Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Writing a Novel: Start to Finish, Entry 19—Now What?

Writing a Novel: Start to Finish, Entry 19—Now What?
As I’ve previously written, as all 22 of you that read the last posting are aware of while the rest of you are now baffled and jealous of the elite 22 for keeping up on such a hot blog, I’ve stepped away from TUG for quite a bit. I’ve written exactly one short story since then and then edited the hell out of it. It’s a pretty good one. I printed it and set it aside. So I’m now out of practice. Again, as I’ve said before, writing a novel is like telling an elaborately long winded lie. The problem is, I will now need to print it out then start reading from scratch to re-familiarize myself with the lie. And I’ve already had to do this a time or two before. I suck. So that’s the next step. Not sucking, but reading it all again in one setting. No notes, hell not even a writing utensil can be at hand. I want to experience it like an actual reader would.
Now, I’d to try something different. I’m going to post a sampling of the beginning. I posted a sampling before (Entry 11) and 55 people read it! I’m going to post just the very, very beginning this time. I’d truly appreciate some genuine feedback. A YES or a NO: Would you want to read further having read the sample?  
I’ll take you answers and any additional feedback into account. Thanks. Instead of acting like I know what I’m doing, I’m asking for help. If I knew what I was doing, I’d not start and stop so often. EIGHT SENTENCES. Here goes:

Wind lashed at Thaddeus Pulliam, the driving rain cooling him as he pulled the mud heavied rope slung at the middle of the young tree’s height. His lungs burning and hands gone to numb, he allowed the fat rope to sag momentarily as he recaptured any remaining strength.  Slapping rain from his eyes, he stared proudly, determinedly at the white spot of naked tree, the bark long ago worn away smooth by the rope and his pulling. Lightening strung about the sky and Thaddeus imagined an energy infusing into his body, charging him like a battery for another pull. He dug into the mud with the side of his military boots and braced for another pull. His lungs burned and his forearms twitched. In truth, the last thing Thaddeus wanted to do was pull the rain slickened rope another time. But he’d not win the tug-of-war come Labor Day without training and the tree had not been worn smooth by thinking about another pull.


Thursday, July 30, 2015



I haven't blogged since July 5, 2013. Exactly two years to the date that the fortunate event happened that woke me up. Thank You, James Patterson. I'm going to write again. 


And this time I'm serious. I know, I know--I also said I'd quit drinking. And shooting heroin, but I never follow through. But...this time...I am. And I owe it all to James Patterson. Sometimes you have to step away, to quit, to say that you're through before you realize that you can't go out with a whimper. You can still say something and say it well. Thank you, James Patterson. 

While driving home from Florida, a 13 hour ride that turned into 18 hours thanks to a horrific wreck that happened somewhere near Paducah, we'd decided to listen to James Patterson's THE LAKE HOUSE on CD. Having never been exposed to America's most successful writer (in terms of money), I was a little intrigued to hear what he had to say. A quick synopsis: kids are genetically engineered with birds in a secret government experiment. A mad scientist not associated with the project wants to kidnap them and milk them for his own nefarious needs. And there's a custody battle for the bird kids. If it sounds stupid, it's because it is. Very stupid. But, okay, one man's trash is another's treasure. I'm sure many admired this R.L. Stine quality story. Probably adults who grew up reading and watching Goosebumps. 

Patterson is awful. His writing is atrocious. His dialogue was simplistic and boring. The sentences seemed about five words long. He says the same things twice, just a slightly different way. The kids didn't speak like kids--the man is out of touch with the modern child's lingo. The adults were pathetic cliches. The mad scientist was laughably evil--if that's even possible. I just wanted every character to die in a fiery explosion right at the end of chapter one. And the chapters! I think there was like 100 chapters, each about a paragraph long or so it seemed. This was Gary Smothers writing in his shitty roach filled apartment on 5th street as he emulated, horribly, Ray Bradbury and the Twilight Zone. 

I'm serious, I'm better than this sell out hack. Perhaps he used to write well. And, yes, I'm being a bit unfair in two regards. 1) Maybe this is a poor sample of his abilities. 2) It's not his fault people snatch up his books (and CD's) by the millions. People, apparently, enjoy shit writing. I ran into an ex professor of mine in the grocery store yesterday and sounded off about the crap that is Patterson. And he summed it up well, "This is the reading level of the American reading public." I agree, But I wish he was wrong.

That's not to say that TUG is the next GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL. It ain't. But it's good. And it's going to get better. I wish I could have my book, even incomplete and mostly unedited as it is, manifest itself into
a person. THE LAKE HOUSE would then do the same, book or CD. TUG would walk up to it, laugh at it, poke it in the chest, flick it in the nuts, then beat the snot out of the big bully.

It's a blue moon tonight and I'm writing--just the blog--but I'm getting in the mix again. How far removed was I from TUG? I had to find the damned thing. Thank goodness I was able to locate my most recent version of it. So, just for tonight, I can literally say that it's a blue moon, I must write. I'm like that boxer, the boxer I never was, who is sparring a bit with the weakest guy in the gym. Getting my footwork down. Rope a dope. Jab. Speed bag thumping me in the face for a wake up call. James Patterson as Mickey taunting me. 

I can assure anyone that give a half a care, that I'm in this again. I can also assure anyone that cares that Thaddeus Pulliam will not have wings attached to him. That the kid he is training, Harry, will, not once, trill in pleasure. I also promise to have real dialogue. Most of all, I promise not to quit. So I'll sign off here. As always, this blog is not spell checked and probably riddled with grammatical errors.           

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Writing a Novel, blah blah: Entry 17

Just spent an hour posting a blog for my triumphant return. Then lost it somehow.