Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Someone sees dead people

Some of you may wonder, why do I post a review of a book and then yammer on about it here? What's the difference? Well, you can't really see much of a difference in the book before this one, mostly because there's nothing extra to reveal. Here, I get to divulge everything, bitch about endings, go into details, and so forth, whereas people wouldn't be all that happy if I did it in my review. That's the difference.

On to The Everlasting. I guess I should have known better since Lebbon also wrote Berserk. What's that you ask? Most of us writers tend to have the same devices, similar characters, and elements in our books. We can't help it. It just comes naturally. Take me for example, 99% of the time there's a woman in my books that kicks ass, she's similar to her other book counterparts and they even have similar names. I probably shouldn't do that, but I can't help myself. So when Lebbon introduces the reader to Scott, a man heading toward his 50s, and interrupts things with flashbacks, yeah. Should have see it coming I guess. But you never know.

That's actually my only real problem with this book - I had a real hard time getting into Scott's character. In fact, we start off immediately with past events and memories of by-gone days. I don't ever feel properly introduced to Scott's character, and what's more, with the way he totally sobs over his wife's disapperance, I didn't have enough time or info or something to truly see how much they cherished on another. I mean, yeah, I don't doubt husband and wife love each other and whatnot, but Scott, for quite some time, just seemed to constantly break down into bouts of crying over the kidnapping of his wife.

That too, annoyed me. No, guys, I'm not saying you shouldn't be super upset when your wife goes missing, but geez, after the first few times quit crying and try to do something about it! Especially once you have a direction to go in! Get mad at least! Scott's personality felt flat to me, which is probably due to the introduction, and he never got pissed when he should have. I wanted him angry out of frustration, he should have been angry, demanding answers, God throw something why don't you? Hmph.

Aside from my disconnect with Scott, the story was interesting. We're on a quest to find and destroy an ancient book written centuries, maybe even millenia ago (well, probably not millenia because humans had to have been around to write it). The whole concept of the Wide and where you go when you die and all that jazz was cool and Lebbon did his best to explain it in terms that would boggle your mind even as you tried to imagine it. I'm still having trouble accepting the only way Scott would do anything was if Lewis kidnapped Scott's wife and did all that buuut oh well. Likewise I'm not sure why Helen would believe her kidnapper. I also don't believe that Tigre would just ignore Scott for the rest of his life. Tigre, if he really is who Nina said he was, sounds like the kind of guy that would take you out just because. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. I don't buy that he'll just accept that the book's gone and not kill Scott because of it.

Otherwise, it wasn't bad. Some good, horrific elements and creepy things going on, fit for the genre. Cool locals and Old Man was a nice addition. And, I must say, that Lebbon has finally applied my definition of immortal. I don't use that term lightly - if you're immortal and you can't die, then you can't die. None of this vampires are immortal stuff - no, vampires aren't immortal, they're just ageless. Vampires can die, easy as anyone else as long as it's done right. But not Lebbon's immortals. One gets cut in half, but she's still trying to drag herself together, then she gets shot in the head, but all the pieces start moving back to wake her up again. Now that's immortal.

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Guy on the cover obviously not immortal/everlasting...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Feel the Horror

I'm feelin' the horror.


So ladies and gentlemen, you all want to know how my book is going?

*evil grin* Peachy.

In fact, I'm killing people left and right, putting my main character into a coma and totally fucking up their world. It's AWESOME. Yes, I've been waiting to do this for a long, long time. I only have a fe more things to cover (like, the massive battle that decides everyone's fate) and then voila! I'm finished. Grand. I'm on break now - I had to stop before my brain melted out of my ears. But I'll be back in full swing before you know it and polishing off this baby (I mean, honestly, I should be able to do that in the next 50 pages!).

Hee. *excited*

Now, on to the real reason for this post, On Writing Horror by Mort Castle. Or rather, edited I should say. Most WPF people have heard of or read this book by now. It was recommended to me by my mentor Gary Braunbeck since I said, "I need some horror in my life" (or something similiar since I was coming to that violent point in my book).

On Writing Horror is a book chock-a-block full of writing essays that include advice, tips, methods, and just general writer info. Even though I'm not writing horror, I do have horrific elements in my book, and besides, most of us know that genres tend to cross over to include bits and pieces that are typically associated with other genres (mystery + romance, romance + fantasy, etc.). Whatever your genre, this book contains plenty of goodies that work out well for any writer. I particularly love Tina Jens quote about characters and ducks (see top of blog). Well it's true isn't it?

It really is full of great stuff, and it's the kind of book that you either want to take notes on or just start photocopying favorite pages to save for later (that is, if you're like me and have no money or, more importantly, shelfspace, and have to get everything from the library). I was also really fond of Mort Castle's essay when he talks about falling into that kind of dreamy spot in order to get ideas. I practically squealed and thought, "I DO that!" Stuff like that makes me feel good because then I'm not the only person out there doing these things. Dr. McClain was right - time with like-minded companions helps. I used to do things to get ideas and always wondered, "Does anyone else ever do this?" In fact, 120 pages of my current novel came about during one of those zoney sessions. I slobbed in bed for around an hour years ago and played the entire thing out in my brain before getting up, going straight to the computer and typing all day and part of the next day (and I never do that - take my ideas straight from my brain to the keyboard. I write everything longhand so yeah...). Course, a cut a good chunk of that section because there was no possible way for it to work in the story, but who cares? I still used a good part of it. High-five to Mort Castle for making me feel not like a mutant.

Moving on, it's a book with some good resources in it as well as information that I hadn't thought of before or hadn't gotten the chance to find out previously. True, most of the resources are for horror writers, but there are some in there that work for SF and F writers as well (maybe a few Romance writers too, depending upon your tastes), mostly because people, editors and whatnot included, tend to lump H, SF, and F together. Which is fine, since we mingle a lot. I liked the piece by Scott Nicholson on promoting your book. Most of that stuff a lot of us already knew, but he goes into more detail and points out the how and a few of the where to get items and extra info.

Great stuff. And now I'm onto my last book, The Everlasting by Tim Lebbon!

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