The Journal: When Is It Done?

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* When Is It Done?
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“Remember that place in Chapter Seven where you struggled with the action…? … Maybe it was actually better before you made the change.” John Gilstrap

“I start every writing session by rewriting what I wrote the day before. When I get to the end, I do one major editing pass to make sure that the story’s connective tissue is all there, and then I launch it.” John Gilstrap

When Is It Done?

In the Kill Zone blog today, John Gilstrap asks “When Is It Done?” It’s a good post in which he makes some good points, including the first Quote of the Day above.

John has said before that he strives to write one clean draft, then send it off. He talks briefly about his process in the second Quote of the Day. Note that he does believe in consciously “rewriting” each scene vs. trusting that the characters got it right. Otherwise his process and mine are very similar.

But before I get into that, allow me a small digression: re the first Quote of the Day, there is much to be said for listening to that little voice that twinges in your gut in an attempt to tell you not to change something in your story. If you’re thinking (conscious mind) about changing something in your story and you get that little sick feeling in your gut, don’t do it.

Now, I mentioned that my process and John’s are similar. They are, at least mechancially. After each writing session, I read back over what I wrote during the previous session. A “session” for me is about an hour, and 1000 to 1400 words.

This is important: When I read back over a session, I do NOT read critically like an editor or critiquer might. I don’t see myself as a superior storyteller compared to my characters, especially as it concerns a story that they, not I, are living. Duh. So I don’t read critically. I read with the creative subconscious, just as any another reader would, enjoying the story. I do not invite my conscious, critical mind to second-guess my characters. I can’t stress enough how important this is.

And as I read with my creative subconscious, I rest my fingers on the keyboard and allow my characters to touch the story as they deem necessary. That clears up anything I missed and it gets me back into the story. When I reach the white space, I continue into the next writing session.

When I reach the end of the story, I take a break — anything from a few minutes to an hour or longer — and then I come back to read over the last session. When that’s done, I run a spell check, then send the story off to my first reader.

My first reader catches anything that pops out at him as he reads, basically any wrong words (waste vs. waist, solder vs. soldier) and inconsistencies. He is not a critiquer or even a writer. He’s just an avid reader who happens to enjoy my work. He offers NO critical-mind advice on how he would have written the story.

When he sends the story back, I read over his notes, apply those with which I agree, create a cover, write some brief sales copy, and launch it. Finally, if it’s early enough in the day, I start the next story.

This was my process from mid-April 2014 through early August 2021. I hope it will be my process again very soon. Especially that “start the next story” part. (grin)

Talk with you again later.

Of Interest

See “When Is It Done?” at https://killzoneblog.com/2022/07/when-is-it-done.html.

See “Back Cover Copy Formula” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/back-cover-copy-formula/. The best place to learn to write ANY sales copy is Dean Wesley Smith’s book, How to Write Fiction Sales Copy.

See “Promoting a Book on Amazon: Boost your Backlist” at https://www.amarketingexpert.com/2022/07/12/promoting-a-book-on-amazon-boost-your-backlist/. This is well worth the free newsletter. Check it out.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 630 words

Writing of Blackwell Ops 8 (tentative title, novel)

Day 19… 2117 words. Total words to date…… 41729

Total fiction words for July……… 0
Total fiction words for the year………… 45405
Total nonfiction words for July… 5120
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 99250
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 144655

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 66
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. I’ve never said WITD is “the only way” to write, nor will I ever. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among other topics.