Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Design

I came here to test out some of the new Blogger features and templates then realized how beautiful this layout and design is. I really like it - the color scheme, the flow, the arrangement, all of it. I wish I had more to post here more often, actually.

However, there is a fatal design flaw with this template that is not noticeable from this side of the looking glass and that is that one of the rows was improperly coded and prevents me from utilizing the space to the right of the sideboard. That's been an issue from install and one I've had to workaround every time I've set about to do something with this template or layout.

So I'm saving this whole page and will reinstall it if I can't come up with something better but it's time to upgrade. As lovely as it is, it is not as functional as it should be, as I need it to be, so it's got to go. And I can try out all the fantastic new features Blogger finally got around to adding... I mean, it's only been 10 years or so, right?

© C Harris Lynn, 2014

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Century of Horror 1970-1979 - A Review

A Century of Horror 1970-1979 has been in my collection for at least 15-20 years but, to my knowledge, I have never read any of the selections. It is (rather obviously) an anthology of short stories in the horror genre from that decade by such names as T.E.D. Klein, Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, Fritz Leiber, Ray Bradbury, and others - including less well-known authors of the period. Many were better known for their work in other genres, such as the aforementioned Leiber, but these selections are their forays into dark fantasy and horror from the Swinging Seventies.

The book launches with Matheson's seminal The Duel, which was the basis for Steven Spielberg's directorial debut. It's a gripping story that is ultimately satisfying but fails on many points for me largely because of Matheson's choice of tense and use of passive voice. I also bemoaned the absence of onomatopoeia which would be the way I would have written it so that may simply be my personal view. Still, the descriptive phrases of the sounds slowed the pace of the work which is primarily an extended chase scene and negatively reinforced the passive voice in the narrative.

Sticks, by Karl Edward Wagner, was a perfectly adept piece that should satisfy every Lovecraft fan. It is so steadfastly Lovecraftian that only the absence of an overly-cumbersome vocabulary will convince you that Lovecraft himself did not write it - and there is a handful of passages scattered throughout, particularly at the beginning, that satisfy even that criterion. Even the ending is solid Lovecraft and, like most of that author's work, a bit anticlimactic. However Sticks is a brilliant piece that demands inclusion into the Cthulhu canon and I was not only unaware of this story but also this author. A more fantastic introduction could not be imagined.

Fritz Leiber's contribution is a singular delight because it deals with subject matter that is suitably removed from most readers' lives - namely an overwhelming fear of the Gestapo and concentration camps of WWII - in such a way that many readers will immediately connect it with Islamic "terrorists," and perhaps even the Mexican drug cartels, of today. Of all the stories I've read so far from this collection, this one inspired the most palpable fear in me. It is also the most well-written of all the pieces I've thus read.

Something Had to be Done by David Drake, the editor of the work, deserves special mention as one of the most understated, and clever, stories from the most worn-out horror sub-genre (especially these days) you have almost certainly never heard of.

I admit I have not completed the book but I have read many of the stories and while the works reviewed above stand out to me, there is yet a selection that fails entirely. Some work better than others, as to be expected, but A Century of Horror 1970-1979 is an absolute must-read for horror fans.

© C Harris Lynn, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Giving Up Before I Get Going

One thing I've noticed about myself is that lately I've just been giving up on writing before I even get started. It's a lot like cleaning my house.

A lot of writers will tell you how their real-life chores and pursuits often fall by the wayside while they are writing - dishes stack up, garbage cans overflow, litter boxes start to reek. My problem is compounded by my crippling World of Warcraft addiction but writing takes its toll as well. Anyway, this is definitely the case at my house and it's gotten to be problematic.

Looking around the house, I see three or four grocery bags laying around from yesterday's shopping trip. They simply need to be picked up but I haven't done it yet. There are also canned goods setting on the table that have yet to be put away. The strainer is filled with clean dishes that also need to be put away and both sides of the sink are filled with unwashed dishes. One of those dishes is my Crockpot that needs to be cleaned so I can fix a roast before the vegetables I bought for it rot. There is a respectable stack of unread mail. I have numerous unopened boxes of comics yet to be read. The floors haven't been vacuumed in months because my vacuum broke.

Just thinking about all of this tires me out - before I even get up and get going; before I make the first move, I am already sick and tired of cleaning my house. Thus my house stays in a state of general disarray. This has also been my non-approach to writing over the last year or more.

I come up with rich, somewhat original, ideas that I fail to pursue simply because I become overwhelmed with the thought of the process. I am trying to break that habit by forcing myself to write whenever the mood strikes, regardless of the content. That is what this post is about, as much as anything else.

© C Harris Lynn, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2012 Was Never Here

Yes, I missed an entire year of updating this blog. That really isn't so bad, seeing as how I was actually writing during that time. I know the idea was to explore what I'm doing and thinking while I'm writing but it didn't exactly work out that way. I found that while I was actually writing, talking about it kind of defeated the purpose - I tended not to write because I expended that energy and initiative on writing about writing.

If, from that, you inferred that I am not actually working on anything presently, you are correct. I have a handful of projects in the works, each at a different point in development, but I have not actually worked on any of them in some time. I am trying to regulate my time spent online more and that has been more difficult than I thought it would be simply because I find myself with so much time to fill.

I was hoping that empty time would fill itself with writing but that didn't happen for all kinds of reasons. I gave in to the boredom and inactivity and spent a lot of time watching cheap TV. I watched a lot of documentaries, including a few on writing, so I learned a little bit along the way. I am also thinking of trying to write spec scripts for some of the sit-coms left (before they go away, too). That's a nod to the early cancellation of Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23, creator Dan Harmon's exit from Community, and the end of 30 Rock.

But I didn't write a single thing here the entire year of 2012. And that makes a lot of sense to me.

© C Harris Lynn, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Slight Revival

The title may make no sense - it's a play on a Jimi Hendrix song title that just sprang to mind for no good reason. I don't mind if it doesn't make sense. The point behind it is that I am thinking of reviving this blog which never managed to get much attention back when due to all the other projects I had open.

I've been working on several traditional writing projects over the last year or two, including a few screenplays/teleplays I hope to submit to paying markets. As I go along, I need a place to keep my information and ideas that hit me along the way. Instead of creating a mass of notebook pages or physical notebook with all of this stuff (which I'm only going to misplace), I thought reviving Weird Ink and sharing this stuff with others made more sense.

Of course, the more time I spend talking about writing, the less time I spend actually writing. However, I'm thinking this could work out well all the way around. So stay tuned and check back often; I'm planning on doing something around these parts.

© C Harris Lynn, 2012