Fun on Matacucu

I closed my iPad and looked across the desk at Lisa in her pirate garb.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I’ve written myself into a bind and need time to think. I managed 1200 words, but it pales in comparison to yesterday.”

“You changed the slaves into natives that practice head-binding. That was kind of cool.”

“Yeah, not a lot of explanation, but it adds to my world building. Do you know people practiced the shaping of infant skulls all over the world, but had no way of communicating with each other about it? It’s kind of amazing they would come up with the same bizarre practice in different cultures like that.”

“Yes, I have full Internet access and looked some of it up for you, remember?”

“Yeah, thanks. I need to do some serious thinking here.”

“How long do you think it will take?”

“No telling, but it makes sense. I passed 30,000, so this is the middle slog. You know how I love the middle slog.”

“What’s the issue, maybe I can help.”

“The pirates captured a treasure ship. They decided to divide the weight between the two ships, and take the galleon with them. She’s a pretty worthless ship and not much more than a merchantman.”

“So, basically, more troubles.”

“Yeah that’s kind of a theme in fiction. They worked through some dangerous waters and are within sight of Matacucu. I need them to approach the temple of the exploding monks, but I don’t want them to learn too much from this stop.”


“I don’t know exactly what my landing party is going to do there. I want to build my con-man characters up a bit. Readers are due for a real fight scene, because the galleon didn’t put up much of a fight.”

“What if they learn nothing at all, then wind up in a fight. Your con-man maybe picked up on some valuable information they can discuss later. You can shoot your way out of the harbor and keep it mildly adventurous.”

“That could work, but I need to think about it. I’ve also teased the exploding monks for 30,000 words, and it’s time to see what they are capable of. Readers have earned that now. The only problem is it has to be devastating and horrible.”

“Then write it that way. What’s the big deal?”

“It almost needs to be bad enough to kill off a character we’ve gotten to know. Maybe even a root monster or two.”

Flattop climbed my desk drawers and stood between us. “You would kill modders?”

I clasped my hand over my eyes and lowered my face. “I don’t know. There are lots of you guys and not all of you have names. Then there is a new one people haven’t gotten attached to yet. That’s the problem. Readers love you guys far beyond anything I expected.”

“Modders are helpful.”

“You are, but at last count, I think there were nineteen of you. That’s adding on Shrimp, the new guy.”

“We might get by with only seventy-two.”

“What!” Lisa said.

“They don’t understand numbers. I think he’s trying to be helpful.”

“You’re going to have to figure it out,” Lisa said. “You can do some writing tomorrow, but then you aren’t off again until Wednesday.”

“I know, and there is a big monster just over the horizon. He might even be a god. They’re going to flee from him as much as anything else. I know they’re going to wind up elsewhere and gain some better intelligence on the monks. That’s going to be a big section.”

“I thought the second volume of a trilogy was supposed to be the shortest one.”

“It is, but it’s not looking that way here. After Matacucu, they wind up on Bungo Bungo. That’s a big section. Then they have to wind up in pseudo-Japan, which I haven’t even named yet. That’s another big section. Then they have to fight with their own admiralty, implant some spy’s and a special army into the war, then gain their minor victory amidst tragedy.”

“This isn’t looking like the 90,000 word piece you had planned.”

“I know, and that’s why I need to stop and think. I’m committed to bring this in as three volumes, even if they’re big ones.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to get a haircut.”

“I could fix you up right here. Maybe a nice pompadour?”

“Thanks, but no thanks. I think I’ll go see Chuck the barber.”


“You know it.”


Filed under Muse

29 responses to “Fun on Matacucu

  1. Sounds like lots of fun, Craig! 😂. Does this mean you might turn into a modder murderer?!? I-I-I-I… ye gods! Best of luck with it 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fun! Can’t quite picture exploding monks–do they explode?–but I’m intrigued. This sounds like it’s going to be as much fun as Voyage of the Lanternfish. Happy thinking!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It must be wonderful having someone who understands what you do to talk to, Craig… But do you ever argue?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Not sure where you read that the second book in a trilogy is supposed to be the shortest. In my experience, it tends to be the longest because you have three goals. Tell the new part of the story, connect to the first volume, and build up the third. It’s the bridge section, which tends to span a lot of ground to make things work for the overall plot. This could mean killing off a character or two, but you might find some new ones along the way as well. Curious about the exploding monks. Already imagined three different ways that name can be explained.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author & Book Blogger and commented:
    Funny insight into the life behind a writer!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Though I’d heard that about middle books in a trilogy, as a general rule readers are flexible about whether you follow it. It’s more important to have the story do what it’s meant to do with plot and character development. If it does that, readers won’t care if it’s the same length or longer than the first and last books. I’ve even seen trilogies where the books get longer as you progress through it. In other words, focus on writing the story how you need to for it to say what it needs to say, and get the plot and characters where they need to be for book three. If that means it’s longer than planned, so be it. A book should always be the number of words it needs to be to properly tell the story it’s supposed to be telling, regardless of how many words that ends up being.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OH no, Craig, you can’t kill root monsters. I don’t know if I can read the book if you do. The monsters are my favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a fun way to talk it out, Craig. I think you could kill off a root monster or two, just not any of the ones we are attached to. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll come up with a solution. Great answer about the pompadour. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad Flattop showed up to add his .02 and concerrn. Killing a modder? Say it ain’t so, please!
    (if you have to, I vote for an unnamed one!)

    Liked by 1 person

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