The Journal, Saturday, December 15

Hey Folks,

Wow. My fiction number was so good yesterday it almost scared me off. (grin) Then I calmed down.

I’m also practicing with what’s left of this month and year to write 4,000 words per day. So far, I have almost 1000 words in the bank. Not too shabby.

The third novel in the Nick Spalding action-adventure romantic-suspense series released this morning. If you’re interested, you can find it at

Topic: Pet Peeves That Matter

Pet peeves — you know, those little flaws and inanities that grind away on the nerves and cause me to close novels and put them in the Goodwill box?

They’re horrible. Mostly because they keep me from continuing to read what otherwise might be a good story.

I don’t look for problems while I’m reading. I just read for pleasure. Like any other reader, when I buy a book, I automatically suspend my sense of disbelief. All the writer has to do is not put it back in place. Especially with a suppository.

I want to be transported to the writer’s fictional world and I want to enjoy the experience. I don’t want my conscious mind engaged with obvious problems.

But when I’ve been interrupted the second or third time, especially with the same problem, I’m done.

Sometimes the problem is large. Continual misspellings and typos, for example. But sometimes it boils down to a repeated wrong usage. One that displays the linguistic ignorance of the writer.

But hey, kicked-out of a story is still kicked-out, no matter the reason. And often it’s the little things that kick me out of a story.

So I guard against those in my own writing, and I pass my thoughts on them along so maybe other writers will guard against them too.

In every case, it is the writer’s responsibility to hold the reader’s interest. Or looking at it in the negative, it’s the writer’s responsibility not to drive the reader away.

The particular pet peeves for this time are those annoying little signs that the writer doesn’t know the difference between a noun and an adjective.

When I read “She slipped into the backseat” it drives me nuts. Same thing with “He went into the backyard.”

When you write “backyard” or “backseat” as a single word, it’s an adjective. It should be followed with a noun (the one that it describes), such as “backyard garden” or “backyard swingset” or “backseat driver.”

When you use those words to indicate a certain location, they become a two-word phrase. So it would be the “back yard” or the “back seat.”

Other similar words and phrases include “sometime” and “some time.” I’m sure you can think of many others.

For some folks, it might take some time to understand this. But sometime or other, they’ll get it if they’re just a little diligent. (grin)

Another problem, and one less easy to catch (hence the need for a first reader and/or a copyeditor) are homophones.

When I read “He slipped his arm around her waste,” (waist) I’m done. Likewise when a rancher goes into town to buy some “hey” (hay) for his horses. Likewise when a character says “Everything will be alright” (all right).

That last one might not bother me if it’s used in a more appropriate context. For example, (the character quickly dusts his palms against each other and says), “Alright, we’re done here.” Or in dialect, having concluded a bit of distasteful business in southern Louisiana, says “A’ight t’en,” and walks away. (grin)

Some will argue that many readers wouldn’t notice or catch a misuse such as those above. My take is, knowing the difference is part of the craft of writing. And why risk it?

Well, I’ll have to get used to adjusting my morning ritual. I rolled out a little early and was in the Hovel by 2. But I hit a snag.

When Coincidence released, I went to view the book. And frankly, the blurb was stupid. So I rewrote it.

Then I uploaded it to Smashwords, D2D, and Amazon, then uploaded the whole thing to BundleRabbit (can’t do pre-orders there). And that took up the whole first hour, which I had hoped to spend on searching for items of interest, etc.

Of course, that “emergency” won’t arise every day. So I’ll try the new revised morning schedule starting tomorrow. Testing — that’s what this December transition period is all about. (grin)

I did do the “Of Interest” thing, of course, and then took a break at 4.

Back in the Hovel at 4:20, and I wrote the little topic above. Then I decided to cross-post it to the Pro Writers blog. It will appear there in late February.

So I finally got to the novel at 5. (grin)

I wrote for a couple of hours with only a short break, then took another longer break. My wife and I are planning a trip to Sierra Vista today.

Up at the house, I told her I’d like to write for another hour or so and she was amenable. Then I got back out here and realized that isn’t what it’s supposed to be.

This morning’s SNAFU was my own fault for not having the blurb right for my book in the first place. And my take is that when I make a mistake, I, not she, should pay for it. So I’m calling it a day at almost 2000 words.

I guess that’ll teach me to be all happy when I have a thousand words in the bank. (grin) Besides, I still have the rest of December to practice.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See the comments (other than mine) on “How to Think About a Challenge” at Some great stuff.

See “Various Stuff” at Especially the last paragraph about gift boxes closing soon.

See “The Organ Recital” at

Fiction Words: 1873
Nonfiction Words: 990 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2863

Writing of “Cazadores” (novel, tentative title)

Day 1…… 4917 words. Total words to date…… 4917
Day 2…… 1873 words. Total words to date…… 6790

Total fiction words for the month……… 31300
Total fiction words for the year………… 489983
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8710
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 180396
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 670129

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 10
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 3
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 11
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 36
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………… 193
Short story collections…………………………………………………… 31

4 thoughts on “The Journal, Saturday, December 15”

  1. I’m bad with homophones. It’s not that I don’t know the difference. It’s that when I’m in the zone, the words are coming out of my fingers as they sound (cycling hasn’t seemed to help, I guess because I’m still in the creative voice). So, I tell my reader and copy-editor about these blindspots. Some still slip through…ugh. I have “site” for “sight” in my book for example. *shrugs* try my best.

    • Hey Tony, Nobody’s perfect. I have the same problem, though I usually catch them. The one “big” thing my first reader alwayy watches for is when I drop the “ed” at the end of a past-tense word. I do that a lot. Sometimes reading your work aloud helps.

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