The Journal, Friday, 6/16

Hey Folks,

I’m adding this note late: I’ve decided to serialize my novella, Jobs Like That, over on the Writing in Public website at http://hstanbrough.com. If you’d like to receive an email each time a new installment is posted, drop by there and sign up for a free subscription. This thing is heavy on detail and grounding the reader in the scene. For genres, it’s heavy on action-adventure with a considerable chunk of romance tossed in.

Wow. When I got up, I started almost immediately working on the Writing in Public website. I enjoy doing that. It’s kind of a hobby. Now if I can figure out the new subscription plugin.

Anyway, I got so wrapped up in doing that, I almost decided this would be a nonwriting day. That will happen before too long, but I’d like to finish the novel first.

***

Sometimes I think I’ll never learn.

Y’know all that guff about the story slowing down, me taking a wrong turn, all of that?

Nope.

I tried to continue the story past the natural ending. That’s all it was. More on that below.

I started cycling through today, just finishing off what I did yesterday, and the ending flashed through, crystal clear. It was as if the characters were lined up in the back of my mind, their hands on their hips, all of them frowing and mouthing, “What are you doing, Harvey? Stop it!”

And here I am with another finished novella. That and a reminder that every book writes differently.

Revising Goals

Another realization came over me this morning. It’s been a day of realizations.

I set a goal at the beginning of the year to write at least one novel per month and to write 15 on the year.

Today that slapped me in the face. Hard.

The thought actually crossed my mind that I should “expand” my current WIP, which finished itself today, so it would be a novel.

But I don’t like that. It adds pressure, and it’s unnecessary. Plus, it would lead me to force something on my characters and my storylines, and I just don’t want to do that.

So I’m revising my goal instead. In fact, I think I mentioned this awhile back, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I’m doing it now.

I will write at least one long work per month (novel or novella) and 15 on the year. What the hey? It’s my goal anyway, right?

Today, and Writing

Worked on the new Writing in Public website for awhile this morning (a few hours). Finally to the Hovel at 8 a.m. and to the novel around 8:30.

So my writing day was over early, at around 11. Then putting the water on the yard, etc.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The Magic Bakery: An Epilog” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-an-epilog/. And I do recommend checking back and reading the comments on recent earlier posts.

Just as a little addendum to my post a couple days ago on word usage, there’s “The Bell Tolls for ‘Whom’” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/06/the-bell-tolls-for-whom/. Such fun!

And one more, again via The Passive Voice: “There’s No Such Thing As A Self-Published Author.” Despite her foolish and faulty claim (“The term implies that a person can successfully publish a book all alone, and that’s simply not true.), the author then sets that aside with “Creating a digital book today is rarely done by one person all alone.”

Um, “rarely” is not the same as “never” and it isn’t the same as “can’t.” But if that weren’t enough, the author (Beth Bacon) then dismisses herself as a professional when she writes that “…we perpetuate the myth that one person can do it all by themselves.” I mean, wow. Anyway, you can read the whole thing at http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2017/theres-no-such-thing-as-a-self-published-author/.

Fiction Words: 1378
Nonfiction Words: 400 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1778

Writing of Jobs Like That (June novella)

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625
Day 7…… 3462 words. Total words to date…… 16087
Day 8…… 1113 words. Total words to date…… 17200
Day 9…… 1378 words. Total words to date…… 18578 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10850
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 100830
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 438787

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 568 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Thursday, 6/15

Hey Folks,

Well, there y’go. Half the month is almost gone already.

Kind of two topics in the post today. Read down through the “Today and Writing” section for some craziness.

Topic: More Thoughts on Challenges

I was telling someone a day or two back that any 30-day time period is still 30 days even if it doesn’t start on the first of a calendar month. Duh.

I’ve pretty much decided when I finish with the June novel, I’m going to start my story-per-day challenge again while posting each scene “in public” to my new Writing in Public website.

I hope to eventually add other writers with similar challenges into the mix. I’ll make the offer again when I find a plugin that will enable us to send subscribers an email update each time we post a new scene, vs. once a day.

In the meantime, if you have a website already and you want to start a challenge, you can do so right there. Just do it.

Especially if your website isn’t already cluttered with your past writings, lectures you’re offering and two blogs. (grin)

You could even post your updates “live” to Facebook, though I advise against it. What goes on Facebook is out there forever whether you like it or not. Putting it on my own website gives me the option of taking it down.

Today, and Writing

Started the day with coffee, email and Facebook, but then did some more work on the new Writing in Public website. I don’t want to start that yet anyway, but I want the site to be ready when I do.

To the Hovel, finally, around 10:30.

Well, I feel like the novel took a wrong turn somewhere. I’m listening to my creative subconscious, not my critical, conscious mind.

The little voice deep inside’s been nagging me over the past couple days of writing even as I wrote. That’s how I know it’s the creative subconscious.

I wrote some good stuff during that time (I think) but it went in a different direction, maybe into a different story, maybe even into a different genre. The current WIP is action-adventure, and this thing wandered off into romance or something.

Not like a romantic episode or twist, but like the story’s turning completely into a cute-meet, boy gets the girl sort of thing. Ugh. Fun enough to write, but not the same story.

Then again, this is not the typical girl who appears in a male-dominated action-adventure, so maybe she and the situation are supposed to be there. We’ll see.

So I started reading way back at the first word, allowing myself to touch the story as necessary, just very minor tweaks and corrections of inconsistencies. I have a feeling I’ll know when I hit the point where the story wandered off in the wrong direction. If it did.

Doing nothing but cycling I added around 1100 words by 2 p.m.

Then I moved up to the house and got distracted. Made some tea, fed a cat, responded to an excellent comment (see “Of Interest” below) etc. Finally back to the reading/cycling at 3.

Well, I didn’t finish the read-through today. I did learn that the part I thought I was going to cut doesn’t need to be cut. The woman involved just hasn’t shown me yet who she is.

I’ll start again tomorrow where I left off today. A little cycling and then (I hope) full steam ahead.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

For a wonderful surprise, see “The Magic Bakery: A Chapter in the Center” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-a-chapter-in-the-center/.

For fun, check the comment and my response on my previous Journal post at http://harveystanbrough.com/daily-journal/the-journal-wednesday-614/. (Thanks again, Elise!)

For more fun, visit The Passive Guy’s site at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/. Some great humor there. Specifically I’m thinking of “How a Witch Cured My Writerly Envy” and “My Partner Doesn’t Use Bookmarks….”

Fiction Words: 1113
Nonfiction Words: 650 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1763

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625
Day 7…… 3462 words. Total words to date…… 16087
Day 8…… 1113 words. Total words to date…… 17200

Total fiction words for the month……… 43672
Total fiction words for the year………… 336579
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10450
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 100430
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 437009

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 567 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Wednesday, 6/14

Hey Folks,

I keep feeling like I need to take a day to create covers and promo docs for the last nine short stories I wrote. Then I need to distribute them and ship them off to BundleRabbit.

I’m ever aware that each day I wait is a day that story isn’t able to accumulate sales.

Usually I do all that stuff as I go, often the same day I write the story. But in the frenzy that was my recent writing in public challenge, I let it slip.

And just my mindset, when I get in the mood to create covers, it will be better to do them all one after the other.

So soon I’ll do that. But not today. Today I get to “novel” for awhile. (See the topic below.)

***

In the midst of everything going on — or actually not going on — with Job Corps, I got a Facebook message early this morning with some bad news. One of my heroic uncles (lifelong forest ranger, firefighter and so much more) is fading.

Depending on various factors back there, soon I’ll take a couple days to go see him or to attend the funeral. Part of life and living, but so much of it gets to be a drag after awhile. I know I’m confiding in the choir here.

Topic: Please, Don’t Be Ignorant

Or at least don’t put your ignorance on display.

Ignorance is not a “bad” quality. It just means a lack of knowledge.

But if you choose to be a writer, shouldn’t you at least try to learn everything you can about the language and word usage?

It seems to me we’ve entered an age in which many of us would rather sound cool than illustrate that we aren’t ignorant.

I’m talking about creating nouns of verbs and verbs of nouns and other word-usage anomalies where there’s no reason to. Other than wanting to sound cool.

I don’t mind, really. But it’s still annoying. And disappointing.

When I read the work of a favorite author and see, in narrative, phrases like “should of” instead of “should have” or “should’ve,” it doesn’t completely destroy the reading experience. But it mars it.

When I hear that a writer “journals” when what she means is “writes” or “keeps a journal” or “makes entries in a journal” I want to hurl chunks. I know, I know, but bear with me.

When I hear that someone “journals,” I wonder why nobody “diaries.”

And why doesn’t anyone “novel” or “short story” or “flash fiction” or “poem”?

“I can’t go tonight,” she said. “It would interrupt my journaling.”

Yeah? Well, I can’t go either. It would interrupt my “short storying” and maybe even my “noveling.”

In “Of Interest” today I feature an article by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader.

In his article, he features an infographic that’s titled “The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Book.” Perfectly legitimate, that.

But in the title of the article he wrote to showcase the infographic, Nate saw fit to change “Book” to “Read,” as in “The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Read.”

Why?

The change doesn’t enhance the meaning of the title. It doesn’t make it more descriptive or more informative.

It only makes me wonder whether the author is actually ignorant, is trying too hard to be innovative, or is just lazy. (Lazy because “read” used as a noun is short for “reading experience,” which of course means “book.”)

I feel the same way when, in a work written for publication, I find “gift” used as a verb in place of the perfectly adequate “give” (or “gifted” for “gave” or “presented”).

And I feel the same way when I hear professionals use “likely” when they mean “probably.” Or when body parts are given human traits (“nose smelled” “legs raced” “eyes looked” “ears heard” etc.).

Contrary to what some folks believe, I don’t go around looking for instances where the writer’s ignorance is on display. I really don’t. Even when I edit.

I just read. Those instances of ignorance on display leap off the page at me and interrupt my reading.

And then I don’t buy anymore of that author’s work.

Food for thought.

Today, and Writing

Spent the first couple hours of the day playing with Facebook and then writing the stuff above. Cross-posted the topic to the ProWriters blog too.

Around 6:30, I went to the Hovel to “novel” for awhile. (This is fun.) As has become my habit in this book, I cycled back first, then wrote about 600 new words in a new chapter. Moving right along.

A good day of writing today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

See you then.

Of Interest

See “D2D Partners with Findaway Voices to Provide an Alternative to ACX Starting 7/18/2017” (More Freedom and Control Over Your Audiobooks) at https://draft2digital.com/blog/d2d-partners-with-findaway-voices-to-provide-an-alternative-to-acx-starting-7182017/. Sounds like a really good opportunity.

Take with a grain of salt “Q & A with Peter Stampfel, Submissions Editor of DAW Books” at http://themetropolitan.metrostate.edu/issue/2016/12/005/. (Thanks, Ann!)

See “Infographic: The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Read” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/13/infographic-ultimate-flowchart-finding-next-read/.

“Two Bundles With Two Novels” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/two-bundles-with-two-novels/. I have to admit, I’ve bought both of these bundles.

Fiction Words: 3462
Nonfiction Words: 870 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4332

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625
Day 7…… 3462 words. Total words to date…… 16087

Total fiction words for the month……… 42559
Total fiction words for the year………… 335466
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9800
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 99780
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 435246

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 566 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Tuesday, 6/13

Hey Folks,

Topic: Foiled, Sort Of, By Technology

Well, I called off the challenge I extended earlier re writing in public. Thus far I haven’t found a WordPress plug-in that will email multiple postings per day from a blog to subscribers. Much less from multiple feeds.

As my friend Robert pointed out awhile back, writing in public is still writing in public even if nobody’s being notified or watching.

And I very much enjoyed my abbreviated effort earlier this month, so I still plan to do it again soon. I’ll keep you posted in case any of you want to follow along.

(If DWS was doing this, I’d follow along avidly, if only to pick up tips on how to do it.)

Anyway, while I was looking for the aforementioned plug-in, I realized the few who signed up have their own websites as well.

From a marketing standpoint — and really, isn’t everything about marketing? — it would be better for them if they post on their own blog so any readers will already be on-site to buy their books.

I know that sounds fickle and maybe a little lazy, but the fewer times a reader has to click to buy your books, the more likely they are to buy.

I hope everybody who’s reading this will dive into a challenge of your own. And if any of you happen to find a plug-in that will do what I outlined above, please share the info.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30 this a.m., and probably this is the last time I’m going to mention it.

Most mornings I browse emails and Facebook while waking up with my morning coffee.

Today, like yesterday, was an exception. I worked a bit on the new website from the time I got up. About an hour into that process, I realized it wouldn’t work the way I’d hoped.

At that point I called time of death. I emailed the few participants to let them know and offer some advice, then moved on to other things.

Around 6 I headed out to get the lawnmower. Chores this morning. Cool! Took only an hour to mow front back and west yards.

Now I’m resting up a bit and working on the new website a bit. Just playing, really. Biding my time as we have an appointment around 9:30 and don’t want to start anything serious before then.

After Mona’s doc appointment (she’s better than good, healthy as a healthy horse) I hit WalMart, then bought gas, then a new gas can (the old one is severely cracked, which I found out just after I’d filled it), then home to write.

I was writing along fine from about noon, but then Job Corps called with yet more requirements. Back to hurry up and wait.

And I still have to go back to pick up Mona from work, so I’ll have a better writing day tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

“The Magic Bakery: Last Chapter” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-last-chapter/.

Fiction Words: 1631
Nonfiction Words: 510 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2141

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625

Total fiction words for the month……… 39097
Total fiction words for the year………… 332004
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8930
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98910
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 430914

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 565 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Monday, 6/12

Hey Folks,

Kind of a neat post over at Dean’s place today, about domain-name hoarding. I can relate.

I have domain names for all of my personas, some of my pseudonyms and some of my characters, like Wes Crowley. I have domain names for my own name, and also some for business names that I don’t want to risk losing. Go figure.

Just yesterday, as an afterthought, I looked up WritingInPublic.com.

Of course, it was already taken. It won’t make money for me anyway, so I didn’t bother finding out who owns it so I could make an offer to buy it.

But I suspect it’s Dean. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4 again. Started working on the new Writing in Public website and did that for the first 3+ hours.

Moved out to the Hovel around 8:30 and started on the novel. Some cycling back and a lot of new words. Around 10, up to the house for some iced tea.

Not a bad day of writing, but not great. Still, I’ll take it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

“Amazon Releases Word Doc Templates…” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/09/amazon-releases-word-doc-templates-making-better-pod-books/.

“Amazon Overhauls its Publishing Portal…” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/09/amazon-overhauls-publishing-portal-new-dashboard/.

Both of those are at The Digital Reader. If you don’t already subscribe, consider it at https://the-digital-reader.com/.

Dean’s “Domain Collecting” is interesting at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/domain-collecting/.

And just in case you’re interested, “Bob Dylan Rescues Literature From The Literary Set” at http://thefederalist.com/2017/06/12/bob-dylan-rescues-literature-literary-set/.

Fiction Words: 2825
Nonfiction Words: 240 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3065

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994

Total fiction words for the month……… 37466
Total fiction words for the year………… 330373
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8420
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98400
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 428773

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 564 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Sunday, 6/11

Hey Folks,

Wow. Already had a few writers sign up for the upcoming Writing in Public Challenge. I was pleasantly surprised. Excellent.

Once I get the site put together, I’ll send out an email with log-in specifics, etc. If you’re interested, I recommend emailing me fairly soon.

There’s still room if anyone else wants to jump in. Remember, how you structure your own challenge will be completely up to you. The only requirement is that you post things so readers can read.

I also had an email asking whether it’s all right to share the invitation with a writers’ group or critique group.

Sorry, but no. Everyone’s welcome to follow along. It’s “writing in public,” after all. But please don’t share the invitation to participate.

However, if you want to share the invitation with a friend who’s also avid regarding the craft (so a pro or wants to be a pro), that’s fine.

For example, DWS doesn’t subscribe to this Journal. But if he emailed me and wanted to post his own challenge from my site, of course I’d sign him up.

Anyone can set a goal and embark on a challenge of this kind at any time on their own, and I encourage them to do so. But I have to limit participation on the website.

A Thought on Writers’ Groups

First, a disclaimer: Whatever works for you is fine. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

My personal take on writers’ groups (critique groups, etc.) is this:

I would kill, maybe literally, to meet regularly with a group of other professional writers and aspirants.

In that sort of “group,” the attendees would strive to contribute new information on what works and doesn’t work for them in the business and-or craft of writing.

Those are extremely rare because most pro writers and serious aspirants would rather stay home and write. That’s why I follow sites like those of DWS and Kris Rusch and J Conrath and Kevin Tumlinson and Robert J. McCarter and others.

Then there’s the TYPICAL writers’ group, of which there are hundreds.

In those, would-be writers gather, maybe share a meal, and listen to a speaker present a program during which he or she spouts the same tired old clichés regarding writing.

Uhh, No.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out late at just before 4. That was annoying, because I was wide awake at 2:30, but opted to sleep-in. Time is so precious, and I just tossed half a handful of it overboard.

I wrote all the stuff above and listened to the podcast mentioned in “Of Interest” below. I hope to write sometime today, but it’s Sunday. Maybe a lazy Sunday.

Moved out to the Hovel at around 10. I started working on the novel again, and noticed there was another short story in it.

I copied and pasted the excerpt to a new file, wrote a new opening (398 words) and now I have a new stand-alone short story. I love when that happens.

During the interim, my son left, headed north again, and before that he lost a screw out of his glasses. I had some extras, so I fixed them for him.

Around 1 or so I moved back to the house to write a little more on the novel. But it’s definitely a lazy Sunday.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “A Couple of Fun Things” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-couple-of-fun-things/. If you don’t, you’ll miss a couple of important links. (grin)

Check Kevin Tumlinson’s site at http://kevintumlinson.com/. Check his Blog. Check his Podcasts. A lot of good stuff on his site. The segment with Dean begins at about 10 minutes into the WordsLinger podcast.

Fiction Words: 1933
Nonfiction Words: 600 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2533

Writing of “The Fight” (short story, derived from the novel)

Day 1…… 0398 words. Total words to date…… 2701 (done)

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169

Total fiction words for the month……… 34641
Total fiction words for the year………… 327548
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8180
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98160
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 425708

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 563 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Thursday, 5/18

Hey Folks,

Huh. Not sure why MailChimp didn’t send last night’s post. Still, any hard-core followers went to the main site to check it out. The post was there.

I put it up at around 5:15. And it was tagged appropriately (Daily Journal category) so MailChimp should have sent it out at 7. Here’s hoping it’ll go out today. I’m posting this at 4:41.

There was no topic in yesterday’s post. The only matter of any real importance (probably) was my admonition to read the comments on Dean’s “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Eight.”

Some great comments. You can find that at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-chapter-eight/#comments/.

I have to hit the grocery this morning. Probably I’ll do that early. When I get back and get things put away, I should be able to write as much as I want.

Had an interesting thing happen yesterday with the novel. Right in the middle of it (well, short of that at around 8000 words), I wrote a chapter/scene that would also make an excellent beginning for a short story. Hmmm.

Topic: Bad Writing Habits Come in Degrees

In the email update from The Digital Reader, Nate points to “Bad Writing Habits and How to Break Them” (http://writerunboxed.com/2017/05/04/bad-writing-habits-and-how-to-break-them/.)

I didn’t put this in Of Interest because, frankly, it’s sideways advice.

It isn’t really good advice, except on the largest possible scale: Yes, it’s better to avoid bad writing habits.

But when it comes to specifics, it’s misleading at best and can be downright harmful, as evidenced by how rapidly the comments on that post deteriorated into counting repeated words, etc.

The main “bad writing habit” the author (Anna Elliott) cites is “how many times my characters nodded in agreement to something.”

She goes on to say “probably 90 percent of those nods were entirely unnecessary [so] I cut them.”

Okay, so be on the lookout for bad habits. Good advice on the surface.

But I was annoyed by that “nodded in agreement” thing. If everytime a character nodded in her book she followed “nodded” with a prepositional phrase (in agreement, in acceptance, etc.) THAT might have been what was boring the audio guy to tears.

“He nodded” or “she nodded” or “character-name nodded” is a ton less intrusive than “he nodded in agreement.”

Folks, every time ANYONE nods, it’s “in agreement.”

I’ve seen writers write “he nodded yes” and “he shook his head no.” But the fact is, every time anyone nods, it means yes. Every time they shake their head, it means no.

I’ve also seen them write “he shrugged his shoulders” (what else is he gonna shrug?).

I’ve seen them write all sorts of other bodily motions and then double-down with an in-sentence explanation of why the character made that motion.

Silliness. “If you want to stop a bad writing habit, how about cutting out the unnecessary explanation?” he said, with a voice that sounded as if exasperation were dripping off his tongue because he was so annoyed with the question.

And in the course of the comments following the article, I foresee a whole group of writers “experimenting” with cutting out ALL instances of “nodded” and “shrugged.” And if those are gone, can “gestured” or “smiled” or “grinned” or “laughed” or “chuckled” be far behind?

The answer to all of this is simple, of course. If your character nods (shrugs, smiles, grins, giggles, gestures, etc.) in response to another character saying something, write “He (or John or she) nodded.” Then continue with his/her verbal response if there is one.

“He nodded” is a short, quick narrative that enables the reader to see an action from the character. And it isn’t “unnecessary” if, at that place in the scene, the character nodded.

Not to even mention it’s over in a blink. 99% of readers don’t even notice it.

“He nodded in agreement,” on the other hand, is plodding, ugly and repetitive. It needs major surgery, as in cutting away half of it.

But once you slash away the truly “unnecessary” part, your reader won’t be nodding off. (See what I did there?)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30.

Around 6 I headed for the store. When I got back, my wife met me outside. Seems my kitten had brought in a baby bird. It was a nestling, but with feathers and barely able to fly.

It was unharmed. I cuddled the little thing in my palm, took it to the back fence, gave it a good scolding and opened my hand. It just looked up at me.

I petted it with my index finger and said quietly, “Go on.” It flew to the ground about ten feet away. So a happy ending.

After all that I put away the stuff I bought, then visited Facebook while I ate a quick breakfast. Then I came here to write all this stuff.

Wow. Slow day so far. I sat down at the novel at around 10:30 but I just didn’t feel comfortable. Know what I mean? Uneasy for some reason.

I wrote a little, put the water on the yard and later moved it. Wrote some more, then did some other little stuff. Moved out to the Hovel with a cigar at around noon. I’m more comfortable out there. Kept pecking at the novel.

A little cycling but nothing major in that regard. Writing mostly brand new stuff, but at 1:30 (three hours after I started) only one new scene and a few touch-ups. A little over 1000 words.

Well, a good couple of hours, but I seem unable to break over a 3,000 word day. (grin) That’s okay. Novel’s coming along.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

For those of you who, like me, either missed or chose not to attend the Branding online workshop, see Business Musings: How To Build A Brand: The Early Stages at http://kriswrites.com/2017/05/17/business-musings-how-to-build-a-brand-the-early-stages-brandingdiscoverability/. I guess she’s going to do a series of these.

To catch up and read Kris’ first blog on branding, see http://kriswrites.com/2017/05/10/business-musings-types-of-brands-brandingdiscoverability/.

While we’re on the topic, check out Raoul Davis’ “7 Keys to Building a Successful Brand” at https://businesscollective.com/7-keys-to-building-a-successful-brand/.

And at Dean’s place, see “Too Much Other Stuff” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/too-much-other-stuff/.

Fiction Words: 2612
Nonfiction Words: 1020 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3632

Writing of A Fresh Kill (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 2751 words. Total words to date…… 2751
Day 2…… 2986 words. Total words to date…… 5737
Day 3…… 2961 words. Total words to date…… 8698
Day 4…… 2612 words. Total words to date…… 11310

Total fiction words for the month……… 26724
Total fiction words for the year………… 274318
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 84270

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 358588

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 540 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Wednesday, 5/10

Hey Folks,

Today I worked on various things around the house, mailed out two packages of books.

One was a collection, the full set of The Formalist, a twice-monthly poetry magazine, to my eldest granddaughter.

The Formalist was a very nice, perfect-bound journal that lasted ten or twelve years. I was fortunate to have some of my poetry appear in it alongside some big-name poets.

The other mailing was a full set of the Wes Crowley series. It will be auctioned off in a silent auction at my high school reunion next month. (Yeah, mailing that one was fun.)

If anyone out there is interested, you can now get the full set of the Wes Crowley novels in paper. But if you are interested, write me for details. The full set (in paper) if bought anywhere else would run you just under $150. If you get them direct from StoneThread Publishing, I provide a substantial discount.

***

Everybody has good days and bad days. I’ve had a string of the latter lately. I’m not complaining, just explaining. No worries. I’ll come out the other side.

Even Robert Heinlein himself said he’d broken his own rules several times. I just keep telling myself this is a transition month and it’s all right.

I added a little over 1700 words to The Storm today. But honestly, the thing just feels stalled.

Unless lightning strikes today or tonight, I’m going to set it aside and move on to something else.

In the meantime, I’m taking the rest of today off. Hoping all this life-roll stuff settles out soon.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30. Took care of all the stuff above, then started writing on The Storm at around 10:30. Why? Heinlein’s Rule #2.

In fact, I was so busy with all that other stuff that I didn’t even think to check Dean’s site or update this Journal until a break at around 12:30.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s, “Ticking Clocks,” on various offers that will expire soon. If you’re interested, take a look at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/ticking-clocks/. Otherwise, skip it. Not even a daily update today.

Fiction Words: 1735
Nonfiction Words: 360 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 360

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658
Day 5…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 13679
Day 6…… 1735 words. Total words to date…… 15414 (stalled)

Total fiction words for the month……… 15414
Total fiction words for the year………… 263008
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5360
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 80050

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 343058

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 532 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Tuesday, 5/9

Hey Folks,

Today should be the last day of settling into my office. I think the more difficult task will be getting used to writing in here. I almost look forward to winter, short as it is, so I can move my writing back to the Hovel. I put a lot of stuff through my writing ‘puter out there.

Speaking of the writing ‘puter, it’s back. (grin) I had nothing to lose so I plugged in an AC power (chosen at random from among three) and set it aside yesterday.

A little while ago, strictly out of curiosity I opened it and turned it on and voila! It’s back.

Topic: Epiphanies and Stuff

I set myself a personal challenge. For the month of June, I want to write a new short story every day. That’s tough enough.

But in addition to that, I want to write those stories truly “in public.” I want the public to be able to watch virtually as the stories grow, scene to scene.

To that end, in the original challenge, I was going to paste each scene to a Facebook page I set up just for that purpose.

Then a couple days ago, my conscious mind wheedled its way in and I lost control. I decided maybe it would be better to post the whole story (albeit still once a day) to the Facebook page.

I reasoned that (1) apparently there weren’t many folks all that interested and (2) those who were interested would still see the end product each day, follow my progress on the challenge, etc.

But then Robert J. Sadler, a dear friend in Texas, pointed out to me in an email that, frankly, I was chickening out. (grin)

And he was right. (Friends respect each other enough to tell each other the truth. In my world, that’s the main qualifier to earn the title.)

In part of his note to me, he wrote

“…I can understand if the prospect of no story-starved pedestrians standing outside the window seems a reasonable reason for not implementing your challenge.

“That said, you made a point that this was your challenge and not issued to anyone other than yourself. So with that perspective in mind, whether the tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it, the tree still falls. …

“So … if you wanna write-in-public, as you suggest, then knock yourself out… even if there is no public to witness it.”

Or as Yoda put it, “There is no try. Do or do not.”

And the epiphany?

Writing scenes has always been easy for me. Scenes pop into my head all the time, complete with characters, setting, dialogue and so on. So I can write scenes all day.

But with my conscious mind creeping in as I thought about the challenge, I allowed myself to “hope” the scenes would connect well and the characters would lead me through to the end.

And that’s what I was doing wrong without realizing it. That whole “hope” thing.

Once I replaced “hope” with “trust” (thanks to my friend’s email), everything else fell into place.

So the challenge is back on, in its original form.

Beginning on June 1, I will write one short story per day for the month. Each time I finish a scene, I’ll paste it “live” to Facebook so whoever wants to can see it.

But my friend was right. It’s my challenge. I’m not challenging others to do something similar, though if they do, it’s all right by me. I’m not even challenging others to watch. I’m challenging myself to give others something to watch.

If they watch and enjoy, wonderful. If they don’t, it will still be one hell of an experience. (grin)

If you want to follow along on that madness, visit https://www.facebook.com/HarveyStanbroughWritingInPublic/. Some preliminary stuff is already there. The challenge begins on 1 June.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little before 4 a.m. Did little the first few hours. Went to the grocery early, around 8, to get that out of the way.

Back here I did some household chores and basically wasted the morning. Along the way I wrote this stuff and cross-posted a version of the topic to the big blog. It will post there next Tuesday.

I also read over most of The Storm and touched it a bit here and there, but I’m not counting today as a writing day.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you enjoy great photography and great fiction, stop by Robert J. Sadler’s website at http://robertjsadler.com/ and browse. You won’t be disappointed.

See “The Elements of Style: ’50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice'” at http://boingboing.net/2017/05/08/the-elements-of-style-50-ye.html.

See “How to determine your price point when self-publishing” at http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2017/04/how-to-determine-your-price-point-when.html.

At Dean’s place, “No Writing Tonight” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/no-writing-tonight/. Not particularly helpful, except to me at the moment after the last few days. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 790 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 790

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658
Day 5…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 13679
Day 6…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 13679
Total fiction words for the year………… 261273
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5000
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 79690

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 340963

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 531 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Thursday, 5/4

Hey Folks,

Hey, happy Cinco de Mayo if that’s your thing. Otherwise not a lot to post here today.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out just before 4 a.m. Finally to the Hovel around 7:30. But back to the house to set water, then to order cigars, etc. Finally back to the Hovel and the novel at 9:40.

Again, I played in the world of the novel off and on much of the day. Just over 3000 words, so I’ll take it. I really need to pick up steam on this one though.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

First up this morning, “Ebooks are not in crisis” at http://selfpublishingadvice.org/self-publishing-news-ebooks-are-not-in-crisis/. From the article “…disinformation has breached the indie walls – and that means it could be doing real damage to people’s writing plans.” Also, I urge you to check out this site beyond just what’s posted here.

At Dean’s, “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Seven.” See http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-chapter-seven/.

Fiction Words: 3172
Nonfiction Words: 150 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3322

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658

Total fiction words for the month……… 12658
Total fiction words for the year………… 260252
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2490
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 77180

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 337432

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 526 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167