Tag Archives: writing

A visit with Lorelei

I got up fairly early this morning. No particular reason today, I guess I was done sleeping.

The dogs needed to wait an extra minute while I opened a new bag of food for them. Typical morning chores, dogs, coffee, then it was time to start checking social media.

That’s when the faintest whiff of sandalwood caught my attention. I stifled a smile, but didn’t do it very well. It’s a signature scent, and can only mean one thing.

The slow clack of high heels is a sound that always makes me focus, and it was coming across my hard surface flooring. Lorelei, and she looked like an image from a magazine. She wore jeans that looked like they were painted on, with a loose fitting summer top. Then there was that huge shock of brunette hair, one befitting a minor goddess.

“What brings the Muse out today?” I asked.

“I’ve been meaning to stop by, but since you’ve been writing a little. I decided to leave you alone. When I spoke with Lisa, she said you haven’t visited the writing cabin in weeks. Your creativity feeds me, you know that. I’m feeling a little neglected.”

“Don’t be like that. I’m editing, no thanks to your damned raven. I’ve been arranging artwork, and scheduling things around publication. I even got a chance to read a couple of books.”

“That’s all lovely, but you need to keep writing. I’ve told you before, publishing is your choice. I only care that you create.”

“And I’ve told you, it would be nice to cover expenses. Book covers and promotional art costs more than I make on some books. Besides, aren’t you supposed to be sending me ideas?”

“What about all those characters you’ve parked on the island? Those were some wonderful characters, and maybe it’s time to tell their stories. There is that couple from Colonial Africa, the cops in the science fiction piece, several others.”

“I don’t know, geez. Summer is a time for more than writing. Besides, getting everything ready to publish is almost a full time job. Then I have to come up with blog tour posts, get the artwork, contact my street team…”

“Yes. You’ve already whined about that. You should try to keep focus. I think you’re a wonderful writer, or I wouldn’t waste my time with you. But… writers have to write.”

“I’ll think about it. Maybe something fun will come to me.”

“That’s all I ask. Maybe one of those storyboards you’re always talking about. Those seem to lead to a test chapter or two.”

“I’ll try. I have all day today and tomorrow.”

“There’s a good writer.” She turned and walked away, wiggling her fingers over her shoulder. “I I I I.”

“What was that you said?”

“I said, goodbye.”

“Oh, yeah. Thanks for stopping by.”

“What about you? Do you have any ideas?”

“Na, mate. Ya gotta come up with this stuff on your own.”

“Well, that was singularly unhelpful.”

“I’m just a prop, mate. But I have faith in you. I feel like you’re on the verge of one o’ them epiphanies.”

“Big words for such a little head.”

“Dun gotta get personal about it. I’m trying to help here.”

“Sorry. Maybe a ghost story or something will make her happy. I feel like I’m close, but don’t quite have it.”

“I got faith in ya, and so does the lady. Maybe that keyboard thing will put some wind in your sails.”

“You’re probably right.”

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Hard to pass up a good soapbox

This is a topic I’ve addressed before, but it’s timely once again. I’ll try to do it without spoilers, but it’s pretty rare air way up atop this box.

I may have addressed this on Story Empire, and it might have made a good topic over there. I don’t get a turn in the rotation for a while, so you get it here.

Regular readers will remember my post about fandoms who think they have the right to dictate the plots and character arcs in popular stories. At that time, it was all about Harry Potter. People crawled out of the woodwork to petition Rowling for what they wanted to see happen.

You might remember the campaigning, Harry + Hermione, Harry + Ron, how Voldemort would get his, Snape’s story arc, etc.

The Walking Dead got a bunch of this too.

Now we’re down to Game of Thrones. I’m irritated how everything went down, and I’m about to tell you why… without spoilers.

Readers/viewers are part of a compact. A story cannot be successful without them. An author can entertain himself to no end without any readers at all. However; when that story goes out for public consumption we strike a bargain with our readers.

We promise to deliver certain things, and a satisfactory ending is part of that. Some of the other things are genre specific, but can you imagine a murder mystery with no murder, with no mystery? A horror story without anything horrifying?

This doesn’t mean you have to have a “happily ever after” kind of ending either. There are plenty of super-famous tragedies out there.

Okay, now I’ve set the stage. While I’m pissed off over what they’re doing with Game of Thrones, I don’t believe I have any right to dictate or even suggest how the story will wrap up.

Right now there is a petition circulating to force HBO to rewrite, refilm, and air an alternate ending. This whole concept is absurd. Even if people get all the signatures they are seeking, HBO has no duty to honor the petition. This applies to the writers, directors, actors, etc.

This story belongs to the writers to screw up or wrap up as they see fit. My right is to like it or not. I have no right to dictate how it will wrap up, demand a happy ending, or a fan favorite hookup.

When people like my stories, some of them leave a positive review. On the rare occasion they are dissatisfied, they can leave a negative review. Viewers of GOT have the same rights. No more.

I’ll be there Sunday to see how it goes. I’ve invested eight years in this story, so I’m going to finish it. Then I’ll either like it… or not.

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A writing day

I drew the lucky straw for the first time in years. My flex day at work is Friday. Combine this with the Monday holiday, and I get a four day weekend.

We gain a lot of leave hours where I work, so I decided to add a day to my weekend today. If I’d have been thinking, I’d have taken Tuesday instead. Today costs me 10 hours of leave; whereas, Tuesday would only cost me eight. Oh well, I’m glad to be off.

It’s raining like hell here today, and as much as I love it, Frankie does not. She’s one of our bulldogs, and I spent the bulk of my morning trying to get her outside so she could pee. She wanted out, but not in the rain.

Her older brother, Otto could care less. Finally, I lied and told him the squirrel was outside hoping they would both take care of business. He blustered out while she watched from the doorway. Finally, she ran outside, bit him in the head, then ran back in. He wanted to stay out, because he doesn’t care.

Eventually it stopped for a moment, and she did her business outside.

Besides tending dogs, I managed some writing today. This time it was Serang’s turn. She managed to catch a fish. This may not seem like much, but her father was a fisherman, and it means everything to her. He died when she was young, and being able to do this is very important to her. She shared the fish with some poor villagers that the soldiers took everything from.

They moved locations, which allowed me to introduce some minor fantasy creatures. Then she killed a couple of soldiers, stole their money, and fled for her life. They were some of the bad guys, and this needed to start happening.

She still isn’t completely mature, and there are some big lessons she needs to learn. She met another surviving monk and overheard the adults talking about her. Now she’s about to undertake a large journey, but she doesn’t know it yet. I’ll handle that tomorrow.

It feels like around 3000 words. I want to dwell on the next section, because I’m changing environments again. We’re leaving the cliffs, bamboo, and jungles and going to a high desert for the next portion. Serang and her master forage for a lot of their food, and I’m not quite sure what they’re going to find out there. I may just have them take it from their pursuers. In fact that sounds more adventurous.

Right now, I’m done for the day. I have some sourdough rising, and my wife is making soup when she gets home. Whatever you guys are doing, I hope it’s a good day.

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Miss me?

Yup, just me today. No book promo involved. The book tour is ongoing and will continue for a while.

I’m grateful for all of you that are coming along. To keep it interesting, I made every post unique. To those of you who already purchased a copy, I’m even more grateful. Even if Lanternfish isn’t your cup of tea, there are some decent posts about the inner workings about creating such a book. I’ve had a great time talking to everyone along the way.

This weekend, my wife had to work. Aside from chasing back and forth to monitor blog comments, I managed a lot of new words of fiction. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’m over ten-thousand. I didn’t break it down, because it spreads across two different projects.

When one project requires a bit of thought, I switch to the other. This is completely unlike my regular process, but it’s working.

Aside from letting Otto chase the squirrel, and Frankie chase him, that’s what I’ve been doing this weekend.

We’re off together tomorrow, so I might not get any more writing done, but I really can’t complain. I was pretty productive.

I don’t know what we’ll do, but I have a post out there somewhere to find and monitor. I’ll share it here to provide a path to those who are interested.

Such is the glamorous life of an author. We’re staying in tonight and finding something on the television.

How was your weekend?

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Field trip and a bit of luck

My paycheck job sent me to Idaho Falls for a couple of days. We avoid work related topics, but it puts a damper on my blogging ability. That’s the main point here.

Fortunately for me, two of my guest appearances posted while I was absent. That allowed me to keep some fresh content on my site, and I managed to deal with comments after hours. I think I answered everyone, but I’m going to surf back through the host sites to make sure after this goes live.

I have things to do today. (I always have things to do.) I’ve just come up against a wall of “I don’t wanna.” A big part of this involves driving, hotels, and all the rest of it. Driving across Idaho is not like driving across Vermont. It takes about five hours to drive across Idaho, and I did it twice. Bonus though, I got to see about 200 antelope, and one really nice mule deer buck. I also saw an elk rack that did not fit completely in the bed of a pickup truck. I know we’re all supposed to hate hunting and everyone that partakes, but I do not. It was impressive, and that was one of the biggest racks I’ve ever seen. If the rest of him was that big, someone is going to need a bigger deep freeze.

I’m going to have to sacrifice most of my planned word count for now. The stuff I need to do involves commitments to other author friends. I’m not going to let them down. There is one small bit of critique work I have to get to. Thank God for my Apple Pencil, and its new ability to work with Pages, my word processor. This speeds things up a bunch over the old redline versions.

I have two Lisa Burton interviews to work on. One has returned his questionnaire, and I’ll address it soon. The other is in a holding pattern until I get the questionnaire back. Still, it’s good to know there will be more “broadcasts” from Lisa’s trailer in the woods.

Yesterday was payday too. This means we might pull off a date night tonight. Old Chicago Pizza sounds good, but there is a BSU game tonight. Both things are good, but sometimes it means the place is SRO. Never know if we don’t try. I can be content with the MLB playoffs too, so I’m not picky as to whatever. We’ve talked about a backup plan that might involve a total absence of sports.

As a State employee, I get Monday off too (Thanks Columbus). Lower on my list is a cluster of critique pages of my own work. They aren’t going to spoil or anything, but if I get my commitments dealt with, I’d like to find time to slick up my own story.

It isn’t a huge list, and all of it is possible in three days. I just have to figure out how to deal with the “don’t wannas.”

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Did it anyway…

Today, I started off calling my parents, like any other Sunday. They’re planning to visit in a couple of weeks, and that should be fun.

After that, I had decisions to make. I could start another complete reread of Lanternfish. I could read some fiction I’m sorely behind on. I could read a craft book I’ve been chipping away at.

I decided to work on my new WIP instead. I find editing to be mind numbing. It has to be done, but not as a kind of death march. It just needs to be finished before publication. I’m still about a month and a half out from having all my promotional artwork.

The first thing I did was to delete 1000 to 1500 words I already had written. Then I added 3500 new words. Beginnings are tough, and there are some boxes I need to check off. I’m much happier with this version. All the characters have been introduced, and both the big picture and a secondary problem are on the table.

Oddly enough for me, this is where I’m going to start my outline. This isn’t how I typically do things, but it feels right in this case. With everything I have going on during October, I may not add new words for several weeks. I have some work related travel, the visit from my parents, and more going on. I’m okay with that. It’s a workable starting point, and a bit of daydreaming time will improve the final product.

A bit of theory is that editing can fill in the corners I’m left with. I’m also good at reading on airplanes. My storyboard app goes everywhere I do, so I can add index cards or sticky notes as things occur to me.

I mentioned last night that I built a storyboard for a subsequent project. I really like having even partial storyboards prepared ahead of time. It cuts down on that problem of wondering what I’ll write next.

Baseball ended without a whimper today. My team really stunk up the second half, and gets to watch the playoffs from a beach somewhere. I’m watching some football right now, and hope they deliver a better season than my baseball team did.

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Starting my weekend

I started off with a pretty short list, and dove right into it this morning. I didn’t finish everything, but I’m okay with that.

I have my Lisa Burton interview all scheduled for next week. For anyone that reads this, Lisa is getting a little think on candidates to interview. Now would be a good time to jump in if you’re thinking of doing some kind of Fall/Halloween push for your books.

I also wrote my last micro-fiction for the October event I call Macabre Macaroni. Then I went ahead and scheduled them all. They will post every Tuesday in October. These have traditionally been pretty fun, and I hope you enjoy this year’s selections.

Personally, I never know which ones are going to click with people. I have my favorites, but I’m always surprised. This year, I opened the first story with an almost Rod Serling kind of introduction. I also ended the last one with something similar. I doubt anyone will put the bookends together, because it’s going to take a month between these stories.

The only thing that’s left is to turn Lanternfish into a book. This means to add a title page, copyright data, and some end of book material. There is no rush here, I don’t even have all my Lisa Burton artwork yet.

So I did something relatively stupid. I started writing a new story. I haven’t even published Lanternfish yet, but I’m 2800 words into a new tale now.

This is supposed to be a relaxing journey into self improvement, but I’m on the verge of turning writing into a job.

Honestly, I enjoy drafting new material, so it looks like I didn’t make it to November, which was the mark on my calendar.

This one is kind of odd, because I don’t have a complete outline. I have a bunch of vignettes that I need to pull together into a plot somehow. This can work with a character driven story. It remains to be seen if I can pull it off.

It looks like I’m off to the races now. I have Saturday as a fairly productive day too. Sundays are more problematic, but it’s looking like a productive weekend.

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