The Journal, Monday, 3/27

Hey Folks,

Dean has begun a series of posts on copyright. I’m not personally wild about the analogy he uses, but there should be a ton of good information there over the next several days.

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I said I would update you regarding my experience with Cover to Upload.

Kathy did an excellent job, put up with my requirements and changes, was very quick to respond, and even uploaded the thing to CreateSpace for me.

Oh, she also sent files (two choices of a cover and the interior) for me to proof and then made a few changes for me before she uploaded it.

I can’t recommend her strongly enough. Please let her know I sent you if you go.

She even said she could do a book a week for me if I wanted her to. Seriously, you can’t beat this with a stick.

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For those of you keeping up with the sparse saga of my grandson, first, thanks for your kind comments. Bryan’s going for an interview with Job Corps in mid-April. Together, he and I have explored a lot of options. We believe this is his best chance at a good life.

Topic: Different Characters, Different Worlds

The family unit is the first social group to which we are subjected. For that reason, the opening of this topic might seem a bit personal. But bear with it.

When I was a child of around 10, I suddenly became aware that I didn’t know my parents.

I knew of them, of course, in their role as my parents, and from my unique perspective.

But I didn’t know them as individual human beings. The same goes in the other direction.

They knew me as their child and in the context of the family dynamic, but again, from their different perspectives (stepmother’s and father’s).

Later I realized that my perspective and opinion of my parents was substantially different even from the perspectives and opinions of my siblings. Even though my siblings’ “level” in the family was comparable to my own.

I also realized that my opinions of different settings and events and even my memories of those settings and events differed significantly from the opinions and memories of my siblings and my parents.

Have you ever noticed that when you “remember” a specific setting or event and mention it to family or friends, often their rememberance differs from yours?

Have you ever noticed that you have a distinct opinion of a given setting? And that perhaps the opinions of others of that same setting differs from yours?

Those opinions are tainted not only with the immediate perception and personal preference of the character, but also with the character’s “baggage.” By which I mean, memories of earlier experiences, traumas and elations.

For example, say you walk into a library. Maybe to you, the atmosphere is “stuffy,” filled as it is with the smell of dust-covered volumes and the sound of people moving quietly among the stacks.

Maybe to the person accomanying you, the atmosphere is “pleasant.” Maybe to another it’s “loud” or “disquieting” or some other descriptor.

This is the main reason, when I’m talking with a memoir writer, that I say memoir is much more closely related to fiction than to nonfiction.

Memoir is a set of memories, from a unique perspective, of settings and events that have already happened.

Fiction is a set of memories, again from a unique perspective, of settings and events that have not yet happened.

But more to the point, those early realizations were also my early training to be a writer.

Those early realizations are why it was easy for me to accept the notion (from DWS) that if I wanted to ground the reader in my story, all setting description had to be sifted through the POV character’s physical senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell) and through his or her opinion of that setting.

We all (characters in life) have our own opinion of every setting we enter.

Being alone in an elevator provides a sense of claustrophobia or a chance for calm reflection. Being with a group in an elevator provides a feeling of unease or a fear of germs or a sense of unity and companionship.

When the elevator arrives and the doors sluice open, any given sight is pleasant or troubling or exciting or something in between. A body on the floor in the hallway horrifies one, awes another.

The lighting in any setting is bright or dim or absent, the sounds loud or quiet, the underlying psychic sense eerie or comforting.

One character is disgusted by all the dust illuminated in a beam of light coming through a window. Another is pleased at the warmth and hominess of it. Yet another is excited at all the worlds floating before him.

A room in which the ambient temperature is 55° is cold to one, chilly to another, and comfortable to a third.

The smell of tobacco smoke is an aroma or a stench. The smoke floating in the air is grey to one, silver to another, ugly to one, wispy and beautiful to another.

Every flavor is sweet or bitter, sharp or bland, acidic or alkiline. Every texture is smooth or rough, rippled or bumpy or wavy.

When an automobile backfires on the street it’s annoying to one, comforting to another, and a rifle shot to a third.

The sound of a jake brake in use on a big rig coming into town is annoying to one, comforting to another, and an act of defiance to a third.

Think back about your own life, your own opinions of settings. Consider your friends’ or partner’s opinions of the same settings and how they differ.

Now the trick — in your writing, realize that your opinion of a given setting doesn’t matter. But do insist that the POV character’s opinion makes it into the story.

And the story will come alive.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4:15 this morning after a good night’s rest.

Finally to the Hovel around 7 or a little later. I wrote the stuff above this.

9, a brief break up to the house. Well, the brief break turned longer. My cover and interior-layout person at Cover to Upload did an excellent job and sent me proofs. I looked them over, got a few requirements back to her, and now back to the novel.

9:50, finally to the novel. Wow! That was interesting. I opened the novel to find all of yesterday’s words missing.

Back to the house to retrieve my “conflicted copy” from the recycle bin on the other computer. That was the correct one. Transferred it to my flash drive, then back to the Hovel, downloaded it. Whew!

I feel just a little bit like the universe is screwing with me today. (grin)

I’ve rattled on far too long here. The rest of the day I’ll write with breaks about every hour. Then I’ll report the total here at the end. Thanks for staying tuned.

10, NOW finally to the novel.

Well, shutting down with a pretty good day at just over 4,000 words. Not as good as it sounds though. Not sure what kind of time I’ll have to write tomorrow. I have a doc appointment in Tucson, so I hope I’ll get some time to write.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s, “The Magic Bakery: Copyright in the Modern World of Fiction Publishing”

An excellent service provider: Cover to Upload. See

Fiction Words: 4109
Nonfiction Words: 1240 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 5349

Writing of The Pyramid Killer

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 51289
Total fiction words for the year………… 203155
Total nonfiction words for the month… 19000
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 55590

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 258745

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