Had a great walk. Only about 5.5 miles but at a good pace despite shooting a few pics. Got a couple cover pics so it’s all good.
The guy on the left is a baby cotton tail and he was naturally curious. Hopped just off the trail, then stopped and looked while I took pictures. Might be a girl. I see she has a little green bouquet just above her left eye. (grin)
My old Coleman metal cooler is working fine. Just have to slap silicone on one minuscule leak. Woohoo! Older SERIOUSLY is better.
Hmm. Good thing once again I have really flexible hours. (grin)
Had an eye doctor appointment in Willcox (I don’t do SV whenever I can help it), then hung around town for another hour buying some stuff I can’t find within 30 miles of Good Ol’ Benson who’s running everybody out with their Stinkin’ High Taxes.
Anyway, I wrote some this morning, but with the day dwindling (again) and with a massive storm sitting just southwest considering thinking about deciding whether it might possibly move into Saint David, I’m reporting early.
Topic of the Night: Writing Off Into the Dark, Part One
This is writing without an outline, without a plan, without allowing your conscious mind to “direct” every action of every character and every word that comes out of your characters’ mouth.
Look, if someone tells you how a novel ends, do you still want to read it? Most people would say No.
So if you know before you start writing what’s going to happen, why do you want to write it? Isn’t that boring? It is to me.
Bradbury once said (paraphrasing) How can a writer expect to surprise the reader if he doesn’t surprise himself?
And when asked about his process for writing Dandelion Wine, he said he wrote it like he wrote everything else. He got his coffee, he sat down at the typewriter, he put his fingers on the keys, and he wrote whatever came.
So writing off into the dark. Sit down at your writing computer, put your fingers on the keyboard, and write whatever comes.
Trust it. Trust your subconscious to tell the story. It’s been doing that a lot longer than you’ve known the alphabet.
I once wrote that this technique is an offshoot of Heinlein’s Rules. That isn’t really true. You can write off into the dark even if you aren’t following Heinlein’s Rules. But they do go together very nicely.
If there were specific rules for writing off into the dark they would read like this (annotated with an explanation to save space):
- Sit down at your writing computer and Just Write. (Just Write: Don’t think about what you want to write. Don’t outline. Don’t strive for a plot; the characters will bring it with them. Don’t plan and force the characters/story to conform to your plan. Don’t do anything else. Let Go and Just Write.)
- When you get stuck, Just Write the Next Sentence. Then Write the Next Sentence. Then Write the Next Sentence. (When you get stuck, Just Write the Next Sentence: If there is no next sentence, if nothing comes [Don’t Think!], that scene is probably finished. Just write the next scene. Open it by writing whatever comes into you mind, then write the next sentence. Lather, rinse, repeat.)
- Run your spell checker. (Remember, this is done in critical mind. It’s imperative that while you’re doing this, you don’t start reading even small snippets of the story and “fixing” it. Like one little drink for an alcoholic or one cigarette for me, it will lead you to a lifetime of rewriting and polishing instead of submitting and publishing. And you WILL polish the good off your story.)
- Send to your first reader, then publish. (If you have a first reader, when it comes back, fix whatever the first reader caught IF YOU AGREE. If you don’t have a first reader, or if you don’t have a good first reader, skip it and just publish.)
- Write the next story. Writers Write. (Self-explanatory. Writers Write. Just Write.)
So there you go. Tomorrow’s topic: Writing Off Into the Dark, Part Two (You do NOT want to miss this. And stop being stingy. Tell your friends!)
Fiction words: 1678
Writing of The Battle of Tres Caballos (Book 8)
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… 3186 words. Total words to date…… 24293
Day 10… 1585 words. Total words to date…… 25878
Day 11… 2178 words. Total words to date…… 28056
Day 12… 1730 words. Total words to date…… 29786
Day 13… 1083 words. Total words to date…… 30869
Day 14… 1784 words. Total words to date…… 32653
Day 15… 4018 words. Total words to date…… 36671
Day 16… 3116 words. Total words to date…… 39787
Day 17… 1678 words. Total words to date…… 41469
Total fiction words for the month…………… 32199
Total fiction words for the year……………… 437882