Tag Archives: Lanternfish

No writing for you!

This is my short weekend, and I had one important chore to attend to. The appointment fell at about the perfect time to disrupt my whole Saturday. I got my second Covid vaccination today.

I wanted to jump aboard Lanternfish and move the story forward, but sometimes you have to face reality. Next weekend isn’t looking that favorable either. Old What’s Her Face is off the same days I am, and our daughter is coming for a visit. Family first is kind of a personal rule. If they go shopping or something, I might snitch an hour. I’ll have to play that by ear.

I did come up with some fun ideas while waiting in the parking lot for my appointment. This afternoon, I started two new storyboards for Lizzie and The Hat. I don’t know why I do this to myself, because any ability to write them is a couple of years away. Still, if they exist, it’s easier to tweak and perfect them over time. Hopefully, readers will still be interested when I get that far. They are pretty fun ideas.

Maybe tomorrow I can find enough time to add back material to Lunar Boogie. After that, I can send it to my formatter. Lisa Burton posters are on order, and I could get this out before June. This has always been something I wanted to do, and never made it before. If it goes into June, I’ll hold off on publication until Fall.

I also wrote something for Story Empire. It won’t post until May, so I didn’t schedule it yet. Gives me time to make it pretty.

Last injection, I felt like my arm was going to fall off. So far nothing like that. In two weeks I’ll be bulletproof.

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Bad day for Fulminites

I’ve been working toward this scene for a long time. I knew the writing would go fast, but that usually means it needs repairs. I’ll do what I can on that front later.

Serang reached the Fulminite temple with her army. This place wasn’t quite the pushover some of her previous battle were. They stacked the deck as best as possible, but those Black Assassins are rough.

Then there was the High Detonator, who Serang faced alone. I like the way this scene played out, because she snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. (Stealing an old World of Sports line)

I also enjoyed the final appearance of the Fu Dogs. I got a bit emotional writing it, but that’s nothing new. (Who knows, I may decide I need them one more time as the rest of this tale unfolds. It really feels like the end for them.)

There is also a bit where Serang has to do a bit of soul searching. (While drunk, as is her way.) I want to go back over that to make it perfect. It involves the realization that she was born of the great temple purge, and she just did the same thing to the Fulminites. The temple purging has driven her entire life, and now she has to face this.

I also actually used onomatopoeia in one place. I’ve added some graphics to The Hat series before, but nothing quite like this. I think it works, but there is plenty of time to think it over.

I’d like to get more words out of this, but action scenes shouldn’t be long drawn out affairs. Yes, it was a city wide battle. I followed Serang, and readers will have to assume other fighting was going on at the same time.

Grand total today was 3500 words. That includes the opening volley, fighting in the streets, the one-on-one battle, plus dealing with Fu Dogs and Serang’s drinking binge. Somehow I thought all this would fill chapters, but it feels right as is.

Next up is Serang getting over herself, then making plans, and delivering a speech to the peasants. I want that to come off like a big deal.

What’s your thought on action scenes? I think they need to be short. I could make this more of a battlefront with several action scenes, punctuated by reflective sections, but I don’t think it needs it. Serang is still a hero, and on her worst day she still kicks ass.

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Flex day productivity

My only goal for today involved Lanternfish. Okay, there were two. I got exposed to someone with Covid, and had to get another test. My results were negative, so that was a goal, too.

I picked up Lanternfish with Mule and Yoshiko trying to retrieve his ghostly knife, also known as the black spot. This turned into a somewhat adventurous romp, and Yoshiko stepped from behind her veil of complaint servitude to show some gumption. I kind of like the way that turned out.

After that, I returned to the Palumbos. Everything is turning to crap for the Hollish invaders now, and while nobody will ever figure it out, they played a role in all that. As the battle lines collapsed, they were tasked with an important role by the Hollish General Staff. No spoilers here, but it put them in an unusual circumstance.

They murdered someone along the way, so there was a smidgen of adventure involved. I have mixed feeling about this, because the dead guy was a huge threat and I could have milked that a bit more. Words were flowing and I didn’t want to stop for deep thought at that point. Sometimes you have to move the story ahead. I might rethink this during my remaining commutes this week.

Note to self: Probably need to come up with the next root monster adventure, too.

These were short chapters, but accomplished quite a bit. I find moving the pieces around this board to be challenging compared to other stories I’ve written. I’ve done the different story lines before ala Tarantino, but this one is more complex than my previous work. Everything has to come together at the right times and places. Characters have to get misplaced along the way. It’s just more complicated.

Having said that, I’m having a good time with it. It think that bodes well for readers of the trilogy.

Next up is Serang and her most important adventure yet. This proved the perfect place to stop for the day. Having the Palumbos fall into another con game, and drive away with the goods allowed me to calm things down from the big Lanternfish battle. It’s about time for some martial arts warfare and I hope I can make it huge and fascinating.

I try to post a few word metrics, but didn’t keep count this time. The draft is at 51,000 words. By going back to my last update and doing a bit of voodoo, it looks like my Sunday and Wednesday combined came to just over 5000 words. Most of that was today, so it was a great day.

Since I’m Covid-free, I’m going back to the office to finish my work week. Might address Serang over the coming weekend.

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Consider this an extra

I admit to getting fairly lax about updating Entertaining Stories in the last year. Let’s face it, 2020 didn’t leave us much to talk about. Everything that happened in my life happened in yours, too.

As we step into 2020 things are trying to improve. The goal of this blog has always been writing related, so let’s start there.

Yesterday I found some writing time. This is the regrouping phase of the big Lanternfish battle. A lot happened, and nobody knows all of it. Visitors showed up in the aftermath and helped spell some of it out. James spent a bit of time looking in on his wounded, and with the visitors’ help, they set some new goals.

He managed to overlook his missing son. I still need to address this from his POV somehow. I sent Mule and Yoshiko on an ill-advised quest to recover Mule’s knife. This is the haunted knife from Giapon with a mind of its own. When I ended, they were following a trail of murder and mayhem across the battlefield. I didn’t do too much, and only added enough to get started next time. Whatever it came to didn’t match the huge word count of Friday.

After that, Old What’s Her Face and I decided to go someplace to eat. It’s payday weekend, so it’s nice to have a slice of our former lives. It didn’t amount to anything fancy, but it’s Lobsterfest at Red Lobster. We had a nice dinner, then went home.

After supper, we watched Falcon and the Winter Soldier as far as they’ve been released. It’s interesting so far. Secondary characters trying to carry a story and it’s functional.

We also managed to watch Kong vs Godzilla on Friday night, and I really liked it. Could have done without all that hollow Earth crap, but I liked the film. Adventure galore, but they swung and missed on the traditional messages. Godzilla was always about an environmental warning, and Kong had this tragic emotional thing going on. They tried with some kind of high-tech weapon and a tiny deaf girl, but it just didn’t work. Let’s face it, it’s geared toward them beating the crap out of each other and it accomplishes that.

Somewhere in the midst of everything else, I managed to edit one chapter of Lunar Boogie. I should be doing more, but there it is.

Today, I frittered around with social media after talking to my parents. I determined to do something and went into an alternate room. There was writing time, the possibility of editing, but I decided to read instead. I don’t do enough reading, so it feels productive to me. (First third of a new novel in one shot is pretty good for my reading.)

It was a good weekend. I got the chance to be productive and balanced that with some real life.

I get a Wednesday flex day this week and have it earmarked for more Lanternfish. Other than that, it’s back to work in the real world.

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Gotta stop for the day

Today was my flex day and Lanternfish was my goal. I wound up waking early, even though that wasn’t my intention. After I tended the dogs, I read back through my previous chapter, then let her rip.

Last time, I wrote right up to the cusp of Lanternfish’s biggest battle. Today it was time for that battle. A little bittersweet for me because it’s also Lanternfish’s final battle. I’ve spent a lot of years with this fictional ship.

Don’t worry, it isn’t all devastation and she has a different role, but the main characters do too. To grow, sometimes you have to give some things up.

There were deaths among the named crew members. This is war after all, and some of that needs to happen to keep things realistic.

There was a conflict between a Prelonian officer and Sergeant Schuster about rank. James settled that with a promotion that made Schuster into a captain. Since he is a marine, the rank isn’t as high as a naval captain. Quite different actually.

Schuster had a big night with his own POV adventure to go along with it. Banquo went with him and deployed the poison of Big Boogah which is a nice tie back to the original story.

Mule and Yoshiko also had a long night, but they were bailed out by Mule’s knife, also known as the black spot. Now they have the obligation to find and recover it. A nice tie to the second story.

Mal saved the day with one of his magical creations, but I need to go back and make that more prominent. Maybe add some results readers can appreciate.

Root monsters were involved, but I only focused on them in the aftermath. One named Fishbone is walking around with a fifty-caliber hole through his chest and the others think it’s hilarious.

I stopped with James in a state of exhaustion. Everything changed in the scope of one night. He has dead and wounded, he lost his ship. And he doesn’t know if it made any difference at all.

This is the perfect place to cut it off for the day. My next day will be a reflection and assessment section.

The events of this battle will lead directly to problems for the Palumbos, and I need to dream up how they will handle the two or three things I need them to accomplish.

Serang is at the point of her big event, but that seems like something I won’t reach this weekend.

All told it came to 4200 words. That’s amazing by my standards, but it has to do with getting out of that middle slog. This book is at 45,000 now. I hoped for about 50K at the midpoint so I’m a little shy. Since this is fantasy, I’d like to break 100K with the finished product.

When I write that fast, the results are usually weak. I like what I have, but I’m sure it’s full of word echoes and soft descriptions that I’ll have to address later.

Right now, I’m pleased with the results. I have a couple of guest spots to schedule, so the timing for that is perfect.

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Unexpected progress

This is my short weekend, and my wife is off at the same time. I never really expected any writing progress, so I’m pleasantly surprised.

I have a tree I need to prune and we wanted to check out a new restaurant while we still had some Biden Bucks in our account.

Old What’s Her Face insisted we hit the restaurant at 11:00, because it’s so new. A big lunch will require us to skip dinner, but it turned out to be a pretty good idea. When arrived, there was already a line down the sidewalk.

The place is called Sid’s Garage, and it’s a burger joint, but a really upscale burger joint. I had something called the Jekyll & Hyde burger. (Really, how could I pass up something with that name.) It had a grilled peach atop a Wagyu beef patty. It was wonderful.

We shared a basket of Parmesan truffle fries, and a small plate of flash fried deviled eggs. I’ve never even heard of something like this. They’re like the love child of deviled eggs and Scotch eggs.

They also have fancy milkshakes. It’s to early for beer, so I went for one that was peach and pralines with a bit of bourbon maple flavor to it. It looked like this. Oh yeah, there was a crumble of candied bacon on top.

I mentioned writing, so here’s that brief. I never planned on writing. Somehow, I wound up closing myself into an alternate room before lunch and tearing into my project. Before it was time to get ready, I dealt with moving Lanternfish into position for the big battle.

After a bunch of orders and prep, it was time for the cannon to roar and a whole new kind of trouble to face my crew. Exploding monks made an appearance, but I had to stop just before Mal pulled one of his witch doctor shenanigans to benefit the war effort.

I’m telling you, things were really working for me this morning. It came to 2500 words and I feel like I could have doubled that given the time.

Sometimes, you have to spend time with your wife and chow down on something incredibly bad for you. With that kind of word count, I think today was a big win all around.

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Have to be happy with today

It all came to 2800 words today. I’m always apprehensive, but it feels right to me.

It started with Serang’s army making plans for a major attack. They have to keep the moon phase in mind because of the Fulminites and their special ability.

What I didn’t care for was the three page chapter. I try not to do those, but I got everything I needed down and didn’t want to add filler just to make this section ten pages. I see these in books from time to time, so I figure I’m safe. It is what it must be.

I switched to James and Lanternfish, but handled this a bit differently. By this time, readers have experienced sea battles, so I told a bit to move the story along. We joined James at the aftermath of a battle where they wound up rescuing some Prelonian prisoners from the Hollish.

Then they went ashore to examine a signal from Diego Palumbo. In one of his previous sections, Diego left a bit of intelligence behind in hopes James might find it. Back in HMS Lanternfish, they used special lanterns for this purpose.

I turned recovery of the data into a root monster competition where the prize was getting a name. It became quite an event with monsters being thrown off a cliff, lots of laughter, and some confusion over what James might want. All told four monsters got names: Papers, Buckle, Fishbone, and Splat.

In brief, the army is in place with a plan. The “navy” is in the right spot, but needs to review their treasure. Even Diego and Camila are set up for their next adventure. I also have a cool sequence planned for Mal the witch doctor. And it all wrapped up with root monsters.

I’m pretty happy. The next stretch behind the keyboard will have to be James interpreting the data, but then all hell is going to break loose on multiple fronts.

Tomorrow is my errand day, then I drive to Nevada for a visit. Mom doesn’t have wifi, but I can pigtale to my phone if anyone needs me. I’m up at Story Empire with an interesting story structure. I’ll monitor comments, then check them once more before my drive. I will be out of range until I get to my parent’s home, but I can check again there.

Long drives are heavenly for spending with my Muse. I discovered a new song that gave me a character. It will be a couple of years before I can use him, but I might get an idea how a special grave digger fits into Lizzie’s universe over in the hat series. The song is too obscure for her band to play, but it’s a cool character idea.

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It feels like progress

Today was the first decent writing day I’ve had in a while. I didn’t exactly jump on it like a leopard from the trees, but it feels pretty good.

I allowed myself to sleep in, which kind of seems like the wrong thing to do. Then I spent my first hour reading back over portions of what I already had.

This is because I have three distinct tales unfolding in this book. Since it is the third volume of a trilogy, I assume readers will already know these characters, so working it this way ought to be easier to accept.

What I have is James and Lanternfish at sea, Serang deep inland on a specific quest, then the Palumbos who are stuck somewhere in the middle pulling off their con game.

I’ve been stuck at the Palumbos for quite a while. Readers know they are being deceptive in every move they make, but they still have a couple of big deals to put in play. Today, I forced the issue.

As a story boarder, this feels like a section between the index cards that I usually free write. It’s just a bigger deal than most sections. This bit is like the summit of the whole book. From this point on the stories will start converging.

My goal is to keep readers from seeing it that way, but as the author I look at it like that.

It’s about one page less than a chapter, so it was a reasonable day word wise. I didn’t count them, but maybe 1800 or so today.

I think this chapter needs a lot of work, but in budgeting my days, I may return to it later. Both James and Serang have huge events ahead of them, but I still need to set their stages to a small degree.

Fortunately, their events don’t hinge upon each other. Meaning, I don’t have as hard a time deciding which one comes first in the story. Something tells me I need to get James in action first so we can see more of the danger and devastation everyone is facing, so I’ll probably do it that way. It will make Serang’s section that much stronger.

I’m kind of excited about today. After this, it’s going to be major action for a long time, and while that is hard to write, it tends to move pretty fast. I’ll break it up with lulls, like a section Mule has to do. There are several other things.

Bottom line, I’m happy with my output today. I might get a chance to review this section while I’m in Nevada. Tomorrow, I want to hit it hard again.

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A writer’s lament

Hi, I’m Craig, and I haven’t written a new word for two weeks. I’m unlikely to get more next week unless something changes.

Sounds like an AA meeting.

The fact is, this has been the busiest week of the year at my workplace. I was heavily involved in prep leading up to all this, too. At some point, I kind of left it all on the field, to use a sports phrase.

Old What’s Her Face and I have had the same days off, too. This isn’t particularly useful when it comes to penning new material.

I have some leave coming up, and may get to do some writing then. However, I have a stockpile of errands that will interfere to a degree if I don’t plan things well. I have to get my truck serviced, and take care of a small repair. I also have to get it sniffed for pollutants. Then there is the matter of swinging by a hardware store for some blade oil for my chainsaw. My fruit trees need some tough love and it’s best done before the sap rises.

I’ve also promised to make a quick trip to Nevada to visit my parents, so here is a rough plan. I’ll get the truck taken care of Friday morning, then go find a station that can do my sniff test. Somewhere in that vicinity, I need to find any hardware store for my oil. I will leave directly from there for Nevada. That will kill Friday, but might salvage some other days for writing purposes.

Then there is the plot problem. I’ve been dwelling on it for weeks, but have an inkling of what I want. Nothing like a long car drive to help focus some of this. It isn’t like Lanternfish needs a new character, but I’m going to introduce one. My cons can keep a secret easily enough, but adding a third party to their game could introduce some extra stress. Stress is a good thing for characters.

Normally, in times like this I would switch stories. However, I’ve finished the draft of Lunar Boogie, and want to focus on Lanternfish. It’s probably crazy, because I lost two weeks that I could have been working on something else.

I also need to keep reading what I’ve already produced. That will help me sort out what cartoons I need to order for Lunar Boogie, and I need to put some thought into Lisa Burton promotional posters.

Lisa poses a different problem. How many pirate girls can I commission here? Same thing for Lizzie and the hat. It was simple enough to do when the first book came out, and even the second volumes. This deep into both series, it gets harder to come up with things.

I’ve had Lisa pose as Serang, then in Serang’s new armor. She’s posed as Lizzie the monster hunter, Lizzie the musician, etc. I’ll figure something out, of course, but it might be a few less than I usually do.

I’m looking forward to finishing the Lanternfish trilogy. I’m down to getting the last pieces in place before things really break loose. This is the middle slog, but there are some big things planned that I expect to almost write themselves.

On the bright side, I only committed to two books this year, and one of those is drafted. I have to keep things moving, because it’s already March, but I’m not in a bad position here.

I hope all of you are doing well, and not facing your own writing problems. I’ll sort mine out, then Lanternfish will move fast.

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I morn for the lost time

This weekend wasn’t a productive one for me. My wife was off, and we tend to hang out together. (Imagine that.)

We dedicated a bit of time complaining about how our furnace went out. This one is all computerized and the numeric codes don’t really tell us anything. She didn’t want to call someone over the weekend, because they gouge you. I’m okay with this, too. We’ve been using alternate sources to take the chill off and it has been decent weather as well.

We went to Old Chicago last night, masks and all, for beer and pizza. We also rented Monster Hunter with Milla Jovovich. (Don’t waste your time or money.)

What I didn’t do was write. I feel bad, because weekends are about all I have. I managed one page of dialog and that’s it. Dialog sections tend to have a lot of white space on the page, so there isn’t much as far as word count goes.

I am going to get an hour to myself today when she goes to town. Rather than force things, I’m going to spend my time reading.

I’ve run into a section in Lanternfish that requires some micro-plotting. You know I use storyboards with broad things I have to check off, but between the index cards, I occasionally run into something like this.

Normally, I would jump to another story, but I’ve finished Lunar Boogie, and am loath to start a new one until I finish Lanternfish. I know the next one up is Good Liniment and it will suck me in and keep me from Lanternfish.

What I need is a good solid twist in my story. Jumping projects usually makes one come to me. Perhaps reading will do the same thing. Next weekend isn’t looking like a good one for writing either. Hopefully, I can come up with my twist inside of two weeks.

Hope all of you are happy, productive, and warm.

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