The Journal: Get a Beverage and Settle In

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* First, there are a lot
* Free hour-long lecture
* Slow day yesterday
* Just out of curiosity
* Of her current Kickstarter
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“The writing courses taught me how to trust my characters even more than I had been – to let them lead me through the story.” Rachel Amphlett

“There’s a term I like, coined by author Dean Wesley Smith over on his blog, called ‘writing into the dark.’ This means writing without an outline, without an overall plan, without a safety net, and without much by way of process aside from sitting your ass down and pecking away at the damn thing.” Duncan Ralston

You might want to get a beverage and settle in.

First, there are a lot of links in “Of Interest” today. All of them are pertinent, strong articles. In fact, these are all great articles, and most of them deliver more than they promise.

I encourage you to take the time to at least begin reading each. Then, if it takes you to a place you need to be, keep reading.

Second, here’s a free hour-long lecture:

To register for “Free Lecture: The First Twenty Pages — How to Win Over Agents, Editors, & Readers in Just Twenty Pages” click

Free, so worth checking out. But really, you have to win over your reader in the first page and in the first few paragraphs of each chapter/scene opening through the novel.

VERY slow day yesterday. (Have I ever mentioned every novel writes differently?)

Early in the writing things were going really well when I type a particular word. And my character yelled, “Hey!” at me. Then he called me a dumb*ss, and of course he was absolutely right.

It didn’t upset me. Actually, I sat back and laughed, then shook my head and described myself the same way he had described me, although I muttered instead of yelling.

I’d written a major SNAFU with the security team (and I’m former military), so I stopped, took a break, then went back through the whole document and corrected all the little instances of that error.

Suffice it to say I let my critical mind seep in day before yesterday and it had me give a guy a line-up he would never have chosen for himself for an initial security team in a particular location.

This wasn’t the sort of thing you can fix with Word’s Find & Replace feature. I had to read every word.

So that ate up a lot of the time in the chair yesterday. But far better to catch it now and slog through 10,000 words or so than to have a first reader point it out later and have to go through the whole novel.

After all of that was over (and in “death hour” after lunch) I did still manage to knock out a few more major scenes, though, so it’s all good.

After my friend mentioned to me in a comment on another blog yesterday that WITD was “news” to him and that he’d googled the term, just out of curiosity I googled it too. Honestly, I just wanted to see how far down in the results my input appeared.

Of course, the whole first page was Dean (as it should be). Turned out my first bit was #5 on the second page of results. I figure that’s not too shabby, given that Google returned “about 621,000 results” in just under a half-second. (grin)

Interestingly, I also found a couple of entries on the topic by other writers. I looked them over and linked to them in “Of Interest” below. One thing I noticed is that both of these writers are fairly prolific and very successful. And I hadn’t heard of either of them. Go figure. But I’ll buy at least one novel from each of them just to read an original story that hasn’t had the unique voice polished off it.

I’ve also been getting a lot of TalkWalker alerts recently (I have alerts set up for my name and my websites) about Writing the Character-Driven Story and Quiet the Critical Mind and Write Fiction. So all in all, I’m a pleased pup.

Of her current Kickstarter, Kris Rusch writes “You’ll get all seven existing books of the Fey, the new novella, the only Fey short story (at the moment), four other fantasy novels, and $600 in online writing workshops (at the time of this writing), all for your $30.” (See “Of Interest”)

Something to consider. Just sayin’.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “On ‘Writing Into the Dark'” at

See “Writing into the dark… and other leaps of faith” at

See “Jim Butcher On Writing” at I have not yet checked these out, but they were mentioned on Reddit in a response that also mentioned me and my book on quieting the critical voice.

See “Karen Woodward” at I wasn’t able to find a link to her blog posts, but in the right sidebar (scroll down) you’ll find a ton of archives and topics. Invest a little time in yourself. Explore.

See “Why Extraterrestrial Life May Not Seem Entirely Alien” at

See “The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy” at

See “Appeal to the Senses” at

See “Losing Your Identity” at

See “Surprises in the New World of Publishing” at Thanks to PG.

Just for fun, see “Dialogue” at

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 850 words

Writing of The Journey Home: Part 9 (novel)

Day 1…… 2019 words. Total words to date…… 2019
Day 2…… 3650 words. Total words to date…… 5669
Day 3…… 3760 words. Total words to date…… 9429
Day 4…… 2834 words. Total words to date…… 12263

Total fiction words for March……… 49251
Total fiction words for the year………… 248259
Total nonfiction words for March… 15550
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 61580
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 309839

Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 59
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 it both regularly and publicly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.