Musings

[Blog] Tanner and Miranda Update Schedule

So! While I don’t have my official day-to-day/week-to-week schedule yet, as I’m still doing training, what I do have is a whole bunch of free time desperately in need of structure. I also have the skeleton of the whole volume of Tanner and Miranda stories, which is just as desperately in need of actually being fleshed out and, you know, finished.

It’s a perfect match.

From here on out, with “out” being the completion of the project, is to give you guys weekly updates during these Friday blog posts. Some weeks I’ll probably end up musing about one thing or another and just tacking on my updated word count at the end. Some weeks I’ll probably have an excerpt or two– we’ll see! With any luck, I should be able to finally get back into the habit of daily writing that I wasn’t able to keep up this last year, and with that I should also be able to finally make progress on actually finishing this story!


Tanner and Miranda Stories

Total Draft Wordcount*: 3715

* Calculated in Scrivener

Musings

[Blog] Murphy’s Law Plotting

I’ve spent my writing time this week trying to figure out how to harness Murphy’s Law for the next Tanner and Miranda story. It’s been so much fun, and and has mostly involved me writing lists for the plot with what should happen on one side and what actually happens on the other. I’ve also been cackling the entire time, which has drawn a few strange looks and worried glances, but oh well. At the risk of drawing even more worried glances, it’s been a rewarding process, and I’m excited to see the result of this embrace of absurdity.

Musings

[Blog] Change

So, this week, I got a new job. Or rather, provided I get all the necessary paperwork and certifications renewed, I got a new job. This means several things, foremost in my mind being the fact that I’m going to spend the next few weeks in a chaotic flurry that may or may not involve braving the California DMV multiple times. (Oh, joy!) It also means that my carefully curated routines are about to get turned on their heads. (Oh, double joy!) But it also– sarcasm and low-key panic aside– also means that I’m going to, I hope, be doing something that is another step closer to the emergency medicine career that I’ve been moving towards for several years now. Moving slowly, granted, but moving nonetheless. And all panic and flailing against change aside, that’s pretty cool. Terrifying, but pretty darn cool.

Plus, if I’m really lucky and I get to do three twelve hour shifts (oh please oh please oh please oh please…), I’m going to have a whole bunch more time I can use for writing.

Musings

[Blog] Keeping the Tone

As evidenced by the Tanner and Miranda stories, I enjoy writing silly hijinks. It’s fun, both for me to write and (hopefully) for you to read. The thing is, I’m also a sucker for huge, epic stories with earth-shattering consequences, and Deep Important Themes. I find one of the two distinctly easier to write than the other, though there’s no doubt that both the best comedic and dramatic stories show an incredible amount of skill. (My own bias in favor of Deep Important Themes is a topic for another day, as is the existence of Dark Gritty Reboots.)

My occasional trouble is that I sometimes forget how to stick to a specific tone. One the one hand, that’s not always a bad thing. If the general mood of a story is a little somber, then a heart-warming scene in the middle of it becomes that much more powerful. Or if the general mood of a particular sequence is fairly light, then ending that sequence by making your characters suffer some sort of defeat can make it even more heartbreaking. Done well, it adds wonderful depth to the whole story and gives it all more meaning. Done poorly, of course, your readers will correctly call it out as a cheap trick or just sloppy writing. Hence my trouble when I accidentally switch tones in the middle of a story.

At the moment, my best safeguard against unwanted tone shifts is to just have multiple projects going at once. (It’s totally on purpose and not just a byproduct of having too many ideas and not enough focus. Shush, you.) I think, though, I need to get better at working in a variety of tones to the same story. In the long run, it’ll make me a better writer. Tanner and Miranda’s adventures and misadventures have the potential to be even funnier if either they or the world around them act as the straight man to the ridiculousness of the other. The big, epic, meaningful stories that I want to write will be more powerful with funny moments sprinkled in, because that’s how real life works, for one, and its how to make the aforementioned Deep Important Things a little more relatable.

Musings

[Blog] On Poetry

For someone who majored in English Lit in college, I’ve always had a funny relationship with poetry. Specifically, and particularly in the past, I’ve loved the idea of it and certain turns of phrase or images will stick with me and lodge in my soul or my brain, but I would often feel like I didn’t “get” the entire poem, and that would drive me nuts. I wanted to completely understand each poem I read, and it bothered me when I didn’t.

Or, in other words, I rather missed the point.

But this past week, while hanging out with a couple of friends, we started reading poems out loud from various collections by poets including Mary Oliver, Seamus Heaney, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Nuala ni Dhomhnaill, I think finally began to understand. Or rather, I began to understand that it’s okay to not understand, and in fact that might be a large part of the beauty of poetry.

Maybe it was because I was with dear friends. Maybe it was because we were reading them to each other in a non-academic setting, with no grade to earn or paper to write. Maybe it was because I’m a few years older and a little more comfortable with the idea that I don’t, that I can’t know everything. I’ll likely never know for sure.

What I do know is that I have a far greater appreciation than I’ve had in the past, and I look forward to reading much more poetry in the future.

Musings

[Blog] February 2019 Progress Update

This last week was… less than productive when it came to getting writing done, which was a little disheartening. That being said, I’ve had a chance to work on the overall structure, and while it’ll probably change again ten more times (at least!) I’m fairly happy with it at the moment. I plan to have ten chapters/stories in the completed novel, of which I have a rough draft of one, a good draft of a second, various bits and pieces of a few others, and at least a summary of everything else.

So! While I don’t have a new snippet for you all, I do have a table of contents. Take a look! It goes without saying that any and all of the titles could change, but for the time being, they fit well enough and along with all the notes I have scribbled for them in Scrivener, I know more or less where I want them to go.

1- The First Job
2- The Delivery Job
3- The Easy Job
4- The Track-down Job
5- The Ethan Lindsay Job
6- The Snatch-back Job
7- The Pro-bono Job
8- The Personal Job
9- The Rescue Job
10- The Dalton Job


PS: It finally happened. I missed a Friday update, and this is going up on Saturday morning. I’m backdating it so that it shows up where I want it to in the archives, but I definitely missed it. Alas.

Musings

[Blog] Ramshackle

The only good writing is rewriting. Or so they say. Astute observers will realize that this means that all good writing is rewriting, which does not mean that all rewriting is good writing. But at least it has a chance.

As you may have gathered, I finished that story I’ve been chipping away with for way too many weeks. As you may have also gathered, it still needs work. I find myself wanting to poke it with a long stick, which is my general reaction to many things I’m unsure about. But however I may feel about it, it’s definitely something to work with, so all in all I’d say it’s a win.

Musings

[Blog] Good News/Bad News

As you may have gathered from the fact that a post didn’t go with me shouting my victory from the rooftops, I didn’t manage to finish the current Tanner and Miranda story this past weekend. That would be the bad news. The good news would be that I did almost double it in size, and I like where it’s going, particularly for a first run-through for this particular story, and I shouldn’t have any trouble actually finishing it this weekend, giving me a clear horizon to start on the rest of the stories going into the whole novel and hopefully keeping me on the path to finishing the darn thing this year, so definitely keep an eye out for more posted snippets.

Also! I was going through some old stories this past week and found one that I’d been proud of back in the day and was, wonder of wonders, still happy with now. It’s definitely not what I normally tend to write (read: sci-fi and/or fantasy), but I like it. I like it enough to post it here, so check back in this Wednesday for an actual piece of fiction!

Musings

[Blog] Progress Update

With any luck, I’ll have a draft of a new chapter/short story completed for the Tanner and Miranda Chronicles by the end of the weekend. It’s currently sitting at about two thousand words, and the rest of it is at least roughly outlined. In the meantime, enjoy a snippet from right before our heroes manage to get themselves into all sorts of trouble. As they tend to do.


They’d chosen a good place to stop us. There might not have been anything understated about the method they’d chosen, but that wasn’t to say it wasn’t effective. The barrier crossed the entirety of the road, and with a cliff wall on one side and a steep dropoff on the other, we didn’t have a lot of options.

We could try diplomacy, of course. That was Tanner’s first choice, even if I hoped he was just using it to slow down the inevitable escalation. I’d have been more worried if he’d pulled his hand away from his rifle.

“Is there something we can do to help you folks?”

“You could drop Miss Loesan there off with us. I think we might even be able to move this thing off the road for you before we get started on our conversation with her.” The leader gave an ugly sort of sneer. “Think you could work with that? Looks like you’ve got cargo you’re moving, and it would be a shame if it never made it to where it’s supposed to go.”

That line might have worked on a different freelancer. Probably would have, actually; we were outnumbered two to one, and they were the ones with better cover. But it was the sort of thing that just made Tanner mad. Our chances of getting out without a scuffle dwindled before my eyes, and I started calculating how many shots I could get off before we’d have to make a run for it. I didn’t care for the odds.

“I think we both know that’s not going to happen,” said Tanner. “You got a better suggestion?”

Now he was definitely stalling, and I had seconds to come up with a better plan.

Musings

[Blog] Action and Description

As any writer will tell you, we all find certain things easier to write than others. For me, I usually prefer to write fancy, flowery descriptions than action scenes, mostly because I find the former way easier than the latter. At the same time, I can only write so many descriptions before I get really, really bored. And, I suspect, anyone reading it feels the same way. Mostly because fancy descriptions aren’t great at moving a plot forward. And if the plot doesn’t move, it’s not much of a story*.

All of this is to say, I’ve hit that point in my current Tanner and Miranda story where I have to make something happen, and, as it always does, I’m getting caught in a slog. Because writing action and adventure scenes, while fun and ultimately the most rewarding when they work out, requires me to have a lot more figured out than just a description. It’s a bit like the difference between a still frame and a short film segment; there’s a whole lot of still frames that go into making just a few seconds of movie, and because I’ve practiced basic descriptions a lot more than I have action sequences, all the extra thought work I have to do to get the action scene to make sense and be clear to the audience is hard.

Which basically just means that I should practice more!

* There are, of course, exceptions. But that’s not what this post is about.