Tag Archives: Yak Guy

Some days a diamond…

… Some days a rock. I had good intentions for yesterday and today. I got up early and tackled the feedback I received on my short story. This was the one where I dabbled in epistolary style.

The story wasn't quite right, and my volunteers were able to point out some things that really helped. I winced when I wrote it about using italics for the documents. Big chunks of italics are frowned upon, but it is the correct style.

I even have one chunk where there are old letters quoted inside a blog post. The correct style is italics for the blog post, and back to normal for the letters. I hated to do it, because I hoped the section breaks would be enough. They weren't and using the italics was the right thing to do.

There were some clarity issues as well, and I used many of the suggestions people threw at me. It's good now, and maybe some time in the fermenter will let me improve it. Short fiction is a side line, and I have no deadlines for finishing it.

Many thanks to my volunteers, and I'm happy to return the favor if you guys need it.

I'm still ruminating over sections of the Yak Guy Project. I need to touch up some of what I already have, including plants that will payoff later down the trail. I have a study guide on the table beside me and will do some research later today.

I managed to add about 1000 words to an old school science fiction story I've been working on. This is also short fiction, so I'm in no real hurry on it either.

Old What's Her Face said she needed to air me out yesterday, so we did date night early. We went and saw The Hateful Eight. I love Tarantino, but this one was just not that good. He never really has followed the rules, but some good editing could have left a half hour of film on the cutting room floor. I even told my wife that if I introduced an omnipotent narraror 3/4 of the way through a novel, the readers would crucify me. Maybe when I'm Tarantino, I can get away with this kind of thing. (Maybe not) The backstory at the end didn't really work for me either.

We consoled ourselves with pizza and beer at Old Chicago. (Well, I had beer. She doesn't drink.) When we got home, we decided to watch movies on cable.

We watched Pompei, with the actor who may, or may not, be playing John Snow when Game of Thrones returns this spring. It was mediocre, but had some cool special effects. We also watched The Judge with Robert Downey and Robert Duval. For me, it was the best movie of the day.

My takeaway was that I was invested in Downey and Duval, I cared what happened, and it had a wonderful reflection on fathers vs sons. There has to be a lesson there for writers.

Hateful Eight and The Judge both had wonderful actors and good performances. As a writer, I don't have that luxury. They both had great characters; that I can attempt. I love some special effects like in Pompei, and might be able to write some of that too. The place where I can up my game is to try for an emotional tug in the story.

I admit to being a little 'hit and miss' when it comes to the emotional pull. I know what I intend, but does the reader get it at the other end? Yes, some of the time. This is where the Muse could really help me elevate my game.

I didn't post last night, because we were spending time together. This Sunday morning post is intending to make up for that. I have some editing on The Playground in my sights for today. The good news is that tomorrow is a national holiday in the US. Maybe I'll be ready to add some words to The Yak Guy project.

So yesterday was a rock. Maybe tomorrow will be a diamond.


Filed under Writing

Putting along

Sometimes people like progress reports, word counts, that kind of thing. This is that kind of post.

Wednesday was my rotating day off. I decided not to post then so John Howell could have the top slot for a bit longer. I checked this evening, and John & Lisa made it into my top ten posts of all time. Thank you everyone who hit the like button.

I wasn’t completely idle Wednesday. I added about 1500 words to the Yak Guy Project. I’m afraid this story is moving slow, but it has some big questions and moments in it. My solution is to write it, and worry about it later. If I need to reduce words in the early stages, I can manage that.

I need to make sure Yak Guy Ted has the hots for the new character. I have my doubts as to whether I’m pulling that off, but it’s functional for now. That way it will cause more damage when he finds out she’s pregnant with someone else’s child.

I’m pretty sure it needs some more metaphorical elements. I hacked one out where Ted is looking at the enormity of the wilderness, and getting a vague idea that the whole world is before him in more ways than one. Too corny?

I’m getting some great feedback on my short story. I really like the concept, and I’m enjoying the exercise in a new form (for me anyway). There is something off about the story, and feedback helped a bunch. I’m waiting to hear from one more before tackling it over the weekend.

With a little luck, I may wind up adding another tool to my kit in the form of epistolary style.

I have a hankering for some old school science fiction. This is the kind from an era where we didn’t know as much as we do today. People may hold that against me, but I started another short story. It involves a guy with a rocket pack and a fishbowl helmet. He probably needs a ray gun too. He lands on a planet, and gets an attitude adjustment.

I’m at 780 words on it with no set target. Yeah, I know he couldn’t pass through an atmosphere like it was nothing, but that’s the style from decades ago. Will people hate it? I have no idea, but I’m committed to writing it. If nothing else, it will be true to the era it reflects.

Yesterday, during my commute, Lorelei (my Muse) sent me another vignette. This one is kind of controversial and vulgar. I don’t know if I’ll write it or not. It’s in me, but doesn’t exactly fit my style. I haven’t spotted any speculative element in it at all. I’ll probably try to abandon it, unless the Muse insists.

In the off chance you’re curious, it involves a trailer trash type family. A young woman is trying to work herself away from these roots. Her mother is explaining what women do to make points with the male boss, and encouraging her to get on with that. Such a great mom.

Maybe this scene and characters will fit into a future novel.

That’s the story of my week. I’m writing this Thursday night, and it will go live mid-day Friday. I have some loose weekend goals, so we’ll see how it goes. Hope everyone is having a great week.


Filed under Writing

All’s well that ends well

I had sourdough bread for breakfast this morning. It came out really good, and I even managed a great blister crust this time. I also gave the dog his medicine before tearing into my project list.

I managed the 20,000 words I wanted on The Yak Guy project. I may have forced it, but I wanted the word count. I managed names for the warring factions, but when I googled them I wanted to change them. I managed a letter or two of change and they work for now.

Yak guy is finished with the third character in the book, and it's time for him to join civilization once more. To do this he needs a name, but cannot remember his. Think of this like a portal fantasy. It isn't, but it gets the point across. He lost memories during the process.

The yak told him these people are named for their professions like Merchant, or Tanner. The rest have short simple names. Since yak guy doesn't have a profession, he decided his name would be Ted. It works for now, and everything is subject to change.

I managed to finish my critiques for tomorrow night's meeting. This will probably keep me from posting tomorrow, since our meetings usually run late.

The short story isn't finished either, but it's very close. I never got to that final character pass on The Playground. Quite frankly, I ran out of creative fuel.

There will be other characters in the Yak Guy project, but the next main one is The Empress in the tarot deck. In my deck she is The Lady, and that's what I'm going with. This means I have research ahead of me. This character is going to be important, and I need to have her lessons in place along with her use in the story.

My wife is home now, and it's time to think about the work week ahead. It was a great weekend of writing, but the real world beckons.


Filed under Writing

It’s a writer’s weekend

Old What's Her Face* is still in Nevada visiting family. I've had the house all to myself, and hit it about as hard as I felt like.

I haven't broken the 20,000 word mark on The Yak Guy project. I added a few bits to plant things that will payoff later. I stalled when it came time to name things.

Choosing names is always hard for me. I think everything sounds horrible. Yak guy is at a place where he needs to choose a name to find other people like himself. He has certain memories stripped away, and I don't like any of the names he's coming up with.

There are two warring factions in this story, and they need names too. There I am, freaked out over names. Some will say to keep writing and fix it later. I have a really hard time doing that.

To break things up, I started a short story. I nailed down just over 3000 words in two days. Looks like it's going to be a legitimate short story, and not a micro-fiction. I really like where it's going, but it needs some cleaning up. Part of the problem comes from first person point of view. I must have written 27 sentences beginning with I. (If you need an example refer to this paragraph.) I made a pass to clean that up, but it still needs work.

I finished two of three critiques. I printed the last one, but am stalling. The guy sent in double the allowed word count intending for us to do half this month, and half next month. Just another weirdness I possess, and I'll probably have to work up the whole thing. I don't want to print it twice, or re-do the first half next month.

I finished another character pass on The Playground too. There is one left, and it's a big one. I'm getting close to needing some beta readers, but not quite.

I spent a little time with The Twilight Zone, and Hitchcock. Later I'm going to check out the season finale of Ash vs. The Evil Dead.

I also baked bread and tried out my new clay baker from King Arthur. It came out with a beautiful blister crust, and I kind of want to tear into it right now. The house smells pretty darned good.

I still have to get some posts scheduled for next week. There are guests coming over, and I have work to do on their posts.

My wife won't be home until mid day tomorrow, and I might get more accomplished tonight and tomorrow morning. I really want to break 20,000 words on Yak Guy before I head back to work. Fingers crossed that I'll come up with some good names.

I seem to have this shut off at about 2500 words. After that, I need to constructively daydream the next part. My outline cards are mile markers, but I still have to come up with stuff between them. It seems as if that isn't everything in the tank. I can still write short fiction and dedicate brain cells to it.

So update the blog, kill a few deadites, and back to… Something. I'll figure out something.

* Entertaining Stories, protecting my wife's identity since 2013.


Filed under Writing

Acceptable amount of progress

Lisa* and I spent the day with Yak Guy. I have to admit, she spent most of her time with the yak. She has this thing for animals, and this one talks.

Yak Guy isn't quite as spoiled and entitled as he once was, but he has a long way to go. I even got him to the point where he shows a bit of the hero he may become. He revealed a minor bit of heart, but not a great amount.

He's at the point where he can meet a new character in the story. They just have to make a treacherous journey over snowy mountains. He has no coat, poor shoes, and no clue what's going on. His life is in the yak's hands, (hooves). He will grow and learn.

I'm excited and terrified by this story at the same time. I can handle a bit of adventure, and excitement. This is going to include some spiritual growth, and I hope I'm up for it. I may need a real editor by next fall.

I'm alternating between things going too fast, and not fast enough. I'm at 8600 words, and I've already blasted through total commitment, (he had no choice) and taking action where he had to be heroic. On the other hand, there has been a lot of traveling and camping.

This section is all about learning to take care of his basic needs. Imagine a spoiled city kid, who leeches off of his friends, being suddenly thrust into life in the wilderness. He needs to know some things, and I'm trying to show his growth this way. I honestly don't know if people will find it boring, or get the idea that he's growing through small lessons.

Many of the characters will represent major arcana cards in the fool's journey. Obviously, Yak Guy is The Fool. The Yak serves as The Magician. It's the yak's job to teach a work ethic to Yak Guy. I intend to have the yak around throughout the story, but we'll see where it goes.

The next character will be the High Priestess, although it may be a priest when I write it. After those lessons, Yak Guy will be ready to be around people again. I think I'll have him make a major decision at that point to signal the end of Act One. I'll check the word count at that point, and get an idea how long this story will turn out.

We'll see how it goes, but I'm writing it. I haven't left the outline behind yet, it's just a long way between the mile markers.

Lisa saddled up the yak, and led him out the garage doors from the basement. She led him to the front door, and we watched Yak Guy ride off into the snow. I have a fair idea who he is now, and what he's all about.

*Lisa Burton is my robotic assistant. She's also the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories.


Filed under Writing


Rain pelted the windshield on my gyrocopter as I lifted off from home. It became snow before I landed at the writing cabin. I struggled with the stick to keep it on the runway, but eventually got it onto the elevator and into the basement.

Lisa* was down there shoveling out the stables. She had on coveralls, red rubber boots, and a red bandana in her hair. The yak waited patiently outside his stall.

“Shouldn't yak guy be doing that?” I asked.

“Probably, but he's kind of needy,” Lisa said.

“Let me guess, he told you he'd do it later,” the yak said.

“Exactly. He's up there sleeping on your couch. He drank all your beer, and ate all the food I picked up for your lunch.”

I scratched my head. “Maybe I'll write him off a cliff today.”

“Would you?” Lisa said.

“I've already pushed him off a ledge,” the yak said. “It helped, briefly.”

“Some of this is my fault,” I admitted. “It has to do with his character journey. Lazy entitled parasite, becomes functional human.”

“When is he going to be functional?” Lisa asked.

“I can't rush that part. That's why the yak is so engaging. He carries the story for now.”

Lisa hugged the yak. “You're so cute and fluffy. You're smart too.”

“Someone has to be smart in this story,” I added. “Remember, I'm basing it off the fool's journey. I have to start with the fool.”

“Well then, try to write a bunch of it today,” Lisa said. “It would be nice if he could pick up after himself, or even do a dish or two.”

I went upstairs and found yak guy in my office. A dirty plate and cup sat on the coffee table, and he was curled up on my couch with his dirty shoes on.

“Hey, get up. Put your dishes away, and get your shoes off my furniture.”

“I'm sleeping, besides, that's what the maid's for.”

“I don't have a maid.”

“Then who's the babe?”

“She's my assistant, and she's going to kick your ass if you don't take care of some of this.”

“I'll do it later.”

I sat at my desk and turned on my iPad. The new keyboard snapped into place and I started writing. The first thing I did, was write Yak Guy's shoes out of my writing cabin.

He rolled over and tucked his feet against the back of the couch. I wrote his pants and shirt away too.

“What the hell, man?”

“Put your dishes away and clean up after yourself. If you can manage that, you can have your stuff back.”

“That's bullshit. I told you I'd do it later.”

“My next trick is to invite Mr. Freckle over from a book I wrote called Arson. He eats people that move too slow.”

He jumped up, grabbed his plate, and stomped off toward the kitchen. Writing this story could be quite the adventure.

*Lisa Burton is my assistant. She's also a robot, and spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories.

PS: Lots of words today. They aren't exactly good words, but there are a lot of them.


Filed under Muse

Thankful for small progress

Tonight my wife had to go to our grandaughter's Christmas program. I would have gone too, but it started while I was at work. Then there is that whole commute thing I have to do twice per day.

When I got home the new Christmas tree was still standing. I don't know what the other one's problem was, maybe it needed Viagra. Anyway, I wound up alone for about two hours.

I tore into my new novel. I really ought to be working on editing the other one, and finding a cover artist. I'm just into this project right now.

It isn't even a chapter yet, but I like the way it's shaping up. There is a decent amount of stress and tension, and readers won't know if it's insanity or something else… Yet.

Right now I'm just calling it the yak guy project. The title will come to me later. It's about a guy and a yak, at least in the early chapters. You heard me, one of these:

I don't even know what genre it's going to find its way into, but it's speculative like everything else I write.

For tonight, happy Christmas tree = happy wife. Happy yak = happy Craig. Wish me luck.

Does anyone know a good photo manipulation artist who might like to make the cover for The Playground? I know how to give direction then get out of the way.


Filed under Writing