Thoughts on Writing

This is a great post. It got me thinking about all the ways that the internet (mainly social media) encourages writers to talk about their “writing life”, which as writers know, is far less glamorous than many would like to talk about or project an image of.

Tall Hawk Talks

I have a lot of thoughts about writing. All writers think about writing a lot, but all writers advise new writers not to write about writing, because only people who write care about writing enough to read about it (writing, that is). This leads to a group of slightly odd people reading about writing and writing about writing and repeating a lot of the same stuff and not really achieving anything. Anyway, writers already know about writing. They’ve spent hours practising writing, and still more reading about writing, so they don’t need to read about writing from a brand new writer with much less experience than them.

I love writing, conceptually. I love reading books about writing. I must have read millions more words specifically about writing than words I’ve actually written myself. I feel like I read more books about writing fiction than I do actual fiction, which I’m…

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Book Review: “Kind Nepenthe” by Matthew V. Brockmeyer

nepenthe

I haven’t picked up a thriller in a while.

I snagged a copy of Kind Nepenthe after checking out some reviews and having a quick back-and-forth with author Matthew V. Brockmeyer on Twitter. I was interested in the idea of a supernatural horror story that is based in part on true events.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Kind Nepenthe follows the story of Rebecca, a California post-hippy, who lives in a remote Northern California mountain town along with her daughter Megan and boyfriend Calendula. The three of them are roped into running a marijuana growing operation “off the grid” for an unscrupulous drug dealer named Coyote. This particular area is named “Homicide Hill” which is a not-so-subtle reference to some terrible events in its checkered past.

On another part of the mountain, a meth dealer named “Diesel Dan” is trying to straighten his life out while expecting his first grandchild. Circumstances involving his son DJ, and DJ’s girlfriend Katie, make this more difficult than he’d like though.

Throughout the story, there are strands of the supernatural at play. Brockmeyer teases visions and interactions with ghosts, so the characters aren’t sure if the place is haunted or whether they are going crazy from isolation and drugs.

Kind Nepenthe is a slow burn. It’s plot unfolds at a very leisurely pace, and gives you a large amount of backstory for almost the entire cast. While this is great for character development and realism, I can see some readers being put off by the lack of consistent action. The real meat of the conflict is in the third act, but it takes a while to get there. Plus, the first two acts imply a major conflict between the two casts of characters, which ultimately never happens, as the ending veers off into a different and unexpected direction.

Kind Nepenthe is well written tale of horror and suspense, with a very interesting setting. If you enjoyed The Shining or Mr. Splitfoot then you should probably check it out.

What I Liked:

  • Strong character development
  • Interesting setting and backdrop
  • Some well-placed literary horror references

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Pacing could have been better
  • No major conflict between the main characters seemed like a missed opportunity
  • The ending is very quick and relies on Epilogue

Mastering the Art of Monotasking

Here’s a great post by Jackie over on Undertones blog about “monotasking”. I wrote a post a few years about my belief that multitasking hurts writing and that authors should avoid it whenever possible.

https://bldaniels.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/multitasking-hurts-writing/

I’m glad to see there are other like-minded writers out there with me.

UNDERTONES.

I’m writing lakeside in the foothills of Southern Alberta where I’ve been camping for a handful of blissfully secluded days. There is a beach towel laid out beneath me and my faithful hound, Levi, is nestled beside me—his fur slick from an energetic dip in the water. Cross-legged beneath a canopy of trees, my skin is flushed and freckled from several days of soaking in uninterrupted sunshine. There is a faint mountain breeze skimming across the lake and all is quiet. It’s a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city living and an ideal setting in which to place pen to paper and delve into some long overdue writing.

This year has been an eventful one marked by a busyness that has been both exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. There has been a marked progression in areas of my life that were entirely unexpected. Now, for the…

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