Archive for January 31, 2013

You Can’t Threaten Me

This week, my boss learned that the corporate ass-hats had posted his job on an industry recruitment site. He freaked. I couldn’t be happier for him. He hasn’t realized yet it could be the best thing that ever happened in his life.

I know why I go to my day job. I know I fucked up. When I was young I bought into the lie. I believed that I wanted a degree and a house and kids. Yeah, you should be hearing Admiral Ackabar in your head right now. It’s a trap! I bought into the system. To be honest, I do like my house, and I want the people I love to be comfortable. But I know I could live without it, and they could too.

It happened two years ago, when I was unceremoniously terminated from my last job. I was unemployed for over a year and had a lot of time to think. At first I thought about losing my house, my dogs, and the things I had accumulated. I came to terms with it. Acceptance of the fact things will change can set you free. I also thought about how repugnant it is to sell yourself so another man can make more money. What kind of people are these that open franchises? Men who want to manage mediocre chains just to turn a dollar? They’re pathetic.

You can’t threaten me anymore. I go to my job, and I do my job as well as I care to, and no more. When I imagine being fired all I can picture is me cackling with glee. I am not a fucking hotel manager. I do not identify with this shit they have me do for ten hours a day. In fact, I’m writing this at work right now. I really hope someone at my corporate office reads this. I’m not trying to hide.

I’m a writer now. It’s in the blood. I don’t need that validated by publishers or critics. I will write what I want to write, what I need to write. If I lost my job and my computer, I would write my stories on scraps and throw them at people. I am NOT self-publishing because I don’t think I can hack it. I am NOT self-publishing because I think it’s the new thing. I’m doing this because what I write concerns only me, my gods, the people I love, and the people who read it. And not to be ungrateful, I don’t care much about the later, at least the ones that don’t get it. It’s for the ones that do get it, no matter how few. I’m not talking about quality, legitimate gripes accepted with true humility. It’s about the types of stories and the characters in them. They’re deliberately not what you’re used to, and not for the squeamish. Love them or hate them, I will keep writing.

Weekly Writer’s Resources Roll Call – Self Publishing

Every week I’ll be adding five websites with excellent resources and interesting news for writers.

The following links contain good advice for self-publishers, from craft to marketing. If you’re a writer, you’ve probably already learned one handy skill–take what you need leave the rest.

When you get a critique or an edit, you know you should always take what they say seriously. They try to give you rules like, “no passive,” “no adverbs,” “no flashbacks.” But these are only guidelines. Sometimes your writing needs these things. As long as you know the rule you’re breaking. I think it works the same with self-publishing. A lot of people will tell you what you have to do, but you know best how to sell yourself.

http://thefutureofink.com/

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/

http://chazzwrites.com/

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-18438_7-10119891-82/self-publishing-a-book-25-things-you-need-to-know/

http://money.howstuffworks.com/self-publishing.htm

Influences

Who are your influences? I used to run a blog called Swimming Under, a nod to the Fitzgerald quote, “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” On that blog, I wrote a series of posts on authors that inspired me. I thought it would be relevant to share some of them here, along with the reasons why.

I have described myself as Chuck Palahniuk and Anne Rice’s love child, so let’s start with them.

Chuck for his humor, his ability to wrap a story in a story, and his “fuck you, I’m writing here!” attitude. He totally disregards rules of grammar when it helps him tell his story.

Anne because because of her ability to draw you in with the first person perspective. I can’t imagine writing a story any other way. I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work for me.

The magnificent Saul Bellow, for knowing how to get into a character’s head. You don’t care what the fuck is going on, because you get to see the world perfectly through another human being. And, when you think about it, Saul was as goth as Anne ever was. “Whoa is me!” Says every character in a Saul Bellow joint.

Stephen King, as I mentioned before is a working man’s writer. He’s putting one word in front of the other and building it like a brick house. Also, he taught me that it’s always about telling a story. Don’t be a wanker. Tell a story.

Kurt Vonnegut, for the beats. The man had rhythm. Also, a home town hero. “And so it goes….”

Philip K. Dick, for teaching me about the weird, and the truth about genres. The only difference between science fiction and “literary” fiction is how many times you use the word “fuck.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, for the whole lot put together. How can it be poetry and prose at the same time? Why did they make a movie out of this book when it’s all about the language? No wait, it’s about the characters. And the story. Fuck, it’s about all of it. The Great Gatsby is about as perfect as a novel can be.

 

Weekly Writer’s Resources Roll Call – The Basics

Every week I’ll be adding five websites with excellent resources and interesting news for writers.

Would you expect to pick up a guitar for the first time and play like a rock god? Of course you wouldn’t. For some reason, people think you can be a great writer with no learning or practice.

The best thing you could do is pick up a copy of On Writing by Stephen King. You, yes you that just groaned at the mention of King, fuck you. Steve’s not a genius, nor does he pretend to be one. What he is, is a perfectly good working-class writer, who knows about craft, and wants to tell you a story. You’re probably a James Joyce fan, ya tosser.

If you’re not going to get On Writing, here’s the next best thing. Some of these websites may repeat themselves. That’s because it’s important.

Strunk & White’s Elements of Style – http://www.bartleby.com/141/   The original and the best. No, not everything they say is right all the time. But you could do a lot worse. When you’re just starting out, live by it. Especially, omit needless words.

Elements of Good Writing – http://www.austincc.edu/history/inres10a4style.html   A lot of what Strunk & White said that’s worth repeating.

Effective Writing – http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/effwrite.asp   More of the same, because it helps to hear it from another perspective.

Creative Writing 101 – http://www.dailywritingtips.com/creative-writing-101/   Style and some grammar thrown in because we can all use a brush-up.

Tips From the Masters – http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/269   Because only a fool doesn’t learn from those who went before.

Crisis Point Fiction

I like to think I’m doing this whole self-publishing thing because what I want to write is so different than the mainstream. I still haven’t convinced myself if that’s true or not. I read, but I don’t consider myself well-read, especially not in my genre. Except I don’t have a genre. Just a mish-mash of kinda-sorta places where my book fits. In descending order, most accurate to least: Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Occult, Horror, Erotic Horror, Magical Realism, Erotica, Porn.

I love genre fiction. I think that it’s working-man’s fiction. It’s accessible. It helps you escape. It can also say more about controversial topics that literary fiction can, because people will accept it when a unicorn/vampire/gnome does it.

I hate genre fiction. Publishers have continuously taken advantage of that accessibility to dumb it down. I want to slap the next person who is writing a young-adult novel. We’re done. We have all the YA we need. Publishers want more of it because you can get ten-billion fourteen-year-old girls to think alike. That’s harder to do with adults. We need more adult fiction. Especially adult genre fiction that challenges our point of view.

Though in the end, maybe Philip K. Dick said it best, the difference between science fiction and literary fiction is how many times you use the word “fuck.”

What I’m really interested in writing about, genre or no, is the crisis point. The point in your life, where if you have ever made a serious mistake, you suddenly realize you’re not the person you thought you were. You’re not the hero of your own story. Just maybe you’re part of the fucking problem. What do you do after that? When your precious identity has been blown to pieces? Do you make excuses and convince yourself you’re still the good guy? Or do you take all the blame? The truth is always somewhere in between.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not pretentious enough to believe this makes my writing better than anyone else’s. And there will be wizards and demons and shit.

So I guess I’m writing Crisis Point Fiction. Can I get a category on Amazon for that?

Weekly Writer’s Resources Roll Call – Tumblr Edition

Every week I’ll be adding five websites with excellent resources and interesting news for writers.

Goddamn I love tumblr. I love how it’s totally free-form, you can use links, pictures, videos, and text posts as short or as long as you want. I’m sorry to all you twitter fans out there, but tumblr is so much better. I also appreciate the tumblr crowd, as they tend to be more open minded and at times bug-fuck crazy. Just like me.

Here’s five of the more entertaining tumblr blogs that focus on writing. Just like all tumblrs, they won’t just be about writing, and many will be NSFW.

Tuna for Bernadette – http://tunaforbernadette.tumblr.com/

A Writer’s Mind – http://awritersmission.tumblr.com/

Pen America – http://penamerican.tumblr.com/

Life is More Than Just a Script – http://writersscript.tumblr.com/

Prompts and Pointers – http://prompts-and-pointers.tumblr.com/

 

The Rules of Write Club

Welcome to Write Club, the full-contact writing club for self-publishers.

The first rule of Write Club is – You will write every day.

The second rule of Write Club is – You will write EVERY day.

Third rule is – Someone must edit your work, and you will listen to them.

Fourth rule – You will finish what you start.

Fifth rule – You will write one story at a time.

Sixth rule  – No passive, no weak verbs.

Seventh rule – Stories will go on as long as they have to.

And the eighth rule of the self-publisher’s Write Club – You will publish what you write.

Weekly Writer’s Resources Roll Call – Podcast Edition

Every week I’ll be adding five websites with excellent resources and interesting news for writers. I listen to a lot of podcasts, they’re a great way to use time in the car to learn something new or just be entertained. This week, I give you five writing podcasts.

Self Publishing Podcast: http://selfpublishingpodcast.com/    The podcast that set me free. I no longer worry about what a publisher will think of my writing.

Writing Excuses: http://www.writingexcuses.com/    Great advice in around fifteen minutes.

Grammar Girl: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/   Answers the sticky questions and gives informed opinions on the sticky-wickets of the language.

Escape Pod: http://escapepod.org/   A rarity these days, a short fiction market that pays. It goes straight to audio. Mur Lafferty picks some great stories. Also see their sister podcasts: Pseudopod and PodCastle

I Should Be Writing: http://murverse.com/podcasts/   Mur’s audio blog on her writing life. She has a lot of great contacts in the industry and has them on her show.