Monthly Archives: July 2011

American Psycho: A Supposed Book Review

I’m not ignorant of the press that American Psycho has received, in spite of the fact that such press was, generally speaking, before my time. I’m not ignorant of the fact that it may seem horrific, to some, that I actually managed to read it, but then, what does that say for my psyche anyway? It would be a different matter if I sat and laughed through every page. I did not.

As with any abrupt change, the initial shift into following Bret Easton Ellis’ style was a little difficult at first, if only because I picked this up without truly knowing what to expect. In fact, my knowledge of the concept of this book was limited to begin with, and what was already there was purely superficial; I found one of Patrick Bateman’s monologues from the film adaptation five or six years ago and was both intrigued and confused by it, because of this I vaguely knew that Genesis would be referenced (and then I only knew of Genesis after picking up a copy of Disturbed’s Album ‘Ten Thousand Fists’), and after watching The Prestige, I was aware that Christian Bale played Patrick Bateman. None of this prepared me at all for what I found within the book, although reading the iconic line ‘abandon all hope, ye who enter here’ from The Divine Comedy as an opener should have given me an idea. It may only be scrawled across a wall here, but the link to Dante Alighieri’s version of Hell is blatant.

That said, there is nothing more to be said on the subject after this, and the references are, of course, brought heavily back into consumerism and yuppie culture; after all, this is essentially what American Psycho is satirizing. Even this initial literary reference seems to have little business being here, because we are in no way, shape or form supposed to believe that there is anything profound about Patrick Bateman’s lifestyle.

It is easy enough to think that this is, quite simply, just another novel about a serial killer. The brutal murder scenes are nothing short of what one might expect to experience in only the most gruesome horror, but it should not be judged on the basis of this alone; we are more than a hundred pages in before the first murder truly takes place, anyway. Women are more commonly given the blood-drenched descriptions than men, and every instance of violence is then interspersed with what one might call a version of normalcy. It is easy enough to pick the book up and flick to the first chapter that makes any reference to killing at all, looking for the ‘best bits’, but there is no point in doing so; to omit the rest of the novel would be to ignore its message in its entirety, and you would not so much be reading it as selecting the most shocking scenes one can find for personal enjoyment, and that is in essence, an insult to the novel as a whole. I feel it is also an immature way in which to handle the content, and can only lead to views formulated entirely around everything that shocks, disgusts and terrified through its explicit nature than around what should shock, disgust and terrify us for what it says about a contemporary society or sub-culture.

Ironically, these very scenes of torture and slaughter are the only ones that ever seem to be truly dragged to the forefront of the media; lines that stand out in my mind are ones like ‘a how-to manual on the torture and dismemberment of women’ and ‘people who like this book should ask themselves why they want to read pages and pages of descriptions of hacking and chopping up women (with the occasional man thrown in, but all the lavish descriptions with rats and nail guns and so on are just for the ladies)’. To me, these come across as comments born of tunnel-vision reading during which the author only took into account the black and the white; no gray shades involved. In truth, it is easy to see where such opinions can be formed – the descriptions of violence towards women are, as mentioned, much more graphic and, for lack of a better word, imaginative than those towards men for example – but of course, for people to enjoy, or simply read to begin with, there has to be something more substantial than ‘pages and pages of slaughter’. Enjoy, of course, may be rather the wrong word to use to begin with. As I mentioned before, I don’t think that these scenes were ever designed to be enjoyed.

Admittedly, the above comments riled me somewhat, not for what they say about me as a reader, but for what they say about the person that wrote them to begin with. I have asked myself why I ‘liked’ this book, although I think the correct phrasing is why I found myself intrigued or gripped by it. The fact remains that it is such a hyperbolic parallel to the culture it is satirizing that, in turn, it becomes riveting. How does Bateman survive? Contrast the visceral murders to dinner at Barcadia, and it does become more than mindless torture. It is not immediately apparent how everybody seems to overlook this one, seemingly insignificant, trait of Bateman’s because he fits in so well with the mould. I am not suggesting for one moment that anyone actually considers him a psychopath in his day-to-day life, but the slightest slips of the tongue –  ‘mergers and acquisitions’ becoming ‘murders and executions’, for example – go unnoticed because nobody around him is willing to hear it as such. There is no real difference between Patrick Bateman and Timothy Price aside from the Ralph Lauren shirt, perhaps.

Easton Ellis’ prose has already been summed up as ‘cool and unflinching’. It is, for the most part, distant and uncaring, because why would a homicidal killer care about another human being after all? When you add into the fact that Bateman has, essentially,  been conditioned to be a shallow human being to begin with, even without the homicidal tendencies, it makes even more sense. The lack of emotional engagement does not go amiss. It goes without saying that the more graphic the prose, the more prevalent Bateman’s blood lust; a chapter simply entitled Girl and involving the aforementioned rat, is one that may well have dissolved into such an explicit scene that it would have been nigh on impossible to finish is instead cut short by Bateman’s own ambivalence towards what he is doing. He admits that he grows bored of the spectacle, and as such, the scene dips away from intense brutality. Whether or not this is a bad thing is arguable; it does not give a sense that Easton Ellis is suddenly shying away from what has been present for the past two hundred pages or so – he has already established, by now, that he is not in the habit of doing so, that taming beastly scenes is not something that is going to happen – as much as we do, genuinely feel that even slaughter has gotten somewhat boring and empty.

Interestingly enough, it is the scenes where such brutality is conspicuously absent that drew my attention. Throughout the first hundred pages or so, I will openly admit that I found myself getting a little lost amidst a volley of names – Van Pattens, McDermotts, Carruthers and so on – with conversations occasionally taking a somewhat chaotic turn. This may have been down to my own shortcomings, and yet, I could not help but feel that it painted a more accurate picture than I even knew at the time. Bateman is constantly mistaken for a Marcus Halberstam by Paul Owen, and there is almost a note within these dinner-table conversations that encourages the reader to mistake Craig for Luis, who is then mistaken for David … the point being that identity is fragile, useless unless one is comparing the lettering on a business card. It is a point that in Bateman’s case, like almost everything else in the book, is taken to the extreme – while the fact that one of his early victims, Paul Owen, is supposed to have lunched with Bateman’s lawyer in London a matter of months after his disappearance could be Bateman’s saving grace, it is instead something of a sentence to eternal damnation. The final, capitalized line, ‘this is not an exit’ makes this abundantly clear.

If you’ve read far enough without dismissing this as ‘all about slicing and dicing’, and throwing it away, to notice the emphasis Bateman himself places on his appearance then I applaud you. As an amateur, I’m still aware of terms such as ‘Gary Stu’ that pop up on writing forums everywhere and anywhere, a nice enough compass to work by, but I feel the need to embellish this point. With Bateman, the good looks and charisma are taken to the same extreme as the psychopathy. It could be said that there is a prominent danger of Patrick Bateman being too good looking, too successful, too rich. He has all the elements of a character we should, then, envy, or feel is disproportionate within his own world. Not so. Everyone around Patrick Bateman is good looking, successful and rich, most of them summer in the Hamptons, have designer wardrobes and pay in excess of three hundred dollars for lunch. That danger of his character being over-saturated, then, is lost and his psychopathy, most likely does become more of a distinguishing feature than his tan body and worked muscles ever could. There is little inclination to want to know why he engages in such behaviour, either because it has already been established that there is nothing else there, or because we simply do not want to understand him. To do that would be to admit that people like him really do exist, after all. In a way, this could have contributed heavily to the initial reception of the book. Admitting, not that the content was too graphic for anyone to read, but instead that Easton Ellis was not simply inventing. That somewhere in the world, some woman had been murdered in a similar way.

The fact that this novel is ‘unfinishable except by adolescents and sociopaths’ is, again, arguable. I do not feel qualified to entirely disagree with this point – I’m nineteen, make of that what you will, I assume I am still an adolescent – although it paints a more extreme picture than is entirely necessary. Those who know me well will know that I have a fairly strong stomach when it comes to graphic depictions of violence and gore; I pin this on psychology rather than a mental deficiency of my own, after all, why should I be labelled a sociopath for simply not being that squeamish? Yet here there were more than a few moments that caused my stomach to turn. I don’t doubt that this will be the case for many more the world over, and have read a fair number of accounts that have verified this.

This, in turn, brings up a debate on whether reading American Psycho will have more of an effect on women than men. Unsurprisingly, the ‘morning after’ descriptions of Christie and Elizabeth’s mangled bodies (which provides a surprisingly accurate depiction of how they both died) and the later chapter, Girl (undoubtedly due to unsavoury use of a rat) had more of an effect on me than anything has in the past six or seven years (in terms of entertainment and media). This, and the fact that I didn’t eat cheese for a week. Not unfinishable, no, because I am not one to throw a book into a corner on the basis of one or two difficult scenes, but there is a certain degree of reason in where the above statement can be derived. If anyone has not dared to read this yet, then take it as fair warning that it is an explicit book, a fact that is unavoidable; different scenes will trigger different reactions. If you thought you had an iron stomach, or will, before this, think twice. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone who will simply look at the brutality and torture and read it based on that, or pick up a copy and revel in the bloodletting. There is a lot more to this novel that far too many reviewers, I feel, have missed, opting instead to focus on what stares them directly in the face than what triggered such events to begin with. Thank goodness, then, for the number that read between the lines before casting their final judgements, regardless of what those judgements might be.

The Final Summary:

Enticing to some for all the wrong reasons, and not to be taken lightly no matter what the first hundred pages might suggest. This is an adult book in every sense of the word, not just for explicit content, but for looking past the explicit content. Where some books are difficult to put down for one reason, this is difficult to put down for another reason entirely; it quickly becomes difficult to tear one’s eyes away from the page in spite of the horror. Adversely, the first murder will cause a knee-jerk reaction that sees this book locked away for ever more. Regardless, this extremely well written and true-to-form, if you can stomach the sex and gore – an interesting and most definitely unconventional take on summer reading.

Oh, and a little, useless fact? I was asked for my ID when buying this book.

A Few Links:

American Psycho on Goodreads
American Psycho on Amazon
Bret Easton Ellis on Amazon
American Psycho Article on EW.com

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Book Reviews?

When considering the prospect, the very first question that sprung to mind was ‘what makes me qualified to review any published author’s work?’

The answer? Nothing. I am in no way, shape, or form qualified to review works by writers who are more accomplished than I am at all. What might give me some ground to stand on, however, is the fact that I am human, and humans generally have the ability to form opinions of the things that they experience.

Although this is primarily a blog about writing, to write about one is to write about the other. They go hand in hand, and so, I feel little or no trepidation at all when I say that I will be writing book reviews, for no-one’s amusement but my own.

This is all coming off rather badly, isn’t it? When I say my own amusement, I don’t mean that I get a kick out of being overly critical about a book I have read. I mean to say that I would prefer to share points that others the Internet over may not have highlighted, or moments that stand out for me more vividly than others. Everyone experiences literature differently. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to share it?

So, in essence, what I am saying is that, sometimes, I lack the motivation to write a thousand words or more on my own writing experiences (which in hind sight seems rather self-absorbed anyway), so instead, I’ll write about the writing of others.

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Direction

Once again, this post is somewhat linked to the two prior to it, so it must be pretty clear by now that my thoughts are actually behaving somewhat coherently. That makes quite a change.

I don’t read many Young Adult novels, but for some reason, I’ve thought about it more often than once this week. Just this week. I don’t know if this is my brain’s way of telling me that I need to start toning down the things I write, or whether it is just born of the undeniable fact that I have yet to come up with a truly marketable idea. I’m nineteen. I wouldn’t say I’ve actually experienced anything remotely resembling adulthood just yet. Is it really time to start writing what I know?

I’ll bite. I avoid the risk of having hapless self-inserts in all of my stories by writing middle-aged males. It’s cheap and it doesn’t necessarily make for good reading material, not because there’s anything wrong with a middle-aged male lead, but because there’s a level of authenticity that is, quite simply, missing. It’s the Hollywood ideology of what it’s like to be turning forty, not what it’s really like … not that I’d know much about the latter, other than what I’ve observed. Not experienced.

Yet, my speed isn’t exactly writing sixteen-year-old girls filled with angst either. This is not a generalization of all YA Novels, just a generalization of myself. If I am truly to write what I know than the end result is not likely to be any more readable than if I wrote what I do not know. It would probably be more insufferable than most badly written fanfiction, and nobody wants to read that … or at least, nobody with a sound knowledge of the English language wants to read that.

So then, what about a horror story aimed at the 13 – 19-yer-old demographic? What could possibly go wrong there? Aside from the fact that if I give myself an inch of rope I’m likely to take a mile and damn, don’t I know it; the end result would probably be American Psycho: For Teens. The prospect of that alone is deeply unsettling as well as bizarre enough to make me want to contemplate it further before destroying any hope I might have had of sleeping tonight. I don’t think I’ll be taking that one any further.

Of course, my sure fire formula for success would be to write a supernatural teen romance. Aside from the fact that I can’t stand the idea of that so vehemently I might never write again, that’s a winning idea, isn’t it?

The bottom line is this: lots of drama, lots of conflict. I can’t resist the two. When omitting the fantasy violence, assassinations,  street fights, blood sports and premeditated murders, what is left is a lot of conflict between characters safely rooted in a somewhat ‘real’ environment (in some cases). Perhaps I need to strip away the veneer of depravity and start getting my message across in a different way. A constant theme is that everyone or everything has a dark side. Apparently, my writer self isn’t much about seeing the inherent good in people, and I won’t go into the reasons why this seems to manifest itself on the page, because it stands to reason that people, the people I’m writing, can show their worst side without having to use knives and guns.

Unfortunately, that teen demographic is still a long way off. We don’t want to go giving the young ones a warped world view now, do we?

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Integrity.

So, it just occurred to me … I wasn’t discussing writing, exactly, but another creative pursuit, I think the point still stands, however.

Integrity. At least, that’s what I prefer to call it; some would call it self-indulgence, or selfishness, and really, I’m sure that this post is going to follow a similar vein to the one below it, Writing for Who?

The question is whether or not to give people what they want – although rather than this being a case of toning down work and omitting parts of it, it is more a case of a novel as a whole, for example. Which is better? Writing what people want to read (which, obviously, is a sure fire way to make money), or writing what you believe in? And of course, it’s rather hard to ‘believe’ in the sanctity of violence, gore or mindless sex, so therefore, I’m talking about wider issues; values, for example.

Arguably, it’s not a wise idea to write a book that nobody will be willing to understand, or read. Note the italicized ‘willing’ – this does not necessarily mean that reading the work would be akin to reading something written in an entirely foreign language, but rather that nobody will open their minds to the values expressed. This does entirely depend on the values, of course, and how extreme the stance may be; I have never firmly believed in pushing values upon anyone else. Just because I am agnostic, for example, does not mean that I would forcibly make my writing have an underlying agnostic track to seduce people into my way of believing. I expect comments on this belief shortly following my submission of this post, and I will ignore every one of them – it was an example, not a mouthpiece. However, why should someone sacrifice everything they believe in for others?

This may be superficial, of course. I am not a fan of writing or reading romance novels, I’m afraid I never have been, and unless some extreme hormonal re-balance changes this, I don’t see it happening. I’d like to think I would turn someone down if they offered me £1,000 to write a romantic novel, based purely on the fact that anything I put out there in this vein would be second-rate; I’m no good at it, I wouldn’t want to submit something so terrible for the sake of money. Yet the reality of it is, I don’t know what I would do in that situation; what if I was about to be evicted, or had a bill or fine to pay? It’s incredible how contrary we human beings can be, no?

Yet, I suppose this is where the difference lies, just as there is the difference between writing for oneself and writing for a predisposed audience, there is a difference between staying true to oneself, and selling it all for one of two things: fame or money. There are usually viable reasons behind it, but I, personally, wouldn’t want to know that I’d gotten famous off the back of something I didn’t entirely believe in. This is concrete, even if nothing else is. It also means that I will likely never get published, regardless of whether I try in earnest or not, because people are generally, unwilling to step out of their comfort zones. I’ll admit, I’m one of those people. I’m a picky reader, and there are several pre-requisites a book must have before I even entertain buying it. I won’t list them, but good spelling and grammar are, naturally, a must.

I find it incredible how often these two things go by the by.

I suppose what I am saying in a rather self-indulgent, annoying manner is that there is always a choice to make; integrity, or success. I’m a cynic. You have to sell your soul to get anywhere these days. I like to think this is changing, but I continually reserve judgment on whether or not this is true, because there will always be a trend. It’s no secret that I dislike trends, a lot. It was a secret, until now, that I am broke, jobless, and writing novels that will never get published. It’s not like that should come as a surprise, though. There seems to be a correlation between the two, somewhere along the line.

Would you look at that. Two posts in the space of three days, I think I’ve broken some kind of record. No need to mention that both of these posts are somewhat cynical, bitter, acerbic, disparaging … whatever else you’d like to call them, then.

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Writing For Who?

First of all, it’s been a chaotic few days. I’ve hardly even had the time to sit down and write, let alone write a blog post. So, to make up for that lovely blank space I’m sure you’ve been staring at, wondering whether or not a blog post will ever materialize in it, I have an essay.

I’ve been reading American Psycho. This is, of course, not the point of this post but it has everything to do with its conception. As with most things I tend to fixate on for any given period of time, I went a little further than simply reading the novel (although I admit, that part was gruelling at times. Not quite as gruelling as reading an excerpt from Twilight, and not quite in the same way, but nonetheless, I haven’t had to struggle with reading a book for a long time). This is where I start commenting on how the Internet really is a wonderful tool, and the amount of book reviews I found. Not necessarily read through, but found.

Something that stayed with me after reading one review in particular, was a comment the author made about how Bret Easton Ellis was clearly writing for himself. I’m still not sure if this is a fair evaluation, as it then throws Easton Ellis’ sanity into question, but of course, it wasn’t quite so black and white.

I like to think that I write for myself. It is rare that I have a target audience in mind when I first start plotting through an idea, or even when I start writing those first few words on the page. I could hazard a guess at the demographic most likely to pick up something I have written and read it (and there it is, self indulgence at its finest. I’m not so presumptuous as to assume my work is even readable to begin with), but there is never any set target age or audience. Similarly, I am almost always aware of the fact that there are elements, maybe more than I would be willing to admit, that would most likely be distasteful to some, or that others would never agree with.

But then, isn’t this a part of being a writer in itself? Isn’t this a part of creating, in general? With the exception of some fields, there is always going to be someone who doesn’t get, or disagrees with the  message you are trying to send, which ultimately ends in several scenarios; the two I have picked out are being labelled as mentally unstable by anyone from readers to publishers and anyone in between, and somehow becoming an atheist, racist, sexist, satanist, or anything in between in the public eye. I don’t have time to list all of the possible outcomes. Someone is always going to be critical of your work, and someone is always going to tear it to shreds, no matter how heavily you have considered your 12 – 17-year-old female demographic through every chapter, on every page, every line, every damn letter. No matter how frivolous you have been in including content that might otherwise not make it past censors, because first and foremost, you were writing for yourself.

The thing is, regardless of how you consider your manuscript that first time through, it is still yours and it is still possible to enjoy that first outing regardless of content, grammar, spelling, capital letters and punctuation. For all intents and purposes right now, I am focusing solely on content. So what if your antagonist cannibalizes the protagonist’s girlfriend in the first chapter? It fits with the rest of the narrative, doesn’t it?

I find it a complete put-off to get bogged down in censorship details the first time around; what will come will come. Censoring too early on can completely ruin the flow of the story, even if I do take out the serial killer’s perspective later on down the line (I’m not a fan of changing perspectives too regularly anyway. Not any longer, at least), it was still there to begin with. Arguably, a lengthy, detailed, character sheet can be a surefire way to get to the bottom of his psyche, but what about knowing the exact way in which the murder took place? Won’t that help your hard-boiled detective along his way, so you can gradually drop clues into the narrative to find the solution that you, of course, knew all along. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, but this is most certainly the way in which I prefer to look at it.

I am well aware that the only form of ‘explicit content’ included in this post at present are a couple of mentioned of serial killers and a little cannibalism. This is not limited to just violence, of course, although it does seem to be the thing that people get particularly up in arms about, though graphic sexual scenarios come a close second. I’ll save some time and not go on about how, perhaps, these are only construed as wrong in most cases because of the correlation between sex and porn, and skip straight ahead.

The bottom line is, first time out, I will write how I want to write, but I do question the safety of allowing this to continue through the second, third, fourth drafts, and beyond. I write for pleasure, and so why shouldn’t it be pleasurable to write?  However, somewhere along the line, and I am not going to lie, audience plays a part. If you market a book towards 30-year-old males, then chances are it’s not going to be a romance, or at the very least, not a gushy one. A high-octane thriller is less likely to appeal to middle-aged women (although I like to think that I’ll still have a similar taste in literature when I’m in my 40s!) than the aforementioned gushy romance. This is, of course, a very stereotypical way to go about things; I want to believe the lines are being blurred more and more.

I don’t think Easton Ellis was unstable for putting American Psycho out there, because of reasons that have been stated time and time again in some of the other reviews I have read. It is not a book that can be censored, in all fairness … he wasn’t entirely writing for himself, though, either. Contrary to opinion, I believe that he was indeed writing for the masses; enough about that, though, I will repeat that this is not a review or analytic look at American Psycho in any way, shape, or form.

I think, more than anything, I have digressed from my original point; whether or not I write for myself. Instead, it has become something of a sad comment on how we are still too quick to judge, maybe. Or how intense, graphic imagery somehow becomes wrong, somewhere along the line; and this is not to say that it is always right to include it. Just that it can be used to great effect … it depends entirely on whether or not it is done correctly.

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It’s Never Too Late …

… to come up from behind. Or at least, I hope it isn’t. My Camp NaNoWriMo endeavours aren’t going too badly, and I’m aware that with two or three sessions of concentrated writing in the next week, I should be able to finish this novel by the end of the month; that is, after all, my goal. Fifty-thousand is all fine and good, but if I’ve only reached chapter ten by the end of it, then I haven’t done what I need to do, and this novel isn’t going to write itself.

I wonder if that’s possible. Then again, no; even if a machine was to write it, the novel still wouldn’t be writing itself, would it? Oh well.

That only serves to further my initial point. This novel won’t get written unless I write it, even if I sold off the entire plot (which isn’t really that desirable to begin with) and allowed someone else to get on with it, which I doubt anyone would agree to do. Actually, I rather enjoy the prospect of challening myself – actually catching up from behind for once, as opposed to berating myself about not reaching my own personal goal.

On a somewhat unrelated note, my lack of application to projects I spend plenty of time getting off the ground but subsequently forget about is starting to show already. I didn’t realise that it’s been three days already, I suppose I just … got distracted? I’m also well aware of the sheer amount of self-indulgent nonsense this blog already contains, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t feel at all qualified to instruct others on how to write. Tutorials … advice … I have to admit, I don’t much feel like offering these things, just because there’s always the chance of being struck down. That and I wouldn’t think that anyone would be interested in an advice blog, when there are already so many of those things out there.

What I do hope to put into action soon enough are some topics that inspire discussion and debate. I never said I was afraid of a little controvery, by any means.

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Definitely/Definately.

Just to clarify, it’s spelled definitely.

D-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y.

For some inexplicable reason, this misspelling bothers me greatly.

It’s very late, and I have just been on a writing binge. As a result, I’m somehow managing to pick up on the smallest of spelling mistakes that irk me.

Right now, the definitely/definately controversy is irking me so much I might just hit something.

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Neglect.

Ah, it’s starting to happen already – the inevitable practice of me neglecting my blog for so long that it eventually becomes defunct. And here I promised myself that wouldn’t happen.

I am procrastinating again, naturally. I’m finding myself with a listless, unmotivated, and ultimately foul-mouthed character who is, not so much making it difficult for me to get writing as he is making it difficult for me to demand too much of him. Of course this is going to change. But right now, it is virtually impossible to squeeze four-thousand words out of him doing little more than sitting and watching television.

I suppose this is what I get for outlining a slow-moving plot, but then it’s a change from ‘all action, all the time’ … or should that be ‘all dismemberment, all the time’? I’m not sure.

Ultimately, I don’t think I’ve made a mistake in choosing this path for this particular month, because even when I try to write something more ‘high octane’ …  or hard-hitting, or … I don’t know what else, it becomes decidedly dull when set against what it should be. So, I guess by writing something that is fairly dull (although in my own warped way, with my own warped sense of humour, I’m finding it both acerbic and entertaining), it means that, by comparison, I should be able to step it up a notch later in the game.

That, or it becomes something of an ode to cynicism.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, though … um … not that it was to begin with. This is actually quite refreshing. It is my pride that won’t let me give up, and I find that my pride can be the greatest motivator of all. I could sit here and think to myself ‘well, you don’t have to write it all. You could make the fifty thousand and be done with it’ … but I haven’t done that in, what? Almost three years? Something like that. I have this little voice in the back of my mind telling me ‘come on, you’re 100k, girl! Remember that? Live up to it!’ … thus, I write. I write until my fingers bleed …

… ah, hyperbole. Naturally, my fingers are’t actually bleeding (although I’m sure a fair few people would be overjoyed to hear that I’ve inflicted a great deal of pain on myself), but I’m getting a nice little kick out of racing for the finish line, with an hour left in which to write another two-thousand words.

Speaking of which, I think it’s time for a spot of Write or Die

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I’m Crazy. That’s It. I Must Be Crazy.

Really. Not content with lining myself up to write more short stories than I have, quite possibly, ever written in a short space of time before … I’m actually committing myself to writing a novel. I mean, I was already considering working on a novel, maybe at a much slower pace than usual, but … I’ve opened up a new Write or Die window. There is truly no turning back, now.

At around 11:54pm, shortly after posting my latest post (with the exception of this one), I decided to try my link to the NaNoWriMo website, to check that it did, indeed, work. I’ll bite. I haven’t exactly been checking the site regularly because I feel out of the practice of doing so, and if truth be told, I’ve been trying to suppress the novel I wrote in November, simply from being at a loose end with it. Yet, some gravitational pull led me to visit, and I soon found myself on a one-way journey to the all-inclusive holiday resort of Camp NaNoWriMo.

I might have mentioned in my earlier post that November is a successful month for me because of the looming pressure that having a deadline and an empty word counter imposes on me. There’s something about looking at that lonely little graph, and seeing stunted results; a day I haven’t been writing for, a slower pace than usual. I anticipate filling it up as quickly as possible and getting those results. It works, too.

So, to find myself without a graph or a word counter means that I write maybe one to two hundred words every few days or so. To find myself participating in Camp NaNoWriMo means that I am more likely to write, on average, between 5,000 and 10,000 on most days, slipping below the bar only when I’m feeling particularly drained, lazy, or tired. Considering I’m aiming at anything from 80,000 to 120,000 words for this project, there’s a good chance I’ll get the main brunt of it done within the next month or so.

I really will have to start questioning my sanity sometime soon, however. I have no idea why I choose to do these things to myself, I really don’t. Maybe I’m some kind of literary masochist, or something.

The kicker? This post clocks out at around 410 words. Those are 410 words of a novel I could have written in the past … oh, ten minutes, shall we say? I’m most definitely on a roll.

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Overexertion, Maybe

Of course, I’m not sure how notable it is to say I’ve been entering a large number of competitions lately. They’re mostly forum-based, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that I fear I may have entered too many.

That said, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I love the sensation of feeling a little overworked, and knowing that I have strict deadlines to keep to. It’s part of what makes November such a successful month for me. It may also be some kind of reasoning for my constant procrastination and borderline laziness that usually produces results before the clock strikes twelve, rather than six hours before that when I was well within the deadline limits.

Nonetheless, I’ve been writing a lot more than I usually do as of late, and it’s actually a very refreshing change of pace. My problem is usually that an idea sparks, and I want to write it, but then spend so long hung up on where it’s going that I lose that sudden urge, and the excitement that comes with it, usually resulting in a project of much less quality than I expect of myself. With less passion and drive behind the words. That won’t do at all.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m writing a lot, and yes, it feels very good.

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