Tag Archives: word metrics

The heavens parted today

Some days even I get lucky. I made it a point to sleep in a bit and get a slow start. I wanted to surf through social media while having my first cup of coffee.

It actually felt good, but the dogs wanted me to get on with it. They took up their positions to remind me.

There is Frankie, who thinks she’s part monkey by climbing behind me.

Here is Otto, who has claimed one arm of my chair.

Today the words just wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop when I did. Old What’s Her Face called to say she’d gotten off work, or I’d still be at it.

At that time, I paused to work on Lisa Burton Radio interviews and schedule another announcement for a friend. Lots of new books coming out right now.

As far as my story goes, I concluded the romantic interlude. It made for a fun tropical vacation. A message in a bottle got dropped into the ocean, some skinny dipping occurred. A creature similar to an anteater appeared on the beach, only he’s a snaileater. Glow in the dark tiny bats made an appearance similar to fireflies.

When the kids got back to town, the captured ship had been completely stripped, painted, renamed (Lanternfish) and is getting ready to set sail. I even amazed myself at the way I stitched some things together.

I built that bit of doubt I mentioned the other night, then quelled it with a small private action and a bit of dialog. This served to strengthen the bonds of friendship amongst the main characters.

A couple of the main characters got new outfits, and one purchased a bird called an anvil bird. He’s like a combo of parrot, toucan, and hornbill. Sean Harrington may have to paint him one day down the road.

The woman who bought the bird revealed a very personal issue, and dealt with the matter by purchasing the bird. Too spoilerish for her character arc to go into more detail.

I even introduced a new crew member. Since this is an alternate world, using words like Asian, Chinese, or even the outdated Oriental won’t quite work. I gave her Eastern features and left it at that. I’ll probably have to go back and work that out later.

Her name is Serang. She’s tall, thin, beautiful, and deadly. She carries a single bladed pole weapon. Another creation called a bay frog got speared. (Frogs don’t live in salt water in reality, plus this one is big.)

I have some cool plans for Serang.

A bigger ship requires a bigger crew, but I can’t name them all. I need enough to make it feel like a whole crew, but limit dialog and actions to those with names.

Oddly enough, I did it all without root monsters, the moving reef, or any of the other sub stories.

Tomorrow, I really want to dive into it again, but it’s also the day I call my parents. I’ll sacrifice a few hours there any time.

Hope all of you are enjoying your weekends. Probably wrap up the day with Baseball, salted caramel stout, and Papa Murphy.

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A great day for piracy

Lisa met me at the top of the stairs. She had those knee high boots that turn over at the top, and her Captain Barbosa hat on. “What are we working on today, mate?”

“Well, figured to read my last chapter, then move the story ahead as much as possible.”

“Sounds like a plan, but I need you outside first.”

I followed her across the deck, then out to the field before she turned around. A black skull and crossbones flag flew over the writing cabin. “I love it, where’d you get it.”

“I made it, silly. I have a lot of time to myself out here, and did it for you. The logs on the cabin almost look like an old ship, if you use your imagination.”

“It’s perfect for this story. Guess I’d better get started.”

“Not so fast, matey.” She spun me around to face a line of logs she’d placed vertically in the meadow. Each of them held one block of ice. She handed me a flintlock pistol and stepped back.

“Really, for me?”

“You need to have the experience.”

I cocked the hammer, took careful aim, and missed the target. Sulfurous black smoke drifted across my field of vision.

She traded me for a fresh pistol, and started reloading the one I just fired. “Better hurry, they get smaller out in the sun.”

I repeated my motions, but this time the ice exploded into a million pieces. “Hey! Look at that.”

“Very nice, now the next one.” She handed me the freshly charged pistol. “You have two more coming at you.”

We repeated the exercise until all the ice disappeared. “Thanks for doing this. It helps to remember these aren’t semi automatic pistols that can be fired over and over with ease. Pirates would have to save their shot, or take cover to reload.” I handed the pistol back. “Guess I’d better get started.”

“Not so fast.” She pulled two cutlasses from the grass and tossed one my way. “Defend yourself.”

I blocked her strike and stepped back.

“Come on, you’ll never learn if you don’t try.”

“These things are dangerous.”

“I’m a sophisticated high-tech robot. I’m not going to hurt you.” She thrust at me, and I batted her blade away to the side.

“But I’m not. What if I mess up and hurt you?”

“Please. Class three battle chassis inside. You’d need armor piercing ammo to get through, and more firepower than that sword.”

I picked up my pace and returned the fight. We clashed all across the meadow, up and down the steps on the deck, and out onto the airstrip.

I took a step back and held my blade up with both hands in a halt position.

“What’s wrong now?”

“I’m tired.”

“You’re old and fat. This is where you get run through.”

“Besides, I don’t have a cool hat.”

“The hat has nothing to do with it. It’s all about skill, stamina, and experience.”

“I’d like to experience some iced tea about now.”

“I can make some.”

“And some air conditioning would be nice too.”

“Fine. Wimp.”

“It was fun though. Loved the pistols.”

“Gotta admit, that seems more your style.”

We headed inside and Lisa brought tea to my office. I took a sip, and placed the cold glass to my forehead. “I’m surprised you didn’t have cannons for us to fire.”

“I called Red Herring, but they’re all rented out. Seems like all the authors want cannons this weekend.”

“You didn’t really. Did you?”

“I know you don’t like the guy, but he has all the story elements you ever need. Besides, buying one would give you a stroke. Rental is the only way to go.”

I opened my iPad and started writing. Lisa piped some quiet pirate themed music through the building.

By the time I finished for the day, I’d written nearly five thousand new words. We captured a ship, got disappointed in the treasure. Experienced a monster of the deep, and witnessed what can only be described as carrot abuse.

I introduced one new character called Stuttering Lewis. Lest this sound like character soup, it’s fourteen chapters in, so you get one here and there. I’ll have a few more along the way, but they’re mostly color and background now. I can’t write a book and call them pirate #1 and pirate #2.

We also unfurled a new flag, but I won’t describe it because it’s kind of spoilerish.

It feels like an end to Act One. That arguably could have been an earlier section, but I don’t mind being a little vague on that part. Acts are more like guidelines anyway. (Sounds good for a pirate story.)

I’ve struggled over the last couple of books to hit a decent word count. This one is not going to have that problem. It may be the rare story where I have to cut things to make it digestible for readers.

Hope you’re all enjoying the weekend, or will if you didn’t score friday off. I still need to work up some interview pieces, but it’s hard not to keep sailing this ship forward.

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Working away here

I intended to update last night, but with a great new review I felt like that served me better. Actually, I got three new reviews over the weekend, but Robbie blogged about it and that means a lot to me. (Thanks, Robbie.)

Over the course of the last two days, I’ve managed about 5000 new words on my project. My characters made it to their destination city and are researching their options. In the mean time, another assassin is lurking about. There is a bit of small monster mayhem going on too. My main character, James, has been approached by a man with a shady plan. The new guy calls himself Johnny Jump Up. This little encounter led to James going missing.

Johnny has a past, and I’ll weave a bit of that into the story later. Particularly how he came by the name.

This one is tentatively called Voyage of the Lanternfish, and it’s pirate themed. I made a general piracy board on Pinterest, and it’s good for inspiration. There are some great angler fish images there. I chose the term Lanternfish for my fantasy story. I’d love to share one, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s copyright. You may want to check it out on Pinterest.

In author terms, I’m fast approaching the end of Act One. This is where the plan fails and the bottom falls out. I’m really looking forward to getting there. The section I’ve been writing involves a bit of deep tension. I like to jump ahead and get to the action, but some scenes like this are necessary.

One of the tough decisions I made was to set this in a fantasy world. This was an attempt to distance myself from a certain popular franchise. This means I need alternatives to places like Tortuga. It also requires me to include a few fantasy creatures, like the owlcats I referenced a couple of times. I plan to glance off some of this, just to give the world some flavor. Things like saltwater bay frogs, and pelicanfish. I’ll come up with a few more, but may not use them all.

What I need to be doing is chipping away at some blog tour posts. I have another book ready to go, and I want to release it before summer, because summer has been pretty dismal in my experience. I need ten posts, and really need to start on them.

In other news, I wrote and scheduled my next Story Empire post. It’s up on Wednesday. I also exchanged enough material to complete another of Lisa’s interviews. I admit to pecking away at these. I’m a bit ahead of the game, so I’m using that time to work on my story.

My wife and I are both off tomorrow, and that usually doesn’t lead to new fiction. This may be a good time to start working on those promotional posts.

I’ve also neglected blog reading, Twitter, and the rest. Maybe I’ll spend some time catching those up.

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Wednesday, I’ll take it

I got to sleep in until about 6:30 today. It felt great. I should mention that my work alarm goes off at 4:00, so this was my version of sleeping in. Did all the morning stuff, and wound up covered with bulldogs.

That’s where my writing day began. Like all writing days, I started with my last chapter. It helps me get into the flow, and gives me a chance to fix typos and such. I usually have something cool I’m trying to do, and that leads to some tweaks to things I already wrote. Today it was minimal and I got right into it.

My characters crossed paths with an assassin, and we got a glimpse of what the tiny monsters are capable of in groups. There was gunplay, some sneaking about, and sinking a body into a duck pond.

One character was fascinated by a glop of apple pie that landed on another character’s cleavage and slowly moved downward until she wiped it and licked her finger. There is something going on there, but she’s pretty broken and it might take a while to develop.

My characters got to the big city, so we’re done with the camping part of the tale. They have plenty of gold, but not in a format they can spend. They are running low on coinage, and only one of them has a head for money.

Not to fear. There are some tiny monsters about to try scavenging for any gold that might be untended around town. Oh, what’s better than eight tiny monsters… eighteen tiny monsters. I’m finding these guys are adding a bit of color to the story. They’re freaky, scary, but funny to a degree too. I might have to have a scene where the characters discuss having too many of them.

My main character has been staring at the ships along the river port. He’s there to do some research with the goal of starting a war, but those ships are sure appealing. Starting the war will free his lady love from the bad guy. We all know that isn’t going to happen, but it’s his current goal.

Things I need to consider before my next writing day. (Saturday) There has been a surprising lack of swordplay in this story. My MC needs to go through a melancholy phase and come up with a partial new plan. I’m going to have to count on the other characters to carry me through this phase. He has issues living up to his father’s reputation, and avoiding it all at the same time. I think he’ll start out manic about all the things he is learning, then depressed that he can’t formulate a decent plan, then he’s going to say screw this and do something completely different.

All told it feels like about 3500 words. It could be as high as 4000, but it was a good writing day. It would have been more, but my daughter is working some kind of swing shift. She likes to talk, and I’m okay with that. Yeah, it cuts into writing time, but I don’t want to give up father/daughter time either.

That’s it until the weekend. Back to the office tomorrow where I have multiple projects I want to work on. I’d like to have 80% of those finished before the weekend starts. If it’s not one goal it’s another in my life.

Bonus points, I have commute time to daydream about my main character’s phases and how I’m going to get through them. Hopefully, I’ll have a plan prior to Saturday morning.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I didn’t get some things done, but made good progress on others. I still need to create a couple of shticks for Lisa’s radio show, and I have one more to schedule. That one is weeks out, but the author requested a specific date and I want to accommodate her. I know how I feel when making plans. I would want to know it’s a done deal. It is a done deal, I just need to get on with it.

I dedicated my time to my own fiction. It came to around 3000 words. I don’t have a complete count, but somewhere around that mark. My main character has to cover up one eye, because the townsfolk decided it’s the evil eye. I also created four tiny monsters with more to come. They haven’t even taken to sea yet, and that’s one of my biggest obstacles here. Act one involves the guy trying to live up to his father’s reputation. He will decide to take his own path, and that’s the part that occurs at sea.

Doesn’t sound like a problem, until you think of promoting it as a pirate story. Will people stick with it long enough to get to the parts I advertise? It may be something that sorts itself out in the second or third pass. Right now I have to draft the damned thing.

I might carry those flighty readers along with some symbolism, and an eye patch could be part of that. His eye is fine, but it’s now permanently red. That scares the general population.

I’m also dealing with travels and conversations. This is touchy, because I want to do some world building and have some of these conversations. However, too many campfires and such might irritate some folks. Like I said, this is the draft process

I’d like to work on it tomorrow, but I need to keep up with the promises I made others. I may need to have a Lisa Burton Radio day and be happy about it.

In other news, my bread rose for about 30 hours and turned out awesome. (Awesomely? Is that a word?) Old What’s Her Face bought me a banneton, also called a brotform, for Christmas. This is a special basket for raising free-standing loaves of bread. I’ve never used it before. It helps the loaf retain its shape on the final rise. It also adds a cool spiral shape to the top crust.

Today was the day. I also used my peel and baking stone for this one. Here’s how it turned out, and it was great with our corned beef.

You can see the spirals the basket made before I added the expansion slices. To use the peel, also in the photo, I added some corn meal to it and the baking stone. This isn’t for flavor, it’s to keep things from sticking. My only mistake was taking the bread from the brotform while the oven reached temperature. This gave it time to spread and I should have done it at the last second. Next time: Dump, slice, bake in about five seconds.

It already has a wonderful sour flavor, and that’s the result of the long rise. My bread usually doesn’t develop that until the next day. No idea why.

I’m skipping the Irish whisky tonight. Old What’s Her Face bought me some cool Irish stout from a small brewery. Beer is very Irish too, so I’m not disappointed.

Hope all of you who are celebrating do it with care. We’re staying home and may rent Justice League on TV. Maybe.

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I’ll take it…

Old What’s Her Face kind of ate up any opportunities I might have had on Saturday. We still managed a nice date night, and I got one of the Lisa Burton interviews all scheduled. Most of Sunday was spent responding to interview requests. There are so many questionnaires out in cyberspace now that some of them have to produce a post. Thanks for all the reblogging everyone.

Yesterday morning, Tituba the sourdough told me she was ready to go to work. I built a standard, no recipe, dough. Water and flour to make a batter, palm full of salt, glurg of olive oil, about half a spoonful of starter, add flour until it looks like bread dough.

Sourdough is a symbiotic organism. The wild yeast raises the dough like you might expect, but it’s the bacteria that gives it that sour flavor. To make it come out right you want a long slow rise. Their symbiosis works like this: Yeast produces alcohol which bacteria loves. In return, bacteria protects yeast from mold.

Last night it was raised, but looking a bit blah. This morning it was blowing the lid off my bowl. I punched it down, formed a loaf and cleaned up the small Dutch oven I use for bread. Start rising all over again and turn my attention to other matters.

There are still some interview requests trickling in, and it’s to a point where I can let them stack up. I’ll get to everyone today, but I needed some quality time with my work in progress.

I have all four characters on the page now. Addressed some women’s issues from a historical (Or not so historical) perspective. This was mostly stage setting. She’ll round out her story later on after she gets comfortable with the other characters. My characters blew up a building, stole some gold, and one is carving a turnip/yam kind of thing for some reason. The main guy has made some heavy remarks about his father, which sets up something nice down the road.

I didn’t do a word count, but I’m finally over five-digits. That’s got to be pretty close to 4000 words one way or another. I could do more, but don’t want to get rummy over it.

My Apple Pencil needed a recharge, then I used it to make an updated blog banner. I think it needs to be a bit more Spring-like before I trot it out, so the snow sculpture remains for now.

I should still schedule my free days for Enhanced League, but the primo time for this title is the end of the month. That means I can put it off for another week, and I will.

Since everything is ready, I assembled and scheduled another LBR interview. That means I’m two weeks ahead, yay.

Tituba needed cut and fed so she’s happy to work again when I need her. This bread is nothing fancy. No free standing loaves, no French bread, just a nice Dutch oven variety. This is what I get with my leftover stew tonight.

Maybe I’ll turn my attention to some lightbulbs that need replacing. Then I can work up a shtick for an interview that’s already returned the questionnaire. It may have been a slack weekend, but today was pretty productive.

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Writing hazards

I don’t play golf, but I know they have hazards on the course. There are sand traps and water hazards that can mess with your game. My writing days are full of hazards too.

The main one is my daughter. She likes to talk — a lot. She talks for hours about her job to the point where I feel like I was there with her on her shift. Today, she has a new topic though. Enter Jackson.

We’ve never owned a cat. In her entire life there has never been a cat. We’re dog people. They aren’t foreign to me, my mom had cats at various times. It’s something new to my daughter, and she’s really excited about it. I refuse to stop her chatter, and try to be a good dad. Things change and young adults have been known to move halfway across the country on short notice. We spent a lot of time letting the animals get used to each other.

My big concern is dogs and cats together. They get supervised time together and are doing really well with the situation. Otto wants to sniff him, but that’s about where his interest ends. Frankie is the one to watch. Jackson likes to sneak up on her and bonk her on the head.

I’m still being diligent, because Kipling taught me The Female of the Species is more Deadly than the Male. This certainly seems to hold true with my dogs. Otto is a big hugger and lover of all things. Frankie is psycho and I don’t completely trust her around Jackson.

After my daughter goes to work, and Jackson goes to her room, I get a chance to write new words. There is still the bulldog hazard, but I’ve gotten pretty good at writing around it.

This one is Frankie, and I can get an arm around her and still type. I can’t quite reach around Otto in the same fashion.

Still, all progress is good. I wound up with around 2500 new words on the day. Skulls were bashed, shackles were fitted, and the big abduction happened. Aside from this, an ugly fish bit one of the supporting characters. My next move will be to define the stakes for the characters, imprison the love interest, and force the men into a task they don’t want and are ill equipped for.

Unfortunately, my own servitude is calling. Tomorrow begins the work week for me, so it will be Saturday at minimum before I can write again.

In other news, I got three more nice reviews for The Hat over the weekend. People seem to really be enjoying it, and that’s like rocket fuel to my writer brain. I haven’t sold a copy in days, but there is lag time between purchases and reviews. Reviews can lead to sales, so I hope it keeps up a bit of momentum.

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