Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Story Seventeen

Rested This Afternoon So the Story Came Easy…

Go figure, I took a nap and then watched some television and just rested, so when I did go to doing email and workshop stuff and writing, it all went easier. Wow, shocker. (grin)

The Day

Started off up real, real early at a little after 9 a.m. to get some stuff done and get to the WMG offices for the two webinars. I had fun on both, although the Space Opera got way off topic for the last thirty minutes. Still fun and good questions. Thanks everyone.

Then went to the writer’s lunch in another part of the WMG offices, which was also fun since a bunch of the fantasy workshop people stayed over. And all the local pros were here as well. Good lunch.

Then home to take a nap and make myself dinner and watch too much television, just resting.

Then up here to do email and send out letters to those signed up for the Master Business Class and the Anthology workshop about the move of the workshops to Las Vegas.

About 1 a.m. I moved to my writing computer after also packing a bunch of boxes.

The Story

I went to my half-title sheets the moment I sat down and saw the half-title “Reluctant…” It took me almost no time for my eye to catch another half title …With Intent.”

Oh, what a great title. “Reluctant with Intent” and I typed that in and wrote the first paragraph of the story.

“When you crawl around in people’s minds, things often get confused.”

Well, that had to be Marble Grant, so I put “A Marble Grant Story” as a subtitle and off I went.

I paused right at 2 a.m. at 1,400 words to take a break, make myself a snack, pack three more boxes, and then go back to writing.

I finished the story right at 2:45 a.m. at 2,000 words. And I got packing done and will do a little more packing before I crash tonight.



All the details we have right now are in a couple posts below this one. Both the Master Business Class in October and the Anthology workshop will be moving to the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. I will be contacting everyone already signed up in the next week.

Still room in both workshops. Write me with questions.


Day One… Scared Money… 2,700 words…. Total April words… 2,700 words.
Day Two… Rainbow Peak… 4,900 words…. Total April words… 7,600 words.
Day Three… A Beautiful History… 2,300 words…. Total April words… 9,900 words.
Day Four… A Song For The Old Memory… 2,050 words…. Total April words… 11,950 words.
Day Five… A Brush with Intent… 1,000 words…. Total April words… 12,950 words.
Day Six… Ghost Diet… 2,700 words…. Total April words… 15,650 words.
Day Seven… Rescue Two… 3,300 words…. Total April words… 18,950 words.
Day Eight… The Woman Who Knew The Time… 3,200 words…. Total April words… 22,150 words.
Day Nine… Long Hair Henry… 4,400 words…. Total April words… 26,550 words.
Day Ten… I’ll See You… 1,500 words…. Total April words… 28,050 words.
Day Eleven… Girl on the Bed… 2,000 words…. Total April words… 30,050 words.
Day Twelve… Everything Got Colder… 2,050 words…. Total April words… 32,100 words.
Day Thirteen… (did not write)… 00 words…. Total April words… 32,100 words.
Day Fourteen… (did not write)… 00 words…. Total April words… 32,100 words.
Day Fifteen… Old Memories… 2,700 words…. Total April words… 34,800 words.
Day Sixteen… Models’ Four.. 1,900 words…. Total April words… 36,700 words.
Day Seventeen… (did not write).. 00 words…. Total April words… 36,700 words.
Day Eighteen… Green Canyon.. 2,500 words…. Total April words… 39,200 words.
Day Nineteen… (did not write).. 00 words…. Total April words… 39,200 words.
Day Twenty… Something In My Darling.. 1,600 words…. Total April words… 40,800 words.
Day Twenty-one… (did not write).. 1,600 words…. Total April words… 40,800 words.
Day Twenty-two… Reluctant With Intent.. 2,000 words…. Total April words… 42,800 words.



— Insider’s Guide to Writing Serial Fiction (2,000 word parts of a novel) (Starts May 6th)
— Insider’s Guide to Writing Detective Fiction. (Starts May 6th)

$300 each, limited to ten writers plus lifetime subscribers. One time workshops. They will not be regular. Sorry. But Lifetime Subscribers have access to them of course going forward.




Sign up directly through Teachable or if you have a credit, write me directly to sign up.

Class #49… May 1st … Depth #3: Research
Class #50… May 1st … Author Voice
Class #51… May 1st … Dialog
Class #52… May 1st … Writing into the Dark
Class #53… May 1st … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #54… May 1st … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #55… May 2nd … Depth in Writing
Class #56… May 2nd … Business
Class #57… May 2nd … (open)
Class #58… May 2nd … (open)
Class #59… May 2nd … Novel Structure
Class #60… May 2nd … Writing Fantasy


  • Kenny

    The Space Opera webinar might’ve gotten _way_ off topic but I still learnt much from it: especially in the latter parts!

    Thanks again, Dean, and everyone else on it. The only question I now have is to when I slot in the Self Editing workshop… 🙂

    • D S Butler

      I’m doing the editing workshop at the moment. I think Dean is finally getting through to me and I’m ready to accept I need to cycle as I go. It’s taken a while, but I’m starting to see the light at last!

  • Scott Gordon

    Let me start out by saying that anyone who can maintain Max Brand’s pace, year in, year out, is an Olympic-level athlete. It really has nothing to do with whether or not you might be able to write at that clip for a day or a handful of them. Disciplining your body and mind to produce content with the intention of being sold, much less being good at what you do, takes an exceptional level of skill and stamina that’s developed over time. It’s impressive what pulp writers were able to accomplish with their typewriters, or in some cases, by hand. (Didn’t Dey average 7,000 – 8,000 words per day with his gold pen?)

    Anyways, I made it to the end and contributed another 2,076 words to wrap up Secret Agent Disco Dancer: The Last Ding Dong on Earth. All told, the story is approximately 12,000 words. I also wrote a Production Notes section detailing my path from initial idea through end of the final chapter. Surprisingly I had a lot to day, which resulted in another 1,868 words. All that’s left for me to do is write my Hostess Disclaimer and I’ll hit my goal for the day. (Currently at 3,974 words, and no, I don’t count these posts.)

    Another surprising thing happened last night. As I began to think about where the story was going, the next scene began writing itself. I had no choice but to comply, a scribe at best, taking dictation, patiently jotting down what I was told before the writing was done with me. It took an hour and only resulted in another 400-word chapter, but it was pure gold–unprompted, unplanned for, ready to come out and in full. At times like this, you can’t just shut off that part of you, and if you do, you’ll regret doing so.

    A writer much prepare for and be flexible when these situations arise. I’d put in my word count for the day, but the story wouldn’t be denied. Give the respect that the writing deserves and you will be treated accordingly.

  • Scott Gordon

    Awhile back you said something that sparked my interest. You spoke of “puzzle writing;” that some authors (I believe you used your wife as an example) wrote first and figured out where it fit later, like pieces of a mosaic. This would be a great topic in itself as it pertains to being “unstuck from your timeline” when “writing into the dark.” In fact, there may be enough material for a companion book, Puzzle Writing into the Dark.

    I’ve used an implementation of your Writing into the Dark process to write “mostly linear.” As I need things, I jump around, but always rejoin the current position in the timeline until I work my way through to the end. Puzzle writing seems to be the opposite of this. Things fall into place as they come to you, and while bits and pieces may be written sequentially, the story is “mostly non-linear” in its construction. The story continues to blossom, perhaps from the inside out, until it forms a cohesive whole. You may have a character, turning point or an ending. That’s ok. The rest will organically come to you and fill in the empty spaces.

    I used a similar approach a few years back, but never finished the projects associated with it. (It probably had something to do with knowing the ending, but not everyone is turned off by this.) I’m largely speculating about how “puzzle writing” may be a slightly different implementation of Writing into the Dark. I certainly see benefits (for much larger projects) and frustrations with such an approach, and have a project in mind that could benefit from “mostly non-linear” writing.

    Could you tell us more about this? And if I’ve lost you, I apologize. This is something that you mentioned briefly, and to the best of my knowledge, never expanded upon.

    • dwsmith

      It’s a nightmare, not worth trying, and only do it if the book itself forces you into the form of being put together. Most writers who try it end up exactly as you did, with an unfinished book.

      So nope, not going to teach anything that hurts writers. Avoid that at all cost, folks. It fails 90% of the time and takes a writer like Kris to even pull it off and she hates it when it happens. Let me say this a different way. She HATES IT when it happens.

    • dwsmith

      I do write what I call complex puzzle mystery novels into the dark, but I write them cycling through from word one to the end. So that kind of puzzle refers to the content.

      So by puzzle, you are talking about writing chapter five, then chapter twenty, then chapter six and so on and putting them all together at the end. Nope, that is crazy making. Did it once by accident, wanted to slash my wrists before I had the thing together.

      • Mike

        I would second this opinion, given my current WIP. Started it about nine months ago and got the first 1/4 of the way through before a life roll (a good one) halted progress for about two months. When I got back to the story, I realized my 1/4 was really somewhere closer to the 3/4 mark of the story so I started back at the ‘new’ beginning and wrote toward it.

        As I wrote, other characters started popping their heads in with interesting ideas about what should happen. But those characters needed to be layered in. Although this was annoying in one sense, it also has helped to buoy my spirits, especially since one character showed up with a whole lot of voice when I had ground to halt in a spot.

        Anyway, now my single POV story is a 3 POV story with a bit more of an epic feel to it, which to be honest, is probably a bit outside of my wheelhouse. But it’s been fun as hell and all my characters are getting themselves poised to revisit that ‘original’ 1/4 section of the story, which will now need to be changed considerably as the story demands (and for continuity).

        While I wouldn’t recommend this method LOL, it has been fun in the way that difficult (as ‘difficult’ as writing can be) things often are when you look back on them (though maybe I’ll be singing a different tune in a few days).

        But I’m curious, Dean, when a puzzle method of writing gets to be destructive rather than creative. I suspect it’s when you start writing tangents or puzzle pieces in critical voice rather than creative. But when you write into the dark, since you inherently don’t know where you’re going, are there any ways you can tell if you are ‘off course’? Can you even get off course?

        By the way, if anybody is still reading this, despite the meandering path I’ve taken toward the finish of this story, I have not yet quit or panicked and I know I won’t until it’s done. Mainly because it’s still fun to write and Dean’s teachings have helped me recognize the fun and keep stoking it. Two years ago, this story would never have survived being put on pause. It might never have even survived that long.

        But the Writing into the Dark workshop and book have helped tremendously in changing those old mindsets and being able to relax into the story and enjoy the fun of finding out what happens. For anybody who’s struggled with not finishing stories, that peace of mind is undeniably awesome.

        I would highly recommend the workshop to anybody who hasn’t experienced it, yet.

  • Scott Gordon

    Ha ha. Wow, I didn’t realize how bad of an idea this is.

    So I guess it’s good to be a little unstuck from your timeline, just not completely unstuck.

    It’s interesting that both you and your wife have produced books this way and vowed never to do it again. The knowledge is in the doing. I’ve started out this way, but never finished. Likely I would feel the same if I ever published something using this approach.

    Madness? This is Puzzle Writing!