Writing in a bookstore window–I am fascinated by the story of Harlan Ellison

I am fascinated by the story of Harlan Ellison.

I wrote a post about him five months ago.

And I am really interested in his writing in the window of a book store.  He wrote stories in the from the start of the day to the end of the day and he would put the pages up in the window as he finished them.  And the pages would be clean and error free.

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He did this many times over the years.  Apparently some of those stories he wrote in a window won awards.  But as of this moment I am not sure which ones those are.  Now Ellison won a lot of awards for his short stories.  I just wish I knew which ones where written in a store window.

One story I do know that he wrote in a window was Objects of Desire Are Closer than They Appear.  And the premise for the story was given to him by Chris Carter.  Carter gave him the phrase a 102-year-old pregnant corpse.

Some began to believe that Harlan was cheating by already having ideas for his stories planned out before he sat in the bookstore window, so eventually he would get people to give an idea.  Robin Williams gave him the phrase “Computer Vampyre”  and Ellison wrote the story Keyboard.

I find that fascinating.

Ellison did not let writers block get in the way.  Writing is fun.  Writing in enjoyable.  And more than anything else, writing isn’t about rewriting to get it perfect, a lot of his stories he taped to the window as he finished them.  Remember this was on a typewriter, not a laptop.

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Harlan writing at the Booksmith in May of 1994 at the Booksmith in San Francisco. 

Just cool as all get out.

Finals: The Dolbin School Book 4 is now available in paperback and Kindle

The latest book in The Dolbin School Series is here.

The Kindle version came out in December.

But the paperback version took a few tries to get the cover correct.  Come to find out there was a bug in the latest version of Photoshop that caused vertical type to be processed incorrectly when turning the PSD file into a PDF.  But now we have it fixed.

The book is enrolled in the Kindle Matchbook program, so you can buy the paperback and get the Kindle version for free.

Click here to get the book on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

Didn’t “Win” NaNoWriMo–But so what!

I didn’t make it.

I guess I am supposed to feel bad about it.

I don’t like that feeling.  I don’t like at all.

I don’t write everyday.  I have a six-year-old that I want to send time with.  It is very hard to write when you don’t have a home office.  I get most of my writing done in a Starbucks or library.

My kid was out of school for two early in the month for parent-teacher conferences and a teacher workday.  Two days gone right there.

Then there was that whole Thanksgiving thing.  Three days of family, writing gone.  And one day, I worked all day on formatting my next book for paperback.  Formatting my books is something I haven’t outsourced yet. and maybe I should.  But books need to be formatted.

So there was five days gone.  And I don’t write much on weekends, a few hundred words here and there.  But I really need to be by myself to get tons of words done.

I did manage somewhere in the 24,000 word range.  That’s a Goosebumps novel right there folks.

That’s more than the Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Clearly, thank you very much.

I appreciated the push, and learning how to get more words done in a session.  I started actually writing notes by hand about what I was going to write that day, and when I did that the words came easier.

The point is to write.

And I wrote.

NaNoWriMo 17,000 words–wow–I am behind

I am still trying NaNoWriMo.

But I don’t think I am going to hit the deadline.  I am currently just past 17,000 words,  I should be around 27,000 words at this point.

Ugh.

I am not liking this stress.  I have missed a few days for various reasons.

But I am learning how to get more words done in a session.  Over the last two days, I have begun sketching out what I am going to write about that day.  That gives me a road map for the writing session.  As opposed to my normal, let’s just see where this thing goes.

I get the sense that NaNoWriMo was started to help people finish a book.  I have finished books, but I am not liking this pressure of 1667 words everyday.  A 1000 words s day, no problem.

I know there are many that would read that and laugh.  Doing 1667 words a day is normal.

I’m not there.

I can do between 1000-1700 words Monday through Friday without a problem.  Saturday and Sunday become an issue when my kid is home from school.

Oh, well, the book may not be finished by November 30, but it will be finished.

NaNoWriMo–11,635 words down. A little behind.

I am still attempting NaNoWriMo.

But I admit.  This week was tough.

I’m feeling the pressure.

My daughter was off from school for two days this week.  So that changes the schedule just a little bit.  She did spend a fair amount of time at her baby sitters, but the change in schedule just threw me.  It happens.

And then I got sick the last couple of days.  I got some stomach virus, and as I write this I think I got it from the children’s museum I took my daughter to on Tuesday.  I’m surrounded by dozens of kids, there’s bound to be a rogue germ around there.

So, I’m behind.  By about 5,000 words.  On the 10th of November I should be at 16,670 words.  So I’m behind.

I’m going to keep trying, but we’ll see.

NaNoWriMo Day 4 only 263–That’s cool

Day 4

Not a big writing day.

263 words

263 words. There is more to life than NaNoWriMo. At least that’s what I tell myself to keep from curling up and crying in the corner.

Did other things for business today.

Also tried to mow the lawn before it started to rain.

You know regular Saturday things.

I pulled out the laptop and went through I what I wrote yesterday and added some new things.  That got me another 263 words.

That won’t get me to 50,000 words in 30 days.

But 250 words a day, over a year gets you 91,000 words, which is enough for two small novels a year.

Which is two more novels a year than 99% of people who say, “I want to write a novel.”

NanoWriMo Day 3–2083 words passed 6,000 words total

I got started later today.

My choice of Starbucks to write at was poor.  It was too crowded.  I went to write on their outside porch.  It was too cold outside to write.

So I drank my coffee and did some morning pages, where I just write in a stream of consciousness to clear my brain before I begin writing a novel.

I then made it to my normal writing spot the library.

There was no world series yesterday, so I got more sleep, and therefore I cranked through til 1 pm.

Ended the day with 2,083 words.

Bringing my total to 6313.  Which is cool, I am over 10% through.

I don’t I’ll write as much on the weekend.  I like hanging out with the family.

But we’ll see.

NaNoWriMo Day 2 1883 words–stayed up too late with the World Series

I got 1883 words done today.

That’s above the recommended pace of 1667 words per day.  But it’s less than what I want to hit of 2,500, that allows me to skip Saturday and Sunday if needed.

More than needed, but not what I was hoping for.

Today was a fun writing time, because I was able to get all these words done, between 9:45 and noon.

I stopped at noon.  I’ve been running on too little sleep watching the world series.  Congrats Houston you deserved it.

(I am useless…)

today was fun too because I also added Dragons to the story.

I needed a reason for why things are bad in the future.  So why not aliens that attacked earth and call them Dragons.

Me writing:

Okay, I need something to have attacked the world from space.

Bugs…

No that’s been used in Starship Troopers and Ender’s Game…

Dragons from space.

Sounds good to me.  Keep going.

Remember this is play.

First day of NaNoWriMo 2,400 words

Today was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month).

Now that I no longer teaching, I figured I would have the time to try it out.  I like the idea of using a deadline and public community.

With NaNoWriMo, you’re not supposed to start until November 1.  Meaning no writing, outlining, just an idea.

From Day 1 of writing.

All I had was this idea for a science fiction idea, a 10 ten year old boy is arrested and placed in a prison that is located on the dark side of the moon.

So the questions: why is he in prison?  What is the universe when there is a prison on the dark side of the moon?  Why is he so important that he needs to be placed in the most secure prison?

With that I began typing.  Using Scrivner I would outline as I went.  When a new character came along, I would write a very quick note about this character, same with setting, write a quick sketch when a new setting comes into play.

I have no idea if I can maintain the pace to keep it up to finish it by November 30.  I have also never written a novel at 50,000 words.  My longest work so far is The Dolbin School 3: The Return of the Professor which clocks in at a little over 45,000 words.

But I enjoy writing first drafts when the words flow, and the story just plays in my head.  That is fun.

So to get myself I wrote a quick chapter to get myself going:

The prison door slid open and prisoner 8311 stepped forward into the center of the room, his binders came off as the doors slid in a hush behind him. Prisoner 8311 rubbed his wrists and sat down on the bunk that extended from the wall. The pristine, white room had a sink, a toilet, a small video screen, and a white rug in the middle of the small cell.

“Prisoner 8311 meal time will occur in fours hours, you will be notified when to be ready,” said an electronic voice from the speaker high in the wall.

Prisoner 8311 laid down on his bunk, put his hands behind his head, closed his eyes and napped.

Prisoner 8311 dreamed about his tenth birthday party when he was not referred to as Prisoner 8311, but was referred to by his given name–Quinton Alexander.

Which was yesterday.

 

Then I was off and running.

New School Visit Page

I’ve had a few people ask about visiting schools.  Which is very cool.

As a former teacher in Virginia, I have spoken at several different schools in Virginia and in New Jersey.

Each school has different needs for their lessons, so I have left the contact page simple.  Just reach out to me.

Click here to visit the page.

Or you can contact me through this form here: