And Mona seems to enjoy it.)

      I never print it out. I read it directly on my laptop — the formatted, ready-for-publication version — and make any minuscule changes on the fly.

      Thanks again for the question. I might turn this into a Topic in a later post in case others don’t read the comments.

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