Tag Archives: the middle slog

A writer’s lament

Hi, I’m Craig, and I haven’t written a new word for two weeks. I’m unlikely to get more next week unless something changes.

Sounds like an AA meeting.

The fact is, this has been the busiest week of the year at my workplace. I was heavily involved in prep leading up to all this, too. At some point, I kind of left it all on the field, to use a sports phrase.

Old What’s Her Face and I have had the same days off, too. This isn’t particularly useful when it comes to penning new material.

I have some leave coming up, and may get to do some writing then. However, I have a stockpile of errands that will interfere to a degree if I don’t plan things well. I have to get my truck serviced, and take care of a small repair. I also have to get it sniffed for pollutants. Then there is the matter of swinging by a hardware store for some blade oil for my chainsaw. My fruit trees need some tough love and it’s best done before the sap rises.

I’ve also promised to make a quick trip to Nevada to visit my parents, so here is a rough plan. I’ll get the truck taken care of Friday morning, then go find a station that can do my sniff test. Somewhere in that vicinity, I need to find any hardware store for my oil. I will leave directly from there for Nevada. That will kill Friday, but might salvage some other days for writing purposes.

Then there is the plot problem. I’ve been dwelling on it for weeks, but have an inkling of what I want. Nothing like a long car drive to help focus some of this. It isn’t like Lanternfish needs a new character, but I’m going to introduce one. My cons can keep a secret easily enough, but adding a third party to their game could introduce some extra stress. Stress is a good thing for characters.

Normally, in times like this I would switch stories. However, I’ve finished the draft of Lunar Boogie, and want to focus on Lanternfish. It’s probably crazy, because I lost two weeks that I could have been working on something else.

I also need to keep reading what I’ve already produced. That will help me sort out what cartoons I need to order for Lunar Boogie, and I need to put some thought into Lisa Burton promotional posters.

Lisa poses a different problem. How many pirate girls can I commission here? Same thing for Lizzie and the hat. It was simple enough to do when the first book came out, and even the second volumes. This deep into both series, it gets harder to come up with things.

I’ve had Lisa pose as Serang, then in Serang’s new armor. She’s posed as Lizzie the monster hunter, Lizzie the musician, etc. I’ll figure something out, of course, but it might be a few less than I usually do.

I’m looking forward to finishing the Lanternfish trilogy. I’m down to getting the last pieces in place before things really break loose. This is the middle slog, but there are some big things planned that I expect to almost write themselves.

On the bright side, I only committed to two books this year, and one of those is drafted. I have to keep things moving, because it’s already March, but I’m not in a bad position here.

I hope all of you are doing well, and not facing your own writing problems. I’ll sort mine out, then Lanternfish will move fast.

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Sometimes even I get lucky

Today was supposed to be my last real writing day this weekend. I took it in that spirit, and cranked out 3200 words this morning. I forced myself to stick with Serang, because I want to get through the middle slog.

This was with an hour delay to update iOS, and Apple Pages, which is my word processor.

Our fictional caravan spotted the bandit’s fire before trouble began. They chose their ground and compelled the bandits to come to them. This led to a big fight, and Serang had to fight with an alternate weapon or two when she lost her staff. Turns out she’s pretty good at combat improv.

The caravan leader decided to make a forced march to get out of the bandit territory. All in all, that’s a pretty great writing day for me.

Then something miraculous happened. Old What’s Her Face came home from work and announced she is going to Nevada to hang out with her brother for the weekend.

Being the dutiful pet father that I am, I volunteered to babysit the dogs and tend the home fires. We played a little ball, I had a sandwich, then we all took a short nap.

I got up, and turned my attention to my MS again. Otto, not so much.

Daily word count is at 4300 and counting. I need to stop for a while to scrounge something for dinner. I also need to do a bit of research about their next obstacle. So I’ll leave Serang and company at the desert water hole that’s operated under a loose treaty with a killer baboon. He’s not kidding, but if everyone behaves they may not have a problem.

There is a real place in Namibia called the Wind Cathedral. You’ll have to Google it, because I can’t find any free use pictures. Basically, I’m going to turn the dial up on this and make it into a desert maze they have to go through. Since there are so many references to temples in this story, I’ll rename it something like the Temple of Wind.

This particular water hole is the tipping point of this journey. Serang and her master are going to leave the caravan and set off on their mission alone from here. I have a cool piece of folklore I can’t wait to write, and I’m making the whole thing up.

Since I have all night tonight, plus all day and night tomorrow, I may really make some progress on this story. I feel like the toughest part of the middle is behind me now.

Who knows, I may actually get to publish this one before school lets out. Cover art has been ordered already.

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What shall we talk about?

I had an idea about a bullet pointed gripe session tonight. Then one of my favorite bloggers posted something similar. Anything I would write would pale in comparison.

This blog has been kind of negative this week, and I need to turn a corner anyway. I'm focusing on the eagle I saw and moving forward with a good attitude.

I need to dedicate some time to reading critique submissions and marking them up. I also need to dedicate some time to reading, but I can probably sneak the reading and critiquing around the quality writing opportunities.

Depending on what chances I get, I can work on my novel or a short story. The novel has reached the middle slog, and I've written about that before. I always make a good start, and I know how it ends. The middle involves moving the players around, dealing with plants & payoffs, and making sure my main character is progressing along his arc. It's slower going and my style may always be that way.

Short stories are different. The giant character arc isn't required. It's more about a single event, and if I'm lucky a twist ending. I have one in progress, and a long list of topics.

I still need to address some tour posts too. I want a dozen items about The Playground in the hopper. Then when the book is ready I'll actually have something for the street team to post. These are easier to write, and I can append a blurb and some links to make a reasonable word count. I can write these even with distractions going on around me.

I really enjoy this stuff, and that's the whole thing here. I'm going to take some time for my projects, but not all the time.

We will find a way to have date night too. My rotating day off is Monday and there could be some good opportunities there too.

I'm looking forward to my weekend, and I hope you are too.

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