Tag Archives: critique

Busy, but productive

I started my week off with a visit to Mae Clair’s blog. I ended it with a stop by John Howell’s place. These were both stops to promote Grinders. A couple per week is much easier to manage than the dozen or so I’ve done in the past. I still intend to put out a decent number of them, but I’m going to spread them out a bit more.

Lisa Burton went back on the air somewhere in the middle to host Charles Yallowitz. He also has a new book out, so if you haven’t stopped by Lisa Burton Radio, you probably should.

All of these fine people loaned me their space, or have agreed to soon. I would appreciate it if you’d stop by their places and check them out. Maybe you’ll find a cool new blogger to follow. They’re all accomplished authors, so you might find some great reading there, too.

Today, I focused on producing more tour posts for Grinders, but at two per week it was much less stressful. I’m making every post unique, and that allows me to reblog them without sounding like a broken record. More like a wounded record, maybe.

I also made a new pinned tweet. I’m a big believer in the pinned tweet, and regularly share those of my friends and supporters. That’s why I’m embarrassed to admit that I forgot to make one for Serang. Maybe if I hit the Summer doldrums I can toss one out for that story. It isn’t like I don’t have some great artwork to add to it. I’m not much of an artist, but I can cobble together something presentable.

I also worked through critiques for two different projects. My side project was pretty easy, but Lanternfish took some effort. My group helped me make this section so much better, and I owe them a huge debt. Both projects are ready for new words, and I may add some tomorrow. I have some fun research that I need to shoehorn into Lanternfish somehow.

Today I cleared my decks. No idea where tomorrow will lead me, and I don’t really have a plan for it. I’ll check in with all my hosted posts and might even manage some new words. Hope all of you have a great weekend ahead of you.

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Weekend efforts

The writing cabin was quiet all weekend. Lisa is off somewhere with Sean Harrington making promotional art for Grinders. You would think this is the perfect opportunity to get some writing done, but it didn’t play out that way.

I still have the cover reveal happening for Grinders. There are multiple posts across the blogosphere currently, and if you find one, I’d appreciate a tweet or FB post in support. I love comments, and am circling back through to keep up with those.

I paid the invoice for book formatting, and already received the finished product back. Grinders is easier to format than one of The Hat books, because it does not include the silly little graphics of that series.

Doubt

Doubt, the oversized raven who was a gift from my Muse, stared glared at me from across the office. He opened his wings then glided to my desk. “Glorp. Glorp.

Despite their similarities, Ravens are not crows, and make the damndest collection of noises. He pecked at the back of my iPad. “Glorp.”

“Not this time, pal. I think Grinders is a good story. All my advance readers are excited for it, and you aren’t going to bring me down about it.”

“Chugga, glorp.”

“Okay, so it won’t publish for Chinese New Year. That only matters to me. Readers won’t care one way or the other. They just want a good story. Once Lisa gets home with the posters, I’ll make it available.”

“Chu, chu, chugga.”

“No. You’re not getting into my head this time. It’s always a concern with a new book, but my stuff has been well received in the past. I have the cover. I have the formatted copy, and once Lisa gets home, I’ll start writing blog posts and contacting people about my tour.”

He paced back and forth across the desktop. “Glup-glorp. Glup-glorp.”

“Do your damndest, but I haven’t got time for you right now.”

He continued to pace and scold, but I opened the HMS Lanternfish file and added about 1500 words to that story. It still isn’t enough to send out to my critique group, but about half of them still have the submission for the next story about Lizzie & The Hat. I don’t want to wear out my welcome in the group.

Lanternfish sailed away from Bungo Bungo, and the root monsters had a unique spin on story time. They might have taken things a bit too far this round, and I had to figure out some punishment details for them.

Everyone seems to be on good terms once more, but it’s a long way to Giapon. James can’t use his magical sextant now, because they have La Girona in their wake. La Girona is a ship they captured, and might be quite valuable to the war effort, if they ever get there.

Sailing to Giapon, and on to the war, has to be done the old fashioned way. This poses some issues for me. In fiction, you have to take the boring stuff out. I may move the story ahead to Giapon, or I might have another sea based encounter for them. Right now, I’m leaning toward moving the story forward. I have a whole week to dwell on it now. Besides, after Giapon I need to do even more sailing, so a monster there might be more appropriate.

“Glup, glup, glup.”

“No. I’m not going to write a raven into my story. Go back to your perch. I have to check on comments along my cover reveal trail.”

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Some weekends are like that…

This is my short weekend based upon the flex schedule at work. Because of that, I made limited plans and seemed to have accomplished those.

My only real goal was to tune up a section of HMS Lanternfish, and it needed some serious tuning. It was full of autocorrect and “it’s” kind of mistakes. My group looked it over, and I found some additional ones while I was working on their suggestions.

I just get typing along and these things happen. My big problem is that I can’t see them in my own work. I must have gone over this three times before I shared it. The work is much tighter now, and vastly improved.

That is the only thing I had planned. Tomorrow is the day I call my parents and I usually veg a bit on Sundays.

Next weekend, my flex schedule plays to my advantage. I wind up with a four day weekend, and ought to get some new words then.

I need to finish reading a book I started a long time ago, then I really ought to start word searches and the final read through on Grinders. Sean will deliver the cover art in no time now.

We managed a nice date night at a new place in Eagle. This is only about ten highway miles from town, and it was pretty good.

In other news, Otto and Frankie got new tennis balls. There’s been a whole lot of ball playing going on around here.

Otto

We buy him the oversized ones, because his mouth is so damned big. Frankie gets ones that are smaller than tennis players use.

My daughter texted while we were at supper. She is pretty highly ranked at the airport, and graduated from beauty school several years ago. The fire department is going to pay her to do some theatrical makeup simulating a plane crash at the airport. This is a training exercise and she’s pretty jazzed about it. She never said if she was participating in the exercise, but she’s going to do all of their makeup. I think that’s pretty cool.

There you have it. Not a lot going on for me personally, but it accomplishes a blog update.

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All over the place today

Old What’s Her Face is off this weekend, so I did what I could. Things were pretty calm this morning so I added words to HMS Lanternfish. I didn’t track it, but it feels like about 2000 words.

Part of this was coming down from the action scene I wrote Wednesday. My crew, particularly the captain, needs time to process, and in this case heal. Those bits always take me longer to write.

Then I added a few root monster antics, because they’ve been fairly quiet for a chapter or two. It worked out kind of cool, because it led into a scene involving St. Elmo’s fire at the top of the main mast.

Since this is fantasy, a rare natural phenomenon isn’t good enough. It brought James a vision, and it’s going to let me reveal some cool things. I just haven’t written all of that yet.

Basically, it involved the king of Saphelon discussing the arrival of the Fulminites on their continent. James’s father started the first war on behalf of this king, but that’s not in the history books. The books make the current enemy, Hollish, appear to be the aggressors. The fun part is that it was James’s father who brought the Fulminites to this part of the world. When I write that out, maybe that’s why he fled with his young son to a safer area.

I also got to add a minor sea creature, and that helps with world building. Then another root monster earned a name.

Beyond that, I had my final critiques for Grinders to deal with. I spent a few hours tweaking this story, and am basically finished. I’ll take it out in January and give it a complete read over before publishing. I think you guys are going to like it.

Tonight, I sent an email to Sean Harrington about cover art and Lisa Burton posters. Grinders is a stand alone book, and was one of my side projects over the summer. I hope to release it about the time the snow melts.

In other news, we have our Star Wars tickets for the 21st. We’ve also been digging The Mandalorian on Disney+. Just listen to this theme. You have to give it a few, because the intro is long.

When I close my eyes and listen, I get a visual of Serang walking down the dock toward some unseen enemy whilst twirling her guandao slowly. It has a throwback sound to it that reminds me of Ennio Morricone.

Aside from this, Apple has yet another update. This one screwed up WordPress for me. Now everything I do, it tries to force me into the app. Don’t get me wrong, the app does some great things, but reading and commenting on blogs isn’t one of them. I have a way to force it all to work in Safari, but don’t think I should have to. Why does it seem like any upgrade only seems to break things that worked fine before? It seems to be that way for all apps, and platforms.

I doubt much, if any, progress is happening tomorrow, but my flex day is Monday. I kind of expect to move Lanternfish ahead on Monday.

Hope all of you are having a great weekend. It’s time for a nice vanilla porter and an older Star Wars movie.

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I’m so happy about this

Apple recently split out iOS, making one for phones and a slightly different one for iPads. Like a good gadget zombie, I dutifully updated everything.

This is followed by the rash of apps that need to be updated. Check that box off.

I do everything on my big iPad Pro. I bought one of the original ones, because I wanted to be able to open more than one window at a time. It works great, but it was limited to different programs.

This is why I lamented my old iPad’s inability to handle the new operating systems. I used to take redlines of my critique sections, open them on the old iPad, then edit on the iPad Pro. Worked great.

The last few rounds, I’ve been opening the redline on my phone and “getting by” that way.

However, the new updates provided something wonderful. I can now open two Apple Pages documents side-by-side. With the big screen on the Pro, it works wonderfully for my purposes.

I made this image as an example for this post. Imagine the Viral Blues side being my work in progress, the Lanternfish side being a redline markup of the latest critique I received. I’m excited, let me tell you.

Rumor is that it works on other gadgets, too. I can’t imagine trying to use this on a phone, but if that shakes your booty, apparently it works there, too.

It still works with different programs, and there are times when I use the slider in the middle to make the right side narrow, then leave a Google search open. Thesaurus.com, maps, you get the idea. The ability to have two documents is a game changer for me.

I may be the only person out there who writes on Apple Pages (with an iPad), but if you’re one of us, you might find this helpful.

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Sunday update

My parents were here this weekend, and I was about ready for a small writing break. It’s in my nature to lament every lost day, but I’ve hit it pretty hard this year. We tried a new franchise restaurant called the Longhorn, and I have a hunch it will go on our regular rotation.

Aside from visits and dinner out, I didn’t get much done. I dedicated a small amount of time to critiques I received back on HMS Lanternfish. I messed up a lot of things here, but getting one of my own characters misnamed is a new one on me. Truthfully, she is a peripheral character, and … I have no idea. Thank God for sharper eyes than my own.

I’m all set up to write tomorrow, because it’s my flex day. This isn’t going to work out well, because I have to drive to the bank and make a deposit. This might sound like general whining, but there isn’t a bank in my small town. I need to get this done, so I can pay my formatter. After that, I’ll dedicate some time to sending out the manuscript and all the graphics that go in Viral Blues.

I have to keep moving things forward to hit my release schedule. Things like HMS Lanternfish aren’t even on the release radar yet. Once Viral Blues is in hand, then I’ll focus on Serang. I’ll have to get a bunch of blog tour posts ready, too.

Tonight, I may turn my attention to my next Story Empire post. Or, I could get distracted by a cowboy or pirate movie, or Jurassic Park, or aliens of some kind, or Hobbits. I’m not picky, and that’s part of the problem.

Tomorrow is a crap shoot. I may work on my story, or I could dedicate time to the peripheral projects. Depends upon how the day shakes out.

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A small update

I put the finishing touches to The Viral Blues this morning before dogs and family started stirring.

From my perspective, it was good enough to share with critique partners, but I have a lot to fix. They were all fast today, and I had responses before we even finished our goofing around for the day.

We decided to drive back to Donnelly, absent the trailer. My USFS maps indicate a lot of campgrounds on the back side of Cascade Reservoir. In all these years, I’ve never taken the drive around the lake, and today was the day.

The best campgrounds were near Donnelly, and after the pavement ended there wasn’t a lot to offer on that front. Beautiful, no doubt, but not quite what we were looking for in a campground. (There is a custom hat maker in Donnelly, but I resisted. This is like catnip to me, but when you’re broke all the time you have to behave.)

I was a bit disappointed in the road maintenance. The Forest Circus usually keeps the roads bladed pretty well, and while this road is big, it’s a pothole and washboard disaster.

We stopped one place to let the dogs potty. Otto was impressed that squirrels here live in the ground. He sniffed and dug at several holes. Frankie just freaks out, because she loves her own yard.

I snapped a few photos, but they all came out about the same. Here is one if you’d like to get a look at the scenery.

A more responsible photographer would have stepped off the road

There are ospreys everywhere you look, but not an eagle in sight. We also saw tons of pretty songbirds, and a few white pelicans on the water.

We’re getting ready for supper right now. I worked through one of the critiques, but am saving the others for later. I’m off Monday too, and that might be a good time for those.

If I get far enough, I might start the word searches on Serang.

Here is a still life from inside the camper.

I’ll probably fiddle around with Pinterest or something after supper. We thought about bringing a DVD of Captain Marvel, but blew it off.

We’ll go home at a leisurely pace tomorrow. That will give us time to wash the camper off, put our stuff away, and still have a day to accomplish things on monday.

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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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