Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Baccano of the Stand Alone Complex

Odd title, I know. But it has a point, I promise. I have this big problem with "The Stand Alone Complex." We're not talking Ghost in the Shell here, we're talking the stand alone novel. I am a writer who likes to write. I love my characters, I love my stories, I love my plot lines, and I love details about each and every little thing in my novels. I'm not a fan of the info-dump, so the only way to properly conduct a novel is to constantly chant: slow and steady wins the race.

What does that leave me? An excessively long (but good) story. It could be one story or a number of small stories making up the whole. You decide.

The issue with this is my sad luck of being an unpublished writer. A fact that is made more difficult by the truth that agents and publishers alike have cold feet when it comes to taking on new author's series. Not to say it doesn't happen. Look at J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer. It's just tough. And honestly, I don't know what the fuss is about.

No story that has ever been published has as beginning or an end. I say this after having just been enlightened. (And now I am talking about anime.) I just finished watching Baccano! and I'm having a mini spaz-fest over the punchline to this series. says this: "Each of the stories in the series involves several unrelated plots intersecting and crossing each other as events spiral further and further out of control. Immortal alchemists, mafia operated speakeasies, and many other elements of pulp fiction mashed together for a world straight out of the movies." I'd like to add that these stories occur within the framework of Carol learning a life lesson from the vice-president.

After watching 16 episodes of convoluted plot line and getting incredibly involved with all these characters (half of whom are immortal-so obviously you want to know what they've been up to and what they are going to end up doing) the series just ends. Well, it doesn't just end. Young Carol gets her lesson from the vice-president. And it is...Wait for it...There are no main characters and there are no beginnings or ends to a story.

The basic idea is that one person connects to many others whether they realize it or not. And because there isn't just one character, there is no end because characters keep getting added and once new characters are added you have to trace their past to get to know them, so there is no beginning either. Especially when you are dealing with immortals, gods, and other supernatural beings (I might add).

This makes me feel justified in writing books that are continuously moving back and forth among plot lines, characters, and time frames. It also makes me feel justified in writing long stories. Of course, not everyone in the publishing industry watches anime and that philosophy probably wont stick. But still, I don't feel so bad about writing a book about how someone who is older than the Flood (perhaps even caused the flood) has come to affect the life of a modern day shut-in. Not at all.

Oh, P.S. - I finished Stephanie Meyer's The Host and I loved it. Although, I'm hoping the next novel doesn't have a self sacrificing chick with split-personality love disorder. I think Stephanie has filled that quota in her professional career.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Ever hear that saying: Don't judge a book by it's cover? I'm having one of those cringe moments where my guilty conscience is thrashing my judgment with a cat o' nine tails. That, and I'm kind of ashamed of myself.

You see, I have this inexplicable reaction to certain people. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, I just dislike people and everything associated with them. Even if I don't know them, I dislike them. I have this problem with Keira Knightly, Lindsay Lohan...and I had this problem with Stephanie Meyer.

Needless to say, I disliked Twilight and everything about it because I disliked Stephanie Meyer. At first I thought it was a jealously thing, but I don't dislike other authors who are just as famous or write in the same genre. I just didn't like Stephanie and I don't think I'll ever know why.

Anyway, I convinced myself that I was being an idiot. A lot of my friends recommended the Twilight Saga and I knew I should read it because it's popular and in my genre. So, I decided to face my dislikes and finally audiobook Twilight. It's two weeks later and I'm finished with the series. And I'm now officially a Twilight groupie.

This was one of the few series I've read that I didn't complain about when I wasn't listening. It was one of those few series that I found myself thinking about when I wasn't listening. I liked the voice actor. I wasn't bored by the story. Granted, I'm a little annoyed that my own YA is a little too similar (even though I'd never read Twilight before) and I'll have to rewrite a lot of it, but I'll get over it. I'm also a little sad I watched the movie before I read the book. I think it ruined the inevitable Edward Cullen infatuation...seeing Robert Pattinson when I think of Edward ruins my perfect man fantasies. He's so not hot in my world.

Many of my friends dislike Twilight because they say Stephanie Meyer is not a good writer. And I have to think to myself: This isn't literature, it's commercial storytelling. The story is brain fodder, something that is both interesting and engaging but not over the top when it comes to analytical thought. It's even a little predictable.

But, it's still good and I'll admit that I was wrong to have had such a seething dislike of Twilight. After having read her books and realized I misjudged, I'm no longer a staunch opponent of Ms. Meyer and I mentally apologize. I'm even looking forward to listening to The Host.

The point of this ramble to to remind myself that I should give everyone and every book a chance to impress me. Though I still don't like Keira Knightly or Lindsay Lohan, even after watching them act, I'm hopeful that one day I'll end up being wrong. I'd find it funny if they and I ended up being best friends or something (after I'm a famous novelist, of course).

As for Stephanie Meyer, I look forward to bumping into her at a conference one of these days and personally thanking her for not only writing an entertaining series, but making me realize I have this little problem that I need to work on fixing. Who ever said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Way too early

It's officially three o'clock in the morning and I've been "up" since...Wednesday morning? So, I've got multiple infections again, and I'm on a lot of meds. So, I guess that means I can't sleep either? Been having some wicked strange twilight dreams, not the good ones that give you story ideas, but the ones that give you night sweats.

Other than that, I still haven't heard back from any of the agents who either still have my query or have my partial manuscript. I'm still erring on no news is good news. I'm going to fall back on that for about a month, give the agents time, and then I'm going to send another batch of queries out.

I finally finished The Chronicles of Narnia. I enjoyed this series quite a bit. I could definitely see some parallels between Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials and C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. I wonder if that was on purpose or not...

I started Twilight by Stephanie Meyer yesterday. Already, I'm beginning to see some similarities between This Sidhe of the Hill (my wip YA paranormal fantasy) and this novel. Mainly new girl meets moody boy who treats her like crap and has eyes that change color. But, the similarities end there.

Anyway, it seems that the voice actor for Twilight will do a good job, which makes me happy.