Estate Stuff from Kris and Update from Me

For those of you who were around here from last August through last spring and know the estate issues Kris and I dealt with, Kris is now finally starting to do her estate series. This is a general one this week, and over the winter and into next spring she will expand on a ton of different aspects of estates, usually about one estate post per month. Trust me, after last fall, we lived through one of the nightmare estates.

For you readers, Kris’s new post, like the one she did last week, might explain why some of your favorite authors vanished. Worth the read for everyone since none of us are getting off this planet alive and we will all leave something behind for people to deal with. Worth the read.

As for what I have been up to (since I haven’t been around the last week much), just slammed busy, but things are clearing again.

Over the next month or so I have a number of different posts I’ve been puttering at. And in mid-December I am redoing my New Year’s goals series, to help set goals that can be hit in the coming year. And how to get ready for the new year with the goals. The old posts I did on this topic are now very dated in this new publishing world.

Also, in December I took on another ghost writing job. I will be writing a full novel that I can’t describe or tell you anything about. But since I plan to write it in about ten days, I can detail out a few times per day the process of writing a 70,000 word novel in ten days or so. So anyone interested can follow the process, the ups and the downs of writing a full novel.

And the short story challenge is doing just fine. Honest. Stay tuned for that. And closer to the end of the year I’ll start posting new stories here again.

So a fun month coming here in crazy land. Stay tuned. And go read Kris’s new post on estates. You will be glad you did.

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22 Responses to Estate Stuff from Kris and Update from Me

  1. PV Lundqvist says:

    70k words in ten days? Kind of puts nanowrimo to shame.

  2. Linda Jordan says:

    Just curious, if you know you’re writing a ghost novel in Dec., then why wait till then to start. I know you can write it in ten days. Do you prefer to write novels in such a short, intense period of time – does it help your process? Or are there other factors that require that to happen?

    • dwsmith says:

      Linda, got far too many things to do before now and that first week of December is all. (grin) And why write it fast? Actually, ten days isn’t fast. I have done them in six days. Now that takes prep and hurts. Ten days is comfortable to me. Might be eleven, but I’m aiming at ten. And it’s not my book or my story or even my voice. So why prolong what I am doing? I’m getting paid to save another writer’s ass. No point in hurting my own in the process. (grin)

  3. Tim Tresslar says:

    Hi Dean,
    I’m anxious to hear more about how you tackle the ghostwriting project and complete it in such a short time frame.
    I understand and agree with your stance that ‘fast’ writing really comes from spending more time at the keyboard (or with the audio recorder, notebook, etc.) writing. And I get the mathematics of it, too.
    But I am curious as to your preparation process, particularly outlining, and how that supports your prolific writing.
    I ghostwrite novels, too, and am impressed with your speed.

  4. Ed Teja says:

    I am looking forward to the description of your process as well. Since you claim to be a slow typist, and you don’t outline, I am especially interested in how you avoid blind alleys in the plots.

    • dwsmith says:

      Ed, those fine writers who took the genre structure workshop have more of an inkling how that is done now.(grin) Honestly, every-so-often, I write past a pot turn and grind to a halt, and often have to back up a few pages and run at something again fresh. It’s my subconscious that tells me in that fashion that I have gone wrong. But I know novel structure, and the structure of the genre I am writing in so well now, I seldom don’t miss by a few pages here and there.

      • Rob Cornell says:

        I am equally in awe with others about how you can crank out a book so quickly without an outline and without getting stuck. If I could finish all the novels that died on me after 20,000 words, I would have a heck of a back list.

        I’m taking your Idea to Story workshop this December and the description mentions structure. Will we be learning something similar to those in the genre structure workshop (in a more general sense)? This whole coming up with an idea than firing away and finishing one book after another is exactly where I struggle. (Part of it is that pesky “book as event” thinking, too.) I’ve been running in circles with the third book in a series of mine for most of this past year because of this. Readers of the first two books are getting cranky, and I’m getting ready to kill off all my characters just to be done with the damn thing. :)

        • dwsmith says:

          Rob, yup, in Idea to Story workshop, you’ll get some structure on how to expand an idea out to a short story or a novel. The Genre Structure workshop would help with that a little as well, but not as direct as the one you are taking. We’ll get you out of the whirlpool, trust me.

  5. Stephen Douglas Lewis says:

    I’m looking forward to these posts, Dean. Do you think you’ll be using the Lest Dent/Things Get Worse model? That one’s fun. Also, it would be cool to see what other sort rules of thumb you use to keep going. I liked the old posts you did on the OWN group you did about writing a novel fast. I’m a fast writer but don’t know if I could ever ghost a novel because my own stuff is pretty thick with my own voice so I’m not sure if I could pull that. Hmmm…sort of thinking out loud, here. Dean, would you say the process of ghosting is similar to the process of creating character voice? In other words, do you treat the other writer as character and write from that viewpoint? I do something similar to this with my pen names.

    • dwsmith says:

      Stephen, I sure do. I get the other author’s “voice” in my head and then like writing a scene with Kirk or Picard, I just mimic the author voice. Most authors can’t see their own voices, but it is possible to see another author’s voice. Hard to mimic, though, because you have to be aware enough of your own voice to be able to take that out, and 99.9% of all authors are not that aware of their own voice. In fact, most beginning writers who believe in the myth of rewriting take out their own voice because it sounds dull to them. But that’s the part that makes it unique to the rest of us. Long term professionals have learned how to leave it in.

      • Jacintha says:

        I’ve been in workshops where they specifically told you to remove your own voice. “This sounds too much like you talking.”

        Although perhaps that’s not the same thing…

        • dwsmith says:

          Jacintha, RUN, AND I DO MEAN RUN!!! from a workshop like that. Your voice, sounding like you talking is the only thing that makes a story unique. Run, the people in the workshop are idiots. And you can tell them I said that.

          • Jacintha says:

            Hee! Thanks, Dean. It’s okay — this was an extremely long time ago, and even back then it was my instinct to ignore the bejezus out of comments like that. (What reader who never met me is going to know enough to realize that a character or a bit of narration sounds like me, for starters?)

            I’m out of the workshop phase for now, and getting into the “producing finished works” stage, now. I hope. I think. These things have gone in cycles for me. I’ve got far too many finely-polished beginnings.

  6. Stephen Douglas Lewis says:

    So, Dean, how does somone get started with ghostwriting? I would imagine it’s like media writing where they approach you but I’m not sure.

    • dwsmith says:

      Stephen, yes, they always have come to me. And it’s not something you ever want to do, to be honest. Always better off to write your own stuff. And if this wasn’t a silly amount of money and only ten days of work. I would never do it. Ever. How to get started doing it? Publish fifty or sixty novels with traditional publishers and become known for writing decent novels quickly and under pressure.

      Never do it folks. Write your own stuff, what makes you passionate.

      • Chong Go says:

        I think it was Sol Stein who got his start ghostwriting novels and articles. He was great at it and did it for years, but he put so much of himself into it that when he tried to write under his own name, he didn’t have anything left to say!

        • dwsmith says:

          Yup, one of the issues with working ghost writing or media writing. I have been one of the few who have gone all the way down into that world completely and then managed to escape out of it and do my own stuff again. But the longer you are in, the harder it is to escape and have any ability to write original fiction. I got out just in time. Even though I loved the media side of it.

  7. flutterby says:

    Looking forward to the process posts on the ghostwriting. I imagine there will be a lot that applies to quick genre writing in general.

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