Tag Archives: Story Empire

Did a lot, but…

Today was my flex day and I had a pretty good list of projects. This was the list:

  • Editing on Serang
  • Work up three small critique sections
  • Send out the shtick for a new Lisa Burton Radio show
  • Read more of a fantastic novel

I got a lot done, but never got all the way to reading.

I started with the interview shtick and got it out the door. This author is looking for a mid July date so I have plenty of time to schedule and get it assembled once it’s in my hands.

The critiques are important to me. When you’re in a crit group, those people are there for you and you have to be there for them. I scratched this off the list.

When it came to Serang, I changed a few minor wordings, and one sentence that made no reasonable sense at all. Funny how those things still manage to slip through at this late hour. I never got all the way through the MS, so this one remains on my weekend list.

When it comes to the weekend, my slate is pretty clear. I can get all the way through Serang, then dedicate my time to reading. I don’t have to start on The Viral Blues edits yet, so if I get that far it’s a bonus.

I also have my next Expansion Pack roughed out for Story Empire. I’m not up again for a while, so I have time to spiff it up. I like to schedule them one ahead, so I might even deal with that in the evenings. Blogging doesn’t quite seem to demand the concentration the other projects do.

The expansion packs are doing okay, but I’d like to see them do better. These are the helpful ideas I have right now, so I’m not moving on until that well dries up.

All told, it was a productive day. I’d like to have done more, but really can’t complain. Back to the office tomorrow.

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Wednesday writing day

I love my flex schedule. It gives me a day here and there to do some writing. I set my alarm just like a regular work day, then ignored it completely.

The crow woke me up just before six o’clock. I swear that is the loudest crow I’ve ever heard, and he likes to let the world know he’s there at the crack of dawn. Maybe he needs a lesson from my Beeman air rifle. (If you’re reading this Sue, just ignore this part.)

After feeding the dogs and making coffee, I started off by checking email, then read the last section of The Viral Blues.

The characters had a big night fighting off the forces of evil, and the story required a bit of cooling down. Lizzie and Lisa did some girl bonding, then Clovis and Gina helped pump everyone up for the next phase.

Jason Fogg wound up wearing a dress, which didn’t make him too happy, and I’m headed toward the final showdown. I also worked in a mild musical gag, because it makes sense for a Lizzie and the hat kind of story.

I’ve been trying something a little different. When I first started writing, I would put on some classical music. Old What’s Her Face complained about it, so I started writing in silence. I’ve found that almost anything can distract me these days, but I decided to do a bit of a test.

I went to YouTube and turned on some soundtracks. I’ve been bouncing between Last of the Mohicans and Ennio Morricone music. Some of those power chords from Once Upon a Time in the West really do it for me.

I’ve only done this a few other times, using Pirates of the Caribbean music. (For Lanternfish, obviously) Sometimes Wagner from the Excalibur soundtrack.

So far it hasn’t made me more productive. I managed a sum total of 2900 new words today. It doesn’t seem any worse either, so there’s that to consider.

It was a good day, but I’m finished now. I’ll probably dedicate some time to my next Story Empire post. I left it unfinished, but need to keep up on that stuff.

Something odd happened too. In my first Expansion Pack post over at Story Empire, I mentioned Stephen King’s story, Thinner. The film is so old it isn’t available anywhere, but there it was on television late one night. I never use my recorder, but I recorded it. If we get a slow evening around here I’m going to re-watch it.

Back to work tomorrow, but it was a pretty good author’s wednesday.

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Weird day, and a tear in my eye

Old What’s Her Face is on her night shifts now. It makes things strange around here to be honest.

I woke up about 5:30 and the dogs wouldn’t let me go back to sleep. This means my most productive hours of the day really weren’t. My wife got off at 6:30, so I browsed around social media and news until she got home.

The Diamondbacks had a blowout against San Francisco, and they needed one. Honestly, they haven’t been playing all that well. I dropped my League Pass because it’s too damned expensive, but still check the scores every day. Today, they were the day game on ESPN, so I watched it. Another win, but the cool part was watching the Reno Aces coach attend the game to watch his son’s debut from the Aces to the Diamondbacks.

When my wife got home, we had breakfast together. It’s better than nothing. Then she wanted to play ball with the dogs, so another half-hour dedicated to that.

Beyond that, it was my job to keep them quiet. They like to paw at her door because she’s trying to sleep in the bedroom.

Eventually, they nodded off and I turned my attention to the critiques of Serang. My ancient iPad seems to have given up the ghost, so my wonderful two-screen approach didn’t work. I used my phone to look at the suggestions, then made my changes on the big iPad Plus.

This kind of sucks, but it’s going to have to work from now on. One day, I’d like to look into the iPad mini. It’s a nice screen for critiques, and nice for the couple of air flights I have to make every year too. Someday…

At the end of the critique section, Serang was still stuck in the cave. This is a task she must face alone. She’s had a couple of epiphanies while she’s inside. I had fun with underground lakes, blind fish, even glow worms.

Serang has three candles and three days to pass through the cave. If you frequent Story Empire, I’m going to explain the importance of numbers over there this week.

She managed to find the cave exit, and it represents a huge point of personal growth for her. Honestly, I had a tear in my eye as she exited. No spoilers today.

All told it came to 3700 words.

On top of that, I wrote a sample chapter of a new book I want to write and sent it to my critique partners. It’s going to have to go on the back-burner, even further back than The Viral Blues, but I’m not lacking for ideas these days.

Old What’s Her Face will go to work here in about an hour. I don’t know if I’ll pick up my story again, or watch a movie somewhere. I’m torn. I was productive, but could be even more productive.

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I’ll take this kind of day

My wife had to work this morning, so I was left to my own devices. What else could I do, I wrote.

Serang and her master made it to an ancient abandoned temple and met up with the only other living monk they know of. This woman is actually from the opposing side of the conflict the governments have going on. I kind of like how the regular people don’t seem to have a skin in this war, but they have to live with its consequences anyway.

The older woman, Tomomi, taught Serang a lesson about tigers by introducing her to a live one. It made for a scary night in the jungle. They returned to a bit of temple life, but it’s going to prove temporary.

I also introduced a fictional animal, just because I can. I called it the hoofed pheasant. It was delicious.

I started writing the part where Serang has to handle a task on her own. This is the first time she hasn’t had a mentor to help her along the way. It will reflect some of the things she should have learned along her journey and test her in some new ways. This task is dangerous, and death is not out of the question.

I expect her to come out the other side a changed woman.

I left her during that task because I ran out of gas. All told, I didn’t keep count again, but it feels like about 4000 words. I’m becoming a pretty good guesser with all these updates.

My idea of publication before school lets out is over. I’m not going to stress about it any longer. Sean isn’t done with my promotional art anyway. I have a cover and one Lisa Burton poster so far. I may hold it for fall now. Summer releases never have been kind to me.

This will pose a new problem, because I want to release The Viral Blues around the Halloween season. I need to finish writing it, but it’s pretty close to complete. I parked it when I was trying to get Serang ready.

I hope to have a completed draft of Serang by mid June, and that leaves me all summer to put the finishing touches to The Viral Blues. It also gives Sean some time to make that cover and the promotional posters for it.

I may be blog tour mad by the time I finish promotion of both books so near each other.

In other news, my sprinkler system is fully repaired and working as I type. I also got my PSA test drawn in anticipation of an annual checkup I have to have. This isn’t a fun checkup, but since I have a problem, it beats the alternative.

I also managed to schedule the first of several posts I’m calling Expansion Packs over at Story Empire. The one about Fairytale Structure will go live later this month.

The convention I signed up for is underway, and they made a second effort at the Cover Wars and Character Battles. I feel like I kind of missed the boat due to the malfunctions. Sean Harrington also promoted it, because it’s all his artwork, but nothing worked.

The new sites seem functional, and my fantasy stuff is holding its own. Both the cover and the root monsters are into round two. This requires more voting.

If you’re so inclined The Lanternfish cover.

The Root Monsters from Lanternfish.

Don’t know if I’ll hit it that hard tomorrow. That’s the day I check in with my parents, but I might find an hour somewhere.

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Working on the other stuff

It’s another zero writing of new fiction weekend for me. There are a lot of reasons, and I’m not going to complain about them here. It seems my only option for writing time is to leave the house and go somewhere quiet. I hate the idea of being away from my coffee pot and bathroom for that long, but it could be possible.

I may get a couple of hours next week some time. If I do, I’ll try to make the best of them.

Sprinklers needed some work around here too. I am not a tool guy and never have been. My talents lie elsewhere. I’ve done everything I can, and it’s time to bring in an expert. If I can set things up for after payday it would be perfect. I’m trying to preserve enough money for a work trip to Lewiston.

I can take advantage of continental breakfast at my hotel, and there is a lunch provided one day. I’m still going to need enough gasoline to get home, so I’m trying to be conservative.

Today I tried to work ahead on Story Empire posts. My series on story structure ends Monday, so I hope you’ll all show up. I’ll have to remember to add the back links to the older posts in the series.

I decided to add some expansion packs in my next few posts over there. You know how popular video games sometimes release an expansion pack, that’s the term I’m stealing. The first one will be about fairytale structure. I have it roughed out, and a couple of weeks to polish it up.

There are at least two others I want to include in future posts. They work in conjunction with the hero’s journey, or whatever other structure you might be using. They aren’t required, but could enhance your story. That’s why I’m calling them expansion packs.

I may work ahead on them tomorrow too. That way I feel like I’m being productive, even if it isn’t what I want to be working on. Sometimes working ahead helps clear my slate so I can get more done when I finally score a good writing day.

Tickets to see the new Avengers movie tomorrow. Hope all of you are having a great weekend.

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If it’s progress it counts

I spent my day working on stuff that didn’t involve new words of fiction. While that is my favorite thing to do, these other tasks have to get done too.

I started with two critiques I received on Serang. This was a super long section, and about the time I finished them, the final one showed up in my email. It was perfect. This took me until about noon.

Serang is now ready to move forward with new words.

I spent a big part of this afternoon researching my next post over at Story Empire, then writing, assembling, and posting it. This is from my living documents, and involves story structure. I’m tackling the writing monomyth, also known as the hero’s journey. It’s going to have to be a series, and that’s fine by me. If it performs well, I may do others of this ilk, like the villain’s journey, fairy tale story structure, etc. Show up over there on Wednesday to let me know how I did.

It made for a full day, but I accomplished a lot. My slate is now clear for new fiction. My parents just announced they’re unavailable tomorrow, so I gained Sunday to go along with Monday.

With any luck I’ll be making the pixels fly tomorrow.

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Date night and not much more

This is my short weekend, plus Old What’s Her Face is off too. This isn’t a situation where much writing gets done. As a weekend warrior, I accept writing time as it comes and do what I can.

I did some research for a post over at Story Empire on Wednesday. We’re going to be setting the stage for a great character arc. I got it all assembled and scheduled. Then… well, that’s about it.

We played with the dogs, watched some television. There was a show on about CDC investigations and some major outbreaks. I thought I might get an idea or two that I could weave into my nameless team story, but to no avail. The Muse might twist things around in my mind and give me some hints still.

Then I watched Paul Kersey kill people. Charles Bronson made some great movies. Rumor has it that Bruce Willis remade Death Wish, but I’m not big on remakes. I love Willis too, but I’ve never seen it. (Any Rumor and Bruce Willis puns were purely unintentional.)

Old What’s Her Face was dying to go to Olive Garden. This is our payday weekend, so what the hell. I have to admit dinner was great. They have a horrible beer list, so I stuck with water. I’ve never been able to get into wine.

Tomorrow I’ll call my parents, and wish Dad a happy birthday. I have a loose idea for a series of posts over at Story Empire, so I may look into them. Then again, I may not. I don’t have a deadline over there for a while now.

I hope everyone who wants to be productive is getting their wish. I hope everyone else is doing something fun or relaxing.

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