• Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry
    Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry
    by Craig Terlson

    A collection of short stories where the humour runs dark and the slipstream bubbles up.

     

    ...imagine if Raymond Carver called up George Saunders and Joe Lansdale, and they all went drinking with Neil Gaiman.

  • Correction Line
    Correction Line
    by Craig Terlson

    “… it's clear that Terlson is way ahead of the curve in terms of crafting an engaging premise that reaches for elevated territory and reinvents enduring archetypes of action and suspense.”  J. Schoenfelder


    "Sometimes brutal, often demanding and always complex, this novel will repay the reader who likes their assumptions challenged and is happy to walk away from a book with minor questions unanswered but the big ones definitely dealt with! It’s likely to satisfy those who enjoy Hammet and/or Philip K Dick and who like their fiction very noir indeed."   Kay Sexton

     

    "I love a novel that you can't put down, and this is one of them."  L. Cihlar

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Saturday
Feb062016

Jumping those sticky plateaus.

When do you know if you reached a plateau? Better yet, when you've crossed one (risen above... jumped... what do you do to get over those suckers?)

For a chunk of time longer than I'd like to think about, I've been feeling stuck in my writing. Part of that has been the finishing of one larger project (Surf City), and waiting for another to emerge. Those others being either continuing work on another Luke Fisher novel, or returning to the big bad literary novel in the wings (B.B.L.N.).

Many glasses of red wine and way to many hours on social media, I figured a way to unstick myself - because my plateau was part quicksand... the bad stuff, like on Gilligan's Island. The solution: return to short stories. Huh, wha?

The thing that got me there was listening to a ton of interviews of George Saunders, Karen Russell, Jonathan Franzen, Don Delillo, TC Boyle, and many others... shit, almost forgot RICHARD FORD (he gets all caps).

When I listened to them talk about their writing, their reading, and really just their life, the inspiration starts bubbling in me like a pot of dark brew. It's mysterious, burbly, intoxicating, and totally what I want.

I've always loved the short story form, but had strayed away while I worked on novels. I got a chance to revisit this passion in the form of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. I'll say more about that contest in another post (if you follow or friend me on twitter or facebook, you already know about this.)

But suffice to say, I wrote a story that I'm really happy with. I can't put my finger on it, but there was something in this one that was different, more true maybe (a weird, but true way to put it.) Pop over to Terlson Fiction on the menu bar if you'd like to read it. It is only up there for a limited time.

If I make it to the 2nd round of the contest, I'll be deeply embroiled in another story (for three days anyway - the deadline for the 2nd round. 1st round you got 8 days). I feel like this is warming my engine to jump back into the B.B.L.N. 

As always, more to come.

 

Friday
Jan222016

The Heat is On

I always liked that cheesy song from what was it, 48 hours, or Beverly Hills Cop?

(gotta look that up.)

In an attempt to give myself a hard kick in the ass back to the discipline of short story writing, I am entering a contest. In truth, I have no great aspirations of winning said contest - especially since I believe it is open to writers from anywhere. Given that everyone and my meter reader has a book these days, I am guessing the number of entrants will surpass the population of some small countries.

But I do love me a deadline. And constraints even! As I often hear in interviews with my fave writer George Saunders (aka: the guy I'm obsessed with), out of boundaries or constraints comes creativity.

You can check back here at the blog for an update, and probably even a view ofthe story. I am also taking part in the forums that are hosted by the contest - and as I understand, many writers after they submit their stories, post them online.

Wish me luck, and good constraints. (As in helpful ones.)

Oh, and I looked it up - definitely Beverly Hills Cop. And done by the late, great Glenn Frey!

Tuesday
Jan122016

Why review?

Let's start by clearing up the old, "reviews help me sell my books" bullshit. Because I don't think they do. Beats the hell outta me what does sell books in these times. But as everyone and my mailman now have a novel on Amazon, I'm kinda doubting that reviews are gonna help the casual reader slap down some hard-earned samolians for a novel just because Bucky7874 wrote, "It was a great read. I couldn't put it down – made me miss my bus and lose my girlfriend."

Not sure what the current exchange rate is on samolians to Can. Currency – but I am pretty sure it sucks. I'm gonna start paying for stuff with sheets of melba toast - which is faring slightly better against the U.S. dollar.

I digress.

So if reviewing doesn't sell a wagonload of books for the author... what's the point? Well, here is the point.

When I write, I create people out of nothing, as well as the universe they live in. No, I don't write sci-fi or fantasy, but every story creates its own universe. These people, let's call them characters, become more and more real to me (if I am doing my work). And with something like a novel, they live in my head for a long time before I release them into the wild. The creative process is incomplete to me until the moment where the things that I have created, and have taken up permanent residence in my noggin, are experienced by someone else. That someone else being you, dear reader.

The biggest encouragement I get as a writer, is when a reader responds to the work. And by respond, I don't mean 6 outta 5 stars, like our old pal Bucky7874 (who really should know that his relationship with his girlfriend is more important than fiction). No, I mean any response.

I know that not everyone will enjoy my work. The same as I do not enjoy everything I read (or decided to not read/abandon.) I love when someone loves the work – but I also need to be told when something isn't working for someone. That is the true value for me. But if you just out and out hate the work - it may not be for you - then a review might not be the most helpful.

So wait, you say, review... ugh, that is like the book reports they assigned us in Grade 8 were we tried to use the word "very" an excessive amount of times to reach the teacher's word count. (I am very very liking this book, very muchly indeed. The writer is very gud.) (C-)

Basically, no. Just be honest. Say a few lines about what you liked about the book. And even a few about what you didn't. Ultimately, this is what I am looking for in a review. Not whether or not you captured the theme and comments on the human condition that imbue the work. (Oy) Did you like the characters? Was the story engaging? Did it bore the shit out of you?

And I know a lot of other writers are the same. We are a lonely forsaken bunch... well, not really. I have a lot of wonderful friends. But when I sit down with that blank piece of paper, um, screen, the space is pretty sparse. It's just me and those things I made up. When you write a review on something you read, you breathe life into that space – and the encouragement for the writer is exponentially helpful.

Go write that review now. I am thanking you in advance.

I am off to visit those imaginary people in my head. Wait, they're in your head too? Awesome.

Tuesday
Dec292015

Old work is new again... isn't it?

All the craft books tell you to put away your work for a few weeks, a month or two is even better, before you edit. So what about a few years? That's gotta give you a fresh perspective right?

That's for damn sure.

I am in a bit of waiting period, also known as writer-limbo... wimbo (might have just made that up) - I have been waiting for edits on my novel to come back from someone I hired back in early Sept. While I wait, I decided to revisit my short fiction days. There was a time, a number of years actually, when all I wrote was short fiction. I did things a bit backward by writing a novel first (and then re-writing that novel a lot), before I tried my hand at short stories.

Short fiction taught me a lot about writing. And they are a much different beast than novels – much more than their length defines them. Some of my favorite writers only write short fiction, George Saunders, Raymond Carver, and Alice Munro (who I should really read more of). The writer, Tobias Wolff, once described the feeling he got while reading Carver's Cathedral. He said that by the end of the story, he felt like he was levitating. I've never forgot that. And it remains one of my favorite stories.

Also need to mention Richard Ford here - as I say in this Smokelong Quarterly interview, I was pretty obsessed with Rock Springs. Communist may rank as my all-time favorite short fiction. And I can't even say why. It is just so damn good.

So returning to the form is both delightful and sobering. The sobering part is when I read a story that I laboured over, sent out, received a number of rejections, and constantly rewrote, and I realize... hey, this is as boring as shit. No wonder they turned it down. Ah, the wisdom the years bring.

The delightful is coming across a story and still loving it. A few tweaks here and there, some new ways of putting things, maybe a slight structural change... but yeah, not bad. Let's send that sucker out!

Getting pubbed these days is harder than ever. And like the world-weary private dick, I've seen it all, taken my share of beatings, and poured three fingers of bourbon to ease the 10th, 20th, 50th rejection. But I'm back at it. Writing. Learning. Submitting. Rolling with the rejections.

I'll let you know how it all shakes out.

If you'd like to take a gander at a couple of my short stories visit:

Smokelong Quarterly

Carve

Cezanne's Carrot

or pick up 

Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry

 

 

Sunday
Dec132015

Time to move up a couple?

If you've been noticing the lack of a twitter feed at woofreakinhoo, I think it's because I've been living in the past - or past versions anyway. I've liked the feel of Squarespace 5 for so long, that I haven't wanted to migrate. But time, and newer versions, march on. Speaking with the fine folk at Squarespace, I think it is finally time to make the jump to version 7.

So look for a new look to the old woofreakinhoo - coming soon. Complete with a working twitter widget.

And in closing... a Ry Cooder cover, which seems fitting.