books

Writers: Kill Your Sense of Self in 6 Easy Steps

by
Daulton Dickey.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step into any bookstore or library and you’re bound to discover at least one book professing to be capital-t the underscored book to learn how to write a book that publishers and agents and readers and Hollywood producers and the Dalai Lama and maybe the Pope or some low-rent Mafioso will recognize and idolize and adore. Fiction, according to the reality in which these writers write, is an algorithm. Replace variables with values and, viola, book is done. Sale is imminent.

And that might work for some people. But if you have integrity, then you should buy or borrow that book, tear out each and every page, and use those pages to roll cigarettes or joints or to wipe your ass.

Inhale the words fermenting on the pages.

Or cover them with shit and piss.

Those rules are better to inhale and exhale, they’re better as permanent scars on your lungs, than they are to absorb and incorporate into your writing.

Now let’s make a distinction. Some rules are useful, such as word economics or showing in lieu of telling.

I’m talking about structure.

I’m talking about form.

I’m talking about what information is necessary, what isn’t—but I’m modifying it: ambiguity and disconnection constitute important information as well.

I’m talking about the algorithms writers and agents and editors and authors of ‘How-to’ books drill into your head.

The algorithm of fiction is what we want to avoid.

How else are we going to invent new ways of telling stories—and new ways of seeing ourselves—if we stick to the same tired rules?

Which leads to a question: How do we invent new forms of storytelling?teethheart daulton dickey

Which leads to Step #1:

Experiment. Break the mold. Try to write in new ways, try to shake things up—to use a cliché—try to change how sentences and paragraphs and chapters flow. Try to alter what information you find necessary and what information you don’t find necessary. (more…)

14 Great Indie Book Covers

by
Daulton Dickey.

They say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. While you certainly should refrain from judging the contents of a book by its cover, the cover is often our first introduction to a book. If it’s intriguing, attractive, or even confusing it, it might inspire us to pick up the book, to flip through it and read a few passages.

Book covers function as marketing tools, but they also encapsulate an element of the book itself. If the cover intrigues you, then perhaps the book will, too.

This is not a definitive list. You could probably point me to dozens, if not hundreds, of mind blowing or beautiful covers. The covers I’ve included here have, at one time of another, struck my as aesthetically pleasing in one way or another, so my criteria is admittedly subjective.

Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs: A Horror Collection by Israel Finn
Amazon Digital Services, 2016
Paperback 6.99
ebook 2.99

dreamingatthetopofmylungsAbout the book:

Twelve Tales of Horror From The Mind Of Israel Finn:

-A man who is faced with the prospect of losing the most important thing in his life—his son—but instead loses his mind. And then finds himself trapped in a waking nightmare with no way out.

-A frustrated man who curses life for having the audacity to pass him by, but discovers how it feels to be truly forsaken when the universe chooses to teach him a horrifying lesson.

-An outcast who must decide between vengeance and forgiveness in a world turned upside down by war and famine.

-A woman on trial in a world where telling the truth is a crime.

-A man who is living with a very odd houseguest, a visitor who has no concept of war.

-A boy who lives in constant terror of someone who is supposed to love and protect him, but who has betrayed that trust. A horror story that examines the real-life beasts who walk among us every day.

…And more.

Click here to buy the book

Galaxies by Barry N. Malzberg
Anti-Oedipus Press, 2014
Paperback 13.95

About the book:

galaxiesThere is a spectre haunting the science fiction genre-the spectre of Barry N. Malzberg . . . In a genre that, with one hand, claimed to be the ultimate storehouse of innovation, and with the other, leveled strict rules for writing and codes of narrative conduct onto its authors, Malzberg stuck out like a forked tongue, composing works of bona fide literature that dwarfed the efforts of his contemporaries and established him as one of science fiction’s most dynamic enfantterribles. Originally published in 1975, GALAXIES is a masterwork of the Malzberg canon, which includes over fifty novels and collections. Metafictional, absurdist and sardonic, the book mounts a concerted attack against the market forces that prescribed SF of the 1970s and continue to prescribe it today. At the same time, the book tells a story of technology and cyborgs, of bureaucracy and tachyons, of love and hate and sadness . . . Despite his deviant literary antics, Malzberg could not be ignored by the SF community. In 1973, he won the first annual John W. Campbell Memorial Award, which is presented to the best SF novel of the year by a distinguished committee of SF experts, authors and critics. Thereafter he received nominations for the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards, among others. Nonetheless his writing has not received the attention it so profoundly deserves. GALAXIES is among the works listed in acclaimed SF editor David Pringle’s SCIENCE FICTION: THE 100 BEST NOVELS, published in 1985. With an introduction by Jack Dann, this special paperback edition ushers Malzberg’s genius into the twenty-first century.

Click here to buy the book

Last Burn in Hell: Director’s Cut by John Edward Lawson
Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2006
Paperback 15.95
ebook 2.99

About the book:

lastburninhellThe bizarro prison sex horror road trip exploding with alien invasion action!

Kenrick Brimley, the state prison’s official gigolo, hangs over a lava pit on trial for his life in a strange land. He will reveal the course of his life one misguided step at a time for his captors. From his romance with serial arsonist Leena Manasseh to his lurid angst-affair with a lesbian music diva, from his ascendance as unlikely pop icon to otherworldly encounters, the one constant truth is that he’s got no clue what he’s doing. As unrelenting as it is original, Last Burn in Hell is John Edward Lawson at his most scorching intensity, serving up sexy satire and postmodern pulp with his trademark day-glow prose.

The Director’s Cut edition includes:

  • Deleted scenes
  • Alternate ending
  • Photo stills
  • Remastering for more enjoyable viewing
  • And more!

 Click here to buy the book

Rumbullion by Molly Tanzer
Lazy Fascist Press, 2016
Out of Print

About the book:

rumbullionmollytanzerIn the wake of a fateful and fatal party, young, sickly aristocrat Julian Bretwynde decides to interrogate all who were in attendance, including the infamous alchemist, immortal, and liar, the Count of Saint Germain. What Julian will uncover about that night, no one could ever have expected, least of all himself. And even worse, he’ll be forced to decide what’s true among the radically disparate accounts of men and women who stood side by side, watching the same events unfold. As he gets deeper and deeper into his investigation, the killer’s identity grows ever more obscure… as does that of the victim.

(more…)

How to Write a Novel in 4 Steps

by
Daulton Dickey.

Writing is hard. Sometimes it’s harder and sometimes it’s easier. Putting words to paper—or producing them on screens—takes blim blam a paramanam focus and attention. Boy you don’t know nothin about anything, ya hear? Aside from the actual work, and writing requires work, you’ve got to find time and motivation, and fight voices shouting doubt and producing anxiety. All day anxiety. Fuck, what the fuck is wrong with me? Why can’t I sit down and just do something without turning it into a catastrophic, life or death scenario? Jesus.

READ READ READ

Before you attempt to write, you’d better read. A lot. Don’t read casually or for the sake of entertainment: study short stories and novels. Dissect them as you read them. Approach a novel as a mathematician might approach a seemingly unsolvable problem. Break it into parts, analyze each part, search for underlying presuppositions. Learn to clench your eyes and crack your neck and scream in tongues. You might even consider 20160601-230511.jpgapproaching text like the exhumed corpse of a flower wilting on decayed flesh. You dig? Nothing means anything and we’re all going to die. Let that sink in. But most importantly: read. No writer worth his or her or their weight in salt should choose not to read—or should forego reading texts closely. The best way to experience and understand the inner workings of a machine is to tear one apart and examine it. (more…)

Charles Blackstone: The Proust Questionnaire

by
Daulton Dickey.

The Proust Questionnaire is a notorious questionnaire meant to gain insight into a person’s psychological makeup. Although the writer Marcel Proust didn’t invent it, he is purported to have provided the greatest answers to it on two separate occasions, which is why it now bears his name.

The second subject to answer the Proust Questionnaire on Lost in the Funhouse is—drumroll please—Charles Blackstone.

Charles Blackstone is the author of Vintage Attraction, a novel, and the co-editor of The Art of Friction: Where (Non) Fictions Meet. His recent prosblackstonee has appeared in Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, Fiction Writers Review, and The Millions, Currently, he serves as managing editor of bookslut.com.

Visit his website at www.charlesblackstone.com

And if you want to follow him on Twitter (you should definitely follow him on Twitter. I mean, seriously, why wouldn’t you?) his handle is @cblackstone

1.What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I’m not really a fantasist. I’m pretty okay with real life.

2.What is your greatest fear?
Heights?

3.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I can’t like what other people like.

4.What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Insincerity.

5.Which living person do you most admire?
Martha Stewart.

6.What is your greatest extravagance?
I eat out a lot.

7.What is your current state of mind?
C+.

8.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Smalltalk.

9.On what occasion do you lie?
Perennially.

10.What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My giant Jew nose.

11.Which living person do you most despise?
Too many to list.

12.What is the quality you most like in a man?
Giving a shit about me.

13.What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Giving a shit about me.

14.Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Shit. Fuck. Ostensibly.

15.What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My pug.

16.When and where were you happiest?
Right now isn’t so bad.

17.Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to speak French.

18.If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Speak French.

19.What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’ve made it this far.

20.If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A pug.

21.Where would you most like to live?Vintage-Attraction-front_WEB2
Here, in New York.

22.What is your most treasured possession?
My computer?

23.What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Mediocrity.

24.What is your favorite occupation?
People who know how to sell shit really well.

25.What is your most marked characteristic?
I don’t think I have one. You’d have to ask a marker.

26.What do you most value in your friends?
Authenticity.

27.Who are your favorite writers?
Cheever, Carver, McInerney

28.Who is your hero of fiction?
Celeste Price from Alissa Nutting’s Tampa

29.Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Kurt Cobain.

30.Who are your heroes in real life?
Martha Stewart.

31.What are your favorite names?
Hunter Flanagan, Peter Hapworth

32.What is it that you most dislike?
Food you have to process yourself, like peel-and-eat shrimp or shelled peanuts.

33.What is your greatest regret?
Not reading as a child.

34.How would you like to die?
Dramatically.

35.What is your motto?
In medias res.

Click here to read The Proust Questionnaire answered by author Jacopo Della Quercia.