Tag Archives: muse

Fallout from the Muse

I slept in a bit today. When I woke up my head was filled with ideas. After playing ball with the bulldogs, I hacked out a story about two people who hate each other. Think liberal vs conservative level hatred. Everything about them is diametrically opposed. There is a paranormal element to it, because I intend it to be one of the Macabre Macaroni stories for my blog in October.

It was much longer as I conceived it, and looked like it might have to be one of those “Tune in next week for the dramatic conclusion” stories. The challenge is to bring them in at blog length, so I started paring it down.

It’s a bit long at 1200 words, but I like it. When October rolls around, I hope you will too.

My mind is full of other things like vignettes of one kind or another. My stories always begin with a character, but they soon move on to the vignette stage. This isn’t a story by any stretch, but it’s nice to have a head full of things to mull over.

These don’t necessarily fit the October blog theme, and some of them deserve a longer format after I figure them all out.

I also started reading a craft book. I have a novel set up on my phone, and can dedicate lunch breaks to it starting tomorrow.

My weekend labors are at an end, but I’m content. It never really ends, but I moved some projects ahead. I have four days next weekend too.

I’ll have to start actual editing then. I’ve ignored Lanternfish for the proper amount of time, and need to dig in.

I still need one more blog length piece, but the visit from the Muse was invigorating. I’m sure something will come to me before the last week of October.

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Rambling thoughts today

I’m getting keyed up for my writing day tomorrow, pending distractions. Distractions are always possible.

I’ve been thinking about that tiny gap between my fingers and the keyboard today. There is a story in my brain on one side of the gap. The other side of the gap holds the promise of a story everyone can read, and hopefully enjoy. All I have to do is complete the circuit and make it happen. That’s my big plan for tomorrow.

***

I got a visit from Lorelei, the Muse the other day. It always seems to happen that I get scenes that have nothing to do with my work-in-progress. This one goes to the cyberpunk outline I have started, tentatively called Grinders. It involves the cop’s brother. He is a cyber-shut-in. This is a world of delivery by drones, many online worlds to explore, and some people who haven’t left the apartment in years. The guy makes his living by spamming for others, and by exchanging cyber-currency in various worlds he lives in. Of course, this guy will have to hold some kind of clue to help find the bad guys, and the estrangement between he and his brother should be palpable.

Anyway, I made an index card and added it to the side of the outline. I’ll figure out what to do with this guy later. I have at least two books ahead of this one.

***

I have a coffee maker with a metal, thermal, carafe. Eventually, you have to microwave the coffee anyway. Why hasn’t anyone invented a carafe that can be microwaved in its entirety? Metal pots and microwaves don’t work very well. Ceramic ones could hold heat and go in the microwave. Then I could take it to my writing place and use it there. Maybe a cool one that looks like a shrunken head or something.

***

Why hasn’t someone invented microwave hot water heaters. We have hot water on-demand that heats smaller volumes very quickly. Why not do the same thing using microwaves?

***

While we’re at it, I still think we need computers that focus for us. I could make some adjustments to the monitor and work without my glasses. You might not be able to see it, but you could focus your own computer. It’s allergy season, and I spend as much time cleaning my glasses as working for the next 30 days.

***

With that brain purge, I think I’m ready to work on my piracy story tomorrow. Do your heads ever get filled up with extra thoughts until they distract you? Do you find that writing them down helps get rid of them?

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A Desert Rat looks back

Some of you don’t know this, but I grew up in one of the Western deserts. There are several, and they vary depending upon how many you want to count. I’ve been in them all. There is the Black Rock Desert, the Mohave Desert, the Sonora Desert, etc.

I grew up in the Great Basin, which is also a desert. It’s just at high elevation, and gets a severe winter along with a severe summer. No water means it’s still a desert.

Deserts always have an oasis of some kind or another. This helps keep things interesting.

The Mohave Desert is home to Joshua trees, and salt pans, ridges devoid of forest, and yet still holding wildlife. I remember chasing Desert Bighorns in Southern Nevada adjacent to the nuclear test site. There was the morning when I heard the huge tarantula before I saw him, and the afternoon when I found a ridge covered with ancient ammonites. After millions of years, they were still mostly mother of pearl.

Today, Old What’s Her Face and I flew to Las Vegas. We have tickets to the Pink concert tomorrow night. Our first stop was Los Angeles. We were flying on my daughter’s flight benefit, and that means standby. We never made several planes out of LA, but we’re here finally.

The desert is a wonderful, but serious place. Flying into Vegas, looked about like I would imagine flying over Mordor would look. You have to experience the desert close-up to enjoy it.

To tell you the truth, I’d rather be there with the coyotes and the tarantulas. Vegas has never been my kind of town. It always feels like someone is trying to get in to your wallet here. It’s also changed dramatically, and not for the better.

There was a time when rooms were cheap and so were meals. This was by design, because they wanted you to stay inside the casino. As a Nevada native, casinos hold no appeal, so it was a bargain.

Not so today. It appears that MGM owns most of the Strip here. This means the prices have gone up. Don’t like casino resort A? Try casino resort B, which is also under the same ownership, so they don’t care. There is no need to deliver any kind of service, because where else are you going to go.

This is the first hotel I’ve ever been in where there is no coffee maker. It’s likely they would rather have me go down stairs and spend ten bucks on Starbucks, which they also own.

I remember when a Vegas Buffet was about eight bucks. Today, you can ‘t have a burger and fries for less than forty.

It’s kind of sad. We would have done more here, but under the circumstances, we’re likely to attend our concert, and go home. I actually have a couple of granola bars in my suitcase, and you can live on that crap.

***

In other news, I had a cool dream the other night. It was a vision of a character from behind. It took place in a kind of sandstone desert environments. This person was wearing a poncho, but it wasn’t woven. It was made of repurposed canvas and rough cut. I don’t know if it was a man, woman, or child. The character lugged a bag of foraged produce. Wild vegetables of some kind.

The character came to the wing of a crashed spaceship. It might have been abandoned like an old airplane boneyard. There were steps crudely carved into the wing, and the character climbed them. The character looked back, and there were discarded spaceships everywhere. they had a lot of variation, so it could have been an ancient battlefield, or just a long term boneyard.

Inside the ship, the entire thing had been gutted and rebuilt. The streets were level, even though the ship was not. The streets were lined with houses, apartments, and marketplaces. There was a small town inside. Presumably, the other ships were like this too. Maybe each ship was like a subdivision or something.

The character handed over the bag to a nameless and faceless character, who looked inside, grunted, and handed over a fistful of coins. The main character grabbed and empty canvas sack for the next day, and walked deeper into the “city.”

That’s all I got. This is one of those times when I’d like a little more, but that’s all the Muse delivered.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. We may be here on the cheap, but we’re going to a Pink concert tomorrow.

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Guest posting at Venture Galleries

Come visit me at Venture Galleries today.

Inside the Literary Mind of C. S. Boyack

JANUARY 19, 2017

CALEB PIRTLE III

Question: Tell me about your newest book and what was the inspiration behind your writing it?

Craig: I have a lot of projects going on, and this could be answered several ways. My last novel was The Playground. I wanted to weave together different viewpoints almost like a Frank Miller or Quentin Tarantino story. This one is paranormal though, and might appeal to some.

I also write a lot of short fiction. My last publication was a collection of short stories that include science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy tales. I tried to replicate the pulp era in some of them.

Keep reading here

 

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News and vignette

I got up late today and procrastinated with various forms of social media. I always flip through them before starting a writing day, but I lingered long enough to know I was goofing off. I still managed about 2800 words of The Yak Guy Project.

Yak Guy is the one where I’m trying to use the Major Arcana of the tarot as my story structure. I’ve had to meld some characters, and take a few out of order. Several things go on at once, and it doesn’t make sense to take them one at a time. For instance, the Empress character is also one of The Lovers. This overlaps the training of the Heirophont. I already had some of The Lovers, so I kind of moved faster on this section. It’s time for Strength, The Hermit, and the Wheel of Fortune. I may take some of these out of order, because it makes more sense to my story. I kind of want The Hanged Man before the Wheel. Right now I need to dwell on it some.

In other news, I woke up with a character and setting again. I don’t particularly want to dwell on her for weeks, and sometimes writing a vignette will get them out of my head. Here goes nothing, and remember I’m free writing this one:

Barbi Baronski awoke with a ringing in her ears. It was dark and dusty, and every muscle in her body ached. She stretched and her hands touched concrete overhead.

She’d driven into the city to model a new line of fitness wear, but couldn’t remember if she was going to the shoot or driving home. Daylight was visible if she looked along the ground above her head. She tried to rollover and crawl, but it was too tight in here. She slid along on her back using a kind of frog kick with her legs.

The ringing faded a bit, and Siri’s voice asked, “What can I help you with? What can I help you… What can I… What?, What?, What?…” Barbi kept sliding. Her back became a slow motion road rash of cuts and dirt.

Fresh air seemed like a wonderful thought, but it was dust, smoke, and grime. The sky above was brilliant blue, but there were no contrails, birds, or even trees. She pulled herself out of the rubble and sat upright.

The remains of her tattered top fell on her lap. Her $200 jeans were mostly threads, but clung together by some miracle. The entire world was silent except for the ringing in her ears. She covered herself with her right arm and stood up tentatively. There was nobody around. The place looked like a gravel pit, except for a twisted streetlight that snaked through the rubble.

She always drove home on 76, and thought she recognized some of its outline. Thank God her trainers survived. She walked for miles through the rubble. Pieces of automobiles dotted the landscape, and tiny bits of building foundations started appearing. The farther she walked, the more the rubble started to look like something. She stopped covering herself, because nobody was around at all.

By mid afternoon, her stomach reminded her that she was starving. She spotted a few walls and veered off her path to investigate. It turned out to be a family restaurant of some kind. A shard of mirror showed her that nearly six inches of her brunette hair had been singed away. A copper pipe produced a small blue flame at the end. The gas lines were still on out here.

She dug through the rubble and found a single can of refried beans, a tiny frying pan, and a bent chef’s knife. She used the heel of the knife to chop the can open enough to get it in the pan, then held it over the open flame until it smelled edible.

She kicked through the rubble and turned over a small table. A piece of concrete served as a chair. She managed to bend the tines of an old fork into a relatively useful position and ate in silence. Hardly health food, but it was food and that’s all that mattered now.

Across from her on a piece of remaining wall were three huge frames. Two were missing everything, but the third one appeared to be the dinner menu. It read:

  • Meatloaf $6
  • Prime Rib $13
  • Rack of Ribs $11
  • Sides…

The rest was torn away and it appeared to be cloth of some kind. Threads dangled in the breeze. She finished her beans, and used the bent knife to cut away most of her fancy jeans. $200 custom cutoffs? She split the pants legs and used some electrical wire to make them into a purse of sorts. She placed the pan and the old fork inside.

 

A rock smashed the remaining glass from the menu and she removed the cloth, cut a hole for her head and used more wire to stitch the sides closed. She looked down at her new shirt which now read:

 

Prime

Rack

 

Barbi tucked the bent knife into her belt and headed into the setting sun. Home was important, but if it wasn’t there any longer, she would head west until she found a new place to call home.

 

***

I have no idea what caused the disaster, aliens, war, the refried bean festival. I also have no intention of finishing Barbi’s story, but something may come to me in the future. These vignettes are a way of retiring some of the ideas I get. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I have to revisit them even years later.

There was more too it, like a dried up river, and talking to a snake. The snake represented an ancient survivor, and Barbi drew a parallel to herself as a survivor. I figured the post was long enough, and maybe Barbi could go on her adventure without me.

How about it you writers? Do you ever wake up having been visited by the muse? Do you make notes, forget about it, start another project? I can’t write all of mine. Barbi could be a good character, she’s obviously strong. Maybe she can be a side character one day, or maybe her story will come to me later.

It appears my muse is getting back into shape. Back to the paycheck job tomorrow.

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I want a new drug

Thanks, Huey Lewis, I'll take it from here…

This is a writing related problem, don't panic on me.

Yeah, there was research involved, so I have a tiny bit of knowledge about HGH, methamphetamines, desoxyphedrine, and a few more. It's time to write the story about the drug abuser in my Enhanced League book.

Here's the background. This fictional baseball league doesn't care about performance enhancing drugs. In fact they have medical personnel who administer and monitor them.

The two stories I'm writing next will draw a distinction between medically administered PEDs and illegal street drugs. My newscasters will draw some of the conclusions in a second story, the first one will involve the actions leading up to the bust. The underlying theme is that someone will always look for an edge, even if you legalize something for them. They'll just move to the next edge.

Anyway, enough about that. I need an illegal street drug, and it needs a street name. It can be somewhat science fiction, in fact I think it will be a cocktail of several things. I'm nearly committed to make it a sinus spray just because it sounds even more dangerous.

But it needs a cool name of some kind. I kind of want to call it Superman, but really don't feel like getting sued. So I am in a struggle phase here, and hope I come up with something that doesn't sound too stupid. It should sound enticing to the bodybuilders and athletes who might dope with it i.e. Tinkerbelle won't work.

Power, muscle, endurance, enduro, mass, force; some sexy combo of these words could work. I have to be a little bit careful and Google whatever I come up with. I don't accidentally want to call it super soldier serum or something that's been used in another comic book. (Although illegal producers and abusers could very likely call it Superman.)

This is a different kind of struggle for me. I've worked on gas weapons, parasites, how to keep corpses from floating, freezing in outer space, and others. Drugs are kind of a new path for me.

The way this is working out, a whole new government agency might be interested in my browsing history.

I also have a couple to write that involve the downside of using the PEDs we have available now. This one is going to involve careers ending and others beginning. More research involving micro-strokes and such. I'll weave in some League evils like getting the new kid started on PEDs right away. (Might require another fictional drug name.)

The struggles of a fiction writer. My next writing opportunity is next Monday, so I don't need the name before then. Even then, my focus is the Yak Guy. Maybe my Muse will help me out somewhere during the week.

Any ideas, let me know in the comments. Got some strange research stories, share those too. Back to the grind tomorrow.

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Shifting Gears, again

With the end of October, and my first day off in November, I found myself out at the writing cabin once more.

Lisa Burton, my robotic assistant, had on her skull jeans but this time they were tucked into some knee-high black boots. That's as good a sign of the changing seasons as any.

“Are you tired of your Morticia dress now?” I asked.

“No. I love the dress, but I'm not in love with the straight hair. I think I like my curls more than I thought. Besides, Macabre Macaroni is over and it's time to move on.”

“Yeah, my promotions are over too. There is an extended blog tour, but I have very little to do with that now. It will run without me, other than checking comments.”

Lisa went about her chores, dropped off some coffee for me, and I dug into an advanced reading copy of a great novel a friend provided.” I made it through four chapters when Lisa interrupted. “Lorelei is here and she wants to see you.”

“She knows where my office is. Tell her – ” I yelled down the hall, “Come on back, Lorelei.”

Lorelei wore dirty sweats and her hair was a mess. Her feet were tucked into a pair of old slipper socks. This is the beautiful Greek Muse who inspired so many wonderful ideas. The classic beauty who enjoyed being looked at.

“Um, hi… That's a new look for–“

“Go ahead and say it. I'm fat!” She collapsed onto the sofa in my office. Lisa sat beside her and hugged her while casting me a concerned look.

“What's new in your life? It's been a while since you visited us.”

“Nothing's new. You've been out promoting since September. Lisa went on her tour for the second Experimental Notebook. Even your Macabre Macaroni stories were written months ago.”

“Look, I've been writing, I swear.” I opened the app on my iPad and turned it toward her. “See, these are the short stories about The Enhanced League.”

“Oh sure.” She wiped a tear away. “I can still inspire a decent bit of micro-fiction. Maybe a short story on a good day. I get tired even thinking about novels.”

“I intend to get back to the Yak Guy this month. It's languishing at about forty-two thousand words. It needs another fifty-K or so to be finished.”

“I'm sure you'll come up with something. At least you have your outline to go off of.”

“Sure, I have an outline, but the story drifted back in Act one. I need you to get me through it.”

Lorelei wiped her eyes and sat a little straighter. “You do? I mean, that's more than a short story, but since it's already started I might manage it. It's going to require a bit of working out, maybe some fruits and vegetables along with all the ambrosia I've been drinking.”

“Yeah, it's going to take an effort on my part too. I haven't looked at it since the first promotions back in September. I need to read it, check the outline, and get back to work. It's going to be different than guest blogging, working on short stories, and all that.”

Lisa said, “Sounds like things are going to get lively around here.”

“I have a list of short stories, and I can't promise they won't get some keyboard time too. Is that alright?”

“Of course,” Lorelei said. “I sent them to you.”

“You sent me some bigger ideas. I don't know if I can make them into novels though. I made notes, but they might only make it to novella length. Is that okay?”

“I don't know. I just want you to be creative. You have to decide if there's a market for them or not. Let's work through The Yak Guy Project. If you get it finished, maybe I can figure out how to make them longer.”

“I think they have merit. I like the one about a story from the monster's point of view. I just don't know if it should be a tragedy or have some kind of heroic ending to it. I also like the one about the couple who have to live underground for three months to avoid the parasitic sun.”

“Parasitic sun?”

“Yeah, that's what I decided to call it. A gas giant planet ignited. It's much larger than the planet with people, but dwarfed by the real sun. That way it only becomes a problem when the two pass each other in orbit. It's like two suns for a short period of time. I even came up with a title, Estivation.”

“I like it. I'll work on them both, but let's get Yak Guy finished first.”

“I'd better make some time to read through it again.”

Lisa took Lorelei's hand. “You'll be back in goddess shape in no time. In fact, let's give Craig some space so he can read. I'll do your nails, it will make you feel better, I promise. Maybe we'll look at your hair too, if that's okay.”

***

There you have it. Looks like I have some work ahead of me, but it's fun work. There could be some word metrics this month.

*For all the new followers, Lisa Burton is my personal assistant and the spokesmodel for my writing career. She's also a robot. Lorelei is my Muse, like actual classic Greek Muse.

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