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Monday, December 24, 2012

Bonded by Blood V: Doomsday Descends




I just received my copy of Bonded by Blood V: Doomsday Descends and it looks terrific! It's a thick anthology, chock full of horror delights. There is nothing--NOTHING!--like curling up in bed with a buffet of horror stories during these long, cold winter nights, with the winter winds rattling the windowpanes.

The anthology includes my story, "Lard-Ass Larson," which is a good story for this time of year. If you've overindulged over the holidays and are thinking, "Gee. I'd give anything to lose a little weight," this story might change your mind.

Okay, on to this week's horror/fantasy/scifi links:

via @horrorfreaknews:
Upcoming Horror Movies 2013:  http://t.co/mQtHfmHE

I hate to admit it, but I'm really excited about this one. I loved The Lone Ranger as a kid, and I love all things Johnny Depp (I don't care what anyone says, his Captain Jack Sparrow is an amazing character). I'm anticipating this is going to be like chocolate in my peanut butter: bliss! Add into that the fact that Depp will be playing Tonto? His character is going to be the "7 of 9" for ladies.
via @blastr:
New trailer hints the Lone Ranger's got a supernatural origin:  http://t.co/Bw1CYRKX

When I was young, I saw a picture of The Creature from the Black Lagoon sitting on a milk crate, smoking a cigarette. I've loved these "behind the scenes" pics ever since.
via @flavorpill:
Unexpected and Hilarious Behind-the-Scenes Horror Film Photos:  http://t.co/2R9L7vCR

Best video EVER!
via @io9:
"Big Trouble in Little China" + Gangnam Style. John Carpenter approves:  http://t.co/Q57WpuKM


via @sfsignal:
Table of contents: The Year’s Best Science Fiction, 30th Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois:  http://t.co/up3Ip4YO


via @nprbooks:
The Year's Best Science Fiction Books Crosses Galaxies And Genres:  http://ow.ly/g9VvQ

And this week's zombie links (because we can never get enough zombies):

via @io9:
Watch the entire Large Hadron Collider zombie movie—shot at CERN—online now:  http://t.co/tIhQ31RN


via @flavorwire:
There Was No "Walking Dead" Christmas Special, So Fans Made Their Own:  http://ow.ly/ggjWN


I saw the photos that were circulating on the Net about Daryl's demise and my head almost exploded all over the wall. Thankfully, those were proven false.
via @fearnet:
Here is the FIRST look at the return of "The Walking Dead":  http://t.co/4fQjipi9


via @worldofhorror:
ABC Opts for New Zombie Series "The Returned":  http://t.co/ZGriJ55x


And last but not least:
The Walking Dead official magazine


There will be no blog post next Monday (5th Monday of the month). I'll see you the first Monday of next year!



Monday, December 17, 2012

Story Structure

I've been busy working on a presentation about story structure for my local writer's group.

It was actually a pretty frustrating process because just like everything else that has to do with "writing advice" or "writing rules," there's a lot of conflicting information (I know, color you shocked, right?). One of the most frustrating things about it was that terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

For example: the hook vs. the inciting incident.

In the methods I learned from:

"The Hook" is something in a story that engages the reader and makes them want to read on. It's often a funny or interesting event that displays the nature of a character and raises a reader's interest in the character. It makes the reader say, "Hey! I like this guy. I'll spend 400 pages with him," or "This guy's messed up. I can't wait to see what kind of trouble he gets himself into next. I'll invest my time in the 400 pages to find out."

"The Inciting Incident" is the event that changes the character's life/presents a problem to be solved and is the event that really gets the story rolling.

A lot of the research material I looked at used the term "Hook" to mean the inciting incident. While I'm sure that the two can be the same moment (the moment that piques the reader's interest in the story can be the event that gets the story rolling), they don't necessarily have to be rolled into one.

The Stephanie Plum books from Janet Evanovich are a good example: most of them have an event in the first few pages that lets you know Ms. Plum is a bit of a . . . um . . . klutzy train wreck with a strange, strange life. That piques reader interest and makes them want to learn more about her. Then, a few pages later, there is some event (a murder, a skip, etc.) that actually starts the storyline for each novel. Hook and inciting incident as two separate events.

Okay, enough of my ranting. Here are some of the better links I've found on story structure:


NaNoWriMo Prep: Campbell, Vogler, the Hero's Journey, The Writer's Journey and Narrative Structure Cheat Sheet, by Alexandra Sokoloff


Adapting Story Structure for Any Project, by Lydia Sharp


Seven-Point Plot Outline for Genre Short Stories, by Wendy Wheeler


25 Things You Should Know About Story Structure, by Chuck Wendig


How to Structure A Story: The Eight-Point Arc, by Ali Hale


Story Structure in Short Stories, by Philip Brewer


Comparing the Story Theories of Michael Hague and Dramatica, by Glen C. Strathy

~ ~ ~ ~

See you next week!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Favorite Books and Short Stories

It's not been a good year for my goals. Not only did I not "win" NaNo, but I'm also going to miss my Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge goal. If I'm really lucky, I might get one more book in before the end of the year, but that will still leave me five short.

Reading thirty-five books this year isn't bad. I've always been an avid reader, but it's definitely been cyclical, depending on how much free time I have. I'm pretty sure I didn't pick up a single book between 1991 and 1994. My reading was limited to whatever copy of People magazine the doctor's office had, and Newsweek and Time (usually while, *ahem* in the throne room). Those were the years my children were small, and reading (besides Goodnight Moon and the The Very Hungry Caterpillar) was a luxury I had neither time nor money for. Any money that was available for books, of course, went for kids books so they would grow up to be avid readers.

I will read just about anything, though I don't usually care for romance or erotica, nor hard science fiction. Horror is my favorite, of course. While I read a lot of novels, I prefer a good mixed anthology of short stories (I love a buffet).

My missed reading goal in this time of Auld Lang Syne got me thinking about some of my favorite books/stories . . .


I started reading "grown up stories" at a young age, but I do remember one
children's book I loved:



I checked it out from the school library so much, I don't think anyone else ever got a chance to read it.



The scariest book I've ever read:





My favorite anthologies:

                          




My favorite novels:

                            
         

Watership Down is a traditional book in our family. Every one of my children has a copy, and when the grandkids are older, I'll be giving them each a copy, too.



Classics I love:

                           
                   

Two of my kids not only count The Iliad and The Odyssey in their top ten books of all time, but they can both still quote them!



I have a lot of favorite short stories and novellas, but three of my "favoritest" favorites are:

"All Summer in a Day," by Ray Bradbury;
"The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson;
"The Long Walk," by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman).



And one of the most recent additions to my favorites list:



It has humor, and wordplay, and outrageous characters.



What about you? What books would you like to revisit during this time of Auld Lang Syne?


Monday, December 3, 2012

December Update

Alas, I did not "win" NaNoWriMo this year. With deer hunting season and my other commitments, there just wasn't enough time to write. I ended about eighteen thousand words short. I did, however, get my buck! Deer jerky for everyone!

I'm not abandoning the NaNo novel, however. One of the reasons I was able to rack up word count in spite of only writing a few days is because the story flows well; it's a page-turner to write (hopefully it will be a page-turner to read, too). It's horrific and suspenseful, too. During one evening of feverish writing, I was writing one of those "don't-open-that-door" scenes when my daughter, who was outside with our dogs, threw a snowball at my writing room window . . . and hubby nearly had to call the paramedics to revive me.

I think it will be a solid novel: strong plot, unusual characters, and zombies! But since I didn't have much time to plan it before NaNo, there are a few issues. For example, I have no idea how all the characters converge, and thus, how it ends. My plan is to spend a few days (maybe more), outlining the thing, and making sure the current cast of characters are the ones who are going to carry the story (one set of characters is rather weak right now, and I may have to replace them). Then I'm going to DecWriMo (and JanWriMo, if necessary) and see if I can get a coherent first draft. Then I can go back to working on my one true love, short stories.

In other news, Penumbra eMag's December "Utopia" issue includes my short story, "Comfortably Numb." Order your copy now!

See you next week!