The Journal: Learning Never Stops

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Topic: The Learning Never Stops
* Today
* A Note in Passing
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“The key to all story endings is to give the audience what it wants, but not the way it expects.” William Goldman

Topic: The Learning Never Stops

Seriously. And if you pursue knowledge of any particular topic, then mull over that knowledge, realizations come quickly and often.

This will be a thought-process post. A little insight into what goes on in my head during pretty much every waking moment. I hope you have a similar experience because frankly it’s a hoot, and I hope you don’t because just as frankly, it’s a curse. (grin)

A few weeks ago, I was determined to create at least one shared world. (Don’t panic. I still am.) It would work in two ways, and both I and the authors would make money:

* I would license-in (pay writers for) short stories and novels written in a world I’d created. I would license first rights, and all rights would revert to the authors after a certain length of time (probably 6 months after publication for short stories and probably 3 years after publication for novellas and novels).

* And with authors who didn’t want to do that, I would license-out (receive a fee for) the right to write in that world. In that case, the writers would publish their stories in whatever way they wanted (traditional or indie, etc.) and of course they would retain all rights from the beginning. Basically, they would pay to legally plagiarize characters, settings and events from the world I had created.

To a degree, I’ve over-indulged in my shared-worlds fantasy. In fact, over the past few days, I’ve been listing on my whiteboard the worlds that I’ve created that are large enough to share with other writers. At this moment, I have nine different shared-world possibilities on that list.

This morning I finally caught my breath, sat back and looked at the list. Were all of those really big enough to be shared worlds?

Yes. Every one of them. And I could probably add at least half a dozen more.

Which caused me to realize, finallly, that I could easily spend the rest of my life setting up and administering shared worlds and never write another word of fiction if I don’t want to.

Which led me to realize I could easily over-extend myself with this shared-worlds stuff. But the thing is, I don’t want to do that.

My greatest desire (and therefore my top priority) is to continue to write fiction, both in my established worlds and in new ones.

Okay, then I can’t allow myself to become mired in administering the worlds I’ve already created.

So then I decided I would have to focus-down a bit, pick only one or two worlds to share, and develop bibles for those.

One will definitely be the future-Earth World Equality Organization (WEO) shared world. It’s too wide-open not to share. Of all the fictional worlds I’ve created, the WEO has the largest number of undeveloped story ideas, and they’re spread across every genre imaginable.

Still, I’ll leave the list on the white board for a while so I can figure out whether and which other world(s) I want to share.

For example, there’s the Wes Crowley world. I’ve pretty much mined Wes himself for all he’s worth. There aren’t many (if any) stories to tell about him that I haven’t already told. So there’s that.

But there are also the fellow Rangers and other men and women he knew in Texas. Several of them are strong enough to have any number of stories. And there are Wes’ son and daughter (and his later descendents), and Coralín’s gay sister. And there are the other people who live and work in the fictional fishing village of Agua Perlado. And there are other hyper-interesting characters Wes encountered in other towns and villages between Texas and Agua Perlado. In other words there are still tons of stories in that overall world.

And then there’s the Keeper of the Promise world. I might keep that one to myself, though, since very few people seem interested in writing fiction steeped in magic realism. I don’t blame them. It isn’t the easiest genre to write.

And there’s Blackwell Ops (crime genre). I might have to flip a coin to decide whether to share that world. It’s a practically endless world that, with 7 novels, I’ve only begun to explore. Still, I’d kind’a like to see what other writers come up with.

And the list goes on. There’s a noir/detective world, two SF worlds (aside from WEO), an action-adventure world and a time-travel world, all only barely tapped.

Which is one of the reasons I wanted to open up some of these worlds and share them with other writers: I want to know what happens in places I haven’t gotten to yet as a writer. (!!!)

And that’s the thought that stuck.

WHY do I want to share these worlds with other writers? To license-in works and license-out rights and thereby make a little extra money? Okay, there’s that,

But the Big reason, the Main reason I wanted to open up these worlds to other writers is so those writers will help me explore what goes on in those worlds. What events occur. How the characters react. Which new characters are born whole, along with their stories.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Oh, there will be a contract. It will be boilerplate standard, and it will say that you own what you write in my shared worlds. As “payment” I might ask that somewhere in the front matter or backmatter of your story or book it says your story was based on the XXXXXXXX shared world created by Harvey Stanbrough, with my name linked to my website (or printed in any paper editions).

But that’s it. As always, I don’t want money as much as I want to play and have fun. (grin) In other words, you won’t pay me anything to write in my shared worlds once I open them up.

Now, I won’t promise that I won’t someday put out a call for submissions to an anthology of short stories that other writers write in my shared world(s). But if I do, I’ll pay you to license first rights, and those rights will revert to you after a certain number of months.

But beyond that, honestly, I don’t want the headache of administering a shared world. Seriously, I just want to know what happens.

Stay tuned. This is gonna be a fun ride.

Today I did relatively little, and no fiction writing. In an attempt to find my own next story, I browsed a few of my worlds and I ran a few new ideas through my brain-housing group.

Sometime during all of that, I hit on the topic above and wrote it. I already know of one extremely talented novelist and short story writer who’s interested in writing in my WEO world, and I already know of one great poet who’s interested in writing poems based in some of my worlds.

So for me, at least, this is a very exciting time. I hope it will be for you too.

A Note in Passing

Everyone knows about my patronage tiers at

I also accept and am grateful for one-time donations, so I added some stuff to the bottom of that Patronage page. In addition to my latest release, one-time donors can select any reward from the Patron Writer tier for their one-time donation above $11. And as always, thank you from the bottom of my regulated ticker. (grin)

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “What Makes For The Perfect Ending? Take Your Choice” at

See “Ghost Footprints” at Maybe a story idea or two. As a matter of interest, I’m a New Mexico native, was born in Alamogordo, and had my 5th birthday party at White Sands. Still a stunning place to visit.

See “Searching for Subjects” at

See “Open Educational Resources…” at Check this for some excellent open-source (free) learning resources.

The Numbers

Fiction words yesterday…………………… 0
Nonfiction words today…………… 1370 (Journal)

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 1852
Total fiction words for the year………… 399417
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2660
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 305920
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 705337

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 8
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 197
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

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