The Journal, Thursday, 10/5

Hey Folks,

Well, another long post today. Sorry about that. (grin)

It turns out I wrote quite a bit yesterday, considering. I revised the total yesterday before the Journal posted, and today’s numbers are current.  I don’t remember the last time I had such a great day as yesterday. It’s like someone turned on a light.

One thing I realized was that my current WIP isn’t “just” a PI-noir novel but a PI-noir suspense novel. That’s what it was wanting to be, and that’s where I took the wrong turn.

Topic: Writing Environment

The post by Nate Hoffelder in “Of Interest” yesterday keyed this post. It started me thinking (again) about my own writing environment.

As most of you know, I like the idea of a dedicated writing computer without Internet, games, etc. Why? Because when you sit down at a computer that’s dedicated to your fiction, it keys your subconscious that it’s time to play.

But when writing fiction I also enjoy the ease of hopping online for a moment to check a reference, etc. And I am able to do that without being drawn to check emails, Facebook etc.

For the better part of two years I did that in a structure I call The Adobe Hovel. It’s basically a stacked-mud storage-room structure about 150 feet from my house.

I put a LOT of short stories and novels through my dedicated writing computer out in that Hovel.
Unfortunately, the distance combined with the 3-foot thick walls, put the Hovel JUST outside the range of my WiFi.

So to “jump online” I had to use my phone’s hotspot, and that takes time, another distraction. It also involves data, and that gets expensive. Then a family of scorpions moved into the Hovel and I moved back to my home office.

I also have an outside desk, a plastic-coated wire-frame desk just outside my office window, where I write quite a bit. Of course, it’s within range of WiFi, so it’s all good.

But awhile back, I decided to try to do everything on one computer. My “new” Lenovo. I chose that one mostly because the battery lasts close to 5 hours vs. a little over an hour on my old HP computer.

But I’ve struggled with writing on the new computer. The keyboard has a slightly different feel, the screen is a different configuration, and so on. Just little things, but things that almost continually interrupt my writing.

And recently I’ve realized I’m more prone to spending longer online (email, FB, etc.) or playing a game on the new computer than I was on my dedicated writing computer.

So yesterday I switched back to my dedicated writing computer. And I had the best day I’ve had in a long time.

No doubt part of that was because I took the time to cycle back through the WIP and let the characters tell me where I took a wrong turn. But part of it was because I felt like I was Home again.

I also ran the power cord through the window so I won’t have to worry about the battery. (grin) And once again I can say writing fiction is the most fun a guy can have with his clothes on.

I rolled out late this morning after watching the wildcard baseball game last night. Great game.

I was chomping at the bit to get back to the story. I looked it over again. Turns out I cut a little over 2000 words, so a little more than the new number of words I wrote yesterday.

Anyway, I read the revised version to my wife. She didn’t miss any of the stuff I cut during my cycling session yesterday. Some of what I cut probably will make it back into the novel later.

I wrote around 400 new words this morning, then stopped to take a look at a manuscript a guy sent me for which he wants me to provide a copyedit.

Then for some reason my writing ‘puter went glitchy, so I dealt with that for awhile. Finally I restarted it and everything’s fine again, but that ate up a couple of hours.

I was headed back to the novel a little before 11 when I received notes on the previous one from my first reader, Kenneth Flowers. I can’t say enough about how good this guy is at being a pure first reader. If you need one, email Kenneth at

NOW back to the novel. (grin) It’s a little after 12.

Well, I’m a little disappointed. It’s not being the big day I was expecting, but good enough I guess. I was so impressed with the technique I realized yesterday that I practiced a lot of the same thing today. (grin)

I let the writing rip for awhile (subconscious), then went back and checked (conscious) to be sure I was applying what I learned recently. Then I allowed myself to touch it on the way through (subconscious again). It’s coming along.

This will definitely be a learning novel, and I think it will be a plateau novel. It will take me to another level. And I’m not bragging here. As with any art form, there’s a natural progression.

A musician learns how to make that particular note, a painter how to create the exact shade, and a writer how to add just enough description (always through the POV character’s senses) without drowning in it.

From what I’ve heard, the first million words of writing novels gets you to the point you’re more or less a “novelist.” After that, if you continue to learn and apply what you learn, from time to time you attain a new level as certain epiphanies occur.

By my count, this will be my fourth transition.

I read a lot, and I judge my own work against that of some of the authors I whose work I read. There are a few who put out a quality I still feel like I’ll never approach.

But at the moment I’m closing in on the quality of craft of one of my favorite authors (James Lee Burke). I’ve surpassed a couple of best-selling authors. I won’t mention those names publicly. If only I were a master at marketing. (grin)

In the meantime, I’ll keep hacking along at whatever speed I can manage.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “Text-only news sites are slowly…” at This is VERY good news.

And it might be time to get on Instagram. Again via The Passive Voice, see “The Instagram Poet Outselling Homer Ten to One” at

Fiction Words: 1193
Nonfiction Words: 1110 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2303

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650

Total fiction words for the month……… 9875
Total fiction words for the year………… 444021
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 156773
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 600794

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 676 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182