Writing for the Journal

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Sorry This One’s Late
* Writing for the Journal
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“In quickness is truth. The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth deadfalling or tiger-trapping.” Ray Bradbury

“Writing a lot (quantity) and practicing writing is extremely important. Detaching yourself from the result of the story is also important. (What’s important is THAT you write, not WHAT you write). But serious prolific fiction writers write a lot and write often and detach ourselves from the end result as a means of writing authentic, better quality stories, not in preparation for writing better quality stories.” Me to a writing friend

Sorry This One’s Late

I usually get the Journal out a lot earlier than this. I wasn’t going to post at all, but then a topic presented itself.

Writing for the Journal

Writing for the Journal isn’t easy, and that’s completely my fault. It’s relatively easy for me (now) but that’s at least partly because as a writer I grew up writing the Journal even as I was writing fiction.

So if I made any mistakes or slipped and made any myth-based or myth-supportive statements, I did so either before I started the Journal or in the early days of writing it.

For just one horrible but accurate example, I used to tell other writers that “when you’re first starting out,” it was not only acceptable but preferable to submit your short stories to magazines that paid only in author copies.

Why? Well, it was a great way to get clippings of course (credits), albeit for a bunch of disreputable or obscure magazines nobody read or cared about.

Or it was a great way to build your audience. Well, if your audience was too cheap to subscribe to any of the dozens of quality magazines who actually paid authors for their work.

But the dependent clause “when you’re first starting out” implies that later you’ll be good enough to submit your work to paying markets. In other words, that you aren’t good enough right now. That’s just silly. See the second quote of the day above.

What makes your work suitable (or not) for a paying market is the editor of that market, his or her current mood (and his or her opinion of your story as formed by that mood). That opinion might also depend on whatever life rolls the editor is going through at the time, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

The decision has little or nothing to do with your story. The editor either likes it or s/he doesn’t. And if s/he does like it, s/he either likes it enough to pay you for it or s/he doesn’t.
And if one editor doesn’t, another editor might. And if none of the editors you send it to likes it enough to license it, then you self-publish and let the readers who buy it decide.

Doesn’t matter to you. You’re already onto writing the next story. Better luck next time.

Your job is to write (read, study, learn) and write some more. No part of your job description includes judging your own work. That is the reader’s job, whether the reader is an editor or “just” a reader. And the reason for their opinion of your work is none of your business. Get over yourself and write the next story. Do your job.

I’ve told the story here before of “Old Suits,” a short story I wrote. I personally thought it was one of the worst efforts I’d ever made at writing a short story. But I had recently learned that my opinion as a reader is no more important than the opinion of any other reader, so I published it anyway.

A few weeks later, I received a nice email from a lady I’d never met. She said it reminded her of Hemingway and was one of the better short stories she’d ever read.

Go figure. What do I know?

Recently I asked for guest posts, ideas for regular columns and contributions, etc. I received two articles in one day. Unfortunately, both were wide of the mark. A myth seeped unseen by the author into one, and the other was stiff to the point it didn’t sound like the voice of the writer, one I’d asked to contribute primarily because of her voice.

And that’s when I realized writing for the Journal isn’t easy, at least for anyone other than me. I do sincerely apologize for that.

Because the Journal is an instructional platform—and one that actively shuns and renounces the fashionable but false and harmful myths of fiction writing—I can’t publish any posts that support any of those myths.

So if you want to write for the Journal, here are a couple of guidelines:

First, if you want to submit posts or articles to the Journal, you MUST be a practitioner of writing into the dark and a practicing adherent to Heinlein’s Rules. I won’t publish any opposing viewpoints, etc. You can find those in millions of other venues all over the internet. You can find active blogging about WITD only here, and occasionally over at Dean Wesley Smith’s website.

Second, please, be easy on yourself. Don’t knead your post and work it over so many times that when it comes out of the oven it’s difficult to chew. As RJ Sadler put it in an email this morning about his guest posts, they “spring up from time to time as reminders or ways to explain things to myself.”

That is an excellent way to write a guest post for the Journal. In fact, it’s exactly what I’ve been doing all these years. Nothing stiff or formal, just chatting informally with like-minded friends.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Protagonists Who Come Out Of Nowhere” at https://killzoneblog.com/2023/05/protagonists-who-comeout-of-nowhere.html. It’s good to learn things like this with the conscious mind. That’s what it’s for. Then forget about it and apply what you learned (write) with the creative subconscious.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 1030

Total fiction words for May……… 14404
Total fiction words for 2023………… 97868
Total nonfiction words for May… 15720
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 97410
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 195278

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.