The Journal, Wednesday, 12/3

Hi Folks,

Well, again, overnight I had a thought regarding the publishing website. So another early morning of poking about . But only during my waking up period, so some good done and no harm. Still a little more to do on this latest innovation but time to write now.

The Day

Got up late right at 4 this morning. Again it was too cold to let the babies out. But I did. I left the door so they could grab it and drag it open. They were back inside in about five minutes trying to walk without putting their little feet on the floor. The Liquid Nitrogen Effect, I call that. And they’re settling in as I write this.

Did the publisher website thing I talked about above, then came here to begin this post.

Probably I’ll walk later today. I’ll need a break anyway. How far I walk will depend on how much I can get done on the story before the weather warms up enough to walk. If I get a few thousand words done before then, I’ll take a longer walk.

Received my copy of Working Days. I look forward to delving into it tomorrow during breaks. The only thing that excites me more than writing is learning how other writers whom I admire write what I’m writing, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

In my fiction, I take a lot of clues from Bradbury, O. Henry and Hemingway. In my poetry, Nemerov and a few others. And it’s probably obvious to anyone who follows this blog and DWS’ blog that I emulate his quite a bit. Soon I hope to be able to apply here what I learn from Steinbeck’s journals.

By the way, if you are a fan of Hemingway or Bradbury, I recommend a couple of books there too. Travels with Myself and Another: A Memoir by Martha Gelhorn, and Conversations with Ray Bradbury edited by Steven L. Aggelis. The ebook worked for me with the former. The latter is available only in paperback.

While double checking the accuracy of the titles above at, I also ordered Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors by Celia Blue Johnson. (Hell of a title, eh? Glad I didn’t have to do the cover for that one.)

Note that I ordered this primarily out of a tongue-in-cheek curiosity. I suspect many of the “quirky techniques” are bogus, things that FICTION WRITERS (professional liars) told overly snoopy fans and wannabe writers to give them something to play with. Like Hemingway always writing drunk in his underwear while standing up. (grin)

Okay, spent a little more time playing here than I meant to. So for now, to the writing.

Did some cycling back, kind’a glued to a couple of scenes for some reason. They’re fine. I just need to leave them alone now.

Got out for a short walk (a little under two miles). It was 45 here and no wind. Of course, after I got out there on the road, the wind picked up to a steady 7-8 mph. (When I turned around and walked with it, its force was blunted by about half and I was walking at about 3 mph so…. )

Anyway, pancakes and syrup and ham slices for lunch, and back to the novel. Which is suddenly dragging. Hmmm.

Today’s Writing: A Lesson

You’ve all heard me preach Writing Off Into the Dark. I’ve been doing that on short stories since April of 2014, and I’ve been doing it on novels since October of 2014. Briefly, it consists of shoving the conscious mind back into whatever box and allowing your subconscious to tell the story.

Every book writes differently.

In this particular novel, which is writing differently even from every other book in this series, I’m writing off into the dark in spurts. I get a thousand words here, eight hundred words there. Those words race all-out to advance the novel.

Then my conscious mind horns in.

Used to, it would horn in with “Well, what’s the character gonna do next? What’s gonna happen next? If you don’t know, you can’t write it, Moron.”

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and I was able fairly easily to shut down that voice. But the conscious, critical mind doesn’t stop trying.

In this book it’s back with a vengeance in a different voice. I speed through a thousand or fifteen hundred or two thousand words and the conscious mind pops up. “Wait. Doesn’t that scene sound like it should be connected to that scene you wrote two days ago back in Abilene? Maybe you’d better just scroll back and take a quick look.”

See? It ISN’T trying to stop me. It’s trying to alert me to a connection I might have missed.

Only the subconscious mind doesn’t miss connections. It adds them when it’s good and ready, but it doesn’t miss them. You Have to Trust the Process.

So in this book, the conscious, critical voice is all about connections. Thing is, I’ve been wrestling with it for three days now, and I only recognized it a few minutes ago. And now my writing day is almost over.

That’s okay. At least I recognized it. When you recognize a new form of critical voice, you can shove it aside and get on with the writing. Understand? And until you do, it’ll keep popping up, annoying the mucus out of you.

Every book is different. This book writes in scenes. Probably some of those scenes will be disconnected until the book ends. But the thing is, NOW is not the time to worry about that. Now is the time to advance the story. Period.

Probably (unless everything miraculously comes together) I’ll go back after The End (first time ever in a novel) and either connect the scenes or toss them. I suspect some of them are like the “loops” Dean talks about occasionally. Fun to write and in the flow and all that, but they don’t really advance the story. They begin, loop around, and close back on themselves. And they get cut and tossed on the floor where they writhe around for a few minutes and expire. Or they get cut and adapted and become short stories.

Okay, so a lousy day from an advancing-the-novel perspective, but finding a loose pin that might have derailed me is gold. No complaints.

Oh, and sorry about the length on this one. I guess it was necessary.

Fiction Words: 1782

Writing of The Scent of Acacia (Book 9 in the Wes Crowley saga)

Day 1…… 3887 words. Total words to date…… 3887 words
Day 2…… 3092 words. Total words to date…… 6979 words
Day 3…… 3365 words. Total words to date…… 10344 words
Day 4…… 3077 words. Total words to date…… 13421 words
Day 5…… 4486 words. Total words to date…… 17907 words
Day 6…… 3739 words. Total words to date…… 21646 words
Day 7…… 1471 words. Total words to date…… 23117 words
Day 8…… 2843 words. Total words to date…… 25960 words
Day 9…… 1782 words. Total words to date…… 27742 words

Total fiction words for the month……… 6689
Total fiction words for the year………… 610680