In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* If you ever wanted to stare at the sun
* I’ve been reading
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“Before reading the OP, PG might have characterized himself as a cynic, but afterwards, he thinks he’s more of a practitioner of targeted skepticism.” The Passive Guy
Yup, that’s me: a Practioner of Targeted Skepticism. Nice to know I’m not alone.
“We set goals to help ourselves, not to harm ourselves.” a writer closely related to Wes Crowley
“Goals change over time — and that’s okay!” Joanna Penn (words to live by)
“The problem is, as an author you can find yourself just going through the motions.” David Farland
“Reduction to the lowest common denominator should be reserved for math, not the language.” a writer closely related to Wes Crowley in a response to a comment on Elaine Viets’ recent TKZ post
If you ever wanted to stare at the sun without suffering any consequential damage to your retinas, today would be your lucky day if you lived in southeast Arizona.
We have so much smoke in the air from the California wildfires that the sun, almost an hour after rising, is a bright, non-glaring cherry-red ball in the sky. At distance*, it’s roughly half the width of my index finger, so about 3/8″.
*I’ve heard it’s actually a lot larger close up.
I’ve been reading a lot of Hemingway lately, as you could probably tell from my recent recommendation that you read or revisit his short story, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”
I always learn (or realize or remember) something more about writing when I read Hemingway’s work. And it always motivates me to write fiction.
Sometimes I’ll use a line from his writing as an epigram. More often I’ll simply steal an idea and expand on it or take it in a different direction. With Hemingway, it’s all about mood.
For example, Hemingway’s work (well, the tone or mood of his work, really) inspired my short stories “Old Suits” and “The Breath Formed” and “No Better Day” and “White Ring Quilt” and many others, as well as my short Nick Spalding series of novels, the novel Nothing for Nothing, the novella Jobs Like That and probably several others.
I especially enjoy his wartime and travel (Paris, Africa, the sea) stories. I enjoy some of the Nick stories too, but not all. And I love the little vignettes he titled “Chapter I,” “Chapter II,” etc. and stuffed between the regular short stories in The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigia Edition.
Thing is, the publisher didn’t list those vignettes in the table of contents, so they were a happy little bonus.
I was so impressed with that format that I copied it when I created my own short story collection, Six Years in May, though I titled the vignettes “Part 1,” “Part 2,” and so on. So in that collection the reader gets 13 short stories and a dozen or so vignettes. And when you’ve read all the vignettes, they comprise an extra short story. (grin)
But back to Hemingway’s short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”
As any who have read any of my fiction can attest, I enjoy plunging deep into the protagonist’s (and sometimes the antagonist’s) mind. I believe that’s the quickest and most enjoyable way to get the reader to invest in the character. And few short stories are better than Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” to witness the master of that technique.
I hope you’ve read it and studied that story. If you haven’t and you’re still interested, you can find a free PDF download of it at https://bit.ly/2ZmHPdf. The download is automatic. (Thanks to Bob for the download link.)
Anyway, I’ve started a story, a deep dive into a protagonist’s head. At the moment it’s merely something I’m enjoying a great deal, the way others might enjoy golf or a trip to the beach. I’m not sure whether it will be a short story, a novella, a novel or anything at all. I’ll report it or begin reporting it below when I’ve seen what it’s going to be.
Talk with you again when I can.
See “Cynicism and The Function of Cynicism at the Present Time” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/cynicism-and-the-function-of-cynicism-at-the-present-time/.
See “Lessons Learned From 9 Years As An Author Entrepreneur” at https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2020/09/10/9-years-author-entrepreneur/ (with thanks to the Passive Guy).
See “Fiction Favorites of the Espionage Pros” at https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/09/fiction-favorites-of-the-espionage-pros/. Again, a nod to the Passive Guy.
See “Why are you writing that Novel?” at https://mystorydoctor.com/why-are-you-writing-that-novel/.
The Journal…………………………………… 760 words
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 0
Total fiction words for the year………… 315283
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4350
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 141920
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 457203
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 50
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31