The Journal: Writing Fiction

In today’s Journal

* I Fibbed
* Topic: Writing Fiction
* A Quick Look Back
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Welp, I fibbed. I said I wouldn’t be back until tomorrow, but here I am. I wanted to do a self-motivating recap of 2021, and I wanted to announce my first writing project for the new year. And it seemed silly to wait until tomorrow to do either of those.

Also, it seemed wrong not to post on the first day of a new year. So here I am, wishing you the best year of writing you’ve ever had.

Topic: Writing Fiction

I wrote an SF novel called The 13-Month Turn almost five years ago, in February and March of 2017. A few days ago, a reader emailed and asked whether there was a sequel.

Well, there isn’t. But wow, was the guy ever right to ask. I read the book myself over the past couple of days, and the ending literally begs for a sequel. If you’ve read the story, you know what I mean. I suspect I set it up that way on purpose.

In fact, I could easily have continued the story in the same book. Maybe I chose not to do that because it was already 73,000 words. Or maybe because I was distracted and wanted to move on to other projects. (I wrote a lot of detective stuff right around that time.)

But just reading the story, I could tell that I definitely planned to return. Anyway, for whatever reason I didn’t continue the story in the same book and I didn’t write a sequel, so that’s my first writing project for the year.

The easy thing to do, especially because I’ve just read the book, would be to simply continue the story in the same book. But it would also be wrong. How many readers who’ve already read the 73,000-word novel would buy it again to read the rest of the story? None. Nor should they have to.

I could also just continue the story in a separate book, a pure sequel. That, too, would be easy, and I might do that. If I do, I’ll have to make it plain on the cover and in the beginning of the book that the story is a continuation, not a stand-alone novel.

But I prefer that my novels, even those in series, do stand alone, albeit in a way that makes the reader want to read the other books in the series. But that would require me to bring part of the story forward from the first novel to this one, while doing so without boring those readers who’ve read the first novel.

So the whole thing is a bit of a quandary. But then, conscious-mind decisions always are. (grin) I’ll figure it out this morning and start writing. And of course I’ll be back tomorrow to report numbers and let you know what I decided to do.

A Quick Look Back at 2021

Given my inadvertent 5-month hiatus, I decided to take a deep breath and look back at 2021 to assess the damage. Despite not having written what I might have written during those five months, as a writer I didn’t come out all that bad. And as a human, I beat a major addiction, so there’s that.

During 2021 my last day of serious fiction writing was August 6th. I wrote zero words of fiction in September and October, only 2602 words in November, and struggled through 10865 words in December (a heart-racing 350 words per day).

But despite the near-total 5-month hiatus, I somehow still managed to write 636,749 words of fiction. Let’s do some math. If you divide that by 7 (=90,964) and then multiply the answer by 5 (=454,821), and then add that to 636,749 you’ll see that I was on track to hit 1,091,570 words of fiction for 2021.

Sounds impressive, right? And yet that would have been a daily average of only 2991 words per day. (In case you’re wondering, as a result of taking 5 months off, my daily average for fiction was only 1744 words per day.)

So all in all, as a writer, I’m okay with 2021. On the year, I wrote 636,749 words of fiction in 13 novels, 1 novella and 3 short stories. I also wrote 203,560 words of nonfiction (all of them in this Journal) for a grand total of what Dean calls “consumable words” of 840,309 words. Even with five lost months, I consider that failing to success.

I choose to believe 2022 is going to be wonderful for fiction writers. Here’s to it, and to your success.

Talk with you again later.

Of Interest

See the comments on “I Think I Am Ready” at Some on short story markets, some on tracking submissions.

See “Just a Little End of the Year Round-Up” at Contains a TOC to archived content.

See “Deductions” at Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s also moral or ethical.

See “New Insight into the Friendship of Virginia Woolf and T. S. Eliot” at

See “The Great Rebus Craze of 1937 (Plus 4 Rebuses to Solve Yourself)” at

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 830 words

Writing of The Stirchians (tentative title, novel)

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

Total fiction words for January……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… XXXX
Total nonfiction words for January… 830
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 830
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 830

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 66
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.

2 thoughts on “The Journal: Writing Fiction”

  1. Good thing you looked back so you could see that your writing year as a whole was not dang bad! My 2021 goal was only half of what you actually wrote. And I didn’t quite make half of that (150,725). December was my 5th highest month but the 4th quarter was my best. 150K beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick for sure.
    And I’ve started off 2022 writing!
    May 2022 be the best writing (and publishing) year for us all! WITD and indie for me.

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