Tag Archives: word metrics

Weekend writing

Today was a little odd, in that I didn’t get to write in the pre-dawn hours. My wife and I are both off, and this usually kills my schedule. It did today, too, but if I don’t adapt a little, I can’t get anything done.

I went to another room in the house, which required me to move a bit of equipment around, but it was that or nothing. There was a little distraction in that the light on the ceiling fan is hanging down by a wire.

This kind of thing irritates me. I got out the step stool and monkeyed with it for an hour, until my arms ached. I have to twist it until the threads catch, and you wouldn’t think it would be that hard. All I can say is the size of the piece prevents me from seeing, and working overhead doesn’t help either. It was something I had to feel. In this project, I failed. I have a better ladder, so I might try again tomorrow.

As far as word count, it feels like about 2000. Not my best day by a long shot, but not awful either. In one more critique sized chunk I’ll break 30,000 words. This scene doesn’t lead to rapid word count either. I just finished an action packed section, and Lanternfish escaped to the open sea. As captain, James needs to think about his next move.

This is important stuff, because he has a balance to maintain. Open seas are relatively safe, but the war torn coast where he’s headed is dangerous. Privateers loot enemy ships to supply their own country. Pirates don’t want uniforms and boots. They want something more valuable. He also needs intelligence and needs to decide how best to gain it. Between strategic moves, keeping his crew motivated, the ship supplied, and more, the captain has a lot to keep track of.

This works in the scope of a book, because it can’t be all action and/or humor all the time. Readers need a breather, too. It isn’t like I don’t know what James is going to do, but I want to make sure I sell it correctly.

James is one of the more serious characters aboard the ship. I’ll have to delve into something more colorful as they set their course.

I’m once again noticing the value of a large cast. Lanternfish tales never seem to have me worried about the word count. I can always dip into something the crew is doing to add a bit of color.

If I can hit 2000 words per day, I’ll break 30K before the weekend is over.

In another part of my life, the wifi in this house improved when CableOne finally decided to replace their ancient router. However, the new one came with dead spaces, one of which is where I work. I was looking into various pieces of equipment to boost the signal, then decided to talk about it with my son. He’s been looking into the same thing, so he was well versed.

He pointed out the new routers come with two signals. He suggested I try the other one before buying any equipment. I didn’t even know what he was talking about. It seems the router is identified twice in searches, the only difference is that one ends in 5G. Not every bit of equipment is functional on 5G, certainly not this old iPad. I made the switch and all is well in wifi land.

I point this out, because some of you might not know this either. If you’re having wifi troubles you might try this simple trick before spending more money.

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Vacation ends

Time to go back to the office tomorrow. I’m regretting not taking the next two days off, but I hate being behind at work, too. My staff has been working, and I’m sure there is a pile awaiting me.

Vacation was filled with obstacles, but I did the best I could. I never did look into promotional blog posts and should have. I don’t need any of them until September, but I like to work ahead. Blogging isn’t like drafting new work, and I could create one every evening if need be.

One of those obstacles was my yardwork, but that is all finished and I’m still married. The peaches are about gone, and they’ll be missed until next year.

My word goal was plucked out of thin air, based upon what I’m capable of. The problem with those kind of projections is assuming there won’t be interruptions. I failed to hit 20K, but I did hit 10,400. Total is at 17. 4 K, so it was a productive vacation.

I month ago, I went on the hunt for a New Orleans phone book to help with character and place names. I’ve never been able to score one. I like this area because of the “melting pot” that city offers. I know not many have land lines, but I don’t want to call them anyway. I only want to browse through names for my fiction.

I failed on NOLA, but I did score this one:

I don’t see why Baton Rouge isn’t just as good, and I put it to good use today. Lanternfish needed some new characters, and this helped me come up with some decent names.

I also worked up a raft of deadly dangerous sea creatures. These are based upon the real world Portuguese Man of War, but they’re a bit different in my fantasy world.

I had to leave Lanternfish at sea, but they are approaching a nearby port in hopes of finding one of two people who can serve as sailing master.

My next flex day is Monday, so I should score some writing time this weekend. After that, it may be two weeks before I can tackle it again.

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Writing on my flex day

It may sound like work, but don’t buy into that. I write for relaxation, and I got plenty in today.

I planned on hitting it hard because I have company coming this weekend. This time, I don’t even regret losing the writing time. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house and do something else.

This morning started like every other one. I intended to sleep in, but at 5:00 my bladder reminded me that it was still present. Since the dogs are used to getting up at 4:30 they wanted breakfast. — of to the races.

Coffee and food later, and I did my social media surfing. Everything except for blogs. Those take longer, so I held them for early afternoon.

I opened a new document and started writing. A mysterious ship named the Blackwall sailed into the harbor at Tusconi searching for the owner of the largely abandoned Lanternfish.

It took me some effort to put together the gap in time for my characters and reveal bits about this period of their lives. A big part of it involved moving the pieces around to deal with Bonnie Philson, now Cuttler.

James spent an entire novel rescuing her, and I can’t just abandon her to start this yarn at sea. She also doesn’t fit the mold as a pirate, so it took some effort.

I still haven’t hit all the characters yet, and only mentioned a few of them without any page time. This is a large cast, so I can’t just shove them all in the first chapter. Character soup is something I can’t stand. Besides, in theory someone could start here without reading Voyage of the Lanternfish. They deserve to get walked in.

I ended the day at just shy of 7000 words. That’s a good day for me, and while I have hit higher marks, I haven’t done it many times.

It occurred to me that because of this book, which I am calling HMS Lanternfish, I am currently working on four different books right now.

I received my corny graphics for Viral Blues, and manipulated them into the manuscript. Since this is a sequel to The Hat, I wanted to keep the same style.

I made cover sheets for Serang and Viral Blues last weekend, plus, I have one I’m dabbling with that I haven’t even mentioned in public yet.

The main focus for 2019 has always been subsequent titles. My group convinced me to try series work, so that’s where I’m going. Lanternfish will be a trilogy eventually, with Serang as a supporting tale. Lizzie and The Hat will be an ongoing series that won’t have prerequisite stories before you can enjoy them.

Me, being me, I can’t just give up on stand alone titles. The one I’m dabbling with is a bit of science fiction. I learned I can draft more than one story at a time if they are different enough. Somewhere between Lanternfish and science fiction they ought to be different enough. The advantage is that when the well runs dry on one story, the other one lets me get new words down.

I still have to figure out blog tour posts and get all of that moving. My target is to have Viral Blues out in time for the Halloween season.

Look over yonder, in the sidebar.

If you haven’t picked up Voyage of the Lanternfish, it makes for a great summer book. There will be more coming, so those of you who want to explore more of this world can do that.

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Wednesday writing day

I love my flex schedule. It gives me a day here and there to do some writing. I set my alarm just like a regular work day, then ignored it completely.

The crow woke me up just before six o’clock. I swear that is the loudest crow I’ve ever heard, and he likes to let the world know he’s there at the crack of dawn. Maybe he needs a lesson from my Beeman air rifle. (If you’re reading this Sue, just ignore this part.)

After feeding the dogs and making coffee, I started off by checking email, then read the last section of The Viral Blues.

The characters had a big night fighting off the forces of evil, and the story required a bit of cooling down. Lizzie and Lisa did some girl bonding, then Clovis and Gina helped pump everyone up for the next phase.

Jason Fogg wound up wearing a dress, which didn’t make him too happy, and I’m headed toward the final showdown. I also worked in a mild musical gag, because it makes sense for a Lizzie and the hat kind of story.

I’ve been trying something a little different. When I first started writing, I would put on some classical music. Old What’s Her Face complained about it, so I started writing in silence. I’ve found that almost anything can distract me these days, but I decided to do a bit of a test.

I went to YouTube and turned on some soundtracks. I’ve been bouncing between Last of the Mohicans and Ennio Morricone music. Some of those power chords from Once Upon a Time in the West really do it for me.

I’ve only done this a few other times, using Pirates of the Caribbean music. (For Lanternfish, obviously) Sometimes Wagner from the Excalibur soundtrack.

So far it hasn’t made me more productive. I managed a sum total of 2900 new words today. It doesn’t seem any worse either, so there’s that to consider.

It was a good day, but I’m finished now. I’ll probably dedicate some time to my next Story Empire post. I left it unfinished, but need to keep up on that stuff.

Something odd happened too. In my first Expansion Pack post over at Story Empire, I mentioned Stephen King’s story, Thinner. The film is so old it isn’t available anywhere, but there it was on television late one night. I never use my recorder, but I recorded it. If we get a slow evening around here I’m going to re-watch it.

Back to work tomorrow, but it was a pretty good author’s wednesday.

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Crazy day, good stuff

Old What’s Her Face is still working nights. This meant another day of keeping everyone quiet so she could sleep a bit.

We had breakfast together again, then she unwound for an hour before heading for bed.

Quiet time is great for authors. I worked through the previous segment of Serang, then started writing again. Today’s effort came to about 3600 words. Something else wonderful happened too. At 75,000 words, it came to the end. Serang is now a first draft.

I fiddled with the new part for a few hours, then sent it to my critique partners. Next weekend I’ll look at all the critique suggestions, then may start my editing passes. It’s best to put it aside and look with fresh eyes, but the first chapters are months old to my eyes. I can do all my word searches on weeknights.

Honestly, I nearly made it. I wanted it out before school ends, but it wasn’t meant to be. This might turn into a November release now.

I’m torn about sharing this, because it’s going to be so long before anyone can actually read it. A peek at the cover might whet someone’s reader brain, so here it is:

This one is a companion piece to Voyage of the Lanternfish, but is quite a bit more serious. Serang is a serious character and deserves to be treated accordingly.

The weird part is our weather. We had a drizzle of rain when I got up, followed by sunshine, then thunder and lightning, then more sun, then a torrential downpour, wind, sun, another downpour, a hailstorm, sun, another hailstorm, and it’s sunny right now. Who knows what the rest of the day will bring. Maybe something cool like a haboob. Mostly I just like saying haboob, it’s probably too wet out there for one.

I think I’ll probably spend tomorrow getting acquainted with The Viral Blues once more. I put this aside in a misguided attempt to get Serang published before summer. Don’t know if I’ll do more writing on it, but it could happen.

Either that or I’ll scope out some old movies. John Wayne will probably be winning World War Two somewhere for Memorial Day. Hope everyone has a lovely holiday tomorrow.

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Weird day, and a tear in my eye

Old What’s Her Face is on her night shifts now. It makes things strange around here to be honest.

I woke up about 5:30 and the dogs wouldn’t let me go back to sleep. This means my most productive hours of the day really weren’t. My wife got off at 6:30, so I browsed around social media and news until she got home.

The Diamondbacks had a blowout against San Francisco, and they needed one. Honestly, they haven’t been playing all that well. I dropped my League Pass because it’s too damned expensive, but still check the scores every day. Today, they were the day game on ESPN, so I watched it. Another win, but the cool part was watching the Reno Aces coach attend the game to watch his son’s debut from the Aces to the Diamondbacks.

When my wife got home, we had breakfast together. It’s better than nothing. Then she wanted to play ball with the dogs, so another half-hour dedicated to that.

Beyond that, it was my job to keep them quiet. They like to paw at her door because she’s trying to sleep in the bedroom.

Eventually, they nodded off and I turned my attention to the critiques of Serang. My ancient iPad seems to have given up the ghost, so my wonderful two-screen approach didn’t work. I used my phone to look at the suggestions, then made my changes on the big iPad Plus.

This kind of sucks, but it’s going to have to work from now on. One day, I’d like to look into the iPad mini. It’s a nice screen for critiques, and nice for the couple of air flights I have to make every year too. Someday…

At the end of the critique section, Serang was still stuck in the cave. This is a task she must face alone. She’s had a couple of epiphanies while she’s inside. I had fun with underground lakes, blind fish, even glow worms.

Serang has three candles and three days to pass through the cave. If you frequent Story Empire, I’m going to explain the importance of numbers over there this week.

She managed to find the cave exit, and it represents a huge point of personal growth for her. Honestly, I had a tear in my eye as she exited. No spoilers today.

All told it came to 3700 words.

On top of that, I wrote a sample chapter of a new book I want to write and sent it to my critique partners. It’s going to have to go on the back-burner, even further back than The Viral Blues, but I’m not lacking for ideas these days.

Old What’s Her Face will go to work here in about an hour. I don’t know if I’ll pick up my story again, or watch a movie somewhere. I’m torn. I was productive, but could be even more productive.

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I’ll take this kind of day

My wife had to work this morning, so I was left to my own devices. What else could I do, I wrote.

Serang and her master made it to an ancient abandoned temple and met up with the only other living monk they know of. This woman is actually from the opposing side of the conflict the governments have going on. I kind of like how the regular people don’t seem to have a skin in this war, but they have to live with its consequences anyway.

The older woman, Tomomi, taught Serang a lesson about tigers by introducing her to a live one. It made for a scary night in the jungle. They returned to a bit of temple life, but it’s going to prove temporary.

I also introduced a fictional animal, just because I can. I called it the hoofed pheasant. It was delicious.

I started writing the part where Serang has to handle a task on her own. This is the first time she hasn’t had a mentor to help her along the way. It will reflect some of the things she should have learned along her journey and test her in some new ways. This task is dangerous, and death is not out of the question.

I expect her to come out the other side a changed woman.

I left her during that task because I ran out of gas. All told, I didn’t keep count again, but it feels like about 4000 words. I’m becoming a pretty good guesser with all these updates.

My idea of publication before school lets out is over. I’m not going to stress about it any longer. Sean isn’t done with my promotional art anyway. I have a cover and one Lisa Burton poster so far. I may hold it for fall now. Summer releases never have been kind to me.

This will pose a new problem, because I want to release The Viral Blues around the Halloween season. I need to finish writing it, but it’s pretty close to complete. I parked it when I was trying to get Serang ready.

I hope to have a completed draft of Serang by mid June, and that leaves me all summer to put the finishing touches to The Viral Blues. It also gives Sean some time to make that cover and the promotional posters for it.

I may be blog tour mad by the time I finish promotion of both books so near each other.

In other news, my sprinkler system is fully repaired and working as I type. I also got my PSA test drawn in anticipation of an annual checkup I have to have. This isn’t a fun checkup, but since I have a problem, it beats the alternative.

I also managed to schedule the first of several posts I’m calling Expansion Packs over at Story Empire. The one about Fairytale Structure will go live later this month.

The convention I signed up for is underway, and they made a second effort at the Cover Wars and Character Battles. I feel like I kind of missed the boat due to the malfunctions. Sean Harrington also promoted it, because it’s all his artwork, but nothing worked.

The new sites seem functional, and my fantasy stuff is holding its own. Both the cover and the root monsters are into round two. This requires more voting.

If you’re so inclined The Lanternfish cover.

The Root Monsters from Lanternfish.

Don’t know if I’ll hit it that hard tomorrow. That’s the day I check in with my parents, but I might find an hour somewhere.

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