Tag Archives: transitions

It’s a flex day

I folded up my iPad, then stared across my desk at the writing cabin.

Percy the Space Chimp lay on the couch. “Dude? Why’d you stop?”

“I think I’m done for the day.”

“Come on. Last time we knocked it out of the park.”

“Not all days are like that.”

“You didn’t even get a whole chapter written.”

“Nope. Twelve-hundred words approximately. These transitions are getting tougher. Your ship moves around the galaxy, and the crew can do fun things while travelling, but I have to keep them fun. I’ve already explored the ship and explained some things, like science fiction has a habit of doing. I can’t keep explaining it.”

“I like the action bits better.”

“You would, but these are the sections that make fans love you. You and Leo had a big victory in the early parts.”

“Yeah, but the ladies punished us for it.”

“Don’t you think that makes sense?”

Lisa Burton, my robot assistant arrived wearing a silver bodysuit. She placed out some tea. “I noticed you logged off.”

“What are you wearing?” I asked.

“You’re into science fiction right now. Maybe robot girls wear this in space. I noticed you were writing about tea, so I brought you some. I don’t have Huloran tea, like in your book, but this can substitute. I’ll check the science fiction version of Amazon to see if I can get the real thing for your next session.”

Percy slid over to make room. “Leo and I downloaded some magazines and stuff, and now your author friend thinks we should be punished for it.”

“It isn’t the content, it’s the way you went about it. Things like spacewalks are dangerous and you didn’t share your plan with the others. I don’t know what you’re whining about. I kept getting tazed or magnetized in my stories. Besides, the girls gave you your precious comic books eventually.”

I sampled the tea, then leaned back in my chair. “I know the next half-dozen big events that are going to happen. Getting between the places takes more thought the way I work. Eventually, Leo is going to piece together a mystery you didn’t even know was there.”

“Why Leo? I mean, the dude’s a good friend, but I’m the one here helping you.”

“Because you’ve kind of become the main character. Leo needs a win, and it helps his character grow. I need to let the others shine a bit, too. Auburn fixed up that robot and he proved helpful. The Cici’s helped with those gangsters, and their hive mind is fun to write. I still need something big for Buffer. She hasn’t done much since she killed that guy back on Denmouth.”

“That was an accident. I’ll testify to that.”

“Relax. She has some abilities I haven’t explored yet, and deserves some sections devoted to her. Right now she’s kind of a broken toy.”

“Aren’t we all?”

“Yeah, but that’s the point. You come together in a kind of pseudo-family. I’d like to dwell on Buffer for a few days before you land the ship again. If this is going to reach trilogy length, you’re probably going to have to help me for a couple of years.”

Lisa leaned forward. “I think we should talk about your robots. I mean, they all look like robots.”

“Yeah, shouldn’t they?”

She pointed to herself. “Hello!”

“No. This isn’t a story about you trying to fit in. Besides, there’s no way I can get you out there without breaking all the canon of the stories you’ve already been in. I’m sure we’ll have you pose for some promotional posters and send you on a tour eventually.”

“What about the Hat stories? I could pop back into one of those.”

Percy sloshed his tea. “Don’t remind him. He’ll jump projects again, and where does that leave me?”

“You need to calm down, or I’ll give you a case of mange in the next chapter.”

“It’s just frustrating. That’s all.”

“Low word count frustrates me, too. After all these years, I’ve come to accept it.”


That was my flex day. I appreciate those banner days when they happen, but they’re the exception. Today didn’t amount to much, but I moved the story along.


Filed under Muse, Writing

A day of pots.

Yesterday I called in sick to work. Today is my rotating day off. I can say with certainty, I have not been very creative or productive.

Something about being sick limited me to one sentence bursts of creativity. There isn't enough spark to chunk out several thousand words. I actually feel worse today than I did yesterday.

I tried. I wound up with a transition scene on the retro science fiction short story. I did something similar with Yak Guy. Books need transition scenes, but they usually don't bring a lot of tension. Both stories involve a character who is pissed off right now, and I wove some of that into the transitions. I'll go back with a clear head and check on them later.

My word count in each place is hundreds of words, not thousands like I need. Even then, I broke it up with obsessively checking on social media, now including Facebook. Somebody do something on Facebook, just to convince me it was all worthwhile.

I managed to print off everything for my critique group, but haven't marked anything up yet. I even made a grilled cheese sandwich using sourdough bread. My focus is crap today.

Maybe a promised ARC from a friend will arrive and I can get some reading in. If not, I suppose I can read my critique submissions. I'd start something else, but I've earmarked time for this project.

For me, colds always start in my sinus. Then they work their way south. Earlier this week it turned into a sore throat. Today there is a cough to accompany all the other fun stuff. I'm a guy who tries to get stuff done, but I've been pretty unsuccessful this week.

So it's a day of pots for me. There is the coffee pot, soon to be replaced by the teapot. There is the Neti pot for my sinus. Then I pulled out the crab pot we used on the coast. I added a bit of vinegar, because that's what mom does, filled it with water and am boiling it off. I'm slowly raising the humidity in here, and it seems to be helping too.

I had a couple of great short story ideas, and added them to my list. I always check the list before writing one now. One is science fiction, so that's kind of cool. The other one is just a murder story, with no speculative element in it. I really like it, but it doesn't fit with my “brand” if I have one of those. I suppose I could enter it in a contest, or save it for Macabre Macaroni next October. It's on the list, and it may stay there forever, but it's pretty creepy and has a lot of potential.

I suppose it's better to be unproductive than to write crap. Then I'd just wind up deleting it, or spending more time than it's worth on repairs. I'm thrilled to update my blog, and am counting that as productivity.

Research, maybe I can do some research. I need to know something about lead crystal.

I get it that men are babies when we're sick. I'm being a baby and admit it. I'll probably bounce from project to project and add small touches until I can charge forward again.

I hope nobody else is in this situation, and you're making the virtual ink fly.


Filed under Writing

Merging into the next phase

Today is kind of a transition day. I started out trying to catch up on blogs I missed while camping. It's kind of a futile effort.

The Halloween promotions are still happening. Sales are doing fairly well, but it took a lot of work to get there. This brings me to my conundrum. In order to move into the next project, I have to lighten up on the promotion stuff.

I'm not fond of promotion, but I know it's required. There were several blog posts today about new promotional toys. I decided to test drive several of them.

I managed to make this:

Not terrible. It looks pretty good as a tweet. I used a different app to post this tweet:

There are a lot of options, and I'm sure there is one that doesn't block part of the text. It was a test drive. Twitter gets a lot of action, but it never seems to involve sales to any degree. It doesn't take long to post something like this, even if it doesn't lead to sales. Recognition and familiarity have some value too.

I finally started editing my next book. I started with the part I hate – word searches. You know, it's vs its, your vs you're. I have more to go, but it's a start.

I'm actually looking forward to the part where I read the story over and over. I just need to get through the word search part.

I'm kind of excited to start writing my next one too. A heavy frost is predicted here, and it's starting to feel like writing season. This has nothing to do with Nanowrimo, since I never participate. Non-participants are not blocked from writing in November.

Promotional stuff will carry over into November to a small degree. Editing will also start in earnest. I may even begin drafting the story of yak guy by the end of the month. (Note to self: Yak guy really needs a title.) It's looking like November is going to be a month of change around here.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow.


Filed under Writing

Critique Group

Today was my monthly critique group. I always look forward to these sessions, because I learn so much. It isn’t just what they have to say about my submission. What gets said about other submissions is sometimes just as meaningful.

It’s always amazing how multiple people see the same issues. This is when you really want to pay attention. Sometimes when one person mentions something it can be taken with a grain of salt. When two or three say the same thing, it matters.

For me, it sounds like I have a couple rough transitions to smooth out. I can work on that over the weekend.

I’m torn over what to submit next month. One of the guys read my entire novel. I don’t want to make him critique it 3000 words at a time after he already read it. I really needed the 1000 foot flyover by someone who read the whole thing, and his comments made me feel really good about it.

I’ll probably put The Cock of the South away for a couple months. I need to edit two other tales and get them ready for Amazon. That means my critique group will be the first ones to see bits of Will ‘O the Wisp.

I’m kind of nervous, because I haven’t written much from a first person point of view. I like to play with all the tools in the box, and this is one I really want to try out. At least I can trust them to tell me where I’m not quite getting it right. There’s always a special concern about a first chapter too. Will they like Patty, will there be enough setting, enough stress and strife?

I know there’s only one way to find out. They’re a great bunch of guys, and I know they’ll set me straight if I blew it.

Does anyone else get nervous about sending something new into the world for the first time? I’m pretty sure I’m not unique here.


Filed under Writing