Jump scares are the absolute worst

Obligatory warning message: there will be a video clip that features jump scares. If anyone tries saying they were shocked, surprised, or not expecting such things from this point forward, I reserve every right to call bullshit on such claims.

It’s a month of celebrating all things that would, under most normal circumstances, leave people safely tucked away in an impenetrable, supernaturally-warded bunker until the screaming of less fortunate people stops. I enjoy horror slightly less than the next guy, unless the next guy happens to be someone who openly weeps at the slightest indication things are about to get scary; that guy and I are close to on the same level. I attempt to endure scary movies and video games, and the results don’t typically involve me retaining a whole lot of my dignity. Continue reading

Attention span versus modern epic storytelling

I am one of millions of people who can say I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (plus The Hobbit; no Silmarillion for me, however) from start to finish. It took over a year, what with school and life-related distractions obligations. This isn’t something I say with pride, pushing my glasses up as part of the standard act of nerdy superiority that accompanies such statements. They were some really magical books, and the way Tolkien built such a rich and elaborate world populated with many interesting characters has stayed with me since. Yes, I did see the movies. Yes, I loved them, but I’m also one of those people who really questions the need for The Hobbit to have been split into a multi-film event. That’s a topic for another time, however, when I’m more drunk and willing to draw great and terrible ire from fans. Continue reading

The question of NaNoWriMo revisited

I hesitate to admit this, but apparently it’s almost November already. I’m fairly certain it was mid-July just last week, but perhaps time has gotten away from me. At least I didn’t somehow miss Halloween. Yet.

November means NaNoWriMo, which I’ve brought up relatively recently(ish). It’s that special kind of self-inflicted torture writers endure/enjoy for one full month, attempting to produce a 50k word novel before November wraps up. This is only appropriate as The Thanksgiving Food Coma usually spells doom for writers who have failed to maintain a moderate to intense level of daily writing discipline throughout the month. Nothing about NaNoWriMo is easy, from balancing writing against other obligations to fighting against the madness-inducing 50k final word count.

This begs the following question: why in the Hell am I thinking about throwing all caution (and reasonable thought) to the wind and giving it yet another go? It would be in the shadow of the ass-kicking, brain-draining Hundred Days of Blogging (which is so close to being over but still so far away). The holiday shopping season will be upon us too soon, and I still happen to work in a retail setting that is going to get absolutely stampeded. There’s also the small matter of my birthday happening at some point next month, which I imagine will involve plenty of its own distractions as well. I’m still considering it, though. Not a damn clue why. Brianne posed a reasonable question in response to me voicing my interest in tackling NaNoWriMo: “Do you want to torture yourself?”

Perhaps? On one hand, it could be a good way to really kick-start my currently-unnamed novel project. On the other hand, I know too well that working under pressure usually doesn’t make for my best creative moments (although, to be fair, it’s hit or miss because sometimes it lends to me producing my best work). I think the answer will have to wait until November. Around midnight, November 1st. We’ll see where this ends up from there and then.

Justifiable character homicide?

There are few easier ways to really tug at a reader’s heart-strings than by killing off one of their favorite characters. It’s a pretty common practice, and something any fan of Game of Thrones is far too familiar with: the sudden, perhaps unexpected offing of a beloved character, or a not-so-beloved character. The important difference here is that loved or loathed, these now-deceased fictional folks had names and families. Above all else, they had plot relevance, and so such deaths are tailored to have tremendous impact. It could be to push the plot forward, to give a protagonist that extra push towards heroic deeds, a means by which to turn a could-be villain into a fully-fledged monster, or a number of things.

Regardless, there are an awful lot of characters who seem to be marching right into the grave. It raises a curious question for writers, really. When, if at all, is it really necessary to kill off one of your darlings? At what point does such a play cheapen the story instead of strengthening it? Are there worse things for characters than death? Continue reading

Hundred days? Not quite yet.

I’m almost certain I hit one hundred days worth of daily blogging about a month ago. Maybe a year ago. Probably decades or millennia or even eons ago. The official count for posts in this category, however, sits at eighty-eight, which I find peculiar since I swear a couple weeks ago it said eighty-three. Or perhaps I’m mistaken. I probably mislabeled some of the mobile posts (way to go, past-me).

However, in the spirit of following the post-count, I have twelve more days. Eleven after this post.

And now to get some sleep. Tomorrow will be better, albeit still somewhat sleepy I fear.

 

Writer seeks good reading

Today was a good day, more or less, and the less parts will be left out for the sake of not ruining a perfectly good post. Ahem.

I met an old high school friend for lunch, as he happened to be in the area for work (which I assume means his company also employs yetis as there are an abundance of those living in these here mountains). We had relatively tasty food and caught up, talking about nothing and everything just as people who haven’t seen each other for greatly extended periods of time often will. It was an enjoyable time that, in hindsight, seems to have gone by too quickly. I’m immensely fond of visitors as well as lunch outings, even if they contribute to my financial stress more than they alleviate it. Instead of heading home immediately after lunch I stopped by Barnes & Noble. I had nothing in mind in terms of purchases, but I hadn’t wandered around a bookstore in far longer than I care to admit and so it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I ran into the problem I often run into at Barnes & Noble, or any other bookstore for that matter. I had an idea of the kind of book I’d like to buy, if I were to end up buying something, but I couldn’t quite put a name or specific author to it. The end result involved a fair bit of wandering around the store without aim or idea of where I should be looking. I eventually left without buying anything, which is just as well as I shouldn’t be buying too much for myself. I’ve been given the dreaded pre-birthday warning, and god help me if I choose to ignore that.

Part of the problem is this: as a writer, I have stories I’d like to read, and I know I’d like to read them, but some of them are stories I just haven’t written yet. Looking for some sort of comparable tale only works so well, especially when I can’t think of an author or title or genre even. It’s a big part of what drives me to continue writing. So I can one day hope such a story sits among the shelves of a bookstore, waiting to meet the expectations of a story-hungry reader.