In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: I’m a Fortunate Guy
* If you haven’t pulled the trigger
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou
“In writing, the critical voice always makes the wrong decision. Readers don’t read safe, easy, dull books. Just like no one watches the perfectly behaved child walking beside their parent and doing nothing. Nope, people watch with laughter or shock or stunned amazement or horror the out-of-control funny child. Your book needs to be that child, not the dull, quite one. Critical voice is always wrong in creative things.” Dean Wesley Smith, as quoted by Garry Rodgers of Kill Zone blog
Topic: I’m a Fortunate Guy
As a writer, I’m a fortunate guy, timing wise. I’ve said here many times before that if it weren’t for Dean Wesley Smith, and me stumbling on his website back in February 2014, I probably wouldn’t have written even one novel, much less be working on my 60th right now.
Yesterday, I left a comment over on Garry Rodgers’ post at the Kill Zone blog. He asked about mentors, and I was only too happy to sing Dean’s praises.
This morning I read his response. A writing friend pointed him to DWS and Kris Rusch “a few years ago, and their influence in indie writing/publishing was game changing.” No surprise there.
Then he wrote, “‘Writing Into The Dark’ is news to me, so I Googled it.” Then he posted a quote from Dean, which I copied and pasted as the second quote of the day above.
I was astounded to hear that my friend had been sent to Dean and Kris a few years ago, but that WITD was news to him. Literally astounded. How can you know of Dean Wesley Smith and NOT have heard about writing into the dark?
I guess I just happened on Dean’s site at the right time. He hadn’t been teaching formally in online lectures and workshops very long at that point. He was still talking about Heinlein’s Rules and WITD in his blog a lot.
And about the new world of publishing. And about killing the sacred cows of publishing. And more about WITD. A lot more.
Thank God I stopped by that day.
But early on, in an exchange of emails about WITD, Dean told me I shouldn’t talk about my writing process with anyone. “They won’t believe you,” he said. “And if they do believe you, they won’t buy your books because they’ll think they’re all trash because you wrote them so quickly. Which is to say, because you have a work ethic and actually spend time in the chair writing.”
He was right. Today I get comments from other writers like “Well, I would try writing into the dark but I want to turn out quality work.” Meaning, of course, it would be all but impossible for anyone who doesn’t outline, revise, rewrite, etc. to “turn out quality work.” (That quote was the parting shot of the woman who left PPW in the lurch and started its eventual demise when she departed for greener, less-threatening pastures.)
And of course, she and others like her judge me and my work without bothering to actually pick up even one of my short stories or novels and actually read it.
But I just shake my head and go on. Hey, it’s their loss. Because there’s no saving someone who’s so frightened of a new process that they won’t even try it.
As I’ve also said here many times before, I Don’t Care How You Write. If you try WITD and it doesn’t work for you for whatever reason, that’s fine. In fact, if you are unable to let go of your fears enough to even try it, that’s fine too. It makes no difference to my bottom line. I only labor at this Journal every day to pay it forward.
But those who want to learn can read my blog. If they want to learn more quickly and with a focus on their own work, they can take one of my mentorship programs.
I have to admit, when I find someone who’s so frightened of something that has Zero Consequences that they won’t even try it, I do get a little disgusted. If you’re in that camp, please continue to write drab, lifeless books. Continue to revise and rewrite and polish your original voice off the book until (you think) it sounds like a Hemingway or King or Whomever book.
But it doesn’t. Because Hemingway or King or Whomever didn’t write it.
Still, I’m all about paying it forward. Really, that’s the only reason I talk about Heinlein’s Rules and Writing Into the Dark.
So finally, let me pass on one final bit of Dean’s wisdom: To those few of you out there who write into the dark, meaning you spend more time in the chair actually WRITING and PRACTICING and IMPROVING YOUR CRAFT, keep doing it. But don’t tell any other writers except the select few who also WITD.
If you do, they’ll attempt to beat you to death with their own fears.
Soon, I’ll be back with a series of topics focused on various writing techniques. For now, I have a novel to write.
Talk with you again then.
See “Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction” at https://sfdictionary.com/. I also recently added this to Writers’ Resources under Dictionaries and Translators.
See “Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction” at https://www.amazon.com/Brave-New-Words-Jeff-Prucher/dp/0195387066/ref=sr_1_1.
See “Isaac Asimov’s Law of Robotics” at https://sfdictionary.com/view/2283/law-of-robotics. SF Grand Master Jack Williamson wrote a novella titled “With Folded Hands” based on Rule 1.
See “Character Growth” at https://mystorydoctor.com/character-growth/.
See “What if Planet Nine is a baby black hole?” at https://www.space.com/planet-nine-little-black-hole.html. A writing prompt?
The Journal…………………………………… 980 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
Total fiction words for March……… 46417
Total fiction words for the year………… 245425
Total nonfiction words for March… 14700
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 60730
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 306155
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.