Books you should be reading; The Travis McGee series.

I read a post over at John C Wright’s blog on the subject of why old authors and their works are not considered by the majority of today’s readership. Here is an excerpt that I particularly like:


“… The moderns have been taught to hate and loath their own country, their ancestors, their parents, and been told everything written before the current day is racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, transcismophobic, and pure evil. These nutbags think that their own standard bearers of the Progressive movement, the founders of their genre, were not Progressives like themselves.

One need only hear sexual libertarian and radical egalitarian nut Bob Heinlein being excoriated as a member of the misogynist phallocratic patriarchy to realize how far off the edge of the world the lunatics have sailed the ship of fools.

This is not some lunatic fringe belief. It is lunacy, of course, but not fringe. It is mainstream. The core institutions and standard bearers of Science Fiction, the largest publishers, the most prestigious awards, our once-respected guild the SFWA, the oldest and most famous magazine: they all buy into the narrative and all support the narrative with a singleminded fury that is Bolshevik in its vehemence, patience, and pettiness.

Progressives hate the past and seek forever to blacken, demean, and obliterate it. Anyone reading the older books would see immediately that the modern works are only merely equal, not as innovative, and that the modern award-winning works are notably inferior.

The notion of progress is the notion that the past is bad and the present is better and the future will be better yet. If you read old books and find that they are either slightly better or remarkably better than modern offerings, you see a decline, not a progress,  and the foundation of progressivism, is overthrown”

Thus, I am compelled to write some posts on authors which you should be reading. Continue reading “Books you should be reading; The Travis McGee series.”

No, you can’t write a book.

Everyone’s default position to a newly published writer is that their writing will suck. If someone I know tells me they’ve published a book, I too will assume that it sucks big fat donkey balls. The reason for this is that you can fake being able to write a book, (you can fake art too but that is a subject for another time).

You can’t fake being a musician. If you pick up a guitar for the first time, you will suck. Roughly speaking it requires about 10,000 hours of solid work to become proficient on your first instrument. Thus it holds true that becoming a skilled writer will also require at least 10,000 hours.

But herein lies the problem. While nobody can fake playing a guitar, (except for boy bands and buskers), plenty of people can fake writing a book. After all, it’s just words on a page. Anybody can do that. It’s so easy! So they write their book and pass it around to family and friends and there is the inevitable groan from everybody forced to read the pile of turgid sludge masquerading as the next great novel.

Here’s a hot tip: if your close friends and family take a long time to read your masterpiece, it’s a giant turd. More hot tips: is it your first book? It’s a giant turd. Is it your second book? Still a turd, just not as big. Did you work with an editor? No? Giant turd. How many drafts and rewrites did you do? Just the one? Giant turd. Why are you writing in the first place? So the world can appreciate your genius? Giant turd, (you, as well as the book). Do you know what an adverb is? If you don’t, you’re writing turd. Continue reading “No, you can’t write a book.”

Life is better with in-store K-Mart music.

I don’t know what I did before without this. It’s like there’s a part of my life before having access to K-Mart’s in-store music from 1989-1992, and after. Now I’m in the after. This guy worked at the stores for this time and kept copies of the audio cassettes, (remember what they were?) Now he’s digitized them. I mean, why the hell wouldn’t you??

The list in full.

And my personal favorite, 1992 Generic.

Generic, baby! Generic. Put it on your computer in the background and just so much awesome.

Fall of the Deadwalkers.

The deadwalkers are on the rise. In some countries, such as China, they are out of control. They are akin to an apocalypse army of undead, roaming the streets in legions of vacuum-eyed zombies striking terror into all those who stumble across their path.

They are the fuckwits who walk around texting on their phone.

These morons used to get up my goat in a big way. I would purposely bump into them, creating a small scene as we jostled for control of the footpath. In every case they raised their eyes with a mixture of surprise and indignation; communicating in effect that they had been unaware of my presence until our first physical contact.

Now I know better. For they are lying. To me, to you, and to maybe even themselves. Continue reading “Fall of the Deadwalkers.”

The First Sentence.

Elmore Leonard, when asked about how he approached writing, said that he just tried to eliminate the boring bits. The parts of the book that readers skip through to get to the good bits. That’s great advice which I followed when writing ‘Pushing Rubber Downhill’. The original draft came in at 140K words; four rewrites later and it clocked in at 90K. Eliminate the boring bits.

But for me the all important aspect of any book has to be the first sentence. If I’m in a bookshop and dithering around on whether or not to buy a particular book, it’s often the first sentence that decides the issue for me. If that first sentence is not up to scratch then it’s an easy decision not to waste my time on it. Because if an author can’t be bothered to get that first sentence right, how much of the rest of the book did he get wrong as well? In my experience reading thousands of books it’s almost a sure-fire bet that a bad or indifferent first sentence will then lead to a similarly poor book. Continue reading “The First Sentence.”