Novel update

I guess I should give an update on my novel. It is the most asked question I get these days and so I figure it’s only fair to shed some light on where it’s at and where it’s going.

I started work on it a few years ago (or pretty damn close to), and it still has a ways to go. I did hit a big milestone back in late summer/early fall of last year when I finished the first draft. I was proud to have gotten that far, but I also knew that there was going to be a lot of work ahead of me.

I’m not going to bore you with the details, but the cliff notes version is this: I kept changing what happens in the book. Because of those changes, huge sections of the novel which I had already written, became irrelevant to the story and were cut out. This indecisiveness has resulted in a patchwork collection of words that is a complete mess. Needless to say, I had become very discouraged.

It wasn’t until the end of last December (as in about a month ago!) that I finally came to terms with the story I am trying to tell. All decisions have been made. There is finally, once again, a clear direction. It’s time to start a new draft of the book (draft #4 for those keeping score). For this draft, I am just adding in those final elements I am missing and smoothing the edges on the other additions. From there, I will start cleaning it up heavily and preparing it for the editor.

…Just not right now.

For the immediate future, I thought it best to set the novel down for a couple months. I’ve been working on it in one way or another for years and I think it’ll help tremendously to come back for this 4th draft with a fresh mind.

That doesn’t mean I’m not writing anything, as I’m currently chugging away on the crime novella for Adventure Worlds Press that I mentioned in an earlier post a couple weeks ago. And more importantly, it doesn’t mean I’m abandoning the novel. I truly believe that it will be a scary book and can’t wait for everybody to read it! I just want to make sure it is everything I know it can be before I release it on the world.

-C

Crime (and) Story

I was going to post an update about my novel, but found it too depressing, so instead I thought it would be fun to talk about the crime story I’m working on, and how my early writing process, as a whole, unfolds.

The above mentioned crime story is for an anthology. The book will have three stories, each in the 20 – 25K range, and will be written by myself and two other authors. I agreed to take part in the project before having any sort of idea as to what I was going to write about.m002060484_sc7

With a deadline looming, I got out the trusty note pad and started jotting. This marks the first step in the evolution of a story for me. I have about a hundred blank note books. You know the ones, those 80 page Hilroy’s we all remember from school. Every August I load up on the things when they are 10 cents each leading in the new school year. I like to get a nice mix of colours for the covers, but seem to lean towards red and green. Anyway, I crack one of those bad boys open and let my brain dribble all over the page. Continue reading

New Year, New Updates.

So…2015 happened. It was a pretty crazy year for me. The first full year as an author (The Space Between Houses came out in Oct. 2014). There was a rather surprising amount of ups and downs for a twelve month period. I did a lot of cool writer things, but also was not nearly as productive as I could have been.

But forget all that jazz, it’s 2016 baby! And I got some fun stuff planned.

It’s been awhile since I gave an update on my projects, so now seems like a great time.

First and foremost is No Light Tomorrow. This is a book that has been in the works for quite some time. It is a collaboration with Ben Van Dongen (check him out here: https://benwltp.wordpress.com/ ) of short sci-fi stories, half of which are written by me, half by Ben. They are more Twilight Zone and less Star Wars (although a couple skirt that line). No Light Cover

I love sci-fi! I love watching it, reading it and writing it. But not to fret, I’m a horror writer first and foremost…I just like to moonlight from time to time.

I’m really proud of this book. Some of the stories I’ve written for it, I consider amongst the best I’ve ever produced. It was a ton of work though. Writing, editing, designing and printing a book from scratch is a real challenge. We decided to self-publish this one under Adventure Worlds Press. Something I may use for other fringe projects in the future. 

No Light Tomorrow launches on Jan. 9th and will be available soon after on various platforms.

untitledNext is my novel. It does exist, I swear! It also has a name, I’m just not ready to share it yet (although I did let it slip during an interview I did for a TV show called the Write Stuff). The novel took a hit during the production of No Light, but with that book all wrapped up, I’m back at it. I figure the first draft should be done by mid to late Feb. After that I’ll start cleaning it up. I’m still estimating it to fall in the 70 – 80K range for word count (I’m at about 30K right now).

I’ve had the good fortune to make a couple amazing contacts over the last year that I am really hopeful will result in some interest for the book. Only time will tell I guess.

Beyond that things get foggy. If all goes according to plan, I have another collaboration (this one a novel) with a history expert. Let that bit of info sink in for a moment… 

Besides the above projects, I also have some fun events to attend, including a 3 day horror convention in London in May. Really excited about this one, more on that as the date nears.

Alright, I guess that’s it for now. I’ll be back next week with pictures from the No Light Tomorrow launch party!

-Christian

 

Hey, I’m Writing a Novel (pt. 3)

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone”

-Stephen Spielberg

Like my good friend Steve says, cell phones are not always the best thing in the world, and when it comes to writing horror, they are pretty much the worst.

Imagine if you will, what some of our favourite horror stories would look like with the simple addition of a cell phone.

Cujo.

“Hello, animal control? Yeah, this is Donna Trenton calling. So, listen, I’m at the Camber house…yeah, that’s them, and anyways, there’s a big ass dog running around out here. Oh, good! I was worried there for a minute. I’ll just stay in my car until you get here. Thanks.”

Nightmare on Elm St.

Tina: It was so scary, Nancy. He was all burned up and had knives for hands.

Nancy: Cray cray! Let me look that up.

Nancy googles it on her phone.

Nancy: Well, when I put in all that stuff, I got a bunch of newspaper articles about some creepy pedo that used to live around here. It says he disappeared or something when we were just little kids. Hold on, maybe my mom knows something.

Nancy texts her mom.

Ma do you know a guy named freddy kruger????

OMG I haven’t heard that name in years. Me and the other parents killed him 🙂

Thx TTYL

Nancy: Yeah, our parents totally killed him. I guess he found a way into our dreams. Hold on, I’m gonna look up dream therapy.

The Blair Witch Project

“I threw that fucking map into the river!”

“No worries, my phone has GPS.”

That’s just a few. But basically, every classic horror story would be radically different if they had cell phones in them. Part of what makes horror stories great is that nothing is convenient for the protagonist. And if there is one thing that cell phones are, is convenient. The other thing cell phones are, is plentiful. You can’t throw a stone these days without hitting a person talking/texting/surfing/tweeting/snap-chatting/etc. on a cell phone.

While planning my novel, I quickly realized that the story wouldn’t work if there was even one operational cell phone (seriously, the story would end at chapter 2!). Luckily, there was already a plot point in place that could easily explain why the cell phones in the story would be rendered useless.

Still though, this whole cell phone thing had weighed on my mind so much that I even considered (for a short time) changing the time period of the novel to take place in the 80’s. It would be very easy to do and wouldn’t change the overall story that much. But, on the flipside, having it set thirty years ago wouldn’t do anything to serve the novel either (other than not having to deal with modern technology). So, after a bit of consideration, as well as getting the opinion of fellow writer Ben Van Dongen (who is hard a work on his own debut novel. Check out his trials and tribulations here: https://benwltp.wordpress.com/ ) I decided to just deal with the damn things, because the fact is, we can’t put the cellular genie back into the bottle.

Novel: Untitled

Word count: 11400

Chapters: 10

Hey, I’m Writing a Novel! (pt.2)

Baby Steps.

So…I can say that my novel has started off with a whimper. I had all sorts of intentions of pounding away at it in the last few weeks but stuff got in the way. Not bad stuff mind you (well, I guess some of it was bad), but stuff.

Like most writers, I don’t make a living writing. That means that I work a 9-5 job. I won’t bore you with just exactly what my job is, just know it is the kind that you are not meant to have for more than a couple of years, and certainly not the kind a person would strive for. But, the reality is, I gotta go to work when they schedule me, even if it conflicts with ideal writing times.

Next, I got kids. Two beautiful little girls (Lelaina and Delilah) and they demand a lot of attention. I don’t mind that, and in fact, love playing with them, but, it does eat up valuable time. Usually, I get very welcomed reprieves when my mom takes one, or both of them for the day, but, due to the fact that my step-dad recently broke both of his arms (!), my mom is pretty busy.

And lastly, I’m neck deep into the second/third draft a collection of short stories I’ve been working on for a year now, with fellow writer Ben Van Dongen. This has been a wildly tiring process and has been my main focus recently in an attempt to get it done by summer.

These things have converged into a perfect storm of novel killing proportions.

I am happy to report however that I have made some progress on the novel though. It isn’t much, but it’s something. So all hope is not lost. And further more, with some changes to my writing schedule (basically, less sleep) and an upcoming writers’ weekend with the above mentioned Mr. Van Dongen and our good buddy Justin, I should be able to take a major bite out of the novel. Only time will tell, but until then, I’m gonna keep on taking baby steps.

Novel: Untitled

Words: 1725

Chapters: 1

 

Hey, I’m Writing a Novel! (pt. 1)

“The night was…sultry?”

For anybody who’s seen the amazing black comedy, Throw Momma from the Train, you know how hard it can be for a writer to get the first line of a story just right. In the movie, Larry Donner (played by Billy Crystal) can’t get past that single sentence.

Now that several projects are behind me (The Space Between Houses, which is available now, and the horror/sci-fi collection with fellow writer, Ben Van Dongen ( https://benwltp.wordpress.com/ ), is coming soon), I can finally get back to that pesky novel I’ve been planning.

Last year at this time I was committed to writing it. I even went so far as to line up some volunteers to read over each chapter as I finished them (never turn down free edits). But ultimately, due to time constraints, the novel was shelved.

In the year since I last attempted writing it, a lot has changed for me. Besides those above mentioned projects, I’ve met tons of really talented writers and have learned a lot about the craft from them. With this new found knowledge tucked away in my pocket, I’m once again climbing out onto the ledge of novel writing and hoping like hell I don’t fall off.

The time away from the book hasn’t been wasted though, I did manage to keep the story in my head and spent the time further developing it. It’s safe to say that at this point I’ve planned, plotted and researched everything I possibly can to get this thing going.

Now I’m at that crucial moment of committing those ever important opening lines to the screen. Unlike Larry from Throw Mamma however, I’m not nearly as hung-up on that first sentence. In fact, the moment I’ve been anticipating writing the most since last year has been the first chapter. Being a big fan of the hook, I think I have a doozy of one to open my story with. Hopefully I’m right. Only time will tell though.

Over the next year, I’m going to keep you guys posted on my progress (hopefully bi-weekly updates). This includes the ups and downs and all the in-betweens of the novel writing process. If all goes according to plan, you’ll get an inside look at the entire shebang. From the first draft to the final edits and beyond.

Novel: Untitled (I got lots of time to come up with something)

Words so far: 0 (Although I’m shooting for a nice number between 60 and 70 thousand)

Chapters so far: 0 (I’m thinking about 60 when all is said and done)

 

007: Updates

When I started this blog all the way back in the very distant past (January of this year) I laid out a list of work that was in the pipeline. I figured, it being about mid-year, now would be a very good time to go back to those things.

I had mentioned four specific projects that I was toiling away on and even went so far to give a few tentative release dates for some of them. Well, as time does its annoying march, some of those projects have hit a snag and others are rolling along nicely.

Let me begin with Adventure Worlds. Not much has changed on this front, except that the site has gotten bigger. It’s because of this growth that I feel myself pulling back a bit from working on it. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m leaving it behind, quite the contrary, I’m more dedicated than ever. What it means though, is that since we are starting to get submissions more often from other writers, there isn’t a huge need for me to always have a story ready for posting. I love the site and will keep pushing it for as long as I can, but it has already somewhat served its purpose and it’s time for me to look ahead at other things.

space coverNext, I spoke about two different projects. The short story collection and the comic mini-series. Since I already talked about the former last month in pretty great detail, I’ll jump right to the comic book. Continue reading

006: The Space Between Houses

Hello loyal readers! We have to do some more time travelling this month. Nothing as extensive as blog post 003 mind you, but still, you might want to bring lunch.

333058_10150487425101892_1669362473_oA few years ago two big things happened to me. One was the birth of my first daughter, Lelaina Blue. The second, very much connected to the first, was starting a blog call The Space Between Houses. The blog was connected to my daughter in that up until that moment, I was too lazy to try and make a career out of writing. Sure I liked it, but my laziness knew no bounds. What this meant was that even though I hated working in a grocery store, I was probably going to be doing so for the rest of my life. But then here was this amazing baby girl. She was everything I ever wanted and more, and I couldn’t stand the thought of her knowing that her dad never strove for anything.

Before I get too much into the Space Between Houses stuff, I have a confession to make. I’m a huge quitter. I quit everything. When I was a kid I quit karate, beaver scouts, saxophone, guitar and other things I’m sure I’m forgetting. This trend continued into adulthood where I quit jobs and even school (although the Tradigital Animation program at St. Clair was a joke so don’t judge too harshly for that one). The truth is, I like to quit. In fact, I would say I’m about as good a quitting as a person can be without being pro.

So here I am, starting a new life as writer and wouldn’t you know it, I want to quit. Writing’s hard. It takes time and patience; these are things I don’t have (those video games weren’t going to play themselves). But once again, here is this little girl who looks at me with huge blue eyes and in them I see the reflection of the person I can be, not the one I am. So, I turn off the x box, mute the television, put down the comic books and get to writing. Continue reading

005: Comic Books; fun to read…horrible to make.

I can still remember the moment I fell in love with comics. I was about eight or so and had just come back from the corner store with my grandma. Since I was a spoiled child, I had gotten a comic book while there (and also since I was a fat child, probably a few chocolate 5-1bars as well). Now, it wasn’t my first comic book (and lord knows it was very far from my last) but for some reason this one changed me. So what’s the comic you ask? It was Fright Night #5 published by Now Comics. Basically it was a comic series based off the rad 80’s vampire movie of the same name. The comic was set after the movie and it followed the main characters as they hunted various monsters. Anyway, this book was unlike anything I had ever read before in a comic, it was dark and violent and great.

After that day I was convinced that I was going to be a comic book artist. I carried that dream for the next twenty years or so. The problem with all that though was that I really hate drawing. It’s something I’ve always been pretty good at, but I’ve grown to hate doing in so much that I could never put the time in to go from pretty good to really good. Continue reading

004 : Size Doesn’t Matter (I Hope)

1094456-Clipart-Carnival-Clown-Standing-By-A-Height-Sign-With-You-Must-Be-This-Tall-Text-Royalty-Free-Vector-IllustrationWelcome back. As you can tell by the title of this post, I’m going to keep things short. This isn’t entirely because I’m lazy (although I am, oh boy, I sure am), but rather because I’m gonna talk a spell about writing short stories.

When I first got into this whole being a writer thing, I envisioned myself writing for only two different mediums: comics and novels. When my first attempt at writing a novel, it was called The Sands of Al-Hajarah, resulted in an unreadable mess, I knew I was going to have to cut my teeth a bit first before I jumped back on that horse. So I set to work on my first short story.

The process of writing the short was wholly enjoyable for me. I really didn’t have to worry about all the detail needed in a novel, instead I could just focus on the good stuff. Continue reading