Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The writing business can be a son of a bitch, but most of us know that. The thing is, we usually forget that part of our craft, until the moment we hit a wall in our story line, or the moment we get that dreaded rejection, or the absolute worst – when a sale falls through.
When any of those situations happen, it comes rushing back at us with ferocity. And then we tend to forget why we do what we do. The zing of getting the perfect word, the perfect paragraph. The headrush when we re-read a chapter or a paragraph and know without a doubt, that we have just created magic. Futility replaces the magic.
But we also know that writing is a trade-off. You can’t have one without the other – feelings of futility along with the sudden superhuman power to fly. They go hand in hand and for good reason – without one, we can never learn, never grow. We need them both.
Which brings me to the good news – Sam W. Anderson
Sam’s story, “If Mama Ain’t Happy,” will be appearing in The Anthology of Dark Wisdom and let me tell you, he’s certainly in great company! Names like Tom Piccirilli, John Shirley, Alan Dean Foster and Peter Straub. Certainly can’t beat that. Not to mention his collection, Postcards From Purgatory has been sold to Sideshow Press! Nice work, Sam!
Kurt Dinan and John Mantooth both got Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of The Year, Volume 1. Kurt’s story was “Ashes of The Dead” Horror Library, Volume 3 and John Mantooth’s story “On the Mountain,” appeared in Shroud 4.
And while my novel is still in progress, there's a bet going on with my fellow writer's of Snutch, that I won't finish it until 2011. I'll be proving them wrong and collecting $50.00 bucks from each of them in the process.
Nice work Snutch!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Ray Garton, who just happens to be the 2006 World Horror Convention recipient of The Grand Master Award, is offering up his very valuable services to the highest bidder.
Ray's writing experience has spanned over 25 years, and he is the author of over 60 novels, including his latest, Bestial not to mention the February paperback release of his novel, Scissors. Four of his books are on their way to gracing the silver screen, and he's written a great many TV tie-ins, including Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Sabrina The Teenage Witch.
What all of this means to you, is this:
Be the highest bidder and you will be the recipient of a full critique of your unpublished novel.
Yes, you heard that right. A seasoned novelist offering up his services to assist in the rewarding, yet extremely painful process of writing a novel. We as writers sweat blood and tears (yes, I know this is a cliche!) as we struggle to transform our ideas into a whole new world and sometimes the pitfalls outnumber the success. So much so, that sometimes we just quit. Not writing, we would never do that, we couldn't do that. Not if it's our passion. Our one true love.
But quit we do, and we have. I challenge just one of you to say that you've never started something and then put it away because it didn't work, or because you were afraid. Everyone has done this.
And maybe Ray can stop it from happening to you again. Or maybe you're just starting out and you know writing is your passion, but you have no idea if you're good or not. This is the perfect opportunity!
I'm not saying that Ray can guarantee your work will be published after he's critiqued it, and he's not saying that either. But what he can and will do, is take you to the next level, by giving you his opinion on what you've written, an opinion based on mistakes he's already made, lessons he's already learned, which in turn will help you avoid them the first time. And if you get a three book deal out of this, well that would be fantastic, wouldn't it?
Yes it would. So go on - don't be afraid. Get on with the bidding. And good luck!!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
There's two boook reviews I have been needing to write, updates on my most recent submissions, the submissions of certain members of my writing group Snutch Labs, and most recently, the chat my group had with Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep.
Actually, now that I think about it, let's go with Paul. He's the most recent news of Snutch Labs, and you can read the transcript of the chat, edited for content, of course, here.
I am amazed at how encouraging he was, how accomodating. Some may argue that it's only due to the fact The Little Sleep is his first novel, but I would disagree. Although I don't know him personally, except for the three hour conversation we had, I think that Paul is the type of person who can't help but remain clear headed and down to earth no matter how successful he may become. And if you've read The Little Sleep, I know you'll have no doubt to his imminent success as well.
If you haven't read it, I won't spoil it for you, but I think I'll give some highlights. And then you'll have no choice but to pick it up for yourself.
We've all read our share of the bumbling P.I. mysteries, the down and out detective who's had more failures than successes, but there's something quite different and distinctive about Mark Genevich, the narcoleptic detective who leads this novel into great and inspiring places.
Narcoleptic. That word in itself should clue you in to the originality in which this great story was created. You'll at once feel the sympathy rise as you read through the twists and turns that Mark's disability takes him, while trying to solve a very high profile, not to mention dangerous mystery. One that involves his father, who has been dead for twenty plus years.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer him on. Well, maybe you won't cry, but you get my drift. In any case, I picked up this book and read it in one night. Couldn't put it down.
And I don't think you will either.
Paul Tremblay masters in this debut novel, what most of us aspiring writers could only hope for.
Pick it up and check it out. He's got a link on his website, so you don't have an excuse.
And check out the conversation Snutch Labs had with him. He's a lot of fun.
I'll be back this week with another review on Brett Savory's In and Down. So stay tuned.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I’m talking about the deadline for a contest, which happens to be the 31st of March. It’s for an online literary magazine called Narrative Magazine, and it’s the first contest that I will be entering since 2005.
There’s nothing quite like writing for a deadline, I’ll tell you that. Generally when I write for submission, I have this inner energy that pushes me, makes me anxious to get it done and get it out, mostly, I think, because I have this illogical fear that someone will submit something better ahead of me and I will miss the boat, so to speak. But it’s an underlying anxiousness, a gentle push that says, ‘come on, quit checking out the porn sites and get to work.’
Just kidding. I don’t look at porn sites, but there’s usually something online that drags me away from being productive. Like checking my workshop site and talking with my writer’s group. Or checking my email. But then once it’s submitted there’s an air of accomplishment that usually carries me on a cloud for the next day and a half.
But contests are different. Deadlines make it different. Deadlines mean there is no dragging your feet, no messing around. The boat will not wait.
At this point, the story’s already written and it’s in its third revision. But there’s more to be done, more critiques that my writing group has given me that need to be implemented. I’m on the last stretch, this is true, but it’s the hardest stretch. It’s the stretch that infuses the most fear in me, because deep down I keep wondering, as I delete this sentence, add this word; am I making it worse?
That’s a very real fear, I think in most writers. You get to a point where you’ve read and re-read, revised and re-revised so many times that you’re doing it in your sleep. You’re hearing your written words over and over in your mind, as you’re doing the dishes, driving to work, listening to your children.
And that’s when the words become meaningless syllables that no longer make sense. You become almost numb in a sense. And with a deadline looming ahead, the fear turns frantic. It becomes harder to be objective.
So I have to rely on my writing friends to point me in the right direction. Their suggestions and critiques have the objectiveness that I have temporarily lost.
Now, I just need to implement them. And I have three days to do it.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
In fact, all the chats our group has had have been really great. And every single member has pulled a great guest out of their hat. That is, except me.
And it's my turn.
If you check out our chat with Tom at the above link, you'll also see the previous chat's that we've had - great ones, with editors such as Ellen Datlow, editor of Years Best Fantasy and Horror Anthologies, Tom Tessier, Melanie and Steve Rasnic Tem, Brett Savory, editor of Chizine Magazine ,and many more.
Obviously great chats, and great accomplishments for my Snutch Members. See what I'm up against? The competitive side of me is screaming to best them, of course. We love eachother, but we also have an ingrained need to "one-up" eachother.
But the other side of me, the side that harbors such low-confidence in my abilities, is a little bit afraid. Who am I going to get that can beat out what has already been done?
Erik Williams jokingly recommended Ernest Hemingway, and if he were alive today, beleive me, I'd be entertaining the idea. Someone else suggested Stephen King, and while I have no fear in composing that email, unfortunately, there's no way to contact him to ask. Smart man.
In any case, I have someone in mind, and sent off the email last week. It was chock full my extensive wittisims and charm, and for that alone, I don't see how a refusal will be forthcoming. But one never knows.
I'm keeping it a secret, so as to limit the amount of shame and rejection I might be greeted with in case said person decides to gracefully decline.
In any case, I will certainly update you once I hear back. In the meantime, check out the chats at Snutchlabs and feel free to drop me a line.
Ciao for now!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
For one thing, I KNOW how this one will end, so obviously the going is a little easier. But yesterday, I ran into a huge problem. You might call it a 'complete work stoppage.' (I won't tell you where I heard that phrase, but I will tell you that as much as disliked that phrase at first, it really fits the bill here. And I hope the author of that phrase is getting a giggle right now.)
The problem was that I wrote a full chapter, my fingers on fire the whole time. I was humming, let me tell you and the writing was really good. You know how that happens sometimes? Where you are like, 'Damn! I am kicking ASS!' Right? Well that's what was going on and I was loving it. And then WHAAAMM! It hit me. None of what I wrote - and I mean NONE of it- fit in the story. It went in a whole different direction than it should have went. Which meant only one thing - it was going to have to go.
Do you know that feeling? The sinking of your stomach? The realization that every effort you just wrung from your pores was all in vain? Yeah. It wasn't good. So I was faced with a decision. Keep on even though I knew it wasn't going to work. Or - GULP! delete it all. So I did what any normal person would do. I froze.
I couldn't do anything. I stared at that *@!%*&$ page for about an hour, my finger on the delete button, wavering back and forth, gritting my teeth as I sat there. But then, I decided this was too big for just me. So I called on my Snutch Pals. Their encouragement and empathy was immediate and uplifting, just as I knew it would be.
And really, that's all it took. As soon as I vented my frustration, my lonliness, my ISOLATION that I felt, I realized what I needed to do, both to keep writing and keep my sanity - And that was a mixture of both possibilities. Instead of deleting it, I cut it from the book and saved it in another document. A simple solution, really. But the magical part of it was that AS SOON as I did it, the wall lifted. It was gone! Yeah, the 2500 words were gone too, but it didn't matter, I think because I didn't completely wipe them off the planet. They are saved in a little file called 'scenes.' I'm sure it's just a psychosymatic thing, but hey, it works, and that's all that matters.
And I found out one of my Snutch partners just blogged about the very same thing the other day - read his blog Hitting the Wall and you'll see what I mean.
Anyway, that's all for now. I'm back to the grind with a lighter heart and the excitement's back. Which is good. Because I don't want to be 0 for 2 when it comes to writing a novel.
Till next time - Ciao!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
My website is up and running. If you're reading this, than you already know.
I have to take a moment to thank my writing group, SnutchLabs, for all their patience, their support and their abusive love. I couldn't have done this without them, especially Kim Despins who was the star player in getting this website together for me.
But more importantly, I know I wouldn't be where I am without their help and encouragement. Although I know there's much more I need to accomplish, they are instrumental in the future successes that I will have. Kurt, Kim, Sam, Erik and John - Thanks for being there.
Okay, gooshy crap over.
I am currently working on my second novel and this one I hope to finish! That being said, I will update this blog as often as possible, especially with any sales of my stories. But more importantly, I plan on using this space to vent the vast assortment of emotions we writers inevitably encounter. Should make for an entertaining read.
Speaking of, stay tuned for the release date of my story, 'Drain' which was accepted by Doorway's Magazine. The release date is To Be Determined at this point, but as soon as I know, you will know as well.
That's all for now -