Guest Post: C.S. Boyack on Goals

Craig Boyack (C.S. Boyack) from Entertaining Stories is visiting today to introduce his new book, The Playground, and to share how his personal goals influence his writing. His stories often develop from the challenges he sets for himself.

image9The hottest toys of the Christmas Season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except, the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.

To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground is suitable for more mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

I decided a long time ago that I have to push myself if I’m going to improve my writing. Every story I’ve written so far includes a personal goal that requires me to push the limits. Most readers will never see this, but it’s important to fill my toolbox. Many times the goal is pretty simple. Some past examples include:


  • Writing a character with no backstory, a non-human character with no backstory.
  • Writing a buddy story where two characters get relatively equal time, but are different enough to stand out.
  • Writing something using fairy tale story structure.
  • Writing something in first person, but limiting it to one character only as the point of view.


These challenges served me well. It’s amazing how little backstory is required, but I might not have learned that without the personal challenge. Another one was the experience of only letting the story unfold through my first person protagonist. There is no opportunity to write, “Meanwhile, back at the ranch.” This requires coming up with a different way of revealing the information.


I’ve always wanted to try epistolary style in a novel. It amazes me, and I’ve always enjoyed it. This style involves the discovery of old documents that move the story along. Some of them even get so tricky as to tell a story within a story.


The truth of the matter is that I’m not quite ready for that. I’ve written a short story in epistolary style, but it needs a severe edit at this time. If I can get the shorty in decent shape, I may be ready to try it in a full sized novel.


One night I was watching Pulp Fiction, and it struck me. I could get close to the story within a story by writing something similar to Pulp Fiction. The Playground concept grew from this idea.


The Playground involves three main characters in three very different stories. When you read the whole thing, the bigger picture emerges. It isn’t quite epistolary style, but it’s a neat trick if you can pull it off. I’m a humble guy, and the readers will have to decide if I pulled it off or not.


This is still a C. S. Boyack story, and I’ll say it’s paranormal with science fiction sprinkles on top. It involves a social network for children that has more sinister goals underneath it all. My idea is that our kids spend too much unsupervised time online these days. I thrive on the question every speculative author uses, “What if…?”


Check out The Playground and decide if I met my goal with this one. I’d love to hear from you and find out what the ultimate judges think.


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31 thoughts on “Guest Post: C.S. Boyack on Goals

  1. I like the idea of three character arcs weaving together to create the plot. I also love the use of epistolary style, so I’ll be waiting to see that finished project down the road. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to discovering The Playground and the menacing story line lurking withing.
    Bwahaha! *Twilight Zone theme*

    • Thanks Mae. I really believe my personal goals have made me a better writer. It’s all about pushing myself and getting a little bit uncomfortable. I struggle a bit and make it work, but it’s easier the next time out. Remember, I’m the old man who wrote a first person teenage girl.

  2. Interesting to read about your evolution as a writer. I’ve been wondering if I should switch things up too. I’ve played it safe so far and written in chronological fashion, but it might be fun and play with the time frame a bit. The more writing we do, the more we can start testing the waters.

    Best of luck with your upcoming release!

    • Thanks Carrie. Short stories offer a chance to play with new tools too. There usually isn’t the big character arc to keep track of then. I always add one goal to my stories. I hope readers don’t see it, because it’s just for me. I don’t mind sharing on posts like this one though.

  3. Interesting concept (stretch goals) I think you pulled off the three character ARC beautifully. The cool part is the stories although seemingly different have similar elements that the reader will find fascinating. I’ll say no more (to eliminate spoilers) other than this should be on everyone’s must-read list.

  4. You’re right, we don’t grow if we don’t set goals for ourselves. You, though, Mr Boyack, are incredibly versatile as proven by your back catalogue of standalone’s across many genres. Not everyone can do that. I know I couldn’t. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next! 😊

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