I read Stephen King‘s On Writing twice before. The first time was probably in 2003 and the second time would have been in 2006. Now that I have more experience in the business of writing and have a better understanding of the things King talks about in On Writing , I decided to give it another read.
I approach my writing projects pretty much the same way Stephen King approaches his. Like King, I usually don’t draw up an outline before I begin work on a project. I like to start the story and let it go wherever it wants.
King repeats a few times in On Writing, “the story is the boss.” I agree with that. It works for me. Other writers might use outlines and steer their characters like cars, and it probably works fantastic for them. That’s fine. Whatever works for you is great.
There are other things that King and I agree on, like story morals (Sometimes there’s a moral, sometimes there’s not, and so what?) and symbols (If there happens to be symbols, they might be lifted, but if not, that’s fine.). Stories do not require morals and symbols to be good stories. Stephen King and I would agree, anyway.
I don’t agree with everything King says in this book, but a lot of it is pretty similar to my own practices and believes about writing. Unlike some other writers you might meet, King admits that he screws up sometimes and I appreciate that honesty.
On Writing is a good read and I recommend it to anyone who is struggling as a writer. There are many useful tips.
Okay, so that’s another book knocked off my to-read list. I had three more nonfiction titles lined up before I got to read some fiction again. But I’m tired of nonfiction and I want a break from it, so I moved Gustavo Bondoni’s Siege to the top of the list. I’ll start on that tomorrow.
This is the back of my office. There used to be a small desk and an end table with a lamp on it. But it felt pretty crowded with that stuff in here, so I moved it all out a few weeks ago. So, now there’s just a wall.
I want to hang a picture there. I’m thinking the picture would be five feet long and three feet high. But not just any picture. I want a picture that would give the impress that you’re looking out the window of a tall building (not necessarily a skyscraper) in an urban area. The view would be of the streets and buildings, even houses, restaurants and gas stations, things like that.
I guess I’m looking for a picture that would show more of a community/residential area and less of a downtown commercial area. And something that’s not really artistic, but just a simple view.
I haven’t found the right picture yet.
Maybe “urban” isn’t the right word for it, but I’m not sure “suburban” is either, or maybe it’s a combination of both, “urban” and “suburban”.
A couple months ago, I started receiving issues of Forbes, and now I’m getting ESPN issues too. I didn’t subscribe to either magazine and I don’t know why I’m receiving them.
I blog a lot. Usually once a day, sometimes a few times a day. and sometimes days go by without a peep from me on robdarnell.com or either of the social media sites I’m active on. Lately I’ve been crossposting my blog entries from robdarnell.com to Facebook and the Joke A Day Forums where I have my own personal thread, as do many other JAD Forum members. I don’t feel like explaining what JAD is, but many of us have known each other online and in person for years.
The main reason I blog is I want to keep up an online presence. I try to blog at least once a day. If I don’t already have something in mind and blogging is the next task on my checklist, I’ll just pick something random and write the hell out of it. Blogging is usually fun for me. I treat it as a hobby. It’s also good writing exercise.
There are times when I feel self-conscious and I think the things I’m posting are stupid, that the people reading them are rolling their eyes and wondering what sort of mental disorder it is that I suffer from. But often, it’s the posts that I’m self-conscious about that receive the most positive reactions.
There are people who try to tell you what’s okay and what’s not okay to post online. Don’t listen to those people. There’s a lot of things about myself that I don’t share online. It’s just stuff that I’m not comfortable sharing. But some people will share things about themselves that I won’t share about myself, and that’s fine.
You might get negative feedback, but if you want to post about it, go for it.
I went to bed at around eleven last night, but barely slept an hour. At around 4:30 AM, I was tired of lying awake in bed. So, I got up and went right to work.
I got five more pages into the short story. I’m on page 36 now and the total wordcount is 7,821. Seeing how it’s 6:25 AM right now, It only took me about two hours to get those five pages down. That’s pretty good. I’d like to be able to do that more often. Usually it takes me about an hour to get one page, so five pages usually takes closer to five hours to get down.
I’m going to rest for a bit, and then I’ll go at the novel.
I had my paws on one of these today. I’m eager to start collecting these old-style cap-and-ball revolvers. I’d like to have all the different models someday.
I couldn’t sleep. So, at 5:30 AM, I rolled out of bed and found a publisher that might like the 60,000-word crime thriller I wrapped up a while back. I threw together a submission package and sent it off.
This is not the international conspiracy thriller that has been at another publishing company since December 16, 2016. That one is 91,000 words. I still haven’t heard anything on that one. But that’s okay. I’ve done work for publishers and I know why it can take a long time for editors to respond to submissions. It’s nothing personal.
So, now I have two novels on the market. Let’s see what happens.
On December 31, New Year’s Eve, I blogged about five resolutions that would go into effect January 1, 2017. It’s February 17, 2017 now. Let’s see how my resolutions are holding up.
RESOLUTION #1: I will stick with my current work plan. My daily checklist may not undergo even the slightest adjustment after today. It will stay the same all through 2017.
HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Miserably. I practically broke the damn thing off. As with all the adjustments I’d made ever since I’ve been using a daily checklist, it works great for a while and then it becomes difficult to complete all the tasks. Eventually things aren’t getting done. My workload and chores start piling up and I start feeling overwhelmed and depressed.
So, I decided to make adjustments as I need to and forget about sticking to one plan through the entire year.
RESOLUTION #2: Beer and pizza are now rewards for finishing novels. Therefore, I may not purchase beer or pizza until a draft is finished. I will, however, accept beer and pizza if you’re buying.
HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Solid. I have not purchased a single beer or pizza since the new year began. Never mind that I’m very thirsty and my pizza craving grows stronger every day. Beer and pizza will be awesome rewards when I get this novel wrapped up. I’m already fantasizing about it.
When I finish this novel, I’m going to buy five different six packs, each one a different beer. One six pack will be Corona, another will be one of Samuel Adam’s blends, and probably one will be Budweiser (just because.). I don’t yet know what the other two will be.
Also, when the novel is finished, I’m going to order the biggest pizza I can get from Elba Corners, along with breadsticks and whatever else goes well with Pizza. When the pizza and beer is all gone, I’ll begin the next novel.
Although I have not bought beer or pizza myself, there were a couple times when I was at my mom and dad’s house and they wanted to get pizza. And once when my brother was over here, he wanted to get beer and pizza. So, I have had some beer and pizza since the new year started, but that falls under “I will, however, accept beer and pizza if you’re buying.”
RESOLUTION #3: I will not buy anymore guns until I get my credit card paid off. I will have my credit card paid off before the end of 2017.
HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Feebly. I haven’t bought any guns, but there are times when I feel like I’m going to cave, contact my FFL dealer and have him order one for me. I’ve been eyeing a Mossberg pump shotgun that has a 20-inch barrel and an 8-round tube, a Smith & Wesson AR-15 carbine, a Ruger 1911, a Savage Arms bolt -action .308, an SCCY and a number of black powder pistols that are copies of those that were used in the Civil War. Lord, help me.
It’s still possible to have my credit card paid off before the end of the year, as long as I refrain from buying guns.
RESOLUTION #4: I will continue on as a non-smoker. I’ve been clean since June 3, 2016. Go me.
HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Still going strong. Haven’t had a cigarette since I quit in June.
RESOLUTION #5: I will get a buck during the 2017 deer hunting season, either with a gun or a bow. I’ve already picked out places on my walls where I want to hang racks.
HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Deer hunting season is still eight months away, but yes, I’m going to get a buck this year. I know exactly where I’m going to hang my first rack. It’ll go in the living room, above the arched threshold that you walk through to get to the kitchen.