I used to do Sundays with my thoughts . . .

. . . but haven’t for a while now. Maybe I no longer have thoughts?

Could be; I’m getting on in years and at my advanced age the cognitive functions decline at a frightful pace. Not to brag (or complain) but I was saddened by a recent article saying research reports cognitive decline in old age occurs at a faster pace in people who are bright.

I know, I know . . . it sounds like I’m bragging. Nope! I’m hoping I’m a dunce and thus, my brain function will remain approximately constant as I age.

Yes, another reworked image. Get used to it; more are coming.

Anyway . . .

One of my better efforts — in my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions — of Sunday with my thoughts was published on a Wednesday. Go figure.

Seriously, it’s an interesting piece with nice phots, deep thoughts, and poignant cartoons. Also, interesting links, including an explanation for this photo of Children saluting the American flag in 1915. (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons):

Bellamy Salute

I know, I know . . . it’s difficult learning new stuff . . . or old stuff . . . or any stuff. I mean, gosh, it might make you smart and then you’ll go downhill even faster as you age.

But, this post is about writing . . .

There’s still an award left for the 1,500 words story competition (the Professional Validation Award) and once it’s bestowed, I’ll (eventually) do a critique post covering the good, neutral, and bad of each story, with each author providing their invaluable insight as to why their story is better than the other two and exactly why the other two stories don’t measure up.

Prefacing all that, I wanted a refresher on writing (I’ve been away from it for a while).

BUT . . . even before that, I want to dispel thoughts of me having the wherewithal to make sweeping statements about writing. Let me assuage your worries . . . I speak only for myself and my writing. Mostly, I seek confirmation as to why I’m not my writing isn’t wildly popular and sought out by people with discerning — or any — literary taste.

This isn’t false modesty . . . I have the data to back it up. Take a look at this:

Notice my top post . . . it’s a post I did in 2014 about the Serenity Blueprints.

Something else . . . that post gets anywhere from 45 to 90 views per month . . .

Pick any month, and that post is the second most-viewed post after the Home page. It gets at least two views a day on any given day, and that’s without me promoting it in any way.

In contrast, I often promote (mention) my favorite fiction pieces. Let’s see; what the best lifetime views for any of my fiction?

Even then, those carry qualifiers . . . Lester Dent is a topic of interest. The Flash Challenge was from the blog of a published author and hence many of those views were from people following his blog. Same for the NYT contest.

To find my “regular writing” one has to drop down into the 50s and even then, only a few examples show up. The vast majority of my fiction writing doesn’t make the list because the stats don’t list anything with less than 56-lifetime views. Most of my fiction pieces are in the 40 views and lower and that’s with me periodically referencing past fiction efforts and gently suggesting some of the fiction might be worth reading.

Disclaimer: I think I need to repeat this: I’m not complaining. There’s so much content available on the Internet that expectations for one’s work to shine are delusional at best. All this is just to establish my authority when speaking about writing extends only to my preference and it doesn’t reflect the interests and opinions of the overwhelming majority of humans.

For instance, the number of people who looked at the 1,500 words contest post — with me promoting it for almost an entire week — is still much less than the number of people who came to read about the Serenity Blueprints.

Side note: there may be a few readers of my blog who are not familiar with — or have no knowledge of — Firefly, the 2002 TV series that Fox ignominiously cut short. I’ve written a few pieces on it. Needless to say, I’m a fan. It’s the only show or movie or book that motivated me to purchase stuff related to it. Lots of stuff, much of it still boxed up as I wait for the opportunity to showcase it.

. . . each one of those boxes has a couple of figures from the cast, a Firefly-themed t-shirt, and other swag. There’s another layer of boxes behind those, and that’s not even all of the stuff I have.

See, this is why people don’t read my blog . . . I wander off-topic.

This post was meant to be about writing . . . Because I’ve written a lot regarding my thoughts and understanding of the craft, I often go back and review what I’ve written. Mostly, to see if it still holds up and if I’ve strayed in my opinions and beliefs.

Writing about writing — for me — often involves evaluating advice about writing.

One of the characteristics of modern humans is their desire for easy answers . . . such is the impetus for many advice pieces dotting the Internet. “How-to” guides assuring people of the ease of doing almost anything they want to do, including writing.

A favorite trio of posts from my past, these explore and evaluate advice asked of — and given by — successful authors.

This Writing Thing – Rules and Tips – Part One
This Writing Thing – Rules and Tips – Part Two
This Writing Thing – Rules and Tips – Part Three

The comments on those posts are also worth reading if for no other reason that roughseasinthemed generously contributed to them. She was one of the few writing professionals who actually read my writing and offered opinions and helpful critiques. It was a shock when she died and I still miss her wit and insight into many subjects. Her blog is still up and worth reading.

Mind you, I have lots of writers following my blog. In fact, this piece will net me at least a few (and maybe more) followers; writers, editors, or other people offering services related to writing. But, they aren’t true followers; they’ll not read this post nor bother reading any of my fiction; they’re advertising their services and subscribed because one of the tags for this post is “writing”.

They will subscribe, leave no comment (or, if they do, a one or two words comment), and I’ll never hear from them again.

In fact, even if I visit their blog and try to engage, they don’t have the time or inclination to interact or establish a connection . . . unless I want to be a customer.

But, I digress . . .

Another instance where I examine the writing process is my publication of two posts on that still-nebulous Voice concept . . .

This Writing Thing – Voice, Part I
This Writing Thing – Voice, Part II

That second post ends with a quick flash piece I like about a character named Guido (no surprise there; I wrote it).

You might wonder how much I write about writing . . . a lot.

My writing and writing about writing. And that’s not even all of it.

Some of my posts on trying to understand the craft are favorite pieces of mine . . . because they’re about me, obviously, and written by me.

Some pieces (THIS) will come into play when I critique my 1,500 words contest contribution. It speaks to what I like and what I don’t like about writing. The post is a review of the feedback I received for my third book, Gin’s War.

A companion post takes on the criticism I receive about violence and killing (in the book) and the draconian response to violence by the characters in my writing.

I’ve expressed my personal thoughts on Romance, Plotting, Self-Publishing (HERE and HERE), author blurb and genres, and other topics related to writing.

I’m happiest when writing humor pieces (HERE and HERE) as they are the easiest for me to write . . . but I don’t often write them. I try and stretch my range whenever I read something I find interesting, like writing second person POV (HERE and HERE), or exploring ideas that seem improbable like The Snail Rodeo (password protected; ask and you shall receive).

I’ve taken to heart the advice that one learns by doing; in 2015, I subscribed to Grammarly and they send me a weekly report on my writing. At the bottom of the email, they tally all the words I checked using their tool . . .

Mind you, that figure is a bit inflated because they don’t (can’t) keep track of duplicates. But, say it’s only a third . . . that’s still about 770,000 words per year (anyone reading my long posts and long comments can attest to that being a reasonable working number).

At this point, I almost confirm the old adage . . . Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach.

This is not to disparage teachers; teachers were students at one time and their love for learning transferred into their love for teaching.

A different matter with me; I’m not a published author but I’m familiar and understand much of the material and advice associated with the craft of writing. I could easily write many “How-To” pieces about it . . . which no one would read because I don’t have name recognition in the field (or any field).

So, why this post?

Well, I’ll be writing critiques of my and other people’s writing and want to assure readers I can make up stuff as well as most professional critics and reviewers.

I’ll be impartial and even-handed in my offerings, but everything you will hear from me — and the other writers, Perry and Gary — reflects personal likes and dislikes born out of our experiences and tastes.

Like all reviews, our views aren’t authoritative gospels; rather, they’re opinions you can consider, evaluate, and then accept or dismiss as you see fit.

Consider we are writers. What does that mean?

Often, it means we read fiction — or any writing — with a different eye, a different awareness than the casual reader who’s not tried writing fiction.  Because of it, we might bring up points you’ve not explicitly thought about and points you have zero interest in even if you consider them.

Part of what we’ll do is try to help each other in what we think are weak points as we subconsciously try making the other writers fall in step with how we write or at least begrudgingly admit our greatness and confirm their lower station in the pecking order.

Because, I mean, it’s obvious, isn’t it? We each think we’re the better writer.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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