There is a bit of transference…

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I’m going to continue on this tangent about books.

I’ve dropped reading Horror for a little while to work on my craft. I’m finding that when I read better writing my writing improves. I’ve ignored this for a while as I knew it happened, as it’s happened before, but I really like horror.

My current read is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. While reading it I’m realizing a few things about my own writing as well as ways to improve my craft. These things have to do with paragraphs and how to structure them. The problem is I’ve written a blog for so long that what I do on here flows into my other writing. The short clipped sentences you’re “supposed” to use in blogs made their way into my novel writing.

When I discovered this I knew I had to change a lot of my writing. The latest rejection told me that there were a lot of single-sentence paragraphs, which I knew came from my blog writing. I will be adjusting this and you will see that adjustment. I’m trying to get the length correct and keep to one idea within each paragraph. I’m aware this is how paragraphs should work but the way I used to right created problems and I’ve fixed them along the way to where I am. These adjustments took time to break and I’m still working on them.

Now I love horror, but sometimes the language and the structure isn’t as good in horror as it is in other fiction. There are writers whose prose baffles me. I’ll look at some writer’s work and think, “damn I can’t do that.” Afterward, I think, but I’m going to work on it until I can. That is my goal in this art, to get better.

I know this is a bit different for me, but I’ll continue to write on this blog, it may come across a bit different as I work on my craft issues. I hope you’ll stay as adjustments are made.

Fear of the Classics

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I have a problem, it’s with classics but not all classics just some of them.

I’ve read, Frankenstein, Dracula, most of Lovecraft, Alexandre Dumas, and I love Algernon Blackwood, Dum. The Willows is one of my favorite stories I’ve ever read.

But there are others that I have trouble with; Dostoevsky, Faulkner(not all of them), Melville. I know that I should read them and enjoy them but I don’t. I have tried reading Crime & Punishment at least 10 times, but on the last read, I quit. I can’t read that book.

I wish I knew why I have this trouble, but I’ve narrowed it down to fear.

What if it’s amazing and I wished I’d read it earlier. I feel that way about Frankenstein and a few others, but they’re either sci-fi or horror. It’s the literary classics I have trouble with. It’s not the way it’s written, it’s the fear that I’ll either hate it and feel like I’ve wasted my time on it or I’ll love the hell out of it.

This comes in many ways to me. I am going to read a bunch of classics this year and my current read is ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. I know it’s Dostoevsky, but I want to read it for my own reasons. These books are part of my learning as a writer and while I hope to enjoy them, there’s that fear I won’t.

It’s the whole I’m not good enough to do this writing thing. What if I read something and I feel I’ll never accomplish that grandiosity of what I’ve read? This came to me a lot in the early days of writing but hasn’t been raising its nasty little head lately.

I don’t know how to get past all of this other than keep reading, keep writing, and ignoring the voice in my head, so I’ll ignore it and read all these books.

This started as a conversation between my wife and me. I bought Don Quixote recently and she was surprised I’d never read it. I told her it’s one of those books I was afraid to read for all of the reasons I stated above.

Anyway, read what you like and don’t let that voice screw it up for you.

What may come…

I had no intention of writing anything on the blog today, but here we are.

I don’t know why I haven’t been writing on here more often, it’s just something that I haven’t found interesting.

It’s not to say that I haven’t been writing, that’s been happening. It’s when I come to the keyboard to write a blog post that I feel bored.

I have a lot to say about things, but when I write on here it doesn’t feel the same as when I do my creative work.

So here goes, I have a few things out with various places as well as a two novella’s I’ll be editing and submitting in the near future. If those fall through in submissions I may publish them anyway.

I feel good about my short story collection and I’ve recently changed the price for the ebook to $2.99.

It hasn’t gained traction and I may go over it with another round of edits and republish it. I’ve also dropped off on publicity for it, and that may the biggest determiner for its lack of success.

On the reading front, I’m reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.

I have never read westerns, but my older brother had a lot of Louis L’Amour books in his room when we were growing up. He was loved the whole cowboy thing, but it was never my thing. It’s been a difficult book to get through. I haven’t been reading much outside my own genre and I know why I’ve struggled reading it.

On another front of reading, my wife and I recently read, Goddess of Filth by V. Castro. This was not a book I would have bought, but there was a lot of buzz around it in the horror community on Instagram as well as Twitter. It came in our Nightworms book package and it was phenomenal.

I don’t like leaving this blog sitting as I found a lot of people that need help through Transcendental Meditation. I continue to practice TM and will for the rest of my life.

The blog may still be here and I’m going to make a run at doing more with it, even if it is only once a week.

Have a pleasant rest of your week.

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.

The doorways.

Today, I read an article on Tor.com and it got my wife and me talking.

We started with which books were our gateway to reading regularly.

For her, the books she read were the Little House books, Anne of Green Gables, and The Secret Garden.

For myself, reading was different. There were books I felt I had to read to satisfy my father. Then there were other books.

The latter books were ones I wanted to read, and I did, though not in the living room where my father could see the covers.

This second group came from the school library or on my weekends with my mom. She never judged me for what I read. I believe one of the reasons I write horror and fantasy is because of the books she read.

I remember seeing my mom with horror books. Today, along with my wife, she’s the person I feel my books are written for.

When it came to the books my father had me read, it was always techno-thrillers like Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, and others. I was reading those books in sixth grade. I may not have understood all of the text, but I read them because it felt required of me.

The first time I read a book that I loved was The Indian in the Cupboard. It was one my mom bought for me. I read that book a few times.  I didn’t enjoy the second book as much and by the time the third came out I was bored with the series.

After we discussed our early beginnings with reading, my wife and I talked about books by authors we don’t read anymore.

For me, it’s Anne Rice, for her it’s the Lisbeth Salander books.

The first time I remember seeing Anne Rice’s books was with my father. I showed him Interview with the Vampire, I was fourteen. He said, “No, you’re not getting that.” Then he handed me a techno-thriller. I read the techno-thriller but remembered the cover for Interview.

It was years later when the movie came out that I read that book. If I had read Interview at fourteen I may have turned out differently. I loved that book, though The Vampire Lestat is still my favorite. I can still quote sections of the book.

I fell out of love with Anne Rice when she started the new Lestat series a few years ago. I’m not sure why I did, but it no longer holds power with me as it once did.

I believe we outgrow books sometimes.

Sometimes it’s the authors themselves.

My wife and I agree on that point.

With my own kids, I used to push books on them. Now, I let them read what they enjoy. I know what feels like to have a certain genre thrust down your throat until you gag on it, it’s unpleasant.

Today, I read a lot in the horror genre, but in order to improve my writing, I’m reading more regular fiction.

If you follow me on GoodReads you’ll see what I’ve read this year. It’s diverse but not as much as it needs to be. I can’t help it, I like to be scared or unnerved by what I read.

I like the challenge of getting through books that terrify people.

When I write, I try to have my wife and mom in mind. I think what would terrify them. Then I do that.