The Journal, Thursday, 2/23

Hey Folks,

A few folks mentioned the picture of my guitar came out huge in the email they received and interrupted the post.

That’s just how some email programs deliver photos (instead of running the text along the side).

When that happens in the future, you can always see the “real” post at http://harveystanbrough.com/.

I’m taking a non-writing day today.

Topic: A Lesson Learned

I guess this is kind of a topic.

I spent a lot of time this morning (unnecessarily, as it turns out) going back through the whole novel. I wasn’t cycling.

I thought I was cycling, and it started as cycling.

But I was also applying some skills I just learned. Remember, learning is a conscious-mind endeavor.

Anyway, I wanted to apply those skills to this WIP since it isn’t finished yet. Kind of slip it in under the wire. (grin) I actually thought it was a good idea.

Uh, no.

I allowed that process to interrupt my writing process. Shouldn’t have done that. In the future, I’ll know.

As it was, I easily slipped into THINKING (conscious mind) about scene and chapter lengths and paragraphing and other conscious-mind things. Horrible waste of time.

But that process reacquainted me with the whole story too. So it wasn’t a total loss.

Anyway, I saved the monster with a different file name so I wouldn’t lose the changes just in case, then returned to the original file from yesterday.

I’m very near the end of the story. In fact, I might have typed past it a ways back. So I’m going to let things percolate for a day or two, give my subconscious a rest, and see what happens.

It’s early in the day as I write this (around 12:30) so I’ll probably spend a little more time with it today. I’ll go over my reverse outline, try to see what I missed or where the story ended or where one ended and a new one began.

Hey, just trying to be honest here and lay it out as it’s happening. Every book writes differently. And this one is writing a lot differently from any others I ever wrote. (grin)

Coincidentally, my new guitar is supposed to be here by the end of the day tomorrow. Woohoo! Of course, my fingers are so soft I won’t be able to play more than an hour or two per day so that won’t interfere too much with the writing.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out right at 3. Up at the house for awhile, and finally to the Hovel and the novel at 7:30.

I did a lot of what I wrote about above until about 11, then headed up to the house for lunch. Then I came back to the Hovel and wrote the stuff above.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s Time to Rest… Blast from the Past at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/time-to-rest-blast-from-the-past/. Pretty cool.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 490 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 490

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503
Day 19… 2648 words. Total words to date…… 57178
Day 20… 2231 words. Total words to date…… 59409
Day 21… 2010 words. Total words to date…… 61419
Day 22… 4147 words. Total words to date…… 65566
Day 23… 2010 words. Total words to date…… 67576
Day 24… 1976 words. Total words to date…… 69552
Day 25… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 52317
Total fiction words for the year………… 144927
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13720
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 33410

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 178337

The Journal, Wednesday, 2/22

Hey Folks,

No topic today, so just my blathering.

Oh, I think I mentioned I bought a new guitar a couple days ago to add to my small collection. (I also have a Martin HD-28 and a custom made, arch-top f-hole tenor Britton guitar, made by my maternal uncle, Roy Britton.)

Anyway, if I didn’t mention buying a new one, well, I did. It’s a hollow-body electric Peavey JF-1, a Jack Daniels custom job. If it plays and sounds as good as it looks, I’m in trouble. (grin)

Oh here. That’s a picture of it on the left. (No, the chair didn’t come with it.) It should be here around the end of the month. It will enable me to reawaken my other passion.

Well, another slow start to the day. And I think my sleep time is beginning to adjust again, back in the direction of more daylight. My grandson sometimes works some evenings, and I pick him up.

Another part of this adjustment is that I’ve been wanting to start walking again, but I think I’ve been waiting for warmer early-morning temps. I can roll out at 4, drive to a good walking place (no dogs, little traffic) and be walking by 4:30.

And I’d rather walk at the beginning of the day than interrupt my writing or whatever else to change clothes and walk, then shower and change clothes again. That’s a lot of wasted time.

When I walk now, it’s something short, maybe a mile or two, so I don’t get all sweaty. Plus a mile is only about 20 minutes, so it’s nothing more than a normal break from the story.

I’ve always (well, since I was about ten) been intimately aware of Time. I have a hyper-developed sense of urgency. Then again, that’s also part of why I’m fairly prolific as a writer.

For example, when I leave a room for whatever reason, I look around and see whether there’s something i can take with me to avoid another trip (wasted time) later.

If I walk soon after I get up, I avoid wasting the time it takes to change clothes more than once and to get back into the flow of whatever I was doing before I walked. (grin)

But warmer mornings will begin out here probably in mid-March or so. I can only barely wait.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at quarter to 4 and began easing into the day. Just one of those days when rushing is not in order.

Drove to the store about 7:30. Back, in the Hovel and to the novel at 9:30. I’m hoping this will end today.

Well, the novel didn’t end today, though it might’ve had I had the whole day to stare at it. (grin) Not really a good day at all.

I wrote two new scenes and did a lot of cycling, adding this here and that there. The grandson was supposed to go in at 5 tonight, but they called him in early.

While I was in town, I also took care of some shopping, etc. and now the laundry is waiting. So I’m writing off the rest of today at 3 p.m.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s Fantastic New Bundle… Escapist. See http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/fantastic-new-bundle-escapist/.

Fiction Words: 1976
Nonfiction Words: 550 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2526

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503
Day 19… 2648 words. Total words to date…… 57178
Day 20… 2231 words. Total words to date…… 59409
Day 21… 2010 words. Total words to date…… 61419
Day 22… 4147 words. Total words to date…… 65566
Day 23… 2010 words. Total words to date…… 67576
Day 24… 1976 words. Total words to date…… 69552

Total fiction words for the month……… 52317
Total fiction words for the year………… 144927
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13230
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 32920

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 177847

The Journal, Tuesday, 2/21

Hey Folks,

All the recent talk about people being “offended” and “sensitivity readers” is just annoying. But they aren’t really connected. This is two different mini-topics: perception and censorship.

Perception

People have every right to perceive anything they see or hear in any way they want. And they have a right to be “offended” if that’s how they want to spend their time. Shrug. Fine by me.

However, whether they are offended is a direct function of their own perception. Being offended is a choice. In other words, whether they’re offended and whether they choose to belabor the point (as I am doing here) is completely up to them.

So they can be offended if that’s what they choose to do, but they have ZERO right to force anyone else to care that they’re “offended.”

And I don’t care. And I’m not sorry that I don’t care. I simply have better ways to spend my time.
In fact, I’m about as concerned about what might offend someone else as they are about what might offend me. Like, for instance, people whose hobby is being offended.

If people say something about me personally, I don’t get offended. If what they say is true (only I know, after all) I either change or I don’t. If it isn’t true, I consider the source and move on.

Censorship

Censorship is not all right in a land where the constitution guarantees free speech. Period.

Writers, maybe above all others, should know and practice that.

One comment on Dean’s post from yesterday struck me. A first reader for a writer’s book about the civil war was “offended” (there’s that word again) that the soldiers used firearms. Seriously.

I actually laughed out loud.

Topic: White Space

A friend recently sent me an article from Word Count: Writers Talk About Writing (https://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wc/). The title of the article, by Micheal Lydon, is “Making the White Space Talk.”

(Note: You have to subscribe to Visual Thesaurus to read the full original article. Based on some of the titles and bits there, I do not personally recommend it.)

In the article, which my friend copied and pasted into an email, the author talks about what he calls “white space.”

As I proceeded through the article, I realized what he’s calling white space is actually paragraphing.

More specifically, he’s talking about endings (and by extension, beginnings) of chapters.

Mr. Lydon notes that

“White space at the end of a chapter pauses the book’s narrative flow, allowing readers a brief rest. At the same time the white space points readers to the next chapter in such a way that, once rested, they’ll gladly take up their journey once again.”

Truedat.

But as I pointed out to my friend, it’s not only true for chapters.

The “rest” the author talks about is important at the end of every sentence. It’s why we have end punctuation (.?!:).

But more to the point, the “ending” (final sentence or two) is vastly important both to give the reader pause and to propel him to the next microscene, scene, chapter and book.

In every case, the ending of that microscene, scene, chapter or book “sells” the reader on what coming next. It makes him turn the page or buy the next book. It causes him to want to keep reading your work.

Likewise, the beginning of the next microscene, scene, chapter or book sells the reader on that microscene, scene, chapter or book.

Those endings most often are called “cliffhangers.” When written right, they’re always tension filled, though that tension takes on different forms depending on the genre.

One other related note: Hitting the Return (Enter) key also has a great deal to do with pacing. It’s difficult to maintain a reader in a breathless state if your paragraphs are hundreds of words long.

As a general rule of thumb, longer paragraphs slow readers down. Shorter paragraphs speed them up and propel them through what they’re reading.

Whether and how much paragraph length affects pacing are also factors of how one paragraph ends and the next begins too.

Readers aren’t garbage chutes. They’re human beings. As such, they’re more amenable to swallowing and digesting smaller bites than massive chunks. Just sayin’.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out just before 4 again. If memory serves, each time I’ve done that recently, I’ve had a good writing day. I’ll be interested to see what happens in that regard today.

Currently (6 a.m.) I’m sitting outside with my coffee and my laptop, writing this stuff and finishing a good cigar.

To the Hovel about 8, and cycling on the novel around 8:15. Added a couple hundred new words, then to the house for some water.

Well, a lighter day today than I expected. And the novel didn’t end today.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

A lot of comments on Dean’s post from yesterday at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/another-scam-firing-up/#comments. One guy turned the whole argument around. My thought? Male bovine excrement. Censorship is censorship.

His post today is nostalgic. See http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-years-go-by/.

Fiction Words: 2010
Nonfiction Words: 830 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2840

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503
Day 19… 2648 words. Total words to date…… 57178
Day 20… 2231 words. Total words to date…… 59409
Day 21… 2010 words. Total words to date…… 61419
Day 22… 4147 words. Total words to date…… 65566
Day 23… 2010 words. Total words to date…… 67576

Total fiction words for the month……… 50341
Total fiction words for the year………… 142951
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12680
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 32370

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 175321

Pricing and Various Sales Venues

Hi Folks,

A little rant this time, but a well-reasoned rant.

It really is attrocious what Amazon does to authors regarding royalties. This problem came fully home to me awhile back when I uploaded the new version of The Wes Crowley Saga (10 full novels in one book) to Amazon and Smashwords.

At Amazon, to get a 70% royalty, a book must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99. All other prices glean the author a 35% royalty.

The Wes Crowley Saga is priced at $19.99. (Ten novels for $20 ain’t that bad, ya’ll.)

From Amazon, for each $19.99 sale, I get $6.99. Amazon keeps $13.

From Smashwords, for each $19.99 sale, I get $16.24. Almost $10 more. Can you believe that? Smashwords keeps $2.87 and charges a “billing fee” of 88 cents. Of course, that’s for sales directly from Smashwords.

But from Premium Catalog Retailers (B&N, Kobo, and about 30 others), for each $19.99 sale I still make $11.99. The retailers get $6 and Smashwords gets $2.

And what empowers Amazon to do this? Authors who publish through KDP Select, the exclusive program Amazon set up.

When you publish through KDP Select, not only do you cut off those readers who prefer to purchase from other retailers and read .epub files, but you aren’t even allowed to publish and sell YOUR book on your own website. Did you know that?

Oh, and just in case you wondered, yes, I could lower the price for The Wes Crowley Saga (remember, this is ten complete novels) on Amazon to $9.99 in order to take advantage of the 75% royalty rate. And I’d actually make a few tenths of a cent LESS per sale ($6.993) than I make at the 35% rate for $19.99 ($6.9965).

This is the same reason you can purchase my short stories (from 2000 to 7000 words) at Smashwords and all other e-retailers (around 50 of them worldwide) for only $1.99, but if you go to Amazon the same story will cost you $2.99.

Amazon is a business. I understand that. But their devaluing of authors and their works really chaps my butt. Please PLEASE never cave to Amazon’s KDP Select program. If you do, you’ll add one more straw to the problem.

I’m considering “unpublishing” The Wes Crowley Saga from Amazon altogether and doing a blitz advertisement sending Kindle owners to Smashwords to purchase the .mobi (Kindle) file there. The only reason I haven’t done so thus far is because I don’t want to cut Amazon buyers out either.

Maybe I should write a nonfiction book titled Why I No Longer Distribute and Sell Through Amazon and then offer it for sale ONLY on Amazon. (grin) I wonder whether they would even allow it.

Conundrums, conundrums….

‘Til next time, happy writing and publishing!

Harvey

I am a professional fiction writer. If you’d like to get writing tips several times each week, pop over to my Daily Journal and sign up. In the alternative, you can also click the Pro Writer’s Journal tab on the main website at HarveyStanbrough.com.

The Journal, Monday, 2/20

Hey Folks,

The “Of Interest” section most often (like today) has a referral to Dean Wesley Smith’s site, but not always. Sometimes it has other stuff too.

A few days ago I posted a link here to an article about “sensitivity readers” now being employed by the traditional publishing houses. This morning I received three emails from subscribers to this Journal giving me that same link. (grin)

I urge you to check out “Of Interest” each day. Don’t skip it just because you think it will be only Dean’s stuff.

* * *

Well, a day of writing. Or at least a partial day. And I have a feeling I’m nearing the end of this novel. It might even wrap up today.

And I also have a feeling the story hasn’t really started yet. (grin)

Topic: Parts of a Story

What I mean is the first part of the story — the current story — seems to have almost reached a natural conclusion. The overall story is approaching a major transition.

Someone famous, I think it was Bradbury, once wrote that there are only two plots in science fiction: we went there, and they came here.

This is a “they came here” book.

Another truism about SF is that it isn’t “about” the science or the aliens. It’s about the human REACTIONS to the science, the aliens and the situations in which they find themselves.

In this book, the aliens have arrived. But a lot of things happened to the characters involved before the aliens arrived.

This novel will cover those things. Human things. Human reactions up to and including the arrival of the aliens. And so the first book will end with the beginning of the transition.

Then, I suspect, the next novel will begin with the middle of the transition and move forward from there. And I have zero clue how many books there might be. At least two, but maybe eight or ten. Or more.

I’m already enjoying the world of this novel. Whenever I’m away from it, I look forward to getting back to it to see what happens next.

That’s the best part of writing off into the dark. I don’t know what’s going to happen or how it will happen or even who will make it happen until the story unfolds.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at almost 4. I hung around the house with email etc. until it was time to wake up the babies. During part of that time, I checked out a few more guitars online.

I continued in that vein even after I moved to the Hovel around 5:30. Eventually (around 7) my “I want that” bug abated and I went to the novel. Cycling.

At 7:40 I took a break to run my grandson to his job, got back around 8:20 and hauled the trash to the driveway for pickup (I passed the trash guy on his way in), then fixed and ate a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and chili. Nom nom nom.

Back to the Hovel, this Journal around 8:30, and back to the novel at 9.

Wrote for awhile, took a couple of short breaks, and now it’s 11. Headed for lunch.

12, back from lunch, back to the novel.

1:20, off to pick up my grandson. Back in a bit.
2, back to the novel.

Better day today than I hoped to expect. (grin) Wrapping up a little after 3. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

It seems Dean saw the Chicago Tribune link about PC readers too. And it lit his fuse. See Another Scam Firing Up at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/another-scam-firing-up/.

Fiction Words: 4147
Nonfiction Words: 600 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4747

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503
Day 19… 2648 words. Total words to date…… 57178
Day 20… 2231 words. Total words to date…… 59409
Day 21… 2010 words. Total words to date…… 61419
Day 22… 4147 words. Total words to date…… 65566

Total fiction words for the month……… 48331
Total fiction words for the year………… 140941
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11850
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 31540

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 172481

The Journal, Sunday, 2/19

Hey Folks,

Likely to be a limited writing day today again, kind of a semi day off. I plan to write, but I’ll let other things take precedence.

What does that mean? I want to write, and I will write, but I won’t worry about writing. If/when I get to it, good. No stress.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3, finally to the novel at 5:30.

I wrote off and on over about four hours. In four or five small sessions, I hit around 1200 words. Breakfast etc. in the midst of all that.

Then I took my grandson to work. Came home, then did some more running around to buy screen for the screen door, dog and cat food, etc.

Came back and worked on my 4-Runner for a little while, then watched some TV with my girl. Also made another wild-eyed, clumsy, stiff-fingered attempt at my guitars (the Martin and an f-hole tenor Britton guitar, built by my maternal uncle, Roy Britton).

Checked out a few hollow-body electrics online too. (grin) I had a beautiful Ibanez stolen out from under me when I was a kid of about 20.

Finally decided around 1:45 I should get back to the novel. Moved to the outside desk and finally, finally, it started raining. Go figure.

Moved to the Hovel. Now to the novel again around 2:15.

A good session combined with some cycling. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Nothing at Dean’s today, though one person did find a gem in yesterday’s post. So you might check that out.

Fiction Words: 2010
Nonfiction Words: 240 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2250

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503
Day 19… 2648 words. Total words to date…… 57178
Day 20… 2231 words. Total words to date…… 59409
Day 21… 2010 words. Total words to date…… 61419

Total fiction words for the month……… 44184
Total fiction words for the year………… 136794
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11250
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 30940

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 167734

The Journal, Saturday, 2/18

Hey Folks,

Well, I’ll be writing today, but much of it will be in the house and therefore subject to interruption. I’ll be helping with things around here that I didn’t get done during the week (laundry, etc.).

I originally planned to go camping in the Lower Box Gila Wilderness (north of Lordsburg, NM) this weekend. But there was a threat of rain, and storms there are as wild and rugged as the place itself. So we called it off.

And then too, my grandson landed a job (he starts on Sunday) so he couldn’t have gone anyway.

But the whole thing kind of has me stuck watching the weather radar. Thus far, even the massive storms moving in from southern California are blowing east/northeast past Tucson.

Now I’m about 50 miles east of Tucson, and south. The pueblocito (where we like to camp) is around 150 miles east and slightly north of Tucson. To this point both I and the pueblocito have been dry as a bone.

I don’t like regrets. I don’t mind at all regretting something I’ve done. That’s just life. But I absolutely hate regretting NOT attempting something I wanted to do. So from here on out, when I want to do something, I’m just going to do it. Rain is just water. Toss in a bar of soap, it becomes an opportunity. See what I mean?

Topic: Being Unstuck in Time

Dean Wesley Smith mentioned in his post yesterday that the experienced novelist is “unstuck in time” in his novel.

That is true.

He then went on to talk about cycling and how he does that specifically. I garnered some gems from that part of his post.

But he never mentioned writing what’s there to write.

In at least three novels recently (and in the current one) part of my cycling included moving whole scenes or chapters from one part of the book to another.

That’s because when I write, I write what’s in front of me at the time. I write what’s there to write.

When I reach the end of a chapter or scene, almost immediately a character and/or situation comes to mind, and I keep writing.

Sometime it’s a different character in a different scene, maybe even halfway around the world or on another planet, but in the same time frame. And I write it.

Sometimes it’s the same character “jumping ahead” to the next significant event in which that character is taking part. And I write it.

Sometimes it’s a character who hasn’t appeared for awhile who tugs on my sleeve and says, “Hey Harv, look what I did back here.” And I write it.

Almost every time I sit down to write, I cycle back around a thousand words or so and read through, allowing myself to touch it here and there, as I mentioned a few days ago.

But as part of that, sometimes it suddenly becomes clear to me that scene or event belongs in a different place in the WIP. So I move it.

Then I go back to the white page. A character and/or situation comes to mind, and I write whatever there is to write.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out early for a change at 2. However, I did little other than play games, watch the weather radar and write the stuff above. To the hovel for awhile at 6:20.

Checked Dean’s site while I was thinking of it, wrote “Of Interest” below, then went up to the house to get the camera. Now to the novel at 6:50.

8:20, to the house for a break. Ah, and a few chores and a trip to the post office.

9:30, back to the novel. 10:30 to the house for a break and a quick lunch. 10:50, back to the novel.

Two good writing sessions. I also did some cycling today, and some smoothing out timelines. And of course, new writing.

Taking the rest of the day off at 11:50 to help around the house.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, some very good and enlightening comments and responses on yesterday’s post. Some had to do with what I talk about in my topic above. I found a real gem there in one of Dean’s responses. http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/you-can-learn-story-from-the-hg-network/#comments.

Fiction Words: 2231
Nonfiction Words: 700 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2931

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503
Day 19… 2648 words. Total words to date…… 57178
Day 20… 2231 words. Total words to date…… 59409

Total fiction words for the month……… 42174
Total fiction words for the year………… 134784
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11010
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 30700

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 165484

The Journal, Friday, 2/17

Hey Folks,

Wow. Long post today.

I pulled out my guitar (Martin HD-28) yesterday when the kid and I got back from town around 4:15. Pulled out a pick and showed my grandson how much I’ve forgotten. (grin)

No “Under the Double Eagle,” no “Wildwood Flower,” and no “House of the Rising Sun,” though I did manage to hack my way through a stiff, stuttering version of one instrumental piece called “Pipeline.” (I finally remembered the name as I was writing this.)

My fingers were just utterly unfamiliar with the fretboard and strings. Well duh. I honestly don’t remember the last time that poor Martin was out of its case. That’s how many years ago it’s been.

The strings themselves weren’t dead (I was amazed) but it took several chord strokes for them to wake up and stretch. I had to retune one string or another on the guitar probably ten times over the next half-hour.

My kitten, bless her heart, lay on the back of the couch and watched and listened impassively. She didn’t leave, so I take that as a positive. Impassivity is acceptance with a cat.

My grandson grinned a lot. A Lot. But the only thing he ever said was “Sounds good.” That happened about every five minutes, bless his fibbing little heart.

I used to be a songwriter. I managed to remember maybe three of my own songs, lyrics and music. Of probably 50 or 60 I wrote back in the day.

But I was able to hand him rough versions of Hawkshaw Hawkins, Hank Williams (the first one), Willie Nelson, BB King, Charlie Pride, Web Pierce, Carl Smith and a few others.

The session ended, quickly, when I saw my wife pulling in and suddenly remembered I hadn’t made supper yet. Oops. (grin)

I cheated. I slapped a pizza in the oven.

The experience harkened me back to a time when I and a few musically inclined USMC friends played regularly in the lounge of the Chilton in Yuma AZ for extra money.

I also remembered playing one time (ONE time) with another guitarist named Woody on a sheet of plywood laid over an 8-foot pool table in a tiny bar. That was a confusing experience. People threw beer bottles (but always empty, so they weren’t really angry) and applauded almost ever song. And danced. A lot.

I also remembered traveling with my bunch from Yuma to a small town in Colorado to do a gig where all the guy wanted was Hank Williams and Jim Reeves and then whatever else we wanted to play. And he wanted covers of those. Ever try to sing both of those with one voice? Great fun, though at the time I was petrified.

Covering Hank has never been a problem. Just remember to add an N or M before the right words (for timing) in his songs. Jim Reeves, not so much. Before my natural baritone went due south, it was more Don Williams than Jim Reeves.

So the night before the gig, I lay on the floor of the hotel room with a large speaker alongside each ear. My buddy put on a Reeves cassette and turned it up just louder than my voice so I could sing along and “smooth” my voice into matching that of Mr. Reeves.

It worked. Thank goodness the owner wanted Williams in one set and Reeves in another. I sucked on a lot of limes that night.

We did one side of a Mel Tillis album that night too. I forget the name of the album, but it has “Who’s Julie?” on the side we covered. And then for the fourth set we belted out a few of our own.

It was a great little bar band, and I’m glad I have these memories. Probably a few thousand people danced (and bought beer) to our presentation over the years. We made a good deal of money, too, but I really don’t remember anything about that.

But the passion wasn’t for the money. The passion was in writing and presenting the songs. With the covers, the passion was in arranging and presenting the songs. In my versions (as in Charlie Prides’s) Hank Williams’ songs have a lot of appropriate minor chords.

I didn’t rediscover my passion for guitar yesterday, but there’s a flicker. I hope to take it out a couple times a week. We’ll see.

Well, I’ve rambled on more than long enough. The intention when I started was to write a lead-in to a topic on not getting in a hurry with your writing. Or something.

But as I said, enough is too much. I’ll be back tomorrow or the next day with a topic. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:40. Wake-up stuff and writing the stuff above took up almost three hours. Finally to the novel around 10:30.

Around 11, rain is moving in so I’m headed for the grocery. Looks like it’s gonna be a light day of writing again.

Back from the store around and stuff put away and emails caught up around 2 p.m. Frankly, I haven’t written much at all today.

I’m calling it a non-writing day. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Normally, I would list this after Dean’s stuff, but it’s too important. If you’re one of the unfortunates who are still chasing agents and traditional publishers, take a gander at this. Seems censorship has moved from politically correct spoken speech to what you write. http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/books/ct-publishers-hiring-book-readers-to-flag-sensitivity-20170215-story.html. Just in case you didn’t know, I personally believe this is a massive pile of fresh, steamy, foul-smelling bovine excrement.

One really good comment on Protecting Choice at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/protecting-choice/#comments.

Check out You Can Learn Story from the HGTV Network at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/you-can-learn-story-from-the-hg-network/. Pretty good post that covers a lot of ground. Chock full of gems.

Fiction Words: NADA
Nonfiction Words: 1160 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1160

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503
Day 19… 2648 words. Total words to date…… 57178
Day 20… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 39943
Total fiction words for the year………… 132553
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10310
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 30000

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 162553

The Journal, Thursday, 2/16

Hey Folks,

Welcome to a couple of recent new subscribers. I hope you enjoy following along on this journey and that you take some nuggets from it that will help in your own writing. I won’t mention you by name because this is a secret society of very strange people. (grin)

* * *

That brough up a memory. While I was still in the Marine Corps and serving in C Battery of Second Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion, I had a particulary good group of guys. At one point, I had cards printed up and laminated. They read, “I am a member of Gunnery Sergeant Stanbrough’s platoon. Please excuse my strange behavior.” (grin)

* * *

Yesterday, I wrote a couple of new chapters and started a third. I stopped at a “normal” stopping point, which means the end of a scene. I did not stop at a “good” stopping point, which means a place that would naturally launch me into the story again.

Like the middle of a scene or even the middle of a sentence. I’ll probably post a topic about that again here before too long.

Anyway, stopping where I did is why I’m glad I keep a running reverse outline. (Each time I finish a chapter, I make a few notes in a Notepad document concerning who was involved, sometimes what they were wearing, and what happened in that chapter.)

When I return to the novel anew, instead of having to read back over the whole thing to get back into the flow, most of the time I only have to read back over the reverse outline.

Which characters have I not mentioned for awhile? Which ongoing situations do I need to address again? Which new locations do I need to describe as characters arrive at the location toward which they were going the last time they appeared?

Those and other considerations provide my springboard back into the novel.

On my reverse outline I also keep other stuff, but maybe I’ll do another topic on that soon as well.

Another relatively late rising today and another relatively slow start. I’m almost glad, given how the last couple of slow starts have ended for me.

In Dean’s post today he talks about valid reasons to delay writing. That caused me to wonder about what drives me to my writing.

Topic: What’s Your Incentive?

I’ve long needed a specific incentive to do anything, to strive toward any goal, to achieve any level of success.

I love telling stories. But that doesn’t provide me with the appropriate incentive to spend hours in the chair writing.

I’d also love to make a good living with sales of my fiction, but because I’m a realist, that doesn’t provide even the slightest impetus. The fact is, these things take time, and frankly, I’m an old guy. I have better things to do — like write — than check sales figures several times a day.

I also love it when people say nice things about my writing.

Of my very first novel, my very first reviewer said it was “a great story” and “one of the most tightly plotted novels” he’d ever read.

Woohoo! Score! Especially given that I wrote that novel in 20 days, just writing off into the dark. No plotting, no planning. The “plot” was a Bradbury Plot, the one the characters left as they ran through the story.

But what others think or say about my writing doesn’t provide either incentive or even validation because it’s all up to them and their own tastes. So it’s outside my control.

Different people need different incentives to write. I get that.

And the same people are affected by different incentives at different times of their life.

I can’t honestly say what my primary incentive might have been had I stumbled across Heinlein’s Rules and the Writing Off Into the Dark technique when I was 20. I like to think it would have remained the same.

That primary incentive is mortality.

For me, it’s all a big, wonderful game. How many stories can I tell before I check out of this particularly odd little hotel? Specifically, how many novels?

Since I effectively started writing fiction in 2014, for me to spend the “40 years in the business” that Dean often touts, I’d have to live, actively, until I’m 102.

Yeah, okay. Ain’t gonna happen. Family history, health issues over which I have zero control, yada yada yada plus my own impatience to see what comes after this period of craziness precludes any chance of that.

I just want to turn out as many good stories as I can.

And my secondary incentive? There’s nothing better for me than to be the First Person who gets to be entertained by the stories my characters tell.

It provides a sense of wonder. And although that sense of wonder doesn’t drive me to the keyboard (mortality does that), it makes me look forward to what will happen when I put my fingers on the keyboard.

Which I’m going to do right now.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30 and blew off much of the morning doing inconsequential things.

To the Hovel around 8. I wrote the topic above, cross posted it to the big site for sometime in June, then opened the novel by about 9.

Well, I allowed myself to be distracted. My kitten kept teasing along the east fence (around 200 feet away). I don’t want her out because of large dogs in the vicinity.

So I trekked back to the house and tried to set up a way to work there, at my outside desk in the yard.

I won’t go into all the details, but it didn’t work out. And after I’d tried for well over an hour to set up a feasible option, she sashayed back into the house for a nap.

So I closed the door to the house and packed all my stuff back out to the Adobe Hovel.

That was around 10:30. As of 11:30, I’ve written almost a thousand words on the day. Sigh. Back to it.

12, gotta run the kid (my grandson) into where he hopes to be working soon. Back in a bit.

1, back to the novel. Sort of.

Well, helping my grandson with his paperwork and then taking him back to town. For writing, a woefully inadequate day. However, the novel is progressing, so I’ll take it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Protecting Choice at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/protecting-choice/. I think I might be needing this one soon. I hope not, but I think so.

Fiction Words: 2648
Nonfiction Words: 1070 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3718

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503
Day 19… 2648 words. Total words to date…… 57178

Total fiction words for the month……… 39943
Total fiction words for the year………… 132553
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9150
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 28840

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 161393

The Journal, Wednesday, 2/15

Hey Folks,

Well, another slow start to the day. I slept too long. But if the writing day turns out as well as yesterday did, I’m all in.

I realized this morning I have all of my novels in BundleRabbit, but none of my short stories. Reckon I’ll add some of those as time allows. They can’t be included in bundles if they aren’t available. Duh.

But as always, writing new stuff takes precedence. If you haven’t checked out BundleRabbit yet, either as a reader or as a writer, there’s a link in the “Of Interest” section.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out just before 4 (again). Spent time with email and Facebook, spider solitaire, and then went to BundleRabbit.

In the Hovel at 8 and started cycling through the last chapter I wrote yesterday. I added a couple hundred words, then wrote a new chapter.

10 a.m., time for a break. 10:30, back to the novel.

Took a couple more short breaks with a couple good sessions in between. With a little over 3,000 words I’m headed for a longer break at 1 p.m. (breaking down some recyclables).

Got another good session for a good day. Getting to where I kind’a like these slow-start days. (grin)

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Nada that I could find. Except if you haven’t become involved with BundleRabbit yet, Chuck Hentzelman has improved it a lot. See https://bundlerabbit.com/.

Fiction Words: 4758
Nonfiction Words: 230 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4988

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503

Total fiction words for the month……… 37295
Total fiction words for the year………… 129905
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8080
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 27770

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 157675