The Journal, Wednesday, 3/15

Hey Folks,

Get a free ebook containing five mystery stories from Dean Wesley Smith at Then go to his website and sign up for his newsletter (right sidebar).

It’s supposed to be a freebie for signing up. (grin) But I doubt he’d mind me sharing this link.

Well, I’d like to start a new novel today. We’ll see.

I’ll ease my way into it, though. Partly because at the moment I have no clue what the story will be about—nothing about the characters, situation, etc.—and partly because I have a lot of non-writing things to catch up on. Chores and so forth.

I’m also preparing a few Topics for you guys for coming days. And then I also really need to get some covers done and get some of the stories I’ve finished published to D2D and Amazon and available to BundleRabbit.

So I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll do “life” stuff this morning and start the new novel this afternoon. If then. Again, we’ll see.

Topic: Rambling, With Gems (I Hope)

When I finished the first half of the challenge yesterday with one and one-half days more than half of the month left, I was almost giddy with excitement.

Not because I finished, but because finishing meant I’d get to launch into a new story. So the excitement of a new project.

I’ve worked for a long time at getting to the point where I was glad to finish not for the sake of finishing but for the sake of starting the next story.

I’ve been there for the past several novels, but now that feeling is firmly entrenched.
In fact, it’s so firmly entrenched that I have bothered (yet) designing covers for my previous two or three novels and publishing them. And it’s actually wonderful.

The writing, the being entertained by my characters, is more important than anything else. When you get there (if you haven’t) it’s a very comforting feeling.

But yeah, I still need to get them out there. Maybe they’ll entertain others too. They can’t do that from inside my computer.

As an added bonus, finishing the first part of this challenge yesterday means I have a lot more time to write the next one and still successfully complete the challenge.

Whereas I gave myself only 10 days to write the first novel — I started it on the 5th and hoped to finish by mid-month — I have up to 17 days to finish the second one.

So the question now becomes How to proceed?

It would be almost easy to continue in a new story with a few of the main characters from Without A Clue, but I don’t want to do that.

And already two of the minor players in Without A Clue are tugging on my sleeve for their own spinoff. But I don’t want to do that either.

I mean, I want to do both of those, but not right now. Not as part of this challenge. Too easy. I’d feel like I was cheating.

I want this next story to be separate of the first. Even in a different genre. Knowing me, it’ll probably be psychological and/or sociological SF. Or it might be western.

Go figure. The two worst-selling genres. (grin)

Or it might be something similar in genre to what I just wrote, but with wholly new characters and situations.

I’m not wanting to write a completely different character/situation/genre story just to make it more interesting or (to me) more difficult and therefore intriguing.

I’m doing it because even as I’m turning out the next work, I want to practice a new technique. Or rather, practice an old technique in which I don’t feel particularly proficient at the moment.

Or maybe practice an old technique in which I feel proficient, but practice it in a different genre.

Many techniques cross genre lines, but there are still genre differences in how they’re presented.

Because along with the sheer joy of writing (and being entertained by) a new story, isn’t learning and improving part of the joy too?

Next month I plan to do the same thing. Write two novels, each around 35,000 to 50,000 words, but in different genres.

If I get into writing a series in one genre (say, detective mystery), with the same major “team” characters but different situations, I might even try three novels per month. (grin)

* * *

You all know how gung-ho I am about Dean Wesley Smith’s workshops and lectures.

But — with one reservation — I can not in good conscience recommend the Regular (Basic) Craft Strengths Workshop.

If you have maybe a handful of short stories out and maybe a couple of novels, this workshop might be of some use to you. In fact, in that case, I’m certain it would be of use to you.

But you probably would benefit a great deal more from spending your money and time on some of the other workshops and lectures Dean offers on his website. And I do strongly recommend many of those.

In fact, in upcoming topics, I’ll discuss those I recommend and why. Stay tuned.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4. Not really a lot to put into this section today.

As I write this, it’s almost 1:30.

Over the past several hours, I’ve written three or four topics for this Journal, done four loads of laundry, and watched and listened to every video of the Regular Craft Strengths workshop.

Then I wrote the stuff above this.

I was also a bit stymied (did that to myself). I had excerpted part of the novel I just finished to use as a short story.

But as I looked it over, I decided not to use it in that way. To turn it into a good short story I would have had to add too much that I didn’t want to add.

So today will be a nonwriting day.

I did pick up some more knowledge today re writing, mostly from reading for pleasure. I’ll be doing some topics on some of what I’ve learned recently in upcoming editions of this Journal too.

Now I’m going to post this (it’s almost 2) then design covers for two or three novels and get them out there.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Dean’s “Curriculum for a Career,” in which he explains more about his Strengths workshop, is at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 990 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 990

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 30252
Total fiction words for the year………… 182118
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7560
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 44150

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 226268