First-quarter report to the readers

Author and Atomic Duck

A few days after the first of the year, I posted “My 5 goals for 2017.” How’s that going for me, three months into this latest 12-month adventure? Continue reading First-quarter report to the readers

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My 5 goals for 2017

obstacle-course
One thing holding up my writing career is the obstacle course I must negotiate to get into my home office.

Exactly one year ago today, I pledged to deliver a trilogy of novels about a huge beast from the sea, with the first one due May 11. I was later forced by my wiser nature to walk that beast back to the sea whence it came. I wish I could say “I didn’t say May 11 of what year,” but you can see I plainly intended to deliver the whole trilogy by July 1, 2016.

Wiser men than I have spoken of SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and within a certain Time line. The goal of writing a novel by May 11, 2016, and two more by July 1 was clearly SMT but not so AR. Continue reading My 5 goals for 2017

A writer of stories and encouraging words

I never took advantage of my bully pulpit as small-town newspaper editor to promote the books I have written over the last eight years or so. It didn’t seem fair to leverage that audience when others had to buy ads to do the same.

But now that some of that audience has followed me here, wondering “What happened to Warren? What will he do next?” it behooves me, as young Chris Carter does at the end of every X-Files episode, to declare, “I made this!”

I promise I won’t engage in blatant advertising every day. This website is mainly the place where I deposit fragments of thought and potential stories, and offer some encouragement against the rampaging tides of Dark Silly that threaten your calm every day.

When I sat down some time ago to create a personal mission statement, the words that emerged were short and simple: “I am a writer of stories and encouraging words.” And that is the mission I aim to fulfill every time I sit down at this keyboard. Continue reading A writer of stories and encouraging words

Sample burst from the work in progress

fossil crop

A spray of water erupted where the torpedo found a target and exploded.

“The fools. Senseless. Worse than senseless fools – so senseless they’re going to get a bunch of us killed.”

“Or destroy the kaiju,” Devin said, “before it can reach the city.”

“We’re going to have to pray they can do that,” his grandfather replied. “My poor Krayatura.”

“Dad? Remember the part where your ‘poor Krayatura’ killed my brother – your son?”

“Yes, I do, love,” Steve told Kate. “Let me be the sad scientist from the movies who says we still shouldn’t kill the beast, we should study it – see what it’s like, find where it came from.”

“We can study its carcass just fine,” Kate said bitterly.

“I’m not sure it’s gonna die,” Devin said.

The beast lifted itself out of the water and emitted a howl that felt like rage mingled with pain – but not a mortal pain. A black blossom had bloomed on its chest, probably where the torpedo hit, but the direct strike had not burst the animal’s skin.

“My goodness,” Steve said. “That is an amazing natural armor. And now the thing is mad.”

– – – – –

Creative log:

Thursday, May 26, 2016: Krayatura 1 – 773/10,041/60,000

Intermission and log

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My intention is to retire from regular blogging for a while to concentrate on my other creative projects. I may post a more detailed update or random thoughts, but my central goal will be to keep a log of those projects and provide some self-accountability and a progress report. To that end I plan to pin this log to the top for the time being. Scroll down to browse past (and possible present) thoughts.

Sunday, May 15: Krayatura 1 – 620/8,066/60,000 (620 new words/8,066 to date/60,000 goal)

Monday, May 16: Krayatura 1 – 624/8,690/60,000

UPDATE: One of my handful of actual regular readers takes issue with the idea that I retire from regular blogging while concentrating on other creative projects. I appreciate the thought, and I probably can indeed simultaneously walk and chew gum, so this log hereby migrates to the bottom of my regular blog posts. Thank you for the kick in the ass, Orlin.

The beast still lurks out of sight

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Are you enjoying it so far? I’m referring, of course, to Krayatura: Beast from the Sea, which I promised would be released May 11, the first in a trilogy that would be complete by July 1.

The answer, of course, is you can’t enjoy what hasn’t been released on time.

Well, let’s file it among stretch goals that were a little too stretchy. I keep setting these goals as if there were no day job, no Dip, no Resistance and no life.

Rather than focus on the fact that the novel is nowhere near ready for prime time, let’s look at the positives.

I have a general outline of the three books, which allows me to plant seeds early that will germinate and bear fruit at the climax of the trilogy.

It also helped me recognize that the random guy I introduced when the beast first made landfall wasn’t so random after all.

I know and love the family at the core of the story, and I recognize that my job is to make you love them, too.

I know what the beast looks like, why it rose from the sea, what it will take to kill it, the consequences of killing it, and what happens next.

I know, if I execute it properly, this can be a rousing and entertaining story.

So: Am I disappointed at this stage to have barely a half-dozen finished chapters in my first draft? Holy crap, “disappointed” doesn’t begin to describe it. With all of the groundwork I’ve laid, more than this should have been accomplished.

But it wasn’t. Boo hoo. In the general scheme of things, I’m the only one who really cares, right? If I missed a deadline this badly at the day job, there would be consequences to pay.

What I need – and let this be my caution for others who aim to turn professional as writers – is to adjust my mindset so that I feel the pain of missing a personal deadline with the same anguish I would feel missing a day job deadline.

Because (and here’s the bottom line) the day job, like all day jobs, can go away for reasons out of my control. This job – the stories, the essays, the blogs, the podcasts – is all mine. All I need to do is please you, the reader and listener, and the sooner the better.

I have a new deadline. I’m going to keep it to myself until I’m more confident I can make it. I’ll let you know if I miss it, and wow, you’ll know if I make it.

The guy on the island

There I was, minding my own business. I was driving from one town to another in the course of my day job, listening to one of the podcasts that are my habit in the car, not at all thinking about my stalled novel about a kaiju (giant monster).

The narrative was stalled. I have the trilogy sketched out and the novels plotted. I had been working on a chapter about an early encounter between my kaiju and the people of a small, barely inhabited island, when the creative muse flew away. Days – weeks? – had passed.

But none of that was on my mind as I hit the highway to the office where I do most of my newspapering. The author in the podcast was talking about – something. You know when you wake up from a dream and you know it was good but you can’t remember another darn thing about it?

All I know is all of a sudden a guy on the island leaned toward me and said, “You do know who I AM, don’t you?”

And I did know, all of a sudden. This was our first encounter with THAT character, the one who – well, maybe it’s not time to explain who THAT character is. The possibilities flew across my mind. It was like the tumblers of a safe falling into place and reopening the door to the story.

The creative muse sat in the passenger seat. She had been waiting for me to recognize the guy on the island.

“Well?” she said. “Get going.”