The Journal, Sunday, 9/20: Leaving a Jagged Edge

Rolled out around 1:30. Answered some emails, then came here to write this, then to the novel. I’m going to Tucson this morning, so I want to get some done on the novel before I go.

Probably you’ve noticed I’m not doing more on short stories right now. I will, but the challenge is definitely kaput since the novel popped up. Just the way it is. The story of the week for tomorrow is already pre-posted. So sometime after tomorrow I’ll write the story for next Monday (28th).

I can leave a novel to write a short story, then return to the novel. I can do that. But I can’t leave a novel to write a bunch of short stories and then come back to the novel with the same fire. And novels sell better than short stories, plus I want to see what happens in the novel, so there y’go.

Leaving for Tucson around 9:15, so in the shower by 8:30, so I can write and do whatever else from the time I finish this until around 8. The extra half-hour gives me time to leave a jagged edge on the story to prep for when I come back.

Leaving a jagged edge is some of the simplest and best writing advice I ever received. I got it from SF writer CJ Cherryh when I heard her speak at Eastern NM University in Portales, NM.

Simply put, it means don’t stop writing at a clear, clean break. For example, before you stop writing for the day, you might put your character in the shower.

When you come back to the story later, you’ll have to get the character out of the shower before you can write anything else, and that will get you back into the flow. Or maybe the character being in the shower when you come back will send through your fingers a scene that results from the character having been in the shower.

Perhaps you’ll open with a scene in a restaurant (he showered to get ready to go to the restaurant) or a business meeting or whatever.

I’m sure you get the idea.

Okay, it’s not quite 3 a.m., so on to the novel for awhile. Then I’ll come back and post my numbers, all before 8:30. If I get a chance to write more after I get back, then I’ll change the numbers and this post. If not, it will be good to go.

My Current Goals and Challenge
My goals are to write 3,000 words of publishable fiction per day and at least one short story per week. Stay tuned.

Today’s Writing
After a good session on the novel, I added a few more posts (pre-posted) to my other blog, then came back to the novel. When I left for Tucson, I had written 2942 words in two long sessions.

Weird missing my daily goal by only 58 words, but not that big a deal, right? I got involved in some other stuff after Tucson and didn’t get back to writing today. However, tomorrow is a new 3000-word daily goal.

Also kind of a great feeling knowing I’m well over a half-million words so far on the year. (grin)

I’m removing the short stories I was reporting on earlier. I’ll put them back when I write on them again. Much as I enjoy writing short stories, I have to admit it feels really good to be working on another novel. Kind of in a race with myself. (grin)

Fiction Words: 2942

Writing of “Norval Babineaux” (novel)
Day 1…… 3405 words. Total words to date….. 3405 words
Day 2…… 1487 words. Total words to date….. 4892 words
Day 3…… 4139 words. Total words to date….. 9031 words
Day 4…… 1516 words. Total words to date….. 10547 words
Day 5…… 2942 words. Total words to date….. 13489 words (2942 before Tucson)

Total fiction words for the month………… 36897 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year…………… 501938 (Woohoo!)

In case anyone’s wondering (I was), I’ve also written 155,419 words on this blog. That does NOT include emails or seminar handouts or my “main” blog that comes out every ten days. So total word count of published fiction and this blog since January 1 2015 is 657,357 words. (grin) Tomorrow, back to fiction only.

I tagged DWS in this because if it weren’t for him, I would never have achieved this. So just in case you get a ping back or something. Thanks, Dean.