Tag Archives: endings

Yo ho ho, it’s a trilogy.

No real interruptions today. I made sure to follow my routine, and wound up making changes to existing material. I discovered that I’d gone over Mule and Yoshiko’s ending twice. Both were good material, but one seemed to fall in a better location. It’s odd for me to make a mistake like this, but I had to delete one section.

I also had to go back and add in a bit about Mal, the witch doctor. It wasn’t much, but he has fans and they will want to know how he wound up. He’s doing things on his terms, and I kind of like it that way.

I don’t mind telling you that I teared up at a few points. I know my characters are outrageous, but I designed them that way. Giving them a suitable ending was hard, but they all make sense. Readers will be left with a vision of the future for not only the characters, but the government in general.

Not everyone lived through this adventure. When there is a war, 100% survival seems unrealistic. That part was written months ago, but I worry about how it will be received.

Another concern is that a big part of this final adventure happens on land. I saw it as facing James’s weaknesses. He has to work where he is least comfortable to pull this off.

This yarn came in about 10,000 words shorter than the others. I am not worried about that. As the end of a trilogy, there is a bigger denouement, but I don’t want to drag it out either. In a classical sense, this is the one where you party with Ewoks.

The trilogy will end with plenty of cannonades, martial arts, a few con games, a haunted knife, and yes there are root monsters. I’m going to leave it in the fermenter for a month before I look at it again.

I don’t want to drop any spoilers, at least until I’m closer to publication. I’ve been sitting on the cover art for months, and thought perhaps you’d enjoy a sneak peek. It’s kind of a spoiler itself, but it’s too good not to share.

In other news, I spent last night creating a set of throwing bones that will make an appearance in the next Hat story. I may turn my attention to that storyboard, or I may download a book and read. Right now, I’m just letting it all soak in and will decide later.


Filed under Writing

A bit of writing work today

Today wasn’t intended for new words. I had some writing messes to clean up, so that was my big goal.

First, I’ve had critique samples for Lunar Boogie for a week. While there weren’t any huge changes to make, there were a lot of small things. I find it too hard to focus on weeknights, so today I took up the challenge.

I also needed to get another submission ready for my group. I bounce back and forth, so this time they get to see Lanternfish. I worked on the next chapter for about an hour, including checking with an online editing program before sending it out. It’s out, so I’ll get to learn if my married cons still have what it takes to carry a chapter.

Only after taking care of all that, did I turn my attention back to Lunar Boogie. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I had some issues with the ending of the story.

As a recap, I wanted to end this one on a down note which provided for a bit of character growth for Lizzie in the next book. I wound up ending it on a major bummer and wasn’t happy with it.

Last weekend, I added a scene and it kind of helped, but still wasn’t what I needed. Remember, these are partially comical in nature, so they really can’t end on sour note.

Today, I threw caution to the wind and added a bunch of material I was saving for the opening of Good Liniment, the next book in the series. It wound up requiring a chapter break which caused the last two chapters to be short ones.

This required me to research crystal therapy and come up with a name for a pot shop. All in a day’s work, right?

I hate to sacrifice some of the stuff from the next book, but think it probably works better here. Basically, Lizzie’s parents made an appearance earlier in the book via FaceTime. At the end, Lizzie goes to California to spend some time with them. Alone, without the hat.

As far as what I included, Lizzie spent this time with her mom, and she is a genuine C. S. Boyack character. I will have to come up with some additional material for Good Liniment, but I can handle that. I can also have Lizzie spend some time with her father who is running for State Senate.

What I enjoyed is how Lizzie is an amalgamation of her mother and father. I never planned this and it just happened. This is one of the fun things that keeps me going as a writer. Lizzie is hard working like her father, but lives paycheck to paycheck as a musician and hangs out with some strange characters. She isn’t quite as stoic and dedicated as her dad, but isn’t as batshit crazy as her mom either.

Lizzie’s mom helps add a laugh or two after the bummer moment. I think moving the material to Lunar Boogie was the right move.

I need to turn my attentions back to Lanternfish. I left James on the high seas the instant before the opening volley of a huge sea battle.

I hope all of you have power and water by now. That you’re warm and safe. Drop me a line and let me know what’s going on.


Filed under Writing

All’s well that ends well…maybe

We got a call last night that our granddaughter was screaming, bloated, and projectile vomiting. Her mother ran her to the emergency room.

We never heard anything until this morning, when they called to tell us they were still there. The guesses were a severe urinary tract infection, and possible appendicitis. She's not even in pre-school yet. My wife got dressed and went straight down to the hospital. There isn't much to do except get in the way, so I stayed here. They did some kind of expensive scan and confirmed the UTI. They're back home now.

I decided to grab my hat, and head for the writing cabin. I have to say, I was in a great mindset to write a tortured little girl.

Lisa, my robotic assistant, put on her Chloe outfit and tried to help. I'm afraid my mood discouraged her. She busied herself cleaning Bunny's litter box.

I finished The Playground at about ten o'clock. Doubt, the raven started demanding attention almost immediately. I've fallen for this one before, and decided to leave.

I believe endings should be short. I don't like to go on and on about things. Now I wonder if I have enough in this ending. Chloe will need a lot of healing. She's lost her doll/friend, (who was the embodiment of evil). What she has is the love of her mother and father… and a good therapist.

I could have done a better job on the doll's death scene. I thought of a heart monitor doing the whole flatline thing, but don't think I pulled it completely off. Probably needs some work.

I could have had Chloe freak out, have a relapse or do something else, but I wasn't feeling it. Her mother freaked out well enough.

The ending is making me think chapter one needs a little something. It probably does.

What I need to do is put it away to ferment. Leave it completely alone for a month. Stop letting Doubt get into my head. My critique group will have some input in a week or so. Then I can change the font and pitch, re-read it and make those assessments.

So what happens next? Last week I took an effort to promote Will O' the Wisp. This is my best one so far, and I'm not willing to let it be, not just yet. I made an additional effort to promote myself today. Something will land in blog land very soon. These are positive things I can do while The Playground settles.

I still have some short stories in mind. I'll fiddle around with those, and may release a book of them in the fall or winter. I'm not going to start another novel right away. I will, but not for some months.

There are fish to catch, and mushrooms to gather up in the forest. Those projects really take me away, and reboot the senses.

I've got four good ideas for my next novel too. This time, I'm going to try something different. I'm going to start outlining all of them. The Playground came in at about 70K words. I don't know if people will expect a bit more, or if modern humans will be grateful for a faster story. Outlining my next cluster of ideas should give me a better idea of what will deliver a novel length work.

All writers have dozens of ideas. I'm not afraid to share them with you, they are:

  • I wrote a character vignette about a year ago involving two people in Africa. Add in some witch doctors, and some man eaters and this could be a story. It probably needs evil redcoats too. Historical paranormal.
  • I wrote a vignette about a guy who wakes up in the desert and gets rescued by a talking yak. This one has an appealing personal challenge of using The Fool's Journey as a story structure. What category would it be? I have no idea, maybe dystopian/fantasy/paranormal.
  • The idea of bio-hackers and grinders appeals to me. It would take some serious research, but I see it as a science fiction piece with some Frankenstein spice.
  • The Wargler would be a fantasy about a guy who starts wars using covert methods and manipulations. He needs to be forced into doing this by some kind of bad guy. Is the world ready for a fantasy with less sword and sorcery, but more theft, manipulation, and deceit?

I'm thinking about making a few posts about my outlining process. I think my way is different than many others, and you may find it interesting. I can even include a few screenshots from past outlines. I don't have them all, but some are still around. Does this sound boring, or interesting? I always like to read about another writer's process, maybe some of you would too.

My reading has suffered, and I need to remedy that. I'm about to go on a book buying spree. I'll post about that when the time comes.

Then there is the research. I got some great alchemy suggestions from you guys a couple months ago, and those might help with one project. I have a ton of African adventure books too. I even have a copy of Frankenstein.

Right now, our granddaughter is on the mend, The Playground is a complete first draft, and I have some ongoing plans for promotion. I'm looking forward to Summer without any arbitrary deadlines. I'm sure to have more company, and won't feel like I lost valuable writing time when they come for a visit.


Filed under Writing

I don’t believe in Happily Ever After

I love fairy tale structure in stories. I first caught on to the idea from an author named Alexandra Sokoloff. She goes into it in some detail in her book Screenwriting Tricks for Authors. Her breakdown of The Godfather as a fairy tale is wonderful. Here is a taste of it from one of her old blog posts: here. You have to read her book to get the full gist of it all. It’s a good book, if you’re interested.

There’s one part of a fairy tale that I don’t agree with, and that’s when they all lived happily ever after. I get that it’s supposed to be a reward at the end of a story, but it feels shallow to me. I’m sure it had more impact 500 years ago when security was a much bigger deal to us. Palaces are safe and warm (in a fairy tale). Most of the rest of the world had to worry about being jumped by a tiger when you stepped outside for your morning piss.

In real life, HEA doesn’t exist. We accomplish something and it leads to the next problem. Sometimes it causes the next problem. We struggle for years to build a better mousetrap, and eureka! The new problem is how to market it, and when we’ve done that, maybe the evil Victor mousetrap people come along and set up roadblocks. (No offense intended. Love ya Victor.)

My point is that life goes on, and that means struggles. I’m not saying Snow White’s first daughter looked a lot like Dopey, but damn. Have you seen her ears? Maybe Princess Jasmine developed a gambling problem and their lives changed in ten years.

I try to write satisfying and logical endings to my stories. Sometimes I even hint at future problems setting themselves up. I don’t do this for the purpose of selling sequels. I want to illustrate that life goes on. Sure, I write science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories, but I want your suspension of disbelief to happen for the right reasons. I don’t want to go to the well too often.

There is a risk of not sewing up loose plot threads, and it’s a fine line. The truth of the matter is that evil is never truly defeated. They hunted Nazis for decades after WWII.

For me, I don’t mind a hot new relationship at the end of a story. I don’t even mind a palace on the hill. I just don’t like the idea that nothing bad ever happened again – ever.

I like to mix and match story structures. I love using the number three, mentor characters, predictions, and other fairy tale items. I just don’t buy that they all lived happily ever after.

What do the readers and writers out there have to say? I’d love to hear from you on this.


Filed under Writing