Surprise Goose

Happy Sunday, Everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend!

There’s a bit of a story around this week’s title. For those of you that don’t know…I’ve got critters here at the house. Not in the house…well, there’s the dogs, but outside the house too.

There’s goats, a few llamas (because we’ve also got Coyotes) chickens, ducks and, you guessed it, geese.

This afternoon, I head outside to feed the menagerie and there’s a goose I don’t recognize standing there looking at me like I owe him something.

Turns out that my wife brought a goose home with her last night.  This is not as odd as it sounds.

Anyway, surprise goose.

Now you might be wondering what this has to do with writing. Well, let me tell you. Ideas are like that surprise goose in many ways.

I had an idea that I wanted to use in my current project. To do that, however, required me to sow a few seeds earlier in the book. It was while I was planting one of those seeds this morning when the surprise goose showed up and sent me down a 1600 word path that I had no idea I was going to be writing when I sat down a few hours earlier.

So when you’re working, and you find a surprise goose, pay attention to it (cuz those suckers’ll come after you if you aren’t paying attention), maybe give it a bit of food, and see what it does.

Just don’t turn your back on it…seriously…an unfamiliar male may just decide to mug you…We had a rooster here that’d do that.

He ended up in the soup.

 

Until next time,

Be Safe Y’All.

###

Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story Excerpts.

I’ll see you around for the next Five Thing Thursday!

 

Time: 6:26 PM – ish

Music: Unleash the Archers – The Awakening

 

Posted in Inspiration, LIfe, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Friday Fess-Up: September 21st.

Happy Friday Everyone! We Made it!!

So, as I mentioned earlier, I am making a serious push to get to the end of the First Draft of my Current Project.

By way of keeping myself honest, I am going to use this segment of the blog to show you all how I am doing week by week.

So here’s how this week broke down. I begin the week on Saturday, because that was where the first of the month fell.

This week, “Broke” was a pretty good descriptor. This week nearly broke me, but I managed to somehow* make it through, and by the Seven Winds, am I going to sleep tonight.

So interested in hearing about how the week went?

Saturday:  Word Count = 1163 Words.

Sunday: Word Count = 1088 Words.

Monday: Word Count = 1164 Words.

Tuesday: Word Count = 1044 Words.

Wednesday: Word Count = 1010 Words. Here is where it started to go off the rails for me. This was the beginning of a long stretch of day-job days. And the day job was particularly soul sucking.

Thursday: Word Count = 1239 Words. This took every scrap of spare time I had today. Wednesday was super long and super tiring. I tried to get up after only 5 hours of sleep and…I just couldn’t. No writing in the morning. I didn’t think I was going to make word count, and I’ve only got one more day to go. Feeling jangly as a neck full of busted guitar strings. I don’t know how I’m going to people tomorrow…

Friday: Word Count = 1075 Words. You might remember earlier where I said that that week was going to be as bad as it got?

Heh.  Heh, heh.

I didn’t think I was going to make it today. Overworked. Underslept. I barely managed anything this morning. Then, come lunch, I’m working – still needed about 500 words by this point and I hit a wall. Nothing made sense. I came at the problem from a ton of angles and none of them worked. I’d gone off the rails somewhere.

I had to start over. by Mid day, my word count was back to Zero, and I needed a thousand.

I confess that I almost gave up. I’m ahead of schedule and this is a self imposed deadline. Taking a break would have been (and is) completely ok.

I was tempted, but I’ve been producing 1000 words a day every day this month, and I don’t want to damage the habit that’s forming. And I’m stubborn like that.

Anyway, what was the total of all that numbering and wording, you ask?

Let me check…*mumbles, maths*…Ok!

Total word count for the week: 7783!

Not too bad, even if at the end there I felt every word.  Next Friday will tell if I was able to keep the pace.

Because of the way the month is laid out, there will still be two more days in September. Stop by on Sunday, for the monthly total.

This post is, officially, the penultimate task I’ve got to do today.

And then I will be done for the day.

I *SO* going to sleep tonight…

###

Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the regular blog post.

Be sure, also, to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

Be safe Y’All.

 

 

 

 

 

*The Writing community is amazing. I wouldn’t have made it through the week without you.

Posted in Friday Fess-Up | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: September 20th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: The October Blog Tour is Happening!! Beginning October 1st, we will be kicking off a Halloween Edition of “Two Questions With…”

Who are the bloggers this time around?  Well, you’ll have to Stay Tuned for the Line-Up…

Thing #2: When it comes to putting off stuff that I should be doing, I have a capacity to procrastinate that borders on being a superpower.

Thing #3: I misspelled my first name, for the first time this week…on Monday.  Which paints a pretty solid picture of how the week turned out, if you ask me.

Thing #4: Against overwhelming odds to the contrary, I did manage to hit my 1000 word goal for today. No, this post doesn’t count toward that.

Thing #5: This week has already had more than its fair share of bullshit and struggle – and there’s still one day left in it. But that’s the thing: There’s only one more day left, then you can try and find some peace.

This was something I said to myself – nearly verbatim – earlier today. If you’re in a similar place, know that I see you. Hang on.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

See you tomorrow for the Friday Fess-up post.

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

It Happens to the Best of Us

Happy Sunday, Everyone!  I hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

This week I’d like to talk about how I almost decided not to include an argument in my current project. Why? Because I thought it would make the characters unlikable.

That got me to thinking about two things:

The first was that this is taking place in chapter 32. If my characters weren’t likable by this point, they weren’t going to be.

The second was the question of whether or not they should be likable all the time.

Think about your best friend for a moment. Ever had an argument with them? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you have. And that’s ok. You’re both people. You’re bound to have a difference of opinion sooner or later.

Add to that tension, the usual day to day stresses, or even a bad day, and you may end up being briefly unlikable.

And that’s ok. We’re human that way. Your characters (yes, even the non-human ones) should be that way too. It happens to the best of us.

Now that doesn’t mean that you’ve got license to fly way off the rails. Fiction needs to make sense. But you know your characters, so you know what would would be an appropriate, or inappropriate response.

Want an example? Ok, let’s talk about this guy:

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Anakin Skywalker. Attack of the Clones Anakin Skywalker no less, but hear me out.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recognize this picture. He’s on his way to a monumental emotional gut punch.  And he reacts badly.

But not out of character.

According to Canon, during Attack of the Clones, Anakin is nineteen going on twenty. I kinda remember that time – not the vanguard of good decision making.

So he breaks. Understandably so. Did he go too far? Certainly.

But by the end of the movie, you’re still rooting for him. He admits to slaughtering children, and you’re still rooting for him.

I think there’s a couple of reasons for that.

The first is that said slaughtering happened off screen.  If the filmmakers had shown it, I don’t think there would have been any way to come back from that.

The second is that we *Know* what’s going to happen eventually to this character. He is destined to become the most recognizable villain in the world, so we’re willing to swallow some things that we otherwise wouldn’t stand for.

The third is the scene right after he gets back, with Padme, where he admits to what he’s done. Say what you want about the movie, but that scene where he asks “Why couldn’t I save her?” shows a ton of raw emotion, and pain.

We can relate to that.

That relating to the character is key.

We all have bad days, we all make bad decision under the influence of anger, frustration, pain. So too will your characters.

So don’t shy away from showing some of the shady underside of your character’s personalities. If we care about them, we’ll get why they do what they do, we might even do the same thing under the same circumstances.

Not killing baby Sandpeople. That’s a step too far.

 

Until next time,

Be Safe Y’All.

###

Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story Excerpts.

 

 

 

Posted in LIfe, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Friday Fess-Up: September 14th.

Happy Friday Everyone! We Made it!!

So, as I mentioned earlier, I am making a serious push to get to the end of the First Draft of my Current Project.

By way of keeping myself honest, I am going to use this segment of the blog to show you all how I am doing week by week.

So here’s how this week broke down. I begin the week on Saturday, because that was where the first of the month fell.

Ready?

Saturday: Word count: 1446 words. All in one sitting. Try not to do that, we’re really not built to sit for that long a stretch.

Sunday: Word count: 1028 words.

Monday: Word count: 1113 words. You’d think that after a week so far of doing this, it would start to get easier. Not so much yet.

Tuesday: Word Count: 1094.

Wednesday: Word count: 1766. I have reached a point in my manuscript where I can start pulling stuff out of the “Muse Droppings” folder and put it back in the manuscript. At first, it felt like I was cheating, but then I remembered that I *Did* actually write those words. They just didn’t fit at the time.

Thursday: Word count: 1441. I am starting to think that this story may be longer than 100 thousand words.

Friday (today): Word count: 2442. Big chunk of previously written work that fit here. I’ll have to go through and edit it because some parts have gotten old and crusty.

Not much of a sleep deprived week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still behind and I need to work on that, but it was better than last week.

Anyway, what was the total of all that numbering and wording, you ask?

Let me check…*mumbles, maths*…Ok!

Total word count for the week: 10,330!

Oh, and I still managed to put up the usual blog posts, which I am not counting as writing – and I’m organizing another blog tour which will be coming to a blog near you in October.  You’ll want to stay tuned for that.

Not too bad, if I do say so myself.  Next Friday will tell if I was able to keep the pace.

###

Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the regular blog post.

Be sure, also, to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in Friday Fess-Up | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: September 13th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: Notes that my 5:30 Am brain leaves for my “Later-in-the-Day” brain don’t always translate…

Thing #2: This is the second week of my push to get the first draft of my current Project done by October 1st. If you’d like the details of how it’s been going, check out the Friday Fess-Up Posts.

Thing #3: The October Blog tour is coming soon! Have a Halloween themed question you’d like the authors to answer? Drop them into the comments section!

Thing #4: The Band = Amaranthe
The Song = 365
I cannot stop listening to this song. I just want to plug it into my ears at a hearing damaging volume.
I pre-ordered the album off the back of this one song.

Thing #5: If you’re reading this and you’re in the Carolinas area:
Be safe.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

See you tomorrow for the Friday Fess-up post.

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

More than You Believe

Happy Sunday Everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend. This week, I’m going to kick off the post with an announcement:

Like I mentioned on the last Five Thing Thursday, I have officially added the band Unleash the Archers to my writing playlist. This is pretty significant. For those of you that don’t know, I’ve spent the last few years writing pretty much exclusively to Blind Guardian. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t pulled The Bards from my playlist, but I’m trying to expand my horizons, musically, this year and did I ever with this band. I spent a good part of today’s writing session listening to their “Apex” album…well, electronic download, I don’t know if you can rightly call them “Albums” or “Records” anymore…

On with the blog!!

So I mentioned earlier that I set a pretty hefty goal for myself: 30-Thousand words in 30 days. I’m doing this so that I can reach the end of the first draft of my current project by October first. With any luck, I’ll have a couple of months of revision and, at the turn of the year, I can go back out on Submission.

Now, at the turn of the year, if you’d told me that I would be writing a minimum of a thousand words a day for a month, I’d scoff at you.

But here I am, at the beginning of week 2 and I’m not only hitting a thousand words a day, I’m actually ahead of schedule.

So what changed?

I can’t say for sure. Now there’s a determination to get words down. Not that I hadn’t been writing, I just hadn’t been writing as much. I hadn’t been pushing myself a little bit to see what I could do.

And, honestly, I’ve surprised myself a little. Last week was about as crazy as they come, and I still managed a total of over 8 thousand words for the week

Physically, I’m still getting up in the morning for a writing session. I’m writing during my lunch break – minus the time I’m actually eating. For some reason, the disconnect that comes with shoveling food in is too great to deal with. And, if I need to, I’m finishing off the last of that thousand words when I get home.

I won’t lie, there were a few days this week where it was a slog, and I missed out on a couple of hours of sleep on Friday, but I got it done.

What does this mean for the future? Well, I’m hoping that after this month, it becomes a habit. That would be a nice one to develop.

What I want you to take away from all this is:

That thing you want to do? You can do it.

You are capable of much more than you believe.

Until next time,

Be Safe Y’All.

###

Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story Excerpts.

 

Time: 3:49 Pm – ish.

Music: Unleash the Archers – False Walls

 

Posted in Challenges, LIfe, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Friday Fess-Up: September 7th.

Happy Friday Everyone! Even though it was a short week, I didn’t think it would ever get here.

We Made it!!

So this month, I am making a serious push to get to the end of the First Draft of my Current Project. This meant doing math – that’s how serious I was.

The end result was that I needed to set a daily word count of 1000 words per day, every day this month. Thirty Thousand words.

By way of keeping myself honest, I am going to use this segment of the blog to show you all how I am doing week by week.

So here’s how this week broke down. I’m beginning on Saturday, because that was the first of the month.

Ready?

Saturday: Word count: 1081. I broke this into two different writing shifts, because Saturday was pretty busy, though not as busy as what was to come…

Sunday: Word count: 1653. Totally didn’t see that coming. Lots of emotional back story to rip the scabs off some old wounds. Not sure how much of it will make the final cut, but it’s there now.

Monday: Word count: 1288 words. This was the last day of the long weekend. The true test begins tomorrow, as I return to the day job.

Tuesday: Word Count: 1037. Had to break the day into three different writing sessions: Early morning, during lunch, and when I got home. That last bit was a slog, I’m not going to lie, so I’m glad it was only 250 or so words I needed at the end there. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Wednesday: Word count: 1146. I thought that Tuesday was going to be the true test, but it turns out that Tuesday was a normal day. Wednesday was crazy. And I’m working late.

Thursday: Word count: 1128. I didn’t think I was going to make this one. I had a late night at the day job. Early morning writing got me halfway there. I got the other half during lunch, and waiting for tonight’s meeting to start. Turns out that the true test of my mettle would be…

Friday (today): Word count: 1114. Running on five hours of sleep to get up and write and I paid for it. 250 words during that first writing session. I knocked out another 680 during the day. and I finished off just before I set to posting this.

I know I’ve been really pushing sleep in the past and it’s still important. So is this goal, and there are times when the day job demands more of my time than I’d like (like back to back 13 hour days), so I’ll take strategic risks, like sleep deprived Fridays.

Anyway, what was the total of all that numbering and wording, you ask?

Let me check…*mumbles, maths*…Ok!

Total word count for the week: 8447!

Oh, and I still managed to put up the usual blog posts, which I am not counting as writing – and I’m organizing another blog tour which may or may not be happening in October.  You’ll want to stay tuned for that.

Not too bad, if I do say so myself.  Next Friday will tell if I was able to keep the pace.

###

Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the regular blog post.

Be sure, also, to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in Friday Fess-Up, LIfe, Writing | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Five Thing Thursday: September 6th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: I am currently in the first week of the push to get the first draft of my current project done by October 1st. I’ll post this week’s progress tomorrow on the Friday Fess-Up Post.

Thing #2: According to the US Postal Service, the proper way to handle mail that has been delivered to the wrong address is to pop it back into the mailbox.

Thing #3: The Novelization of “SOLO,” written by Mur Lafferty was released on September 4th. You can get it here. Go get it and put it in your eyes or ears. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which.

Thing #4: I have officially added the band “Unleash the Archers” to my writing play list.

Thing #5: Tangentially related to Thing #1: You are capable of more than you think you are. Believe that.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

See you tomorrow for the Friday Fess-up post.

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Writing People who Aren’t You

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

This week I’d like to share a few of my tips and techniques for writing characters who aren’t you. Those characters who are outside of your experience. Who have a different skin color, a different religion, a different sexual orientation, or identify differently than you do.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of things, I’d like to ask you to stop for a moment and ask yourself one question:

Why?

Why does this character need to be outside of your experience?
Why are you the person that has to write about these characters?

There are a bunch of other questions that you could ask yourself. Suffice it to say that if your answer is something about how trendy it is, how this will show everyone how “Woke” you are, or how you can shine a light on the issues and struggles facing these folk, do yourself a favor and just don’t.

This isn’t about you.

It isn’t about how much you know about a particular culture, how much of an ally you are, how much of anything *You* are.

This isn’t about you.

Does your plot hinge on your character, being of a particular culture? Identifying a specific way? That’s not a good idea either.

Your characters should triumph or fail, react to situations both mundane and extraordinary because of who they are, not because of what they look like, or who they may or may not be attracted to, or anything else like that.

We all on the same page here? Cool.

Where to begin?

The first thing you need to know, before you try and tackle anything else, the very first thing you need to have a complete grasp of is that these people are…people.

That’s it. That’s your baseline. No matter how far removed you are from the folk you’re writing about, you’ve got this one thing in common: Your humanity.

You’ve got shared feelings: Happiness, anger, love, heartache, sadness, and a whole slew of other emotions. The expression of these feelings may be vastly different, but they are there.

Use your own experience here. You remember your first kiss. You remember what it felt like to almost succeed at something, only to fail. You remember succeeding when you thought you might fail.

It’s all there. Put those feelings on the page, filter them through the lens of your character’s experience.

How do you do that?

Know your characters. This doesn’t mean that you have to have pages and pages of character sheets (although, that sounds pretty good to me, it might not work for you). But you have to know how they are going to react in specific situations, react to specific emotions. Feelings are messy, they get everywhere, but they make for relate-able – if not likable – characters, and that’s what you want.

Next?  DO YOUR RESEARCH. if this character is outside of your experience in any way, you want to research that difference. Get the details right. You’re already asking your reader to swallow quite a bit. You will make it easier for them if you can demonstrate that you know what your talking about. Get the little things right.

Have someone who is a part of that group of folks that are outside of your experience read what you’ve written.

This is called a sensitivity read. You hire someone to point out where you’ve mis-stepped, fallen into chiche, or plain gotten stuff wrong.

I say hire because this is a commitment of time – especially for a novel length work and there is the very real possibility that you may insult, or upset that reader. They need to be compensated for their time.

You’re going to want to do a bit of research here too. Get opinions about folk you’re looking to hire. Ask for a client list, talk to those folk. Yes, it’s a lot of “Not Writing” when you could be actually getting words down on paper (or, more likely, revising), but it’s necessary.

Finally, LISTEN to what these folk tell you about what you hired them to look at. These are the subject matter experts.

One last thing to remember:

You won’t please everyone. Not everyone’s experiences are going to be the same. You just have to make sure that you’ve done the best that you can. Don’t dismiss anyone’s experience, listen, learn, and move on.

 

Until next time,

Be Safe Y’All.

###

Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story Excerpts.

 

Time: 2:48 Pm – ish.

Music: Sabaton – Swedish Pagans

Posted in LIfe, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment