In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Shameless Self-Promotion
* Why the Journal?
* Finished the Novel
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“I found a great many pieces of punctuation and typography lying around dormant when I came along – and I must say I had a good time using them.” Tom Wolfe
“The reason a writer writes a book is to forget a book and the reason a reader reads one is to remember it.” Tom Wolfe
“From what I can gather, there are more than a few bruised and dented apples in our tree.” Jeremy Stiles in Chapter 27 of Blackwell Ops 10: Jeremy Stiles: The Way Things Go
Sometime or other, be sure to stop by and read “If You Really Want to Write Fiction”. I will be an eye-opener for some of you.
Those of you who are in southeast Arizona on Saturday, September 23 and would like to chat with me for a little while, remember to stop by Zearings in Benson. It’s on the main drag, and I’ll be there from noon to 3 p.m.
Oh, and please tell your friends. They’re just like your characters, after all. You don’t control them either, so you have no idea where they might be three days from now. (grin)
New Episodes — I put up four new episodes of Blackwell Ops 10 yesterday. Chapters 21 through 24. If you’re an early adopter, you can read the first three chapters (episodes) free of charge at https://kdp.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story-details/A0C3BB99Z8J.
Why the Journal?
A writer emailed to thank me for the Journal and for directing him to the free downloads on publishing and other articles at Free Archives.
That prompted me to write a bit about why I bother with writing the Journal almost every day. And while I’m on the topic, why I do so with such frequency.
When I first started the Journal back in 2014, I did so for mostly selfish reasons. As an old retired jarhead, I needed a place to report. The Journal and its subscribers became that place.
Almost as an aside, I also wanted to pass along what I had learned from DWS. Especially Heinlein’s Rules (Heinlein’s Business Habits for Writers) and Writing Into the Dark.
But back then, I passed them along only as concepts, something I hoped other writers would try as well. I hoped they would find the same unbridled joy I had found once I learned to trust my characters and simply transcribe the story that they, after all, not I, were lilving.
I started the Journal in October of that year, I think, but you can check the archives if that matters to you. So almost 9 years ago. Where has the time gone?
That was also about the time I started writing my very first novel, Leaving Amarillo, for which the catalyst was a short story — “Adobe Walls” — featuring a former Texas Ranger and deputy US marshal named Wes Crowley.
At that time, I had taken the plunge into WITD. But I had been writing into the dark for only about 7 months, and all short stories up to that point.
You know the result. There are 20+ novels in the overall Wes Crowley saga as well as a smattering of short stories, and I just finished my 75th novel, a personal benchmark for me.
Ever since I finished my 50th novel, my overall goal was to write at least 75. Now my overall goal will shift to 101. Why 101? Because jarheads don’t to “to” the objective. They go through it. (grin)
But back to the Journal.
Over the years, I practiced. Meaning I kept moving forward. It’s Heinlein’s Rules all over again: Write, finish, publish and write the next story or novel.
Yes, I omitted Rule 3: Don’t rewrite. That’s because rewriting is hovering, not moving forward, and I already said I kept moving forward.
So I wrote (did not hover to rewrite), finished, published and started the next story or novel.
In practicing so much, I had new thoughts about WITD and eventually made the concept my own. I had originally learned the concept from Dean, but in my opinion I improved upon it.
About that time I also realized I no longer needed a place to report. The excitement of finding out what happened next in the current or subsequent story or novel was more than enough motivation.
And that’s about the time the shift happened.
Suddenly the Journal was more for you than for me. I like subscribers as much as the next blogger — it feeds my silly ego — but what really mattered from that point on is you. Your belief in yourself and your trust in yourself and your characters.
It matters that you believe in yourself and what you already know in your creative subconscious mind about writing and structure and all that — concepts you don’t even consciously realize you know — and then trusting that belief and your characters.
And then just writing what comes, what the POV character gives you. Practicing.
Realize that no individual story or novel is important. Either one is only a few minutes’ or hours’ entertainment for the reader. Absolutely nothing more. What’s important is That you write, not what you write. And that’s important only because you call yourself a writer.
As to the frequency of the Journal, when I have a thought that I believe might be of interest to you or helpful to you as a writer, I typically turn to the Journal and write it, as I’m doing right now.
As as for why I bother, I really am not altruistic. It simply costs me nothing (well, but a little time) to share with you, to pass along what I know and what I learn as I keep moving forward. And maybe to help motivate you to believe in yourself and trust yourself and your characters.
A Note on Donations — I’ve always kept the Journal free, and I will continue to do so. I very much appreciate those who donate and help compensate me for my time, but if you can’t, you can’t. I’ve been on that side of the dollar sign too.
If you do choose to donate (and you who are already donors, please listen) you may feel free to request pretty much anything from me — a novel or short story collection or nonfiction book, for example — at pretty much any time. I will be happy to oblige.
Finished the Novel
Blackwell Ops 10: Jeremy Stiles—The Way Things Go wrapped yesterday at something over 40,000 words. The story ran full circle and came to a natural conclusion.
I admit it feels a little good to have 75 novels behind me now. But I’m really looking forward to the next one.
Before I quit for the day, I ran the final spell check and sent the complete novel to my first reader. Today I’ll upload the remaining episodes to Vella and be done with it.
I figure a week or so after the final episode goes live, I’ll pull it out of Vella and publish the book in Amazon KDP Select.
After that, I’ll publish it wide. It feels great to be on a new path. Or my old path but in a new direction
Talk with you again soon.
The Journal……………………………… 1220
Writing of Blackwell Ops 10: Jeremy Stiles
The Way Things Go
Day 1…… 1635 words. To date…… 1635
Day 2…… 2464 words. To date…… 4099
Day 3…… 1615 words. To date…… 5714
Day 4…… 3808 words. To date…… 9522
Day 5…… 2057 words. To date…… 11579
Day 6…… 3563 words. To date…… 15142
Day 7…… 1881 words. To date…… 17023
Day 8…… 3047 words. To date…… 20070
Day 9…… 2588 words. To date…… 22658
Day 10…. 3572 words. To date……26230
Day 11…. 3025 words. To date…… 29255
Day 12…. 2649 words. To date…… 31904
Day 13…. 3991 words. To date…… 35895
Day 14…. 4773 words. To date…… 40668 (Done)
Fiction for September…………………… 52650
Fiction for 2023………………………… 204959
Fiction since August 1………………… 110199
Nonfiction for September……………… 16850
Nonfiction for the year……………… 191320
Annual consumable words………… 396279
2023 Novels to Date……………………… 3
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 74
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)… 232
Short story collections…………………… 31
Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.