The Journal, Saturday, 4/22

Hey Folks,

I spent much of the early morning watching and listening to DWS’ “Lester Dent Master Plot Formula.”

Wow. It was as informative as I hoped (and more so) and chock full of gems. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to get it through the StoryBundle offer I mentioned yesterday.

If you didn’t, and in case you’re interested, here’s the link again: https://storybundle.com/writing.

Again, you get nine books on the craft or business of writing PLUS the DWS lecture as well as a couple of coupons for $$-off on some products that some writers swear by.

***

If you’re thinking of taking Dean up on his “first reader” challenge, take time to read “One Added Note” in “Story Twenty-One” in Of Interest below. His offer just keeps getting better.

Also, his “Point of Interest” in the same post kind of tickled me from a personal stanpoint. You’ll see why.

***

It’s Saturday, so I’m not sure what the day will hold. Our time with Bryan is growing short, so I’m leaving myself (and my priorities) more open to doing things with family on weekends. So we’ll see.

I’m gonna give a little more thought to the challenge I mentioned yesterday before I post it here.

Yesterday also, I happened upon the idea for my next novel. I’ll be returning to the world of Wes Crowley for an 11th novel (my 28th overall).

Topic: What Is Possible

A bit of history. When I wrote my first-ever novel, Leaving Amarillo, I thought it would be a one-off.

But it needed a sequel. So I wrote Longing for Mexico. Then I wrote South to Mexico. I thought that was the last novel in a three-book series.

Then I wrote a novella and another novel in a different world.

But Wes tugged on my sleeve, wanting me to tell more of his story that happened before “Leaving Amarillo.” He also wanted me to talk about what he did in Mexico once he got there.

So I wrote three prequels (so novels 1, 2, and 3 in the eventual series) and then two sequels (so novels 7 and 8) in the series. Again, I thought I was finished.

After that I wrote an SF novel, and then book 9 of the Wes Crowley series. And I thought that was absolutely the end of the Crowley series. No more. End of story.

So I wrote a thriller. Then I wrote a mystery novel, then another SF novel, and then a war novel.

Then I wrote novel 10 of the Crowley series. Again, I was certain it ended the story. Absolutely certain. (grin)

Let’s pause for just a moment to think about that. A 10-novel series plus several short stories in that same world came from what I thought was going to be a one-off novel. Go figure.

Then, with the Crowley stuff finally behind me, I wrote a contemporary western thriller (though it did feature a descendent of Wes Crowley), then another SF novel and then a sweeping SF thriller about a superbug that made its way to Earth.

Then another feel-good, they-came-here SF novel, then a future-earth SF novella, and then the sequel to an earlier SF novel.

After that I wrote one more SF novel that takes place off the planet (and begs for a sequel) before dipping my pen into my two latest novels. Those and my WIP are pulp-detective-fiction-action-adventure-mystery-thrillers (grin).

And when I finish the current WIP, I’m looking forward to writing novel 11 of the Crowley series.

Only I’m no longer gonna try to foretell the future and say this will be the last one. ‘Cause after all, what do I know? (grin)

Oh, and for those of you who are relatively new to this Journal, all of that (and over 100 short stories) were since October 19, 2014. So almost exactly two and a half years.

Anyway, that’s what’s possible when you just follow Heinlein’s Rules. You can get a free, clean copy by clicking http://harveystanbrough.com/heinleins-business-habits-for-writers/. (If

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30. Spent the first few hours writing the stuff above, then playing around. That included email, FB and DWS vids. Then to Dean’s site and the places it led me.

After breakfast, to the Hovel and the novel at 9:30.

I got a good start, then walked down to the house for a break with family at around 10:20.

Around 11 my wife and I took a quick walk out back, then grabbed some lunch. Back to the novel around 12:30.

With around 1500 words, another break at 1:30. Back to the novel at 1:50.

Well, a lot of cycling today, so another slow day on the story. I think this one’s gonna wrap as a novella. I can’t be sure just yet.

I hope it’ll wrap tomorrow or the next day. I guess we’ll see.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Story Twenty-One” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-twenty-one/. An interesting read that pulls him back into the realm of us “beginners.”

Dean also links to “Nifty Resource for Covers” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/nifty-resource-for-covers/.

For more information, you can go directly to The Digital Reader at http://the-digital-reader.com/2017/04/21/14-sites-making-spectacular-book-cover/. You can also sign up for their newsletter to receive “the latest news on ebooks and digital publishing.”

I also ran across this: https://designschool.canva.com/how-to-design-book-covers/.

Enjoy!

Fiction Words: 2149
Nonfiction Words: 880 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3029

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… 2201 words. Total words to date…… 7582
Day 5…… 2579 words. Total words to date…… 10161
Day 6…… 1344 words. Total words to date…… 11505
Day 7…… 2513 words. Total words to date…… 14018
Day 8…… 2149 words. Total words to date…… 16167

Total fiction words for the month……… 28076
Total fiction words for the year………… 236632
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12940
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 702800

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 306912

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 514 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels
Total novels to date (since Oct 19, 2014)… 26 (includes 2 novellas)

The Journal, Friday, 4/21

Hey Folks,

Well, in the midst of writing the topic below, I came up with a new challenge for myself. I’ll announce it in the next couple of days.

There’s an exciting new writing bundle out from StoryBundle. I bought it first thing this morning. To check it out, visit https://storybundle.com/writing.

I strongly recommend you drop $15 and buy this bundle. Even if only so you can get DWS’ lecture on Lester Dent’s Master Plot Formula lecture (a $50 value).

For one thing you’ll get a ton of great information on structure. For a second, as I’ve said many times, DWS inadvertently lets slip a LOT of gems in his lectures. Oh, and there are some good books in this bundle too. (grin)

Speaking of gems, I happened across these “20 Writing Tips from Fiction Authors” at
http://www.iuniverse.com/Resources/Writing-Editing/20WritingTipsfrom12FictionAuthors.aspx.

My recommendation (as always) is that you take to heart what feels right to you and ignore the rest.

Topic: Shut Up, Conscious Mind!

I’m writing this stuff in the spirit of honesty and up-frontnicity, right? So I have to tell you, for a little while today I thought this story, my WIP, was grinding to a halt.

And even with all my practice, I didn’t recognize the problem for awhile.

The other day I thought I knew how the rest of the story was going to go. So that made it boring to me. I almost shelved it then.

And then for the past couple of days, it’s been like pulling teeth. I mean think about it. I went to the store rather than write. I mowed part of the yard rather than write.

But then a little while ago, a friend sent me half a boatload of Ko-Fi through my new account. (Thanks!)

That caused me to get on my hotspot (I’m in the Hovel) so I could thank him.

While I was there (natch) I checked email and then Facebook. Occasionally on FB I mention how the writing’s going. (That’s pretty much the sum total of “marketing” that I do.)

And while I was on FB, I saw a couple places where I noted how much fun it is to just tell a story.

And that’s when it hit me. With this novel, at least over the past few days, I wasn’t just telling a story. I wasn’t playing. I wasn’t having fun.

Instead, I was worrying about length. I was fretting over details in the setting. I was mentally haranguing myself (yes, haranguing!) about characters and situations and pretty much everything else.

The one thing I wasn’t doing was writing.

See, this thing I’m writing, this story, is supposed to be noir, detective, pulp-type stuff.

By the way, “pulp” is not synonymous with “bad.” If anything, it’s synonymous with “entertaining.”

So this is supposed to be a thrill ride. It’s supposed to be fun. More to the point, pulp is a work that’s strongly dependent on a single POV (detective or PI, perp, or victim).

In pulp story writing, the writer controls the pacing, whether slow or fast. (The slower parts make the faster parts seem even more intense.) That’s what makes it fun to write and that’s what makes it entertaining.

You absolutely can not “think” (conscious mind) your way through a pulp story. As we used to say in the Marine Corps, the gunny’s job (now the writer’s job) is to lay his ears back and attack in all directions. (grin)

So now that I checked in with myself, laid my craven soul bare and slapped my conscious mind around a bit, back to the novel. Or novella. Whatever it’s gonna be.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3. Coffee and foolishness for the first couple hours.

Over the next couple of hours, I checked Dean’s site and wrote a lot of this stuff. I also listened to the first few sessions of DWS’ lecture on LD’s Master Plot Formula, and then researched some stuff online that he mentioned. Some of those gems I talk about on here.

Then I remembered I have a novel or something to write and finish. (grin) It would be entirely too easy for me to take a day off and just read and learn. But I’ll make time for that after this WIP is finished.

7:10, to the Hovel. I opened the novel, looked at it for a moment and drew a blank. Usually that’s a sign that I took a wrong direction a short way back. I played a few games of spider solitaire.

Then around 8 I took a short walk to clear the cobwebs. Weird day. But it’s okay. I feel like this thing’s on the verge of breaking loose.

9:20 back to the Hovel and the novel.

11:40. Wow. I’ve done hardly anything on the novel. Then I realized I was trying to do too much. I was “thinking.” Ugh.

I stopped and wrote the topic above. Then I wrote about the challenge I’m considering. I’ll post that tomorrow or the next day.

12:30. Now that I got my head clear on what I’m supposed to be doing, back to it.

Calling it a day a little early today but a good day, considering.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

As you might expect, some very enlightening comments on Dean’s “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Five” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-chapter-five/.

He also has “Story Twenty” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-twenty/. And in case you’re one who skims, not a bad idea to read that whole post, at least through “STORY CHALLENGE… Get Me to Read 30 Short Stories.” Some gems there.

Finally, he also talks about a “Major New Writing Bundle” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/major-new-writing-bundle/. This one was curated by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and she also explains what’s in the bundle. You even get a WMG lecture.

As I mentioned above, I’ve already bought this one. Just in case you want it to, the purchase link is https://storybundle.com/writing.

Fiction Words: 2513
Nonfiction Words: 960 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3473

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… 2201 words. Total words to date…… 7582
Day 5…… 2579 words. Total words to date…… 10161
Day 6…… 1344 words. Total words to date…… 11505
Day 7…… 2513 words. Total words to date…… 14018

Total fiction words for the month……… 25927
Total fiction words for the year………… 234483
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12060
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 69400

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 303883

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 513 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Thursday, 4/20

Hey Folks,

Well, kind of a dismal showing today, but a showing none the less. (grin)

Listen, if any of these posts key your Share mode, please feel free to comment on your own “process” or techniques or day, etc. You never know what another reader might find of interest or even a gem.

Epiphanies are everywhere, and they depend on the reader’s perception, not the writer’s intention.

***

Interesting morning. After I wrote the topic (below) I was on my way to the Hovel to write.

Then I remembered there were things we need at the store. So I hooked a U-turn, went back to the house, added some stuff to the list. Then I went to the store.

Got back, put stuff away, and decided to finish mowing a few places on the yard. So I did that.

Then I was hungry, so I got breakfast.

Then, finally, I headed for the Hovel. I grinned all the way knowing now I’d get to play.

***

All things considered, I seem to be relaxing my way through this novel. It’s wonderful to feel that confident and comfortable, but already (less than 12,000 words in) I’ll be glad when this one’s finished so I can write the next one. Oh oh. (grin)

I think I’m tired of the world this one is set in. I already have the next one in the series started, too. But I think I’ll take a break from this world on the next one and write in a different genre, different world.

Topic: On Word Counts and Averages and Productivity

Scott Gordon lit my fuse on this topic in a comment on the 4/19/2017 edition of the Journal, so blame him. (grin)

Scott mentioned that he feels he needs a daily word count goal in order to attain his larger, longer-term goals.

Nothing wrong with that at all. As most of you know, I’ve done the same thing. In fact, I did it for most of the past three years.

Only recently did I discard the daily word count goal as a tool in my own arsenal. That action had two effects: the number of days I actually wrote decreased. But the average number of words on the days that I did write INcreased. Go figure.

But the daily word count goal can be useful.

If you want to write a particular number of words in a week or month or year, breaking that overall number into smaller segments (a daily goal) helps a great deal.

For me, the daily word count goal served its purpose. It provided a necessary catalyst to get me to where I am now as a writer. If you’re familiar with Maslow’s Heirarchy, I’ve attained self-actualization as a writer.

That doesn’t mean I’ve mastered the craft or anything like that. It means the act of writing, in and of itself, is of the utmost importance.

Even publishing what I write is second to that in importance. Everything else (promotions, reviews, sales, etc.) is third. A very distant third.

Just as an example, one of my own “big” goals used to be to hit 1,000,000 words of published fiction in a year.

But one day I realized (for me) that’s only a number. I routinely hit around 800,000 words of fiction per year anyway. Shrug. So for me, that goal lost its importance.

Still, I reiterate, using a daily word count goal is a great idea if it’s something you want or need to do to help you attain your writing goals.

But bear in mind, in this game the Average is what matters.

There are life rolls, emergencies, family time and other reasons for non-writing or little-writing days. And that’s fine. You’re human.

Most people think I’m prolific. Well, I’m not. Not when compared with the old pulp writers, many of whom far exceeded 1,000,000 words of published fiction per year. On manual, non-electric typewriters.

But I do pay attention to two particular averages.

One is the average number of words per calendar day. That’s to keep me humble.

The other is the average number of words per WRITING day. That’s to keep my spirits up. (grin)

So how’s that workin’ out for you, Harv? Well, let’s take a look.

Through yesterday, April 19 2017, I’ve written 230,626 words of publishable fiction.

Sounds like a lot, huh?

But if I didn’t write another word of fiction this year beginning today, my mean average for the year on December 31 would be only 631 words per day. (So about a half-hour of work per day.)

But let’s focus back down to reality.

Thus far (through April 19) there have been 109 days this year. Over that 109 calendar days, my average is only 2115 words per day. Given that my typical daily word count goal was 3,000 words per day, that isn’t good. (See? Humility is a good thing.)

However, among those 109 days I’ve had 37 nonwriting days. (Over a month of nonwriting days!)

So over the remaining 72 days (the actual writing days), my average is 3203 words per day.

(To put that in perspective, had I written 3203 words per day all 109 days thus far this year, my publishable fiction word count would be up to 349,127 words. Sigh.)

Now, having figured all of this out for this topic, what’s the take-away?

Well, that’s up to you.

For me personally, I’m determined to have more writing days and fewer nonwriting days.

See, for me the secret is no longer a daily word count goal. I know if I write I’ll average around 3,000 words per day.

Oh, and I also hate seeing “XXXX” in the “Fiction Words” section below. (grin)

So now I’m gonna go write.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3 and spent the first three hours or so writing this stuff and doing little else.

Around 7, I was on my way to write and a bunch of other stuff happened.

At 10, finally to the Hovel and the novel. Around 10:50, a break.

11:10, back to the novel.

Took a break around noon, almost an hour. (At that point, as it turns out, my day was pretty much over.) I posted some pics to FB, etc. and back to the novel around 1.

I wrote a little, then decided to take a walk in the desert out back with my grandson and my camera.

A really short day on the novel today. But somehow that’s okay.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Five” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-chapter-five/. Great stuff.

Then “Story Nineteen and Some Updates on Challenge” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-nineteen-and-some-updates-on-challenge/. Really wish I had the $600 for this, or that there were two online workshops I still wanted to take. (grin)

Also some good comments on Dean’s original post about the short story challenge: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/i-opened-my-mouth-so-here-is-how-it-could-work/.

And finally (at Dean’s), “Quick Update to Short Story Challenge” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/quick-update-to-short-story-challenge/.

Also via The Passive Voice, see “How a self-published author inspired by Stephen King knocked his idol from the top spot on Amazon” at http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/18/self-published-author-inspired-by-stephen-king-beats-idol-on-amazon.html.

Fiction Words: 1344
Nonfiction Words: 1130 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2474

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… 2201 words. Total words to date…… 7582
Day 5…… 2579 words. Total words to date…… 10161
Day 6…… 1344 words. Total words to date…… 11505

Total fiction words for the month……… 23414
Total fiction words for the year………… 231970
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11100
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 68440

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 300410

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 512 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Tuesday, 4/18

Hey Folks,

Well, yesterday I reported finishing a short story titled “Beats All.”

Yesterday early evening I read it aloud to my wife. At the end, I frowned. “This sounds like the beginning of a novel, doesn’t it?”

(I’ve long known and preached the value of reading aloud. Yet I’m still amazed at how valuable it really is.)

She said, “Yes. It ended, but it isn’t finished.”

Okay. Ugh. Now I have two novels going concurrently. And they’re in the same world and feature some of the same characters.

The Platinum Blond Perturbance will be the third Detective Galecki novel and it’s told from his POV.

Beats All features Galecki and another detective, but it’s told from the POV of a minor criminal.

Before you ask whether I can combine these, this is not a mix-and-match situation. Each of these recent novels have been first-person single-POV efforts, something I’m practicing.

I only jumped ahead to “finish” Beats All yesterday because I was certain it was going to be a short story.

I’ve already removed it from the lineup below (I clean up the Notepad version of this Journal as my last act of business each day) so I won’t add it back until I start writing it again.

I still think it works as a short story. Sometime today I’ll put together a cover for it and get it out to donors.

Then it’s back to The Platinum Blond Perturbance.

Topic: The Differences Between Amateurs and Professionals

Really, this isn’t a topic so much as a tease. To read the whole post (it isn’t mine), please visit https://medium.com/the-mission/the-7-differences-between-professionals-and-amateurs-f8efc4840861.

Here are the highlights:

1. Amateurs wait for clarity. Pros take action.

2. Amateurs want to arrive. Pros want to get better.

3. Amateurs practice as much as they have to. Pros never stop.

4. Amateurs leap for their dreams. Pros build a bridge.

5. Amateurs fear failure. Pros crave it.

6. Amateurs build a skill. Pros build a portfolio.

7. Amateurs want to be noticed. Pros want to be remembered.

A lot of gems to be mined in Jeff Goins’ article. I hope you’ll visit.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little after 2. Routine stuff for the first hour or so, then wrote much of what’s above this.

At 4 I decided to get the admin stuff out of the way. I created a cover for “Beats All You Ever Saw,” then formatted and uploaded it to D2D and Amazon.

Finally I posted it to the Free Story page on my website, then emailed the .mobi copy to my donors. All of that took about an hour and a half.

Around 6:30 I signed up for a free Ko-Fi account. It’s yet one more place where visitors to the site can make a donation or “Buy Me A Coffee” if they want. For an example, see my page at https://ko-fi.com/A37113T2.

Finally around 9 I started cycling through the novel, getting it back into my head. I’m not worrying about word count today. I just want to get back into it and see where it goes from there.

Well, I’ll call this a good day, despite writing just over 2000 new words on the day. I guess I’m easing back into this one, but I’m still having a blast.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

From yesterday, via The Passive Voice, “The 7 Differences Between Professionals and Amateurs” at https://medium.com/the-mission/the-7-differences-between-professionals-and-amateurs-f8efc4840861.

Want to give folks a chance to buy you a coffee? Get your free Ko-Fi account at https://ko-fi.com/. (Thanks to Scott Gordon. See his site at http://segordon.blogspot.com.)

At Dean’s, “Story Seventeen” http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-seventeen/.

Fiction Words: 2201
Nonfiction Words: 610 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2811

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… 2201 words. Total words to date…… 7582

Total fiction words for the month……… 19491
Total fiction words for the year………… 228047
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9510
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 66850

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 294897

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 511 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Monday, 4/17

Hey Folks,

All right. Fourteen days left in the month, inclusive. If I’m gonna meet my monthly goal of writing at least one novel per month and my annual goal of writing at least 15 on the year, I have to get hot. (grin)

By the way, that “get hot” thing isn’t pressure. For me, it’s a realizaton and good news.

And writing a short story or two along the way wouldn’t kill me either. (Donors, they’re coming.) Man, I just wanna play.

* * *

I’ve been screwing around each morning for awhile now, just kind of hanging around the house, not going to “work” in the Hovel until daylight (around 6:30).

I kind’a have to do that because I let the other babies out at 5. Afterward, they want to go outside, and I don’t allow them out while it’s still dark without me being at my outside desk near the house.

This morning I thought about heading out early. But instead, I think I’ll try writing fiction on my business computer. Then when I’m ready to go to the Hovel (after sunrise) I’ll put what I’ve done on a flash drive and carry it out there.

Probaby I’ll start that tomorrow morning. As I write this, I’ve already been up for three hours and the sky is growing light.

Either way, I’m hoping this will be a great day of writing.

At this point I don’t even really care what I write. I only care THAT I write. Being away from it for even a few days is driving me nuts. And yeah, that’s a pretty short drive for me.

Topic: A Bit More on Goals, and Elephants

On Dean’s post from yesterday (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-fifteen-halfway-through-the-challenge/), another commenter (Mike Lawrence) asked DWS whether he was writing his current short stories “in public.” In other words, is there someplace he can go to view them now.

He isn’t. He’s writing them to compile a “month of April” story collection as well as to fill the pages of Smith’s Monthly, his magazine.

I responded to the comment as well with a lesson I learned back when I was writing a short story every week. My streak reached 70 weeks before I broke it, pretty much intentionally.

With the advantage of hindsight, though, I’ve come to understand that I broke my own streak (again, intentionally) because of pressure I put on myself.

Because I was posting those stories “live” in the same week I wrote them, eventually the pressure of having to post one every week ate my goal and the streak.

In other words, posting a new story every week became more important to me than just writing the story in the first place.

So it wasn’t fun anymore. The pressure of “having” to post a story each week sucked all the fun out of writing them. And that is what killed the streak.

As I wrote in my comment

I tried later to “restart” another one-a-week story [streak], but it never got off the ground because I couldn’t shake the elephant out of my head. I was writing [the stories] one at a time, but I could never shake the sense that I had to do that for at least 71 weeks to surpass what I’d already done.

So again, no fun. All pressure. And what I hoped would be a new streak never got off the ground.

So consider this topic a cautionary tip.

The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. If you look up and realize you’re trying to eat the whole elephant, eating it suddenly becomes an impossibiliity.

Setting an overall (large) goal that you can attain if you reach is a great practice.

But it’s important that you break that overall goal into smaller goals that are still attainable within tighter timelines.

Meeting those smaller goals creates the streak (an accomplishment), which in turn feeds your self-esteem and the larger, overall goal.

But don’t pressure yourself with something silly like I did.

Or look at it like this:

Letting someone into your story (short or long) will often kill the story.

For that reason, I never let anyone into my work before it’s finished.

But by posting a story a week “live,” I was allowing those who subscribed to my Free Story of the Week into my streak without realizing it. And so it died.

As I also mentioned in my comment on DWS’ site, I probably will attempt to write one short story per day for a month some time.

But when I do, I’ll publish them individually and in collections (six 5-story, three 10-story, and one 30- or 31-story). I probably will “leak” some of them to my donors, but I definitely won’t write them “in public.”

I won’t risk it.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 2 again, but I sacked out a little early last night. It’s all good.

I read newsletters, wrote the stuff above and in “Of Interest,” and played on FB to start the day.

Well, a little under 3000 words on the day, but it was still a great day. I finished a short story and wrote some extremely terse scenes. Total score!

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Story Sixteen and Still Going” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-sixteen-and-still-going/.

If you’re interested in the Strengths Workshops, they’re all up and he’s offering a special deal: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/strengths-workshops-available/.

If you enjoy great Cajun humor, check out https://www.facebook.com/LelandAndBo/videos/239439739744449/.

Fiction Words: 2977
Nonfiction Words: 890 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3867

Writing of “Beats All” (short story)

Day 1…… 1743 words. Total words to date…… 1743
Day 2…… 2977 words. Total words to date…… 4720 (done)

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… 1864 words. Total words to date…… 3245
Day 3…… 2136 words. Total words to date…… 5381
Day 4…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 17290
Total fiction words for the year………… 225846
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8900
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 66240

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 292086

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 510 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Saturday, 4/8

Hey Folks,

Yesterday turned out to be productive, albeit not with actual writing.

I did create a cover and a promo doc and get the new book up in all major e-venues.

But this morning, something was bugging me about that cover. It just didn’t pop off the page.

So I revised it. Now it reflects “noir” better and it pops off the page. That’s it on the left over there.

Topic: Thoughts on Novel Two-Fers

So I’m thinking I want to put the last two novels (both pulp fiction detective noir mysteries) in a “boxed set” in ebook.

But I’m also thinking of doing the same thing, sort of, in print.

But why only two? I mean, I can easily turn out two of these masterpieces per month (grin), so why not wait until I have three or more to put in a boxed set?

Well, does anyone out there remember the old pulp novel two-fers?

You buy one physical book, but it has two front covers, one on each side, and the covers are upside down from each other.

You open one cover to read one novel, then flip the book over and open the other cover to read the other novel. (grin)

It was charming, to say the least. And the idea of it is intriguing to me.

I’ve already been in touch with Kat at Cover to Upload to see whether she has any ideas and whether the project interests her.

I really doubt I’ll be able to replicate the old pulp two-fer construction. But I’m looking for a way to do something that’s at least similar.

Oh, and let’s toss in another challenge while we’re at it. I’m kind of a stickler for having my ebook and print book covers look the same.

Of course, you can’t flip an ebook over, so….

Hmm. Maybe a new cover with both the other covers on it, only sideways with the top of the original covers at the spine.

I don’t know.

I’ll keep you posted.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little before 4 after a rough night with my stomach. Ugh.

After briefly playing with email and FB, I updated pages on my website and my publisher website to reflect the new book. If you wanna read about it, here’s the 411: http://stonethreadpublishing.com/the-pyramid-killer/.

Around 7 my wife and I went for a short walk (about a mile). Then back to breakfast and writing.

Good short walk, then a trip to Sierra Vista (about 45 miles) for two new tires for my Tacoma.

Lunch in Sierra Vista and ate too much (burgers and fries, and if you know me, nomnomnom).

Out to the Hovel around 2:20 to see if it’ll still have me. (grin)

Around 3 I started a new novel. Woohoo! As my buddy Dan says, I am in hebben. Like the previous two, this one features Detective Lou Galecki. He’s a Polack, but he has a Brooklyn accent and an Italian partner, so it’s all right.

A great hour. I’ll hope to write more on this one tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, “Two More Stories in Two Days” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/two-more-stories-in-two-days/.

Fiction Words: 1381
Nonfiction Words: 490 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1871

Writing of The Platinum Blond Perturbance

Day 1…… 1381 words. Total words to date…… 1381
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 8750
Total fiction words for the year………… 217126
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3480
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 60820

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 277946

The Journal, Tuesday, 4/4

Hey Folks,

Probably not a lot to report today. Just writing.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4. I’d really rather get up around 3. Only I think my body’s adjusting to the coming earlier sunrises.

Spent the first few hours working on a website for a friend and resizing covers for another. The website took awhile as it’s still in the old Thesis theme.

Thesis was state-of-the-art a few years ago, and mostly code. I’ve forgotten a lot of that, so a ten-minute job took close to two hours. Ugh.

Finally to the Hovel around 7:30, then back to the house to check on Dean’s stuff, then back out here around 7:50. At 8, after a sputtering start, finally to the novel.

Finished cycling in the first hour (about 300 words), then went to the grocery. That plus lunch took until almost noon. So back to the novel at noon.

By 3 p.m. (including breaks) I had a little over 2500 words and the climax and end were in sight. I hate when that happens. When I know how, where and when it’s gonna end, it becomes like pulling teeth with pliers to get there.

Partly that’s because I’m bored and I want to finish the thing, and partly it’s because I slow down to make sure the ending isn’t “thin,” lacking in depth of sensory detail. The final climax is no place to lose your reader. Ugh.

Then you get into the flow of it and it rushes out. GAWD I love being a writer! (grin)

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Three” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-chapter-three/. OMG, look at the section on “Some Horror Stories…” and the case studies.

Scroll down farther for his daily reports “Second Story Finished” and “Third Story Finsihed….”

Fiction Words: 4194
Nonfiction Words: 290 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4484

Writing of The Pyramid Killer

Day 1…… 0978 words. Total words to date…… 978
Day 2…… 3630 words. Total words to date…… 4608
Day 3…… 3764 words. Total words to date…… 8372
Day 4…… 3826 words. Total words to date…… 12198
Day 5…… 2521 words. Total words to date…… 14719
Day 6…… 4109 words. Total words to date…… 18828
Day 7…… 5401 words. Total words to date…… 24229
Day 8…… 2995 words. Total words to date…… 27224
Day 9…… 4194 words. Total words to date…… 31418 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 7189
Total fiction words for the year………… 215745
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1080
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 58420

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 274165

The Journal, Monday, 4/3

Hey Folks,

Huh. Guess we made it back. Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this.

I played catch up with some email and FB stuff last night, but was too tired to tackle photos from the trip. I’ll do that this morning, then ease my way back into writing The Pyramid Killer.

Of course, I’ll begin by cycling back through. Probably I’ll read the first few paragraphs of every chapter to reacquaint myself with the story.

Even when I left off on Thursday, I felt like it was only maybe 5 or 6 thousand words from the ending.

But the ending wasn’t quite it sight yet. Which is why I left it alone. I never want to risk forcing an ending. So as always, we’ll see.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4. Spent the first almost 5 hours with routine stuff plus checking pictures from the trip.

Finally to the Hovel at 8:40 and wrote some of the stuff above. To the novel at 8:50.

Not a bad day today for just getting back into it. The end is probably still a couple days away.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Great post in the Smashwords blog, “Fahrenheit 451 Meets April Fool” at http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/03/fahrenheit-451-meets-april-fools.html.

At Dean’s place, I hope you read the comments on “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Two” (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-chapter-two/comment-page-1/).

Dean’s also resumed reporting on his day and fired up a new challenge in “Starting Up… Here We Go…” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/starting-up-here-we-go/.

Fiction Words: 2995
Nonfiction Words: 250 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3245

Writing of The Pyramid Killer

Day 1…… 0978 words. Total words to date…… 978
Day 2…… 3630 words. Total words to date…… 4608
Day 3…… 3764 words. Total words to date…… 8372
Day 4…… 3826 words. Total words to date…… 12198
Day 5…… 2521 words. Total words to date…… 14719
Day 6…… 4109 words. Total words to date…… 18828
Day 7…… 5401 words. Total words to date…… 24229
Day 8…… 2995 words. Total words to date…… 27224

Total fiction words for the month……… 2995
Total fiction words for the year………… 211551
Total nonfiction words for the month… 790
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 58130

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 269681

The Journal, Thursday, 3/30

Hey Folks,

Well, planning, right? I have today left to finish the novel if I’m gonna finish it this month.

I was even thinking if I felt like the end was really close, I could take my computer with me. That way I’d have whatever’s left of tomorrow too after we travel to the campsite. You know, Justin Case.

But planning is important. And priorities.

Priorities are important.

Today I have to head to the grocery for a few provisions for the trip.

Today I have to pack my stuff, help Bryan pack his, and put together the extras (cots, sleeping bags, etc.).

Priorities. This trip is more important than one more time in the bush. Um, I mean camping.

So I’ll miss the challenge I set for myself this month.

I don’t want to risk hurrying the story along. I don’t want it to risk being something the characters don’t want it to be just to hit some silly artificial deadline I set for myself.

So I’ll finish it after I get back.

For the rest of the day, I’m not even gonna look at it or think about it. I’ll put up a few placeholder posts for tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.

I’ll probably come up with a few topics so they’re worth your while to read.

And then I’ll go enjoy watching my grandson’s eyes grow wide every time he looks in a different direction where we’re going. No computer. No story (at least on the screen).

And that’s good.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out around 3, did all the routine stuff by around 5:30 and jumped into the novel for some cycling. I moved around in the novel, specifically back to three places to plant clues the characters found later. (grin)

But no real writing to speak of.

Then I went to the store, then packed, then set the water on the yard (we don’t have a “lawn,” we have a yard) and came here to write most of the stuff above.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

The Magic Bakery: Chapter One (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-chapter-one/) Great post. In this one even the analogy works for me.

To anyone out there who spent time (or who had loved ones who spent time) on the ground in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos, today is the first-ever offical Vietnam Veterans Day. See https://townhall.com/notebook/erikahaas/2017/03/29/today-marks-the-firstever-national-vietnam-war-veterans-day-n2305939.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 350 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 350

Writing of The Pyramid Killer

Day 1…… 0978 words. Total words to date…… 978
Day 2…… 3630 words. Total words to date…… 4608
Day 3…… 3764 words. Total words to date…… 8372
Day 4…… 3826 words. Total words to date…… 12198
Day 5…… 2521 words. Total words to date…… 14719
Day 6…… 4109 words. Total words to date…… 18828
Day 7…… 5401 words. Total words to date…… 24229
Day 8…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 56690
Total fiction words for the year………… 208556
Total nonfiction words for the month… 20250
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 56840

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 265396

The Journal, Wednesday, 3/29

Hey Folks,

Well, yesterday the doc appointment took only all morning vs. all day. It went well. We got home around 2.

I did get back to the novel around 3. I cycled back through what I wrote a couple days ago then started a new scene. I added only around 200 words. Just wasn’t into it.

* * *

Something fun for you. Know why I write fiction? ‘Cause reality is entirely too weird. See http://thefederalist.com/2017/03/28/oregon-seeks-regulate-dangerous-preventable-cow-farts/.
If they’d saved this story for April 1, nobody would have believed it. I don’t want to believe it anyway.

* * *

Sometime in the past I mentioned Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. I focused on a post from her blog in “Of Interest” below.

Also there’s a free education in her podcasts and podcast transcripts. Check it out at http://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/. As always, use what works for you, makes sense to you, and discard the rest.

Of the 314 listed podcasts, I copied the URL for 14 transcripts and 17 podcasts into a Notepad document for future reference. Later, as I read (or listen) through them, I’ll glean what’s useful and toss what isn’t. Mining gems.

In case you didn’t know, you can save a URL without clicking on the link. Just right click. Then from the dropdown menu, click Copy Link Location. Then paste that into the document of your choice.

* * *

Today is my grandson’s 22nd birthday. As a special gift, he and I and my buddy Dan are going camping this weekend. We’re leaving Friday morning, so that cuts one more day off the novel. Sigh. But it’ll be worth it.

So I’ll either finish it today or tomorrow or I’ll finish it after I get back.

If I finish it on time, I will have written two novels in a month, one in 10 days and one in 7 or 8. (The bad side of that is it means I had 13 or 14 nonwriting days this month.)

If I finish it after I get back, I fail in my challenge to write two novels in a month (shrug). But I’ll still have two new novels and there are other months. (grin)

Either way, from this experience I’ve learned a couple of major things: One, that even with bad days, I write an average of 3500 words per day. Two, that writing two (or even three) novels in a month isn’t all that difficult.

When I try it again, I’ll do a bit of planning and deck-clearing first, though. Duh. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little before 4. Almost immediately I set about exploring the stuff from The Creative Penn (see above).

Finally out to the Hovel around 7:30. To the novel shortly thereafter.

An unremarkable day. I took a break about every hour, and a short walk (a mile) at around 11:30.

Well, I have a real shot of finishing this novel tomorrow, depending on how long it wants to run. A little over 5000 words today.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At The Creative Penn, Can Changing Your Book Covers Really Help You Sell More Books? http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/03/23/change-book-cover-sell-books/.

Also, browse the topics on her Podcasts page at http://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/.

Fiction Words: 5401
Nonfiction Words: 530 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 530

Writing of The Pyramid Killer

Day 1…… 0978 words. Total words to date…… 978
Day 2…… 3630 words. Total words to date…… 4608
Day 3…… 3764 words. Total words to date…… 8372
Day 4…… 3826 words. Total words to date…… 12198
Day 5…… 2521 words. Total words to date…… 14719
Day 6…… 4109 words. Total words to date…… 18828
Day 7…… 5401 words. Total words to date…… 24229

Total fiction words for the month……… 56690
Total fiction words for the year………… 208556
Total nonfiction words for the month… 19900
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 56490

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 265046