This Meeting Is Now Called To Order

There are 4 items on the agenda.

1. An announcement: I am a space bird!

Space Bird

Okay, even for regular followers of this blog, that may be a touch cryptic. As a quick explanation, let me offer the following:

I like a web site called There are many different ways to help maintain a writing habit. is one that I use, and one reason I like it is for the virtual bling. For various milestones, you achieve badges. The longest writing streak they honor is 500 days. For that accomplishment, they award the coveted Space Bird badge.

I got it on Saturday. Here’s a screen shot from the email announcing my accomplishment:


So. That’s out of the way.

2. The first item on the agenda leads more or less directly to the second: My next big writing milestone (at least the next one that’s quantifiable and under my direct control) is writing a million verifiable words. 750words has no badge for that, but I think it’s pretty impressive. I should be accomplishing that late in July. My Million Word Party will probably be one of the first 2 Saturdays in August, and you’re all invited. Contact me if you’re interested in attending and I’ll let you know when a time/date is chosen.

3. It has come to my attention that at least one of the regular readers of this blog finds all this writing *about* writing rather dull. This person (Hi, Cris!) has said something along the lines of: “Why can’t we see some of your actual fiction? Maybe you could offer a story in installments, like Dickens.”

I’m mulling it over. It would be a lot of work, but on the other hand, it would give me something new to write while I try to get my novel in good enough shape to show beta readers. A bit of a palate cleanser, if you will.  There’s only so much editing you can do before you want to tear your hair out. So, a show of hands: who would like to see a story in installments on this blog? If so, what kind of story do you want to see, or should I surprise you?

There are links to a couple of my stories available here and here, if you get tired of waiting.

4. I have a new short story I plan to start submitting to markets tomorrow. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Okay, back to novel revision. As you were.

March Story Wall Experience (Sam)

Thanks to all who participated and in my story wall and special thanks to Tim for recording the session. A lot gets covered in these sessions and it is hard to write down or remember all the good ideas. For my story wall I covered my entire series, the BarnYard Heroes. There are seven books in the series about a group of barnyard animals who have been given superhero powers by a space aliens who’s project gets canceled by his company which fallen on hard times.

I was concerned this might be too ambitious for a story wall session, but there were a number of issues I was struggling with in regards to the series as a whole and until I get those resolved it’s difficult to address issues in the individual novels. Trying to cover this large amount of material highlights what I found to be one of the keys to story walling, which is to keep your material concise. Provide a brief overview of the story (or in my case stories) and get to the issue you are struggling with as quickly as possible. This is your time to get help with the parts you most concerned about.

What I prepared was one sheet on each novel in the series which contained:

  • short synopsis of novel (40 to 60 words)
  • description of lead BarnYard Hero in the novel
  • description of the villain(s)
  • Photos representing the BarnYard Heroes and villains

I then cut up the sheets to separate the synopsis and characters so we could move characters and stories around.

My main concerns were:

  • a lack of a common story line or thread throughout the series
  • the order of the novels with one novel in particular which did not seem to fit in good anywhere.

The team provided a lot of good ideas and suggestions which I am still mulling over slowly. The next big step is to take all of these ideas and make some decisions. What might be a good is to have people a recap of what changes or decisions they made based on the feedback they received from their story wall.

Story Wall: Key West

I want to thank everyone who participated  in my story wall for Key West. I received many great ideas, suggestions, and challenges. I envision a number of story improvement, plot changes, and new characters. I even plan to make a few changes in Port Royal before it is released. Great session for me. Thanks again to all.