Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brain Mush...

   I really should be writing something in this journal today.  I'm just not sure what.  Editor Jeff asked about Thanksgiving entries, and I'll probably get around to writing one of those tonight to slap up here tomorrow. 

    The thing is, even though I said I'd take a smidgen of time off from writing the Little Monster, I found myself back at it again today grinding out a chapter involving all sorts of --hopefully funny-- insanity.  However, as I was writing away like an industrious little worker, somehow a growing whisper of a doubt began to creep into my head, and by the time I put the wraps on the day's efforts, it was an all-out scream. 

    Nonetheless, as I usually do when the weather is pleasant, when I finished up, I went for a walk in the woods down to the beach and back to try and find things to yank me away from the collection of words I'd written and to silence the grunting creative engine shaking the walls of my head, but that odd doubt was there when I returned.

    Normally, I don't make a habit of reading other people's books when I write, but this time around, I broke that mold, and I have been squeezing little perusals of AOL's own John Scalzi's latest novel The Android's Dream, and though it's purely coincidental, the chapter I'd just finished writing very loosely mirrors the chapter in his book I'd just finished reading.  And, by "mirrors" I should say that the only similarity they really share is that they both involve a date gone very wrong.  I believe mine is funnier though.  His has, a lot more gravity. 
    As a result of this weird little voice inside me, I had a genuine Chicken versus Egg moment, however, and I found myself asking "Did that just influence what I'd written, or is this just some odd coincidence?" 

    Fortunately, when I poured over my words checking for typos and whatnot, I realized that these were two totally, entirely different episodes, but the coincidence was actually something which made me smirk.  I found it funny that whole thought would even cause a murmur in me. 

    For what it's worth, I really am having a great time reading Scalzi's novel, and I recommend it to everyone who reads this.  Even though I rarely read Science Fiction, I have to admit, it's a damn fun read, and it's got bits in there which will have you laughing quite loudly.  I'm not sure if I can compare it to anything I've ever read before.  It's simply a novel that yanks you in and refuses to let go.  And, I will admit, there are certain aspects which I find do inspire my own writing.  It's not a question of one voice, or plot, or anything.  It's more the fact that I find myself thinking "Oh yeah.  I can throw humor into a serious situation." 

    If I have a knock against the novel, it would be to say that I find the inundation of a multitude of different characters to be a tad confusing, but the motives of the bad guys and good guys are there and easy to keep sorted out.  Perhaps it's just me that has trouble with that sort of thing, but when I read a novel, I tend to gravitate toward and embrace one particular character in any story or book.  Perhaps it's an attempt to empathize with that character or whatever, but in The Android's Dream, I find myself enjoying every single one of them. 

    In this novel, John shows he's a master at tempo and dialogue.  And, unfortunately, the only thing which upsets the tempo of this genuinely exciting read is the result of the somewhat shoddy proofreading that went into this novel before its publication.  I know.  It's a small thing of me.  But, those typos hit my eyes like a speed bump; however, I've got confidence that they'll be tidied up in subsequent printings.  And, though they slow me down, they sure as hell aren't going to keep me from reading this damn fine novel. 

    Aside from that, it's time to watch House.  So, have a great night!



  1. So, as the wife is sitting upstairs, watching House, I'm down here typing away and thinking, wow, I'm reallly gonna have to proofread this prtion because I'm on my fifth run and Coke and even though I'm only typing the stuff I hand-wrote in my journal today into Word, it would still look silly if all these drunken typos showed up were I to get published. On top of that, I have eight, that's right, eight main characters in my novel, each one playing a critical role. So, now that you've shredded John's book to pieces with your scathing review, and made me this elf-conscious about my own piece of...work, I just want to thank you Dan. I'm sure John does too. ;)


  2. Well, it was hardly scathing.  Plus, the typos are no fault of John's, and not every proofreader can pick them up.  

    I remember reading an interview of Updike in which he pointed out that he keeps copies of all his first editions and bookmarks the pages just so he can have all the typos and errors.  

    Seriously, though, it's a great book.


  3. Hang in there, Dan.  Don't let the doubts get you... thanks for the info on John's book...

    be well,

  4. I usually gravitate towards one character in the books I read...the real reads I like are the ones where we manage to be consumed by all the characters. And where is your Turkey Day writings? ;)
    Happy Turkey Day by the way. :)

  5. Just stopping by to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. What will it be today Dan - Bacon wrapped, deep fried turkey? Good luck with the brain mush situation.