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Proofreading Done on “Love Runs Out”

Yesterday the proofed version of Love Runs Out plopped into my inbox.

I impressed me, I did.

In a 44,000-word novel, there were about 30 typos, and 2 issues with wording, both effectively typos.

That’s a 7/100s of 1% error rate.

James does excellent work. He catches errors even after I’ve gone through a dozen times. His attention to detail is flawless. He also does a certain level of editing, questioning unusual wording, and he loves fact-checking. He really loves fact-checking.

I’ll have the manuscript finalized by end of week, meaning all I have left now is to settle, for sure, finally, absolutely, on the font for the cover.


A New Jake Calcutta Story in March

The second Jake Calcutta story is getting a final proofread this week and will be ready for newsletter readers in my March 1st newsletter, he said with an unusual confidence in his communication schedule.

The second Jake Calcutta story, The Illuminating Adventure of Jake Calcutta and the Second Bite, is less adventure, more backstory. It’s the story of his grandmother, Rachel Kolkata, inventing time travel and taking Jake under her wing in the process. You’ll see Jake meeting the triplets in the lab, and the illustrious and ethereal Felicity Bruttenholm. (You are pronouncing that correctly, aren’t you?)

This one will be for newsletter subscribers only. Won’t be selling it at Amazon, at least not this year, and won’t be giving it away anywhere else.

Progress on Love Runs Out

I’m halfway through rewrites. Plan to finish in early March, then have it edited by end of March, proofread and published by end of April, he said once again obliviously confident in his scheduling prowess.

It needs a new cover, though. The story isn’t red-and-black dark, it’s blue-sky green-forest with dark undertones.


The Best Beloved Seal of Approval

When Sue read the near-final draft of Rafe Keyn and the Temporal Lisle I only wanted one piece of feedback: does it work?

No writerly feedback. No plot ideas. No character suggestions. None of the stuff people always want to say to writers.

Did it suck you in and keep you in?

This late in the game, that’s all I need to know.

And her answer was “Yes.”

It’s being proofread right now, and I have one or two sentences that need polishing after my current read-through. The cover is done. (See? Right there above.)

I can see the checkered flag. I’ll keep you posted.


Ignore Willpower. Create Habits.

drip, drip, drip“People who are good at self-control … seem to be structuring their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self-control decision in the first place.”—psychologist Brian Galla, quoted by Brian Resnick in the article Why willpower is overrated.

From the same article:
“Structuring your life is a skill. People who do the same activity, like running or meditating, at the same time each day have an easier time accomplishing their goals, he says — not because of their willpower, but because the routine makes it easier.”

Willpower gets used up and simply cannot be used until it is replenished.

Habits, once established, require no willpower.

I’m planning more articles on developing the writing habit. In the meantime here are some I’ve already written:

This is an area where knowing your specific struggles will help be research the best advice to share.

Where do you struggle to create the habit of writing?



How Long Does It Take to Write 1,000 Words?

stopwatchThat search shows up here more frequently than any other except searches for my name.

Here are a few answers:

  1. At a typing speed of 25WPM, about average for a nonprofessional,
    1,000 ÷ 25 = 40 minutes
    At a more professional speed of 50WPM, it’s 20 minutes. If you’re my wife and type 80WPM it’s less than 13 minutes. This is the least meaningful answer I have.
  2. My scenes tend to run about 1,000 words. Most writers manage 2,000 per scene, but I’ve tried adjusting my stance and leaning toward the plate, and I’m still not hitting it, so I do what I do. One scene, about 1,000 words, takes me about an hour, because although I type 50WPM I also pause sometimes to ruminate on the next bit. Sometimes I can blaze away for 90 minutes nonstop, but that’s the exception. The rule is, about an hour for a 1,000-word scene.
  3. The writer who pauses to fix every typo, polish every sentence, adjust the punctuation, and carefully balance sentence lengths, paragraph lengths, and whatever else they balance, all the while keeping one eye on the word count meter, will take a week. Or a day. Or a month. Or forever. I don’t know. At this point, it’s the wrong question.
  4. How long does it take to write 1,000 good words? Still the wrong question.
  5. How long does it take to write a 1,000-word story? Good question. I write what I call 1-Page Classics. I shoot for 1,000 words. They take me about 3 hours, start to finish, idea to polished prose.
  6. Now we’re talking about storytelling, real writing, and not word count. How long does it take to write 1,000 words of good story, in addition to all the words you already have? It depends on whether you’re in the flow, brain dumping a scene you envisioned en tableau, and spend half an hour, or grinding your way through a vital slice that weighs heavily on your emotions, dredging up doubt and anguish from past pains and future fears. That might take all day, all week, even.
  7. What if you haven’t even started yet? Your first 1,000 words might flow like mad, at nearly typing speed (20 to 40 minutes.) If you spent some time planning, or if an idea gripped you and won’t let go till you spill, that’s feasible. Otherwise, if something doesn’t feel right, either because you didn’t stop to celebrate finishing a novel yesterday, don’t have an idea what this one is about, or need to get paid so it doesn’t matter, you just need to get the blasted thing written, we’re back to hours, maybe days.
  8. One last answer: sit down at your computer, start a timer, and write until the word count meter says 1,000. Check the timer. There’s your answer. Not the dumbest answer, but perhaps the least satisfying.

How long does it take you to write 1,000 words?


Off to See the Editor: A Still, Small Voice (Phil Brennan #2)

AStillSmallVoice-cover20151020e-flat-3DYesterday the final manuscript of the second Phil Brennan mystery, A Still, Small Voice, was trundled off to my marvelous editor Tom Bentley to face the Pain of the Red Pen.

My goal is to have it in your hot little hands by December 1st.


You’re Not Getting Your Writing Done Because You’re Building the Wrong Habit

Tom’s cat. No, it’s not a tomcat.
Editor Tom asks how we manage to start writing projects without bedeviling ourselves.

Short version: make it a habit.

Slightly longer version: make it the right habit.

Full version:

After 18 months of experimentation (following 18 years of dabbling) I’ve made writing my habit. It’s part of my daily routine.

Every morning, Best Beloved and I have our tea and a chat. Then, I go downstairs and write one scene (+/- 1,000 words is where mine seem to fall.)

Continue reading “You’re Not Getting Your Writing Done Because You’re Building the Wrong Habit”


Blog and Newsletter Hiatus

In order to focus on my mystery writing I’m letting myself off the hook round these parts.

While I will pop in now and again with a post or a newsletter, I don’t plan to stick to a schedule as I’ve done for a number of years.

If you need help selfpublishing your book, Someday Box will still be right here ready to provide the support you need. Just give us a shout.


New Schedules for Newsletter and Blog

A Long, Hard Look - a Chandleresque cozy(and hopefully, thereby, my books)

In order to concentrate on my writing, I’ll be spending less time teaching for a while.

Late last year Best Beloved and I started an experiment: could I make a living writing fiction? Or at least, could my fiction contribute enough to our income to be a business rather than a hobby?

Original plan was to release 4 books this year and see what happened. It’s a race between my children’s book Ginger, the Ship Captain’s Cat, and my first Jake Calcutta mystery anodyne to see which will be my third book this year. (If yer the betting type put your coin on Ginger.)

Three isn’t four, but it’s more than some other numbers I could name. But one year isn’t long enough to see the impact of those books. Marketing for A Long, Hard Look is just picking up speed, and that for Into the Fog is barely begun.

Five months ago we agreed that this needs another year, so I’ll still be focusing on fiction through 2015. A year from now, we’ll talk again. Maybe sooner.

The New Schedule

Beginning now, the newsletter will go out the first of each month, unless I have reason for a special edition.

There will be a new blog post every Friday. There will be links to the past handful of posts in each newsletter. A month is a long time. Consider dropping by the blog once a week just to read up, eh?

We will only be working with one Someday Box self-publishing client at a time.

Chief Virtual Officer’s Social Media Marketing for Authors program has a good support team, so they’ll be able to take on up to 6 more clients. Email Sue for more information.

I’ll be far less active on Facebook and LinkedIn.

But I’m always available by email (joel@somedaybox.com) if you have questions or just want to chat.

Oh, and you can buy my books anytime.


Marathon, Not Sprint

Cliff Young
Cliffyoung1983. Via Wikipedia.
Immediately after urging Best Beloved to take it slower, consider her health, self-care blah blah blah, I started stressing about the post I’m supposed to write today about my Goodreads giveaway.

Pot. Kettle. Nobody here but us kitchen utensils.

I plan to get back to the Goodreads giveaway education I promised by next week, but today, I’m going to spill a bit about what we’re doing and why I’m taking it slow today.

Years ago, Best Beloved almost died of pancreas problems. Couple years later, she almost died of complications from the previous issues.

For 7 years, her primary symptoms have been fatigue, a lack of stamina. Past 6 – 9 months, it’s been extreme fatigue, general pain, and mental blur. Doctors are looking into everything from fibromyalgia to hepatitis. No reason for excessive concern yet, just do the research, find the source, and then decide what action to take.

Continue reading “Marathon, Not Sprint”


What is Your Writing Goal for Today, for This Project, for Your Life?

what are you aiming for?A subtle theme, more a motif, runs through my conversations with authors. When they talk about their writing, there’s one thing they don’t mention:

When it will be done.

There’s a reason this site is named Someday Box. A reason I chose Getting Your Book Out of the Someday Box as the title for that book.

“Someday” is not a goal. Someday is a dream, a vague notion. Sir Ken Robinson tells the story of chatting with a brilliant pianist whose name I can’t remember. Robinson said “I wish I could play like that.”

The pianist said something like, “No, you like the idea of playing like that. If you really wished you could, you’d be doing something about it.”

Do you want to be a writer or do you just like the idea?

Continue reading “What is Your Writing Goal for Today, for This Project, for Your Life?”


And Still, the Delays . . .

Waited an extra few days for a cover blurb well worth waiting for.

Then, and only then, discovered (via Smashwords’ Premium catalog feedback) that there were some formatting issues no one caught.

Formatter was on vacation.

All fixed now. Cover updated. Proof ordered.

It was supposed to arrive tomorrow.

UPS just updated the delivery date to Friday.

When I’ll have left for a long weekend.

And when it’s supposed to be a rainy, blustery day, a bit like last night when the top 20′ feet of the pine tree near the house dropped into the field.

So, I’ll come home late Monday and hopefully find an undamaged proof of A Long, Hard Look which I’ll inspect and approve.

And then, finally, we’ll ship those preorders.

Which means you can still preorder an autographed copy, if you like.


The Ongoing Experiment: Chasing Change

step by stepIf you scroll down and look left, you’ll see the 16 most popular posts here at Someday Box.

7 are from the “story in 9 sentences” series.

7 are my core marketing posts.

The other two are a guest post from Rosanne Bane and a meander about Nero Wolfe. I know why the former is on the list. The latter, no idea.

Seems to indicate where interest lies: getting stuff written, and getting stuff sold.

More specifically, tools to make the writing and marketing processes less “random willpower-driven flailing” and more follow-the-steps.

In the spirit of endless experimentation to find the sweet spot between what I have to say and what you want to hear, it’s time for a course correction. Continue reading “The Ongoing Experiment: Chasing Change”