Tag Archives: word metrics

Managed date night

Today was that day that comes around a couple of times per month. That’s right… bills. I got them all set up in Bill Pay and decided we could afford date night.

I stole some writing time this morning. While it wasn’t my best day, it got me through the transition. There is a fat merchant ship on the horizon, and the pirates are making ready to take it.

I managed just under 2500 words. They need to take a ship or two, because it’s a pirate story, and a happy crew is more likely to go along with the crazy master plan. Not a bad day at all.

We decided to go out on the cheap, and visited one of our favorite dive bars. They had a good Scotch Ale tonight, and they always have steamed clams.

Honestly, I’m a bit stuffed right now. Looking forward to some writing tomorrow too, depends on how the day shakes out.

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While not camping

It’s 108 here right now. I’m watching the baseball game with a cold beer now. Found a little writing time this morning.

This section is about introducing the new cabin boy. He’s kind of subservient, but I want him to show his adventurous side a bit. Right now he’s interacting with the crew a bit, learning a few tasks, and he went through orientation. This involved listening to the root monsters tell their stories on the forecastle. (No, I didn’t make the reader suffer through them again on the page.)

Since this is a bit of character building, I had the captain show him how to load a flintlock pistol. I may have spent too long here, but that’s really what it’s like to load one of these things. Readers might find it interesting, but there were also some remarks about kids and fathers and some nice dialog to break up the task.

We’ve moved into the section that involves experimenting and mathematics. The first test was successful, but too small to be useful. The Captain needs to think bigger to see the real value here.

I’m going to pepper this section with some actual piracy on the high seas. This is to illustrate the success of the new process for my readers. That will likely start tomorrow morning.

For some reason, my transitions take me longer to write than the adventurous sections. It wasn’t a tremendous word count, but I’m at 93, 500 words now. It may be smaller, but it’s still progress.

This next section is to reveal what’s possible for my readers. Then I head into my big final phase of the story. This one might get finished this month with a bit of luck.

I also worked up the shtick for another Lisa Burton Radio show and got it sent out. Keep me in mind if you’d like a bit of free promotion. If you’re holding out for September to release your next book, planning an interview for then works out well.

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Lucked into some writing time

One of the odd circumstances about being broke is it provides more writing time. We like to go out on the weekends, or even just go to the farmer’s market, but have cut most of that out lately. After I called my parents, we had our usual Sunday breakfast, played ball with the dogs, and time was on my side.

My pirates picked up a new crew member, avoided a serious monster, but encountered another one that should not be taken for granted. I debated sharing him here, but I’m going to go ahead, because I’m happy with how he turned out. I’ve never heard of anything like him before.

Writing pirates brings its own challenges, beyond having never sailed in my life. Some tropes are required to make it piraty. Others take on the theme of seen it all before. As an example, there are no giant squid, krakens, or magic swords in my story. I’m trying to be unique here where I can.

My little monster is a riff on the hermit crab. Only imagine something more like a giant conch shell. Inside this shell is a kind of sea dragon. I modeled him after a Chinese dragon, but gave him an eel-like tail. He has a scary breath weapon too. I won’t mention any more, but I thought he was pretty cool for something about three feet long. I may change him up a bit on the editing pass, but I really like him.

For those of you keeping score I’m at 90,600 words today. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 2600 words. That’s unheard of for a Sunday around here.

In other news we found this in our flower beds. Talk about monsters.

I didn’t put anything in the image for scale, but he’s about 2.5 inches long. He has the look of a borer. Last time one of these showed up, they killed my apricot tree. At least he was in the front yard away from my peach tree.

Keep away from my peach tree, dudes!

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Not according to plan

I had to leave work early on Thursday. It felt like an allergy issue, and there was a lot of smoke in the air, so it was certainly part of it.

I’ve had allergies all my life, but between Nevada and Idaho, they are different. In Nevada everything was about snot and sneezing. Up here it all seems to be about my eyes. I felt like someone was inside my head trying to push them out of my skull. It got so bad I couldn’t see my computer, and the headache that accompanied them was also a handicap.

I figured that’s all it was, until I got home and started shivering. It was only 100 degrees-plus outside, so there was a problem. I felt feverish until about two o’clock on Friday.

It could be that allergies weakened my resistance, and some bad juju snuck in. It’s all just theory though. Water seems to be the best medicine. More water = feeling better.

I try to avoid hydration, and I know that’s bad. I have an enlarged prostate to begin with, plus I get to enjoy a diuretic for high blood pressure. Combine that with lots of water and I may as well blog from the bathroom.

I dabbled with a Lisa Burton interview Friday night. New fiction didn’t get much effort.

Today was another matter. I managed some decent new fiction. My pirates sailed to the uncharted island to search for a specific man. They wandered in the wilderness for a bit, but eventually found him. He isn’t a very pleasant fellow. He’s hiding on this island on purpose.

It turns out the man doesn’t have what they are looking for, but… There could be another way to deal with the main story problem. They have to cut a deal here, and what can you give someone who has no use for gold? I could tell you, but I want to keep that part to myself.

I managed to weave in another monster who doesn’t appear on the page. Some of this is my attempt at world building. The wild places are truly wild in this story. However, there is another monster here who will make an appearance on the page. Maybe as soon as tomorrow. I designed him myself, and I can’t wait to see how it all works out.

Research and fudging are always interesting in fantasy and science fiction. We’re dealing with navigation issues now, and while I understand trigonometry, I haven’t exercised those muscles in decades.

Part of good fiction is bullshitting your way through these parts. Nobody wants to read about trigonometry. My job will be to make it sound painstaking, dangerous in the course of this story if it comes out wrong, give a bit of description, and forge ahead with results.

I also struggled how a man with a wooden leg would fare on a sandy beach. I kind of want this guy involved, so I decided the sand was wet packed enough that he could get around. Good thing there were no dunes just off the beach.

88,000 words and counting for those keeping score at home. I would kind of like to hit 100K on this one. All of my recent stuff has come in pretty short, and fantasy lends itself to more word count. I have a hunch my target won’t be a problem.

After they leave this island, there will be some experimentation, some fantasy mathematics, and we’re heading right into the big finale.

Now it’s time for more water. Does beer count as being mostly water?

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Fair enough, I’ll take it

The dogs drove me nuts last night. I pulled some light clothes on and went to sleep on the couch. Something about scratchy Frankie paws on my neck, and about 60 pounds of Otto on my leg wasn’t working for me.

Old What’s Her Face got me up when she went to work at 3:00 AM. She suggested I try again, since she wouldn’t be in the bed at the same time. I was in a pouty mood and intended to just get up and get started, but I gave it the old college try.

I still had to nudge Otto off of me, but managed to sleep until 6:00.

I spent the first two hours puttering on things. This is my normal process, but I dragged my feet, because I call my parents at 8:00.

After the phone call, I decided to give it a try. I wound up making some decent progress. It feels like 1500 to 1800 words. Not bad at all for a Sunday. This was a transition phase, and those are slower to write.

My pirates sailed to the uncharted island, and are now prepared to go ashore. I put some effort into approaching the island through a thick fog, and the dangers that might present. There was a shipwreck, some big lizards that we’ve seen before, and something I called a black shark from out of the blue.

I expect this island to take up some time in the story. There are several things that have to happen. I’m debating making it a place that is in constant fog, and letting my pirates see bits and pieces of it. To my mind, it keeps it kind of mysterious, and will let readers know this is a big world.

There are people here, and there will be monsters. I stopped when I did so I could daydream about some of it with more specificity than before.

For those who are keeping score, I’m at 81,600 words. I’d like to hit 100K, and it feels like I can. That’s long for me, but this is an epic fantasy. It may not be formal fantasy, it’s a kind of flintlock fantasy, but fantasy just the same.

I picked yet another basket of peaches this afternoon. Peach waffles tomorrow morning for sure.

I’m off tomorrow, but so is my wife. This usually isn’t the sign for a good writing day, but we’re going to have a date lunch out of the deal. We ought to be able to get in to Old Chicago and have pizza without the long lines and waits.

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Personal hygiene over word count

It was one of those days. My daughter entered cosmetology school years ago, and since that time, I’ve paid her to cut my hair. I was her first, and last, supporter in this endeavor.

She never did take out her license, and her interests changed. She’s been working at airports since school, and recently moved back to Sun Valley. This is a good move for her, and came with a considerable raise.

I haven’t gotten my hair cut for about two months. It was looking pretty awful, and my hair grows pretty fast. She made arrangements to pick up some of her stuff this weekend, so we figured to do a haircut then.

Once again, this didn’t work out, and we had a little chat. Her life has changed, but I still need to take care of myself at some point too. I don’t mind waiting a week, but can’t hold out any longer. With her living in Sun Valley, this is the end of an era.

One of her instructors is now cutting hair, and the lady is really good. I went there today.

This cut into my writing time, and my word count was limited. It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 words today.

My pirates gathered news of the war, made an alliance, and set sail for an uncharted island. Not much, but what do you expect for 500 words?

I spent the afternoon watching television. I know this is a terrible waste of time, but there you have it. I started with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, followed that up with Dante’s Peak, and am now watching Young Frankenstein. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a waste of time.

I’m getting used to my progressive lenses. I hated them yesterday, but we’re starting to get along better. My big issue is the narrow field of clear vision. I love the idea of being able to raise or lower my head to get perfect vision. I don’t like having to move my head from side to side to read a simple blog post. Like I said, it’s getting more familiar.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, so writing time might be limited again. You never know, sometimes it works well. There is a lot that has to happen on this island, including another monster encounter. There are actually two, but only one will be an encounter.

My flex day is Monday, but my wife is off too. It’s up in the air, but we may bag everything and try to get a mid-day date night out of the deal. That has some value beyond simple word count too.

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Love Wednesday Flex Days

I dabbled early this morning. Ate some peaches, checked some social media. Then I reread my last chapter. Turns out there were some ‘its’ and ‘they’re’ errors to fix. Not to fear, these are on my word search before I ship it out to beta readers.

It was a weird writing day. I wrote a bit, did other things, wrote a bit more. It still came out to around 3000 words. This is a simple chore for the pirates, but there are some game changing things going on. Most of this will come in the form of news they haven’t received yet.

I just need to figure out what that is… A war is either starting or about to start. Things aren’t going to be as simple as sailing about and accomplishing goals. There is a new threat on the seas. The enemy has stripped their ships so they can refit the guns for land war. This turned out kind of handy, but there comes a time when the ships will be refitted.

My captain revealed some philosophy about warfare that he learned from his father. This turned into a fair bit of dialog with his best friend.

I did not force the readers to live through the monster encounter, but let the root monsters relay it instead. Old Hogar, the monster turned out to be a bear. I’m kind of happy with the back and forth about his size. The description of ‘about as tall as you are at the shoulder… if you were sitting atop a horse,’ came out well. I actually recycled it from one of my trunk novels.

Bears don’t actually get that big, but in fantasy they do.

Note to self: Probably need an excerpt of a root monster story for promotion purposes.

My outline is fast disappearing. I’m down to one major stop, some minor events, and a big finale. Then I have to concoct a denouement of some kind.

I only stopped because I need time to think about a meeting they’re going to with a semi-friendly military man. They’re all on the same side, but pirates aren’t generally the type you make allegiances with.

Thinking through this section will only make it better. I can come up with some minor tension that will still let the big events happen.

78,771 words and counting… or was that the number of peaches I ate this week?

Back to work tomorrow. That will give me four commutes with my Muse to work things out.

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