Category Archives: Writing

A tough stretch for me

Last weekend was my two day weekend, and I didn’t get much done. My wife was off at the same time, and it’s a distraction. Some things, but not a lot.

I get a three day weekend this time out, but my parents will be here any minute. I allowed myself to sleep in, because I deserve it once in a while.

Today came to about 1000 words. Not my best effort, but it’s progress. It will probably be the only writing I get to do.

Serang finished her assignment out in the wilderness, had some vivid dreams with deeper meaning that will payoff later, then she and her master headed out once more. They passed through miles and miles of opium poppies in bloom. There is no specific adventure for this part, so it’s just a bit of scenery.

Their main goal is to get to a boat, then meet back up with the only other monk left alive after the great purge. (As far as they know.)

I need to steer Serang toward what people know from Lanternfish, and this involves both internal things and external things. She showed a bit of growth and maturity in conversations with her master, now it’s time for her to experience boats.

It’s important to give Serang her hat, boots, and the rest of her outfit. She needs to learn martial arts, and weapons training. She also needs to grow and mature. She’s already been involved in some thefts and fights, which will relate to her future life.

Now it’s time to get on a boat. Can’t become a pirate on dry land. My next real day off is Wednesday, and I hope to move the story ahead then.

I’m looking forward to Mom and Dad coming. I haven’t seen them since fall, and we’ll go out to dinner somewhere. It will be nice. Our daughter is also coming since it’s her birthday weekend. I haven’t seen her in a while either.

Behind the scenes, I have some blog projects to work on, and may get some time for that Sunday afternoon.

I probably won’t update again until Wednesday night, but it’s because things won’t be that interesting. Hope all of you have a great weekend, Happy Easter, and all that jazz.

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My short weekend

I only get a two day weekend on the rotation. My wife is off too, so it doesn’t make for much of a writing weekend. Normally, it isn’t even worth trying.

Tomorrow is when I call my parents, so I lose an hour in the morning there.

I really wanted to reach a part in Serang, so I dabbled this morning among all the noise. This isn’t the same as quality writing time, but it did add words.

It only came to about 800 words, but I got to and through that folk legend I’ve been planning. I like the way it turned out, and Serang is working on completing her quest.

I’m happiest with a callback to her childhood that brought a bit of emotion to the scene. Early reports are that it worked.

This is the start of Serang’s quest. It involves a bit of mining while dealing with the local wildlife. It’s going to take a few words (and locations) to bring it full circle.

It wasn’t productive, but it was successful. Forward progress counts even a few hundred words at a time.

Because I already had some words, this allowed me to send about 6000 words to my critique group. I already have the majority of them back. I seem to keep making the same errors over, and over again. Maybe we all do that, but I’d like to think I’m improving in some small way.

I’ll probably try to address the critiques after talking to my parents tomorrow. They’re coming for a visit next weekend, and I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t seen them in a while. It will be fun, but takes the place of any writing progress.

The rest of the weekend will involve a whole lot of Game of Thrones.

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2300 words I didn’t have yesterday

I executed my plan about the Temple of Wind today. There were five or six things I could have included, but I managed to trim it back. That means the Temple of Wind came in at about 4000 words. It might still be too long, but what’s there is interesting. My critique group will let me know either way.

The next phase involves crossing country to complete the quest they’re on. Serang doesn’t know anything about this, but only has a vague idea they’re doing something. Her role in life is to learn from her master.

She’s starting to be a little more outspoken and coming across more like a partner in this section. I like this, because we’re getting closer to the point where she won’t be a student any longer.

Because this is a prequel, I’m trying to explain things readers learned about her in Lanternfish. She has most of her regular outfit now, the jade pendant, boots, etc. She still uses a staff, but her weapon will show up before the end of the story.

She adopted a bamboo flute in Lanternfish, and there is a taste of that in Serang. Her master plays an unusual instrument from time to time. I’ll have him include a bit of that when he explains the next phase.

I’m looking forward to the quest part. I get to invent a bit of folklore that doesn’t tell readers the scientific truth, but will give the idea of what’s really going on. I know that’s kind of vague, but I don’t want to spoil this part.

Part of the gig is travel. One place isn’t right next to another in this fantasy world. They need to leave the Temple of Wind in their wake, find a village and restock supplies, then go to the site of the quest. I’ll try to speed up the first leg of this, then I’ll add some extra depiction to the next leg. This part of the tale doesn’t involve any martial arts battles or anything, so it needs to hustle along.

A fantasy creature sighting might work, but some random bad guys feels wrong. I suppose there could be trouble in town of some kind.

At this point, I have all week to think about it.

In other news, I received my cover art for this one. Sean sent two different versions. He changed something up from my idea, and his idea was far superior. I’ll hang on to the artwork until I’m closer to publication. I immediately sent back an idea for a Lisa Burton poster to keep him moving.

Back to the office tomorrow.

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Progress brings a new struggle

Today wound up being a decent writing day. For those keeping score, it came to 1850 new words.

My followers are all either writers, readers, or both and I’ve never hidden my author struggles from you guys. I figure if I’m facing some issues, you might be too one day. Maybe something I’ve written will help someone else eventually.

Serang and her master entered the Temple of Wind. I managed a cool bit with an eagle chattering away that produced echoes and reverberations galore. I kind of like it, but wish I had more of a fantasy creature to pull this off. Since this has a tie to Lanternfish, it’s good to pepper it with the occasional fantasy thingmebob. I’ll leave it for now. Maybe something will come to me later.

Crossing the desert involved solving a few puzzles to find the path. It was cool. However, getting through the Temple of Wind is also going to involve solving a few puzzles. Okay, as long as they’re different challenges… right?

My issue is two-fold. I need to be creative enough to come up with new challenges that aren’t just the same old thing with fresh makeup. I am having some creative doubts.

My advantage is in having spent one hell of a lot of time in the wilderness, including deserts. I’ve hiked on trails and tried to keep to the true path. (I wasn’t always a fat old man.)

However; there is a third scene I need to write that also involves thinking and feeling Serang’s way through a physical challenge. She has to face this alone, but it is going to be somewhat similar.

The intent is they puzzled their way across the desert. The Temple of Wind brings new problems, but together they can do amazing things. Then, when it’s just her she has to bring her lessons to bear and think on her own without an instructor to help her.

The risk is that it’s going to become boring by the time the final event occurs. I have three possible solutions and have decided upon one.

First option is to write it all out and throw caution to the wind. People will either love it, or not.

Second option is to tell a bunch of the Temple of Wind stuff. I believe telling has a place in a story, as long as it doesn’t last very long. It’s my least favorite option.

Third option is to shorten up the crossing through the Temple of Wind. This is what I’m going with. It’s because delivering the message that Serang can think and make life or death decisions shouldn’t take multiple chapters. The Temple of Wind is cool. For the sake of the overall story, it needs to be a bit shorter.

This doesn’t mean it has to be a fast route. I can tell that two days passed between interesting events, then show those interesting events. As of this writing, I’m still working some of it out, but by morning I should be ready to go again.

By using option number three, I have more leeway to make the final obstacle more interesting and might not waste all my tricks before I get there.

How about you guys? Did you get to work on your fiction this weekend? Did you read something interesting instead, maybe do some cool research? Let me hear from you.

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If it’s progress it counts

I spent my day working on stuff that didn’t involve new words of fiction. While that is my favorite thing to do, these other tasks have to get done too.

I started with two critiques I received on Serang. This was a super long section, and about the time I finished them, the final one showed up in my email. It was perfect. This took me until about noon.

Serang is now ready to move forward with new words.

I spent a big part of this afternoon researching my next post over at Story Empire, then writing, assembling, and posting it. This is from my living documents, and involves story structure. I’m tackling the writing monomyth, also known as the hero’s journey. It’s going to have to be a series, and that’s fine by me. If it performs well, I may do others of this ilk, like the villain’s journey, fairy tale story structure, etc. Show up over there on Wednesday to let me know how I did.

It made for a full day, but I accomplished a lot. My slate is now clear for new fiction. My parents just announced they’re unavailable tomorrow, so I gained Sunday to go along with Monday.

With any luck I’ll be making the pixels fly tomorrow.

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Small progress day

I woke up early and added a few more words to my WIP, Serang. It didn’t amount to much. When 8:00 rolled around, I talked to my parents for an hour.

Beyond that it was time for a Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich, with a fresh cup of coffee. I added a few more words after that. All in all, it felt like a thousand new words.

Then I quit the new words idea. I needed to reread and make small corrections before sending it to my critique group. I like what’s there, but I’m always nervous about middle sections. Guess I’ll find out what they think later this week.

I should have broken it into two submissions. I didn’t really plan to get that much new stuff accomplished. My wife visiting out of state was spontaneous, so I made the best of it.

Last night I watched a dumpster fire of a ballgame instead of typing away. There’s one on now too, but it looks a bit better.

My wife made it back about an hour ago, and it looks like a wrap on my writing weekend. All in all, it was outstanding. It may be a year before I get this kind of opportunity again, so I made the best of it.

Right now, Serang and her master are camped at the mouth of a canyon and ready to enter the Temple of Wind. It’s probably good to stop here and dwell on it for a week. I need to kind of foreshadow something that is going to happen near the end of the story, and a bit of time might help me do a better job of it.

I also need to consider wind, sounds, echoes, temperatures, shadows, and more for the Temple of Wind. Time is my friend now.

Back to the real world tomorrow.

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Breaking for a moment…

I really threw myself into writing today. It’s fun when you can see the end in sight, and know everything is coming together. I woke up fairly early, and managed 4600 words before lunchtime. Then I took a break.

I’m at 5450 on the day right now, and decided I needed another break. I’m going to see if my game is televised in about an hour, and if it is, I’m likely done. If not, I’ll probably keep going. I don’t get this kind of opportunity every weekend.

Serang and her master broke off from the caravan. They avoided a conflict with a huge baboon troop over the water hole, by riding around them. Have you seen the teeth on those guys, and the muscles. A few flintlock muskets wouldn’t be enough to stave off an entire troop of them. Since it’s fantasy, I can ramp up their abilities a little without concern.

They spent an extra day at the next waterhole, but the caravan is long gone now. Finally they went looking for an ancient trail that her master said was used by “wild men.” He’s referring to ancient people before civilization took hold.

They found bits and pieces of it, and something I never planned for happened. This is called an inukshuk.

The trail may be long gone, but the ancient markers are mostly still there. It gave the desert crossing a bit of a treasure hunt feel, and I really like it. I even played with shadows and light to reveal some of them and it turned out cool.

I saw inukshuk when I was in arctic Canada many years ago. The Inuit told me people made them because they were lonely, and that way they had a friend. Sounds like BS to me, but that’s what they said. The Basque sheepherders made rock monuments to mark the path they moved the sheep on every summer where I grew up. Eh, I stole a little from both of them.

I kept my monuments pretty primitive, and used desert sandstone to make them instead of glacial rubble.

Just before this post, they finally spotted the Temple of Wind in the distance. I’m excited for this part too, and don’t have any real plans for what happens as they pass through. I’m excited to see what happens myself. As a storyboarder, my index cards only hit the high points. The Temple of Wind is on an index card, but how I deal with this will be revealed as I write.

I should probably keep going, but if the game is on, I’m watching it. We’re dropping the Extra Innings package this year. I watched nearly every game last year, but it’s too damned expensive to keep up with. I’ll catch what few games I can, and check scores in the morning. We’re even talking about going with Hulu and getting rid of the whole satellite system entirely.

Maybe there’s something more to the statement about being a starving artist. Sometimes the only entertainment you can afford is your art. I’ve dedicated a lot of time to mine this weekend, and intend to spend more.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend whatever you’re doing.

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