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  • 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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Tuesday
Apr172007

Radio CBZY Plays all the insecurities all the time.

yellow.jpg Another update from class-land. It does feel a bit like being away from other things, in a foreign country even. I have been looking both closely at my work and from a distance, trying to get that objective distance, which can be difficult when you go deeper into your work.

Reading and still loving Bird by Bird, which it turns out is a good compliment to the things I am learning in the fiction class. Lamott nails the writer's mind so well, or mine at least. She writes about the radio station that blares away in your head, filling you full of self-doubt and insecurity (this blasts away in the left speaker) and self-aggrandizement blasts out the right, the recitation of one's specialness. The goal is to shut that station off and become quiet so you can listen your characters speak in a still small voice.

Her station she calls KFKD, or K-Fucked. This is an example of the great cranky stream of humour that runs throughout the book. For me the insecurity channel blares a bit louder than the other, though I am sure it is there. I am thinking of a name for my own channel, and all the anxieties and mental demands of life that encroach when I sit down to write. Probably CBZY - C because it's a Canadian station and the rest because I can have a hard time settling my busy mind. There's always things to think about, taxes to do, phone calls to make and meetings to arrange. But I am working at flipping the switch on that station, or putting it on time-delay. I can always listen to it later.

Friday
Apr132007

All work and no play.

message.jpg Just to let you faithful readers of woofreakinhoo know, I have not dropped the verbal ball here. I have been heavy duty into my fiction class, unable to come up for air and post.

So this is my message in a bottle note that more is coming, so stay tuned and please do come back.

Now back to class - k-raccckk goes the teacher's whip (or maybe my own).

Monday
Apr092007

Class in session

master.jpg It has begun... cue the music. Dun-dun-dunnnnnnn. I had my first conversation with my instructor in the master fiction class. I hate to be always saying that word master, because I am anything but. Although, it is the name of the class and as I thought (and hoped) it will mean going deep into my fiction - including what I write and why I write.

I really respect the instructor in this course, and I was not disappointed. She read four of my stories and basically nailed it - I agreed with everything she said and there was more than a few light bulb moments.

So day one, I am already totally re-thinking the way I write. Yikes. It's like I want to gather up every story I have out there and shout, "Don't look at these! I need to fix them all!" Surprisingly, this is not daunting but rather, very exciting.

I won't be sharing a lot of the particulars of the process that I go through in re-working these pieces, well not for a while anyway. I think I am going to be very busy, but in the best sort of way.

"Snatch the pebble from my hand young student or tell me why you have such issues with conflict in your fiction."

Hmmmm, I think I'll go for the pebble.

Thursday
Apr052007

Drop and give me 20

496px-Drill_sergeant_screams.jpg This week has flown by and I see that I have not been shouting much lately. Queries are out for The Plate Spinner and I await news. I have been hesitant to jump into a new writing project, or even a new story, as next week I began a master class in fiction.

I don't put the "master" in there as some sort of ego stroke, that is the actual name of the class and I am hoping that if I don't "master" fiction (or it becomes my master), then the discipline of a class will produce a crop of new work.

I have felt this is the time to look deeper into the fiction that I am creating. I have mentioned before how I enjoy studying and trying to advance my craft. Sometimes, I can do that with good craft books (like Bird by Bird or Gardner's Art of Fiction) but other times I need an outside opinion on where I need to develop.

Luckily the instructor for this course is very good at what she does (along with having some amazing credentials to back her up). As I said, I need the discipline of a class and deadlines to push myself. I am hoping that in the next month I go through a boot camp experience.

"You call that a sentence boy? Just where in the hell is your character arc? You drop and give me 20 lines – make that a full chapter!"

Yes sir, uh, ma'am... uh, master.

Have a great Easter weekend.

Tuesday
Apr032007

Baby you can drive my car

bird.jpg I like when writers writing about writing get it right.

Anne Lamott, in her book Bird by Bird, really gets it right. I love how she explains that the process of sitting down to write is not just about wrestling the demons but getting the buggers to shut up, or at least quiet down. She talks about all the things externally and internally that call for your attention when you sit down in front of that blank page.
I am inspired when reading her passionate and quite funny descriptions about how hard it is to just put that shitty first draft down on the page. I am nodding my head as I read, yes, just get it down on paper, no one needs to know how bad it is to begin with.

There have already been moments of epiphany while reading this book on "the writing life." She tells her students about her approach to writing, which is philosophical and reaches deep into the "why does one write" question - their response is to ask about agents and sending manuscripts and all sorts of things about publishing. They are like the disciples in the Gospel of Mark that never quite get it - who did you say you were again?

The book is full of gems and really has me examining why I write. Lamott quotes a lot of other writers in the book. A couple of my favorites:
When asked why they write,
the poet John Ashbery answered, "Because I want to."
Flannery O'Conner said, "Because I am good at it.

To be honest, I can more relate to Ashbery's quote. I want to, I really, really want to.

So get at it - time to dig into that shitty first draft of the next novel. That reminds me of another great quote from the book.
E.L. Doctorow said that, "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip this way."

Interview with Anne Lamott