Tag Archives: writing

Progress, depends on how you define it.

Today was my flex day. I made no effort at all to wake up early, but was up around six o’clock. I took my time with chores, social media, email, and my standard AM process.

I turned to my manuscript, and started reading the last chapter plus. Fixed a few spelling errors and one double word.

Right now, the story involves moving the pirate ship into harm’s way once more, and doing some character building to help carry this section.

I need to make sure to build some tension as they face a well trained enemy with multiple ships, and that might be slow going as I work back and forth across it. This will lead right into the big finish scene.

There is a lot that has to happen in the finale. I’ve planted quite a few things that need to pay off now. Magic, cannon, swordsmanship, and a new monster will be involved. Then, of course, there is a denouement of some kind.

I’m mildly concerned about the big finish, because I don’t want it to feel like a battle scene that drags on. There are enough characters, and it’s a moving battle, so I get some leeway.

Denouement is another struggle. I have a happy ending I could go with, or one that leads into a possible sequel. My big issue with this involves my readers. If they don’t take to book one, will anyone be interested in book two? A second book would also eat time for something else I’d like to write.

Who knows how I’ll handle it. Honestly, I need to focus on one step at a time here.

Moving pieces around the board doesn’t sound like much progress, but it’s required in the story.

On the other hand, I wrote three blog posts this afternoon, including this one. One of them will post over at Story Empire next week. Blogging counts by my rules, so today was fairly productive.

Back to work tomorrow, but my next flex day is Monday. With a three day weekend I might even finish my novel, but it would be a stretch. I won’t rush it. If I have to wait another week, so be it, but I’m getting close here.

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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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Kinda late tonight

I’ve been dabbling all night. I scratched out a shtick for Lisa Burton Radio and sent it out. Someone wanted the last July date, and there’s plenty of time to put it together. Still have some August openings if you want one.

On the way home I was accosted by a character. I dwelled on her story, and hacked out a micro piece just now. It needs some work, and kind of wants to be longer than one blog post.

I’m going to make it behave and stash it in my Macabre Macaroni folder. If I get enough of these things, I can do my October thing again this year.

I probably shouldn’t be worrying about anything other than my novel, but getting a draft out at this length doesn’t take too long. I’ve gotten the character out of my head and can start on the novel without her fictional baggage.

I have a few ideas for the next section of Lanternfish, and will probably just start writing and see where it leads me. I’ve produced some good bits this way, and just fleshing out the scenes can get me on the right track.

Old What’s Her Face went to Nevada today. It’s their annual Art in the Park event, and she wanted to go. This gives me one day to work on whatever I want.

Things are looking kind of peachy in my back yard tonight. I may have to taste test this year’s crop to see if they’re ready.

I survived the partial work week, and am looking forward to my one personal day to do whatever I want.

Hope all of you find time for yourselves this weekend too.

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Puttering about

I’m still on vacation, and don’t have to go back to work until Thursday. I expected to get a ton of writing done, but it hasn’t worked out that way. It’s more a bit here and there.

Sunday I was pretty much a vegetable. I felt bad about it, and after my ballgame ended, I decided to forge ahead reading. I’m so glad I did. This isn’t a book review blog, and never will be, but you need to read this one. I’ve always been a Mae Clair fan, but she took this one into a whole new atmosphere. It’s called Cusp of Night, and yes that is a hotlink for your convenience.

I finished it Sunday night, so I feel like I was at least productive to a degree.

Today I started out writing, but my wife is home, bulldogs had to play ball, and it was just dabbling. I’m a big believer in just pecking away at a project. Voyage of the Lanternfish is now at (checking) 66,089 words.

I can get a lot done a bit here and there.

This afternoon I had an eye appointment. There are new prescriptions, frames, and such on the way.

I also took on a small beta reading project. I messed around a bit with it today too. It isn’t long, and my goal is to turn it back before I have to go back to work.

My novel almost demands breaks at times. Now that my crew has left pseudo-China, they’ve had one success, but there is another problem to deal with. I also have to come up with another new country, but I have some ideas for it. This won’t be as big a stop, but they need to face some problems. This is where shifting into beta reading, or attending an eye appointment helps. It lets my brain work on the issues without the distraction of the keyboard.

This new country is bugging me too. I want to give it a name that will conjure an image before readers even learn about it. I’ve bastardized a name, but I don’t like it. I’m going with it for now, but intend to do a word search and change it later.

I posted over at Story Empire how I hate naming things. I offered up a few tips that worked for me, and invited others to offer some too. There are some good tips in the comments section, and I intend to try them. Oh yeah, that is a hotlink too, just in case you have a tip or want to see what others do when naming things.

I also discovered another five star review for The Hat today. Since I’m on a hotlink kick, might as well just link this one too.

None of it seems outstanding, but it all adds up. I’ve been busy, just not focused on one thing. I think I’ll just keep dabbling on this vacation.

However, my wife decided to go back to Nevada this weekend. It might only be a Saturday, but I could get a bunch done that day.

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Odd day to update

I had to change my work week around. This led to me getting Tuesday as my flex day. I kind of expected to get a lot done, but it never felt quite right. Sometimes you just have a feeling.

Otto tried to get me started early, but I got him to go back to sleep. I didn’t get up until 7:00.

This is still okay, but the dogs were well rested and crazy for a few hours. Think of a moving battle that rolls from room to room and across the floor. They’re just playing, but bulldog style has to be witnessed to be appreciated. Imagine two hippos with mouths wide open. They growl and rush at each other before a lengthy pushing match ensues.

I wound up reading through the last two chapters of Lanternfish and making some edits. I discovered an odd bit about paying off the crew when they got to the pirate stronghold. It’s all fixed now, but it took some thought and experimentation.

I also dreamed up a few more scenes to bring into the story somehow. Then I drifted off into research.

This time it’s about jellyfish. How they work, which parts do what; that kind of thing. It’s probably going to lead to a jellyfish that’s several miles wide, and big enough to get a ship stuck for days. It’s also big enough to ensnare an entire pod of whales. It’s a work in progress, so we’ll see how that comes out after a bit of improvement.

I’m also working on bits about the root monsters vs seagulls, and vs the ship’s cook. May, or may not, include them.

My daughter was home today, so we spent most of the day talking. For some reason I can daydream and say, “Uh huh,” at the same time. (I think it’s a Dad thing.) Her last day at the Boise job is tomorrow, she starts in Sun Valley again Sunday.

The cat will be moving with her. He was pretty funny today too. He attacked the dogs and ran upstairs. He’s quite the little antagonist. He likes to hide between the throw pillows while Frankie tries to draw him like a badger.

I can’t complain about today’s outcome. It will be the last big visit with my daughter for a while, and it was nice. My story is between acts, and at a transition phase. It’ll keep.

Things might be quiet on my front for the next few days, but Lisa Burton Radio is all scheduled and ready to go. I will respond to comments and such as time allows, but will be with colleagues in McCall and my time is not my own.

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Hodgepodge kind of day

Otto decided to get me up at 5:00 this morning. It really wasn’t in my plan, but Momma put some leftover chicken breast in his bowl, and he knew it was there. He held out as long as he could, then needed to get at it.

Across yesterday and today, I got one shtick out the door for an interview, and scheduled one for July. I have another one to schedule, and two more to move ahead in the queue. One of my guests is a planner, and needs a date in August. I went ahead and scheduled that one too. (I love planners. They can make the interview part of a larger tour.)

I managed about 2000 new words of fiction today too. Yesterday was all about cannons, swords, and action. Today was all about coming down from that. The pirate crew is starting to meld together, and it occurred to me that, as a whole, the crew is also a character. A lot of character building happened today. Fart jokes were made too.

I watched a beautiful horse race today, which led to another Triple Crown Winner. These things are rare, and there may have been as many Popes in my lifetime as Triple Crown Winners. (I’m not taking the time to count.) So excited for Justify and his peeps.

Now I’m hoping my baseball team can pad their lead in the west. This is going to be a tough series, and we’re on the road, but stranger things have happened.

I took a minute to catch up on blogs, and stumbled across some exciting news. Karen O, is the first book reviewer I ever met. Years ago, she was taken by Lisa Burton in her debut novel. She asked me if she could use Lisa in a story she was writing.

Lisa was just lounging around, and I hadn’t come up with tasks for Lisa at the time, so I said yes. Karen serialized this story on her blog, and it was a lot of fun. A while back, she asked me if it might be alright to publish it. I said yes, with no reservations, and encouraged her to do it.

Karen is doing a cover reveal today for her story, Neighbors. Lisa has a small co-starring kind of role in the story. Go visit Karen for more information at this site In A Small Compass.

If I do nothing else, it’s been a productive weekend. I plan on addressing those pending interviews, but we’ll see how it goes.

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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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