Why Your Fantasy Novel Sucks

28 03 2017

http://www.profawesome.com/?p=306





I Seep Toward My Petri Dish: An Update and Story Prompts

5 01 2017

Almost 150 people are following my posts through WordPress. Various others drop by thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and links from where I have published.

Thank you, all of you, for your attention.

I’ve been struggling to figure out what I can do to be worthy of that attention. I can give writing advice, but I keep finding links to other writers that say what I was going to say anyway.

 

feeings-wheel

 

Like this Feelings Wheel. They seem popular, so I’ll keep doing that.

Most of you like strange but true stuff and story prompts.

slime-preview

Like this one where Slime Mold Solves Problems. Read this! It’s so cool! So yeah, I’ll keep doing those.

I’m 35K into a sequel to my Stoker Jury Recommended novel “The Flesh Sutra”.

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Have you read this? Professional writers agree “The Flesh Sutra” is cool.

The working title is “The Flesh Frequency” and it is set in 1971 San Fransisco. It’s not going to be as body horror as TFS, but I’ve got some frightful stuff happening in the Carruthers House as some paranormal investigators go in to figure out strange goings on.
I’m trying to pull a little slight of hand that I saw done in the haunted house movie “Session Nine” (have you seen it? It’s creeeepy!). In the meantime, happy little ideas have allowed me to vent on things I liked about the era, like the music was pretty boss; and about things I do not like, like the predatory sexuality, drug abuse, and the sun-blinded optimism of the times. The Breendoggle makes an appearance. Look that up and get skeeved.

Also, I am working with my publisher Noble Fusion Press to better promote our quality works from our award-winning, attractive authors.

So here I am, my own little slime mold intuiting my way to the petri dish of agar, which for me would be my own quiet apartment in a metropolitan area and a healthy relationship, hoping this year brings you plenty of sugar and other genotypes with which to fuse.

That was forced, yes, but I have to keep an edge.





Chewing Out From An Eyesocket Soon At A Bargain Rate

25 09 2016

and other sad fates await later this week! On the preliminary ballot for the 2014 Stoker Awards and ready for your eager eyes. Only $.99 this coming Friday.

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Writers: “Start Small, Then You Build”

4 09 2016

 

Here’s a feller who invokes Pixar and Hugh Howey to let you know:

  1. Enovels don’t need to be all that big no matter the genre
  2. Take your time with your ideas
  3. Redraft and redraft. There are award-winning professionals who start with neat ideas, but do not put the work in on polishing.
  4. Will I say any names? If I get annoyed enough one day I just might.




We Are Fashion Meat: A Disquieting Pause

27 07 2016
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You Could Cover Your Butt With Your Own Butt! Chuck Tingle Take Note!

Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion!

In his famous song, not even David Bowie could forsee the newest trend in high-end coverings: Using somebody else!

A fashion student plans to culture skin cells donated by designer Alexander McQueen and sell it as couture.

The artist made this announcement to generate buzz for her vat-grown leather biology patents. At most, she would want to create her Original McQueen for art exhibits a la Body Worlds or the Mutter Museum. This discounts its horrid potential. What is fashion but a challenge to the status quo?

F. Paul Wilson presents a woman who rises to that challenge in his short story “Foet”. Fashionistas create underground couture handbags made from the skin of aborted fetuses. The implication: If aborted fetuses truly aren’t people, then why not treat them as product? The woman overcomes her squeamish morals when presented with the butter-smooth avant garde. Problem: Body Worlds is already making art with volunteer human exhibits. Volunteer fashion wear by Body Worlds should take about twenty years, I think.

In the movie “Antiviral” by Brandon Cronenberg, it becomes fashion to cultivate viruses caught from pop culture performers. When a virus reproduces, it uses the DNA of its host to make new copies of itself. If you catch a flu from Alex Trebek, part of the Jeopardy host is made a permanent part of your dna. Used kleenexes from singers and actors become hot commodities for fans who are the ultimate wannabes. The wealthy and insane will want to spread some love too.

The first vaccines for this affluenza will be for the first outbreak of Kardashian Flu. Sorry, the vaccines will be issued by the CDC, not Starfleet.
“Antiviral” also posits restaurants specializing in food products vat grown from leading pop culture icons. Not only could you eat, drink, savor your fave superstar’s biological flavors, you can choose from different ages. At age 50, Is Bruce Willis tougher than at 20? Can you taste adrenaline in Rihanna before she divorced Chris Brown?
If you bois want to sex up Miley Cyrus, you can! Pleather sex toys embossed with Miley’s DNA arrive in just a few years. I’ll be ordering from the Sasha Grey collection, myself. Grrls can enjoy intimacy of devices with authentic moves thanks to motion capture programming in the devices a.i.. First male celeb with these dna embossed toys: an NBA All-Star, but the genes will be pirated. Or will they? 😉

Patent your genomes now, because the laws are gray and shady regarding who owns development rights to your sequence. Is it you? The doctor who got you to sign something? The company who cultured you into a multi-billion dollar industry a la Henrietta Lacks? Or if someone just happens to find your dandruff, do they get Rights-of-Salvage if those flakes are unclaimed?

Uplifted, uploaded, post-human, trans-human, all flesh is on display, up for grabs, and ready to sell. Be sure to cover your ass or someone will sell it out from under you!





Writing A Light Comedy For My Old Friends Randy and David

6 07 2016

I got back in touch with two brothers I knew in high school, Randy and David. They’ve been living rich, full lives with careers and families and I’ve been Chasing My Muse Lar De Dar.
Back in high school, my nickname was “Exidore” after the character from “Mork and Mindy”. The nickname was quite apt. I was a very wacky kid. I constantly spouted Monty Python, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, George Carlin, Mel Brooks, and all the other comedians from this time the late ‘70s, which was the friggin’ heyday of comedy. I also rattled off character voices, riffed on anything mentioned, and had quite the fast wit. That was the guy they remembered.
So here they were looking up what I had been writing, and I sent them the link to “The Flesh Sutra” which is a study of a dysfunctional relationship in psycho-sexual body horror. To be frank, High-School-Me would have had a morbid fascination with the novel. But I was not one for being into gruesome stuff and had never talked about sex at all.
“Maybe you could write some comedy” messaged Randy, seconded by David.
“You know,” I thought, “I ought to. I should try to get back in touch with that part of myself.” I missed that zany guy I was. That guy was way funny. Surely I can write something in that voice.
I’d burned out my Brit-wit nerve some years ago, no Pratchett or Douglas Adams for me anymore, but I had lots of old Dungeon and Dragons ideas still to work with. So I started writing.
I’d had an idea that the next time I ran in a D&D game I’d try to feed poison to some evil characters and have a dragon eat them. Pretty urgh thing to do, granted, but antiheroes flourish in comedy as long as the people dying are bigger bastards, it would work.
Hmmm. Good antiheroes. Ah! Harry Flashman of the Flashman series! He did some dastardly things and still amused. He’s self-centered and cowardly. Maybe the poisoning is accidental? Nope. Poisoning the adventurers by accident to accidentally poison the dragon is too convenient.
And Kugel from Jack Vance’s “Dying Earth”! Bastardly guy would probably…team up with the dragon. Say, that’s good!
How could he gain the trust of others? Flashman was a sporty and hale looking guy, okay use that. Maybe he’s real young and everyone underestimates him too. He’s an apprentice to a wizard. Not a wizard he kills, that would take away the suspense of being caught by an authority.
The dragon would have to be young, too. Otherwise someone would have killed it already. Okay.
So young wizard makes what…potions? Young potioner, then, and like Blackadder he hates his job and his boss because he’s smarter and more ambitious. So he’s a teen?
Like Beavis from “Beavis and Butthead”? How would he smart enough to make potions? Clueless cruelty like O’Reilly in “A Confederacy of Dunces”? The dragon uses the dope to lure adventurers? Why would the dope keep feeding the adventurers bad potions of fire resistance or whatever. Can’t see that working. The kid and the dragon have to become conspirators.
So he’s callow enough to be maybe sociopathic. By accident, because accidental criminal plots are funny.
OK. The dragon has to be found by accident the first time, otherwise, again, the dragon would have gotten killed way before the story starts. So who’d be dumb enough to wander into a old mine looking for things?
A bunch of aspiring kid adventurers. Why are these kids aspiring adventurers? Because all of society admires adventuring. These kids are the garage band in a culture that reveres adventurers like media stars. The potioner kid wants to be an adventurer too.
The culture is contemporary-ish and the kid is obnoxious. The kid’s name is now “Dagnoxy”.
After the first adventurers are killed, Dagnoxy has to want to kill the dragon. Raise Stakes Number One.
Comes back and feeds group number two the wrong potions. Dragon confronts Dagnoxy. Raise Stakes Number Two.
Negotiates with dragon to bring in groups and split the spoils. Why would the dragon do this?
Because the dragon ate guys who drank a love potion. The dragon is now in love with Dagnoxy.
And so on…
By the end of the draft, Dagnoxy’s killed off maybe a few dozen callow and rude adventurers. Gotten into a tumultuous relationship with the dragon Jilliatrax (I like that name) which yes, had off-screen sex. She is slain by Dagnoxy’s heroes, who turn out to be friends of his neglectful mentor. Facing an odd emptiness from losing the one being who gave a damn about him (and turned out THE LOVE POTION HAD LONG WORN OFF), he sabotages her corpse so her mentor couldn’t sell it for spell components.
By using Vampire Blood. Which turns Jilliatrax into a vampire dragon. She resurrects, promising to reunite later with her lover at an undetermined date.
Mentor is happy to have Dagnox away (lost the “y” to clarify the character is male) and Dagnox pines for the return of his FWB. END.
My writers’ groups beta read and comment. “Is he a bastard or stupid?” “Needs more magic.” My publisher Barbara noted “Show us the pony scene you referenced – I didn’t see it when I read the story.” She is not talking about horses.
I started out wanting to write Blackadder or Ignatius O’Reilly in under a marketable 4K words. I ended up with a 8500 word story about The Talented Mister Ripley murdering a few dozen people and yearning to bump uglies with a new god of darkness.
The market for this story is quite limited. It’s too daffy for the grimdarks, too dragon for the lit-crowd, too murdery for the dragon crowd at “Shimmer” magazine, and not innovative enough for “F&SF” or even “Drabblecast”.
So David and Randy and the kid I once was, have I failed? Dunno. I like the story and frankly have long given up worrying about the state of my muse.
This stuff just happens, man.





Famous Writing Advice With My Addendums

21 06 2016

Write what you know. Your life is a great place to start. You have something you are doing that no one else knows about, like a job or location or life challenge. Start there.

Write what you know. Be sure to talk to lots of people so you know more.

Write what you know. So write about monsters you invent, because who’s going to argue?

Monsters shouldn’t glitter unless they kill people with glitter.

Write things that would embarass your mother. This may not work if your mom likes the Kardashians. If your mother has no shame, try for “dismay” or “repulse”.

The best subtext is unintentional. That is, if you write to convey a message, that message will consume everything — characters, plot, and eventually your ability to interest others. Those you wish to persuade will dismiss you for preaching and those who agree with you will think you’re a dilletente and ignore you. Write your story. If you realize, hey, this story is awkward and makes me look nuts, then work with that. Embrace it. There is a market filled with people who are also awkward and nuts.

Remove as much as possible from your story, especially if you’ve seen it before in other stories. That goes double if you are writing a pastiche or a monster that’s been done.

Writing is not theraputic. Speaking with a cleric, health professional, or mature friend is theraputic. Writing can improve you the writer if you write with the idea that you the writer are wrong and have been for many years. That is “cathartic”. You may have a really good story when you’re done, too.

If you wish to inspire with your writing, make sure your conflicts and antogonist are treated with respect.

Everyone disagrees. Even twins disagree. In theory, clones raised in identical circumstances would disagree. Your character has to do impress you and also make you facepalm.

Even locations have character arcs. Game of Thrones wouldn’t have worked in a thriving, newly born empire. If Salem’s Lot had been a vitalized town filling with immigrants or yuppies, Barlow would have been burned before his antique store opened.

 





My Prayer For Spec-Fic

9 06 2016

Oh Lord, are You there? My soul thirsts for You. Could You give me a Double-Gulp helping of You?

I yearn for a sf movie without “Star” in the title. I yearn for something that JJ Abrams hasn’t tainted with his signature TV cinematography and Slusho world-building. I yearn for Damon Lindoff to live a productive and happy life without the ability to write.
Some movie worthy of a franchise that isn’t already populated with 70 year olds from other franchises. A movie without The Wilhelm Scream. A movie that wasn’t produced simultaneously with three of its sequels. A movie smart enough to have its own language and culture, yet still smart enough to not hide its MacGuffin behind the name “Unobtanium” and keep its villains out of military uniforms and business suits, just once.
Something that doesn’t happen in a high school either midwestern or Asian.

I so thirts for a horror movie without a death in a car where an arm punches through the driver’s chest. Without someone crawling on the ceiling. Without a garish, flat spiritworld where everyone just smiles creepy or sings songs in public domain. Without the Christian being a hypocrite or worse. Without an explanation of why the monster came to be. Without being a disappointing remake.

Without lush childrens’ storybook styling to remind us this is a Metaphor.

People know when a movie is going to suck. They go anyway to be part of the event and be able to discuss the merits of the movie. Even M. Night Shamalan has had little effect.

Could we have a spec-fic show that’s brightly lit? In a nice, clean world? An original world without characters from story books?

Can we have real teenagers who act and speak like real teenagers? Who have sharp-eyed, meddling, loving adults involved in their lives? Can we have actual old people?

We spend our lives making money. We give this money to movies and books and TV. The art is consumimg our lives, yet is made of parts long dead. Now not only is it a zombie (slow moving), it’s  and being further shaved of its face and features so it can shamble into China and digest the Chinese.

I can’t be the only one who feels this way, Lord of Hosts, Host of All Media.

And get people to turn off their tablets in theaters, too.

Amen.





StokerCon in Las Vegas, Baby! Also, Want To Beta Read My New Novel?

5 05 2016

I’ve finished my new dark fantasy/horror novel titled “Diesel Dead”. Elevator pitch is “Later this century, physics attacks humanity. A man with a secret can help bring civilization back from the brink, if he can overcome his PTSD.”
The book is now 43K words with zombies, diesel-funk, fire spirits, a high-tech ruling class, and quite a bit of bleakness.
Wanna read it? Drop me a line!
Meanwhile, I am preparing to go to StokerCon next week. I have signed up for seminars with rising young authors and plan on networking like hell. I hope to keep you updated through the convention about my impressions and learnings.
Right now, I am writing four synopsis for use in John Skipp’s brainstorming class. These are:

  1. Bev’s Demon: a novella set in the near future, a woman is crisis is shadowed by a mysterious being. The problem with this is my politics may be getting in the way of making a better story.
  2. Babbage’s Mandala: A head-smacking new take on the Difference Engine. So many places to go with this idea. Characters in search of a plot.
  3. Sequel to “The Flesh Sutra”: Tentatively named “The Flesh Frequency”, it will be set in 1970’s California. I have  POV and reveal scene and that’s all.
  4. Dagnoxy: Old friends from highschool convinced me to try my hand at comedy again. So I have a character and an idea as to where he should go. If The Talented Mr. Ripley and Terry Pratchett were to have a baby, Dagnoxy would sell it to make spell components.

An editor for a small pub is also critiquing the first 100 pages of “Diesel Dead”, and I’ll share what she has to say.





Ever Have A Dream That Stayed? What’s In You Is Far More Compelling

28 01 2016

Occult and Outsider Imagery – have a look.

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Ever have a dream that made you wake up in a cold sweat? I did once when I was seven. The dream was a melange of Hanna-Barbara cartoons, featuring a waist-up shot of a middle-aged hillbilly woman who had begun to fade to leave the generic wooden shack background. She laughed a deep, cartoony laugh and was joined by other stereotypical rustics laughing unseen. The graphic came up: “Ghoul Gals”. I sat up in bed for the only time in my life, my skin chilled and wet.

A spot of potato? More of the gravy than the grave? Even if dyspepsia inspired the discomfort that made the dream, why that dream? More to the point, what in that dream could be conveyed to others?

You are a consciousness in a body within a society extended by technology. So is everyone else. The fonts and images in your mind will connect with others. Expertise polishes your message until it shines through preconceptions and shows your true, intended meaning. Sometimes, that means seeing your own preconceptions.

Why villains? Why vampires or werewolves? Aliens? Ghosts? Why not rustic Ghoul Gals living in a cartoon?

Okay, to make money, sure. I’ll write those things if I have a neat idea that’ll sell. Or for you, maybe those ideas have a more resounding effect than for most people. What is it that resounds? What does it feel like? What behavior went uncanny?

Have you had a dream that stayed with you?

 








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