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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Gauntlet

Way back in the beginning, you may recall that I said that 31 Days of Spoooktacular was part of how I planned to force writing to become a habit for me. Writing has always been something I do sporadically, intermittently and with no true pattern. Even over the course of this year, where I’ve given myself the goal of writing ten entries a month, which I have done so far, I don’t evenly space those entries throughout the month. Usually they’re all shoved in at the end of the month and then I go on another, three week long sabbatical.

But with 31 Days of Spoooktacular, you get one entry a day, every day, for 31 days. And that’s great for me and great for you and everyone is happy, except for people who aren’t so interested in me writing about horror day in and day out. But, if you remember, I said that in order to successfully form a habit, you have to do it for around 70 days. I need to continue to write every day for another 30 days (and some change) before it becomes rigidly locked in as something I just do as an impulse.

It just so happens that there’s an event for the entire month of November that dovetails so nicely with my needs. That’s right, I’m doing NANOWRIMO. Again. But this time, I’m picking up that gauntlet and I am slapping NANOWRIMO in the face with it. I am going to write a 50,000 word novel and then some. The way I see it, I’ve been in training for NANOWRIMO this whole month, a light workout to get me into shape for what’s to come.

And by the end of it, I’ll be the better for it, I think. I’ll have mastered a skill that has eluded me almost my whole life; the ability to stick with something through to the very end. I’ll work on a project, sometimes very close to the ending point and then just sputter out, within spitting distance of the finish line.

But not this year. I can feel it. I have the idea that I want to write about. I have the tools to write it. And here, on October 24th, I think I’ve managed to prove that I have the ability to sit down in front of the computer everyday and put words to screen and keep going long after the point in which I should have stopped.

I have never written a novel, though I have tried. For me, just finishing one, even it’s terrible, will be a triumph of sorts. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

31 Days of Spoooktacular, for all of it’s goofiness and beer tasting and horror conventions, is just the beginning.

-D-

PS Check out my profile here and cheer me on all next month. Or not. It’s fine.

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The Death of a Year

Let’s see if I can remember how to do this.

We’ll start with an opening sentence and take it from there.

Oh hi! I don’t really know if there are people who still read this. It’s been about, oh, two months since I last updated. I’ll make the assumption that everyone who reads my blog assumed that I had died over that little break. Well, I’m not dead. Far from it.

I’m here to do what’s likely to become the annual tradition around here. I’ll weep about my failures over the last year and make promises to do better next year.

Actually, you know what, let’s do this up right. Let’s not talk about failures. It’s boring, it’s whiny and no-one likes reading that. Let’s do the opposite of that. So here it is. My top five list of awesome shit that I did.

5. I killed three bookstores and a nationwide bookstore chain in the process. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Dylan, that’s…not such a good thing.” But it had to be done and I made sure it gone done smoothly. No one died, product got sold and there are people all over the city with Borders bookcases in their homes cause I did my job like a ninja. A retail ninja. And I did while remaining sane.

4. I submitted a whole crapton of stuff to be published. None of it got published, but that’s not the point. After a few years of sitting around and not doing anything with my writing career, I actually got out there and started things up again. It’s awfully hard for me to get going once I’ve stopped doing something (see: this blog), but by God, I did it.

3. I read a metric-crapton of books. For those of you who use Imperial measurement, a metric-crapton is a lot of books. Every book I read helps me be a better writer. You know what else helps me be a better writer?

2. I started writing stories again. I hadn’t written a new piece of fiction in almost a year and I finally got back up on that horse. But! The biggest piece of news from the previous year?

1. I self-published a book. It’s still there on Amazon and for even cheaper now. You should go buy it if you haven’t done so already. And, if you want it in paperback, then, holy crap, you have that option now too. There’s people out there, right now, reading my work. Bam.

So that’s sounds like a pretty well seized year. Sometimes I’m pretty bummed about how a year went and I’ve been feeling that a little bit the last couple of weeks. But, you know, looking at that list there, I think I can live with how 2011 went. I’m ready for even bigger things next year.

Just…please, no more store closings.

Dylan

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Writer’s Commiseration

Writing has never been a group thing to me. I don’t track down other writers to talk to them about the process. I don’t go to forums and chat about plotting and character development. I don’t hang out in coffee houses with other writers and discuss the finer points of the gerund. That’s just not what writing is to me. The very idea of talking about a first draft with a total stranger is akin to discussing bodily fluids with someone you met on the bus. And if you think that’s a needlessly gross analogy, you’ve never read one of my first drafts.

And NANOWRIMO is all about the sharing. NANOWRIMO is the guy on the bus who tells you waaay too much about what’s going on and it’s really hard to get used to. I’ve been writing like I always do: head down and eyes on my own paper. I didn’t watch the little videos. I didn’t read the letters of encouragement. I didn’t go to the forums.

But then I needed to procrastinate, so I watched a video or two and some of the tips were helpful and the cheery attitudes were helpful. I started going to the forums and reading other people’s posts and winced once or twice when I read horror stories of lost pages and falling behind the deadline and struggling to catch up. And I identified with it. I’ve lost work before, whole passages lost to the aether. I know that awful feeling in the pit of my gut when I realize I have to rewrite something and it’s never going to be like the original words and it won’t ever be as good.

And it’s weird, because I’m feeling a sense of belonging. I feel like these people understand the annoying problems of writing, the little triumphs and the depressing feeling when you realize you’ve been writing utter shit for an entire day. So I’m trying to reach out. I’m trying to get involved in a…community. There have been a few tentative posts, awkward attempts at saying, “HI I WRITE THINGS TOO BFFS?”

I still don’t know how I feel about all this touchy-feely, “let’s hug cause we write” thing, but I’m going to at least try. I’m going to try and stop being a curmudgeonly hermit grump. Maybe I’ll even start a forum thread.

God forbid.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Writing: Novels, Stories, Blogs and Comics

NANOWRIMO

This year I’ve decided to write a novel for NANOWRIMO. I’m so out of touch with writing fiction that I figured the best way to get back into shape is to try and write 50,000 words in less than a month. It’s like if you decided you wanted to start running every day and figured the best way to do that was to run the Boston Marathon tomorrow.

The only problem is that I’ve already lost two days. I need to really get into gear if I want to make the deadline. By day nine, I should have 15,000 words. Guess how many I have. If you guessed zero, you’d be right!

So check on my progress and cheer me on here. Hopefully this won’t be a bitter failure that I”ll need to drink to forget.

Wait, I need to start this on a more positive note.

Yeah! Gonna write me a book in a month! Whoo!

Dylan Charles

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Tales of the Whispering Mad and the Mis-Dead: Now in Paperback!

You may remember that I have a book, which is available on the Kindle.

Now, everytime I tell people that I have a book and it’s only on the Kindle, they tell me, “But I don’t have a Kindle.” To which I respond, “Then buy a Kindle and then buy my book!” This never goes over well.

So! I’ve come up with a solution. You can now buy my book IN PAPERBACK. No ereaders required, you just go online, order the book and it arrives in the mail, in paper form. Truly, a miracle in modern technology.

Go HERE to buy my book in dead tree form.

Go HERE to buy my book in electronic radioactive form.

Some day, I might even get around to putting it on the Nook.

Dylan Charles

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The Newest Book

Since it’s been a while, let’s talk about the book. No, not that book. The newest one. The one that hasn’t been written yet.

I’m…extremely tentative about this one. I want this one to be perfect.  I want the table of contents to work properly. I want the formatting to sparkle. I don’t want there to be a single typo or blemish. This next book feels…important. And, if I know anything about me, I shy away from all things important.

Important decisions are to be put off to the last minute. Important events must be ignored until the day they happen, at which point one must sprint through them as briskly as humanly possible. Important emotions must be stuffed into a little box, covered with cement and then buried six feet under ground.

So I’m a little daunted by this book, is what I’m saying. I have five of the six stories that I need, because (as previously mentioned) six is a good number. And the other five stories are in need of some serious work. Well, two need serious work, two need massive overhauls and the fifth is fine. And the sixth I just started writing last night.

So it’ll be a while before the book comes out, assuming that I can get over being daunted and overwhelmed by the sheer importance of this project. This book means something to me, more than the last. The stories in my first book are part of before. I think they’re good horror and I think you should buy the book and read them, if that’s your thing.

But the stories in the next book haven’t ever been seen before. They’re new, both to me and you. They’re something I’ve never done before. They’re part of a continuous universe, a whole world that I’ve been creating over the last six months and still creating. As I type this, I’m expanding the world a little more, going beyond the boundaries I set in the first five stories.

So, I hope you enjoy it when it comes out, because these might be the best stories I’ve ever written.

So far.

Dylan Charles

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Tales of the Whispering Mad and the Mis-Dead

After months of (sporadic) work, it’s done. The book is done.

You can read it on the Kindle.

You can read it on your computer.

You can read it on your iPad or your iPhone.

Fact is, you can read my book for the low, low price of $2.99. It’s at LEAST an hour’s worth of entertainment; even more if you’re a slow reader. And it’s riproaring good fun.

So buy my book. And when you’re done, tell other people to check it out too. Cause, here’s the deal: ya’ll are my advertising, every last one of you. And the more people who buy this book, the more likely it is that I can do this fulltime and put out another, even better book much sooner.

And if horror’s not your thing, tell that friend you have who digs horror. You all have that one friend who watches the Friday the 13th movies way too much or who REALLY digs Clive Barker. Tell them about Tales of the Whispering Mad and the Mis-Dead. Spread the word, tell your friends. Blog reviews. Tweet the links.

Go forth my minions and spread the gospel!

And read my book.

Dylan Charles

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