Friday, December 5, 2014

Slogging through the Dead Marshes - OR - Those Fucking Middle Chapters

This is a continuation of me writing about writing a novel. (Warning: If you haven't read/seen Lord Of The Ring, just go ahead and skip this post)

I'm in the mushy, flabby middle part of my novel, and let me tell you, the beginning was easier. You remember Lord of the Ring, where Frodo and Sam were on an epic quest with the Fellowship, but then left them, and ended up trekking through Mordor and eventually destroying The Ring? Of course you do, because the Fellowship had a wicked awesome adventure, and the Mordor thing was so dramatic because HOLY SHIT THE FATE OF THE WORLD IS ON THE LINE!!!!


Do you remember the parts in between those two? The Dead Marshes and climbing the stairs and whatever those confusing maze of mountains were? I'm betting the answer is "Barely". Because this is the saggy middle between an epic beginning and the Giant Spider Fighting event that kicks off the end-portion and climax of the story. You only kept reading those parts because the beginning was awesome enough to get you hooked and wanting to know how the story ended. Sure Tolkien threw you a bone here an there, introducing the crazy dragon things that the Nazgul ride and throwing in some Samwise and Gollum drama, but overall, it was not nearly as engaging as the parts that preceded and even less engaging than the events in Return of the King.

Well let me tell you: Writing that middle shit is even harder than reading it. Hell, I threw in a random ninja vs knight fight just to keep myself entertained. But I'm pounding through it anyway, because I really like the beginning and the characters I've written so far. It's a good start, and I want to see how it ends. I have a pretty good general idea, but I don't know the words that are going to hit the page yet.

Also, HOLY SHIT the ending is awesome. Maybe it's just because it's mine, or because I'm a huge nerd... whatever. The ending is SO FUCKING COOL and I CANNOT WAIT TO WRITE IT. But I have to, because I know if I don't get through the middle first, the ending won't make enough sense, and I owe my characters (Matt, Jenny, Siri, Walker and Phalanx) a shitload more respect than writing the end before I finish the middle section.

Tune in next week, same bat-time, same bat-place, to read me writing about writing about writing a novel.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why I Write - OR - Why I Put Myself Through This Torture

I’ve been writing stories off and on since I was 8 years old. I was a weird kid, in that I read a lot. I had the entire pantheons of several different mythologies memorized as a kid, and I had read a lot of western* classics (e.g. Verne, Wells, Dickins, Dumas, Twain, etc.) by the time I was in middle school.
*not western novels, I’m talking Western (European, American) as opposed to Eastern (Russian, Chinese)

As a young kid, I wrote a story about how volcanoes were actually prisons for gods that had pissed off other gods, and Link from the Legend of Zelda Series accidentally released one of these gods (actually a goddess, as she was based on Tiamat, the Sumerian/Babylonian goddess of chaos and the sea), and had to team up with the Ninja Turtles and Gambit (of the X-men) to stop her. I never showed anyone this story, which is disappointing, because you can bet my mom would have kept it, and I would be able to go back and look at it. It’s gone now, but that right there, that is why I write. Because I am still eleven years old on the inside, constantly thinking of how many awesome things there are in the world, and wondering how I can write awesome stories about them.

This is an old world. There are prophecies and myths and gods and legends and heroes and magic and technology and plots and secrets and bodies and explosions and conspiracies. There is joy and sorrow and regret and rage beauty and ugliness and hate and love and passion and lust. There are sociopaths and assassins and accountants and spies and ninjas and CEOs and presidents and construction workers and secretaries and models and transients and hunters and farmers. There is so much damned material to work with, how can I not try to make up awesome adventures?

 Fuck, I mean, just look at the upcoming Christmas holiday; There’s virgin birth and infanticide and eastern mystics and portents in the sky and prophecies and saviors. AND THAT’S ONLY THE STRICTLY CHRISTIAN VERSION! That doesn’t even take into account Santa Claus or Father Christmas or Crampus or Jack the Pumpkin King or BlackPeter (aka Zwarte Piet, a Dutch thing, look it up, it’s ridiculous).

Basically, I write because I can’t fucking help it, there is too much awesome stuff that hasn’t been combined into an even more awesome monstrosity of a story. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Writing a Novel: Part One - OR - A Much Needed distraction From Writing This F@$%ing Thing

Hello, all you blog readers out there. You probably stumbled across this by mistake, or I click-baited you, or you like my Ello posts and thought, "Hey, let's see what else this guy's got."

Well, I got you now, sucka.

I am writing a novel right now, and let me tell you, it SUCKS.

Not the book - the book is damn good. I personally think it's a masterpiece in the making, in my more delirious moments. What sucks is writing the thing.

Have you ever said something, and then everyone you were talking to just stared at you, and you think, "Wow, that sounded waaaaaaaaaaaay better in my head."? That's what writing a novel is like. It's putting word after word after word after word down on your computer screen, and desperately trying not to wonder if it's actually good, or if it just sounds good in your head. And you want SO BADLY to show it to people and say, "Hey, this is the novel I'm working on, what do you think?"


So I keep plugging away*. Just keep adding words and sentences and dialogue and paragraphs and chapters, wondering if my characters sound like real people (or at least good fake people) or if it's all just flat dialogue moving my ridiculous plot forward. I'm pretty sure I had my main character get some kind of injury in the second chapter that I completely forgot about, so that will need to be fixed in editing, along with a bunch of other crap. Also, do you know how hard it is to come up with good character names? Probably, if you're a writer, you do. Or maybe it comes naturally to you. In that case, lucky you, now go away. Just kidding. Stay. Sit. Good writer.

*Yes, I realize that I just switched from "you" to "I", but this is MY blog, damnit, and I will incorporate all the verb-tense and POV confusion I want to. If you don't like it, well this blog doesn't have any readers anyway, so it doesn't matter.

And yes, ladies and gentlemen and daleks, my plot is ridiculous. I mean, the very first chapter is pretty much a Cloverfield-ish crocodile monster attacking New York City, and getting thwarted by an inept private investigator. Then the teenage ninja shows up. Then it just gets weirder.

So far, I'm about 20,000 words in, with plenty of the rest outlined and even about a 4000 word chapter already written. That leaves me with about... 40000 to 50000 words to go. And if that figure doesn't depress you like it depresses me, then no whiskey for you. I'm keeping it all. And it's good whiskey, too. Woodford Reserve Bourbon. That's right, be jealous.

And another thing: I have to write a sex scene pretty soon. I have never written a sex scene before. I don't want it to be 50 Shades of Gray (grey?) explicit or anything, but damn! It's hard writing something you've never written before. Okay, maybe I've written a couple sex scenes, but those weren't for serious or anything. I want to get this shit published!


Anyway, the idea is to get the first draft written by the beginning of February, let it sit untouched until around Valentine's Day, then start rewriting the thing. Hopefully by mid-March I can get it out to some beta-readers or an editor or something. I'm not 100% on how to proceed once the second draft is finished.

Anyway, that's enough musing for tonight. I've written about 2000 words today, which is pretty good considering I didn't get home until about 8:00. I'm sure I'll do another one of these pretty soon. Until then, go read a couple of my stories that I've posted here. I think they're all pretty awesome. Except "Asylum". That one kinda sucks, but it's short. I wrote that when I was drunk in about ten minutes.

Okay, for real this time, I need to go write.

Sucks to be The Chosen One

“Ugh!” grunts Zoe, “We’re lost, aren’t we?”  

“No, damnit! It’s just a detour!”  

“Just pull over somewhere!” she says, “Right there!”  

I pull the car over in a church parking lot. Zoe gets the map out and unfolds in on the dashboard. To be honest, I really don’t know where we are. I followed the detour signs, but damn! We’re in the middle of nowhere.  

“I have no idea where we are,” says Zoe after a few minutes.  

“Well, let’s go ask directions in the church.”  

“It’s midnight!” she says, “there’s nobody in there.”  

“Look,” I say, pointing, “the lights are on. Come on.”  

We get out of the pickup truck and walk toward the church.  

“I’ve got my pepper spray in my pocket,” she says.  

“Zoe, it’s a church!” I say as we approach the door, “You think we’re gonna get attacked in a church?”  

I pull the door open and see nothing but brilliant blue light, right before something hits me in the chest and knocks me onto my ass.  

“What the fuck?!” yells Zoe.  

“OOOPH!” I grunt as I push the guy off of me. Did this guy really come flying out of the church right as I open the door? I look up at Zoe, who picked something off the ground.  

“Is that a sword?” I ask, standing up.  

“Yeah, and it’s badass!” she says, “who’s that guy?” 

I look at the ground. There’s a guy dressed like an extra from a battle scene in Lord of the Ring lying on the ground. Then I see the blood.  

“Shit shit shit!” I yell, “This guy is hurt bad.”  

I drop to a knee by the guy.  

“Hey, man,” I say, “are you okay?”  

He looks at me for a moment, then at Zoe. His eyes go wide.  

“The… pink… haired… one…” he mutters.  

“What about her hair?” I ask.  

“She… the cho-“ he breaks off, coughing.  

“What?” says Zoe, “What are you trying to say?”  

“You are… the chosen… one…” he says. Then he looks at me. “You must… protect… the chosen one…” he says.  

“Okay,” I say, “I’ll protect her.”  

“Promise…” he says, weakly, “promise… me…”  

“I promise,” I say, “I promise I’ll protect her.”  

The guy passes out.  

“This guy needs help!” she yells. I check my iPhone.  

“Shit, no reception!” I say.  

“We should check inside the church!” says Zoe, frantic.  

“You mean the church this grievously injured man just flew out of?” I ask, “the one with the crazy blue light?”  

“Oh,” she says, “good thinking.”  

“We’ve got to bring him to a hospital.” I look down at the guy. 

“Okay,” I say, and take a surprisingly high-tech bow and a quiver full of arrows off the guy. I sling the arrows over my shoulder and take the bow. Then the doors of the church burst open, bathing us in weird blue light. I feel a pull, and try to run toward the truck, but then I feel myself actually leaving the ground, and see Zoe lose her footing. The two of us literally fly into the light. I close my eyes. Zoe is screaming. I am screaming. Then I hit the ground.  

I open my eyes. We’re in a weird place. It looks like we’re in front of an old Scottish castle, except that it was designed by MC Escher and Dr. Seuss while they were on a particularly bad acid trip. And there were people all around. I stand up. Zoe stands up next to me. We look at each other.  

“Um,” says Zoe, “What the fuck?”  

I look around again, my head a bit clearer. There are people, all dressed similar to the guy at the church. They look like they are arrayed for battle.  

“Um…” says Zoe, “we might have a problem.”  

I look the other way, toward the castle, and gulp. The Lord of the Ring comparison I made earlier was good, because across from the people, were orcs. Or possibly demons. Or both. I hear someone shout from the people side.  

“The Chosen One!” some people start shouting, then it turns into a chant. Then the demons start screaming. Then both sides start rushing toward us.  

“Fuck!” I shout, notching an arrow (I learned how to shoot from my uncle Paul, who is the definition of hillbilly). 

“Zoe, RUN!” I let the arrow fly and it hits a demon, then explodes.  

“Cool,” I say, then I see Zoe rushing at one of the demons.  

“Zoe, what the hell?!?” I shout, running after her, notching another arrow as I go.  

“There’s nowhere to run!” she shouts, “We’ve got to fight our way out!”  

Then she cuts a demon down, then the human people join the fight.  

It’s a pretty epic battle. I find an axe next a dead guy and a couple demons, and fight my way over to Zoe. She is cutting demons up like it’s her job. I’ll admit I’m a little turned on. Then I catch a demon in the chest with the axe as he’s about to skewer Zoe. Things go on like this for a little while, I pull back a little with Zoe, so we aren’t in the middle of the fight. It looks like the good guys are winning!  

A bunch of humans go flying. I look over and there is a giant motherfucker, at least fifteen feet tall, who looks like he’s made of shadows. He’s swatting people out of the way and they are flying like a meteor lands wherever it’s fists hit, and suddenly, Zoe and I are in the front ranks. The thing looks at us, and then it yells in a ridiculously scary voice.  

“Ah, the Chosen One,” it says, “I turn your bones into a crown!”  

“Oh shit oh shit oh shit,” yells Zoe.  

“ZOE, RUN!” I scream, “NOW!”  

I notch an arrow and shoot it at the things chest. It flies right through. Then I turn and run, probably screaming, I’m not even sure. I don’t see Zoe, but I need to run. I can feel the thing behind me. Then, suddenly, there’s Zoe. There’s a group of humans standing in a semi-circle around her, and it looks like they aren’t letting her through. Zoe is yelling, but I can’t hear her. She looks pissed. She swings the sword at a guy, and he blocks it with his shield. Then she lets out a rage-filled scream, and just throws the sword at the giant demon. I’m still running, but I hear a huge, ear-shattering, soul-wrenching shriek.  

I look back. The giant shadow monster is clutching it’s chest, right where Zoe’s sword-hilt is protruding, smoke billowing out of him. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Asylum - Flash Fiction

His first thought as the door slammed was that it was too damn sunny outside. In the movies there would be rain pattering on the windows and a somber song playing quietly in the background to set the mood. But then, this is reality. In reality it’s bright and fucking sunny and he hadn’t smoked a cigarette in hours and he was crabby and the fatass on the other side of the (glass?) partition was listening to an oldies station that was 80 percent commercials. Figures. Yet another example of the universe out to crush what was left of his soul.

Then finally, after an obnoxious DJ lets them all know that they’re listening to the greatest hits of all time, a pleasantly minor guitar riff starts and the singer starts singing about travelling through the desert on a horse with no name. I love this fucking song. And now I have to listen to it while it’s too sunny and I’m pissed off and yes, he admitted to himself, scared shitless.

Then he started laughing. Loudly, almost hysterically. He laughed the laugh of the maniac that his ex-wife told everyone he was and that his friends were too polite to call him out loud. He laughed because he knew, not thought, but knew the universe was persecuting him relentlessly. He needed a way to get away. He needed a break, a place he could go to escape the universe that was after him. He was laughing when the word finally came to him.


The MINUS Faction by Rick Wayne - Review

Before I slip into a turkey-phoria coma, I thought I’d write a quick review of Rick Wayne’s The MINUS Faction – Episode 1: Breakout

First off, this story has an awesome opening line. Right from the first sentence I was hooked, and I stayed that way all the way through. I rate this story a solid 9.5/10. In about 100 pages (I listened to it on audible, so I don’t have the exact count) the author manages to create several very likeable (plus one very hateable) characters, an awesome hero (one might even say superhero) and an action-packed Ludlum-esque spy story. The writing was excellent, the characters are deep and real, and the story is awesome. If I had to make on criticism, it would be that the hero is almost too perfect, but there are hints that this probably won’t be the case in later episodes. Seriously people, go get this on Amazon.

Oh, did I mention IT’S FREE???