The Journal, Thursday, 4/27

Hey Folks,

Today is a nonwriting day for fiction. It’s currently only around 1:30, and I’m making the call.

I’m in the Hovel, where I’m going to enjoy a good cigar in solitude and do something completely useless, like play solitaire or something. Then I’m going to finish a few chores at the house and call it a day.

I spent much of the morning doing things around the house, including putting a new screen on the upper panel of our front screen door, doing some laundry, stuff like that.

I went to the Hovel in the late morning and wrote most of what you see below. After that, as I began to cast about for something to write, my grandson came in.

For the next couple of hours he and I jumped through various federal and state and local bureacratic hoops.

Finally, after we ran in frustrating circles for a couple of hours, Bryan’s phone rang. It was yet another bureacrat, but one of the rarest kind. Not only does she actually DO her job, but today she went out of her way to do her job.

In fact, she called us to clarify, simplify and set aside much of the instruction we’d been given by another bureacrat earlier.

All we had to do, she said, was call our contact at Job Corps and have that person call her. She would personally fax the records directly to them on our behalf. End of story.

In short order, she rendered everything we’d done over the past two hours for the OTHER bureacrat completely unnecessary.

Which is fine, because at least we learned some things from having to deal with the earlier bureacrat, never mind the stress levels and the otherwise wasted two hours of our lives.

Like we learned how to use the combination copier/scanner/printer (I haven’t done that for years); and how to fill out an Official Request Form online and then print it for signature and then scan it into a .jpg file —

So we could email them to him.

Me: Wait, what? Back up. We can EMAIL this stuff to you?

Bureacrat: Yes, of course.

Me: Hmm. So then the signature isn’t really necessary, since you’re going to be looking at a picture of the document. I mean, how can you be sure who signed it?

Bureacrat, after a pregnant pause: Ha! Y’know, I guess you’re right. (Insert laugh track here.) Hey, how about that? Now ain’t that just the funniest thing?

What I Wanted to Say: (Insert series of expletives, many never before uttered in that particular order in this solar system.)

What I actually said: No. No, it isn’t.

And that’s what I hate about cell phones. It doesn’t have the same satisfying SLAM we used to get when we’d slam a telephone receiver into a cradle.

Oh, the issue? We wanted to get Bryan’s HS transcripts for Job Corps. Which we were initially told Job Corps had gotten for themselves a couple of weeks ago.

So it was one’a dem days. Life rolls, eh?

Anyway, here’s the topic I wrote earlier.

Topic: On Practice

One of the invaluable lessons I’ve picked up from DWS over the past few years is that a writer must practice.

His way (and the way that works best for me) is to pick one or two techniques that interest him, and then practice that (or those) in the next work.

That’s why I’ve been writing pulp detective fiction.

For one thing, the shorter novel (by definition, 25,000 to 44,999 words) is very interesting to me, and pulp readers expect shorter novels.

But the other, more important reason, is that I wanted to simultaneously study and practice writing high-tension, bang-bang-bang, action-adventure, thriller-type scenes.

And the cliffhangers and hooks that go with them.

Why? Because you only have to know four techniques to sell your stories:

1. Ground the reader in the scene. (In brief, experience the setting through the physical and emotional senses of the POV character.)

2. Write suspenseful, high-tension scenes.

3. Close (or “end,” but I prefer “close”) each scenes with a cliffhanger.

4. Open the next scene with a strong hook.

If you do those four things, the reader won’t be able to put your book down.

In case of a house fire, right after the children and the dog, your book will be the first thing that makes it out alive.

In fact, your book will probably be tucked under the reader’s arm while he’s rounding up the kids and the dog.

But I digress.

After my latest novella was finished, I wanted desperately to be finished with writing “pulp detective” fiction — or at least with the main character in my last two novels and that novella.

In some ways, the guy’s weak, and I don’t like that. The detective in a pulp mystery or thriller should never be weak, at least not in any major way.

He can appear weak intentionally to set a trap (Columbo) or he can appear “sensitive” blah blah blah.

But he can’t be indecisive or allow others to take the lead in his cases. And this guy even did that at least once.

So I’m through with him until he grows up. In fact, I might write one more with a different POV character and have Galecki killed off. Something. Shrug. I dunno.

Anyway, this morning I realized I’m not through practicing writing those suspenseful, high-tension scenes, cliffhangers and hooks.

And I’m not through practicing writing the two levels of pacing that go along with that. (The Two Levels of Pacing will be another topic.)

So whatever I write next, it will contain those kind of scenes because that’s what I want to practice. Also I enjoy it.

Of course, such scenes can be written in literally any genre. I know I can write them in westerns or SF or pulp detective.

In fact, genre doesn’t matter at all when it comes to this sort of psychological suspense-filled stuff because it’s merely an interplay among characters or between the POV character and some part(s) of the setting.

I’m competent at doing this, according to various readers’ input. My writing has never been called “thin,” for example (even when I thought it was).

And more than several times readers have gone out of their way to tell me they felt as if they were there, in the scene with the characters. Ba-ba-ba-bingo!

But I’m not expert at it by any means, and it’s what I want to practice at the moment.

Give it some thought. What are you practicing?

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 2:30. After email etc. I did some stuff around the house. Then Bryan got a phone call. Then the stuff above happened.

1 p.m., back out here to the Hovel to write the stuff before the topic and enjoy a cigar.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

“Story Twenty-Six” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-twenty-six/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1080 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1080

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 33587
Total fiction words for the year………… 242143
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15650
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 72990

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 315133

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 519 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (16 novels)… 5 novels
Total novels to date (since Oct 19, 2014)… 27 (includes 3 novellas)

The Journal, Monday, 4/24

Hey Folks,

Some folks’ need for boundaries is amazing to me. To see what I mean, read the comment by “Patrick R” on Dean’s http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-twenty-one/ and then Dean’s response.

With appropriate respect to Patrick R, I found the exchange hilarious.

***

I did a spell check of The Platinum Blond Perturbance yesterday after I finished it. Ugh. Even writing the promo doc for this one was like pulling teeth.

And there are people who spend months or years writing a novel? I swear, I think I’d shoot myself. Or at least go find something fun to do.

This morning I’m going to create a cover and get it out. I want this thing off my desk.

For some reason this one really annoyed me. This is one of those that I was tempted to let die a few times. Even now I’m tempted to just throw it away instead of publishing it.

Fortunately, in my mind DWS keeps saying “What right do you have to pre-judge what the reader will like?”

And doubly fortunately, that admonishment was borne-out the last time I wrote something that I thought sucked canal water from all 50 states.

Not surprisingly, I don’t remember the title, but it was a short story. And the day after I published it, a reader emailed me to tell me it was one of the best things she’d ever read.

Go figure.

Remember that, folks.

1. Writers really ARE the worst judges of their own work, not only when they think it’s good, but when they think it’s horrible.

2. Every value judgement really does come down to the reader’s taste. Period.

***

Well, Bryan finally got through to JobCorps at about 9, only to hear “call back in two weeks.” That’s what they said two weeks ago.

Well, I guess it’ll be what it’ll be. But I’m annoyed to say the least. The last WIP plus this has me wanting to do odd things. I’ll leave it at that.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4. I kept waking up and then just lying there until I went back to sleep.

I spent the first two hours reading stuff online. Spent the next couple getting a cover done and getting The Platinum Blond Perturbance distributed and uploaded to BundleRabbit.

Went to lunch with my grandson, then updated HarveyStanbrough.com and StoneThreadPublishing.com with the new book.

Nonwriting day today.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, “Story Twenty-Three plus stuff” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-twenty-three-plus-stuff/.

From The Digital Reader (http://the-digital-reader.com) a compilation of tweets chock full of URLs for you to research and read if you’re interested. See http://the-digital-reader.com/2017/04/22/paul-bibas-ebook-elibrary-emuseum-epublishing-news-compilation-week-ending-saturday-april-22/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 440 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 440

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 30647
Total fiction words for the year………… 239203
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13710
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 71050

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 310253

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 516 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 5 novels
Total novels to date (since Oct 19, 2014)… 27 (includes 3 novellas)

The Journal, Sunday, 4/16

Hey Folks,

A few days ago I mentioned here that all the coyotes and other predators seem to have left the area.

A day after I wrote that, the owls were back and I had a scare. This morning, the coyotes are back.

Well now, isn’t that the way it always works? (grin)

From around 4 a.m. I was serenaded for almost an hour straight by song dogs. No owls as yet, but I’m sure they’re lurking out there somewhere.

But it’s Easter, a day that always reminds me of the incredible gifts I receive pretty much every hour of every day. I only need to be aware of them.

For example, unlike human predators, the 4-legs and feathered in the rest of nature always seem to give warning when they’re in the vicinity. That’s a gift.

And those warnings get my blood pumping with regard to keeping my little girl safe. Another gift.

Whatever significance Easter holds for you, I hope today was a good day in your world.

* * *

The plan for today was to write and read. We’ll see how that turns out. It’s Sunday and it’s Easter, so probably a family day.

Guess maybe I’ll get some reading done later today or tonight. No writing. Been kind of keeping myself available in case anyone wants to do anything.

I’m gonna post this, then go back to taking more pictures or something.

I guarantee you, barring a plane landing on my house tonight, I’ll be back to full speed tomorrow.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out around 2:20, a little earlier than my preferred norm. (The baby slept-in until 4.)

Mona and I went to the store early (around 8), then home to put things away. Then the day just kind of unfolded. Very lazily. Took a lot of pics, put them on FB, but did very little else.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice “Six novelists reveal how to self-publish successfully” at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-4401186/Independent-novelists-self-publish-successfully.html.

At Dean’s today, “Story Fifteen… Halfway Through the Challenge” http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-fifteen-halfway-through-the-challenge/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 330 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 330

Writing of “Beats All” (probably a short story)

Day 1…… 1743 words. Total words to date…… 1743
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

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……… 14313
Total fiction words for the year………… 222869
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8010
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 65350

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 288219

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 509 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Saturday, 4/15

Hey Folks,

Well, it’s Saturday. A short post today.

As it stands, I’ve watered the yard, and I’m planning to take a drive and a hike to see some petroglyphs with my wife and Bryan.

In the afternoon, I’ll either return to one of my WIPs or read. No pressure, no worries.

I’m not stuck on either story. Just relaxing my way through the past couple of days, making other things and people priorities. Kind of a minor life roll. So it’s all good.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3, but after a good night’s sleep this time.

Around 10, went to hike to the petroglyphs near Millville (ghost town) AZ, west of Tombstone. Got some good pics. Had a good hike.

Back here around noon to make burgers for lunch, then posted some pics on FB. Helped my wife rearrange some things in the house, then went outside and sat with a good cigar, took some more pics, plastered them all over FB.

Around 2:15, inside, checked email, found a partial copyedit waiting. So now I’m gonna post this, then do that. Afterward, I’ll read and/or blow off the rest of the day.

Tomorrow morning, back to writing. (grin)

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s, “Story Fourteen and Other Stuff” http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-fourteen-and-other-stuff/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 210 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 210

Writing of “Beats All” (probably a short story)

Day 1…… 1743 words. Total words to date…… 1743
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

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……… 14313
Total fiction words for the year………… 222869
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7680
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 65020

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 287889

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 508 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Friday, 4/14

Hey Folks,

Wow. Almost half the month gone already. Amazing what even one missed day of writing does to the productivity. And I might have another nonwriting day today.

Bryan and I are headed for Sierra Vista this morning. Mostly to pick up a few essentials for him for his trek into a new life at Job Corps. That could happen as early as a couple of weeks from now.

And plus, I just want to get out of St. David for awhile. (grin)

Probably we’ll dawdle and take much, if not all, of the morning. Then after we’re back and settled, maybe I’ll visit Hal (the writing ‘puter) for awhile out in the Hovel.

Nope. Around noon I decided to build my BundleRabbit inventory instead.

If you’re one of the folks who recently subscribed, please don’t be dissuaded by this couple of days with no writing and no topics or writing tips. I’ll be back to full power soon. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out right at 3 even though I went to bed a bit late for me. Hey, them’s the breaks.

To Sierra Vista around 7:30.

Stopped to show Bryan some petroglyphs near Charleston/Millville (AZ), then to Walmart for a bunch’a stuff, then Sonic to slam down a couple’a burgers, then back here.

Got back at around 11:30, played with posting pics on FB for a little while. Found one that looks like the right profile of an ancestor of Captain Jean Luc Picard. (grin) That’s him up there on the left.

12:30, I’m gonna spend the balance of the day uploading short stories to BundleRabbit. It’s insane to have all this inventory and not be pushing it out the door in yet one more direction.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, “Mystery, Thriller, or Suspense: Does the Label Matter?” For the full article, see http://diymfa.com/reading/mystery-thriller-suspense-label-matter.

At Dean’s, “Story Number Thirteen and an Answer” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/story-number-thirteen-and-an-answer/. There are some gems in this one.

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

Writing of “Beats All” (probably a short story)

Day 1…… 1743 words. Total words to date…… 1743
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

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……… 14313
Total fiction words for the year………… 222869
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7470
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 64810

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 287679

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 507 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Thursday, 4/13

Hey Folks,

Well, I had a pretty good scare this morning.

I let the little girl out with dim, pre-dawn light in the sky. She skittered off around the corner of the house to her favorite place to look through the fence.

About the time I got settled at my outside table, a hoot owl started hooting. It was on a telephone pole some forty yards from the house.

But immediately after that, as I was still getting up, another one screeched.

And that one was much closer. It was perched on another telephone pole directly above my little girl’s favorite place.

I raced around there. Probably that was a funny sight, me running in dark grey sweat pants, a black jacket and house slippers.

The baby hadn’t even made it to her favorite spot.

There was a little “lean-to”, where awhile back I leaned a heavy 3-feet by 3-feet piece of perforated metal against the backyard shed.

The lean-to was only about two feet from her, but she didn’t even duck under there, another of her favorite spots.

The screech of the owl had frozen her with fear.

She was hunkered down, visibly trembling, on bare ground about five feet short of her usual place. A mostly white kitten against an all-but black background.

I scooped her up, then looked up and gave some nasty directions to the owl. Then I took the baby into the house.

When I went back out, I shined my flashlight on the one sitting on the more distant pole. I said, “Go on, git!” and he flew off.

The other one was already gone.

Time to buy a .410 and some shotshells.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:40 after a fairly late night. I processed some pics I took yesterday and posted them to Facebook, then read some email.

Then I handled the episode with The Owl and the Baby, then came here and wrote all this. It’s almost 6 a.m.

Getting a slow start today, but no biggie.

Laundry day. Put on the first load around 8:30, did some other stuff while that was washing. Working around the house on various things today.

That includes moving Bryan out to the camping trailer we have parked outside. Kind of a reward for him getting into Job Corps, and to give him a little practice at doing things on his own, but with us only a couple hundred feet away.

He’s getting electricity from the Hovel via a heavy duty extension cord (s/b able to run the AC unit).

He and I moved his bed and all his stuff, then cleaned the old bedroom, which is now the new dining and utility room. Yeah, it’s an old house.

So all kinds of stuff up at the house today, rearranging and cleaning.

Received and installed a new passenger side mirror on the 4Runner, and received and returned the WRONG windshield washer reservoir for the Tacoma.

All in all, a very good day. But no fiction.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The Magic Bakery: Chapter Four” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-chapter-four/. This is another GREAT post.

Below that, if you’re following his daily updates, “Story Twelve and a Wonderful Dinner.” Actually it’s pretty interesting.

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

Writing of “Beats All” (probably a short story)

Day 1…… 1743 words. Total words to date…… 1743
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

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……… 14313
Total fiction words for the year………… 222869
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7180
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 64520

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 287389

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………… 506 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)… 4 novels

The Journal, Tuesday, 4/11

Hey Folks,

I’m posting this edition of the Journal very early and strictly as a placeholder.

I have to be in Tucson at 8 and I have not the foggiest idea what will happen or how long it will take. Or what will happen otherwise, for that matter.

If I get back in time to post a more thorough entry, I’ll do so and trash this one.

If not, well, the streak continues.

Other than the brief bit I added in Today, and Writing below, I decided not to add anything to this except the nonfiction word count.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3 again, did all the routine stuff. Probably this will be a nonwriting day.

After orientation, a tour, and the personal interview (about 5 hours’ worth) at Job Corps and lunch (we were both starving), we got home about 2. Short version: he’s in and he’ll start in a month, give or take a week or two. We’re very proud and happy for him.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Check Dean’s site if I don’t get back.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 100 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 100

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……… 12570
Total fiction words for the year………… 221126
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5710
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 63050

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 284176

The Journal, Friday, 4/7

Hey Folks,

I’ve learned a great deal about writing over the past three years. It’s also been a long time since I last taught a seminar. That was in September, 2014.

A month after that, I taught an actual writing workshop based on Writing Into the Dark.

But then, other than bits and blurbs in emails or the occasional edit or brief presentation, I stopped teaching. I devoted myself to my own writing.

Now, nearing 30 novels and around 170 short stories later, I’m almost ready to teach again.

Why? Because I’m settled in my writing.

From this point forward, I’ll keep learning and improving, but not by the leaps and bounds I’ve known over the past few years.

And I want to pass along what I’ve learned now that I’ve made it my own, put my own stamp on it.

As I first mentioned here awhile back, I’m developing a way to do that.

It might well develop into an online thing, but first I’ll deliver it as a combination seminar and workshop.

Probably this will happen sometime between October of this year and April of 2018, inclusive. (It’s slightly cooler here in the desert during those months.)

The seminar portion will consist of a one- or two-day intensive. And I do mean intensive.

The workshop portion will be more leisurely. It will consist of a critique, by me via email, of at least two assignments. (This is a small part of what I’ve been practicing in my most recent edit.)

When I have the final structure of the intensive laid out, of course I’ll announce it here and in the big blog.

For now, I just wanted you to know where I am in the thought process.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little after 3. Spent the first couple hour with email, FB, newsletters and at Dean’s place.

Then I wrote the stuff above and a lot more as I brainstormed the seminar/workshop. Basically, as has become my habit, I’ve frittered away much of the morning.

Now, about 4 hours after I first got up, to the edit. Later today, back to writing. (Yay!) You know, probably.

Well, I finished the edit about an hour ago (about 10:30) and got it sent off.

Instead of writing more fiction today, though, I think I’ll spend the balance of the day putting together a cover for The Pyramid Killer, proofing it, and getting it published.

Kind of resting. Editing is work, and it drains me.

Proofing my own stories (I read them aloud) and creating covers and publishing them is fun, though not as much fun as writing.

I’m also gonna check out a new source for cover art. Even though I’m using Cover to Upload (http://covertoupload.com) for interior layout and paper covers now, I still like designing my own ebook covers.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s today, he announces a new coast workshop: The Great Bundle Workshop. See http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-great-bundle-workshop-brand-new-coast-workshop/.

I hung around awhile, hoping for another chapter in his Magic Bakery book, but no dice yet. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 520 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 520

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 7189
Total fiction words for the year………… 215745
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2990
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 60330

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 276075

The Journal, Thursday, 4/6

Hey Folks,

Wow. This afternoon around 3 p.m. it will have been only two days since I finished The Pyramid Killer. And already I’m jonesing to get back to writing another story.

As I told my wife this morning, I went to the Hovel for a few minutes yesterday, on a task not related to writing.

I didn’t even open my writing ‘puter while I was out there. But I did run a hand over it. Longingly.

Maybe, as psychiatrists say, I have a “problem.” (grin)

Well, definitely I have a problem.

The problem is, I need to write.

But I also have an edit to finish. And it’s prepaid. So there’s that.

I’ll work on the edit this morning (it’s already 6:30) and see how it goes. If it’s going well enough, maybe I’ll steal the afternoon to write a story. Or start a story. Something.

Seriously, I need a fix.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3 this morning. Yay! Something just feels right about getting up at 3 a.m.

Spent a couple hours with email and Facebook and searching for a couple of fonts that turned out to be free but Mac-only. Oh well.

Also I came here and wrote this stuff. Now to the edit.

By 11:30 I was halfway through the edit, a cozy mystery. I thought about heading out to the Hovel to start a new story.

Then again, at my current rate of progress, if I stick with it I should be able to finish tomorrow. Also, I’m not really a fan of switching gears.

So I think I’m gonna push on through. Once this is finished I’ll feel good because another writer will have learned a lot of stuff and I can get back to writing full time.

I do need to start and finish a novel this month at least if I want to remain current with my annual goal of writing at least one novel per month. And I do.

But even if I don’t start writing again until Saturday, that leaves me plenty of time.

Okay, so I’ll go post this, and then get back to the edit. So another nonwriting day.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place,an interesting post in “Long But Good Day and Fifth Story” http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/long-but-good-day-and-fifth-story/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 390 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 390

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 7189
Total fiction words for the year………… 215745
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2470
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 59810

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 275555

The Journal, Wednesday, 4/5

Hey Folks,

This morning I approved and responded to a comment on my latest ProWriters post over on the big blog.

After I did that, I read over the post. It was a topic from the Journal a couple of years ago. And I noticed that I had quoted some stats:

“Through yesterday, May 9, 2015 (as I write this) 128 days have passed since January 1. During that 128 days, I’ve written 284,100 publishable words of fiction. My daily average thus far this year is 2219.5312 words per day.”

That was two years ago. And that’s why I keep this Daily Journal.

Back to the present.

Through yesterday, April 4, 2017, there have been 94 days in this calendar year. In those 94 days, I’ve written 215,745 publishable words of fiction. My daily average thus far this year (including nonwriting days) is 2295.1595 words per day.”

Wow. On one hand, I need to pick up the pace, eh? By which I mean, 1-Spend more time in the writing chair, and 2-When I’m in that chair, spend more time actually writing.

On the other, is that consistency, or what? (grin)

But today I’ll be copyediting a work for another writer. More on that below. If an idea latches onto me and drags me to the Hovel, I’ll write too. Otherwise this will be a nonwriting day.

Topic: Scene and Chapter Breaks and Hooks

I love this topic, and it’s timely because it’s what I’ve been practicing in my last few WsIP. (grin)

I have a copyediting job that I put on the back burner because I was so close to finishing the novel. I’ll begin that copyedit today.

To see what I mean by “copyedit,” please visit http://harveystanbrough.com/copyediting/.

The writer also requested I check to see whether the scene and chapter breaks “make sense.” I’ll check, but I have no doubt they will. Then again, that led me to this topic for the day.

First, let me define “break” so we’re all on the same page.

In my books, chapter breaks consist either of white space followed by a new chapter head, or a series of five spaced asterisks (in anything I send to Smashwords) followed by white space.

As for scene breaks, in my books, those consist of a series of three spaced asterisks followed by white space. Just my way of doing it.

Some writers use only white space, and that’s fine. But all writers that I’ve encountered thus far use something to clearly mark breaks.

Because the writer asked, I’ll check to be sure those breaks make sense. But I’ll go a step further and check to see whether they hook together from scene to scene and chapter to chapter.

That’s actually a three-step process.

1. I’ll check to see whether there’s a tension-building cliffhanger (physical or emotional) in the few paragraphs before the break.

Yes? Check.

No? I’ll add a comment out to the side, with or without a specific recommendation.

2. I’ll check to see whether there’s a good hook immediately after the break. A good opening sentence or paragraph.

For examples of great opening hooks, see my free book (a $6 value) Writing Great Beginnings on the Free Stuff page of my website at http://harveystanbrough.com/downloads/.

3. As long as I’m looking for a hook, I’ll also check to see whether the writer grounds (or re-grounds) the reader in the opening of the new scene or chapter.

For that, I’ll check the first few paragraphs of the new scene or chapter. That’s where you ground the reader, even amidst ongoing action.

So grounding. Yes? Check.

No? Again, I’ll add a comment out to the side, with or without a specific recommendation.

Okay, so while I’m on the topic, how do you ground or re-ground the reader in a new scene or chapter?

The only way is to allow the reader to sense (see, hear, smell, taste, touch) the setting through the POV character’s senses.

And remember to include the character’s opinions of the setting when appropriate. (When the opinion matters to the scene or illustrates the character of the character.)

One good example that I often use is a room in which the aroma of pipe tobacco lingers. Pretty much any character will notice it (smell).

But for one character it’s an aroma, and for another it’s a stench. For another the air is stuffy. For another it’s wonderful.

For another (or any of the above) perhaps it invokes a memory of the character’s father’s study.

For another (or any of the above) maybe it invokes the taste of cinnamon on toast because the scent of pipe tobacco is tied to that flavor for the character.

You get the idea. A good rule of thumb is to write NOTHING that doesn’t come through the POV character’s senses and opinion. And yes, that will flavor the character’s dialogue as well.

Most importantly, it will pull the reader into the setting and into the POV character’s head.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4. Spent the first two hours with the usual stuff. Then around 6:30 I made a quick trip to the store.

Back at the house, I made and ate breakfast and did a chore or two. Oh, and wrote the stuff above. And just like that, over 4 hours of the day were gone.

Then I added another book to the Free Stuff page on my website (see above), then cross-posted the topic above to the big blog for posting sometime in December.

Around 9 I finally went face down in the copyedit.

Around 1:30 or so I realized I wasn’t going to write today. Edits pick up speed as you go through them. Perhaps I’ll begin writing again tomorrow or the next day.

For now, I’ll go ahead and post this.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Check the comments for The Magic Bakery: Chapter Three (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-chapter-three/#comments) for yet another horror story re contracts.

I enjoyed “Fourth Story Finished Sort of…” (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/fourth-story-finished-sort-of/) because I’m glad to know it isn’t only me. (grin) Very interesting.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1000 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1000

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 7189
Total fiction words for the year………… 215745
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2080
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 59420

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 275165