Changing reading habits and me

I’ve mentioned numerous times on here about the books I felt forced to read growing up. It was the 80’s and the techno-thriller was king, at least that’s how it felt in my little corner of the world.

I enjoyed those books, but as I grew older I found myself gravitating towards darker stories.

I recently purchased Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, the book not the game. The last couple of weeks have found me reading through it and I found so much of it boring. As a writer myself I found places the could have been removed through editing.

Was Clancy brilliant in his world building, absolutely. Were his technical discussions within the books not needed in most places? After reading the three hundred pages I’ve consumed of Rainbow Six, I’d have to say yes. It feels like there are so many parts that could be removed.

This is not a review of the book. But I don’t enjoy all of that stuff anymore. It was cool reading those things in Elementary and Junior High, but as and adult, I found them boring and unnecessary within the constructs of the book.

I have read a few books that are more concise and less grandiose in their wording and content, but I feel I’ve outgrown the monotony of how this book works. I haven’t read any of the new books in the Jack Ryan series written by other authors, but I’m hoping they’re most concise and less about adding words and more about the story…at least that’s my hope.

On the other side though, the horror books I’ve read in the last year have blown me away.

I think small doses of Clancy and war books are a better idea. It’s not the length of the book that felt daunting, it’s the unnecessary aspects of scenes. Some of the scenes in that book could be done away with as I don’t feel they move the story forward and are more of stopping point.

I think my days of reading Clancy books, at least those written by the author prior to his passing, are over. I want to read the books in that universe written by the other authors but haven’t had time to do so.

I’ll go back to reading other things for the time being. I have a subscription to Nightworms and I get a few horror books from them a month. They are wonderfully curated and come with all kinds of goodies.

For now, I’ll stick to the smaller war and techno-thriller books.

Getting the work part done.

With any project it comes to a point where the work part happens.

After the first draft, there’s the part you let it sit, or at least I do. It’s usually a few months, but can be longer.

The reason for letting it sit is so when you don’t constantly revise, restructure or rewrite all of the time. Doing that, at least in my opinion, causes more problems than it solves.

The first draft is where you find out your story, or if you’re an outliner, you put what you’ve outlined into the story.

Being as I’m a mostly pantser, which means I will have a beat sheet and know where those beats will be places, but as far as the story itself, I don’t really know where it will go.

This may cause some people reading this to freak out, those are the outliners.

For the pantsers, here’s some truth: I have no idea what will happen at the end of the book, or if I do, it’s usually discovered as I’m writing. This works for me as I write in various genres.

Thriller as it pertains to all of its classifications: Political, Military, Spy…and yes sometimes horror is thrown into this category for the sake of selling books. Take a look at Silence of the Lambs, at it’s core, that’s a horror story.

I enjoy things that frighten me. I grew up in the 80’s with the threat of nuclear annihilation from the Soviets. It’s something that has stuck with me growing up. Knowing that fear and chasing it has lead me to write thrillers in the respective classifications I mentioned above.

I grew up next to an air base. The sound of planes taking off and landing is a fond memory of my childhood. There were also the times the base opened to the public, showing off the latest aircraft.

The first time I saw an F-117 Nighthawk was at one of these events. The sleekness of that aircraft combined with it’s dark color and insectlike bumps and ridges, still gets me excited.

Aircraft is a thing that I’ve always been enthralled with and watching them take off from the base as well as building models at home are great childhood memories.

But I’ve gotten off track.

The work part is what comes after the first draft. It’s the editing, rewriting, revising. They used to be things I hated, but the process feels different than it has in a while. I’m actually enjoying this 100k rewrite I’m working on.

But I am getting the work part done and that’s important. Without the work, the project wont be able to stand up, and at the end, when it’s done, it needs to be.

Have a pleasant rest of your week. Stay safe and I’ll see you Friday, where I’ll talk about my love of aircraft a little more.

Moving forward

Growing up in the 80’s I read a lot of Tom Clancy books. I read Red Storm Rising in 6th grade and that was my first of his books. It wasn’t my choice to read these. I had to read the genre my father read. I was never given a reason for this but I read other books on my own.

When I started writing in my late twenties I avoided writing stories similar to the Jack Ryan books. I did this because of childhood trauma and bad memories.

That ended during lockdown when I wrote a 100k novel in 32 days.

I’ve avoided doing rewrites on this book because although I loved writing it, I’ve always felt like horror was more me and spy/thriller was more him.

My father and I are not close. I’ve seen him twice in the last 10 years

Now I feel that writing this book is a way to exorcise some childhood demons and maybe find my way a bit better.

I read a tweet the other day that said write what ever you want and while I love writing horror, I think the 13 year old me would like this one.

So I’m off to rewrite this 100k novel. I have short stories going out in the next 3 months for submissions and they’re all horror but this book is for me. I’m not sure where it will go, but it’s the 11th book I’ve written.

While I’ve only published a collection of short stories this one needs me to write it more than the others.

Have a good Tuesday.

Skipping some levels…

There’s a point when you write horror that you’ll skip some norms. You’ll do some things in your stories that will turn stomachs, make readers(and family)question your morals, sanity, and whether the world is safe with you outside a padded room.

I never thought about going really dark or extreme with my horror until recently. This happened because or a novel I read. It was Brian Keene’s Urban Gothic, which if you’ve read it, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

That book took what I thought was okay to put in a horror story and tossed it straight out the window. I never would have thought to go so graphic, much less so hardcore before.

I read Keene’s The Complex afterwards and will be reading Ghoul after my current read, which is another author who I’m really enjoying.

Having never read extreme or hardcore horror, it took me a few days after reading the first couple of chapters to really get into the book, because it’s seriously messed up.

It has been compared to House of 1000 Corpses by Rob Zombie, and having seen that movie when I was inebriated, it’s an apt descriptor.

I’ve always been subtle or reserved in my horror. Never in your face gore, or anything similar and I feel like that’s been limiting me in what I write, definitely in what I read. I’m finding more enjoyment in the extreme stories than I have in quiet horror or soft horror. I will read those, hell, my favorite book of this year is like that, Stephen Graham Jones’s, “The Only Good Indians.”

It’s a master class in horror and one of the scariest and most unnerving books I’ve read in a long time, but it’s not in your face, at least not initially.

But moving on.

For me writing horror isn’t about scaring, not really. It’s about throwing normal people into terrible situations and seeing if they can survive. That’s what King has done for years with his horror.

Finding that I can write as messed up as I want as long as I do it well, has been revolutionary to my writing.

I have a short story due for an anthology on the 21st of this month, another due the 31st, and a first draft of a novel due in February(though it will probably be done sooner)and I’m enjoying the hell out of tossing in the most screwed up things at my characters.

Anyway, back to work…and skipping some levels

Book birthday…

Comes out today.

Today is the day I’ve waited for since my teens.

I published a book today. Its only a small collection but I promised myself I’d publish something this year and it’s not a big collection, but I needed to get it done in order to be happy with myself.

The collection is only a small part of my writing and there are a lot of other stories I could have put in this collection but chose these based on my feeling about each of them as well as how they show a progression of my writing.

Some are from a few years ago while others are more recent, but each one of them is special.

I intend to publish another book in January, it will be in a different genre though.

After that I will publish a horror novel, which I’m currently writing.

I will write what I enjoy writing, which is horror.

Since I was a little kid I’ve always enjoyed horror.

My mom rented Halloween(the original) on VHS and Children of the Corn when I was a kid. I watched Halloween at least ten times. Then in my sister had me watch Hellraiser, it was all over after that. I love that movie and it’s one of my all time favorite movies of any genre.

Today I’m working on horror, but later this year that may change.

In a world like this, an escape is a necessity. Reading books, especially those in horror can get you away from what you’re dealing with and help you find a way to deal with things better.

Seeing someone deal with a horrible monster and having an ending for that story helps, but anyway here is a link to get a copy…

Amazon Kindle and Paperback are here.

Barnes & Noble Nook is here.

I am working on getting it on Google Play as well as Kobo, but I submitted them for review late. They’ll be up soon.

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