Tag Archives: pirates

I came up short

I knew writing time was going to be at a premium this weekend. My ultimate goal was to break 30K words on Lanternfish, but I didn’t make it.

I’ve been stealing an hour here and there in an alternate room, and it just isn’t the same. I’m a firm believer that all progress is progress, so I have some of that to keep me positive.

A big part of my slower pace comes down to logistics. I’m dealing with a fantasy world in Lanternfish, but ships don’t just sail from point to point. Even with James’s sextant, there are weeks and months involved in moving the ship.

I have them with an easy appointment to make with the Prelonian Navy, but too much time on their hands. They decided to go chasing information about a new enemy in the war, but still need to make their rendezvous.

I like the extra tension this brings, but I’m writing myself into a corner to a degree. They need to visit two or three places, but still make the appointment. There are going to be delays with piracy, exploring, and more.

It’s easy enough to “magic” my way out of this issue, but that isn’t fair to readers. Even with James’s sextant there have to be rules. It has a limited range, even though it’s much greater than other ships can sail in a day.

They’re going to be doing some exploring in what is similar to the South Pacific. Since this is a fantasy world, I don’t have to place all the islands exactly like they might appear on Earth.

Now a bright author might just back up and change the time of the appointment to allow for all this exploring. I could do it, but I want to challenge myself. I’m even toying with the idea of being at the rendezvous point late. This could add some extra tension to the series. What sort of disaster could this lead to? (It is book two of a trilogy, so a bit of tragedy is allowed.)

There are other forces at work here, too. I have a tropical storm hinted at that will cause some delays and diversions. So I have partial information they need on two different islands, plus a tropical storm, and a tight deadline they have to make. Let’s face it, there needs to be some piracy going on here too.

One fun bit today. I included a mermaid in my story. I swore to avoid traditional monsters and legends in this tale, but there she was. She isn’t like anything you’ve likely seen before. She’s about 90 feet long and towers above the ship when she visits. She could easily pull them down to the depths, but is a benevolent creature/person. (For a change.)

In my mind it’s a good time to go back to the paycheck job. Some of this stuff tends to work itself out during the commute. I may have to adjust my outline a bit to make it all come out the way it should.

Lanternfish spent the entire first book without having everything they need. It involved crew, guns, munitions, etc. I’m also thinking about what it might do to the crew to have too much. How motivated might they be to assist in the war when their hull is overflowing with treasure? People with nothing to lose see the world differently than those who have more than they’ll ever need. It’s an interesting concept if James has to hold the crew together in face of this new challenge.

Again, putting it aside for a week often brings more clarity to issues like this. I may even have a solution in mind, but need some time to work it all out.

That was my writer’s weekend. As a couple, we managed date night at Old Chicago and I sampled the seasonal beers. We also rented Godzilla King of the Monsters, and I really liked it. I like the way they worked in the fever theory of global warming. The theory is that living creatures get a fever when they’re sick to kill off the bug that’s causing the problem. In the fever theory, Earth is the creature, global warming is the fever, and we are the virus that’s making her sick. This theory has been around for a long time, but it was cool that the film went with it.

For those of you who get a holiday, I hope you’re enjoying your Labor Day. For everyone else, I wish you a happy Monday whatever you’re doing.

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Weekend writing

Today was a little odd, in that I didn’t get to write in the pre-dawn hours. My wife and I are both off, and this usually kills my schedule. It did today, too, but if I don’t adapt a little, I can’t get anything done.

I went to another room in the house, which required me to move a bit of equipment around, but it was that or nothing. There was a little distraction in that the light on the ceiling fan is hanging down by a wire.

This kind of thing irritates me. I got out the step stool and monkeyed with it for an hour, until my arms ached. I have to twist it until the threads catch, and you wouldn’t think it would be that hard. All I can say is the size of the piece prevents me from seeing, and working overhead doesn’t help either. It was something I had to feel. In this project, I failed. I have a better ladder, so I might try again tomorrow.

As far as word count, it feels like about 2000. Not my best day by a long shot, but not awful either. In one more critique sized chunk I’ll break 30,000 words. This scene doesn’t lead to rapid word count either. I just finished an action packed section, and Lanternfish escaped to the open sea. As captain, James needs to think about his next move.

This is important stuff, because he has a balance to maintain. Open seas are relatively safe, but the war torn coast where he’s headed is dangerous. Privateers loot enemy ships to supply their own country. Pirates don’t want uniforms and boots. They want something more valuable. He also needs intelligence and needs to decide how best to gain it. Between strategic moves, keeping his crew motivated, the ship supplied, and more, the captain has a lot to keep track of.

This works in the scope of a book, because it can’t be all action and/or humor all the time. Readers need a breather, too. It isn’t like I don’t know what James is going to do, but I want to make sure I sell it correctly.

James is one of the more serious characters aboard the ship. I’ll have to delve into something more colorful as they set their course.

I’m once again noticing the value of a large cast. Lanternfish tales never seem to have me worried about the word count. I can always dip into something the crew is doing to add a bit of color.

If I can hit 2000 words per day, I’ll break 30K before the weekend is over.

In another part of my life, the wifi in this house improved when CableOne finally decided to replace their ancient router. However, the new one came with dead spaces, one of which is where I work. I was looking into various pieces of equipment to boost the signal, then decided to talk about it with my son. He’s been looking into the same thing, so he was well versed.

He pointed out the new routers come with two signals. He suggested I try the other one before buying any equipment. I didn’t even know what he was talking about. It seems the router is identified twice in searches, the only difference is that one ends in 5G. Not every bit of equipment is functional on 5G, certainly not this old iPad. I made the switch and all is well in wifi land.

I point this out, because some of you might not know this either. If you’re having wifi troubles you might try this simple trick before spending more money.

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A day to write

C. S. Boyack

Today was my chance to get some new words down, so, of course, I started slow. Didn’t get up until after six, tended morning chores, then went through a couple forms of social media. I saved blog reading for this afternoon.

Next, I had a couple of critiques to address. I made a big submission this time, so it took a while to get through them. My story is much improved thanks to these.

After that, it was time to write. My crew landed in a new country (to them) to search for some wayward crew members. One was fairly easy to find, and while the other one was, too, they had to prevent a hanging to do it.

I tend to shorten pieces up, and lately I’ve been resisting this. I find my work is improved by giving a bit more to some of these scenes. It helps increase the word count, but it also eliminates white-room syndrome.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with the outcome. They found the people they needed to find, it turned into a fun adventure with a wagon racing through town, and they may have caused an international incident. I’ll have to remember that idea for later in the story.

As a bonus, they may have flicked the nose of the deeper seeded bad guys while doing all this. I have some neat obstacles in place if I choose to go there. I probably will, but then I wind up writing myself into a corner. It can be fun coming up with a creative way of saving everyone from their own misdeeds.

After all of this, I’m due for a scene of James overthinking everything. He tends to do that, and it’s a reasonable way to catch a breath during a pirate adventure. I’ve already introduced a new fantasy creature, but there need to be more of them. It might be too soon to go down that path.

Lanternfish also gained some unexpected new crew members. It’s probably a good thing I have to go back to work. I need time to figure out what to do with them. One is an idiot who thinks it’s a good idea to hit on Serang. Then there are a couple of cons who market fake witchcraft. There has to be something fun to play off of the actual witch doctor who serves as the ship surgeon.

My long change is upon me, and I won’t get another flex day for two weeks. This might not be a bad thing right now.

I surprised myself with the late start, and all the peripheral projects today. My word count is 3600 on the day. I didn’t expect to get 500, but it was just clicking well.

For the next couple weeks, I’ll be daydreaming about new sea monsters, new pirate personalities, and con men. Underneath it all is the thought of an international incident and irritating the cult that is even more scary than warring monarchs.

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Vacation ends

Time to go back to the office tomorrow. I’m regretting not taking the next two days off, but I hate being behind at work, too. My staff has been working, and I’m sure there is a pile awaiting me.

Vacation was filled with obstacles, but I did the best I could. I never did look into promotional blog posts and should have. I don’t need any of them until September, but I like to work ahead. Blogging isn’t like drafting new work, and I could create one every evening if need be.

One of those obstacles was my yardwork, but that is all finished and I’m still married. The peaches are about gone, and they’ll be missed until next year.

My word goal was plucked out of thin air, based upon what I’m capable of. The problem with those kind of projections is assuming there won’t be interruptions. I failed to hit 20K, but I did hit 10,400. Total is at 17. 4 K, so it was a productive vacation.

I month ago, I went on the hunt for a New Orleans phone book to help with character and place names. I’ve never been able to score one. I like this area because of the “melting pot” that city offers. I know not many have land lines, but I don’t want to call them anyway. I only want to browse through names for my fiction.

I failed on NOLA, but I did score this one:

I don’t see why Baton Rouge isn’t just as good, and I put it to good use today. Lanternfish needed some new characters, and this helped me come up with some decent names.

I also worked up a raft of deadly dangerous sea creatures. These are based upon the real world Portuguese Man of War, but they’re a bit different in my fantasy world.

I had to leave Lanternfish at sea, but they are approaching a nearby port in hopes of finding one of two people who can serve as sailing master.

My next flex day is Monday, so I should score some writing time this weekend. After that, it may be two weeks before I can tackle it again.

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Finally!!!

Today wound up being a good writing day. Otto got me up around six this morning. I took the time for breakfast, feeding the dogs, surfing my social media. My typical morning.

I read back through what I wrote the other day, then forged ahead. My MO is to rush forward and get to the action. My better stories come across when I take my time. Part of my rush is why I come up with short word counts. Having a large cast really helps on these, too.

Part of me worries about making the intro boring, but I don’t think that’s the case here. I threw in a few fun things, you know a killing and dumping of the body, a man hunt by the root monsters, cracking open a tomb, that kind of thing.

Now that we’re underway, they sailed right into a fight. Their enemies were watching for them to leave the secure port, and sprung a trap. (It didn’t work out well for them.) It feels good to be back at sea with these guys.

Be right back… HMS Lanternfish is at 14,600 words now. It’s a nice start. I lament losing all that time, and tomorrow more than most, but Wednesday is looking good for moving ahead even more.

Tomorrow, Old What’s Her Face is off, so I’m going to the dump with my peach branches. There may be a few more errands in store and that’s okay. The day is pretty much shot anyway.

About a month ago, we decided to plant a zucchini in one of our old pots from the porch. Today, I cut these.

I’m sure we’ll be drowning in zucchini at some point, but it’s kind of fun. I like the idea of not giving up any of our yard and using a pot.

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Small updates

I still have tool problems, but those are all solved tonight. This is my way of saying I’ll have to finish my tree pruning tomorrow. At least everything is in order now, and I should make short work of the remainder. Even have a fresh saw blade now.

I spent some serious time with the Lanternfish project. Beginnings are always tough, and this one is tougher because it’s the second book in a trilogy. In reality, it takes time to stock a ship and man her. In fiction, I could just glance off that and set sail. I think a better option for me is to merge some of this. It comes across a bit more realistically, but they’ll get moving in a better time frame.

To keep things interesting, there are some root monster antics. While the pirates are making ready, the monsters have some assignments to deal with. This is going to force me to tone them down for a spell later on. I believe the little guys are better in small doses. It’s the “leave ’em wanting more” theory in action.

As soon as we hit the open sea, I have a fantasy creature I’m going to weave in. This will also serve as a bit of foreshadowing, so bonus there. There is also going to be an enemy waiting for them, so I can get right to some adventure after taking time to get underway.

It came in at about 3500 words today. Since there were no new words yesterday, I’m behind on my target of 20,000 words during my vacation.

I also read that book I’ve been getting to. I gave The Scout: Dark Crossings, by D. L. Cross five stars. D. L. Cross is actually Staci Troilo. This is a short story that stands alone in her Invasion series. I’ve read the first novel too, and loved it.

My suggestion is to read The Scout. It only takes a half-hour or so, and I think you’ll like it. If you like it, there is a whole series in this setting. I’ll be reading the whole thing.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, so some of my morning will be dedicated to that. Pruning trees will fit in well with that timetable. I don’t know if I can check in with Lanternfish, but it could happen.

I always want more, but my task-list is getting checked off a bit here and there.

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Some Lanternfish love

I just discovered this awesome review of Voyage of the Lanternfish. I’m currently working on a sequel called HMS Lanternfish, so now is a great time to join the crew and come along.

My Review:

I bought and read this book back in January and somehow managed to forget to review it until now, six months later, lol. So, here my review is, at last. It says a lot that even after all this time, I still remember this book and its characters clearly, which is one reason I mention my little episode of forgetfulness now.

I’ve read other books by this author and love his easy style, sense of humour, and vivid imagination. He has a way with words. And Voyage of the Lanternfish certainly didn’t disappoint. Read the rest of the review

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