Throwback Thursday – 5 Things That Will Make Me Drop Your Book Like a Hot Potato – Revisited
Thursday June 20, 2019 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments
Part of my ongoing thing on Thursdays to revisit some of the older posts that are still valid. This one dates back to Nov 22, 2011.*
I read Chuck Wendig’s 25 things that will make me keep reading your story and it made me think, I have WAAAAAYYY more things that will make me STOP reading your story (Okay, I might have overstated that, it's only 5 things). And of course he posts about that very thing this morning. ARRRRGGH! Anyway, not to copy, but I had this idea in my head, so I’m going with it. If I see a blurb that I like or a nice cover or get a recommendation from one of my friends, I will pick up your book and give it a fair shake. Unlike Chuck, I'm not standing in the doorway with a gun in your face waiting to not like it. If I've gotten as far as cracking the cover and reading the first page I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I want to like it. But there are a few things that will make me drop your book like a hot rock, or hot potato or anything hot. You get the idea. Here we go: (more…) Read More
Running and Writing
Thursday August 22, 2013 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments
Chuck Wendig posted yesterday about his effort to start running, and it got me thinking about my own love/hate relationship with running. When I was a young man I loved to run and had speed, but I suffered from the same ailment as Chuck, Osgood Schlatter's disease. I had to quit playing soccer and football, which was a real bummer for me, as my life was centered on sports back then. My focus switched to academics, and it proved to be auspicious. If that hadn't happened I likely wouldn't have gone to the Air Force Academy or became a pilot. Sports wouldn't have done that for me. (more…)Read More
Wendigisms 2: The Penmonkey Strikes Back
Tuesday December 11, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments
And without further ado:
- Feculent turd-heads
- Eff that in the ay, emmer-effer
- I will beat you to death with a sock full of your own teeth
- Mornings tend to be when your brain is at its lemon-scented freshest
- Think of this as a narrative laxative
- Covers that look like someone just ingested a rod of uranium and threw up in a clown’s shoe
- Suddenly your voice is scratchy and dry like you’ve been gargling watch parts and cigarette butts for the last ten years
- Loosen your mind sphincter
- Shock-prod your brain-squirrels into powering the endeavor at hand
- Sad trombone
- Harvest all the delicious Idea Chilli *nom nom nom*
- Plot is like Soylent Green: it’s made of people.
- Sweaty genitals, which is the worst ice cream flavor ever
- Massaging the prostate of your soul
- Your artistic faucet won’t offer anything but a quivering, syphilitic drip
- You are not a sad friendless little tugboat
- It’s about throwing caution into a woodchipper
- coffee so black it might as well have been ink poured out of a squid’s behind.
- scream like a Tasered girl scout
- you were just rolling around in a dish of someone’s fingernail clippings and hoagie sweat
- Extract those wretched little nuggets of hard black hate-coal and use them to fuel the writing
- trees only read magazines about trees. Printed on the flesh of humans
- your jaw hangs loose like a broken porch swing
- Secrete enzymes to build your own authorial exoskeleton
- we’re all gonna end up under the Grim Reaper’s riding mower
- it’ll slip through one of the many mouse-holes in your mind-floor
- chipping off the tiniest sliver of our intellectual granite
- Shake lose the barnacles you’ve gathered while floating inert in the murky harbor of your undoing.
- I’m allowed to make up new words because I have my Pennsylvania Writer’s License
- jet-lagged and dung-brained
- an autumnal orgy of sweet arctic fruit-sex
- SEIZE THE CARP. No matter how hard that fucking fish wriggles.
- Embrace the Viking immortality of having your ideas live forever.
- a rollicking case of the spiritual pee-shivers
- Cement your genital stamina
Wired for Story
Saturday July 14, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments
BLACKBIRDS is out TODAY!
Tuesday April 24, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments
Miriam Black knows when you will die.
Still in her early twenties, she's foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.
Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can't save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she'll have to try.
5 Things That Will Make Me Drop Your Book Like a Hot Potato
Tuesday November 22, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments
- I picked up a book recently that had a great blurb and interesting ideas, but the language was unique for a lot of things. It was hard to follow because of this. It’s nice and all that you went to the trouble to try to make this futuristic place, with new fangled words for everything, but If I have to read the page three times to catch what your drifting then something’s wrong. My shooting hand starts to twitch. It’s a fine line to make it “feel” all futury but overdone, it will just lose the reader.
- I don’t mind if a book has lots of characters, as long as the POV is consistent. And by consistent, I mean not jumping from one head to the next as the paragraph changes with no warning, no break or any sign that will clue me that we just switched heads. You might get away with this once, but keep doing it and it'll get my ire and likely a bullet to the face (i.e. I’m putting the book in the Salvation Army box in my basement).
- Most of us are willing to suspend our disbelief when we pick up a book. But every now and then something will break the mirror that holds the illusion together with facts that are SO blatantly wrong that I can’t get over it. Like in Iron Falcon Eagle. A movie about a kid, whose father is a downed F-16 pilot, who goes out and saves the day by flying an F-16 Fighting Falcon and they call the jet by the wrong name. Or perhaps something less obvious, that I happen to know is true, like poisonous tarantulas. No such thing. My suspension of disbelief comes to a screeching car wreck of a halt … book in the basement box. These things are incredibly simple to determine, even a 30 second Google search will show the error of their ways.
- I’ve read a sizeable number of books and have a baseline of expectation for prose. They don’t have to be Nora Roberts great, but it should be slightly better than my 10 year old can do. Okay, that’s not even fair, my 10 year old is an exceptionally smart kid and can write pretty well, but something at least close to that level. Your writing style is so simplistic that It's like vanilla icing on cardboard. I’m not a fan of vanilla icing. I know some of you might be, so let’s make it dog poo icing on cardboard. I’m gonna pass on this. It lacks hardly any description and the sentences are all the same length. It just lacks something. This alone will often not be enough to make me put the book down if I have nothing else to read, and by nothing, I mean I’m stuck in the airport for five hours and have no other options. My reading list is usually ten books deep at a minimum, and I will forget to pick this one back up at some point and move to the next on the list.
- The opposite of the previous problem is too much love of the world. Paragraph after paragraph of description. I enjoy envisioning a new world as much as the next geek, but it can be overdone. I’ll end up skipping past a lot of the descriptive and do this enough and I’m skipping the entire book. I can appreciate how much work went into building this lovely world you’ve created, but I don’t need to know every single detail that crossed my field of vision as I turn my head. Keep it pertinent to the story and let my imagination fill in the blanks. I like a little description, but once you’ve gone past the first paragraph describing how the sun hit the old church building and tell me about how the door used to go into a basement that is covered over blah blah blah … I don’t care. Unless that door leads to a torture chamber or a secret path to an underground hideout or something at least partway useful to the story just skip it. You can chop these prose off and save it somewhere to put in later. Or in a different story. But it doesn’t belong in this story if it’s not moving the narrative along somehow.
Tuesday October 25, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments
I’ve decided to keep track of my new favorite author’s metaphors/similes. The man is Chuck Wendig and I’m going to call these Wendigisms. The man is a prodigy when it comes to metaphor and creative use of the English language, the Maestro of Metaphor. I’ll be mining his metaphorical gold nuggets and keeping a list of my favorites. I’ll be mainlining those gold veins like a heroin junkie. That’s right, I’m addicted. I’m sure Chuck, er, the Maestro, could have created a better metaphor there; I am merely the keeper of the archive. He is a writer of many forms, and he pontificates over at Terribleminds. What … are you still here? I’ll wait… This is by no means a complete list, in fact it barely scratches the mildewed linoleum surface, but I intend to keep adding more. These are posted here with his permission. I welcome your suggestions. Here they are in no particular order:
- Built like a sagging brick wall, head like a melting lump of Play-Dough
- art-o-leptic fits of imagination
- squeeze out word-babies
- shoved deep into their colonic grotto*
- slower than a legless caterpillar rolling up a rocky knoll
- A gift basket of hookers
- wriggling free from a uterus made from fractal swirls
- count each pube on your story’s scrotum
- Spit ‘em out like broken teeth
- feel like he’s wearing a tuxedo made of bumblebees
- A hot fresh bucket of words
- we will now refer to lava as “earthjaculate”
- kicked in the junk drawer
- superheroically buoyant
- epic diaper-breach
- fleshy 3-D meatbags
- A burning nugget of possibility tumbling out of the bleak black nowhere
- high on your own stink, huffing your word-fumes
- a swirling hate vortex living in the space between your heart and your gut
- Fatigue nibbles at your marrow like an army of tiny chipmunks
- ejaculate your DNA into every cell of that story
- suicide shoes
- sky the color of a bruised cheek
- pinnacle of paroxysmic pleasure
- You need to master Manuscript Lovemaking 7
- Progress tastes like bacon
- Embrace the rewrite. From behind.
- It’s time to blast my six-shooters at the words and make those pesky f***ers dance
- You pull a mental hammy and s**t your brain-diapers
- work that was as pleasant as a dildo violation
- As if writing is a job on par with “unicorn tamer”
- Other days it feels like you're birthing a lawn chair from your hindquarters
- create quantum entanglement between your butt and your chair so that you write
- right in the catcher's mitt known as your "crotch."
- a thimble full of mouse turds
- align their chakras and birth their story on a beam of light
- bleeding imagination juice on the page
- *poop noise*