Cybernetic gorillas! I’m there.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Cybernetic gorillas! I’m there.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
This is kind of why we write in the first place. To have opportunities to tell stories and have people experience them. So, even if I’m flying blind and feeling a little overwhelmed and out of my element from time to time, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
My husband and I are in darkest Peru today, enjoying the sights at Machu Picchu. As such, I wrote this post well in advance so that you'd have something to read from me while I'm on my little adventure.
I've been plotting a new novel of late. It usually takes me at least a few weeks to get this part of the writing process done, but for me it's the quickest way to do my best work. And plotting, for me, is the most enjoyable part of the process because it allows me to explore ideas and themes that interest me, I get to read great books to find inspiration, and I watch and analyze a whole lot of films.
This particular story is set in 2014 in Venice Beach, California and features a female barkeep who stumbles upon the slain body of her new, annoying, boss in the dumpster behind the bar. I know more about her and the story than that, but that's all I'll say here for now.
Currently, the novel is a classic "whodunit." I've got the whole first act laid out just the way I want it. But in going forward with the plotting of it, I've begun to ask myself whether I really want to write a traditional mystery. MISTRESS OF FORTUNE and its sequel, MISTRESS OF LIES are traditional mysteries, so I feel like I've done that. I'm kind of thinking I want this one to be a different kind of crime story.
One of my favorite writing resources is Alex Sokoloff's SCREENWRITING TIPS FOR AUTHORS. I used it to write MISTRESS OF LIES and, as I've discussed previously, it revolutionized my process, if I might be so bold. I'm using it again in plotting this novel and today, my assignment was to create my "Master List."
The Master List is a list of books and movies that have had an impact on you. That are either in the genre you want to write or that you wish you'd written yourself. Here's what I came up with:
THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt (book)
FAITHFUL PLACE by Tana French (book)
KILLING MR. GRIFFIN by Lois Duncan (book)
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER by Lois Duncan (book)
DOLORES CLAIBORNE by Stephen King (book and movie)
THE PLAYER by Michael Tolkin (book and movie)
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris (book and movie)
WINTER'S BONE by Daniel Woodrell (book and movie)
IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote (book and movie)
DEAD MAN WALKING by Sister Helen Prejean (book and movie)
A few things stand out to me when I look at this list. First of all, none of the stories are traditional mysteries, with the exception of FAITHFUL PLACE, which is both mystery and procedural. Second, many of these stories (THE SECRET HISTORY, KILLING MR. GRIFFIN, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, DOLORES CLAIBORNE, THE PLAYER, and WINTER'S BONE) feature good, albeit flawed, people who are pushed to do unthinkable things--whether by accident, to save themselves, or because of peer pressure or some other influence. Third, several of the books (IN COLD BLOOD, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and DEAD MAN WALKING) are about people who find themselves face-to-face with true evil and yet somehow find something redeeming in it (well, not in the evil, perhaps, but in the perpetrators of it).
Simply by making this list, I've learned something about the sort of stories that appeal to me. It also kind of tells me that perhaps a traditional mystery isn't the direction I want to go in, at least for this particular project.
My question for you, obviously, is what are some of the books and movies on your master list? Do they have anything in common?
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
The 2014 edition, June 6-8, will be the final Bloody Words convention and, appropriately I guess, the theme is, “Danse Macabre; Historical Mysteries and Dances of the Dead.”
The Guests of Honour will be Michael Jenks and Vicki Delany. As it says on her webpage, Vicki is a, “one woman crime wave,” with a couple of series on the go and standalones, including a ‘Rapid Reads,’ book (such a good idea, I think).
I guess there are just too many good conventions these days.
Still, I hope as many people as possible will come to Toronto for the final Bloody Words and send it off in style. And if you can’t make it to Toronto this summer, Bouchercon will be here in 2017 so I hope to see you then.
And this Thursday, May 8th, there will be a Noir @ the Bar in Toronto (I still think of these as, “Peter Rozovsky Presents Noir @ the Bar”) with a fantastic line-up (and also me):
It’s at PJ O’Brien’s Pub, 39 Colborne Street (Yonge and King) and there’s a Facebook page.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Chance by Kem Nunn
A Swollen Red Sun by Matthew McBride
Good Sex, Great Prayers by Brandon Tietz
Peacemaker by Marianna De Poerres
Not For Nothing by Stephen Graham Jones
Deep Winter by Samuel W. Gailey
Plaster City by Johnny Shaw
La Frontera by Sam Hawken
Cry Father by Benjamin WhitmerYoung God by Katherine Faw Morris
The Third Rail by Rory Flynn
Layman's Report by Eugene Marten
So how about you? What's on your TBR?