Monday, March 16, 2015

Writing in Public - Year 1, Month 4, Days 9-15

Michael Salsbury
My adoption of Dean Wesley Smith's Writing in Public challenge continues.

On Monday, I wrote a journal entry (756 words), a post for the WDASite blog (151 words), a review of the La Chouffe beer for Columbus Beer Scene (256 words),  McChouffe (195 words), N'Ice Chouffe (290 words), and Troubadour Magma (283 words).  That's a total of 1,931 for the day.

Tuesday was a particularly crazy day at the office.  I had to check out a bunch of potential malware picked up by a scanning tool I created.  None of it turned out to be malicious.  I interacted with a malware product vendor about their product and some malware we've discovered.  I also had four meetings, issues with a VMware Server, and miscellaneous other issues.  Didn't leave the office until well after 6pm.  Fortunately, I did get a lunch break and spent time with a co-worker and friend.  When we finally got home, I wrote a review of the Avery Nineteen Belgian Tripel (269 words), Brasserie Des Legendes Noel Des Geants (255 words), BJ's Jeremiah Red Ale (142 words), Brasserie Des Rocs Triple Imperiale (235 words), Breckenridge Vanilla Porter with Pistachios (203 words), and Brew Dog's Dogma (589 words).  That's a total of 1,693 words of beer reviews.  I also wrote a journal entry of 1,571 words, for a total of 3,264 words for the day.

Wednesday and Thursday I got a few opening lines in, but that's about all (7 lines, 5 paragraphs, 276 words).  Wednesday there was also a journal entry (550 words).  Thursday was busy and I didn't feel much like writing after work so nothing got written that day, not even a journal entry.  I did manage to read Les Edgerton's book "Hooked" on story openings, and another called "Tell, Don't Show!" about how to write your first draft faster by not slowing yourself down to write complete prose.

Friday I was sick and spent a lot of the day in bed and resting, so not much got written.  I did a journal entry in the evening when I felt a little more human (540 words).

Saturday I felt a little better, so some writing actually did get done.  I wrote two articles for How To Write Fiction, one on Openings (1,076 words) and one on Telling vs. Showing (734 words).  Wrote another on the interactive style guide for Columbus Beer Scene (149 words).  Also did a journal entry (332 words).

Sunday I wrote 12 opening lines and 3 opening paragraphs (348 words).  I also wrote a journal entry (402 words).

Next week, a couple of work responsibilities rotate around to me, which will add a lot to my plate.  That always makes it tough to set aside the time and energy to write.

Here are my notes from this week:
  • Things I Accomplished This Week That I'm Proud of:
    • The brainstorming work I've done on the "Immortality" story.
  • Major Lessons Learned This Week: 
    • Learned a lot about opening lines from Les Edgerton's book Hooked.  Now I need to start practicing it in my opening line practice.
    • Learned about doing fast first drafts by telling rather than showing.  Need to try that out on the next few stories to see if it helps.
  • Meaningful Quotes: 
    • "You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don't know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don't know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody, you don't know what anybody owes to you.  This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.  This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen."  - Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth
    • "First drafts are for learning what your book is about." - Bernard Malamud
    • "Economy of language doesn't mean using fewer words. It simply means that every word needs to count and to represent much more than the few syllables it takes to utter." - Les Edgerton in Hooked
  • What Didn't Happen and What I Can Improve for Next Week:
    • Complete the character sketches for The Ark - Not Done
    • Complete the plot outline for The Ark - Not Done
    • Convert the basic plot for The Ark into a collection of scenes - Not Done

      For all three of these, this is starting to show an unhealthy pattern.  I've gotten many stories far into the brainstorming process and "frozen" when it came to writing them.  In part it's because if I brainstorm in too much detail, I feel like I've already written the story and don't want to do it again.  If I don't brainstorm in enough detail, the story goes far off the rails and sucks, and I don't want this one to suck.  What I think I need to do here is follow the advice in K.M. Weiland's plotting workbook and the James Lofquist book Tell, Don't Show!  Between those two, I think I can hit a happy medium between laying out a properly constructed story, enough detail that it stays on track, and not so much that I feel like it's been written already.
    • Brainstorm a story about "great" people being rewarded with immortality as a computer AI when they pass away, and what life is like for "people" in the computer - Partially Done

      On Wedensday, the journal entry talked about this a lot, so I do have some good notes on it.  I've considered how the government offers this "immortality" to important people, how private companies offer it to ordinary folks, the impact of this option on things like estates and wills, etc.  There's more to think about, and I am still not 100% sure I have found the story here.  Part of the reason this is "partially done" is that I didn't make this a "SMART" goal (specific and measurable in particular).
  • Biggest Outcomes I Wanted for This Week:
    • Complete the character sketches for The Ark - Not Done
    • Complete the plot outline for The Ark - Not Done
    • Convert the basic plot for The Ark into a collection of scenes - Not Done
    • Write 5 beer reviews or other posts for Columbus Beer Scene - Done x2 (10 total!)
    • At least 10 opening lines, 1 opening paragraph, and 1 opening page - Partially Done (19, 8, and 0)
  • Biggest Outcomes I Want for NEXT Week:
    • At least 10 opening lines, 1 opening paragraph
    • Brainstorm more of the world for the "immortality" story
    • Using Weiland's and Lofquist's ideas, work out a skeleton of the plot foe The Ark that covers beginning, middle, and end, at least 5,000 words long
    • Using Weiland's and Lofquist's ideass, come up with a least five possible stories that could be told in the "immortality" story universe
    • Write 5 beer reviews or other posts for Columbus Beer Scene
    • Write at least 1 post for the ASL Series blog
    • Write at least 1 post for the Begin Brewing blog
Below is how all the above activity turned into word count.


  • Columbus Beer Scene: 2,866 words
  • How To Write Fiction:  1,810 words
  • Journal: 3,749 words
  • Opening Lines Written:  19 lines, 8 paragraphs, 624 words
  • Windows Desktop Admin blog: 1,322 words
  • This Blog: 426 words
TOTAL WORDS FOR THIS WEEK: 10,797 words (avg. 1,542.4 per day)



  • Fully Invested: 0 words (notes and backstory)
  • The Alliance (series): 0 words
  • ASL - The Ark: 3,841 words
  • Alien Love Story: 0 words
  • Driven To Kill: 0 words
  • Local Gods: 0 words
  • The Black Eagles: 0 words
  • The Old Hotel: 0 words
  • Thief of Police: 0 words
Short Stories:
  • The Mimas Object (a story in the Alliance universe): 0 words
  • Introduction to Application Repackaging: 0 words
  • Troubleshooting Windows Applications: 0 words
  • Amazon Product Reviews:  0 words
Blogging and Journaling:
  • Alliance for Sentient Lifeforms (ASL): 1,595 words
  • Begin Brewing: 0 words
  • Columbus Beer Scene:  3,419 words
  • How to Write Fiction: 2,244 words
  • Introduction to Application Repackaging: 3,566 words
  • Windows Desktop Administration: 2,980 words
  • This Blog: 1,802 words
  • Guest Posts for Other Blogs: 0 words
  • Comments on Other Blogs: 0 words
  • Journaling:  9,634 words
Opening Lines, Paragraphs, Pages:
  • Opening Lines Written: 22 lines (714 words)
  • Opening Paragraphs Written: 10
  • Opening Pages Written: 0

MARCH 2015 - TOTAL WORDS: 29,795 (avg. 1,986 per day)



Month of ChallengeWords Written
December 201420,754
January 201516,018
February 201547,660
March 2015 (to date)29,795

About the Author

Michael Salsbury / Author & Editor

In his day job, Michael Salsbury helps administer over 1,800 Windows desktop computers for a Central Ohio non-profit. When he's not working, he's writing, blogging, podcasting, home brewing, or playing "warm furniture" to his two Bengal cats.


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