Aftermath “This is what happens?” said Nathan. The creature nodded. A thin trickle of frozen green pus dangled from the scratch Nathan had left in its cheek. “But I didn’t realize.” The creature shrugged. “Is there anything I can do?” The creature looked around the frozen wasteland and scratched its head. Grimacing with concentration, it poked around in its ear for a moment and then tugged a few wiry hairs free. Nathan watched the creature twist the hairs into a tiny braid. The creature opened its mouth and mimed swallowing the braid and then handed it to Nathan. Nathan shuddered. Story originally submitted to the Tuesday Tales 17 Flash Fiction competition. This is an example of a story where I took Anne McCaffrey’s advice so there’s a detailed back story behind those 100 words. Maybe one day I’ll extend it into a full length story.
At some point this blog will stop being about events I’ve attended. But not today. I got into Goth music by accident in my late teens and it quickly became the soundtrack to my life and although I have somewhat more varied tastes these days, Goth is still where my heart is. Bauhaus – one of the first British goth bands – were a key part of that soundtrack and although they split up years ago, I’ve been lucky enough to see them on a couple of reunion tours and still listen to their music. So, when I heard that Bauhaus lead singer, Peter Murphy was coming to town, along with LA based She Wants Revenge I had to go. She Wants Revenge set list The evening was actually a double headliner show with She Wants Revenge also playing pretty much a full set. I’ve seen them in Vancouver before and liked them enough to buy both their albums. They’ve got a bit of a British Goth feel to them that appeals to me and I’m obviously not alone – they had a lot of very vocal fans in the audience last night and it was a great start to the evening. They mixed in some … Read More
Chuck Palahniuk’s advance for Fight Club was just $7000 dollars and both the film and the book were failures. At least initially. That’s two of the things I learned at the Chuck Palahniuk reading on Wednesday. I also learned that he likes to throw candy at his audience and I mean at, not to. The event was part of the Vancouver International Writers Festival and if you live in or near Vancouver, it’s well worth keeping an eye on their website – they bring some great authors to their annual festival in October and other events throughout the year. Chuck’s visit kicked off with a limited signing for people who had bought one of the one hundred book-and-event tickets that were available. I was lucky enough to be able to get one so I arrived early, got my copy of Damned inscribed and a couple of photos and then sat down and waited for the reading to start. I’m Damned It was obvious the evening was going to be special when Chuck came on stage, explained how important it was to pay attention and then proceeded to throw candy around the packed theatre. And this wasn’t small candy either, it was … Read More
Okay, NaNoWriMo is over. If you completed your 50,000 words (and if the Twitterverse is anything to go by, a lot of people did), congratulations. If you didn’t…don’t give up. Think back to the beginning of NaNoWriMo and the fresh faced young author eager to prove to the world that their story was worth telling, worth reading, maybe even worth publishing. If that enthusiasm is still there keep hold of it. If it’s gone or life has worn it down to a less exuberant level, nurture it. Think about what you love about writing and what prompted you to attempt NaNoWriMo in the first place and try to rekindle that spirit. Imagine your story out there in the world being read by thousands of people. Imagine the joy you’ll bring. Imagine the huge advances if you like (although I hope there’s more to your interest in writing than money). Whatever it takes, don’t stop writing. What THEY Don’t Want You To Know I’ll let you into a secret…There’s actually no rule that says you can only commit to writing during November. Shocking, I know. And guess what, even if you did complete your NaNoWriMo novel (and congratulations again by the way), … Read More
Some unexpected writing yesterday, 100 words worth to be exact. I happened to catch a tweet directing me to a Tuesday Tales challenge on the Glitter Word blog. The challenge was to write a one hundred or less word piece of flash fiction inspired by the image below and including the word Twist. It happened to be lunch time and I was taking a break from my day job so I noodled around for ten or fifteen minutes and wrote a story called Aftermath. This was the first time I’ve taken part in this type of challenge and I really enjoyed it – it was a nice to be able to take a quick creative break in the middle of the day and the one hundred word limit forced me to keep the writing focused. The Tuesday Tales challenge takes place every week so I’ll be dropping back next week to see if Ethel the Muse has anything to say about next week’s photo. You can find my story, along with the other entries here.
You get some amazing autumn mornings in Vancouver. Crisp, clean air. Clear blue skies. Bright sunshine reflecting off the sea with snow capped mountains in the background. Wonderful. Yesterday was not one of those days. It was cold, wet and grey. It was also the day of the first ever Vancouver Historic Half Marathon and the fifth half marathon that my wife, Ann, and I have run. Medal for the Vancouver Historic Half Marathon The route started at the naval base on Dead Man’s Island and followed the seawall around the edge of Stanley Park, looping round twice before finishing back on the naval base. As well as the half marathon there were 5km and10km races along a subset of the Half Marathon route. It was raining heavily when we arrived but although it stayed pretty gloomy for most of the race, the rain eventually died off and it wasn’t as gruesome as we’d initially feared. It was a fairly small race, roughly 400 people with 250 of those running the half so as the race progressed the field thinned out nicely which meant we could focus on running not dodging other runners. The seawall is a beautiful place to run, … Read More
It turns out I was actually working on Draft Number Ten of The Ghost Smuggler, not number nine as I originally thought. Whichever number it was, I finished it yesterday morning after a final check of a couple of chapters I’d reworked – just to check flow and continuity. Some stats about Draft Number Ten. The manuscript is now 169 pages long (single spaced) and comes in at 87,000 words. Yes, exactly 87,000 – weird huh? The double spaced manuscript clocks in at 390 pages. Editing Draft Number Ten took 774 minutes (give or take an hour or so for random digressions onto the Internet) and overall I removed 447 words from the story. That’s probably a good thing. Next step is to send it off to Jeff VanderMeer who offers a critique service. I’m a fan of Jeff’s writing (in particular the ridiculously inventive Finch) so the opportunity for him to cast a critical eye over my manuscript was too good to pass up. I was a little concerned that my aging LaserJet would collapse under the strain of printing out the whole manuscript so I batched up the printing to make sure it survived. And survive it did, although I almost ran … Read More
I was very sad to hear that Anne McCaffrey died on Monday. As you would expect, there are lots of great tributes across the web. Random House Locus Obituary Geek Out! Girl Meets Lightsaber io9 Author Chris F. Holm For my part, I grew up reading the Dragon stories. Inspired perhaps by my brother’s suggestion that I was a bit too young to read them, I devoured them all as quickly as I could. Even now, many years later, they still hold a special place in my memories and I’ll never forget the world of Pern. My wife was equally entranced by Anne’s books and I think she’s read them all, including the spin offs, the non Dragon stories and those written with her son Todd and other collaborators. I remember reading some writing advice from Anne McCaffrey that really stuck with me. I’m not able to find the full quote anymore because the original website is no longer available but I’ll paraphrase here. She suggested that if you were writing a scene with a chest of drawers in it, you should know what was inside it. Not that you had to tell the reader, just that you, as the … Read More
More edits to The Ghost Smuggler yesterday and I reached page 153 out of what has now become 170 manuscript pages (I’ve been cutting a few extraneous bits and pieces). I’m hoping to finish off the final revisions tonight but it’s also training night so that may be a stretch. Particularly as there’s a section I want to remove and that means reconnecting the story either side and rereading relevant chapters to make sure I haven’t introduced any continuity errors. Then I’ll be printing it out and sending it off for a critique. I need to do that by Thursday at the latest so training may have to wait. I’ve also been chatting about the new book with Ethel the Muse and we may have come up with a title – I just need to let it roll around in my head and see if it sticks. I also reached the conclusion that I’m going to need to do some planning of the main characters for this one. Most of them will appear in the first few scenes of the book so it will be difficult to add new and interesting characters as I think of them while I’m writing. I need to … Read More
I’ve had a somewhat cultural few days. Friday evening saw another gig – this time Feist. She brought with her the holder of the world record for longest piano concert and a self-proclaimed musical genius – Chilly Gonzales. This is the third time we’ve seen Feist, and the second time we’ve seen Chilly and they didn’t disappoint. Great fun. On Saturday we went to see a production of the British musical – Blood Brothers. Not a happy go lucky tale but very enjoyable nonetheless. I spent Sunday revising The Ghost Smuggler getting to page 119 of 173 (that’s manuscript pages, not finished book pages). I’m making changes on pretty much every page and I think it’s definitely improving the book. The goal is to finish the entire manuscript by end of day Wednesday so that I can get it sent off for a critique. I also picked up a parcel from the post office – my copies of Two Worlds and in Between, the new Caitlin R Kiernan short story collection from Subterranean Press. More on that later.