I headed for the writing cabin about 6:30 this morning. It was clear and cold, and apparently determined to stay that way. (Our high temperature today was a blistering nine degrees.)
Lisa* knew I was coming. (She monitors my phone and gyrocopter.) When I walked into the writing cabin, the fireplaces were pushing heat, and the coffee was hot. “What's the plan today, boss?”
“The Yak Guy. We're getting close to the end, and I want to keep making progress. Is the yak still in the basement stable?”
I turned toward the staircase, and Lisa stopped me. “Wait. Give him his carrot. I picked up a bunch, and give him one every day.”
“Won't Bunny get jealous?”
“Oh no. He gets some too.”
I grabbed the carrot by the leaves, scooped up some hot coffee, and headed downstairs.
The yak stood in his stall, but the gate was open. “Hey, brought you a carrot.”
“Thanks, but I don't care for them that much,” the yak said.
I glanced back over my shoulder. “You're going to have to eat it. Lisa thinks she's doing something wonderful for you.”
“Fine, but I've had to eat a lot of carrots in the last six months. I don't want to let out my saddle.” He accepted the carrot and started munching.
“I'm heading for the Wheel of Fortune part of the story. Is the Yak Guy ready for it?”
“He isn't too bright, but he seems to be ready when the next event comes along. All you can do is try. I don't know how he's going to react to a decision he has to make with imperfect information. He always wants to know all the answers ahead of time.”
“Don't we all. It seems more prevalent with Yak Guy's generation though. I have a hunch, he'll deal with it if I don't give him any choice.”
“You can always have me gore him in the butt again.”
“Heh, that was fun, but I don't know if we can do it again without it seeming forced.”
“I understand, but there are days I'd like to.”
“Alright, buddy, get your saddle on and I'll have Yak Guy meet you in the meadow.”
I tromped upstairs to my office and kicked Yak Guy off the couch. “Time to get to work.” He begrudgingly left, and headed outside.
Words flowed well, and the Wheel Of Fortune lesson is over. All I have to do is rescue some kids, then find some refugees, and reunite him with the love of his life. I think it's going to hit 80,000 words, and if not I'll have to enhance a couple of places. I have a hard time calling it a novel if I don't get the word count.
The yak led his human into the basement and got him all settled. Lisa asked if that was it for the day.
“I think I can manage a bit more, to be honest. I'm going to try a baseball story.”
“Oh, crap, I never called any of them.”
“No problem, this story is about a barbecue on a day when the players are off. I'm going to explore their feelings about being placed on waivers, and who their competitors are for post-season slots. We'll write it, and interview them all later to make it feel right.”
“Too bad, I would have enjoyed a barbecue and a dinner party. I have this cute little black–“
“Nevermind, let's just write it. Maybe you can put an old game on TV for some atmosphere.”
“Oh sure, no problem.”
That seemed to get Lisa focused, and I cranked out a 1000 word micro-story. I'm enjoying these tales, but I don't know how the world will receive them at large. There are a bunch of stories, and a few recurring characters. It tells the story of a mythical season, but delves behind the scenes and covers a lot of activities off the field too. In a way, it has some similarities to The Playground in the way I'm relaying it. Because there is an overarching story, I can't do the twist endings my short stories are known for. There are some, but not with the frequency an Experimental Notebook would have.
I leaned back in my chair and took a sip of my coffee. “Let's make a couple of storyboards.”
“Are you serious? I didn't thaw out the left side of your brain. I might be able to, but don't want to scorch it again.”
“Don't worry about him. We'll just pin some cards up, and we can make them perfect later on.”
Lisa headed for the basement, and returned with two storyboards, a pile of index cards, some sticky notes, and all the colored pens you could want. What can I say, the girl likes making storyboards.
We made one for a science fiction tale I'm calling Estivation. This is like hybernation, but occurs when things get too hot. It involves a cute young couple who have to spend three months in a survival bunker while a parasite sun passes by their planet. I invented the term parasite sun for a gas giant planet that manages to ignite somehow. When things line up, their own sun plus the parasite sun, makes the surface deadly.
Their bunker is already occupied by a thief, and they all get locked in together. Happiness and merriment ensue. (Not really) They don't have enough food to last three months now. Throwing the bad guy out will expose them all to deadly radiation.
Lisa put that board aside, and we made one for a project called The Hat. This involves a hard working girl, who missed out on the family decision about what to do with grandma's personal possessions. She had to pull an extra shift and missed the meeting by a couple of hours. When she gets to granny's junk shop, her evil uncle decided to sell everything. All the heronine wanted was one of grandma's house plants, but even this was denied her.
When evil uncle's back is turned, she grabs a box and takes it home. Inside the box is an old fedora hat. It wasn't even grandma's, it belonged to the grandfather she never knew. Turns out the hat talks and forms a kind of symbiotic relationship with the wearer. This one is going to become a kind of paranormal superhero type story.
When wearing the hat, my heroine can see through his eyes too. They can communicate without vocalizing their words. She can see behind her, or wherever he is looking. She can also shoot guns while using his vision, while her own vision aims a different direction. On top of that, The Hat, plays an upright bass. She needs to wear him, and he uses her fingers and hands. This part is going to be great for character purposes.
I think my main plot problem is going to involve baby snatchers, and I've decided to include an unhelpful witch in the supporting staff.
The Hat is going to be more of a buddy tale, with my heroine and the hat making up the buddies. They're going to bicker and (hopefully) grow during the tale.
Lisa said, “So The Hat can be any kind of hat she wants, as long as it's a hat? Is that what's going on?”
“Yeah, basically. She can be seen in one thing, round the corner, and it's something else completely. Maybe headphones or something. Might make a reasonable way to avoid the cops.”
“This is so exciting, I'm going to order a small mountain of hats.”
“You party on, Lisa.”
And that's where I called it a day.
*Lisa Burton is my robotic personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories.
If any of you are that interested, you can check out pin boards for The Hat, and Estivation on my Pinterest site.