The Journal, Sunday, 2/12

Hey Folks,

I encourage you to read the topic below, and tomorrow’s topic as well. Both rehash things I’ve talked about before, but in a different way.

Topic: Writing Off Into the Dark, Revisited

When I was a GED/college instructor, and later when I taught writing seminars, I soon found that not all students “got it” when I approached a topic from a certain perspective.

So I soon learned to gauge student reactions, most notably their eyes or the general look on their faces.

When I saw that some didn’t understand, I came at the topic again from a different direction. I like to think I did so seamlessly. Ahem.

After the second or third iteration, new segments of students would nod or smile (or both) and the little light in their eyes would come on.

It is in that spirit that I revisit this topic.

I’m about to return to my WIP novel for the day. As I was considering that, I felt invigorated.


Because I’ll be writing off into the dark. (I added “off” because somehow, some folks equate “writing INTO the dark” with “writing IN the dark.” Not the same thing.)

The thought that I would be writing off into the dark invigorated me because I won’t be going to the novel with any preconceived notions.

I won’t be writing things I know the characters will say. I won’t be writing solutions to problems the characters encounter. I won’t be writing any preformulated “this happens, then that happens” scenario. All of that is just massively boring to me.

Frankly, I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen beyond an alien force landing on Earth.

And the lack of knowing is invigorating. It’s exciting.

I’ll sit at the laptop, put my fingers on the keyboard, and write whatever comes.

Not what I want to write, but what the characters do and say. Not a preconceived setting, but what the characters allow me to see of the setting.

For example, I might finally be allowed to see the interior of the bridge on an alien ship. I might be allowed to see other areas of the different kinds of ships, if the characters feel they’re germane to the story they’re telling.

And that’s the whole point.

The characters are down in the story.

I can choose to be the Almighty Writer on High, controlling what each character says and does with my Mighty Hand and tell exactly the same story others have told countless times.

Or I can resign as General Manager of the Universe, drop off my self-installed pedestal, roll off the edge of a trench and drop into the story.

Then I can get up, dust off my jeans, and look aghast at the characters who are pointing at me and laughing quietly.

I’ll say something like “Hey, I’m just here to record for posterity what you guys do.”

They’ll discuss it briefly — if they aren’t under fire — and then they’ll gesture with a “well, come on” motion and take off through the story.

And I’ll keep up as best I can, scribbling furiously as I go and hoping I don’t miss too much.

And at the end of the day, I’ll be the first “reader” to be completely entertained by these exciting, strange new folks.

And I have ZERO idea what they’re going to say or do, so how can any other reader possibly foresee it? As Bradbury said (I’m paraphrasing), “How can you hope to surprise the reader if you don’t surprise yourself?”

Try it. You’ll love it. I promise.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out just before 4. I did the whole coffee, cigar, Facebook and email thing for the first hour, then spent two hours writing the topic above and tomorrow’s topic and cross posting them to the big blog.

Got a shower, then breakfast, and came back to the ‘puter to find I had left it unplugged. I usually start writing the new day’s stuff outside, so I had to run my charging cord out the window. (grin)

8, finally to the WIP. Just under 2000 words by 9:40 and taking a break.

Wow. Long break. I worked cleaning out my trucks (4-Runner and Tacoma), then broke down some cardboard boxes for recycling. Took a few pics of bees on dandelions, then messed around on FB for awhile.

1 p.m. Now back to the WIP. Nope. Norton saw what it thought was “suspicious outgoing activity” and recommended I run Power Eraser, so I’ll do that. While that was going on, I ate too much lunch.

2 p.m. finally back to the WIP.

Not going to be as good a writing day as I’d hoped. I wanted to hit at least 3,000 words, but I screwed around too much. Been a good day, though.

See you tamale.

Of Interest

Not a lot at Dean’s place today: Busy Day for a Saturday ( and a bit about the Superstars Workshop at Just something to look forward to if you’re interested.

Fiction Words: 2262
Nonfiction Words: 820 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3082

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510

Total fiction words for the month……… 26302
Total fiction words for the year………… 118912
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6430
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 26120

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 145032