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, 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, Wednesday, 6/7

Hey Folks,

Not a lot to report today.

Topic: Day 7 of the Challenge

Well, the challenge is rolling along. I feel like I’m settling into this thing.

By that I mean I’m not frantic, “worrying” about coming up with story ideas, etc.

The conscious, critical mind repeatedly attacks in various ways. But once I recognize it for what it is and set it aside, I’m able to get back to writing.

Today’s story went really well and really quickly. In a little over 2 hours of writing time, I hit the end at something over 2700 words.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3 and spent the first few hours doing nothing but Facebook and email stuff. Put on a load of laundry (the first of two) and headed to the Hovel around 6:30.

Finally around 7:20 I started the story for the day. It’s a gangster thing from the gangster’s POV. Interesting.

With a couple of breaks to check and fold and put away laundry, I finished the story at around 11:30 and posted the whole thing (two very long scenes) to The June Challenge page on my website.

Off for a bit to change gears, and I hope to add some to the novel today.

Nothing on the novel again today. Job Corps and other stuff on my mind.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

You might get something out of “When I Worked in Advertising” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/06/when-i-worked-in-advertising/. I stopped reading at “In one of the 16 or so drafts of my new book,…”

Fiction Words: 2738
Nonfiction Words: 260 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2998

Writing of “What Happened That Day” (Story 7 for June)

Day 1…… 2738 words. Total words to date…… 2738 (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……… 26997
Total fiction words for the year………… 319904
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4840
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 94820
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 414724

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 559 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)……………………………… 174

The Journal, Sunday, 6/4

Hey Folks,

Topic: Grounding the Reader

Mistakenly thinking I was asking for story ideas (a mistake I invoked by saying a few days ago I was “gathering ideas”), a friend sent me this:

“Ralph pulled hard on the paddles fighting the current to pass through the water funneling between boulders. A bullet plowed into the rock directly in front of him as the blast of a high-powered rifle reached him.”

When I explained I wasn’t really looking for people to send me ideas, he wrote back that he was going to write a story with it himself, but that he wondered where I’d go with it.

I told him I might use it toward the end of the challenge. I didn’t want my take to affect his.

But I probably won’t use it at all. At least not as-is, same POV, etc.

I take great pride in my ability to ground the reader in my stories. And I’m still learning and practicing how to do that.

In short, I would want the reader to feel he’s in the boat with the guy

And that’s the problem.

I’ve never been in a boat on a river. I’ve never used paddles, though I can imagine the feel of them in my hands.

I can imagine the muscles of the arms knotting well enough, maybe even one elbow twinging a bit from a reaggravated old injury, etc. I can imagine the feeling in the guy’s back and shoulders and shoulder blades.

I know the sound of a bullet ricocheting off a rock, and I know the sound of a bullet splatting on a rock and the sound of one hitting two solid surfaces one after the other.

I know the smell of a river (at least the one I “see” when I think of his lines). I know the sights around it. I know the tastes it evokes in my mind.

But I don’t know the motion of the pitching boat, the sound of the paddles in the water or the current going by. I don’t know the tug of the current on the paddles.

And all of those things (and more) are necessary in a good opening. But in many fewer, more terse words.

Will I get a story from his idea?

Yes. Yes I will. Maybe even today.

But it will be peripheral, a result of the thought process that resulted in this post as much as the result of the original idea.

Grounding the reader is just that important. And it does involve writing what you know.

Topic 2: Day 4 of the Challenge

Trying a new tack today. Instead of fretting and searching, etc. for a story idea, I’m just gonna relax.

Moved out to the hovel around 6:30.

Ha! It worked. By 9:30, and with two short breaks mixed in, I had written the story for today.

I posted the first scene to my site at around 8:15, then cut loose and just wrote. (In the Hovel, no Internet.) The story flowed, and I’m done.

Back to the house to update.

Also, mostly because what goes on Facebook is “out there” free forever, I’m not going to continue posting my challenge stories to Facebook.

I’ll continue posting them, once scene at a time (most of the time) to my June Challenge page on my website.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3.Then all the stuff above happened. (grin)

Had a nice lunch with my wife, then went back to the Hovel at around 1 to work on the novel a bit. A couple days ago, something didn’t feel right about it. So I used the excuse of the big story word counts to put it off.

Today I opened it and realized the main character’s voice had changed. So the novel had taken a wrong turn.

You know all the detective stuff I’ve been doing lately? He was becoming one of those. And that isn’t who he is. Hasn’t been from the beginning.

So I cycled back a bit, deleted a few sentences (where he and I made that wrong turn) and turned him loose again to be who he is.

The result is nothing short of amazing.

The influence of the conscious mind pops up in all kinds of strange ways.

I only got a few hundred words done on the novel today, but I’m tired so taking the rest of the day.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “43 Words Invented by Authors” (video) at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/06/43-words-invented-by-authors-2/.

Fiction Words: 3047
Nonfiction Words: 740 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3787

Writing of “The Pity of Bill Trevor” (Story 4 for June)

Day 1…… 2542 words. Total words to date…… 2542 (done)

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430

Total fiction words for the month……… 18158
Total fiction words for the year………… 311065
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3140
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 93120
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 404185

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 556 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)……………………………… 171

The Journal, Friday, 6/2

Hey Folks,

Wow. It’s really odd how, with this challenge, I go from chock full of self-confidence to being a scared little rabbit-like creature. (grin)

That made me think I should use the Journal for this month to record a series of topics on this experience. If you read them, no matter how accomplished you are, chances are you’ll learn something that will help in your own writing.

So here goes…

Topic: Day Two of the Challenge

Yesterday (Day One) everything worked perfectly. Truly a writer’s dream the way words rolled out through my fingers. Remember? I started writing at 4, posted the first scene by 5 and finished the story by 9. A snap, right?

Then this morning, I got up later than I had hoped. Then other things (mostly from the animals) conspired to interrupt the flow of what I was trying to do.

I managed to write only one opening scene early, and it was like pulling teeth with pliers while looking into a warped, broken mirror.

I finally recognized that first opening for what it was (I was boring myself to tears) and tossed it away. It’s not reflected in today’s numbers.

I also found myself looking forward, off and on, to getting back to the novel even though I know that probably won’t happen until this afternoon.

To get back on track, I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself the world won’t end if I don’t get a story written or if I don’t write on the novel until tomorrow or the next day.

It won’t end even if the novel start doesn’t pan out and I abandon it for another one later. No biggie, really.

Then I was finally able to sit down and write another opening. I was in the Hovel by then (no Internet access) so I kind of cheated. I wrote three scenes and part of a fourth (again, the words flying out through my fingers) before I finally brought the computer back to the house to post the first scene.

So I said all of that to say this: Remember to not allow your stories to become “important.” The pressure comes from your critical mind, and it will stop you cold.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3. Facebook and email, and to the first scene of the day at 4:30.

Wrote an opening, but it just doesn’t feel right so I dropped it. Ideas are neither gold nor at a premium. But other folks are up and about now, so I’ll get started a little late.

6:40, to the Hovel and my idea file.

I wrote an opening that worked, and then 2 and a half more scenes. Around 8 I headed for the house so I could post the first scene to FB and my site and to spend a little time with my wife before she left for work.

After that I went back to check FB and email, then to begin putting together the combination collection and nonfiction book that will result from this insanity. (grin)

I posted the second scene to FB and the site at around 9:30, then back to the story around 9:45.

FINALLY posted the last scene (8) to FB and my site a little after 4 p.m. I’m pooped! But a pretty good writing day. (No writing on the novel though.)

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Please read “In Defense of Grammar Pedantry” at https://theconversation.com/in-defence-of-grammar-pedantry-78670/. My stance? If you are a writer or other professional user of words, you should be a pedant. Unapologetically. Should that pedantry consciously make its way into your fiction? No.

And check out “Promoting ‘Captain Underpants’ To Reluctant Readers Doesn’t Help Them” at http://thefederalist.com/2017/06/02/promoting-captain-underpants-reluctant-readers-doesnt-help/.

Fiction Words: 5335
Nonfiction Words: 620 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 5955

Writing of “The Storm” (Story 2 for June)

Day 1…… 5335 words. Total words to date…… 5335 (done)

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 10260
Total fiction words for the year………… 303167
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1320
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 10260

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 394467

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 554 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)……………………………… 169

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

The Journal, Friday, 5/26

Hey Folks,

Well, the good news is, barring any major tragedies, I’ll finish the novel this month. The sort-of bad news is that I know the ending already.

I hadn’t created a reverse outline for it yet, so I started the day by doing that.

But as I developed the reverse outline, the storyline became clearer than it usually is at this point. And the ending stood up and waved at me.

Did I use that to make an outline of future events?

No. But I did jot down a few notes.

If anything in the novel varies from any of those notes, of course, I’ll let my subconscious rule.

But if the writing runs the way I think it’s going to, today will be a very good writing day and I’ll finish the novel in the next day or two with a couple of days to spare.

Before anyone jumps all over this, in defense either of outlining or of writing off into the dark or some hybrid of the two, remember that every novel writes differently.

And as Forrest Gump once said, that’s all I have to say about that. (grin)

***

Glad I moved back out to the Hovel. It’s too hot outside to write in the morning (and the sun is over my shoulder). And in the house, there are too many distractions.

This morning, my wife’s at her job and the boys are on the road having fun. (Yes, they’re up there to work, but you could strand those two on a desert island at daybreak, and by noon they’d find a way to have a good time.)

And I’m in the Hovel, writing my butt off. It’s all good.

***

I recommend you check out Writerology at https://www.writerology.net/. It isn’t all good, but some of it will pertain to you and help you. For that reason, I added a link to this resource the Writers’ Resources on the left sidebar of my website.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3 with the express purpose of getting my son and grandson up. I did that around 3:30, and by 4 they were headed north via Tucson and Phoenix (early and avoiding rush-hour traffic) to my son’s rented storage unit in Camp Verde south of Flagstaff.

I dawdled for the next couple of hours, getting dressed, eating breakfast, photographing the sunrise, etc. And being both sad and very glad that cross-country moves more than likely are all behind me.

To the Adobe Hovel at around 6:30 to write. I started by cycling through parts of the novel, mostly adding a bit here and there and moving chapter heads. By 8:30 I’d added only a couple hundred words.

Took a break to the house and found out the boys made it to their destination fine. So one less thing to worry about. (grin)

Another break turned into a longer thing and I ended up trying to repair a staple gun and some other stuff. Annoying. Stuff that should take less than a minute and turns into over an hour and a half.

Well, not as good a day as I’d hoped. But I’ll take it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, at Writerology, “7 Signs You’re Stuck in Research Hell” at https://www.writerology.net/blog/post/2016/10/7-signs-youre-stuck-in-research-hell/. Just sayin’.

Also from Writerology, “10 Productivity Secrets from Very Prolific Writers” at https://www.writerology.net/blog/post/2015/12/10-productivity-secrets-from-very-prolific-writers/. I like this one. Well, parts of it.

Frankly, I was a little surprised they didn’t include Stephen King in their list of Very Prolific Writers.

Fiction Words: 3239
Nonfiction Words: 590 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3829

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 38895
Total fiction words for the year………… 286489
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12720
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 87410

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 373899

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 548 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, Monday, 5/22

Hey Folks,

During my morning reading, I hit upon an article titled “A Publisher Tries Podcasts As A Gateway To Audiobooks.”

I’d be interested in knowing what you think of this.

I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a podcast, perhaps as an extension of the June challenge. Maybe in July I’d read the short stories I wrote for the challenge in June. Something like that.

So whaddya think? Interesting? Something you’d listen to? Something you might want to try yourself? Something you already do?

The link to the article is in Of Interest.

***

Finished all the major moving and rearranging in my office yesterday. I’ve drastically downsized, but it’s a lot more comfortable. I don’t feel quite so much like I’m packed into my office when I’m in here now.

Remains the task of retraining my mind to my new writing space.

I put a lot of words very quickly, almost automatically, through my computer when I worked in the Hovel. That was mostly because my mind was trained for it.

My subconscious knew that when I went to the Hovel, it was time to play. Now that I’ve switched back up here, I have to create a new mindset to go along with the new space.

At the house, too, there are more distractions. So I have to create workarounds for those too.

I’m not complaining. Exploration and new discovery is fun or I wouldn’t be doing it. And at any time, I can always grab my writing ‘puter and head for the Hovel for awhile if I have to.

But being at the house alleviates other problems too, like the little girl isn’t as tempted to get out of the yard when I’m at the house. So I’m motivated to make the transition.

***

Well, my grandson Bryan called Job Corps this morning (his third “call in two weeks” phone call). Now they say Phoenix is still looking over his paperwork and they’ll call him.

If they can hold him off until his 23rd birthday, he’ll be ineligible because of his age. I’m beginning to think that’s what’s going on.

I told him to apply for a few jobs around. Thing is, unless he gets mega-lucky and staggers into a guy who’s willing to be patient and teach him a trade, his whole life is going to be working at fast food, Walmart, stuff like that.

It’s SO damned aggravating. I have a grandson who might be able to live an adequately self-sufficient life only if he gets very lucky. I can only hope the current situation with Job Corps isn’t the result of discrimination.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30 and per usual spent the first couple hours just messing around, waking up. Took a few pics and posted them to FB.

Then I spent about an hour grouping and arranging pics in a folder on my desktop.

I wrote off and on through the morning. I wrote at my outside desk under an umbrella, but couldn’t see the screen very well. The umbrella is not transparent, but light does get through.

I wrote at my inside desk, and that was fine, but new, so something I have to get used to.

And I wrote at a picnic table under a shade tree in a breeze. That was nice, but there’s no back support and the angle is wrong for computer work. So I could only do that for a little while.

Finally, a good day of writing. Crossed into novella territory today. Still in the middle of the book and no clue where it’s going, but man is it going. (grin)

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “A Publisher Tries Podcasts As A Gateway To Audiobooks” at http://www.npr.org/2017/05/17/528730680/a-publisher-tries-podcasts-as-a-gateway-to-audiobooks.

From the Dumb Advice section of the PC vault, “Spy author Anthony Horowitz ‘warned off’ creating black character” at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39988992/.

At Dean’s place, see “A Response Letter…” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-response-letter/. A great little gem of a post.

Fiction Words: 3739
Nonfiction Words: 660 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4399

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 32668
Total fiction words for the year………… 280262
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11240
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 85930

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 366192

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 544 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, Monday, 5/15

Hey Folks,

Back to writing sometime today. Maybe a short story, maybe a novel start (or both).

I also have in mind two good series characters. Each has a great name and a strong personality. One is male and one female. Not because I want to keep things equal, but because that’s who they are.

I also have some other pressing things to do, not the least of which is extending the roof of the carport to provide additional shade for my wife’s new car.

You can’t live in southeast Arizona and avoid exposure to a severe sun, but you can mitigate the effects. Or you can try.

Confidential to Robert: Thanks for the encouragment. It’s all good. (grin)

***

I realized this morning I no longer have a writing routine. The past two weeks has been more disruptive than I initially thought it would, beginning with re-doing my office and followed by a lot of little life rolls.

There was the office rebuild, then the broken axle, then Mona’s medical thing, then the new car search and the visit from the kids.

Routine is important to me. It’s how I do things. Not a schedule so much, but a routine. So I need to reestablish that. I’ll start working on that today.

I need to make writing a priority again. Not make “the writing” important, but make writing important.

***

Okay, to the list of stuff above beginning with the office rebuild, we can now add putting a new door on the Adobe Hovel. (grin)

Around 2:45 I stepped out of the Hovel to head up to the house for another break and the door of the Hovel was laying about ten feet away. Wind got it. I guess I was so deep in the current story I didn’t notice.

I had the door blocked open, so the air currents didn’t change when the door headed for Deming. Anyway, thus began the search for another door for the Hovel.

The landlord had a lot of 30″ doors, but they were all interior doors. So he’s going to try to glue the old one back together. (As if he didn’t have enough on his plate.)

In the meantime, I’ve been wanting to get reaccustomed to writing up at the house anyway with summer coming on. So maybe this will be a blessing in disguise.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4. I caught up on my sleep a bit last night after what was a very tiring and trying 10 days or so.

Around 10 I finished up the carport stuff I was doing, and around 11:30 I headed out to the Hovel to write.

12:30 a break up at the house to update this stuff and grab some lunch.

Another break around 1:30, then the final break of the day at 2:45. See above.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s, “One Time Branding Workshop” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/one-time-branding-workshop/.

Here’s to writing off into the dark. See “Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/05/your-brain-can-only-take-so-much-focus/.

And good ol’ California strikes again. See “California threatens to shut down book signings and therefore small booksellers” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/05/california-threatens-to-shut-down-book-signings-and-therefore-small-booksellers/.

Fiction Words: 2751
Nonfiction Words: 500 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3251

Writing of A Fresh Kill (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 2751 words. Total words to date…… 2751

Total fiction words for the month……… 18165
Total fiction words for the year………… 265759
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8030
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 82720

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 348479

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 537 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, 5/11

Hey Folks,

Wow. A lot in today’s Journal and no fiction writing. Go figure.

As I write this, I just looked out my north-facing window and caught sight of a purple mountain peak. It’s about 20 miles distant (+/-) and currently lined here and there with pink from the sunrise.

Another beginning to another beautiful day.

I’ll accompany my bride at around 7:30 to a doctor appointment this morning, then to walmart for some things, then back here to begin the first day of the rest of my writing life.

Topic: On Specificity and Clarity in Writing

I was going to write a whole post on this topic, but really, that isn’t necessary. It’s a personal pet-peeve kind of thing. And far be it from me to foist my “beliefs” on anyone else.

What pet peeve?

Well, people who write things and then postulate—not even apologetically, but more apathetically and with a wag of the hand—that “The reader will know what I mean.”

Yeah. Those folks get on my nerves. Deep and hard.

But I have come to understand that such things don’t matter, by and large, to many people, writers and readers alike. Or at least it seems so to me.

For example, despite published writings that are replete with inappropriate instances of absolutes (all, never, always, everyone, nobody, etc.), apparently no writers actually write like that. Ever.

If you don’t believe me, ask them.

And despite published writings that are chock full of eyes wandering out of heads and doing things on their own (her eyes flew across the room and came to rest on a barrel of metal shavings), again, no writer put those words on a page. Again, ever.

And the same goes for other body parts: “her legs raced along the sidewalk” or “his nose smelled something strange” or “her ears listened closely” or “his finger dialed the telephone” or “his hand crept into his pocket to retrieve his revolver.”

No writers that I’ve been able to find write like that either. Ever.

But based on the hard evidence contained between the covers of some books, some do. Or maybe the publishers are sneaking that stuff in.

Anyway, if you mention those faux pas to the writers, they grin the grin of a thousand braying jackasses, wag that hand in the air as if you and they are old buddies and say something like, “Aah, you know, the readers know I didn’t mean it like that.”

And most often I smile and say something noncommittal, like “Hey, when you’re right, you’re right” or just “Ah.”

But the truth lurks in my mind: No, Sparky, they don’t.

Readers read for either or both of two purposes: entertainment and-or information. If you write “never,” they read “never.” They don’t automatically substitute “seldom” or “sometimes” or some other less-inclusive, less blanket-clad word.

If you write that “her legs raced down the road,” the reader sees disembodied legs racing down the road.

If you write that “her eyes came to rest on a barrel of metal shavings,” the reader will wince. Because face it, that had to hurt.

And it isn’t the reader’s fault that they take you at your word(s). It’s your fault.

After all, the reader has no choice but to accept what you put on the page, whether it’s in your novel, in your Essay On Some Topic Of Major Importance or on your Facebook page.

I’ve never known a reader who was hungry for a verbal repast to go looking for a soup sandwich. But that’s often what they get.

It is up to the purveyor of the repast to determine whether he or she is going to serve a nutrituous, delicately balanced meal or something that’s half-baked and barely slopped together.

Am I being nitpicky?

Yes. But only where my own sensibilities are concerned.

Hey, if you want to continue slopping grey, watery soup over stale bread in a bowl, go ahead. If you want to hit it with a dash of sea salt, proclaim it prime rib and hand it out to weary, gaunt-eyed travelers who are starved for sustenance, that’s your business.

I’m only giving you notice that I will not partake. Nor will I sidle up alongside you in the soup kitchen, grab a ladle and begin flinging greasy dumplings at the wall in the hope they will stick and “be something good.”

So anyway, I was gonna devote a whole post to this notion that writers, not readers, are responsible for the clarity or lack thereof in writing.

But it’s a personal thing, so I won’t.

I’ll just pass along a wish that your characters’ eyes will remain in their head. Unless it’s a horror novel and they get whacked really, really hard.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3. Took Mona for her doc visit at 8, then walmart for stuff, then home. Put stuff away, did some watering in the yard, and somehow it’s already 11.

Still, time for some writing today maybe.

So much for the plans of mice and guys like me. TONS of family stuff going on in seemingly cascading sheets. Some of it’s great, some is frightening, some is in between.

I won’t bore you with a lot of details, but three big things are going on today.

First the in-between. That was M’s doc appointment. It was for cause, but nothing too alarming and it’s all gonna work out fine. As a side deal, I picked up a new primary care person myself.

(Okay, that needs a little explanation. My PC doc recently left for a mission for his church and to work out some personal things in his life. He shifted me to a nurse practitioner. I went with M this morning to her appointment, hit it off with her NP, and switched before we left.)

Second, the frightening. I found out later in the day that I have a daughter in the hospital after she ODd on her regular meds. Everything is under control there. Awaiting updates, of course.

Third, the great thing. I’m working a back-door deal with two of my wonderful kids to get my wife a new-ish car. (She knows, so I’m not really giving anything away here. But she only knows it’s happening. She doesn’t know what she’s gonna get or any of that.)

So all of that’s taking up a lot of time and using a little of my stress quota.

On the good side, I’m also cooking two big pots of beans, blackeyed peas and taters (mixed…it’s a long story that involves me alone with the pantry) along with red onion, green chiles, tomatoes, etc. Gonna be good. I’m tempted to toss a little ground beef and cumin in one pot to make chili, but probably not on this go-around.

I did finally think about writing at around 2 p.m. But with only a couple hours left in the day, I decided to pass and pulled out my camera instead.

I’ll write tomorrow, given no earthquakes, lightning strikes or planes landing on my house.

But hey, at least you got a topic out of it, amaright?

See you then.

Of Interest

Just a little daily update at Dean’s, “Movie and Dinner” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/movie-and-dinner/.

An interesting insight for anyone who’s locked into Amazon exclusively from The Passive Voice: “Amazon’s Latest Move: Far From Profitability” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/05/amazons-latest-move-far-from-profitability/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1180 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1180

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 15414
Total fiction words for the year………… 263008
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6540
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 81230

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 344238

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 533 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