One Thousand Words A Day

My goal as a writer is to produce a minimum of one thousand words a day. A big part of hitting that goal is my willingness to carve out the time to put those words on the page. It’s all boils down to conditioning the mind to respond to a certain stimulus. If you’re sitting at your desk every day at the same time with the intent to write, I’ve discovered the words will flow. And it’s not as hard as one thinks.

Every morning, without fail, I'm at my computer editing, marketing, or writing new stuff. I put aside the time, before work, to focus on my dream. Some mornings I don’t want to get up when the alarm goes off but I force myself to do so. For me writing is a priority in my life. One I take seriously.

I’m sure as a writer you have several non-writing friends, out of those friends I’m willing to bet one of them would also be writing a book if only they had the time. There’s always one thing or another cropping up to prevent them from doing what they want. The real reason they’re not writing is that for them writing is not that high of a priority in their life.

With a little planning and a willingness to commit ones self to a set time each day, anyone can achieve the goal of writing a thousand words a day. And while a thousand words alone does not sound like much, if you can produce a thousand words each day, on the same project, in three months time you will have a 90,000 word novel.

Fridays Frights: Ohio State Reformatory

Located in Mansfield, Ohio, the Ohio State Reformatory, also known as the Mansfield Reformatory is an imposing structure that immediately reminds one of an old German  castle. Constructed between 1886 and 1910 it opened to its first inmates in 1896 while still under construction and remained in operation until 1990 when a Federal court ruling ordered the facility closed.

A bit of a celebrity the structure has appeared in both films and television.

The Shawshank Redemption, based on a novella written by Stephen King was filmed in and around the area. The reformatory itself appeared in a long panning shot for the movie and the wardens office was used as the office for Warden Samuel Norton played by Bob Gunton. 

The reformatory also served as a stand in for the Russian prison that housed General Ivan Radek in the movie Air force One starring Harrison Ford. It has also been the setting for episodes of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and Ghost Hunters Academy.

While a celebrity, the prison harbors a sinister past. It is said the tortured spirits of inmates who died within its walls still wander the hallways.

In the administration wing where, Warden Glatkke and his wife Helen once lived, employees and visitors have reported paranormal events.

Helen died of complications after suffering a gunshot wound to the chest in an accidental discharge of the weapon. There are those who believe the warden was directly responsible for the accident. Ten years later the Warden suffered a heart attack and died at the same hospital as his wife.

There have been reports of the smell of rose perfume, Helen's favorite, filling the room when visitors enter. Camera shutters will suddenly quit working until they are removed from the area, leading one to believe the spirit of the warden is preventing visitors from photographing he and his wife’s quarters.

It is rumored The Chapel was once used as a torture chamber. Strange recordings have been made and numerous orbs have allegedly been seen in the chapel. Visitors have reported seeing the shadowy silhouette of a person who vanishes when they approach.

Other hotspots of paranormal activity include the Infirmary, where many prisoners spent their final moments, and is known in paranormal circles to set off EMF detectors. Clusters of orbs have seen captured in photographs, and visitors have reported feeling unexplained gushes of air passing them as they explore.

In the basement the spirit of a fourteen year old who had been beaten to death lingers in the shadowy hallways. The spirit of former Reformatory employee George is said to inhabit the same area.

Visitors have reported seeing objects move for no obvious reason in the inmate graveyard where the bodies of past inmates lay interred. In the library equipment will stop working for no reason.

The darkest spot has to be the hole where unruly prisoners were confined in dark cells and subsisted on a diet of bread and water. The walls of this area still carries the despair the prisoners must have felt and some visitors to the area have reported being overcome by a feeling of dread that forces them to leave immediately.

Now under the care of the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society the prison is open to self-guided tours from April 1 to September 1. Other tour packages are available. There is also the Shawshank Trail, a fourteen stop self guided tour that takes one to the filming locations from the movie. More information can be found at their website.

New Discovery: Who Goes There by John W Campbell.

I guess what I really should say is new 'old' discovery as John W. Campbell's novella Who Goes There, was originally published in Astounding Stories in 1938. It is purported that he wrote Who Goes There in response to H.P Lovecraft's novella At The Mountains of Madness that had been published in Astounding Stories in 1936, to show Lovecraft how a story of that nature should be written.

Campbell's story Who Goes There served as the basis for the 1951 movie The Thing From Another World, that John Carpenter remade in 1982 as The Thing.

What makes this release unique is that before John Carpenter became involved in the remake, Universal Studios approached William F Nolan, who had recently garnered a great deal of attention with the release of the movie Logan's Run for which he'd written the screenplay. The print version contains a forward by William F Nolan as well as his treatment of the proposed screenplay that Universal passed on in favor of John Carpenter's version.  Nolan's take on Campbell's story downplays monster elements in favor of an "imposter" theme, in a vein similar to The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. The forward and treatment is not available in the kindle version, I purchased a copy hoping to find the treatment by Nolan only to be disappointed.

Click on the cover to grab a copy for yourself.

Issac Asimov called Campbell, "the most powerful force in science fiction ever,." and his novella Who Goes There proves the point.

Establishing a Routine

It's not unusual that during the course of a conversation I'll be having with someone I haven't met before, when the subject of my writing comes up, almost without fail the person will express their desire to write a book themselves. If they only had the time.

Their excuses for not doing so range from having to watch their kids, to wanting to spend time with their spouses. There's housework that needs to be done, laundry waiting to be washed, work around the house that they've been putting off far to long. And the biggest excuses is being too tired after a hard day at work.

Not to brag but I'm writing this on Sunday evening after having worked from 9am until 5pm in a retail store. I got up this morning at 5:30 am, showered and made some coffee, then sat down and wrote until it was time to get ready for work. After work I stopped at another store to pick up food for the dogs and upon arriving home I sat down to dinner with my wife and our oldest grandson who had stopped by for a visit.

After dinner I ran my grandson home, came back to the house and helped finish the dishes. Now I sit at my computer, a cold beer on my desk beside me, while I write this post I've been promising myself I would do all week. You see I've made the decision that I have to post three times a week from this point on. Mondays will be missives like you're reading now about living the life of a writer who also works a full time job. Wednesdays will be devoted to new discoveries I've made in horror fiction, guest posts from other authors, and interviews. Fridays will remain Fridays Frights with a more personal touch as I talk about creepy places around the world. After I'm done this post I'll join my wife on the patio while we watch our dogs play in the back yard and relax for an hour or so before we go off to bed.

Recently I've rediscovered an old truth about being a working writer. To be successful, to complete your projects in a timely manner, you have to have a routine. Setting a goal is not enough if you don't establish a routine that will help you achieve that goal. My shot term goal is to finish Parasite, part two of the Shadows of the Past series I've been contemplating for some time. I want to release it by Halloween this year. To do that I have to finish it by the end of August. That will give me all of September and most of October to rewrite and polish the story in preparation for its Halloween release.

Will I make it?

I'm doing everything possible on my end. For the past two weeks I've gotten up every morning at 5:30, hopped in the shower, and grabbed some coffee before turning on the computer and getting to work. I've established a routine that is slowly becoming second nature.When I wrote Shadows of the Past I did the same thing, starting work the same time each day,and working until I achieved a goal which at the time was five pages per day, many days I'd write ten or fifteen. and in no time I had written 85,000 words.

To date I've laid down just over 25,000 words on Parasite. I'm nearly halfway there.

There's another little truth I've rediscovered recently. By sticking to my routine I've found I actually have more time to do the things I want to without feeling guilty.

Oh and don't forget while you're here to sign up for my monthly giveaway. This month I'm giving away a $10.00 amazon gift card along with an electronic library of all of my work. The drawing will take place August 15. to sign up follow the Where's Puddles link above.