Tag Archives: The Hat

Small successes

I did some work on the Lisa Burton interviews this afternoon. I should have done more, but it's a step in the right direction.

It's kind of important to note that I have a life outside writing too. This weekend we had our date night, and the other night we watched a movie at home. I also call my parents every Sunday, regardless of what might be going on.

Then, of course, there was Game of Thrones. I want to say more, but it just aired and I don't want to ruin it for anyone.

I got to dedicate some time to my WIP this morning, but I wasn't as successful as yesterday. It still amounted to over 1700 words. Kind of mediocre success, but it's still success. I have several months worth of material for critique group, so I'm going to stop sending them Yak Guy and start them on The Hat.

It may be two weeks before I can write again, but I can live with that. We have some company coming next week, and that will be fun too. We intend to go to the fair and enjoy a couple of the concerts. I'm jazzed about Joan Jett, and everyone else wants to see Trace Adkins. I'm sure Adkins is great, but Joan Jett is a legend.

There is also the bonus of fair food. I know it's bad for me, but fair food rocks.

Back to the office for me tomorrow, but I'm sure I can step outside to look at the eclipse. We were married on a solar eclipse many years ago, so it's almost like an anniversary for us.

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Feeling pretty productive

The dogs let me sleep a little today. I even took my time getting started. I did my morning surf through social media and enjoyed my coffee, before opening my WIP and reading what I’d done so far.

After that, the stars just lined up. I was the only human at the house, and while there was some canine intervention, I got do do what I love best. I added new words to The Hat.

Lizzie and the hat bonded, but they bickered all the way. They will never stop bickering, but it’s a lot of fun when they do. They decided to play the 3/4 size upright bass, and that required both of them giving a little. It works to establish the symbiosis they will need to finish their adventure. Some of this required me to go through my phone’s playlist, and I never write with music these days. I didn’t really this time either. I listened to some songs, chose one and paused. Then I wrote about it.

I tried to work the pieces from simple to complicated to show a kind of training sequence and some improvement. I’m not quoting lyrics this time, I did that for Will O’ the Wisp, and chasing the copyright license is more trouble than it’s worth. I think it works without them.

I faked my way through a couple of parts, which is very unusual for me. I like to get it right before I forge ahead. This time, I decided to work outside my comfort zone. I look at my words as placeholders to be modified later. Then I clipped the section and emailed it to my consultant. I included some specific questions, and can make an edit when I hear back.

I know you guys like playlists, so the story includes some Toby Keith, Creedence, Bonnie Raitt, Brian Setzer, Dwight Yoakum, and even Commander Cody. I really liked the line, “We don’t need no stinkin bow.” It feels cliche, so I should try to come up with something better. For this kind of music, the bass isn’t played with a bow.

Lizzie and the hat also got to argue about hat styles, and changes in language. Most of this comes from the hat having spent over twenty years in a box. He missed the start of the electronic age we live in, and that’s been fun too.

Beyond that, I abducted a bunch of children, made it personal, and set Lizzie on the road to unemployment. In this case, stability is very important to the character, of course I had to strip it away. I’m not at that point yet, but the stage is set.

Before Old What’s Her Face got off work, I ended at 7051 words. Not bad for a two day total, and I have tomorrow largely available to write too. I’m into it, and after I talk to my parents, another few thousand words is realistic.

In writer terms, the character intros are over. There was a training event that teased greater things are possible, and the inciting incident went down. It doesn’t quite feel like the end of Act 1, because we haven’t glimpsed the hero that could be. It’s close though. I need to brainstorm the hero that could be part a little.

Drafting new material is my favorite part, and I’m so excited to get back to it. Bonus: I have enough for a couple of months at critique group too, so I’ll stop showing them Yak Guy and see what they think of Lizzie and the hat.

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Home again, home again.

Yesterday went well. I had a bunch of intelligent questions and stayed late to make sure everyone got some level of satisfaction. This put me into the house at 9:30 PM.

I have a hard time going to sleep after a long drive, so I stayed up for an hour and dealt with blog comments. My plan was tentative at best to sleep in this morning.

The alarm puppy had the good sense to wait until 5:00 am to wake me up. I let her go potty and tried to go back to sleep. This time of morning meant all the dogs had to crawl in with us. It’s cute, really it is, but Otto weighs 65 pounds. He’s like a big rock when he leans against you and steps on the blanket. I tried to sleep, but by quarter to six, I gave up completely.

I fixed their kibble, and they ate like little horses, then went back to sleep with mom. I monkeyed around with blog comments, RSS feeds, Facebook, and Twitter. After that, I knew I had to work on Lisa Burton Radio posts. I assembled next week’s post, but didn’t do much with the week after. I still need to do that prior to Monday.

I also got some material out for a promo I jumped on for October, and another post for The Storyreading Ape’s site. Then I responded to an inquiry about a pet interview. All I have to do is respond to it as one of my dogs.


I glanced over my shoulder. Huh, wife and dogs are still asleep. Whatever shall I do?

I opened a new document and started writing The Hat, a paranormal superheroish origin story. I like the character intro, and I think readers will have some fealty with her right away. She’s been through a tough stretch. I am doubting myself because it needs a bit of backstory. With a two character, buddy type, story it’s almost necessary. I can introduce Lizzie and get everyone up to speed the right way. When it comes to the hat, yes he is a character, I have to dive into some backstory.  He’s ancient compared to Lizzie and readers need to know some things. I already have some plan to get part now, and another part later. That helps to break it up.

All in all, I’m nearing 2700 words. I didn’t plan this as a writing day, so I’m content. My wife has to work tomorrow and Sunday, so I’ll have much more time to dedicate to this project.

This also poses a mental shift to me. All I want to do now is work on the new story. I have to keep Lisa burton Radio moving ahead, and I have edits back on The Yak Guy Project. I want those edits completed by Mid September. — so it isn’t exactly an emergency.

By the end of the weekend, all I need to do is get another Lisa Burton Radio almost complete. Then I need to respond to the pet interview. After that, I can work on whatever I like, and I kind of choose The Hat.

Just for giggles, someone talked me into starting Pinterest boards for my pending projects. I started one for The Hat if you’d like to check it out.

I got some strange message from Twitter about adding my telephone number to my account. I didn’t want to do this, but they make it nearly impossible not to. The process sends you a call and a text from some cryptic number that has nothing about it that says Twitter. Then they ask if I’d like to receive updates and notifications. Oh sure!!! I’d love to have my phone ringing whenever one of my thousands of followers posts something. Particularly love that shit in the middle of the night. I turned all that off, but they said not to worry, I could always text to turn it back on. All I have to do is text to the cryptic number that has nothing about it that says Twitter.

Personally, I think they just want my number to sell to telemarketers. I’m relatively certain I’m about to start getting texts about fake prizes I’ve won, timeshares I need to visit, and vacations I haven’t really won. They make me choose between accepting this, or quit using Twitter. I’m trying to be an author here, but Twitter has rendered itself almost useless. Most of my activity is to support others there.

The Twitter thing only happened after their last update. Did anyone else get this message too?

I’ve been playing with the actual WordPress app on my last few posts. Blogsy is outdated and they have no plans to update it for future versions of iOS. It’s too bad, because they did WordPress better than they WordPress does. Everything was easy, made sense, and came with options even WordPress didn’t have. I checked, and there aren’t any decent blogging apps left in the App Store. This leaves me with the WordPress App. How does this post look at your end?

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Still editing

I have more editing to do, so I headed for the writing cabin after tending the dogs. I flew the little gyrocopter low across the forest, around the meadow, and banked toward the landing strip.

That's when all Hell broke loose. An explosion sent rocks and sod soaring over a hundred feet into the air.

I pulled up on the stick and banked right. When I came around, the cabin still stood, but I wondered what the hell was going on.

Lisa Burton crackled across my radio. “I was paying attention to something else. Didn't know you were getting so close. Come on in, I promise it's safe.”

I touched down but veered at the end to avoid a six foot stone that landed at the end of the runway. The gyrocopter veered off into the soft dirt and grass. I left it there, and climbed out of the cockpit.

Lisa came running. “Sorry about that. I've been trying to dig a spot for your underground thingie. It's too rough for a shovel, so I tried the tractor. That didn't work either. Turns out Idaho is a sequence of granitic batholiths. I can't get your thing deep enough any other way.”

“It's a shelter, not a thingie–“

Lisa pushed me behind the gyrocopter.

She pushed down on the plunger and my knees buckled beneath me.

“Stop that!”

“Sorry, I thought you needed the shelter for your next story.”

“It's one of my next stories.”

“I found the outline and checked it out. Estivation is a cool title. I googled it, and it's like hibernation only in extreme heat.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“So what are we going to do down there, once I get it installed?”

“I figured we'd lock ourselves down there for three months, just like the people in the story. One of my author friends did some extreme research and she–“

“Oh, Hell no. You can stay down there for three months, but I have to take care of Bunny.”

“Bring him with us. It'll be fun.”

“Right, fun, until you go all Jack Nicholson from being locked up for so long.”

“I'll tell you what. You finish installing it, and then we'll talk about it. I have some editing work today.” I headed for the cabin. “And no more blasting while I'm here.”

“Killjoy. Fine, I can clear the hole with the tractor until you leave. I'll save my blasting until you go back to work.” She grabbed the gyrocopter with one hand and dragged it back onto the runway. “What about the other story? Is there something there I can work on while you're editing?”

“Not many special props for that one. It's called The Hat, so you can pick up a hat if you want.”

Squeee! I look good in hats, I'd better order a bunch of them.”

“That's the spirit. Nice quiet internet shopping while I work on Yak Guy.”

“You've got it, boss.”

“And you're going to have to bust up that rock and get it out of here.”

“No problem. With explosives.

“What's that?”

“Oh, nothing.”

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Filed under Muse, Writing

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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