Search woofreakinhoo
  • 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

Login
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 โ€“ 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

Friday
Mar302007

girls with... um... insurance

junkie_uk_digit_1957_back.jpg They often ask big time authors where they were first published - where did they catch their first break? Richard Ford, in a recent Poets and Writers mag, said he couldn't quite remember the name of the magazine. I have a hard time believing that, but maybe it was too long ago for Mr. Ford โ€“ and too many huge achievements.

I think a lot of us trying to break in to the career wonder about what they will say in those interviews. Maybe it sounds to school-boyish, like wondering who you will thank when you accept the Oscar. But the hell with it, I still like thinking about that sort of thing.

Smarty-pants interviewer guy: So, Mr. Terlson, do you recall your very first publication?

Me, looking stylish in tweed jacket and pipe: I surely do Bob, it was girlswithinsurance.com.

Sadly, I believe G.W.I. is on extended hiatus, perhaps permanently. I remember being a bit cautious in who I told about this first acceptance. While "girls with insurance" is a perfectly innocent literary zine with a focus on humour, the name does sound a little seedy. That's what I loved about it. Since then, I have been published in some other strangely named places - I wonder what agents and editors think when you are telling them you have written work for "Laugh it Off" or "Cezanne's Carrot" (also fine mags BTW).
"Well, at least he's not writing for girls with insurance."

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday
Mar282007

SaundersLand

pastoralia.jpg George Saunders is a genius.
Hey, don't trust me - the MacArthur Foundation gave him a 500,000 buck grant saying so (these are often called the genius grant). And he received a Guggenheim fellowship on top of that. Not bad for a guy who writes about stone-age theme parks and countries so small only one person at a time can live there.

He is also my favorite modern short story writer. My story The De-Organization of Bob was written when I was deep into a couple of his books. I can't say enough about the wonders of this guy. He has created his own genre: Theme Park Satire. I see why he gets compared to Twain and Vonnegut, but he really is his own unique voice.

If you visit woofreakinhoo as a writer read this recent interview with Mr. Genius, over at powellbooks.
Then go buy one of his books. Quick, run to that bookstore.

Tuesday
Mar272007

At Least it Sounds Cool

717112.jpg What do I have in common with a cheesy Canadian 80's rock band?

After three months of increasing pain in my shoulder, I finally got my butt, and my shoulder, over to a physiotherapist. What I thought was arthritis, and then a rotator cuff injury, turned out to be FROZEN SHOULDER. Whoa, yes, it as dramatic as it sounds. I think it sounds like something maybe spies get when injected with some nasty toxin from the bad spies.

"Do you expect me to talk, Coldfinger?"
"Noooo, Mr. Terlson, I expect you to FREEZE!"

Anyway, it's painful as hell and the exercises to go with it are no walk in the park - but it is fixable. The bad news is that it may take a year to return to full motion. The other bad news is that I am supposed to make it move, make it hurt in other words. As far as I understand, the ball capsule thing is all gummed up (adhesive capsulitis is the actual name for it), and you need to force the bally thing to move, to rotate it without the shoulder blade compensating (med school readers of woofreakinhoo, take note).

Mr. Physioguy told me that in severe cases the surgical procedure is to put you to sleep and basically rip the shoulder upward, tearing the stuff that is holding the capsule in place โ€“ again reminding of some nasty movement from the bad spies.

Can you say: arrrgggg!

More than you probably want to know about Frozen Shoulder