Workshop Sale, and About the Journal

In today’s Journal

* Dean’s Special WMG Workshop Sale
* About the Journal
* Of Interest

Dean’s Special WMG Workshop Sale

I’m posting today primarily to make you aware of this: Dean Wesley Smith is offering everything on Teachable at 50% off but only for three days in honor of Memorial Day Weekend.

The sale runs until Monday night at midnight west-coast time. For details and the code, See “Paying Attention Sale” at

But as long as I’m here anyway…

About the Journal

Writer friend Loyd J in a comment wrote, “I don’t blame you for limiting your Journal to what you believe in. … Thank you for providing the Journal and encouragement. Now I just need to follow the way.”

And my response: “You’re absolutely right. Having the knowledge is great, but only you can cross your arms, put it into practice, and Just Do It. Exactly what I did around 8 years ago, and that’s the sole reason I’ve accomplished all that I have with writing fiction.

“If you waver even slightly, make even the slightest excuse-for or compromise-with the myths, they will eat-alive your self-confidence and your ability to write. Once you begin to question the truth of what your characters are conveying, you’re lost.”

If anyone out there knows of even one fiction writer anywhere who outlines, revises, seeks critical input from others, rewrites x or xx number of times and has written more stories and “better” stories than I have in the past 8 years, please enlighten me.

But I’ve set you an impossible task. You won’t find such a writer, because s/he doesn’t exist.

The longer a writer hovers in place over one story and the more critical input s/he absorbs and applies (from both the writer’s critical mind and the critical minds of others), the further s/he moves the story from what actually happened as the characters lived it.

Consider, some of the best stories you have ever told were those you blurted out as you burst through a door. Remember?

  • You’d been frightened when your car spun out on an ice-covered bridge but somehow you came away without crashing and without a scratch. (Nervous laughter.)
  • Or you told about the jerk who cut you off in traffic and almost caused an accident as you were on your way to the grocery. (Face and neck still slightly flushed.)
  • Or that time when you overcame your fear and climbed the water tower with your friends on a dare.

Hmm. Would those stories have been made better if someone who wasn’t there “corrected” your recollection? No, of course they wouldn’t. They would have been made different, but not better, and probably less-entertaining. Certainly less authentic.

Only someone who is insecure or unsure of themselves would welcome input and “correction” from outsiders, meaning anyone who wasn’t there when the story unfolded. Anyone else, I dare say, would rightfully be annoyed that anyone would have the chutzpah to “correct” an original account.

I and other writers like me don’t have that problem. We have accomplished much more important, much more difficult things before, so we are certain within ourselves that we can write a story—a few minutes’ to a few hours’ entertainment, nothing more—without having someone else validate it.

For example, instead of hovering over one story for an extended period of time, we write to the best of our skill level at the time, submit or publish, and move on to write the next story. In other words, we are aware of the value of time.

We do not waste that precious commodity obsessing over this or that word or this or that sentence structure when none of that will make the slightest bit of difference to the eventual reader. Instead, we use our time to actually write, the definition of which is putting new words on the page.

Or put it this way—self-doubting Writer A, who is mired in the myths, writes, then hovers (revises, seeks critical input, rewrites, polishes) and manages to churn-out two 60,000 word novels in a year. S/he is thought “prolific.” S/he gets roughly 120,000 words of practice, but then corrects or allows others to correct what s/he has created.

Meanwhile, self-confident Writer B, who believes s/he can tell a lie for fun and profit (grin) without the input and support of a “village,” writes one or two or more novels per quarter or even per month to the tune of several hundred thousand or even a million words per year. That’s several hundred thousand or a million words of Practice.

Who do you think will improve faster in the craft of writing?

Given all that, why in the world would I teach anyone else to do anything different than be true to themselves, their own creative subconscious, and their own characters? The simple answer is, I wouldn’t.

And that, my friends, is why I never promote (or allow promotion of) the inane, insensible myths on this Journal. Be proud of your current skill level. Strive to learn more and improve though practice, but be proud. Defend your work.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Them Flies” at

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 810

Total fiction words for May……… 14404
Total fiction words for 2023………… 97868
Total nonfiction words for May… 24760
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 106450
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 204318

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.

2 thoughts on “Workshop Sale, and About the Journal”

  1. Hello, Harvey! I think there are people who are productive writers, and good writers, and using the myths… They are the ones who are lying about their process. 🙂

    Why would they say they were entertained by their writing, they didn’t rewrite, and they were just actually following their characters if the readers (or their publishers) want to hear they suffered; they worked hard; they knew everything from the start?

    But actually, it almost always visible how a writer have written. I like the amazed look on their face when the most liked storyline (by readers) is the one they ‘have worked’ with the least.
    It’s interesting that almost all of my favorite writers have a similar method using than I have. Whether they keep it in secret or not.

    And there are others, who really are suffering with writing. But they are far less productive than others. Sometimes it could happen they write actually a good novel, but I’m always afraid it takes them for ten years until they finish the next novel Why else would say they can’t make a living with writing?

    As for me I finally got back where I enjoy writing. And I think that’s what counts. I write for not the publisher or editors; maybe for the readers; but first I write for myself. I want to see what happens in the story. The Bradbury challenge took me back to this thinking.

    • You are right, Balázs, and thanks for the comment. As I mentioned to you via email, if a reader asks about my process, I say that I write three drafts. What I don’t tell them is the second “draft” is me running a spell check (about five minutes) and the third “draft” is me applying changes my first-reader recommends if I agree with them (no more than a half-hour).

      As a reader, I personally won’t read novels that are written by a writer who outlines the story in advance. That’s just silly. I want to read the authentic story, what really happened, and what really happened can never be planned and plotted in advance.

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