Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

MAKING MYSELF THINK

Biggest idiot in the public eye. He’s no longer in the public eye what with the prison sentence and the potential buggering and all, but Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is my choice. Had it all and blew it with his wanna-be-a-gangsta antics, embarrassing a city and anyone who looks like him in the process.

Funniest thing you’ve heard in a long time. Air America, the only radio network for us godless commie liberals, has the Stephanie Miler show in the morning, which is 1 part shtick and 3 parts funny. The guy that does all the voices did a skit where Sara Palin was hunting grizzly bears from her chopper and wound up shooting Boo-Boo, prompting Yogi to go on a righteous killing spree.

Most ridiculous belief system.
It’s a habit of mine to study crazy dogmas out there but most of you won’t know what I’m taking about so I will keep my choice mainstream and simple: Suffice it to say Mormons will always be safely in the number two spot so long as Scientology is around.

Biggest culprit in the dumbing down of America. Rather than a single person, I blame a thing: Reality TV.

One group of people you can’t help but be prejudice against. Blue collar (redneck) conservatives. I really can't help it. There is no group of people more damaging to the national good and I can't respect their choice.

Worst. Job. Ever. Imagine yourself on a bus full of environmental weirdoes heading into a blue collar town that thinks it’s not a blue collar town, trapped there for 8 hours walking door-to-door with a well-meaning Canuck trying to solicit donations for clean water and you might come close to knowing my pain.

One book, excluding the Bible, you can reread several times. NOT THE BIBLE! Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions.” I be readin’ dat all da time ‘cause it be teachin’ me shit like how to be literateness…

Your secret, unrealized dream. This is my first time revealing this, but to act in the filmed versions of some of my novels. You can laugh now.

Current workplace crush, yes or no? Yeah, every five feet. Every six inches during lunch. They can't help themselves! I'm a walkin' tri-pod of manly goodness...and possibly one of only five straight males out of a hundred who looks like he bathes on a regular basis.

Whatcha currently reading? Any good? Just started a collection of Truman Capote’s essays. His imagery and ability to capture moments like snapshots suspended in time is incredible. He is truly an underrated master craftsman, which is superior to being a master baiter in the fishing industry.

Ever been sexually harassed at work? it is possible to be harrassed when you encourage the behavior?

Ever sexually harassed anyone at work? Never. it usually happened to me first.

The nature of God in seven words or less. Schiphrenic. Whimsical. Insane. Sadistic. Megalomaniac. Oprah.

Ever experimented with drugs? Nope. I saw the prize winners around me who got high and wanted nothing to do with them.

Alone or coupled off, which is preferable? Can't I have both?

The one movie you can relate to most. Donnie Darko. See it then ask me why.

One medication you can’t live without. Excedrin. The miracle pill. Without it, I would skid home in my own vomit thanks to chronic migraines. Still, I'd save a lot on gas, wouldn't I?

Your favorite article of clothing you currently own. This is a trick question...I don't own any clothes.

Most annoying song.
"Walking on Sunshine" which sends me into a blind rage. Anything by Maroon Five runs a close second.

Least favorite holiday and why. Easter. Holds no meaning for me and I still remember the dry, itchy suits and hot churches thanks to all the people being there who didn’t normally go to church.

Anyone interested in using this list on your own blogs feel free. We're all one community helping and caring for each other until my book comes out and I start forgetting all you sone of bitches ;)

Monday, December 8, 2008

THE DEBATABLE NECESSITY OF SEQUELS

As a writer who likes to think he has some measure of artistic integrity, I am constantly at war with the concept of the sequel, not to mention the trilogy.

My issue with sequels and series novels in general is the exploitation of an idea. In many cases, writers are milking something that would have been brilliant in a single novel for all it’s worth. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone needs to make money and if it can be done while writing, that is the dream most of us will never realize.

However, when someone stretches a premise only because they want to capitalize on its success, they run the risk of diminishing whatever merits the original possessed. In addition, writers that do this tend to be one of two-trick ponies with very little else in their literary arsenal. Thus we wind up with the multi-epic, especially in the Fantasy field, that never seems to end or satisfy. It’s like tantric fiction.

None of my comments are meant to indicate I am opposed to writing sequels, however, because I have and probably will again. The difference is I don’t make the decision to write a sequel lightly. In fact, in most cases I write my novels with the intent of making them a single volume, but sometimes the concept simply outgrows the constraints of the format.

I have what I have termed an “urban dark fantasy epic” whose first novel is already written. I think it’s my best work, and many agree. But I really wanted it to be a single volume work. Unfortunately, it grew and grew to the point where, if I had stuck in all in one book, it would’ve been easily comparable to Stephen King’s “The Stand” in size!

So, I mentioned to my publisher that it would need to be broken up into two volumes. Ignoring the dollar signs in her eyes, I forlornly told her how I felt like I’d failed in my initial idea. Her response was to say, “Do you think you could make it a trilogy?”


I grabbed a hanky and wiped the drool from her mouth, although I think I skidded in some as I walked away, contemplating.

She told me to sit down in front of the computer and think about it. If I came up with anything, I was to let her know but if I didn’t, I had to scrub the toilets and bathe her neighbor’s cat. With the pressure on, I…okay, I’m lying. But something odd happened: a sequel idea came to mind that did not in any way compromise the vision! In fact, it fleshed it out perfectly.

I sat down and wrote out a basic synopsis in about ten minutes and showed it to her. She loved it and so did the other writers and artists in the room. I felt validated by that. In the months since, I have truly fallen in love with the idea.

Trilogies aren’t a big deal to me, though. It’s those obscenely lengthy series I have a problem with. Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series comes to mind. If not for untimely demise, Jordan would most likely still be writing those books.

Please don’t misunderstand me. There are ideas that require multiple installments. Every follow-up or sequel isn’t akin to the Hollywood approach of placing the same characters into different locales and calling it a continuation. Years ago, long before I had any inkling what I was doing, I came up with an epic of Star Wars proportions that would require a minimum of five books to tell the whole story. I wrote the first one in the back of Sociology classes when I was supposed to be paying attention. It is a huge novel filled with ideas and characters and complex motivations and spaceships and love and politics and…well, you get the idea.

My theory is that most writers of the non-literary elitist variety have at least one multi-epic in their headS doing rapid orbits. That’s not the point of this piece.

Simply put, those who write sequels and series merely for financial gAin have no artistic integrity and should be writing commercials for television. In my view, they contribute negatively to the world of writing and in no way distinguish themselves as good storytellers.

I am no fan of the Harry Potter books. I’ve never read them and I don’t find the concept even slightly interesting. But I must give JK Rowlings credit for one thing if nothing else. She designed an epic tale that required six books to tell it. Perhaps it’s not as complex and creative as Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series, but Potter novels were justified in their length.

Writing about a character in a series is also a different matter. If, for instance, Robert B Parker wants to write for years about his Boston private eye Spenser, he is following a noble literary tradition. The crusading detective is a character unto himself and is more a plot device for mystery and intrigue than an ongoing story arc.

My forthcoming novel, “Dreamers at Infinity’s Core,” started off as a single volume novel as well. Once I’d finished it, I truly believed it was over. What more was there to be said about those characters or the concept? However, one early morning as I was headed out to work, I realized the story wasn’t over yet. It is now a trilogy, possibly increasingly inaccurately named, but I hope not.

My problem is I love the characters too much to let them go. They’re my children and I refuse to let them grow up. I don’t have much family left and have very little to do with them at this point in my life, so my writing has become family in many ways.

I suspect that may be true for a lot of writers, even those surrounded by family. We’re a lonely bunch by breed and definition and our characters transport us to somewhere more interesting and less difficult to understand.

Life is the series we try to capture. Some of us do it only for money, some do it for love of the craft. All of us should be mindful of the fact that there just might be somebody out there reading out work whose life is much worse and whose only refuge is his or her favorite novel.

That is also our family, and we have a responsibility to them to remain honest to who and what we are. Anything else is simply a TV commercial~

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

GETTING TO KNOW ME, GETTING TO KNOW ALLLLLL ABOUT MEEEEE

Well, okay maybe not. But the following questionnaire is a good time waster until I post my next masterstroke and it does give you a glimpse into the mind of the writer...not this writer but someone...

Five names you go by
1. Chris
2. Nads
3. Muffin
4. Boy-Chris
5. Scribe

Three things you are wearing right now
1. Nothing
2. Much.
(Excited? My dogs are)

Two things you want very badly at the moment

1. More money for bill paying
2. To see my book out before X-mas

Three people who will probably fill this out

I'd like to think all who come before me will follow suit for I am the path and the fork in the road, the armchair philospher who just dumped his load.

Two things you did last night

1. Read a Christopher Moore novel
2. Stared at this
http://www.com-publishing.com/christopherNadeau.shtml for about an hour and wished I'd taken the photo after I got rid of my mustache...oh, well.

Two things you ate today
1. Cereal
2. The inside of my cheek. Hurt like hell but it reminded me I'm alive...like trying to sit through an episode of "Grey's Anatomy."

Two people you last talked to on the phone

1. My absentee friend Al
2. My mortgage guy


Two things you are going to do tomorrow
1. Work.
2. Clean.
(I might even clean while working but they have people for that)


Two longest car rides
1. A trip to Traverse City, MI. for a college journalism competition with a crazy driver (in those days) a know-it-all stoner who liked hassling wanna-be punk rock kids, and a whiney, annoying newbie in the backseat who wouldn't stop complaining about every-damn-thing.
2. The drive back from the Olive Garden where I knew I would be professing my love to a woman who didn't feel the same way.


Two of your favourite beverages
1. Coffee
2. Arizona Ice tea with Ginseng and Honey...orgasm in a glass bottle.