So… Tori’s grandmother was a big fan of The Art of War

Was something of a legend among the folks who trade between the stars.

Today was a fun day, as story bits came out of the woodwork at me, including a conspiracy of potentially biggish proportions. 

After a couple of writing days where the story felt like it was meandering (this is the stuff you generally end up doing massive revision on), today’s words flew, and brought with them a new piece of the magic I need the world to have.

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Did no marketing today. I had too much of a backlog, and in the middle of The Ongoing Chaos, I have to do what I can when I can…

So today I built the last pieces of the How to Write a Novel Graduate BIG bonus. This is Interweaving Multiple Story Threads in Big, Complex Novels.

I’m adding all the materials into the classroom now, so it’ll take me another hour or so to get everything in place and the classroom opened up.

But if you’ve already graduated from the class, you can head into your classroom at, watch the video, download the transcript, go through the worksheets and the LOOOONG lesson, and see how you put complex monster novels like Talyn, Hawkspar, and the Matrin series (Diplomacy of Wolves, Vengeance of Dragons, Courage of Falcons, and Vincalis the Agitator) together.

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I got three more chapters and change finished on the read-and-annotate part of the revision before I had to move on to other things. Had a late start, but managed solid work and some good re-thinknig of early middle of the book before the fine edge of chaos wedged its way into my day.

So now I’m heading into the list of things that I have to do that don’t require deep though or creativity, because any sort of thinking that can’t be guided by a checklist is going to be beyond my reach for the rest of the day.

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I did the best I could.

I had phone calls to make, though, and phone calls to answer, and emails that had to be dealt with promptly, and things I had to put together for people, and at the end of five hours (I was up EARLY this morning), I had 381 new words of fiction, and that wasn’t even with deleting any.

I’m throwing in the towel.

It was a good day overall, but fiction-wise, I might as well have been trying to write in the middle of an Iron Maiden concert with Bruce Dickinson at full volume running in circles around me while he sings. (Yeah, I’m a fan.)

That would be a great experience, but probably about as productive for getting fiction written as today.

So I’m going to check on the forums, going to put together notes for the podcast, and then I’m going to close my eyes and breathe and wind down a little.

Or frustrate the crap out of myself with the Sweater from Hell, an ad-hoc design-as-I-go exercise in demonstrating to myself yet again that simple counting — 2-2-8…2-2-8… — is my nemesis.Sweater From Hell 600X800

So my Summer of Fiction Writing numbers have taken beating this week.

I’m hoping things will settle down next week so I can just fall back into my world and focus.

I’m not counting on it, though.

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So I was over two thousand words for the day when I rolled down to Old Words on the page.

Old Words on the page will hurt you. They’re things you wrote before you backed up to insert a better idea.

And my better idea was big, and good, and I had a helluva lot of fun writing it the last bit of last week, and yesterday, and today.

But when I finished today’s words, I hit the slab of Old Words at the bottom of the page. Read them.

And discovered that I could either have the new, better story, or the old, less good story, but both scenes occurred during the same time with the same characters, and took the story in two different directions.

The old direction was nowhere near as good as the new direction, and the words could not be salvaged for another project.

They simply did not make the cut.

So I cut them.

Which after hours of work during an otherwise brutally stressful day left me with a net gain of 834 words.

On the bright side, I get to write more tomorrow, and there are no more slabs of Old Words lying around to cause me pain.

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In spite of everything — and today there was just a whole lot of “everything” to contend with — I got 1872 words I love.

And found out there were some mysterious circumstances connected with Grandma and her death.

I’m going to leave it at that, except to note that Grandma’s old lawyer tried to make a break for it when Tori started asking questions… and catching him and pinning him down required Tori, Duncan, and some of her better cop skills.

Fun chapter, fun writing day.

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Marketing Tuesday got pre-empted by my need to finish the HTWAN Student-Voted Bonus, Interweaving Multiple Story Threads in Big, Complex Novels.

Which still isn’t done. Today’s image is a screenshot of one of the pages showing the technique for building and then using the threads in a complex novel.

At the speed this is going, it’s going to take me at least another week, and possibly two to finish this bonus.

So everything else I’d planned today got done, but that was small stuff. 

I did not get to start the HTWAN Surprise Bonus, How to Turn a Stand-Alone Novel Into a Series. That’s still pending.

Why did I decide to throw in this bonus as an unasked for, unpromised extra?

  • Because it fits the class.
  • Because it’s one of the most important skills you’ll need to have if you go commercial.
  • Because it’s even more important if you go indie.
  • And because it is ridiculously fun.

This will not teach you how to write the series. That’s a BIG class, and it already exists.

But it will teach you how to find the series you DID NOT know was there found inside most novels — and will also show you how to know when a novel should NOT be made into a series.


OH… Yesterday I got nine chapters of Read-Through Assessment done on my novel Dead Man’s Party. So yesterday was a pretty good day. Long. But good.

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Slightly late re-drawing Ko-Fi winner

Yesterday was a bit more chaotic than usual, and between a number of things coming at me from different directions, and a replay of the damned vertigo, I remembered to let the winner of the redraw for the final prize know, but forgot to announce it.

So… Tiny little drum-roll…

Pomegranate won the drawing for the fifth signed Create a Character Clinic.

Congratulations, and thank you for supporting me on Ko-Fi.

I’ll gather mailing supplies, and get all the prizes out to their winners as quickly as I can.

Ko Fi 2019 06 22 at 8 42 47AMI’ll also note that I’m now 89% of the way to reaching my second goal, which is funding eight hours of fiction writing a week, at $20/hour. This is two hours a day, four days a week, and comes out to $640/month.

How did I come to that hourly rate? Rounded down, it’s what I made working as an RN in 1992, when I hung up my cap and decided to write full time.

It seemed like a good place to start.

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Cold-Engine Fiction

I’ll begin with the fiction writing, which this morning started like a frozen engine with a dead battery. I ended up tinkering with a few worldbuilding questions, looking around in the MC’s newly discovered home library, and reading back through a couple of past chapters to figure out why the fact that Tori’s wandering around in her grandmother’s library full of unreadable books — Grandma was apparently capable of reading languages Granddaughter can’t even identify — mattered today.

When I got the answer to that question, it was still an uphill push, but at least I got to the end of the current chapter, and finished with 1610 words of new fiction I really like.

And a good question to start tomorrow’s chapter.

Discounted How to Write a Novel class

HTWAN cover 700x700Next, a quick reminder on my How to Write a Novel class, which is available with the Splinters Discount for just 10 more days. (The discount ends on June 30th at 11:59 PM ET).

The complete class is finished except for the BIG bonus, Interweaving Multiple Story Threads in Big, Complex Novels, which is bigger than I thought it would, and which I’m still putting together today.

The class goes off sale at the same date and time that the discount ends — June 30th, 2019, 11:59 PM ET.

When I make it available again, which I’ll do later this year for about a week, it will be in Finished First-Draft with Splinters, and the price will be over 20% higher than the current price. I haven’t settled on that price yet. I’m currently still finishing the Big Bonus, and am contemplating adding one other thing suggested by current students to the class. Everyone already in class gets all in-version upgrades and additions for free.

Folks who buy later pay a more to cover the cost of my continuing to update and improve the class.

Finally, redrawing for the final Ko-Fi winner tomorrow

I’m drawing from my list of Ko-Fi supporters  tomorrow morning at 10 AM ET for the last signed special-edition print copy of Create A Character Clinic.

I’ll let the winner know first, then announce the winner here and on my Ko-Fi blog.

If tomorrow’s winner decides to decline the prize, it will sit around until some future grab bag drawing, so I can get the other four packaged and mailed out.

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Had a rough last couple of days due to BPPV, but thanks to the Half-Somersault Maneuver, today I’m okay again.

And I had a great writing day, with a few caveats.

I created a character in the first half of the book that has to go. This character would have (or COULD HAVE) made things too easy for my protagonist, and easy is never good in fiction.

I’d countered the “character knows all the secrets” problem by making the character an obstinate jerk — but obstinate jerks are tiresome to read, especially in series fiction.

If I made the character likable, or even sane (since what my MC is doing is desperately important, and being the obstacle in the way of that would be suicidal), my MC would have no obstacle to discovering all the crap that’s going on.

I have the right main character. My MC is, as all good MCs are, the person who knows the least in this situation… but I have eliminated (in my thoughts and daily provisional outlining — eliminating what’s already written will have to wait for revision) the character who knows everything.

I have substituted this character for two people who each know just pieces of the puzzle. And a library full of books mostly written in languages my MC cannot yet read — a lot of which are not even languages from this world…

Or universe…

It’s a nice little library, but my MC is going to have to figure out her own way through a lot of the crap that’s now falling on her head.

She doesn’t yet realize it, but the most important question she needs to ask now is, “Why did the thing that tried to eat me explode?”

It’s a good question. Because, however, she has a whole lot of little fires igniting all around her, the point where she gets around to asking that one is going to be a long time coming.

I’m really happy. Got 2288 words today, and they felt like they were flying. With the know-it-all gone, the story is back on track. And I’m having a wonderful time figuring out what happens next.

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