Posts in category Fun Stuff

Cat Picture That Has Nothing to Do With Anything

Two of our three cats sitting in windows enjoying the fresh coastal air.

Galley is the old orange guy, Sir Duke is the new kitten.

This is for you, Kris. (grin)

Cats Window

Web Site Update

Great fun. Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  If you will notice, my site now looks just like my old one except for all the top stuff. I had to try all the fancy bells and formats and stuff before going back to what worked.

And it is a ton cleaner. Wow.

Still working on content of the pages, such as a list of all my novels, and so on. I do have the list of the Nonfiction Books page done. It will come together.

Also I got the main menu bar stopped from flowing all over the place and I got the silly shaking of the names on the main menu bar fixed. Very weird options that were buried in check boxes. But I found them.

And I went back to one widget because with two, on cell phones the widget came up before the posts. Oh, oh. (grin)

And one column for the posts, which just works better. Not as confusing.

I can’t seem to make that main menu any thinner, but still working on that. Me and Google are having fun there. (grin)

So maybe back to writing tonight. Wouldn’t that be fun? (grin)

Thanks again, everyone. At least now this place is starting to look like a writer’s site.

Cheers, Dean

29 Great Years

Twenty-nine years ago today, Algis Budrys instructed me to give another writer a lift from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Taos for a week-long workshop.

That writer was Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Here is a picture of what we looked like in 1986.

Kris and Dean 1986

We have been together ever since.

Here is what we look like hundreds of novels, hundreds and hundreds of short stories, and 29 years later.

Picture of us

Happy Day, Kris. It’s been great fun, to say the least.

Some Covers of Novels I Finished in the Last Year

This is just fun for me since I finished a novel tonight. (See post below.) At some point I might just have a few pages here for my fiction, novels and such. You know, like I teach others to do. (grin)

Anyhow, here are twelve of the fifteen novels done over the last 15 months. All of these are now available in paper and electronic in all the standard places.

Full Year of Smith’s Monthly

I thought this looked kind of cool. Who knew I could actually get all of the first year out and on time? (#12 shipping later this month.) And I’m still going strong. Fun!

It’s in grayscale because it’s an ad in Smith’s Monthly interior.

Smith's Ad web

What About Those Numbers?

What About Those Numbers?

Over at Author Earnings, Hugh Howey and Data Guy released the July sampling and talked about it. Worth the read, folks.

The rest of this post is an expanded response to a question on my daily blog about what I thought about those numbers.

It’s hard to argue with numbers like that, even though they are taken from only one bookstore. Yanking a sampling like that only once is an interesting thing, but having the numbers remain consistent over three samples spread six months apart is stunning and is giving the data more credibility.

The idea that traditional publishing is the “only way” to publishing heaven is long gone for most writers. Only those lost in myths or so set on having some sort of “anointment” or flat too lazy or too scared to do it themselves are left believing New York is the only way. And their voices are getting very shrill.

Especially in the face of this kind of data.

A lot of writers I know are hybrid writers, going both ways, which is also proving dangerous for traditional publishers, since a writer doing that has clear, clear, scary-clear comparisons between a book going traditional and a book going indie. And in short order, as I have been hearing, the traditional-published books are flat losing the comparison between indie and traditional.

The huge myth that indie writers hold that they can’t get their books into bookstores is the last hope of traditional publishers. And that myth is getting pounded on by more people than just me and Kris. When that myth vanishes, traditional publishers will be faced with some issues of what they can say they can do better.

Traditional publishers do a lot of shouting into the wind on different things they can do better. They claim better editing, but any indie writer knows we can find our own editors just fine. And little or no editing is done anymore in a traditional house beyond making a writer change a book to better fit a line of books.

Traditional publishers claim better copyediting, but that’s just a laugh and indie writers find great copyeditors. (And many of us do much, much better covers and blurbs as well.)

Traditional publishers claim support in promotion, but every hybrid writer knows that a publisher does no promotion anymore for anyone other than mega-bestsellers. They expect the writers to do it, so why do it for a part of 25% of net when you can do the same thing for 70% of gross. Even the most math-dead indie writers got that advantage.

And if you want readers? Well, go ahead and try to get readers with your electronic edition priced at $11.99. Indie writers can sell electronic books at $4.99 to $6.99, do sales to get even more readers, and give readers real value.

And that’s not even talking about contracts. Traditional publishers won’t and don’t talk about contracts. Period. Traditional publishers know they are flat screwing writers in the contracts, buying all rights, taking rights they will never need, controlling writers output into the future.

The old days of publishers being nice and being partners with writers is long gone. If you don’t believe me, just take a standard publishing contract to a regular attorney and watch their face go white. In any other industry, a standard 2014 midlist writer contract would be considered a scam contract and no reasonable attorney would ever let you sign it.

Unless you are getting offered at least a six figure advance (getting rare these days) you have ZERO clout in contract negotiations. And as the stock report for one major company came out and said, agents work for the publishers. Agents are slipping faster than traditional publishers and will take a ton of writers’ money with them when they go down.

A traditional-published writer will sell a book for all rights for the life of the contract for a small advance. And will never control or see that book again in any reality.

And the writers still under the traditional spell seem happy about this.  Color me puzzled.  But I have a lot of friends who are still signing those contracts.

(However, in all fairness, I signed about 40 media book contracts where I got nothing but an advance to write Star Trek, Spider-Man, Men in Black, and so on. And I signed a bunch of ghost-writing contracts for all rights as well. So I wrote books for only advances, just as modern traditional writers are doing. But I got better. And I never once did that for an original novel.)

So back to the original question… What do I think of Hugh and Data Guy’s numbers?

I think the reports take a ton of work, I think those two humans are doing the work of the saints for no money, and I think those numbers should send a chill through every boardroom in publishing.

Traditional publishing, at least the big publishers (and their smaller group of older medium-sized publishers) have decided that the only way to come out ahead in this is to make sure the old way of doing things remains. Therefore, because Amazon opened the barn door to let the poor writers escape their cages, Amazon is bad.

The Author Earnings Reports shine a light on what is really happening and that light is amazing for us indie writers and scary as hell to traditional publishers.

Think of traditional publishers this way:

They are holding buggy whips and are chasing those new-fangled automobiles down the road shouting “Get out of my world! I’ve been here longer than you!” While the drivers of the cars can’t hear them because they have their new music systems turned up and flat don’t care to look in the rearview mirror.

My Best Selling Books (That I Can Claim)

Or at least I think these are my bestselling books. I have just over 16 million of my books in print (that I can count) under all my names, but these five, I think, were the top five sellers that I can claim. A couple of them I can’t and don’t count exact numbers.

I’m doing this because, to be honest, I got a couple of comments from people wondering how I could give such advice like I knew what I was talking about. One guy thought I was an accountant just working with writers. Not kidding.

I say in my short bio (that needs reworking) that I have sold over one hundred traditional novels and been making my living from writing and publishing since 1988, but that seems to make no difference to some folks. Kris and I have also started two major publishing companies, one just four years ago in this new world. And I’ve edited for numbers of places, which I talked about a ways back in a blog.

So anyhow, as a way to let people understand that I’ve been around doing this for a time, I thought I would do this tonight. It was started by the question from a fan, “What’s your bestselling book?”

The answer: Not one I can claim, I’m afraid. That book was a humor fantasy book that I ghosted and it made the Times bestseller list and that’s all I’m saying about that one. (grin)

But these five of the sixty or so books I can claim (before the indie books I’m now writing) are the bestselling ones. I think. I’ll explain that.

I think the top selling of these five is Star Trek: Next Generation: Invasion: The Soldiers of Fear.  Written with Kris.

This thing has been running royalties since it came out in 1996. We got 2% royalty, standard for WFH Trek and I seem to remember we were paid around $25,000 to write it. It instantly earned out and has gone on to sell about 1.7 million copies if my math on all the ISBN changes over the almost twenty years add up right.

The second best-selling book is The 10th Kingdom which was an NBC 3-day event. Kris and I wrote that for Hallmark under our Kathryn Wesley pen name in 2000 and had a blast.

This book was put in dumps with a new Clancy novel in the front of Wallmart in a special trade paper edition done only for Wallmart. I never really got the final numbers of sales on this, but it was a ton. It might have ended up more than the Star Trek:Invasion book. (And no, we are not going to write the sequel until Robert Halmi of Hallmark hires us and says we can. Hallmark owns it.)

Third bestselling book is X-Men: The First Movie Novelization. I had written some Spider-Man novels, an Iron Man novel, and an X-Men novel, so when the movie was scheduled to come out, they hired Kris and I to do the novelization and it came out ahead of the movie in 2000. This thing is still selling in different formats and covers. It was a huge flat fee, so we get no royalties, but this also might be the bestselling one because it went past one million almost instantly. No idea past that.

My sense that my fourth bestselling book is Final Fantasy: the Novelization of the Movie. I have some fun stories about writing this book and had a blast working with the producers on it. Again, this was a flat fee (a large one if memory serves) and I only saw early sales and ship numbers and they were large. Upward of that million number. No idea how many it has sold since 2001 when it came out.

The fifth is a book I still see around, even though the scam publisher went away a long time ago. Spider-Man: Carnage in New York. I have no idea who is getting my royalty percentage on the sales and I gave up chasing and caring a decade ago.

This book came out in 1995 as one of the first of new comic book novels. Michelinie, the writer of some Spider-Man comics at the time, had done an outline for the novel and couldn’t write it for some reason, so a great editor friend hired me to do it since he knew I was a comic collector. This thing has constantly been selling since 1995. This was the first of my Spider-Man novels.

My copy is signed by Stan Lee. (grin)

So I hope that was sort of a fun ride into the past and a glimpse of a few of the things I’ve done while making a living at this crazy business.

I honestly hope many of you can have as much fun as I’ve had over the years. See why I often tell people to go have fun? Trust me, writing all five of these books was great fun.

And one more point: If you feel like reading any of my writing to support what I am doing here on this blog, don’t bother with any of these. I won’t see a penny of it except a few cents from the Trek novel.

But I’ve got six brand new novels out and soon to be six issues of Smith’s Monthly. Those I get the money from. (grin) These books on this page I was already well-paid for.

But if you do find one of these, I hope you enjoy it and I’ll be happy to sign it when I see you out at a conference. I’m proud of writing all five of them.




The New World of Publishing: Having Fun… Again

(Note: I wrote this in July 2013 and am posting it here again up front (without a word changed) because, to be honest, I’m getting a lot of certain types of questions from writers. This works as an answer to those questions. So here it is again. You might want to read it again, even if you remember it from July.)

Having Fun

Yeah, I know. A weird topic for a blog: Having Fun.

Over the last week or so I had the fantastic pleasure of being in a large room for a week with thirty-five very-well-published professional writers, all excited about writing and publishing and having fun.

That’s right. In this time in history where every writer’s conference, every blog post, every “expert” is shouting about the sky falling and how publishing is coming apart and the world is ending, I spent a week with writers excited for the future and enjoying writing again.

Let me repeat that: Writers excited for the future and enjoying writing.

In fact, everyone there enjoys writing and publishing so much that one of the main topics was how to control projects and decide what to write next.

A Personal Note:

When I started writing in 1974, it was an awful experience and even though I felt driven to write, I pretty much hated it. I hated the fact that I had to “rewrite” everything, that I had to “plot” everything out ahead, that I had to have “feedback” before I could ever do anything with anything I wrote.

Note: All of those problems were my internal problems. I believed all that crap of the myths, and for seven years I produced two short stories per year and hated everything about the process. Everything.

Then, in 1982, I decided to follow Heinlein’s Rules because, to be honest, they sounded like fun. And I decided that if I couldn’t have fun with my writing, I would move on to something I did enjoy. (I have done an entire long lecture series on Heinlein’s Rules and why the five rules work for writers.) I went from writing two stories a year to fifty per year and started selling. Surprise, surprise… And I was having fun writing.

In 2008, after twenty-six years of having fun, writing again had become no fun. I hated what New York was becoming, I hated what they were requiring me to do, I hated the lack of respect my hundred-plus novels got me with young editors. Writing had again become a dull, lifeless, stupid thing for me to do because of how I was treated by New York. (Note: These problems were not internal this time, but the external problems of publishing in general had invaded my mind and made everything no fun.)

I was about to walk away.

Then came the indie publishing world.

Suddenly, all the hundreds of stories and novels I had written again had value. And I could control what I wanted to write again, I could publish what I wanted to publish, and I didn’t have to rewrite for someone the age of my granddaughter (I don’t have one) because they thought they knew more than I did about writing and story.

Suddenly, when I went to the computer in my little writing garret overlooking the Pacific Ocean, writing was again fun. I was free!! I was back playing and enjoying myself just as I had done when I discovered and started following Heinlein’s Rules in 1982.

Today my main rule for writing fiction and publishing is this: “If it’s not fun, why bother?”

How to Have Fun

But Dean (I can hear people saying) how do I learn to have fun?

I think the answer I give most people is simply “First, Step Back.”

What I mean by that is step back from your writing and what you are doing and just give it a hard look. Where does writing stop being fun and start being torture?

Here are some main torture points I have heard in many, many letters from writers over the past six months.

1… You bog down and stop almost every story or novel in the middle.  

This is caused by fear, total fear of some result you have made up that will happen when you finish.  This is deep. And often it is caused by your critical voice taking over after a burst of creative voice. Critical voice always thinks your creative voice sucks.

Solution?  Dare to be Bad. Follow Heinlein’s Rules and make it a challenge to follow those rules for a year. Another solution: Stop caring what other people think. Stop showing your work to workshops. Just finish and publish and never look at numbers or reviews or anything.

Results if you follow the solution: Writing becomes all that matters, and the fun will return. (But a warning, it is scary hard to follow these solutions.)

2… You finish stories or novels easily, but get trapped by no story being perfect, so you rewrite everything and never mail or publish anything or very little and you hate rewriting.

This is caused by a couple of things. Once your creative side is done, your critical side takes over and makes you believe nothing is good enough, just like some nasty English teacher would. And you rewrite, which dulls your story and turns it into sameness and thus it will never be bought. And not being bought gives a feedback loop to your critical voice, giving it power to make every story worse and keep it in control over your creative voice.

The other reason for this is that you haven’t gotten past the myth of rewriting yet and still believe what your English teachers and others taught you.

Solution? Start studying the creative process more. Start understanding how your own brain works. There is a very real reason Rule #3 of Heinlein’s Rules is “Don’t Rewrite unless to editorial demand.”

When you realize that art comes from the creative side of your brain, you must start learning how to block the critical side at all turns. Don’t rewrite past a mistake-fix draft and a spell-check draft. Learn to trust your creative voice. (Scary hard to do.)

Results if you follow the solution: Wow, does writing become fun again. The child that is your creative voice is let loose to play and you just have a blast writing and mailing or publishing and then repeating, over and over. You get a lot more prolific and have a ton more fun.

3… You have to carefully outline everything before you start.

The cause of this is complete fear of something you made up way back in your past, or were taught and still believe. And holy smokes is outlining a story or novel ahead of writing it a dull and boring process.

Needing to outline is a totally false belief put on you by your critical voice and listening to years of myths.  Get over the fear.  Every writer is different, so for one year try writing everything without an outline. Then if that doesn’t work, go back to outlining just a little.

Solution?  Just stop. Shut off the critical voice and myths that are telling you that you HAVE to do that and try writing a story for fun with no outline. And then another and another. Give no-outlining six months or a year and see if you don’t have more fun and write better stories.

Results if you follow the solution: You will be far, far more prolific, enjoy writing a ton more, have fun with the normal challenges of writing like getting stuck, and so on. It really is great fun to just write into the dark and take a chance. And a ton less boring and a ton less work.

NOTE!!!  Right about now I have lost about half of you because you have said, “Oh, that doesn’t apply to me. I HAVE to do that. I can’t mail anything without rewriting, I can’t finish, I must outline.  If you heard that thought hit your mind, step back, and think about it again. Step Back. I’m trying to help you have more fun, remember?

4… Every book or story is an event and thus must be perfect.

This is the result of years of traditional publishers making us believe that books are “Events!!!” This is total crap, of course. Books and stories are not events, they are just stories. Entertainment. Nothing more.  But if you believe a book or a story is an event, it takes on a huge level of “Importance” to you and thus that book or story is almost impossible to let go of, or stop working on.

This also wraps in all of you trapped in doing research instead of writing. When you are trapped in research instead of writing new words on something, you are making a book too important. Research is a good thing to do if you don’t let it stop your writing.

And this thinking of a book as an event often causes the problems in the top three above.

Solution? Somehow you must take out the idea that surrounds you that a book is an event. No one way of doing this that I have found except writing fast and following Heinlein’s Rules. People around you will come up to you and ask how your book is doing. You know you have beat this when you don’t know which book they are talking about.

Results if you follow this solution: The freedom you will feel to write anything and have fun will overwhelm you and you also will end up talking to other writers about how to figure out what fun project to write next because there are so many you want to write and play with.

5… You must sell your book to a traditional publisher (or you must have an agent)

In this modern world, that feeling is just suicidal for most, meaning about 75% of all writing careers. Agents are ripping people off more and more these days, and making rights grabs with agency agreements. And unless a traditional publisher wants your book, you have no clout and are begging, and thus they will screw you with contracts. (I have done a bunch of posts on these topics.)

However, that said, this is very, very deep in many writers and often they must sell a book first or have an agent first before they can clear this out and get back on track in a modern world. That said, this desire is recoverable problem for some. Some writers never get past this and would rather sit in a bar whining about not being able to sell another book than move on. But not all writers. But it will cost you years and years of your life and more grief than you can ever imagine if you walk that path in this modern publishing world.

Many of the writers in the big class last week were traditionally published and were working hard to regain the fun in their writing. I am traditionally published, remember. I know this one. You can recover after years of publishers and agents taking your money, but it won’t be an easy recovery. Trust me.

Solution: This one is simple. Set your plan to get good enough at writing great stories and indie publishing them that in a few years you will have so many readers traditional publishers will come to you instead of you going begging to them. By then you might have learned a little more about what you want and the myth of needing to be traditionally published might have vanished some. At least then you can make a clear decision with facts and knowledge.

Results if you follow this solution: You might get really rich, and at worst you’ll become a better writer because you will have practiced and had so much fun writing.

6… I can’t indie publish my own work. I don’t know how. (Read that as I am afraid to learn.)

The learning curve for learning how to do your own covers, learning how to find a copyeditor, learning how to load a book up to all the distribution sites like Kindle, Kobo, and so on isn’t that steep. It is stressful at times. Yes, but now four years into this new world there are a ton of classes and other indies writers to help you.

And if you really want someone to take care of you, so you want to stay in traditional publishing, you are reading the wrong blog. That attitude will get you exactly what you ask for. Someone will take care of you. And take all your money and copyrights in the process.

Solution: Get over your fear. Just assign some time in your life to learn how to do covers, write good blurbs, and upload work. Expect some stress because learning is stressful by the very nature of learning. But the moment (and I do mean the very moment) you get that first book loaded and selling all over the world and realize that you did it and it’s not impossible, the feeling of freedom with your writing will overwhelm you.

Results if you follow this solution: Total freedom with your writing and a future of choices.

So Why Will All This Help Me Have Fun?

Because if you can climb past those six major things above, maybe you can go at each story as a challenge, as an adventure to tell yourself. Writing fiction is a wonderful way to make a living.

I sit alone in a room and make stuff up.

That’s my job description.

And for a few decades in traditional publishing, back in the old days before New York changed, I made a ton of money at it and had a blast.

Now I still make a ton of money at it and have even more freedom to write what I want then I ever had before. Ever.

Readers now decide if they like my story or not, not some editor.

And I can write as much or as little as I want without anyone yelling at me.

And I can make my books look exactly as I want them to look.

But most importantly, I can entertain myself.

I have thousands and thousands of choices now with my writing.

I have control and I have freedom.

And for me, all that is great fun.

Go have fun.


Copyright © 2014 Dean Wesley Smith

Cover art copyright Philcold/Dreamstime

This chapter is now part of my inventory in my Magic Bakery.  I’m giving you this small slice as a sample. I’m giving you a taste, but not selling any of the pie. 

I make my living with my writing, as I have said above. Sometimes I write these for fun, to entertain myself, sometimes I write them to help others.

Either way, if you feel this helped you in any way, toss a tip into the tip jar on the way out of the Magic Bakery.

If you can’t afford to donate, please feel free to pass this chapter along to others who might get some help from it.

And I would like to thank all the fine folks who have donated over this last year. I don’t always get a chance to respond, but the donations and the comments both after the posts and privately are really keeping me going on this. Thanks!

Tip Jar: Go To Paypal


Ghost Novel: The Day After

I just finished close to a 70,000 words on a novel I was hired to do by a New York publisher.  Did it in ten days here and blogged about my days and how I did the words. The editor on the book reported that it arrived just fine.

I can give ZERO hints about the content of the book, so please don’t ask. I only talked about the writing process and my day around the writing process.

Someone local came up to me today and congratulated me on finishing the book and I said, “Congratulations on going to work today.”  I do not think the person understood. (grin)

Thanks everyone for the very kind thank-you comments on this. And numbers of people seemed stunned that I could go to work for ten days, then go to work on day #11. So for one more day, I’ll do my day here. Just to try to put one more nail in the attempt at killing a few ugly myths about how writers work.

If you are new to this, I would scroll back and start reading from Day 1 and read the comments under all the days so far. There is a ton of answers to questions. And the questions have been great. Thanks, everyone!

And yes, I will put these up under a header that can be found down the road.

Now for one more day of watching paint dry.

The Day After: Entry 1

8:30 PM… Horrid start to the day, but alas I’m back here. A couple of the days in the novel writing I didn’t get into the office until late to write, so back at this like normal.

The day started early for me as well, getting up around 12:00, getting my three breakfast bars eaten while doing some e-mail and then heading to the WMG offices by 1:30 PM. Meetings on all sorts of business stuff, then Kris and I had lunch and I went back for more meeting from 4 until 6:00PM.

Then I went down to a local restaurant to enjoy part of a birthday celebration for a friend, then to the grocery store and back home to cook Kris dinner. We watched the news, I came up here to my office, worked on e-mail and did this. I will now work on the homework for the online workshop I am teaching called Pitches and Blurbs, then head back to the WMG Offices for a time.

I expect to be back here in my office at home by around 11:00 PM and headed for the computer. Up at WMG Publishing tonight I’ll work on putting together Fiction River: Time Streams that I am editing so I can get that turned in on time. When I get back here I’ll tell you what I end up writing on and give page counts.

The Day After: Entry 2

10:35 PM… Back from the WMG Publishing offices. Got my response recorded up there tonight for the workshop and got it loaded to the workshop site, then ended up spending thirty minutes talking with the landlord, who has a shop in the back of the building and is never there at night. He’s a great guy.

So didn’t work on the Fiction River editing, but instead came back here, did some more workshop work, now headed for my writing computer. At some point I’ll go downstairs to watch The Voice. (As I have said before, a writer can learn a ton from this show if you understand what you are watching.)

The Day After: Entry 3

2:15 AM … I worked for about 45 minutes at a new Jukebox short story for Time Streams anthology, got about 600 words in, took a break and a short nap on the couch outside my office. Kris woke me up twenty minutes later and we went and watched The Voice and Castle.

Now I’m back in my office and headed back to the short story. Again, a slow start today because of all the business stuff, but still pretty normal. Tomorrow will be back to normal because I have ZERO meetings schedule. (grin)

The Day After: Entry 4… the last…

3:00 AM … I finally decided I’m done with this experiment to blog about my writing of a ghost novel. So this is the last entry, even though I will be up for a time longer writing.

I finished another 700 words or so on the time travel story. Title at the moment is Home is a Song. That might change, but so far it is fitting.

I’ll keep going and get it done tonight or tomorrow, but not going to post the words or anything here. I also have a thriller I wrote that I need to dig out of my files and get turned into WMG Publishing by Wednesday so it can get into the proof and production stages, so going to do that tomorrow. (Not rewrite, just dig it out and turn it in. A book called “Dead Money” already written, never sold.)

I have a new blog post coming on things in indie publishing on Thursday or Friday in my New World of Publishing series. I’ve been working on that in spare moments and I think it might be something a lot of writers have not thought about, but since it wasn’t fiction, I didn’t count it any more than I counted these.

So that’s it. After 11 days of this silliness, back to regularly scheduled posts… I have writing to do…

Ghost Novel: Day 10

The last day.

As I said in every post so far, I’m going to have one post per day here for the “ghost” novel writing process that I was hired by a New York publisher to do. I have been aiming for 10 days to finish this novel, which I said was the goal at the start. Looks like I’m going to hit it tonight.

I can give ZERO hints about the content of the book, so please don’t ask. I am only talking about the writing process and my day around the writing process.

I will add to this post at different times during the day right up until I fire it off to my New York editor and head to bed, so you can follow the process of this last day.

If you are new to this, I would scroll back and start reading from Day 1 and read the comments under all the days so far. There is a ton of answers to questions. And the questions have been great. Thanks, everyone!

Progress going into this last day…

Day #1… 7,625 words
Day #2… 7,734 words
Day #3… 7,059 words
Day #4… 5,070 words
Day #5… 7,786 words
Day #6… 7,116 words
Day #7… 3,005 words
Day #8… 7,473 words
Day #9… 9,373 words

Total so far… 62,231 words.

Day 10: Entry 1

4:45 PM… Normal Sunday start today. Got up around 1:00 PM, managed some e-mail before heading off to the professional writer’s lunch at 2:00 PM. Got back around 3:45 PM and am now done with e-mail and comments for the moment.

So headed toward my writing computer to get a session done. Later tonight I need to do a few hours on the online workshop that I am teaching called Cliffhangers. I need to get  letters about assignments back to everyone and my in general response recorded. (Still openings in the May and June online workshops if anyone is interested. List under the Online Workshops tab above if you want basically private instruction from me.)

But even with that and the lunch today, I don’t see much worry about finishing tonight. I seem to be powering right along just fine and dandy. Ending is in sight and it seems to be coming in close enough to the 70,000 word number to make my editor happy in New York. We shall see when the day is over what the actual number will be.

I want to thank you all as well for the great comments and questions. If you haven’t read all the questions and comments on every day, you want to make sure you do that. You never know what tiny bit of information from somewhere will help you with your own writing.

Now off to write and finish this novel so I can get started on something of my own again, plus I have at least three short stories editors are waiting for.

Day 10: Entry 2

6:45 PM… Managed just over 2,000 words in the last two hours. Firing right along now toward the ending…

Now off to the standard nap. White cat is waiting for me at the top of the stairs pretending to be asleep. (grin)

Day 10: Entry 3

10:00 PM… I had a nap and dinner and then came back here to my office and worked on the homework assignments for the Cliffhanger workshop, then did the video here in my office as well for that workshop. Too lazy at the moment to go up to the WMG Publishing offices where I normally record the videos.

So now, with the homework done, e-mails mostly answered, I’m headed back to my writing computer. Make a run at the end of this thing so I can get all my chapter files combined into one file and the entire novel sent off to the New York editor. And then they will owe me money again, which, of course, knowing traditional publishers as well as I do, won’t arrive until August and then only after I scream for a time. Ahh, I hate that part of this business.

Back to the fun part, the writing.

Day 10: Entry 4

11:00 PM… Taking a break…powered out about 1200 words in an hour before needing to stop for five minutes. This much faster pace is normal for me near the end of a book. Not sure if I write more because I want the stupid thing over or I write more because I’m bored and need to go fast to get finished.

3,200 approximately done for the day so far, plus lunch with writers and all the homework done for the workshop I’m teaching. On schedule…

Not a clue how much more. Back to typing…

Day 10: Entry 5

12:15 AM… another 1,000 words done before another break.

Day 10: Entry 6

2:30 AM… Done.

I still have to spend fifteen minutes and combine it into one file and fire it off to the editor. But the writing is done.

The ending worked out fine and came quickly, as I expected. I’m slightly under the 70,000 words asked for in the contract, but not enough to worry about. (total below)

Ten days, pretty normal days for me, actually. I taught the online workshops, did a ton of business, read, watched television, and mostly got full nights sleep each night.

In other words, I did nothing different this week except do more blog posts than I normally would do and answer more comments than I normally answer in a week. But that was fun as well.

Remember, the total below is only original fiction words in the last ten days. It does not count hundreds of e-mails, all the workshop letters in the workshops I am teaching, or all the comments answered in these posts. I don’t count any of that, or these blogs either which were just over 1,000 words each for ten days. The only thing important to a fiction writer like me is new fiction words.

I hope this exercise was worth the time for those of you watching. It wasn’t much unusual for me except that this novel contract allowed me to do this.

Good luck everyone fighting the myths that stop you.

Writing really is fun. If you let it be fun.


The Word Count for Writing a 70,000 Word Novel in Ten Days

Day #1… 7,625 words
Day #2… 7,734 words
Day #3… 7,059 words
Day #4… 5,070 words
Day #5… 7,786 words
Day #6… 7,116 words
Day #7… 3,005 words
Day #8… 7,473 words
Day #9… 9,373 words
Day #10… 6,719 words

Total… 68,950 words.


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Smith’s Monthly Subscriptions

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And twenty-four of them now exist... Amazing, huh? And hard to hold. Here I am holding the first five...

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Online Workshop Schedule

These are the starting dates of upcoming online workshops. Limited to twelve writers. All have openings unless I say closed below. For sign-up and more information about each workshop, click the Online Workshop tab at the top of the page.

Class #51… Dec 7th … Advanced Depth
Class #52… Dec 7th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #53… Dec 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #54… Dec 7th … Ideas into Stories
Class #55… Dec 8th … Character Development
Class #56… Dec 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #57… Dec 8th … Plotting With Depth
Class #58… Dec 9th … Designing Covers
Class #59… Dec 9th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #60… Dec 9th … Designing Book Interiors

Class #1… Jan 4th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #2… Jan 4th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #3… Jan 4th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #4… Jan 4th … Plotting With Depth
Class #5… Jan 5th … Character Development
Class #6… Jan 5th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… Jan 5th … Designing Book Interiors
Class #8… Jan 6th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… Jan 6th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10.. Jan 6th … Advanced Depth

Class #11… Feb 1st … Advanced Depth
Class #12… Feb 1st … Character Voice/Setting
Class #13… Feb 1st … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #14… Feb 1st … Ideas into Stories
Class #15… Feb 2nd … Character Development
Class #16… Feb 2nd … Depth in Writing
Class #17… Feb 2nd … Plotting With Depth
Class #18… Feb 3rd … Designing Covers
Class #19… Feb 3rd … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #20… Feb 3rd … How to Write Science Fiction

Class #21… Mar 7th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #22… Mar 7th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Mar 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #24… Mar 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #25… Mar 8th … Character Development
Class #26… Mar 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Mar 8th … Making a Career
Class #28… Mar 9th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Mar 9th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30... Mar 9th … Advanced Depth
Sign-up and more information under Online Workshops tab at the top of the page.

Classic Workshops

You can sign up for these and start at any point. They are the regular workshops, only you don't send in the homework and you can take them as fast or as slow as you would like.

They are half the price of a regular six week workshop.

Classic Workshops offered.

Making a Living... Classic
Productivity... Classic
Discoverability... Classic
Writing in Series... Classic
Genre Structure... Classic

Lecture Series

More information on these lectures under the Lecture Series Tab above.

#1... Heinlein's Rules... Dean Wesley Smith 15 videos... $75.00

#2... Read Like a Writer... Kristine Kathryn Rusch... 8 videos... $50.00

#3... How to Write a Short Story: The Basics... Kristine Kathryn Rusch.... 7 videos... $50.00

#4... Writer's Block and Procrastination... Dean Wesley Smith... 8 videos... $50.00

#5... Carving Time Out for Your Writing... Dean Wesley Smith.... 8 videos... $50.00

#6... How to Research for Fiction Writers... Kristine Kathryn Rusch.... 14 videos... $75.00

#7... Pen Names: Help With the Decision... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#8... Motivation: Starting Easier and Writing More... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#9... Practice: The Attitude and Methods of Practice in Fiction... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#10... Master Plot Formula: How and Why It Works Today... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#11... Prolific Lecture: How to Become a Prolific Fiction Writer... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#12... The Stages of a Fiction Writer: How to Know Where You Are In Learning and How To Move Upward... Dean Wesley Smith.... 11 videos... $50.00

#13... Starting Writing. Or Restarting Your Writing... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#14... Endings: How to Write Them and Understand What Makes a Good Ending... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#15... Audio Narration Lecture... Jane Kennedy.... 9 audio lectures... $50.00

#16... Your Writing as an Investment Lecture... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#17... How to Get Your Books into Bookstores Lecture... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#18... How to Think Like a Science Fiction Writer Lecture... Kristine Kathryn Rusch....11 videos... $50.00

#19... Why Some Books Sell More Than Other Books... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#20... How to Write a Page Turning Novel or Story: Basics and Tricks ... Dean Wesley Smith.... 8 videos... $50.00

#21... The Basics of Designing Science Fiction Covers ... Allyson Longueira .... 8 videos... $50.00

#22... The Basics of Designing Mystery, Cozy, or Thriller Covers ... Allyson Longueira .... 8 videos... $50.00

#23... Paying the Price: A Working Writer's Mindset ... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#24... Writing into the Dark: The Tricks and Methods of Writing Without an Outline... Dean Wesley Smith... 12 videos... $50.00

#25... Reviews: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly... Dean Wesley Smith... 10 videos... $50.00

#26... Organization... Allyson Longueira... 8 videos... $50.00

#27... Confidence... Dean Wesley Smith... 10 videos... $50.00

#28... Stories to Novels... Dean Wesley Smith... 9 videos... $50.00

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