The Six Ghosts of Fear, and Readers and Myths

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* The Six Ghosts of Fear
* A New Short Story
* Readers and the Myths
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“Before you can put any portion of my seventeen principles into successful use, your mind must be prepared to receive it. The preparation is not difficult. It begins with study, analysis, and understanding of three enemies you have to clear out. These are indecision, doubt, and fear. Members of this unholy trio are closely related; where one is found, the other two are close at hand.” Napoleon Hill in The Six Ghosts of Fear

“These six ghosts of fear, on their own or in some combination with each other, are non-realities every person suffers with at some time.” Napoleon Hill in The Six Ghosts of Fear

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.” Jack London


The Six Ghosts of Fear

This is another post that could wait, but only barely. Please see Garry Rodgers’ “The Six Ghosts of Fear” at

This is not something that is about writing, but it is about how to be successful at any endeavor, so including writing.

The article will have special meaning to those of you who understand that trusting yourself and your creative subconscious and writing into the dark are the result of facing-down and overcoming unreasoning fears.

Oddly enough, many writer who are mired in the myths of fiction writing also ascribe to the assertions behind “The Six Ghosts of Fear,” yet manage somehow not to notice that obeying the myths are a direct and passive response to that fear. Go figure.

A New Short Story

Oh, on Friday I auto-posted a new short story, “The Ballad of Rafe Wilkins” on my Stanbrough Writes website and on my Stanbrough Writes substack. If you want to see a good example of my recent writing and see one of the hundreds of sub-stories in the Wes Crowley saga, check it out.

To subscribe and get a free short story every week in your inbox, visit the substack. “TheBallad of Rafe Wilkins” is previously unpublished as a stand-alone short story, but it was excerpted from a novel in the Wes Crowley Gap series.

Readers and the Myths

I was going to wait and post this tomorrow along with the Bradbury Challenge stuff, but I decided to post it today. If you’re watching the Indy 500 today, as I will be, enjoy.

Readers, like writers, have heard all the same myths of writing their entire lives: that for a novel to be any good, the writing has to be hard work. It must be planned and plotted and written and revised. The writer must seek external input and make sure every word and sentence is perfect. It must be rewritten and polished.

In other words, in their expectations, readers invoke the greatest myth of all: that a writer must suffer for his or her art. Only then can a fiction possibly be any good.

Traditional book publishers, too, uphold the charade. They insist they’re looking for “a unique, original voice,” then also insist the writers follow the myths. And of course, following the myths will ensure that anything unique and original about the writer’s voice is slathered over, washed out, or changed.

Some (including some short story publishers) even require outright that a story or novel must be rewritten a minimum number of times. The editors of Rose & Thorn online literary journal insisted in their submission guidelines that a story “must have been rewritten at least 6 times” before it was submitted.

I’m not sure how the editors thought they could tell a story had been rewritten 6 times or more, other than by asking the writer. Anyway, I suspect it’s no surprise that journal is now defunct.

I am honest and up front with you and with other writers about my own writing process, or rather, my writing non-process: I write into the dark, I cycle to give the characters room to maneuver if they need to, and then I publish and move on to the next story.

But I sort-of lie to readers. Because readers have heard (and believed) the same myths writers are taught, if a reader ask about my process, I say that I write three drafts of every story or novel. (I believe Dean Wesley Smith does the same thing.)

What I do NOT say is that I write the first and only real draft to the best of my ability, and it takes only a few hours for a short story or no more than a month for a novel. About one hour for every 1000 words.

I also don’t tell them my second “draft” is me running a spell check, which takes all of five or ten minutes. And I don’t tell them my third “draft” is me applying the changes my first-reader recommends if I agree with those changes. That “draft” takes no more than a half-hour.

If you’re a fiction writer, you tell lies for a living. You might as well tell a few half-truths to help with the implied value of your work too. (grin)

By the way, thanks to my Hungarian writer friend Balázs Jámbor for this topic. For more, read his original comment.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Everyone Is Doing Sales” at

See “Meet BratGPT, the chatbot that refuses to play nice” at

See “Induced hibernation-like state…” at

See “Talking About Microfiction…” at

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 930

Total fiction words for May……… 14404
Total fiction words for 2023………… 97868
Total nonfiction words for May… 25690
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 107380
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 205248

Calendar Year 2023 Novels to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2023 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2023 Short Stories to Date… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 73
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 221
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark, adherence to Heinlein’s Rules, and that following the myths of fiction writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.