Tag Archives: Pinterest

Hello, Writing Cabin

I tromped into the writing cabin and caught Lisa unprepared.

“I thought you were reading and stuff. Let me just tidy up real fast.”

The office looked emaculate and I told her so. “What kind of mess can one robot girl make while I'm out? You don't even have to cook.”

“Dust, there's still dust even if I'm completely gone.”

“Suit yourself. I finished my backlog of projects, and decided to try a bit of writing today. You know, just to see if I remember how.”

Lisa broke into action, making coffee with one hand while she took out the Swiffer and went over the floor with the other one. She took a dust cloth and ran ahead of me to my writing desk.

The raven of Doubt glared at me from his perch. He bobbed up and down a few times in excitement.

“Not yet, dude. I'm not doing any editing today. It's time to move the Yak Guy ahead.” He knows The Enhanced League is ready to start editing, but I don't feel rushed to dive in yet.

I started by rereading my last few chapters. I made a small correction or two, and Doubt gave me the stink eye. Lisa showed up with coffee about the time I started writing.

I wrote one short chapter and it was kind of draining. It came in slightly over 3000 words. I don't know if it's because I hadn't written in a while, or because of the content. This chapter involved the end of the yak. He's been such a central character to the story it was hard to see him go.

“I'm really going to miss him,” Lisa said. “He's been at the cabin for a long time.”

“He has, and the next go round maybe we'll see the end of yak guy, Ted.”

“Then what?”

“Then, you probably have to pose for more posters and plan for a worldwide blog tour – or two.”

“That's always fun, then I'm going to use some vacation time.” She opened the window and let in some fresh air. Doubt took the opportunity to stretch his wings at the same time. She sighed as the yak crossed the meadow and headed for the snowy peaks. “He played a mean game of chess, you know.”

“Really, how did he move the pieces?”

“He told me the moves, and I moved them for him.”

“Kind of like he was playing against the computer then?”

“Not kind of, he was playing against me, my processors, and memory. He won more than a few too.”

“Maybe you can get him to come back for your radio show someday. Did you put his data in your Rolodex?”

Please, I'm completely electronic, you should know that by now, and yeah, I have his contact data.”

I checked email, and answered blog comments while she stared out the window.

“So what happens next?”

“Yak guy has to finish his journey. After that, I have a couple of novellas I want to try. That's how it will work out in a perfect world. They could be long short stories or short novels depending on the experiment.”

“What are we talking here? I might need to buy some new outfits for these stories.”

“One is a kind of paranormal superhero origin story.”

“Is that the one with all the hats?”

“Yes, ma'am.”

“So you'll want the paranormal office then.”

“Absolutely. The other one is a spin on the lifeboat story. It has a science fiction background, but they're stuck in an underground bunker for a specific amount of time. The problem is they can't leave, and the antagonist is in there with them.”

“Got it, I already earmarked a bunch of hats and can get them ordered. I wonder what scream queens are wearing this season?”

“I'm sure you'll figure it out before we start. We have to give yak guy some closure first.”

The enchanted beer horns sounded off and came running. They curled around my ankles like a pair of cats.

“Hi guys, I missed you too.”

Lisa said, “I got a nice doppelbock from McCall Brewing for you to try. It's called Dunce Cap.”

“Huh! Did you pick that specifically for me?”

“Of course, I know doppelbock is your favorite.”

Woosh!”

“Don't woosh me, I know what you meant. Do you want the beer or not?”

“Of course, besides, these guys won't stop honking unless we fill them up.”

***

For those of you so inclined, I opened a Pinterest account earlier this year. I started a couple of boards called The Hat and Estivation that relate to my upcoming projects. You can check them out here.

 

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Productive Holiday

I headed for the writing cabin about 6:30 this morning. It was clear and cold, and apparently determined to stay that way. (Our high temperature today was a blistering nine degrees.)

Lisa* knew I was coming. (She monitors my phone and gyrocopter.) When I walked into the writing cabin, the fireplaces were pushing heat, and the coffee was hot. “What's the plan today, boss?”

“The Yak Guy. We're getting close to the end, and I want to keep making progress. Is the yak still in the basement stable?”

“Sure is.”

I turned toward the staircase, and Lisa stopped me. “Wait. Give him his carrot. I picked up a bunch, and give him one every day.”

“Won't Bunny get jealous?”

“Oh no. He gets some too.”

I grabbed the carrot by the leaves, scooped up some hot coffee, and headed downstairs.

The yak stood in his stall, but the gate was open. “Hey, brought you a carrot.”

“Thanks, but I don't care for them that much,” the yak said.

I glanced back over my shoulder. “You're going to have to eat it. Lisa thinks she's doing something wonderful for you.”

“Fine, but I've had to eat a lot of carrots in the last six months. I don't want to let out my saddle.” He accepted the carrot and started munching.

“I'm heading for the Wheel of Fortune part of the story. Is the Yak Guy ready for it?”

“He isn't too bright, but he seems to be ready when the next event comes along. All you can do is try. I don't know how he's going to react to a decision he has to make with imperfect information. He always wants to know all the answers ahead of time.”

“Don't we all. It seems more prevalent with Yak Guy's generation though. I have a hunch, he'll deal with it if I don't give him any choice.”

“You can always have me gore him in the butt again.”

“Heh, that was fun, but I don't know if we can do it again without it seeming forced.”

“I understand, but there are days I'd like to.”

“Alright, buddy, get your saddle on and I'll have Yak Guy meet you in the meadow.”

I tromped upstairs to my office and kicked Yak Guy off the couch. “Time to get to work.” He begrudgingly left, and headed outside.

Words flowed well, and the Wheel Of Fortune lesson is over. All I have to do is rescue some kids, then find some refugees, and reunite him with the love of his life. I think it's going to hit 80,000 words, and if not I'll have to enhance a couple of places. I have a hard time calling it a novel if I don't get the word count.

The yak led his human into the basement and got him all settled. Lisa asked if that was it for the day.

“I think I can manage a bit more, to be honest. I'm going to try a baseball story.”

“Oh, crap, I never called any of them.”

“No problem, this story is about a barbecue on a day when the players are off. I'm going to explore their feelings about being placed on waivers, and who their competitors are for post-season slots. We'll write it, and interview them all later to make it feel right.”

“Too bad, I would have enjoyed a barbecue and a dinner party. I have this cute little black–“

“Nevermind, let's just write it. Maybe you can put an old game on TV for some atmosphere.”

“Oh sure, no problem.”

That seemed to get Lisa focused, and I cranked out a 1000 word micro-story. I'm enjoying these tales, but I don't know how the world will receive them at large. There are a bunch of stories, and a few recurring characters. It tells the story of a mythical season, but delves behind the scenes and covers a lot of activities off the field too. In a way, it has some similarities to The Playground in the way I'm relaying it. Because there is an overarching story, I can't do the twist endings my short stories are known for. There are some, but not with the frequency an Experimental Notebook would have.

I leaned back in my chair and took a sip of my coffee. “Let's make a couple of storyboards.”

“Are you serious? I didn't thaw out the left side of your brain. I might be able to, but don't want to scorch it again.”

“Don't worry about him. We'll just pin some cards up, and we can make them perfect later on.”

Lisa headed for the basement, and returned with two storyboards, a pile of index cards, some sticky notes, and all the colored pens you could want. What can I say, the girl likes making storyboards.

We made one for a science fiction tale I'm calling Estivation. This is like hybernation, but occurs when things get too hot. It involves a cute young couple who have to spend three months in a survival bunker while a parasite sun passes by their planet. I invented the term parasite sun for a gas giant planet that manages to ignite somehow. When things line up, their own sun plus the parasite sun, makes the surface deadly.

Their bunker is already occupied by a thief, and they all get locked in together. Happiness and merriment ensue. (Not really) They don't have enough food to last three months now. Throwing the bad guy out will expose them all to deadly radiation.

Lisa put that board aside, and we made one for a project called The Hat. This involves a hard working girl, who missed out on the family decision about what to do with grandma's personal possessions. She had to pull an extra shift and missed the meeting by a couple of hours. When she gets to granny's junk shop, her evil uncle decided to sell everything. All the heronine wanted was one of grandma's house plants, but even this was denied her.

When evil uncle's back is turned, she grabs a box and takes it home. Inside the box is an old fedora hat. It wasn't even grandma's, it belonged to the grandfather she never knew. Turns out the hat talks and forms a kind of symbiotic relationship with the wearer. This one is going to become a kind of paranormal superhero type story.

When wearing the hat, my heroine can see through his eyes too. They can communicate without vocalizing their words. She can see behind her, or wherever he is looking. She can also shoot guns while using his vision, while her own vision aims a different direction. On top of that, The Hat, plays an upright bass. She needs to wear him, and he uses her fingers and hands. This part is going to be great for character purposes.

I think my main plot problem is going to involve baby snatchers, and I've decided to include an unhelpful witch in the supporting staff.

The Hat is going to be more of a buddy tale, with my heroine and the hat making up the buddies. They're going to bicker and (hopefully) grow during the tale.

Lisa said, “So The Hat can be any kind of hat she wants, as long as it's a hat? Is that what's going on?”

“Yeah, basically. She can be seen in one thing, round the corner, and it's something else completely. Maybe headphones or something. Might make a reasonable way to avoid the cops.”

“This is so exciting, I'm going to order a small mountain of hats.”

“You party on, Lisa.”

And that's where I called it a day.

*Lisa Burton is my robotic personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories.

If any of you are that interested, you can check out pin boards for The Hat, and Estivation on my Pinterest site.

 

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Dabbling without a plan

I'm about three-quarters of the way through this wonderful gigantic bottle of beer. It's a Grand Teton Brewing, Double Vision Doppelbock. One of my favorite beer styles.

I spent most of my evenings dabbling with my new social media. Most but not all. Thursday was critique group. The gang is pretty happy with The Yak Guy Project thus far.

I'm ready to get the first draft finished. I have four more events that have to happen, and the story is finished. I'm loving the character arc here, and so is my critique group.

Yak Guy Ted, has to travel a bunch between these four points. This poses a problem of balancing. He's a little over 57K words, and I want it over 80K when I finish. So roughly 20K words to get to the end. Travel is an odd thing in fiction, so let's discuss it for a minute.

It takes time to ride a yak as far as Ted has to go. Too many authors have horses running full speed for days on end without food or water. This isn't realistic, and yaks are slower than horses. This means some dedication to the time involved in the process.

I can't make it completely realistic, or readers will be looking at mountains and grass for several chapters. I need to get the idea of time into the story without boring my readers. It would be a mistake to just skip to the key points without paying homage to the travel time.

I will use dialog with the yak to fill some of this in. The yak is a mentor, so there is some decent opportunity here. I will have to skip ahead, but I don't want to dwell on too many campfires and what's for dinner every night. I can probably get away with “Five days later, we rode into XXX,” about twice. After that, The events need to unfold.

My normal method is to simply write it. I'll spend more time on the events, because they are important. There will be some more action, and possibly a lesson or two along the way.

I've been known to crank out ten-thousand words in a writing session. (Once. Damn this is good beer, and I'm probably kidding myself.) In theory, I could finish in two good writing days. In reality it's going to take a couple-three weekends.

My short story project is in the same shape. I'm nearly done. The Enhanced League has passed the mid-season break, and we're headed toward the playoffs. There are several more stories to write before I get there. I have a great twist for my semi-main character planned after the season ends too. The struggle here will be to handle the playoffs without giving an inning by inning account. That would bore readers. I've already walked readers through one game, and managed to make it pretty interesting. Doing it again would be a crime. I'll probably use my sportscasters to update the playoffs, and move right into the championship. Even then, a seven game series will get old for readers. I'll have to skip ahead to the last innings of the final game. Those will be exciting. I'm happy to be this close, but probably won't get it released on MLB opening day.

Thinking about The Enhanced League, MLB opening day is April 2nd. I need to finish, beg for beta readers, order cover art, and Lisa Burton art, and it's already mid-January. I'm not rushing it. It will get done when it gets done, and so will Yak Guy.

Meanwhile, back at the social media ranch, I'm not overly impressed with Google+. It seems harder to use than Pinterest, and I don't yet see the value. I'm out there giving a +1 to posts, but only one of mine has seen the same benefit. I'm sure it takes time, but I'd love to see Lisa Burton in the top row when I search for images of her. She makes it into the fourth row right now. Tim Burton's ex wife, Lisa, is tough competition. (She didn't even take the Burton name, and I still have to compete with her.)

Pinterest is a lot more fun, and seems easier to get into. I've made multiple boards, and people seem to be finding them. I created two boards for future projects, and it's pretty handy for that. I hope these two stories will turn out to be novellas, but they'll be as long as they need to be. One of them is shaping up to be wonderfully character driven, and it's going to be a buddy story. I've even made some musical pins to go with it. After finishing Yak Guy and Enhanced League, I'll probably outline it, and the imagery makes a great reference. My Pinterest guru says more boards is important, so I'll probably start a few more.

There you have it. It's Friday night, and I don't have a weekend plan. I'll use any available writing time to add to The Yak Guy Project. My more disruptive time will probably get dedicated to Google+ and Pinterest. We'll weave in date night and some family time too. I won't deal with my critiques until later, but Monday is a holiday, and I might make a few edits.

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The Weekend… ends

Back to the paycheck job for me tomorrow. I had high hopes for some writing, but it never happened. At least not to the degree I had planned.

I spent most of the weekend working on social media stuff and expanding my footprint out in cyberspace. After a lot of fussing and fiddling, I now have sites on Google+ and Pinterest. I have no idea exactly what I'm going to do with them, but I have my reasons.

Google is the biggest search engine on the planet, and I've been told that a presence there helps increase your chances of getting found on a search. So I signed up, and figured out how to push these blog posts onto G+. If any of you are interested this might be my profile https://plus.google.com/117501282560056017429

Pinterest is one I had to be talked into. Nothing is a silver bullet in the world of discovery, but many of us are quite visual. I've written entire stories because I saw a piece of artwork, and this one seems like a good fit for me. If it doesn't expand my footprint, I'll still use it for inspiration. I still don't know how either of these work completely. And like with G+, I'm not completely sure if this is my profile https://www.pinterest.com/entertainin0737/

Part of the issue is my dependence on an iPad. These two seem to want to work best on an app. In fact Pinterest wants to drive me to the app, even when I want the browser version. I kind of slapped it around and tried to force it to give me the link I needed. If anyone is interested, I'm Craig Boyack on Google+. I wanted to be Entertaining Stories or even C. S. Boyack, but Google wants it to match my gmail address exactly. I wound up using a business site on Pinterest, and got to be Entertaining Stories over there.

I'm content with Entertaining Stories, because of branding. I also spent a considerable amount of time hunting for that image that eludes me. I saw it on Facebook around Halloween, and never grabbed it. It's going to be the basis of a shorter story after I finish up some projects. (Even if I never find it.)

So, I'm open to some comments and even critiques on these sites. I've been told a pin board for coming books can create a lot of interest. I'm too late in the game to start for my current projects, but will probably try it for the next wave. I created a small Lisa Burton board, and added some select images with links. Do you think I should do a cover gallery and link those too?

Obviously, I need some friends on these sites. Social media takes a ton of time, and I'll dedicate what I have to the forms that seem to be working or more interactive.

I also assembled and scheduled the next two Lisa Burton Radio spots, built and posted the Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author post, and spent a considerable amount of time at Story Empire.

Just to make sure I wasn't slacking, I printed, read, and marked up critique submissions. We meet Thursday night again, and I'm ready.

Yak Guy got left to his own devices. Today, just to keep my hand in, I wrote another “anthem” piece for The Enhanced League. Regulars will remember one I shared, and they're in second person point of view. I really want to call this one Superman, but titled it Super Man in an attempt to avoid a lawsuit. Do you think this might be safe? It's about a guy trying to steal a base in a baseball game and flying through the air like… well you get it. It's 850 words and I'm counting them. Not much for three days.

We have one of those phony gas log fireplaces. I couldn't care less about it, but my wife scheduled it for service today – because I'm home. (Wasn't that sweet of her.) A big part of my writing time went to keeping Otto out of the guy's toolbox. That meant I didn't have enough time for much more than an anthem piece, but I'm counting it as progress anyway.

So there was my weekend; Otto, snow, fondue, more snow, Lisa Burton Radio, snow, Story Empire, snow, Superman, below zero temperatures, service man, snow, Pinterest, snow, and Google+.

How about it peeps? Do you use these other social media? How do you use them? Do you have any tips or tricks for us in the comments? Am I going to get sued by DC Comics? I know you can't copyright a title, but the title is Action Comics that Superman appears in.

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