July 31, 2013

Writer Wednesday Revisited

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Last year, I had a few writers on this blog to talk about writing in a bi-weekly blog-fest called Writer Wednesday. I thought it was time to revisit some highlights.


Julie R. Andersen: Writing is an Addiction I’m Glad to Have
Julie shares her experience of what to me sounds like a nightmare: what do you do if you can’t write?

Joshua Alan Doetch: How Can You Write This Stuff And Not Get Screwed Up?
Joshua tackles the age old question: why do we love writing horror? And who better to attempt to describe that lust, than the person who writes horradorable fiction?

Krista Holle: My $20,000 Mistake
Krista shows and tells us the difference between first and third person, and why she prefers one over the other.

I hope you all enjoyed revisiting these posts as much as I did.


May 6, 2013

Motivational Growth – Darkly Funny and Deliciously Icky

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The Mold knows, Jack. The Mold knows.

Ian Folivor (Adrian DiGiovanni) hasn’t left his apartment for months, and he has no interest in doing so until his television, lovingly named Kent, dies in the middle of a rerun-marathon. The loss of his source of entertainment makes Ian question his life and decide to take action. With two parts household bleach and one part sulfuric acid, he attempts go out in a chlorine gas induced, disgustingly glorious end. But due to an unfortunately placed vent and a bit of bad luck, he wakes up on the bathroom floor.

Ian is welcomed back by the mold on his bathroom wall, voiced by Jeffrey Combs, and things take a serious turn for Strangeville.

Motivational Growth is written, directed and edited by Don Thacker, and is the result of one singular idea coming to fruition. Everything in the piece, from the dialogue to the special effects, fit together and make for a compelling, funny and icky whole.

When it comes to the story itself, it’s clear that Thacker wanted to leave things open to interpretation. As we follow Ian down the rabbit hole, we abandon the concept of time and space. The story makes several logical leaps, and it’s not always clear what the relationship between Kent and The Mold is, or what is going on. For the most part, this is good, but the score and the animated sequences, so clearly inspired by 1980s/90s video games, left me wondering if there was another dimension to this piece that I missed.

I enjoy bizarre tales and I like that Thacker wasn’t afraid to let us jump to conclusions, but I believe the story would be stronger if the reason for Ian’s seclusion from society was revealed to the audience. Without an explanation, Ian’s retreat into his cave did not make much sense. I also found it problematic that he could afford to stay in there for months on end without a job. It’s difficult for me to sympathize with a character that is privileged enough to sit on his ass eating take-out for six months without financial strain. I just wanted to yell at him to get the fuck out and do something. Once I got past the set-up, I began liking the character, almost despite myself. But with a bit more set-up, I could have rooted for him from the start.

It must also be mentioned that this is very much a character piece, resting on DiGiovanni’s performance, and he does not disappoint. His delivery of the lines had me laughing out loud, and his desperation once The Mold pushed him far enough past his comfort zone had me cringing.

The choice to use puppets, real special effects and animated sequences fit the overall look and feel of the film, and the story. Scenes that could have seemed fake or over the top with CGI, were made tangible and poignant by the use of retro effects. In general, the movie looked very good.

The dialogue was sharp, the humor pitch black and the story absurd. I’d keep my eyes open for this twisted coming-of-age story, guys. It’s worth seeing.

I got to watch Motivational Growth before it’s Norwegian release date so that I could review it on this blog. A European release date has not been set yet, but keep your eyes peeled.

March 5, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion. Read: Help a Writer Out!

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I have entered to win a scholarship to the Backspace Writers Conference in May. I need to get the most votes out of about a hundred entries. Read the entries here.

This is my log line:

Entry 56: FIRE AND BLOOD | Urban Fantasy

When Montreal police start finding bodies of youths with magical potential, Trinity McCormac, the only powerless descendent of a legendary family of witches, knows the killer has learned the secret she once uncovered: that it’s possible to steal people’s powers by eating their souls, but she cannot go to the authorities without making herself a prime suspect. Can she catch the killer before he succeeds in making himself the most powerful witch of all time, and can she defeat him without becoming a killer herself?

All I need from you you, dear readers, bloggers, friends, is a small vote. One small vote each. It would make me a very happy blogger and grateful friend. Also, I bake. Did I mention that?

Anyways, if you think my entry is worth a trip to New York, or if you have other, darker reasons to vote for me, I won’t judge, just click this link and vote for number 56: Blood and Fire.

Remember, a vote for number 56: Fire and Blood is a vote for the future!

I’m not going to promise it would make the world a better place, but it just might. It just might.

November 23, 2012

The Bookshelf Meme

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 6:39 am
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I’m unfocused today, and I found this lovely meme over on livejournal and figured I’d try my hand at it.

Rules: Answer the questions with titles from your bookshelf. It is much harder than you’d think.

I Didn’t Mean to be Kevin

How are you?
I Drink for a Reason

How has your day been?
Strangeness in the Proportions

What are you wearing right now?
The Elements of Style

What are you listening to right now?
Our Mutual Friend

What do you see when you look to the left?
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

What kind of weather do you have today?
Cloud Atlas

What are you doing this weekend?
Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle

How are you spending your Christmas (or other midwinter celebration)?
T is for Trespass

What do you hope to find under your tree?
Stuff White People Like

So, what do you think? Feel free to post your bookshelf questionnaires in the comments, I’d love to see your versions!

October 14, 2012

The Right Place to Write

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What constitutes “right” when it comes to a place to write is elusive and according to taste. Do you need silence? Noise? Music? People around you? Privacy? I can’t answer these questions for you, but I can give you an example of the perfect place to write for me.

Ninth Street Espresso in LES – New York.

Music: soft electronica, mild country or Leonard Cohen.
Drip Coffee: round, dark, with just a hint of bitterness.
Lattes: damn near perfect, in a range of sizes, all deliciously blended.
Charging possibilities: plentiful.
Wifi: free.
Clientele: a good mix ranging from seniors to hipsters to families.
Sound level: low, with a buzz of conversation. Haven’t broken out the headphones yet.

In my opinion, Ninth Street has it all. Plenty of seats at 1-2 man tables with just enough space to put a coffee cup and a computer. Good chairs. Great coffee (yes, I’m a bit of a coffee snob, so this has become one of my main criteria for a place to write). Friendly staff that do not mind long bouts of writing interspersed with few purchases of coffee. This is a place where people come to work, and it shows. If I could bring this coffee shop with me wherever I went, I’m pretty sure I’d be more productive.

What’s the perfect writing place for you? Inquiring minds want to know.

October 4, 2012

That Gypsy Feel

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We handed over the keys to our apartment on Tuesday morning, leaving our beloved place behind for someone else to fill with memories. It was a bittersweet farewell, but since I had two freelance gigs running at the same time and a fever, I didn’t have too much time to think about it.

(Cafe Abraco on 1st Ave and E 7th S. It can’t guarantee that it’s the best coffee in New York, but it’s damned good coffee.)

Our ride to New York cancelled on us at the last minute, so we hopped on the train. To be honest, it was a bit of a relief as it meant I could keep working during the ride. And with a panorama view of the East Coast in fall, it was inspired work indeed.

Once we arrived in New York — a few hours late but in good spirits — we met the guy who’s renting us a room, a screenwriter named Mark. He’s lived in the same apartment on the Lower East Side for fifteen years, and it shows. Everything is comfortably worn in and he is impressively laid back about us crashing. And if that wasn’t enough, the neighborhood is gorgeous and filled with artists and families. It makes me feel like a new person. I could write a novel from here (but I’ll settle for finishing my second writing gig, due Friday).

So far, we’ve experienced New York as locals rather than tourists. We’ve wandered around, tried new cafes, worked, and met people we already know for drinks. Living in someone’s apartment makes me feel at home, and not having anywhere else to call my own adds that comfortable gypsy feel to my existence. It is definitely my kind of vacation.

June 4, 2012

Neil Gaiman Gives Great Advice

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Most of you probably already knew that, of course. Still, I find it useful to re-watch this when I’m feeling down: Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class 2012

Question is: are you moving towards the mountain?

May 13, 2012

What to read when you don’t have time to read

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Short answer: short fiction.

The last three weeks I’ve delved into short fiction again and I must say I love it. You can pack so much punch into thirty pages, and for those of us who’re crunching* right now, it’s much easier to pick up a short story than to make it through a whole novel. Besides, with the bloom of indie publishing, a lot of new, interesting short fiction is propping up. I suggest A Light To Starve By, by Axel Taiari if you like horror/alternate reality fiction.

I’m currently reading Alice Munro’s collection of short stories Too Much Happiness. Every page is blowing my mind, and the best part: I can read a story a day. (Although I devoured three this afternoon. Seriously, check her out!)

So for those of you who want to read but who keep putting books down or losing the plot, let me suggest short fiction. Less demanding = more rewarding when you’re short on time.

*the preferred term for working massive overtime to finish a project on time.

May 9, 2012

Writer Wednesday with Ethan Kincaid

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Today, I’m proud to present Ethan Kincaid. My first meeting with Ethan’s writing was when he joined our writing group, St-Norbert’s Writer’s Circle. He presented the first chapter of his novel, and the first comment he got was: This is the most publishable material we’ve looked at yet. A mere year later, he’s getting ready to publish the full thing himself. Keep your eyes open for Blood of Midnight: The Broken Prophecy. I’m happy to be one of the first to recommend it.

As someone choosing the self-publishing route, Ethan gets his hands dirty with every part of the publishing process. Here, he talks about how to pick a cover artist.

So, you need to commission novel cover art for the first time? Don’t panic. There is a great wealth of artists at your fingertips right now. Before you get on Google, let me suggest something: don’t go with a hugely famous artist.

You want a professional and you can have one. What I recommend is not taking the first five search results as your ideal candidates. If you frequent art sites like DeviantART or Elfwood, for example, you already have favourite artists. You like them because their art speaks to you. While an artist of greater renown may have a huge, impressive profile, how do you know they will give your work the “face” that fits your vision? You’re about to shell out some serious cash here. $500 to $2000, paying half up front, is pretty standard. Think about it.

Artists have egos, some easier to deal with than others. With all the prospective publishers, agents, and editors you have to flatter, you don’t need one more person to coddle. Lesser-known artists are more likely to be approachable, affordable, available, and flexible. The quality of their art is often the same or better than the big players.

I’m negotiating with some artists I’ve admired for years. Let me tell you, it’s an incredible feeling of excitement. Enjoy that! Also, take pride in giving money to an artist who really needs it. You may have noticed that it’s tough making a living on art. You can make your favourite artist’s life easier by giving them your business.

Got some artists in mind? See if they take commissions and what their policies, availability, and pricing are like. Send inquiries to at least three artists. If they’re available for commission, send a brief idea of what you will need on the cover. The artist will probably give you a price estimate at this point, based on the difficulty of the work.

They might offer to do a rough sketch of their idea, especially if their portfolio is smaller than some of the big-name artists. They might do this for free, or not. Remember, you’re paying for their time. If you ask for a sketch, be prepared to pay for it. They will usually have prices posted on their webpage for sketches. Budget for it. They might not want to do a sketch for you before you pay half of the commission fee. Sadly, this is because sometimes an artist will get cheated by a client taking their sketch and getting someone else to realize the art for cheaper. Be sensitive to the artist’s needs.

That said, if the artist is impatient with you, doesn’t take the time to answer your questions, frequently misunderstands what you say even though you’ve been pretty articulate, or you just have a feeling that they’re not very good at working with newbie authors, don’t make a contract with them. Whether it’s a simple communication problem or a prima donna attitude, you do not need the extra stress. An artist that will work with you to realize your dream is worth far more than a famous name.

April 8, 2012

Words That Make You Shiver

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 10:33 am
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I am an insect that dreamt he was a man and loved it, but now that dream is over, and the insect is awake.

Some lines stay with you. They could be in a movie, a book, a song, but the mix of words and sentiment come together so well that it sends shivers down you spine.

A single grain of rice can tip the scale. One man may be the difference between victory and defeat.

It might be lighthearted, or deadly serious, but you remember it. Citations of these lines will make you smile, or tear up, or shiver. Something about these lines just stick.

God isn’t supposed to be a hack horror writer.

So what is it about these lines that force a reaction from us? I believe it has something to do with build up. It’s not so much the words themselves, but the stories they embody. The lines I remember are usually the ones that contain the story, or at least a major part of it.

Now for wrath. Now for ruin. And the red dawn!

Or, of course, the lines that define a character.

Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

Regardless, they are lines that stand out because they contain much more than the words themselves. They tell the story.

What words make you shiver? And can you place each quote in this post?

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