Tag Archives: novel

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

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

Leave a comment

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

1 Comment

Filed under Writing: Novels, Stories, Blogs and Comics

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: A Review

So for the first time in a long time, I’m going to write me a review, ’cause…why the hell not?

I generally stay away from books that appear on the New York Times bestseller list.  If Oprah’s seal of approval appears on the cover, I’m ten times more likely to throw the book on the ground and run for the hills.

This isn’t really a rational way of thinking, more of a snooty, anti-populist way of thinking that I’ve been trying to curb. After all, things are popular for a reason and maybe it’s because the thing in question is really good.

So after encountering The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at every corner and having appear in places I usually don’t notice books, like the grocery store, I decided to give the damn thing a try. I’ve got a Kindle, I might as well put it to work.

And now I’m done reading it and I don’t know what I think.

It’s an interesting book, from the perspective of a writer, because it looks very much like Stieg Larsson was figuring out how to write a novel as he wrote it. The prologue was painful, awkward, stilted and nearly got me to delete it from the Kindle. If I hadn’t paid for it, I would have stopped reading it, just based on those opening ten pages.

But the book got better, because, in part, because Mr. Larsson got better. His characters are, across the board, fairly interesting and complex creatures, believable in their motivations and actions. Of course, the best part of the book was Lisbeth Salander. She’s quirky, vicious, socially inept, intelligent and firm in her beliefs about how to deal with the world. In every way, the kind of character I enjoy reading about. She’s another version of detectives like Holmes and Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe: those individuals who are terribly flawed human beings (at least from the perspective of the people around them) and yet, continue to do what they consider the right thing in spite of all the pressures not to.

The mystery aspect of the plot was worthy of both of the detective characters and was riveting from beginning to end. The only problem is, the mystery doesn’t start till a third of the way into the book and ends well before the book ends. A considerable chunk of time is taken up to describe business crime. Give me murders over corporate shenanigans any day.  The corporate menace that lurks over the entire story is not as interesting as the murder mystery. All it does is steal time from the best parts of the book.

I will, most likely, pick up the next book in the trilogy, if only to learn more about Lisbeth Salandar, but I’ll cry if I have to read several hundred pages about business magazines and journalists and accounts whose figures DO NOT ADD UP.

Dylan Charles

3 Comments

Filed under Pop Culturing: Movies, Books, Comic Books and Other Arts