This Will Sound Silly

In today’s Journal

* This Will Sound Silly
* Of Interest

This Will Sound Silly

but I have to interrupt the writing of The Stirchians (tentative title) to read the novel for which it’s supposed to be the sequel: The 13-Month Turn.

By the way, if anyone else would like to read The 13-Month Turn in advance of the second novel in the series being finished, I’m giving it away right now. Just email me at and let me know which e-version you would like: .mobi, .epub, or .pdf.

Late yesterday morning as I started to write, I had occasion to check back in that first novel to double-check a fact. And I found I’d gotten the fact wrong in the current novel. Not only that, but a lot of other stuff was wrong too. Not only various new institutions and political boundaries, but who was responsible for them and even what they were called.

Of course, it’s fiction, so there are very few rules. The avid reader will suspend his or her sense of disbelief at the drop of a verb.

But there is one rule, and it’s a major one: you can create your fictional world any way you want, but once you create it, your characters have to continue to live in it.

In other words, when writing subsequent novels in a series, you must obey the facts of the world you established in that series. I broke that rule in this new novel in at least two major ways.

Now, I could just set the whole thing aside and push ahead with either a standalone novel or the first novel of yet another series just to add to my novel total, but I don’t want to do that.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I really want to write this story in this world. I want to find out what the characters, Earthian and Stirchian alike, are doing. I want to walk through that world with them again. But first I have to regain a valid memory of that world.

So I started reading The 13-Month Turn at about 1 p.m. yesterday. I’ll read today until whenever I finish it. But as I read I’ll also be enhancing the reverse outline I created as I wrote the novel.

With characters, very little is about who they are. A great deal more has to do with HOW they are. By that I mean their attitude, their level of intelligence or lack thereof, their personality, what they’re good at and what they aren’t good at, and so on.

Just to be crystal clear, I’m NOT saying you should plan or determine those things (or ANYthing) about a character ahead of time. The characters revealed who and how they are to me of their own accord as I ran through the story with them back in early 2017. They and their story unfolded all around me.

My intention in reading the novel again now is to get reacquainted with the characters and their attitudes and personalities, to get all of that and the storylines back into my head so I can continue with them in the second book.

To that end, and as a kind of bonus, I’ll also turn that reverse outline I mentioned above into a series bible. When I’m finished, it will contain many facts about the world that I’d forgotten since I wrote the novel. Nothing’s better than a quick reference when you’re writing a series.

So all of that was to say I wrote zero words yesterday, probably will write zero words today, and might write zero words tomorrow. But once I get the characters, situations and storyline from the first book back in my head, I expect to zoom right through writing this second novel. I can hardly wait.

And I might even throw out the current opening. Who knows? Once I have the story in mind again, I might decide to start this novel in a completely different place.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Thirteen Terribly Close Calls With Nuclear Weapon Accidents” at

See “Advanced Classes” at

See “Marketing Gain or Writer’s Pain?” at

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 700 words

Writing of The Stirchians (novel, tentative title)

Day 1…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 4003

Total fiction words for October……… 12205
Total fiction words for the year………… 132587
Total nonfiction words for October… 7380
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 160600
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 293187

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 68
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: In this Journal, I discuss various aspects of the writing craft. I also advocate trusting the characters to tell the story that they, not the writer, are living. This is by far the easiest, most liberating, and most fun way to tell a story.

2 thoughts on “This Will Sound Silly”

  1. Not silly at all; rereading the first book sounds especially important for you AFTER you started the second when there’s been a gap. Memory is quite fallible – one of the reasons ‘eye witness’ testimony, while dramatic, is often objectively wrong; makes for a good tv story but has left many an innocent person without an alibi – in jail.

    And it updates your series bible? You’ll appreciate having that to refer to, nice and fresh, rather than having a reader who does exactly what you’re doing – rereading the first before tackling the new one – point out stuff the author really should have see/known/remembered. It’s the professional approach.

    PLUS it will make writing the third book immeasurably easier.

    And here is the place to figure out how your characters instinctively deal/dealt with these details. Ask them.


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