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, Saturday, 6/10

Hey Folks,

Yesterday I outlined how “writing in public” positively affected my writing. This morning, I had an exciting idea.

You already know I’m preparing a website for my next Writing in Public challenge. It should be good to go before July rolls in.

Those who are interested in reading stories or novels as they develop will subscribe. Then each post will be emailed to them as it’s posted.

I’ve decided to open that challenge to a few other writers. Here’s the nutshell:

  • Basically, you can write whatever you like and post as often as you like.
  • You’ll have your own log-in information and complete control over your part of the site.
  • The parameters of your challenge are completely up to you.
  • The one requirement is that you write “in public.” (Duh. Otherwise it would defeat the purpose of the site.)

If any of you would like to participate, email me to let me know and we’ll work out the details: harveystanbrough@gmail.com.

***

I mentioned yesterday that Bryan’s back in wait and see mode with Job Corps. We hope to hear something on Monday.

Topic: Story Starters (and some ways to come up with them)

(Note: This is excerpted from a post I wrote yesterday as an article for a regional writers’ group publication and for the Pro Writers blog. But it won’t post over there until early 2018. I didn’t include this topic in today’s nonfiction word count.)

There are two ways to start a story: with a story starter or with a story idea. Those are not quite the same thing, though they can be.

What I call a “story starter” is a seed, period.

It might be a line of dialogue or narrative that pops into your head. It might be you asking yourself “What if?”

It might be a philosophical thought or a photograph or event and the feeling or thought it evokes.

It might also be a story IDEA, the skeleton for the opening of your story.

The story idea is simpler to define. It’s a character with a problem in a setting. (The problem doesn’t have to be “the” conflict problem of the story.)

The story idea, if it occurs to you whole, can also be a story starter.

But the sole purpose of both the story starter and the story idea is to get you to the keyboard.

Or put in a slightly different way, the sole purpose of both the story starter and the story idea is to cause you to sit down, right now, put your fingers on the keyboard, and start typing.

So how do you come up with story starters?

The typical professional fiction writer would say, “How do you not?” But here are some specific ways that have worked for me.

First, prepare.

Open a new blank document or flip open your notebook and pull out a pen. I use Notepad. Don’t worry about formatting. It isn’t important right now.

Keep that document open on part of your computer screen (or on your lap). Then, in any order,

Browse Photos

Begin looking at photos one at a time.

These can be photos you took, photos you acquired from a stock agency, public domain photos or even photos you see in magazines, on Facebook or wherever.

If you choose a “found” photo — one other than your own or other than those you acquired from a stock agency — you can’t use it for a cover. But you can use it for whatever thought it evokes in your mind. The thought, not the photo, will become part of the actual publication.

Look at the photo and write down the first line that springs to mind. It might be narrative or dialogue. It might be a philosophical thought. That’s a story starter.

If nothing comes to mind, don’t dwell. Set it aside and move on to the next one.

Events

Whether recalling a memory or witnessing a live event, write down the first line that springs to mind. That’s a story starter.

Other Stories and Articles

Read. If you’re a writer, chances are you read.
Often a line from another story or novel will grab me. And often that becomes the basis for my own story or novel. (No, this isn’t plagiarism.)

Sometimes too, comments in a nonfiction article or a description in a travel article will move something in me. And become the basis for a story or novel.

You get the idea. Just read. And keep your pen and paper handy.

Titles

Sometimes a title will pop into my head. I have zero idea what the story will be, but I know what it will be about. Maybe even the general direction it will take.

DWS has a voluminous collection of old stories and novels. From those he makes lists of “half-titles.” He writes the first half of a title on one list and the last half on another.

When he’s stuck for a story starter, he’ll browse the list of half-titles, crash two of them together to form a new title, and start writing.

Most of us don’t own a large collection. But you can still go to your local bookstore (or Amazon) and browse titles, right?

You can even lift whole titles if you want (I don’t recommend this), as long as they aren’t trademarked. Titles can’t be copyrighted individually.

That’s just a few ways to come up with story starters. Once you get in the habit of exercising your idea muscle, you’ll come up with many more on your own.

In short, if you want to write, you can write.

1. Get an idea.
2. Sit down with your fingers on the keyboard.
3. Write whatever comes. Don’t edit. Don’t “fix.” Don’t think. Just write.
4. DON’T intentionally write sloppy copy. That’s bad training.

It really is that easy and that difficult. If you haven’t tried this yet, you’ll be amazed at how much fun you’ll have.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out just before 2 a.m. My son drove down from Flagstaff. He got here just before I got up, and went to bed soon after.

I wrote on the novel for a little while, then got caught up in the day and visiting.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Dean has a pretty informative post over at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/writing-a-novel-in-five-days-while-traveling-turned-in/, especially if you missed his posts on the topic. (He links to them and the resulting novel.)

I posted a few pics of a big range fire (the Dragoon Fire) near here on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/harvey.stanbrough.

Fiction Words: 1204
Nonfiction Words: 310 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1514

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…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 32708
Total fiction words for the year………… 325615
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 97560
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 423175

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 562 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)……………………………… 175

The Journal, Thursday, 6/8

Hey Folks,

First, before I forget, awhile back the editor of a magazine in Mexico asked me to write a short story for her magazine.

I did and submitted it.

She loved it and asked permission to translate it. Of course, I said yes.

If you’re interested, here’s the link to the story in Spanish in the magazine EstePaís:

http://www.estepais.com/articulo.php?id=1057&t=ila-y-el-pinonero

I’d be happy to send a copy of the English original to anyone who wants it. Now, too, I can finally self-publish it. (grin)

A little personal stuff…

Well, my life roll is coming down to the end.

It will be a tense couple of days as we await some records from Indiana (supposedly mailed last week on Tuesday) and Roswell NM. Those will determine, in large part, my grandson’s future.

As an action-oriented kind of guy, I feel a little helpless when things are completely outside of my control. Especially when bureacrats are involved.

When I think of what set this excellent 22 year old boy on this path, and especially when I consider what kept him on this path — being prescribed drugs he didn’t need and those drugs creating the symptoms they were supposed to alleviate — I just wanna chew wheels and spit nails. In particular directions.

But as with all things in life, it simply is what it is and we’ll deal with it.

In the meantime, for now, we wait and hope Job Corps will happen for him.

Now to the escape of writing for awhile.

Topic: Day 8 of the Challenge

Overall, this challenge hasn’t been difficult at all. It hasn’t been easy — a challenge shouldn’t be easy — but it hasn’t been difficult either.

In fact, whether or not the life roll intervenes and ends the challenge prematurely, I will do this again, complete with the writing-in-public part.

The challenge thus far has been a matter of

1. Coming up with a story starter (for me that’s usually a line of descriptive or philosophical narrative or a line of dialogue);
2. dropping a character with a problem related to that line into a setting;
3. and writing. Oh, and every now and then,
4. telling my critical voice to sit down and shut up.

That fourth one is a matter of patience and persistence.

If a story beginning (opening) is boring me to death, I trash it and either move on to the next story starter (I’ve done that twice) or I start over.

More often, my critical voice tells me (on an opening that isn’t boring me) “this is not good” etc.

To overcome that, in every case, I remind myself that I won’t personally like every story I write. But that has no bearing on whether another reader will or won’t like it.

So I persist, follow it through to the end, and publish it.

And invariably, some reader pops up out of nowhere and tells me how wonderful is the story that I thought sucked canal water from all 50 states. (grin)

That’s some great validation and reinforcement for shutting out the critical voice. Just sayin’.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out just before 4. Spent the first hour-plus fully awake, sipping coffee and reading some great stuff, most of which I shared below in “Of Interest.”

Around 7 I sat down at my office desk and began writing.

Around 8:30 I moved to the Hovel.

With a couple of breaks, by 11 I had 2800 words on the story. No end in sight. (grin)

I wrote some more, then went to the PO to check for some records that were allegedly mailed from Indianapolis on May 30. Unfortunately, they still haven’t arrived.

Long talk with my wife and then my grandson. Around 2, finally back to the short story.

With everything going on, I forgot to post the new scenes after scene 2. I finished the story around 3.

Nothing on the novel again today.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Some very good comments at Dean’s http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-bunch-of-things/#comments.

Also see Robert J McCarter’s posts on his challenge at http://robertjmccarter.com/2017/05/sswm-introduction/.

I’ve also added Mr. McCarter’s category “Short Story Marathon” to Writers’ Resources on my site, or you can see it at http://robertjmccarter.com/category/story-marathon/.

See “10 Tools That Help Me Sell More Ebooks” at https://www.kseniaanske.com/blog/2017/6/4/10-tools-that-help-me-sell-more-books/.

Fiction Words: 4507
Nonfiction Words: 720 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 5227

Writing of “Adele and the Makers” (Story 8 for June)

Day 1…… 4507 words. Total words to date…… 4507 (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…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 31504
Total fiction words for the year………… 324411
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5560
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 95540
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 419951

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 560 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)……………………………… 175

The Journal, Tuesday, 6/6

Hey Folks,

Well, just last night I was saying I might as well stay up later and get up at a more normal time. The staying up later part isn’t that difficult, but the other is much easier said than done.

That’s all right.

Easing into the day today. As I write this it’s almost 9 and I’ve done nothing relative to writing.

I did go to the grocery early. I like to get there when nobody’s parking their cart sideways in the aisle or backing up in front of me without looking or otherwise pretending there’s nobody on Earth but him or her.

Kind of annoyed about my challenge. I didn’t think it through quite thoroughly enough.

You know that life roll I’ve mentioned here a few times? That will end sometime this coming weekend or early the next week, one way or another.

Bryan’s time with me is coming to a close. He’ll either go to Job Corps this week (they’re mulling over some things) or he’ll move to NM to visit his uncle.

If the former, no worries. I’ll drive him into Tucson and send him into his future. If the latter, I’ll probably have to drive to northwest NM. That will all but kill the challenge. For this time.

So we’ll just have to wait and see.

Topic: Day 6 of the Challenge

I didn’t brainstorm any new story ideas last night as I had planned. But I eased into today, so it’ll be all right.

I mentioned above that the challenge might end prematurely sometime between three days and a week from now. That’s out of my control, so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

But I’m already thinking of the next one, especially if this one doesn’t work.

If I do this challenge again, the “writing in public” aspect will take center stage.

Probably I’ll open a new website (I own several). I’ll advertise the snot out of it, and then I’ll take subscriptions. Those who want to read the stories scene-by-scene as they progress will subscribe to them.

Probably it will still be free, with donations accepted. But this way the stories will go to a group of folks who are dedicated to seeing them. Or at least dedicated enough to subscribe.

I’ll write each story a scene at a time, and then I’ll post each scene, as it’s finished, to that “blog.” Each scene will be emailed automatically to those who subscribe, and then the whole story will be posted to the website on its own page.

Yep, I like it.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 2:30. Did pretty much nothing most of the early morning, then went to the grocery at around 5:30.

Home and put stuff away around an hour later, then a quick English-muffin and cheese breakfast.

Saw my wife off to work at 8:30, then came here to write some of the stuff above.

Finally to the Hovel around 9. I wrote the topic, and now I’m gonna cast about for a story starter.

Around 10 I hit on a story idea and started writing.

Around 11 I went up to the house for lunch, then took a phone call from a good friend.

A little after noon, back to the story.

1 p.m. to the post office and maybe (if necessary) to Benson.

Around 3:30 I finished the story. It flowed really well when I had time to work on it.

Nothing on the novel today. I need to get a handle on this stuff.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

A pretty good post on rebranding (with examples) with “A Fun Series” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-fun-series/.

And a friend reminded me to remind all of you, if you need EXCELLENT print or ebook formatting or covers at extremely reasonable prices, visit Cover to Upload at https://covertoupload.com/.

Fiction Words: 3258
Nonfiction Words: 650 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3908

Writing of “Incident in a Cantina” (Story 6 for June)

Day 1…… 3258 words. Total words to date…… 3258 (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…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 24295
Total fiction words for the year………… 317166
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 94560
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 411726

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 558 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)……………………………… 173

The Journal, Thursday, 6/1

Hey Folks,

Journal entries might be sparse here during this month.

I kicked off the challenge this morning at around 5 a.m. by posting the first scene of the first story. Woohoo!

You can see it (and others by the time you get this) at https://www.facebook.com/HarveyStanbroughWritingInPublic/.

You can also see the whole story in the right sequence by clicking http://harveystanbrough.com/the-june-challenge/.

In the “Writing Of” section below, short stories for June will be numbered for now (unless I have a title for it), 1 – 30. If I start/write a novel, that will be shown separately beneath the short story.

Topic: Picking Out Patterns

Uh, no, I’m not getting married again. I’m not entirely sure my wife would go along with that, plus one is more than enough for me.

I’m talking about pre-judging patterns. Seeing them before they’re fully developed. Or maybe developed at all.

Can you sense a pattern that you need to adopt after one day of a 30-day challenge?

I think maybe so.

I started writing at about 4 a.m. this morning. I posted the last installment (scene) of my first short story for June just before 9 a.m.

Five hours in and out of the chair, doing other little things, no rush. But at 9 a.m. it was posted and behind me.

Meaning I have the rest of the day to explore other ideas for short stories, start a novel, chores, whatever I want to do. Hmmm.

So now I’m thinking that was a great way to do it. I’m thinking I’ll make a concerted effort to get up at 2 or 3, knock out the short story for the day by 8 or 9, and then use the rest of the day for whatever comes.

What’s more, if I continue to do it that way, I can write the short stories up at the house where the Internet’s close. That means I can post the scenes in real time as I finish them. And that means it’s as close as I can get without a camera or a storefront to actually “writing in public.”

Then I can retire to the Hovel with my writing ‘puter to work on my novel. I’m not stupid enough to say this is gonna be a snap, but I’m just ignorant enough to feel like it’s gonna be a ton easier than I thought it was gonna be.

Hmmm. Yep, I like it. (grin)

And as kind of an odd and very favorable twist, posting the scenes as I write them hasn’t added Any Pressure At All. (I thought it might.) But what it HAS done is drive me to the chair. So a score on that front.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3, and started writing the first story of June at 4 a.m. Around 5, I posted the first scene.

I posted the last (4th) scene of “Getting Paid” on FB and at http://harveystanbrough.com/the-june-challenge/ just before 9 a.m. Woohoo!

That leaves me a lot of time to come up with lines or ideas for future stories and more than enough time to start my next novel.

I put some water on the yard, watering some trees and shrubs I can’t get to with the sprinkler without wasting a lot of water. After that I turned the sprinkler on the back yard. Then I went in and fixed some breakfast for myself.

Around 11:30 I headed out to the Hovel. I thought I’d look over the story I wrote this morning. I added 73 words to it, and it wanted to keep going. Who knew? I think maybe I lucked out and found my novel for the month. And I’m glad. I really like this character. (grin)

Around 3:20, back to the house. A good day for me.

Because this month’s novel is a continuation of the first short story, the word count for the novel will look odd at first. It isn’t.

Of Interest

See “Infographic: America’s Most Misspelled Words” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/05/31/infographic-americas-misspelled-words/.

See “Now That’s a Series” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/now-thats-a-series/.

Via The Passive Voice, see “John Grisham’s Do’s and Don’ts for Writing Popular Fiction” at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/31/books/review/john-grishams-tips-how-to-write-fiction.html. Note: Some of these are pure, unadulterated (or maybe adulterated, I don’t know) hooey.

Fiction Words: 4925
Nonfiction Words: 700 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 5625

Writing of “Getting Paid” (Story 1 for June)

Day 1…… 2677 words. Total words to date…… 2677 (done)

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925

Total fiction words for the month……… 4925
Total fiction words for the year………… 297832
Total nonfiction words for the month… 700
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 90680

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 388512

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 553 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)……………………………… 168

Reverse Outlines Revisited

Hey Folks,

This first appeared as a topic over at my Daily Journal at http://hestanbrough.com.

It also sprang from a comment (a question from another writer) on Dean Wesley Smith’s website.

Awhile back I talked about writing a “reverse outline.”

The idea is, as you write your novel off into the dark (no pre-plotting, outlining, etc.) sometimes keeping track of characters, what they’re wearing, major situations, etc. becomes cumbersome.

Now when I write a novel, I open the Word doc (novelname.doc) and start typing whatever comes. I’m an adherent of Heinlein’s Rules and I enjoy writing off into the dark.

But I also open a Notepad text (novelname notes.txt) document. I use Windows, but Mac has something similar. I keep it open and minimized on my screen as I’m writing the novel.

In that .txt document, at the end of every chapter or major scene, I fill in a few details about the chapter or scene.

Those details might include

  • character names and anything significant (wearing a brown leather vest or a grey longcoat),
  • place names (was the hotel called The Amarillo Inn or the Amarillo Inn? did the scene or chapter take place in Justin, Texas or Eustace, Oklahoma?),
  • names of any minor characters introduced in that scene or chapter and their occupation, and so on.

Anything at all that I think I might need to remember later in the novel.

This takes only a few seconds per chapter or major scene and it keeps me from having to scroll back or use the Find function to search for the information.

On Dean’s site, the question the other writer asked was about series short stories.

I know many writers (like Dean) can set out to write short stories in series.

I can’t and so far, I don’t.

But sometimes, a character from a short story (or novel) I wrote awhile back tugs at my sleeve and pitches another story to me.

So now when I write a short story, I also keep a reverse outline of it. Then if I do return to that world to write another story, I don’t have to open the original story and read through it for information. I only have to open the “shortstoryname notes.txt” document and I’m good to go.

Try it. You’ll like it.

Happy writing!
Harvey

PS: Hey! Only two days left before the madness begins at https://www.facebook.com/HarveyStanbroughWritingInPublic/. Stop by and watch the short stories develop scene by scene. I’ll post each scene live there as I write it. 🙂

The Journal, Sunday, 5/28

Hey Folks,

Well, today or tomorrow I should finish my WIP. This will be my 25th novel (plus 3 novellas). My son’s still visiting at least part of today, so that and other things will decide whether I finish today.

Reflecting

Reflecting back on May, I kind of wish I’d been able to have the writing days (10) all in a row. I could easily have gotten ahead on my goal of writing 15 novels on the year.

With the practice writing and pacing I’ll get during June, I suspect maybe I’ll pull ahead of my novel goal in July and maybe exceed it for the year. Plus June should put me over 200 short stories, so kind of another milestone.

If so, and with the usually productive months of August through November yet to go, 2017 is stacking up to be a banner year for me from a productivity standpoint.

No big rush on finishing this one now, as I mentioned a day or two ago. But I’ll be sad to see it go. That’s one more reason I’m excited that I think this WIP will be the “source” story for a series and recurring characters.

All writing is practice, but this series will also enable me to practice what I learned awhile back about teams in fiction (NCIS is the big example Dean uses).

Then in June (Thursday) I’ll begin writing one new short story every day and posting the scenes “live” as I finish them over at my Writing in Public page (https://www.facebook.com/HarveyStanbroughWritingInPublic/). I’m hyper excited about that, if you couldn’t tell.

And yes, this is in addition to writing a novel for the month of June. (grin) What wonderful fun!

Today, and Writing

Rolled out way late at 4:30-ish. It’s now 6:30 and I’m just finishing up email, FB, etc.

8 a.m., heading for the grocery soon. Then the rest of the day, whatever it will be.

Well, had a nice breakfast “out” with my son, then the store, then home. Doing no writing today. Hope you all have a sober (somber) and thoughtful Memorial Day.

Back tomorrow to finish the novel.

Of Interest

Not specifically (but maybe peripherally, up to you) about writing, see Dean’s post at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/and-then-there-were-four/.

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

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
Day 5…… 2205 words. Total words to date…… 13515
Day 6…… 3739 words. Total words to date…… 17254
Day 7…… 2988 words. Total words to date…… 20242
Day 8…… 3239 words. Total words to date…… 23481
Day 9…… 3338 words. Total words to date…… 26819
Day 10… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 42233
Total fiction words for the year………… 289827
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13450
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 88140

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 377967

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 550 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, 5/23

Hey Folks,

Happy birthday to my dad. He would have been 89 years old today. He’s been gone just under 30 years, having left far too soon just to show everyone he could.

Today my youngest son comes in from Indiana, so I’m not sure what I’ll get done today. Also my wife is home ill today, so. But we’ll see.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out way late at 4:30 after a “late” night getting to sleep around 10.

Just stuff for the first few hours and visiting with my neighbor.

8:30 to the novel.

Around 9 I interrupted myself. Remembered I need to check the pump on the evap cooler on the roof. It wasn’t working yesterday.

Hard to sit down and just play. A lot on my mind, and a visit coming up, plus I have some other things to do, not the least of which is open my newer ‘puter and blow it out with compressed air, etc.

I think I wrote maybe a couple hundred words before I was sidetracked again. Think I’ll just cut my losses and call it a nonwriting day.

But I won’t post this until late this afternoon to leave today’s ProWriters post in place for awhile. If anything changes, I’ll report it here and in the numbers below.

Roy got here fine. He, Bryan and I are sitting around a picnic table in the shade and a cool breeze, enjoying Negra Modelos, cigars and some great music. It doesn’t get much better than that.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Some good comments on “A Response Letter” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-response-letter/#comments/.

Interesting watching his progress on “Running, Workshops, and Writing” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/running-workshops-and-writing/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 280 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 280

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
Day 5…… 2205 words. Total words to date…… 13515
Day 6…… 3739 words. Total words to date…… 17254
Day 7…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 32668
Total fiction words for the year………… 280262
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11520
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 86210

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 366472

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 545 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