The Journal, Thursday, 9/7

Hey Folks,

Rolled out a little early at 2:20. My recliner came in yesterday. And it’s So Big my feet dangle when I’m sitting in it. Makes me feel like I’m five again. The seat is too deep too, front to back. (We ordered it online.)

And honestly, in hindsight I also wish both my wife and I could sit on it at the same time. That’s how sappy I am.

(This thing would fit my friend Robert Sadler just about perfectly. But, you know, he’s in Dallas holding down the southeastern front.)

So this morning I told my wife I’m going to take it back. While I’m at the store (tomorrow morning), after they credit my account, I’ll look around. Best case scenario: I’ll see one I like, I’ll give them my money again, load up the new one and bring it back.

So covering the recliner with protective quilts (we have kittens), making the appropriate phone calls and all that stuff took up a lot of the morning. Then I wrote a lot of the stuff on this edition of the Journal. Then I went to the novel.


I started writing at around 10:30. Added around 1200 words and took a break.

Around noon-thirty I went back to the novel again. I’m at a bit of a sticking point, but I think I’ve figured it out. I think this will be the first novel I’ve written that’s broken down into Parts. I’ve pretty well finished Part 1: The Murder. (grin) Each part, I think, will be like starting a new story.

Got quite a bit done. I’m happy with it.

Topic: On Priorities, Goals, et Cetera Ad Nauseam

You guys are probably tired to the bone of hearing me talk about word counts and goals and all that. Just one more (for now) and I’ll shut up.

Most of this year has been a transition period for me. Some, frankly, is a result of aging and getting used to all that aging entails for me personally, with my experiences, health, etc.

But most of my transitions have had to do with my writing.

The number of transitions might seem unusual, given that I’ve only been really writing, by which I mean devoting myself to writing, for 3 years.

But if you consider the number of long and short Quality stories (quality was and remains paramount) that I’ve written and published during that 3 years, maybe all the transitions make a little more sense. Basically I just speeded up the process.

Even when I was writing “fast,” I strived always to write the best story I was able to write. Not the best story I could write “at speed,” but the best story I could write, period. Without that provision, nothing else matters, and that remains key.

In my own fiction, the more evident growth during the past three years was in the quality of Setting Description (through the POV character’s senses and opinions, not mine) and in the quality Pacing, a key element in engaging the reader.

My stories have always had strong characters and dialogue and good plots. Though I always cringe a bit when I talk about “plot” since I agree with Bradbury that the plot is only what the characters leave behind as they run through the story.

In the past, my transitions came as the result of external forces. They were reactions to what was going on around me.

Now I’m being proactive. I’m forcing a new transition period by setting new priorities.

I recently decided to back off a bit and reset my goal to 7,000 words per week. But I didn’t do that so I could write better stories. I did it so I could spend less time in the chair when necessary without feeling guilty. And I did it so I would be more likely to get back to writing every day. (Hence, “be a writer.”)

I might still turn out 3,000 or 4,000 words per day on some days. But I no longer feel that I “have” to.

What it all means is this: Instead of turning out a 60,000 word novel in +/-20 writing days, it might take as long as +/-60 days.

Will the quality of the works change?

A little, probably, as I learn and apply new techniques, but not significantly.

One major difference is that I’ll have more time to read and study works that I really enjoy by writers I want to emulate. That’s huge.

I’ll also have more time to read nonfiction “how to” books by people like Lawrence Block and James Scott Bell. (I’m not a fan of Bell’s fiction, but I’ve learned a ton just reading a few of his blog posts.)

And I’ll have more time to spend with my wife, visit with children and grandchildren and great-granchildren and friends (camping? shredding philosophy and strewing it across the wilderness?) without feeling torn.

Finally, nothing I do or propose here is submitted as a cure-all for anyone else. This is just what I’m doing, as I’m doing it, submitted for your leisurely perusal and adoption if the fit feels right to you. (grin)


Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At long last, via The Passive Voice, “Amazon targets authors and marketers for alleged abuse of Kindle Direct Publishing system” at

Also via The Passive Voice, see “What to Post on Each Social Media Platform” at He links to the original post. I posted it this way so you could read what he says about Buffer.

Fiction Words: 2460
Nonfiction Words: 920 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3380

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061

Total fiction words for the month……… 15142
Total fiction words for the year………… 394762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4540
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 140940
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 535702

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 649 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182