Tag Archives: Clovis

Back to normal???

Otto woke me up before six a.m. this morning. I took my time feeding them, fiddled around with social media, then headed for the writing cabin.

I was very close to the big boss battle and wanted to get into that.

This one is called The Viral Blues and was intended to be the second story for Lizzie and the hat. It kind of spun out of control and became a lot more than that.

I had all these characters wasting away, trying to draw unemployment, so I decided to put them back to work. This means there are a team of main characters.

My first obstacle involved section breaks for point of view changes. I’m not a fan of this, but imagine two cars full of heroes chasing one car full of bad guy. They’re all doing heroic things, and I need to change POV from car to car. I worked on this for a long time, but had to add a couple of section breaks to pull it off.

One of the things to keep in mind here is that everyone was someone’s favorite. If they come into this book, they deserve a starring moment for their favorite character. Honestly, this was a fun challenge and I think I met it.

Things are rough around the edges, but I finished the story today. I need to do some serious work on it before I send it to critique members, and it may be a couple of weeks before I can do that.

An interesting new challenge presented itself today. I’m on record (probably over at Story Empire) saying I like brief endings. I’ve used terms like “drop the mike and walk offstage,” and “happy for now,” to describe my opinions. This book wouldn’t let me do that.

With that many lead characters, the denouement took longer than I planned. Everyone needed to get something out of the deal now that their adventure is over. Some could be dealt with quickly, but some needed more attention. Then Lizzie and the hat had a bit of drama over their payment, but I like how it worked out.

Then it occurred to me that I was at one of those pivotal points. I have a marketing idea that is either pure genius, or about as idiotic as anything I’ve ever tried. I’m adding my back of the book material, but instead of blurbs I’m noting which stories the various characters appeared in.

My hope is that if someone just met Clovis, for example, they might want to check out The Playground.

Then… I decided to do something I never do. There is going to be an epilogue. There is one loose end that I really don’t have to tie up, but decided to do it anyway. I have a solid idea for it, and I promise it will be fun. I’m selling it to myself like it’s one of those ending scenes after one of the Marvel movies.

I just started writing the epilogue, when I got interrupted.

Lisa Burton

“Hey! I’m home.”

“Back here. How was your adventure?”

“Honestly, it was rugged. Why do you insist upon breaking me in all my stories?”

“That’s what heroes go through. As powerful as you are, you have your own Kryptonite. Readers need to know that about you.”

“I survived, despite your best effort.”

“I’m so happy. I have some great ideas for your posters, but I didn’t expect you home so soon.”

She hugged me, then sat on the edge of the desk. “Well, someone decided not to write me into the epilogue, so I got an early start.”

“You had plenty of moments, and they couldn’t have accomplished this without you. I decided maybe it was up to someone else to clean up the loose ends.”

“It is good to be home. How’s Bunny doing?”

“He’s huge and fat as ever. I’m sure he missed you, but it’s hard to tell with rodents.”

“I’m going upstairs to see him.”

“I don’t blame you. I think I’m done for the day anyway. I’ll have to finish the epilogue later.”

***

That is the saga of my day. Summer is going to be a period of editing, getting artwork together, preparing blog tour posts, and loose ends. (Hopefully reading) For those keeping score, I never tracked word count today, but it feels like about 4500 words.

Back to the grindstone tomorrow.

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Some days I hate to stop

Today was a writing day. When I have the place to myself, dogs excepted, it’s usually a decent writing day. Today was no exception.

I decided to work on my nameless team-up adventure. It feels like about 4000 words today, and I hate to stop. Old What’s Her Face will be home soon, and that stops it anyway, so it’s time to blog.

My characters did some spying with a drone, discovered that the bad guys raised the stakes with what amounts to a biological weapon, then identified a likely place to investigate further.

The new site is swarming with zombies, and the team was beaten back. A couple of the girls commented on Jason’s bare butt as he tried to help them avoid getting killed.

Lisa Burton was taken out of action by a huge electro-magnet. Computers and magnets don’t get along too well.

Gina decided it was time to fight fire (undead) with fire (undead). This led to a fun Voodoo ritual, and the game changed directions for a bit. That’s right at the point where I stopped, and there is a lot more to this part.

Clovis had to face a small bit of his past, in the form of zombies that he’d already made dead once before. He isn’t phased by much, so I doubt it will slow him down. I probably need to beef this part up a little.

Like I said, sometimes I hate to stop. It makes for a good place to pick it back up again.

Sundays I call my parents, so a lot of my quality time goes into that. This makes late morning a great time to address some of those Serang edits I need to get to. I’ve decided to do this in two parts. First, fix all the grammatical things, then go back to paragraph one and edit for content. To do this, I’m going to identify the key points, do word count between them, then assess if the between parts get beefed up or cut back.

Serang has been a little tougher to write, but it’s a great experience. It’s kind of a fictional biography, and there are some things from Lanternfish that cannot be changed. I’m enjoying the challenge of this one, but they are different challenges than the other story.

I’m off Monday too, so I’ll probably leap the team-up story ahead some more. At least that’s my goal.

I started my day with some sourdough toast, and it was great. I’m having a meatloaf sandwich now, and it’s great too. All in all, it’s been a great day. Hope yours is too.

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A writer’s holiday

After the goof off weekend, I planned on one more day of writing. It turned out pretty well, but wasn’t a banner day. My iPad battery says it’s time to recharge, so I’m writing this while it’s on the wire.

I have two of three critiques back for Serang, and will wait for the remaining one. Maybe I can address all of them come Saturday.

Today I focused on the unnamed team-up adventure. I stopped doing word counts, but it feels like about 2000. Lizzie and the hat had a small spat, because they always do. They teamed up with Clovis to chase a red herring that revealed a big surprise. Of course he busted some heads along the way, because that’s what he does. He even got to kill a zombie using a sledge hammer. Fun, fun, fun.

Oh, and Lizzie and the hat stole a second upright bass. It was right there, what were they supposed to do?

Lisa and Jason got the last scene, so they faded into the background for this section. Jason is thinking about going home and cutting his losses. Gina and Gupta shared a new development that raised the stakes and anchored everyone until the end.

I have a conundrum with this one. I want it at novel length, but it’s looking like about 50,000 words will wrap it up. I’ve always said a story should be as long as it needs to be, no more – no less. I still believe that.

My problem is that I have enough 99¢ titles out there. If someone needs a stepping stone into my work, there are plenty of options, even a couple of free anthologies. I want to price this one at $2.99 like most of my recent work. I’d like some feedback here, but I won’t pad word count. I have several big scenes, and can’t be completely sure until I wrap it up. What’s your advice on pricing? Would you pay $2.99 for a short novel?

Keep in mind that my publishing desire is Serang before school lets out, then the un-named project around Halloween. I may park the unnamed one, finish Serang, then see if more ideas pop up for the unnamed one during the Spring.

In other news, the experimental bread rose well overnight. Sourdough is slow and you have to be patient. I punched it down before sunrise, but it’s taking its sweet time on the second rise. If I need to nudge it a bit, I’ll place it on a hot pad.

For the rest of the day, I’ll kick back and wait for the black helicopters to land. Why you ask? These are the windows I have open in my browser. It could give you some insight into both stories I’m working on right now.

  • My blog, Entertaining Stories.
  • Yin and Yang comparison.
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fever.
  • Marburg Virus.
  • English to Chinese translator.
  • The Chinese Cobra.
  • Three different tabs for an online convention I’m interested in.
  • A chart about how fast Ebola spreads.
  • A map of the districts in Chicago.
  • Amazon for Voyage of the Lanternfish. (I was checking for new reviews. I need more.)

What’s your browsing history look like?

This afternoon, I have to get on with an interview for Lisa Burton Radio. Interest in these has tapered off, but I’m still doing them. I may use the online convention to push them a bit more.

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Pulling back the veil

I wanted to hold some of this back, but I find myself lacking for things to blog about. I have some goals that are kind of opposed to each other for the year, and I’m going to have to make a small change.

Lisa BurtonOne of my goals was to include more posts from the writing cabin. This is where my robotic assistant and I plan out the day, and write the stories. This is hard to do when she isn’t there, and that’s the big problem.

I’ve started writing a book that includes Lisa Burton. That plays into my year of sequels, and it’s kind of a crazy idea, because it’s a sequel to multiple books. It makes for a fun learning experience, because I have to live with character histories. I also have to make it stand alone if someone hasn’t read a previous book. Actually, it’s a wonderful goal.

Here are the players in this story:

  • The Playground – Gina Greybill, Mohan Gupta, Justine, and Clovis.
  • The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack 1 & 2 – Lisa Burton, and Jason Fogg.
  • Wild Concept – Lisa Burton
  • The Hat – Lizzie and the hat

There are going to be some minor characters who appear too. Others will be a nod within the story, like The Enhanced League. I have a surprise or two along the way that I’ll keep close to the vest for now.

I had a fun teaser idea where I would post some old blues video and a Lisa Burton poster, then stay quiet about the whole thing. Invite followers to guess as to what’s happening. I think that would have worked well, and I can still do it without the guessing.

Part of the fun is making sure everyone gets their moment to shine. At this point, it’s coming out very well, without a whole lot of backstory to clog it up.

Aside from the goal of “Entertaining Stories” there could be some additional benefit here too. Some people love Lisa, Clovis, the hat. Here is their chance to revisit them. Hopefully, the line will work both ways. Maybe someone reads this book, then decides to learn more about Lizzie and the hat, or Jason Fogg.

Best of all, I’m having a good time. If there isn’t any money in this business, fun is all that remains. Fun also translates to the page and makes the books better.

Right now, I’m fast approaching 25K words. So far, Lisa gets along with everyone. Clovis and the hat seem to be finding common ground. Lizzie is fine with Lisa and Gina. Jason is a bit standoffish, but he always was.

Today, Clovis broke off from the group, because he’s like that. He gathered evidence in a way that only Clovis can. After depositing the bodies, he and the dog went out for hotdogs.

When I stopped for the day, the group compared Clovis’ findings with Lisa’s web searches to get closer to an answer. Right now the clues are organized crime, pharmaceuticals, and two kinds of zombies. At the end of this writing day, someone mentioned the word wraith.

I mention this, so you can see how Gina, Lizzie, and the hat might tie in. Gina is a doctor who fights paranormal evils. Lizzie and the hat use a kind of symbiosis to become a paranormal avenger… and to play rockabilly music in a band.

I’m making Lizzie and the hat kind of the lead into the story, but others will have their moments to shine. I’m going to include some fun graphics like I did in The Hat, and even have an alternate ending worked out. I’m going to include this after my author section kind of like the end of a Marvel Comics based movie, because it’s fun, and because I can.

At the same time, I’ve also been writing a book called Serang. This one is a stand alone story, but is previous to Voyage of the Lanternfish. Serang is a neat character from Lanternfish, and she wanted me to tell her story. I’ve taken her from childhood to teenager. The last bit I worked on has her talking to an ethereal dragon. She hates dragons, but might wind up finding some peace with them. It’s also in the 25K word count area.

Not too bad for a weekend warrior like myself. Winter is the best time for me to write, so I want to sling the words while I can.

Eventually, I’ll have to park one of them so I can complete the other one. It would be fabulous to release them both this year. Ideally, Serang before school lets out, and the unnamed team-up somewhere before Halloween.

It’s a tough goal, but it is possible with a bit of luck.

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