Tag Archives: critique

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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Flex Day Fun

I didn’t produce any new words of fiction today, but got a lot accomplished. I looked over four chapters for a friend and exchanged thoughts on that. Then I wrote two blog posts for Story Empire. I have one more, but it’s late in December so I’m stalling that one.

It may not seem like much, but there was a lot of time involved. I feel pretty good about it all.

What it served to do was clear the deck for my next effort. I’ll have to re-read my WIP, then I intend to move it forward as best I can.

There were obstacles, there are alway obstacles. This time it was in the form of Frankie the bulldog.

I swear she wanted outside a hundred times today. She likes to play with the neighbor dog. They run up and down the fence together and act all tough.

She’s also become pretty good at spotting the squirrel. She doesn’t care about the squirrel, but she wants Otto to chase him. This is because she bites Otto in the butt while he chases the squirrel.

She spotted it on the fence this morning so I let her out. She stopped on the porch and looked back for Otto. Once he was ready, it was all fun and games again.

She’s also taken to flopping across the back of my chair like a monkey. She leans her head over my shoulder and occasionally licks my glasses. Makes it kind of hard to write if I can’t see.

This is an older picture, but you get the idea. I keep thinking, “We named the monkey Jack.” It makes a pretty good position for squirrel spotting.

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Productive, in its own way

I had today off as a holiday. I’m looking forward to the eight hour shifts next week, as opposed to tens.

My plan was to deal with a bunch of author chores that didn’t involve new fiction. I was moderately successful, if not completely.

There were some blog chores. I traded pages with a few other authors. I got one shtick out the door for an interview, plus I sent an additional questionnaire out.

I finally took the time to work through my own critiqued pages, and that was wonderful. I haven’t had a critique group for a while, and it’s nice to get back to it. These small changes led me to add a couple of lines that really improved my story.

Beyond that, I did a bunch of research on infectious diseases, as one does. I swear, if anyone ever looks at my browsing history I’m in big trouble.

I wanted to at least start on another complete read of Lanternfish. I made some changes and need to re-read it to look at the big picture.

I also wanted to work on a couple of storyboards, but that fell by the wayside.

October is going to be a busy month for me, so these chores may get finished in bits and pieces.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend, and a happy Columbus Day if you got the day off too.

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Field trip and a bit of luck

My paycheck job sent me to Idaho Falls for a couple of days. We avoid work related topics, but it puts a damper on my blogging ability. That’s the main point here.

Fortunately for me, two of my guest appearances posted while I was absent. That allowed me to keep some fresh content on my site, and I managed to deal with comments after hours. I think I answered everyone, but I’m going to surf back through the host sites to make sure after this goes live.

I have things to do today. (I always have things to do.) I’ve just come up against a wall of “I don’t wanna.” A big part of this involves driving, hotels, and all the rest of it. Driving across Idaho is not like driving across Vermont. It takes about five hours to drive across Idaho, and I did it twice. Bonus though, I got to see about 200 antelope, and one really nice mule deer buck. I also saw an elk rack that did not fit completely in the bed of a pickup truck. I know we’re all supposed to hate hunting and everyone that partakes, but I do not. It was impressive, and that was one of the biggest racks I’ve ever seen. If the rest of him was that big, someone is going to need a bigger deep freeze.

I’m going to have to sacrifice most of my planned word count for now. The stuff I need to do involves commitments to other author friends. I’m not going to let them down. There is one small bit of critique work I have to get to. Thank God for my Apple Pencil, and its new ability to work with Pages, my word processor. This speeds things up a bunch over the old redline versions.

I have two Lisa Burton interviews to work on. One has returned his questionnaire, and I’ll address it soon. The other is in a holding pattern until I get the questionnaire back. Still, it’s good to know there will be more “broadcasts” from Lisa’s trailer in the woods.

Yesterday was payday too. This means we might pull off a date night tonight. Old Chicago Pizza sounds good, but there is a BSU game tonight. Both things are good, but sometimes it means the place is SRO. Never know if we don’t try. I can be content with the MLB playoffs too, so I’m not picky as to whatever. We’ve talked about a backup plan that might involve a total absence of sports.

As a State employee, I get Monday off too (Thanks Columbus). Lower on my list is a cluster of critique pages of my own work. They aren’t going to spoil or anything, but if I get my commitments dealt with, I’d like to find time to slick up my own story.

It isn’t a huge list, and all of it is possible in three days. I just have to figure out how to deal with the “don’t wannas.”

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Obituary


This is a checking in post, so I’ll try to keep things brief. I have a lot going on over the next few weeks. You may have seen the promos for Quantum Wanderlust, and that’s just part of it. I also have some things to post for friends who are releasing their own books. There are still a couple of things I need to write, but I may not get to all this writing and scheduling until the weekend.

Tonight was my grandson’s birthday, so we all went to supper immediately after work. This leaves us about enough time to clean up and go to bed so we can work tomorrow. He was excited and got some cool nerf gun stuff. His mom got a cute video of him face diving into a plate of whipped cream and looking for a cherry. This is something the restaurant did for us, and it was pretty funny.

Earlier this week another member bailed out of our critique group. Two of us have been there since the beginning, but the other long term members left about a year ago. It wasn’t all at once, and they trickled out over a few months.

New members joined and failed to last three months. We’ve been haunting the local membership base, Facebook, and other likely haunts. Most of the inquiries are looking for wine and cheese, but very little actual writing. Some want to play at being writers, and we come across a bit hardcore for them.

I’ve had my butt kicked at critique group, and I’ve been the one kicking butt a few times too. Honestly, I learned so much from this process I’m going to really miss it. Critique involves hearing the tough things, then adjusting to improve the result. Too many people were looking for the Mutual Admiration Society. Many have been to groups with a lot of members, but only a couple made submissions every month. That just doesn’t work for the other fellow and I.

I recently wrote 25,500 words over a period of about a month and a half. We submit 3000 words per month. The rule was you have to critique all the other submissions, usually about four, but you get four critiques of your own 3000 words. With the novella I just finished, I have eight months of material. If I only got to submit say, twice per year in a big group, that isn’t very helpful.

We had our date set for three members when the newest guy bailed out on the group. The remaining fellow asked me if we ought to fold the whole thing, and I agreed. We had a good run, but it looks like I’ll have to find something else.

I know there are some online options, but those deserve a bit of scrutiny before diving in. The other trick is to find at least a couple of people who are better writers than I am. This isn’t to say that I’m awesome, it’s just a growth and improvement thing. A mix of people with some veterans along with some newer folks seems to work well.

The benefit of the newer folks involves doing the critique work. I’ve learned as much from trying to help others along as from being helped. Sometimes it’s like looking in the mirror, and you cement the lessons you learned, and understand why you got your butt kicked six months before.

I’ll keep my eyes open. Something else may come along. I’m not going to get in a hurry either. I still have access to some darned good beta readers, but that’s a different process.

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Not my favorite kind of day

I was productive. I freely admit that, but I never worked on things I preferred. This is a slice of real-life for an author. There are things we must do besides writing new fiction. In a fantasy world, other people would do some of this work so we could be creative, but this isn’t a fantasy world.

In the last twenty-four hours, I’ve written my next Story Empire post, worked on more interviews for Lisa’s radio show, worked up critiques for my group. We meet on Wednesday night, so I’m prepared.

I also took a stab at two guest posts I’ve been invited to submit. I have more to do on this front. One of them required me to make a cover collage or two, and I’m not good at those. What I have will serve. I also made a meme type image for the other one.

It may sound like I’m griping, but it would be worse if I didn’t have this stuff to do. This kind of activity tells me the world is actually paying attention.

I intend to watch Game of Thrones tonight, and I might stay up late playing games with my son. Haven’t decided yet.

We’re both off tomorrow. I thought only I was off, and was looking forward to new words of fiction. I still want it to happen. If it doesn’t, I have more work like this I can address. We may decide to do something together, and I’m okay with that too.

I hope all of you had good weekends, and I’m worried about all my Texas friends. Stay safe down there.

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Release the pressure, be calm

It's fairly well documented that I put pressure on myself, then I stress when things don't go according to plan. Today I did something about it.

I asked for vacation time all next week, and it got approved. I feel like the clouds have parted, and the pressures all disappeared. Of course, I set the stage for a good week by finishing my beta edits over the weekend. After a couple of read throughs, I can send The Enhanced League to the formatter. I'm toying with the idea of including all the Lisa Burton posters at the end. Maybe someone will like them as cool freebies.

Once I get Enhanced League to the formatter, I need to start on edits for The Yak Guy Project. I also need to write tour posts for Enhanced League. Once I have everything, I'll put out a call for hosts, and try to figure out if they want me or Lisa to visit their sites.

If I can do all that, and get Yak Guy ready for beta readers, it will have been a good vacation. I don't feel like it's a huge, unreasonable goal. I don't have to go back until July third, and then I get the fourth off.

I have my critique group in there somewhere, so I'll have to work up their pages. I sent my own submission off this evening… while enjoying a glass of Talisker.

For those who are waiting, we took Otto back to the vet this afternoon. This whole pain thing has nothing to do with pecans. It's a neurological thing, involving his spine somewhere around his tail. He is in incredible pain, and we now have even more medication to try.

What really bothers me about this is that on Friday he was the happiest dog in the world. Today he can barely walk. We can't think of anything that happened to him, beyond the pecan debacle, and the vet says it has nothing to do with that. He didn't fall, nobody was physically abusive to him, the puppies certainly didn't hurt him. We're supposed to give him his medication and stand by. We were told to keep him calm for about ten days even after he starts feeling better. I guess in baseball terms, he's on the ten day DL list.

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