The Journal: Today, an Odd Compilation

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* A do-over
* New cats
* This morning
* Topic: “Thread” vs. “Outline”
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“It was only when publishing house after publishing house, agent after agent had rejected my submissions, and I’d decided that no one was ever going to read my books, that I threw the rules out the window. I then simply wrote what I wanted to write, wrote how the stories came to me, was true to them and my characters. Then I published myself … And I’ve sold more than two and a half million books.” Kristen Ashley

“Einstein had a long-running debate with his friend Niels Bohr, a Danish physicist…. In Bohr’s view, the world doesn’t have definite properties unless we’re looking at it. When we’re not looking, Bohr thought, the world as we know it isn’t really there.” Peter Evans

I’ve often thought material things exist only because we expect them to be there and only while we’re paying attention.

“If you cross a line and nothing happens, the line loses meaning.” Lauren Oliver

Maybe an epigraph for The Journey Home: Part 5

Yesterday, it dawned on me that I’d screwed up. Better to catch a problem early, though. I won’t go into a lot of details, but suffice it to say I republished The Ark as The Ark: The Journey Home. Then I published The Journey Home: Part 2 (formerly Part 1). So now the series is more well-branded, and the series numbers match the Future of Humanity (FOH) series numbers. Duh.

So the novels I finished recently were The Journey Home: Parts 3 and 4 (not 2 and 3), and the next one I write will be Part 5. Got that? Or are you as confused as I was? (grin)

Of course, republishing those two books also meant tweaking the manuscripts and re-doing the covers. But I was finished with all of it by noon.

Then I went ahead and applied first-reader comments to Part 3 and prepped the manuscripts for both 3 and 4 for publication. And that’s as far as I can go for now, so yay, tomorrow it’s back to writing.

In the meanwhile, Mona and her sister went to pick up two teenage cats from a regional pound, so I expected to spend the balance of the afternoon keeping them and my angel Little Bit from eating each other.

The cats are only a few months old, thin, leggy, and certain they know absolutely everything there is to know. Hence my calling them teenagers. (grin)

As it turned out, my wife, by far the smarter of the two of us, decided to keep the teenagers sequestered for a few days while they become accustomed to the (limited) sights and smells of their new house. Crisis averted.

This morning I will happily return to my version of normal. Two days of being away from my writing ‘puter has left me a trembling mass of nerves. It will be good to slip back aboard The Ark, this time to see what the repops (the repopulation passengers) are up to.

Topic: “Thread” vs. “Outline”

A few days ago in the Journal I mentioned I had the “thread” of a story in mind. That prompted one writer to email me to ask whether I was still writing into the dark. I think he mistook my probably inappropriate use of the word “thread” to mean “skeleton for an outline.”

Nope. It’s only an idea. To continue the skeleton analogy, it’s one rib or one bone of a finger or thumb or big toe. A slightly more filled-out idea might be a whole toe or a whole finger. Or to look at it another way, the idea or thread is a lifeless single- or double- or triple-cell from which the novel will grow.

The thread or idea that came to me sometime yesterday for The Journey Home: Part 5 is this:

Thus far each book in the series has been centered around and almost exclusively about the crew. But the repops aren’t in stasis. They’re living, breathing human beings, and they do more than hang out in the FOH lounges below the main deck, getting bombed and enduring hangovers. So in this book I’ll begin finding out some of what they’re doing down there.

The farther The Ark travels from Earth, the more the realization sets-in that they truly can’t go “back home” again and that the future will be whatever they make it. And they literally aren’t making the future for themselves—they and a few more generations will die enroute. They’re making the future their distant descendents will live on a faraway planet. Should be interesting.

I’m also thinking, off to one side, I might open up this world for others to write stories and novels in if they want to. Just something to think about. And this time around I’m building the series bible and the world bible as I go.

One additional note: If an idea is born whole, with even a sketchy beginning, middle and end, I don’t bother writing it. Doing so would be boring. That’s why I don’t bother creating an outline. Why write a story twice: once in the outline and once in the story itself? For me, the joy of writing is the exciting act of looking in on the characters, even moving among them, as the action unfolds.

I’ve heard many writers say they write an outline or put up “signposts” etc. to guide them through the story. That they still have the “thrill” of events unfolding within that prefabricated construct. That just isn’t me. If I can imagine in advance where a story’s going, so can the reader. I’d rather be surprised, and so would readers. Aren’t you happier as a reader when events in a story unfold in a way you didn’t expect? So again, I just let the characters tell the story that they, not I, are living.

Of course, your way of doing things might vary. To each his or her own.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Happy New Year & Wazzup for Garry Rodgers Writing in 2021” at You want to read this.

See “The Secret To This Romance Author’s Success? Breaking All The Rules.” at Oh, you really want to read this. An absolutely excellent article, chock full of good tips.

See “The FBI Does This, But Not That” at

See “Collection Classes Now Available” at Linked here just in case you’re interested. OR (ahem) you could spend your time writing (practicing the craft) and put together a collecton on your own.

See “Here’s one of the things I learned that morning” at

See “4 Mind-Bending Ways Quantum Physics Challenges Our Reality” at Thanks to Karen R. for the tip.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 970 words

Writing of The Journey Home: Part 5 (novel)

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

Total fiction words for December……… 97285
Total fiction words for the year………… 549816
Total nonfiction words for December… 19150
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 204360
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 754176

Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 9
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 13
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 54
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 214
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31