About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Independent author and amateur beefcake

Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

The decision has been made to go with "Grey House" as my NaNoWriMo novel of choice, this year.

It's a little daunting since I've only, really, got the first few chapters fleshed out, in my head.  They, and I'm not sure who 'They' is, say that you're supposed to have an end game planned from the beginning, in books of this type, ghost story/mystery novels.  I have a beginning but no end.  I'm hoping an end presents itself at some point during the process.

I do know that I have a main character who I'm hoping to return to in subsequent books.  A "Bear" of a guy, big and imposing but a baby on the inside, named Aidan Whitlock.  I can see him in my head, as if I've met him, tall, at six foot six, and somewhat heavy weight, probably around 250 or so, mostly muscle but a lining of chubbiness, as well, and dark brown, almost black, head of hair that swings down into a thick beard.  As imposing, physically, as he seems he, actually, has no talent for fighting, having never had to let things get that far, and outside of lifting weights, he's not athletic, at all, either.  He's in his mid fifties and he's at a point in his life when life is of constant contemplation.  He owns a comic book shop and sublets his night time activities by lending himself out as a private investigator.  Mostly his cases contain cheating spouses and/or missing items but things are about to get a little X-Files on him.

The fun part of NaNoWriMo approaching are all the posts about how to write or how to survive November.  A couple good ones are here and here.

The thing, about writing, is, everyone has their own theory on how to do it.  If you look at most of the iconic novelists, however, you would notice that they all seemed to make the rules up, as they went along.  From Jack Kerouac to Ernest Hemingway, they all developed their own style and, even, their own punctuation.  It comes down to readability, for me, does it make sense, does the dialog sound realistic, is there a plot, all of those things.

Anyway, these are a few of my pre-NaNoWriMo thoughts, tomorrow's the big day, 1667 words a day, to keep up the 50,000 word goal.

More tomorrow.....good luck all you participants, this year. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pre-Novel Thoughts

Just a couple days before NaNoWriMo begins...and the pre-novel thoughts are bubbling.


1- End of world Zombie novel feature two gay main characters, with a newborn they've adopted, trying to eek out life in a world where the zombies are the least of their concern.  Down the street the United Church of Christ has militarized their chapel and is out to recreate the world as they think it should be.  Fencing off the city, block by block, they clear and utilize the area to make their new community. (early stages of thoughts on that one, things always change once the actual writing starts.)

2- Another gay novel, my theme this year, it would seem, follows a young man, late twenties, who travels home when his father is diagnosed with terminal cancer and put on a hospice program.  He has to confront the world that he left behind, the world he ran from when he came out, relationships he left broken because he never thought he would be back.  Also, he finds, he has to confront the world he created, inside himself, after he left, when he finds love for the first time, in the nurse providing hospice to his father.

3- Mick and Ed just bought a house in Cabbage Town, the largest gay suburb in North America, or so the real estate agent has told them, and plan to turn it into a gay bed and breakfast.  When a friend, from New York, comes to stay and goes missing, while never having left their house, leaving a pool of blood in front of his bedroom closet, the little bumps in the night they had been hearing suddenly become bigger.

Those are all early ideas still.  We will see where creativity leads.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Slumming It...The Last Werewolf

This post is more about a current trend in fiction than an actual book review...but, since it's also a book review, I'll treat it accordingly.

The Last Werewolf - by Glen Duncan

Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you—and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.

Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide—even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.

Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend—mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century—a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.

One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years.


Audacious?  Terrifying?  No, not really.  Can't say as I was holding on to my chair much during the reading of this and that's not a complaint against the book it's a complaint against the publisher trying to sell the book.

I feel bad for publishers right now.  See, they have these literary heavy weights releasing books about Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies (oh, my).  What are they supposed to do about this?  The writers aren't tackling them as a normal horror writer would.  They're not getting their hands too dirty but just dirty enough to lend it a horror classification.  So the publishers are trying to sell books and, of course, they're doing it the only way they know how...appealing to that horror demographic, knowing full well that there's a section of 'literary' readers that aren't going to be following these authors into the trenches.

Not to send you away so early in my blog post but here's an excellent article about what I'm saying.

The strange thing about this situation is that, previously, horror writers have crossed that border on more than a few occasions without much ado.  Stephen King and a few of his stories come to mind, Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me, The Green Mile.  So, I'm not sure I'm happy about how these authors, delving into Horror for the first time, are getting such accolades for their courage and kudo's for breaking down the typecast author.  I can't but feel as if they are selling out, somehow.  Literary fiction, not being the type of book one grabs just before a long flight or hospital stay, has always been the frame but not the engine of the publishers car.  After seeing Twilight and Harry Potter at the top of the best seller list, for the better part of a decade, I'm thinking, they see that money can be made from writing.  After all, in seven years J.K. Rowling went from unemployment to billionaire.  (or so the story goes)

The one thing I can be happy about is that it certainly puts the pressure on horror writers to focus more on the writing and less on the imagery.  There's a few, out there, I could name but won't, that have some fun books to read but without the idea's, pushing the novel forward, I would have given up on, long ago.

Back to the novel, at hand.  The Last Werewolf...

Beautifully written and fleshed out.  The attention to detail and world building, I thought, was meticulous.  

Currently I'm reading Zone One, a zombie tale, written by a previous lit fic heavy weight (shouldn't say previous, I'm sure he'll keep that standing) that tries too hard to keep the lit the center of attention and not the horror.  Werewolf knows where it stands.  Duncan knows that he's writing a horror novel and so makes sure to keep the story moving with action.  Where as, in Zone One, pages go with nothing but memories being described.  It's akin to listening to your grandmother tell you about what's going on in her 'Stories.'  I'll dive into Zone One, on here, when I'm done reading it.  It just makes for a good comparison, right now.

You get your Werewolves and you get your evil people, as well, which most often are the actual horror element of a horror novel, after all what's scarier than a deranged psychotic human?  Exactly.

My qualm with this book, and it's a small one, is that it starts strong, the first third is right into the story and setting up the finale.  Then, a character is introduced and it goes into sexapaloozaland (an actual word, look it up) before getting back on track and hitting the gas again, for the final third.  It's during this middle part that you can see that Duncan had an issue with just allowing the book to remain in horrorland (which, oddly enough, shares a border with sexapaloozaland).  For this middle third he throws in all the esoteric thoughts and flourishes of ideas and words that most lit/fic fans will appreciate.  For me, and I do like lit/fic, don't get me wrong, it almost made me put the book down.  It's just that, when I want a werewolf to ravage a maiden, or a brawny dude for that matter, I want it to happen, not think of happening or think of how it might happen if the world were a different place or...you get the picture.

Still, I have to recommend this book, the writing, as I said, is excellent and, in the end, Duncan pulls it off.

I guess, also in the end, if the authors are going to meet us halfway, to horrorland, then we, the reader, might want to do our part and head towards litville. (a small country known for stamps in Europe)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Return To Blog

Nanowrimo time is fast approaching, my peeps, if I may call you peeps.  This is good news and bad news.  Good news = Nanowrimo always motivates me to sit my ass down and write.  Bad news = My computer, the new laptop, not this old one I'm using now, is dead. (they say an old laptop should never have to bury it's youthful - faster processor, battery that holds a charge, power cord that doesn't spark when looked at strangely, wireless router that works - self.)

The thing about Nanowrimo is, if you don't know, that you write a novel in a month.  I've done this the past five years.

1 - Anniversary - A Zombie Tale
2 - Flotsam and Jetsam - A coming of age tale (just your regular old fiction)
3 - Wolves - Werewolves (not too original of a title but in all honesty I lost most of this novel when I upgraded         my computer to windows 7
4 - Bear Lake - A slasher murder mystery set at a lake house
5 - Golem - a vengeful mystical being on the lose killing a group of friends one by one.

Now I'm about to dive in and do it again.  As usual, a custom, tradition, if you will, I have no idea of what I'm wanting to write.  Not for lack of ideas, I've got the beginnings of about ten novels stuck in my head currently.  But the idea, notion, of Nanowrimo is to get your creative juices flowing, strike out into new, unknown, territory.  By writing something unplanned, unplotted, you fill that creative udder, hanging just under your frontal lobe, and begin milking it.

So, now maybe, you see the conundrum.  The weeks leading up to my writing a novel I'm not supposed to think about but, then, all I can do is think about it. (Did that make sense?  I didn't think so.)

So, again, what to do?

I might go back to the beginnings.

One of my first posts on this blog was about a book I had bought, "The Making of A Story", something to help me write.  I made it through a bit of it before it dropped off the radar.  Maybe it's time to break it out again.