The Journal, Thursday, 1/26

Hey Folks,

Boy am I embarrassed.

I had a great start on a new novel yesterday, even with only a half-day.

I wrote more on it this morning (only a little over 1600 halting words) before I suddenly realized at about 8 a.m. that as I was writing my conscious mind was searching for pre-established facts.

Uh-oh. There are no pre-established facts when writing off into the dark.

And that led me to realize that my subconscious had “borrowed” the idea (a character with a problem in a setting) from a several-volume saga I edited about two decades ago. And yes, it was such a great story that it stuck with me that long. The thing easily rivals the Star Wars saga. Easily. And to me it’s even better. By far.

(The first book, which I think is still in print, is called Last of the Firstborn. It’s by a guy named Glen Glenn.)

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, Glen has never published that saga, except for one foray to a subsidy publisher with the first book. But still, I don’t want to write it. Writing (or rewriting) any story I already know is just boring. That’s why I don’t do outlines.

But sure enough, the character was the same (albeit with a different name), the problem (both immediate and far-reaching) was the same, and even the setting was the same.

For awhile this morning I thought I could change the character from an alien to a human in the same situation and just keep writing. But there was no story there. Nothing.

Now it’s true that there are no truly original ideas, that there is nothing new under the sun, but this was too much. So I stopped writing.

So today will be mostly a nonwriting day, though I’ll count the words I’ve written thus far because they are publishable words and they brought me to this realization.

Maybe I need a nonwriting day or two between projects. I don’t know. But I don’t want to risk what amounts to plagiarizing someone else’s work, so I’m shelving Stenson.

Today I’ll maybe go on a hike with my grandson. See what shakes out. I hope you all have a great day as well, writing or not.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 2:30 this morning. Trying to get an earlier start on writing so I can spend more of the afternoon doing other things. We’ll see.

Only 24° out there this morning, with a constant breeze. So straight to the Hovel at 4 with two mugs of coffee. In the Hovel, even though I left one window partially open last night, it’s 50°.

Nice to enjoy my first cigar of the day without my fingertips freezing.

4:20, I have Internet access from the house (somehow) so I’m gonna read Dean’s stuff.

4:45, some very good comments on Dean’s previous post, including some things to research later. For now, up to the house to let the pets out of their kennels, then back here to the novel.

5, I started on the novel. Just over 700 words in the first session. But those are usually slow, so no biggie. Around 6:20, up to the house for a brief break.

6:40, back to the Hovel. Just before the last break, I realized the story is going in a wrong direction. (This is when I first started feeling the tugs of my conscious mind searching for facts.)

7 a.m., back to the story. Cycling from the beginning first, then new writing. (This is when I was going to start over with the same idea but a different character.)

8 a.m. This is when I called it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See the (25!) comments on Dean’s “What is Possible?” at

Then check out What Is Special? ( Naturally, I felt as if he was talking personally to me. (grin)

Fiction Words: 1634
Nonfiction Words: 650 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2284

Writing of Stenson (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 3566 words. Total words to date…… 3566
Day 2…… 1634 words. Total words to date…… 5200 (killed)

Total fiction words for the month……… 74508
Total fiction words for the year………… 74508
Total nonfiction words for the month… 16830
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 16830

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 91338