Tag Archives: work in progress

Welp… Sunday.

I worked on writing projects this weekend. I could have been more productive, but could have gone the other way too.

Part of the mix, as always, is to keep Lisa Burton Radio moving along. At this stage of the game, I have worked ahead, so I stole some time for writing.

I didn’t accomplish much, but I never intended to. I needed to familiarize myself with the manuscript, because I stepped away from it for so long. This involved some light duty reading, and a few corrections along the way.

Writing never started until about 10:00 Saturday, and it came to about a chapter. We learned that bored pirates will do nearly anything for rum. We also spotted a distant ship on the horizon, and started giving chase. My intention is to give the idea that it takes time to pursue a distant ship in the age of sail. This isn’t to mean things are boring now. I’m using this phase to illustrate a battle plan and make ready. This will be a one shot thing, but I think it’s important to include.

Next stretch will involve a sea battle, some monsters, more monsters, some magic and mayhem.

After that, I assembled and scheduled interviews into early July. I have a hard time not forging ahead on these things. Right now, there are two more I need to work up shticks for. I know what it’s like being an author and trying to promote my work. However, what am I supposed to do when I get fifty applicants at once? These post once per week, and there are fifty-two weeks in a year. Not everyone will come through, so that won’t be the case, but it illustrates my position.

So, should I bust my hump and get those two shticks written and sent to the authors? Absolutely. But with being scheduled into July, I have to take the hours I can get for my own writing. I suffer with this all the time, and I realize there is no right answer.

I hope my guests will forgive me, but everything will be finished in time for the remaining July dates.

I also wrote my next post for Story Empire and got it scheduled. Then I roughed out one after that. I may not use that one, but I actually have an alternate idea too. I may pick away at that during the evenings, and decide when my next turn comes around.

Oh, I also assembled and scheduled a post I’m hosting for some friends. They sent an html file, so it amounted to a couple of clicks, but it’s ready too.

In personal news, we didn’t do a damned thing beyond hanging out. No date night, nothing. I managed to watch a couple of baseball games and even drank one beer.

I consider it a productive weekend, even if it wasn’t massively productive. I hope all of you enjoyed your weekends too. My next flex day is Friday, and I hope to deal with those monsters, cannons, and magic.

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Tallying up the weekend

It’s time to wrap things up. I count today as part of my weekend, because it’s my flex day. I tried to keep my task list small, but items that made the list are large.

Saturday was dedicated to Lisa Burton Radio. I managed to assemble and schedule two posts, which covers scheduling for a couple of weeks. I also wrote and sent out multiple shticks for future interviews. Two of those came back complete, and I could schedule ahead for a month now.

Thing is, I don’t have to. I have some other things to do. I noticed during all this scheduling that there have been 100 episodes of Lisa Burton Radio. That led to the post on Saturday night.

Sunday, I moved on to advance blog posts. If I save up some pennies, I want to get Yak Guy out the door before summer. I sketched out a pair of posts to take it on a blog tour, but I need about eight more. It counts as progress, so I’ll take it. Some of these are easier to write with a few distractions around, so I may get another one during the work week on an evening.

Today is calmer to a degree, so I opened my current project. My characters dug up a graveyard, bought a crappy ship, and left their original project behind. I introduced some minor characters who make up the crew. This is a giant change in their task, but it symbolizes them taking control. There is another huge change coming soon, and it will mark another point of no return.

I’m feeling the presence of the Research Sirens once more. There are terms and locations on a sailing vessel that need to be correct. This is where I could disappear for weeks, but I usually manage to get enough data to fake my way through it.

A background character spent a page to give us an idea of his makeup. (Former hangman.) The basic idea is that all of the crew members come from a place of loss and have a colorful history. I may have to make that point more bluntly.

Under different circumstances, I would make this a writing cabin post, and have the Sirens show up in pirate costume. I had so much to do, I just didn’t take the extra effort that would require.

Maybe if I get those advance blog posts written, I can dedicate some time to making these posts more fun. I enjoy the writing cabin posts, and need to get back to them.

It was a weekend. It was productive. I’ll take it. Back to the office tomorrow for me.

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Not missing this chance

I went to the writing cabin this morning. The storm broke, but there was mud on the tires of the gyrocopter. When I went through the basement, I made sure to leave my boots in the box Bento left for that purpose.

Lisa* met me at the top of the stairs. She was dressed in a canvas duster, and a white wife-beater tee shirt. “Ready to get some work done today?”

“Absolutely. Looks like you're ready for some Clovis dialog.”

We worked on smart assed remarks, threats, and compromises. Whenever something sounded right, I added it to my Playground manuscript.

Lisa ran to the paranormal office and pulled on a lab coat.

“Gina isn't wearing a lab coat in this scene.”

“I know, but it makes me feel more doctorly. Send me your dialog and let's give it a try.”

I sent her what I had, and we tested it out. I adjusted back and forth. “That looks about right. Try it with that voice thing you do.”

Lisa spoke the words using a female voice, and a male voice. When she finished she looked up. “Well? Is it what you hoped for?”

I leaned back at my desk. “Yeah. It sounds like them, and it fits well. Now all I need is some closure, and they're finished.”

“I'll bring some coffee. Do you want me to change into my Chloe outfit now?”

“No. I can't write Chloe today. It takes a different mindset. I'll finish with Clovis and Gina, and give them some closure.

I typed away, delivered some rewards, (such as they are) and closed out two of my main characters. Their part of this story is finished. Chloe will represent the end of the threat to the victims everywhere, but her story will finish another day. At that point The Playground will be a complete first draft.

It looks like I'm going to come in at about 70K words. I would have preferred 80K, but in today's market that isn't bad at all.

This is a different kind of book. There are three seperate stories that alternate to tell the reader a complete story. Only two of the characters ever meet, but it provides some cool moments.

I'm feeling like I need a treat. It's too early for beer. Maybe a trip to the Boise Co-Op for some shortbread, devon cream, apricot jam, and tea. My characters got some rewards, maybe I deserve one too.

I may tackle Chloe's swan song tomorrow, but it depends on what the family has going on.

Tell me about your endeavors. Do you treat yourself for accomplishments? Do you create false accomplishments so you can have a treat? Is anyone else finishing a manuscript?

* Lisa Burton is the main charater in Wild Concept. She is a robot, and since her story ended she helps me around the writing cabin these days.

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Progress, maybe…

The last couple of days didn't yield many results. I had errands and some work issues to deal with that kept me from doing very much writing. I'm on vacation, but sometimes duty calls.

Then there was the three hour power failure. This doesn't prevent writing on my iPad, but it prevents what I like to call – looking stuff up. When I research, I usually do a lot of it up front. I create a folder in my Safari browser and save websites. Then when I need them, they're a click away. Great idea until the router goes down.

I found out today my truck won't be ready until at least next Wednesday. That means my un-awesome rental will become my commuter vehicle. I'll probably have to burn more vacation time to exchange cars.

I received and exchanged critique samples with most of my group. I need to print out the submissions and mark them up. I'll probably do that in a couple of days once I get them all. This month I chose to send them several micro fictions. I busted the agreed upon word count last month, and this is my way of doing penance.

Last night, I stayed up late and hacked out a short story. It sucks, quite frankly. Drafts are wonderful things though. A draft can be repaired, but a blank page has nothing to offer. It's only at 1600 words, and should be over double that size. I'm thinking of it like an outline at this point.

Today I managed 1800 words on The Playground. That's not great, but it isn't horrible. I ended a section about some voodoo healing. (Okay hoodoo, but it reads better the other way.) I also sent my victim character to the hospital. Her parents are about to learn some of the things she's been doing.

Tomorrow I'll probably stick with my victim until the end of that section. If I'm feeling ambitious I might get back to my heroine.

If I add the writing up, I'm at 3400 words. That's fair isn't it? I think so. Can I add all my blog posts in too? Probably not.

I'm claiming some fair progress, but it wasn't one of those 5000 word days I sometimes get.

In other news, I sent off a guest post to one of my blogging friends. I think this one is going to be fun, and it's a swap, so there will be a visitor here soon. I'm still open for guests and visits, so if you have interest let me know.

My blog tour for Will O' the Wisp kicks off next week. I can still use a few sales and reviews, so feel free to visit the link in the sidebar. Maybe I should mention this is also free from the lending library and to Unlimited subscribers. The tour starts Monday, so feel free to reblog and comment. I'll be participating in the comments as much as possible.

Maybe I'll get more accomplished tomorrow, but I need a haircut too. Hmm.

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The Work in Progress Blog Hop

I made this blog an award free zone a long time ago. I find it takes a lot of time to research other bloggers, and my time is kind of precious. Having said that, I love participating in blog hops. My friend Sue Nichols invited me to participate in this one. It involves talking about my work in progress, adding a few snippets, and ratting out some more of my friends. Fun fun!

Sue’s post was about a follow up to her hit, Red Clay & Roses. You can read it here. She’s got a pretty fun blog too, and I encourage you guys to follow her.

My current project is called The Playground. It involves a new social network aimed at children. The gadgetry is inside a variety of dolls that include fashion dolls, soldiers, plush toys etc. The kids can make friends all over the world, and even do homework together from different continents. Sounds lovely, right.

The creator of the network is corrupted by his own greed and lust for power. He decides he can turn the children into his own personal army, no invasion necessary – they’re already in our homes. His foibles attract a supernatural influence and it gets even worse.

Regular readers know I try to include a personal challenge in each story. This one involves what I call a Pulp Fiction method of telling the story. There are three seperate stories used to tell the overarching tale. The players are one victim, one anti-hero, and a heroine.

The playbook said to discuss my first three chapters and then include a snippet. I’m going to break the rules, and go with the first chunk of each character. (Do I ever completely follow the rules?”)

 The first section is all about the villain. We meet Tommy, but he won’t show up again until the end. This gives readers a foot into what’s happening:

Tommy Fazio lit the black candles in his seventeenth floor office and pulled on some surgical gloves. The faint light revealed a bank of computer systems with cables leading to an autopsy table. The smell of burning tallow mingled with that of bleach.

He pulled on a white lab coat and walked up to the girl on the table. She was six or seven years old, it didn’t matter. Cables ran into every opening in her body, with a large one stitched inside her abdomen. Bloody slobber hung out her mouth and dripped into a plastic bucket. He wiggled the cable between her legs and she coughed.

“This one’s about finished,” Tommy said.

Nice guy, right… The next section is about Chloe. She represents the victims here:
 
Chloe twirled in front of the mirrored closet door and watched her dress spin. When she stopped, her hair spun over her shoulder and she smiled. She pulled on her jacket and stepped inside her yellow galoshes. Her mother adjusted the coat on her shoulders and opened the front door.
 
“We need to hurry, the mall’s crazy this time of year,” Mother said.
 
Looks like Chole and her mother are going shopping. I wonder what they’ll bring home.
 
Clovis is the anti-hero here. He’s fast approaching the end of a long and brutal career. In this intro he’s doing a little work for a loan shark:
 
The tweaker rushed around the corner behind the bushes, tried to slam the gate shut, and yelled “Get him. Get him!”
 
Clovis rounded the same corner into the front yard, dropped his small duffel bag in the snow, and crouched for battle. A gangly mixture of bullmastiff and pit bull barked and wagged his tail. Druggie dog, but you’re no threat today. Maybe next year.
 
The front door slammed and the bolt clicked. Clovis kicked the door open and followed the tweaker inside. He grabbed the man by his collar, just as the tweaker picked up a kitchen knife. The tweaker spun and thrust the knife at Clovis’ face.
 
Clovis twisted and let the knife go past, grabbed the man’s upper arm and slammed the back of his head into the kitchen counter. The tweaker fell in an unconscious lump.
 
Gina is the heroine here. The section with Clovis got pretty exciting, so I took my time with her. She’s an oncologist who survived her own battle with cancer. She’s having a crisis of faith, and working in end of life care at this time:
 
Gina Greybill lifted the stethoscope from the old woman’s chest and pulled out her earpieces. She pulled down the poor old thing’s eyelids and covered her face with the sheet.
 
“Oh, Miriam, rest in peace. We don’t all get to go in our sleep. Shame your family never came by this week.” The old woman’s room held furnishings from a bygone era, filled with her personal history. A wooden vanity with a tri-level stone top and a large oval mirror stood against the back wall. Hand laced doilies covered the upper wings and Miriam’s favorite cup sat upside down on its saucer waiting for morning tea.
 
Will Tommy succeed in his nefarious plan? Will Chloe get the Christmas present of her dreams? Will Clovis find a retirement plan that works for his active lifestyle? Can Gina get out of her funk long enough to actually make a difference? Can Craig pull these loose story threads together and make a coherent novel? Tune in about six months from now and we’ll all find out together.
 
***
 
This is all draft material, and is subject to change. My critique group hasn’t even seen it yet. Now is the part where I get to rat out my friends. I always seem to pick on the same ones, so I’m changing it up.
 
Sue Coletta writes crime fiction, and has one of the most interesting blogs going. She also keeps a resource page that is a wealth of information. Come for the resources, stay because she’s awesome. Her blog is called, Inside the Mind of a Crime Writer. Please visit her, because I skipped out on a blog award recently, and this blog tour is my way of directing her some well deserved traffic.
 
My other victim friend is Mae Clair. She calls her blog, From the Pen of Mae Clair. She’s into cryptids and paranormal stuff with the occasional romantic bent. She volunteered to be on my street team for the release of Will O’ the Wisp, and I’d love to direct some traffic her way. I really want to see a snippet of her Mothman project.
 
The rules are to tell us what what you’re working on, show us a few paragraphs, and tell us where it’s headed. Pick a couple of friends, ping backwards and forwards; you’re golden.

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Book intensive care

I skipped a post last night. I really wanted my 2015 plans to stay at the top for a little longer. I’ve gathered some good comments, a few more via email, and a few¬†victims volunteers who asked to read Will ‘O the Wisp. Thank you, everyone.

I must have gathered up over a hundred new blog followers during December. I had a lot going on, and was hosted by quite a few nice people. My stats show a lot of traffic flowing between my blog and In a Small Compass. With the new followers in mind, I’m including this link to the Entertaining Stories Primer.

I used yesterday to finish reading a book and posted a review for a fellow indie author. With today all to myself, I headed for the writing cabin.

I wound up buzzing the runway to scare off a wooly rhino. I didn’t want to run him too hard, because winter is tough on wildlife. The skis on my gyro-copter made the landing much smoother. The elevator carried the ‘copter to the basement, and I trudged upstairs.

Lisa* was washing the little alien shotglass she brought me, along with the enchanted beer horns. She had her hair pulled back between combs and wore her calf length jeans and high heels. She topped it of with a baggy pink sweatshirt.

“That green glass looks custom made for some absynth,” I said.

Lisa scowled at me. “You have a visitor. One who gets jealous when you hang out with the green fairy.”

My back stiffened, and I knew I was in trouble. It had been months since I’d added new words to my work in progress. I grabbed coffee and headed for my main office to face the music.

Lorelei** was hunched over the couch, crying. She wore medical scrubs, and had her hair tucked under a matching cap. She tucked a tiny blanket around something and waved over her shoulder toward the fireplace, which immediately burst into flames. “There, there, baby. It’ll be alright. I’ll make sure of it.”

“Um, what is that? Is it sick?”

“No, it’s dying of neglect.”

“Is there anything we can do for it?”

“Do you really care?”

“Yeah, what is it? How can I help?”

She stood, turned, and placed her hands on her hips. “It’s your manuscript, if you still care.”

I slid into my recliner and sipped my coffee. “What do I have to do?”

She cradled the little manuscript and tucked it into the crook of my arm. “Even though it isn’t finished, it’s still a book. Just read it. The more you enjoy it, the healthier it will get. Books thrive when they get read.”

I read the first page, and the manuscript wiggled. “It likes it. Would it like us to read aloud to each other?”

“It would adore that. I’ll stay for an hour, then you and Lisa will have to carry on.”

I cupped my hand around my mouth and yelled down the hall. “Lisa, get in here. We have a long afternoon project.”

* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She is a robot and helps me around the writing cabin these days.

** Lorelei is my Muse. She gets cranky, but maybe she’s justified this time.

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It was one of those days off

I’m sure you’ve all had them. I’m behind on everything in life. My recent work trip has me behind at the office. I haven’t been able to work on my manuscript in weeks, and this is my prime directive.

I haven’t completed my work from the last critique group, and it’s time to start reading submissions for the next one. I laced up my work boots and dove in.

First I went through Twitter and tried to follow everyone who helped in the push day for Panama. I was thrilled to discover a five star review of the book this morning. Some of them are still pushing today. I’m kind of overwhelmed with the support I’ve gotten here. Suggestion to writers: check out the Rave Reviews Book Club. You can find my books under the “science fiction, fantasy, paranormal” category.

Rachel Carrera asked if she could read the draft of The Playground, (so far). She provided some outstanding suggestions, and I finally got around to addressing those.

I grabbed up my critiques and went to work on Will ‘O the Wisp. Four guys all see something different, and it was all helpful. It took me some time to expand Patty’s (MC) emotions about the old desk she inherited. I know you don’t get it, but it’s an important part of the story. You can read all about it on a Kindle near you, probably early next year. Check critique stuff off the list.

Most of the guys have submitted their next chapters for critique group. I decided to do the same. Plus or minus 3000 words emailed to the other members.

My truck’s in the shop, so I’m afoot today. They called and my fender is cracked, not just scratched. Add a few more dollars to the repair cost. “Would you guys trade it for a story about the Panama Canal?” Just joking. Dad’s picking up the tab; he’s the one that crashed into me.

I kept looking over my shoulder all day. I expected Lorelei, my Muse, to show me her idea of the ice bucket challenge. She never made an appearance. She expects new words on my days off.

I’m off until next Tuesday. I’ll get a few chances at new words on paper. Then I can find out how much more behind I am at the office.

Now I have to decide which Macabre Macaroni story I’m posting tomorrow. Thank God I pre wrote them all. I still make a pass over them before I post. It’s going to be hard to match the furor that went along with last week, but I’m going to try. This means laying in the fetal position and hope everyone likes it.

It’s almost time to harass my cover artist again. I wanted The Cock of the South out by October, but that ship has sailed. It was an arbitrary deadline anyway. It probably needs another read through before publishing.

I also have the goal of finishing up reading my Harry Dresden book. Then I need to read some more indie stuff. I’ve made a couple of commitments and want to honor them.

I’m thinking of today like house cleaning. The place sparkles and my imaginary friends can all visit tomorrow.

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