Ethel the Muse was working overtime on Saturday morning and by the time I got up I had a fully formed idea for a new story – Backwards Boy. The first half was written on Saturday but by Sunday morning I hated it so I ended up rewriting a lot of it. It’s pretty short – 986 words – and it’s also difficult to categorise. In a lot of ways it’s not really speculative fiction at all. But it might be, it depends on what happens after the story ends. Unfortunately, that means it will be a tricky story to place but we’ll see how it goes. Of course, it needs to sit in my unfinished folder and age for a couple of weeks before I edit it and start submitting. The addition of Backwards Boy means I have five stories waiting for me to edit them. Can you tell I’m not a fan of editing? My goal is to get all five finished and out into the wild by the end of the year. Other than a couple of hours of writing, the weekend was filled with day job and trips out and television. Specifically we caught up with the … Read More
I finished Ian McKinnon’s Remains of the Dead last week and I’ve got somewhat mixed feelings about it. I certainly enjoyed reading it, but not as much as the first book – Domain of the Dead. The two books are closely related. Both books start at the same point although with slightly different perspectives. Several years into the zombie apocalypse, a group of survivors unexpectedly encounters a military helicopter on a research mission. The helicopter does not have room for both the crew and the survivors and is forced to leave some of them behind to be rescued on a return trip. It’s at this point that the novels diverge. Domain of the Dead follows the helicopter back to a military research ship and the events that follow. Remains of the Dead stays in the zombie infested city with a two soldiers, a small baby and her father and the obligatory infected survivor. Obviously these are zombie tales and they don’t stray too far from the familiar corpse riddled paths that dozens of films and now books have tread before them but that’s not a bad thing. I found Domain of the Dead a more compelling story, with a dash more originality … Read More
As promised, I finished the first draft of F Bomb last night. Two hundred and six minutes to write two thousand and seventy two words and I’m pretty happy with it. As always it now sits in the unfinished folder for a couple of weeks to let it ‘stew’. As well as finishing F Bomb, I created a folder for Novel Number 2 which from now on will be known as Uncanny Freaks. I won’t actually be starting on the novel for a couple of weeks yet so it’s largely a ceremonial step but it does give me somewhere to store the notes that I need to start making. I also moved an unfinished story into my abandoned folder. That makes unlucky thirteen stories in my abandoned. Some of them are just snippets of stories I wrote years ago. Others are almost complete tales that just didn’t work. Some of the ideas are good though, including the one I consigned to oblivion last night so I’ll be returning to it at some point – I’ll just be starting fresh. As well as the abandoned folder, I have a bunch of unsold stories that I like to read through every now and again. … Read More
Last night Ann and I spent a very entertaining evening at a puppet show. Yes…a puppet show. I know that doesn’t sound very rock n roll but these are post-apocalyptic puppets so it’s okay. Ronnie Burket controls and voices all the marionettes in this one man show featuring a blind woman – Penny Plain – and a bizarre mix of survivalists, a serial killer, a cross-dressing banker, talking dogs and mysterious strangers seeking sanctuary from the apocalypse. The marionettes are incredible, and it’s a wildly entertaining show – funny, strange and sad. If you get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it. For Vancouverites it’s on at the Cultch for a few more days and you can order tickets here. I also got the corrections to The Z Word and a new bio off to the editor of So Long, and Thanks for All the Brains. Today, I want to finish F Bomb. Definitely. No excuses. Honest.
Scott Bury has posted some great tips on editing on his blog – well worth a read. I’ve certainly been guilty of all those things are one point or another.
I guess I should know better than to make plans by now. A friend I hadn’t seen for several years dropped by my office yesterday with some tickets to see the Vancouver Canucks play the Colorado Avalanche. I’m not a huge sports fan but I do enjoy watching ice hockey. Probably because 1) It’s fast – team’s can go from winning to losing, literally in a few seconds of game time 2) It’s the first time where my local sports team has actually stood a chance of winning anything 3) I live in Canada It was a great game. The Vancouver Canucks won six to nothing and there were smokies, mini donuts and beer. No work on F Bomb although I did produce an entry for Tuesday Tales 18 – Break. You can find a link to it on the Free Fiction page.
Break “You want to be a what when you grow up? A sassinak? I bet you don’t even know what that is.” “Yes, I do. They’re like pirates only they come from England.” I rolled my eyes and put my head in my hands. My little sister; a different stupid dream every day. As I stared at the floor, I noticed a colourful piece of paper lying beneath our bench. It was the cover from an old magazine, from before the war. It showed a picture of a woman in a pink uniform, a stewardess on an airline maybe. She was young, beautiful. I imagined her waiting for her plane to arrive to take her across the world to incredible places. The picture said one thing to me. Opportunity. “That’s what I want to be,” I said to my sister. She picked up the paper and stared at it without saying anything. “Ha,” said a bitter voice. It was Warder Clarke, her club twitching menacingly as she glared down at us through the battered metal cage of her faceguard. “You won’t be getting off this rock for a very long time. Now, grab those drills and get back to work.” … Read More
Mostly day job and shopping yesterday but I did manage to scrape together a surprisingly productive hour of creativity and add another 727 words to F Bomb. That brings the total word count to 1693 and the end clearly into view. My plan is to finish it tonight and although I do want to go back and fill in a bit more detail in a couple of places, I’m still very happy with the story. That’s unusual for me so we’ll see if that’s still the case when I’ve written the ending. Weird Fiction Review posted a great story yesterday. Originally published in 1892, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a wonderfully disturbing tale and it’s well worth a read. Of course, if you like your fiction weird then Weird Fiction Review should already be on the list of sites you visit regularly. In other news, the proofs for So Long, and Thanks for All the Brains arrived yesterday and it’s looking very good indeed. Matt Nord has put together a monster collection (over 420 pages of Zombie fiction plus the first five chapters of the upcoming Collaboration of the Dead novel). And I still love the cover. Cover for So … Read More
No zombies, but I did manage to get back to writing yesterday and I started a new story – F Bomb. An hour and a half of writing resulted 966 words which I think puts me about halfway through. It’s an interesting little story and I’m not entirely sure what genre you’d pigeonhole it into but I like it so far. There’s a (hopefully) humorous edge to it that appeals to me. I was also planning on editing Rainshine but I decided to postpone that for another few days and come back to it once F Bomb is finished. I also wrote an entry for my other blog – something I’ve neglected to do for far too long and submitted a story to the One Buck Horror anthology series – fingers crossed on that one, it would be good to end the year with another acceptance. With all the talk about music and running, I neglected to mention the new book I’m reading – Cate Gardner’s short story collection Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and other curious things. I read the first couple of stories on Friday night and already I’ve got a good feeling about it. Finally, I’ve created a Free Fiction page and posted links to the first two stories … Read More
Yesterday was our last race for 2011 – The Santa Shuffle. It’s a 5km fun run round Stanley Park and the seawall and this year was the third time we’d taken part. The weather was great (one of those amazing Vancouver mornings we didn’t get last weekend) and we timed our arrival perfectly so we didn’t need to stand around in the cold for too long. Despite having run the half marathon last weekend and promising to “take it steady” we actually ended up finishing in around 25 mins 30 which is our fastest 5km yet. The post race refreshments (beef chili and some granola bars) were good as well so it was a successful event all round. One of our local HMV stores is closing down – presumably falling victim to the relentless advance of digital content – so in the afternoon I dropped by to take a look at their 60% sale. It turns out that it’s mostly a 10% sale (although if you want a Metallica clock then you can indeed save 60%) but I did pick up a copy of Murder by Death‘s album – Red of Tooth and Claw. I first discovered Murder by Death (or … Read More