Tag Archives: critique

Crazy day, good stuff

Old What’s Her Face is still working nights. This meant another day of keeping everyone quiet so she could sleep a bit.

We had breakfast together again, then she unwound for an hour before heading for bed.

Quiet time is great for authors. I worked through the previous segment of Serang, then started writing again. Today’s effort came to about 3600 words. Something else wonderful happened too. At 75,000 words, it came to the end. Serang is now a first draft.

I fiddled with the new part for a few hours, then sent it to my critique partners. Next weekend I’ll look at all the critique suggestions, then may start my editing passes. It’s best to put it aside and look with fresh eyes, but the first chapters are months old to my eyes. I can do all my word searches on weeknights.

Honestly, I nearly made it. I wanted it out before school ends, but it wasn’t meant to be. This might turn into a November release now.

I’m torn about sharing this, because it’s going to be so long before anyone can actually read it. A peek at the cover might whet someone’s reader brain, so here it is:

This one is a companion piece to Voyage of the Lanternfish, but is quite a bit more serious. Serang is a serious character and deserves to be treated accordingly.

The weird part is our weather. We had a drizzle of rain when I got up, followed by sunshine, then thunder and lightning, then more sun, then a torrential downpour, wind, sun, another downpour, a hailstorm, sun, another hailstorm, and it’s sunny right now. Who knows what the rest of the day will bring. Maybe something cool like a haboob. Mostly I just like saying haboob, it’s probably too wet out there for one.

I think I’ll probably spend tomorrow getting acquainted with The Viral Blues once more. I put this aside in a misguided attempt to get Serang published before summer. Don’t know if I’ll do more writing on it, but it could happen.

Either that or I’ll scope out some old movies. John Wayne will probably be winning World War Two somewhere for Memorial Day. Hope everyone has a lovely holiday tomorrow.

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Weird day, and a tear in my eye

Old What’s Her Face is on her night shifts now. It makes things strange around here to be honest.

I woke up about 5:30 and the dogs wouldn’t let me go back to sleep. This means my most productive hours of the day really weren’t. My wife got off at 6:30, so I browsed around social media and news until she got home.

The Diamondbacks had a blowout against San Francisco, and they needed one. Honestly, they haven’t been playing all that well. I dropped my League Pass because it’s too damned expensive, but still check the scores every day. Today, they were the day game on ESPN, so I watched it. Another win, but the cool part was watching the Reno Aces coach attend the game to watch his son’s debut from the Aces to the Diamondbacks.

When my wife got home, we had breakfast together. It’s better than nothing. Then she wanted to play ball with the dogs, so another half-hour dedicated to that.

Beyond that, it was my job to keep them quiet. They like to paw at her door because she’s trying to sleep in the bedroom.

Eventually, they nodded off and I turned my attention to the critiques of Serang. My ancient iPad seems to have given up the ghost, so my wonderful two-screen approach didn’t work. I used my phone to look at the suggestions, then made my changes on the big iPad Plus.

This kind of sucks, but it’s going to have to work from now on. One day, I’d like to look into the iPad mini. It’s a nice screen for critiques, and nice for the couple of air flights I have to make every year too. Someday…

At the end of the critique section, Serang was still stuck in the cave. This is a task she must face alone. She’s had a couple of epiphanies while she’s inside. I had fun with underground lakes, blind fish, even glow worms.

Serang has three candles and three days to pass through the cave. If you frequent Story Empire, I’m going to explain the importance of numbers over there this week.

She managed to find the cave exit, and it represents a huge point of personal growth for her. Honestly, I had a tear in my eye as she exited. No spoilers today.

All told it came to 3700 words.

On top of that, I wrote a sample chapter of a new book I want to write and sent it to my critique partners. It’s going to have to go on the back-burner, even further back than The Viral Blues, but I’m not lacking for ideas these days.

Old What’s Her Face will go to work here in about an hour. I don’t know if I’ll pick up my story again, or watch a movie somewhere. I’m torn. I was productive, but could be even more productive.

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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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Is it productive? It feels productive.

I have no idea how many words I wrote today. This is because it spreads across two different stories.

I woke up about 5:00 this morning, and dug right into Serang. I wanted to show Yong on the mend from his spider bite, but not completely healed. This may haunt him for the rest of the book. Right now he’s yelling at Serang for not doing chores and exercises.

Their next move is to leave town with a caravan, and I wanted to set that up before I stopped.

Then I called my parents. I always talk to them on Sundays, and kind of look forward to it. Sundays aren’t the best writing day because of it, but I like keeping in touch with them.

After we finished, I made a fresh pot of coffee, then turned to my critiques. I made a lot of changes to the unnamed project, and think it really improved it. There were some redundant words, a few verbs that could be improved, but it really helped in the overall feel of the story.

This also served as my review of whatever I wrote there last, so I moved the story ahead. Gupta is wounded, and the hat popped him to their secret cabin for a bit of first aid.

Turns out Lizzie’s ancestors collected things from their adventures with the hat, and those are in the cellar.

This led to a fun bit of research, and I swear one of the articles I found online was titled “So, you want a flamethrower.” Yes. Yes I do, at least a fictional one.

Lizzie and the hat popped Gupta back and joined in the action once more. This time with archaic weapons at their disposal.

Lisa is still all screwed up, and they caught her using a Nazi hand grenade to curl her hair. Haven’t decided if this should become a poster or not. There are a lot of great poster ideas in this story.

About the time Old What’s Her Face showed up, I’d shifted to Clovis and Gina. They were invading a building to clear it of zombies. They suspect this is the lab where the Marburg virus is being spread from. (They are right, but haven’t confirmed it yet.)

This gives me a place to start tomorrow morning. If it all goes according to plan, I may even reveal the main villain tomorrow.

One of these days I’ll have to come up with a title for this one. I keep thinking one will reveal itself, because it’s happened before. About all I have now is Mustang Sally. There’s going to be a woman, a super Mustang, and then there is the musical connection in these tales.

Right now it’s time for ball with bulldogs.

Tomorrow, I’m participating in something called a character takeover on the Fantasy and Sci-Fi Readers Lounge. My time slot is 12:30 – 1:00 Eastern Time. There seems to be some debate whether this is adjusted for Daylight Savings Time, so I’ll check in frequently. (Kind of like to see what others are doing in their slots anyway.) This is a Facebook thing, and Lisa Burton is the character that’s showcased. This is the link if you’re interested https://www.facebook.com/groups/FantasySciFiReadersLounge/ Maybe I’ll share some old Lisa posters with book links.

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About as predicted

I spent most of Saturday working my way through some critiques. Aside from spelling and punctuation, I didn’t change much. Little things to make one of my characters a bit more relatable.

There may be more to do, but I want some distance from that section before I look at it again. I managed about 500 new words, but nothing to brag about.

We did the PPV thing last night and watched Venom. It wasn’t really canon, but I still enjoyed it. Kind of sad seeing Stan Lee, but things like this happen.

I also started reading a book I’ve been waiting for. I’m not very deep into it, but enjoying it so far.

Oh, and I spent a day and a half getting to a lightbulb. The house is fully illuminated once more.

Aside from mailing out a couple of review copies of Lanternfish, that was my weekend.

I made some dinner rolls today, but I’m not impressed. I added a palmfull of salt, and they still need more. Salted butter makes a huge difference though. We’re going to be dipping them in potato soup, so the camouflage will help too.

The house is all mine tomorrow, aside from Bulldogs. Old What’s Her Face has to work. If the dogs can avoid chasing the squirrel every ten minutes, I might get some new words on the page.

Honestly, these guys are so funny, it’s impossible not to get up and let them chase one. The squirrel is on top of the fence, and bulldogs aren’t jumpers. They’re like two little fat rhinos charging across the lawn.

It may not sound like much, but I enjoyed my weekend. I hope all of you guys did too.

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Checking in today

Hi, Gang! The tour is going well. We’ve had some fun conversations along the way, and there are a few posts yet to come. I hope you don’t mind the reblogs. Entertaining Stories isn’t just about this blog, it’s also about publishing Entertaining Stories a couple of times per year. Publishing leads to promotion, even if that isn’t my favorite thing. If nothing else, every tour stop is unique, so it’s not a total waste of bandwidth.

The book is doing okay. Results could always be better, even when things are great. Early reviews aren’t just good, they’re downright encouraging. This will certainly help with sales. My sales usually involve a spike up front, then the slow-burn starts. This is because my regulars pick it up right away. (So grateful for my regulars.) The tour goes to sites my regulars host, but it allows me to reach their regulars, who sometimes are new to my work. That early spike got me as high as 108 in one of the fantasy categories on Amazon. It’s since dropped down, but it’s still encouraging. (Fantasy categories are a tough nut.)

One of my goals is to continually improve, and I think Lanternfish shows bits of improvement over my previous works. Reviewers will give me some hints to this.

My 2019 goal was to explore the idea of additional works in an already existing environment. I’m currently writing two different stories with that in mind. Eventually, I’ll have to park one of them and focus on the other, but I will finish both. One of these is a prequel for one of the supporting characters from Lanternfish. It seems to be taking on a different tone, and that’s because much of the “comedy relief” didn’t exist at the time of this tale. I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming out so far, even if it is more serious.

About that comedy relief, the root monsters are pretty popular. In fact, they won’t leave me alone. I formulated two new scenes for them during my commutes this week. This is how many of my stories take shape. In fact there are quite a few other scenes involving my pirate crew. There is a good chance of a sequel for Lanternfish too. I may start a storyboard this weekend.

I sent out samples of these new stories for critique, and am getting the results back. My main focus is going to be making improvements to what I’ve already written. I don’t have new fiction on my list at all. The next goal is reading. I’m jazzed to dive into End of Day, by Mae Clair. I don’t usually read sequels any more than I write them, but dang that first book was good.

Finally, I need to check the Story Empire schedule and figure out when I’m up next. I don’t want to drop the ball over there.

Doesn’t seem like much of a list for a holiday weekend. My time isn’t completely my own though. Old What’s Her Face is off too. Between the spaces, I’ll obsessively check blog comments along the tour stops. You guys know how much I like comments.

What do you have planned for your weekend? Do you make a task list, or take it as it comes?

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Weekend

Mom and Dad came for a visit this weekend. It didn’t leave much time for authorly things, but it was fun. We went to dinner, and Mom did some Christmas shopping. I tagged along and scored a beer at Old Chicago while they hit the mall.

We stopped by the pet store, and the dogs scored these cool tire toys. They have ropes through them, and they love them.

Frankie loves her new toy

I managed to prepare the shtick for a new Lisa Burton Radio interview and send it out. I also worked my way through some critiques. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough for one afternoon.

Hope everyone else had great weekends too.

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