Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The First Writing Post

So, one of the goals of this blog, when I was convinced to start it (and let me tell you, it took quite a bit of convincing), was to post about writing. My process or whatnot, what inspires me, how I do it, all that kind of crap. I've never really thought that I was the sort of writer who got inspired though. I just sort of came up with ideas and wrote them. Simple process, right? (Hardly.) I was talking to a writing buddy of mine today, and she told me that, while she has written every day for the past month, she hasn't read ANYTHING. That's when I realized that I do get inspired. I get inspired every day.

From reading.

That's right. Everything I read, I take in. And I get inspired by it. I notice this even during a long writing session. I'll go to take a smoke break and of course I bring my book along, because I need to do something besides just sit there, right? I notice that after I'm done smoking, I'm even deeper into my "writing mindset" as I call it. I'm enthused about writing and I know I can do it. Sometimes, I'll even notice neat little literary devices or something and use something similar in my own book.

So, if anyone is an aspiring novelist, I have only this to say: Read, read, read, read, read! I go to the bookstore every other week and spend more money than I really should. I'm constantly asking everyone I know if they have any books they can recommend, and I'm always looking on the internet for something that strikes my fancy. (Yes, I just said "strikes my fancy". What are you gonna do about it? Huh?)

I guess my love of books and reading is what made me want to write in the first place. I think the first time I read a book (I won't say which, just in case it somehow gets back to the author) and thought, "Oh wow. I can do better than this" was a tipping point. What a cool thought. I stopped writing my (terrible) short stories and started work on my first novel. Which I gave up on 30 pages in--but still, the inspiration was there. Very soon after that came the day I thought "What? Vampires in high school? How lame. Zombies in high school. Now THERE'S a book." And thus my work was born.

Anyhow, this is a post about books I haven't written, and as such I'll give you guys a recent reading list and a very short review on each. Maybe you'll like them. And maybe I'll make this a regular bi-weekly or monthly post or something. A sort of reading corner, except it's not a corner, because the internet doesn't have the appropriate properties to have an actual corner, does it? Namely, dimension. We'll be sort of like the Oprah's Book Club. Except not anything like it.

Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazell
This book is just phenomenal. I'm not usually for books written in the present tense, as I think they sound too urgent, but Mr. Bazell here pulls it off like a champ (plus there is plenty of flashback and past tense in there too). It's about an ex-mafia hitman who went witness protection and became a doctor. The voice is amazing, honest, straight-forward, funny, and gritty--right up my alley. The story (really stories, since he has two storylines going on in here) is really good as well, and doesn't let up at all. Also, Josh Bazell is an actual doctor, and wrote this book while doing his residency. All in all, if I were to rate it out of five, it would get a five point two. It's that good. Even if it makes me never want to go to a hospital again.

Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
This was another great book. Aside from my natural aversion towards southerner characters and books based in the south, I loved it. It's about a vampire named Earl and a werewolf named Duke who are buddies and pull into a diner one night. There's some zombies attacking said diner and Earl pretty much beats the ever-loving shit out of them (with no small amount of help from the woman who runs the place). She hires them on to help solve her problem. Except it can't be solved, because it's escalating? Why's it escalating? A teenage girl trying to bring demons to our dimension. I won't get more into the story, because I don't want to ruin it for you, but let's just say it has everything you want in a book: Hilarity, werewolves tearing shit up, zombies being zombies, ghost sex, a possessed magic eight ball, and a character named Sheriff Kopp. AWESOME BOOK.

Breathers by SG Browne
First person stories about a zombie happen to be a weak spot of mine (as you may know). This is the only one that I've come across that I haven't written. In Browne's universe, corpses happen to reanimate sometimes. And you'd think the corpse would be stoked on this, as I did, but you're wrong. It sucks. People, as it turns out, really dislike the living dead. Andy, the main character, attends an Undead Anonymous support group every week and he meets a girl there. I don't want to give any story away here either, but I highly recommend this book as well. Plus, the author is a great guy. I've emailed with him a lot and he even signed my copy and sent me a "Zombies are people too" sticker, which is currently adorning the back of the monitor on this laptop.

I've read a few more, but I've made this post long enough. Maybe I'll put them in another post, maybe not. These were the top three though, and I highly recommend all of them. Go buy them and then we can talk about them, Oprah-style (or not - I refuse to talk like Oprah).

Until then, Seacrest Out!

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