The Monkey That Made Me Respect My Word-Machete

3 12 2011

November was quite a month.

In never used to be that exciting. That is not in the states.

Since moving back here I have noticed a few things are drastically different. For starters this country features a lot more tall people and a greater plethora of hair colors. Furthermore, there are no monuments or buildings that have a propensity to attract monster attacks time and time again. The only reason I knew about that big broadcast tower in Tokyo was because Godzilla or Mothra or some other monster was always knocking it down.

But that’s another matter entirely. To say that America doesn’t have its own monsters would be unfair. They just aren’t the same kind of monsters. They posses more subtlety. Maybe its because they’re a bit frightened of the spotlight. Or maybe the total opposite is true. Perhaps they love the spotlight but avoid for fear of getting shot at by whatever branch of the military has a new monster-killing superweapon.

Maybe that’s just how they roll. And no, the Cloverfield monster doesn’t count. That was a one-off sort of baddie. If he (or is it a she?) makes a dozen more movies and launches a profitable film/toy/apparel franchise then we’ll talk.

And don’t even get me started on the poorly conceived ‘americanized’ Godzilla in the Matthew Broderick movie of the same name. We’re going to do everyone a favor and just pretend that movie doesn’t exist.

The other thing about this place is the holidays. Or should I say LACK of holidays. Sure there are several federally recognized occasions to celebrate the country’s independence, a bunch of dead presidents and a few religious observances but that’s not the sort of holidays I’m talking about.


This country needs more festivals. They can be national, local or whatever else. Let’s find something to celebrate and go nuts! I remember festivals happening all throughout the year during my childhood and they celebrated a hundred different things. You google ‘Japanese Festivals’ sometime and tell me that at least one doesn’t come up that sounds like a good time.

Pick a month, it probably had a festival celebrating something.

Now, you may be reading this asking yourself, “So what? What does that have to do with the price of R/C cars in Graboid country?” Well I’ll tell you.

I’m looking for things to celebrate. Things to get me excited about the months flowing into years. I want more things to look forward to, to celebrate. And slowly, but surely, I am doing just that.

In 2009, I attempted, at the prompt of a friend I socialize with online to participate in NaNoWriMo. It was a blast. I had little time to prepare for it as I learned of its existence two weeks prior to the November 1 kick-off date. That didn’t stop me from having a great time though or from hitting the 50,000 word count mark . That story that I created, that glamorous half-a-novel I hammered out with little to no writing experience.

It was crap. Total crap. Crap with a capital ‘C’ ‘R’ ‘A’ ‘P’. I remember thinking at the time I was writing it that it was something along the lines of okay, not half bad and even a decent read. I was wrong. It was about none of those things. In fact, had I realized during that it was that awful I probably would have abandoned it all together.

I let those stars get in my eyes though, messed with my vision. They made me think I was producing quality work. Liars! Foul scheming liars. They let me crank out a manuscript that the CIA could include in a deluxe VIP torture kit.

I read it the other day. A part of it anyways before I had to stop and take some anti-nausea medications. But instead of trashing it, instead of destroying the ugly little beast, I slid it safely back into its drawer. But why? Well, it’s not done. I must finish it. Or, as I’ve learned recently, sometimes its better to cut it up and use the pieces.

I blame Chuck Wendig.

And who is this sarcastic, booze-soaked, bearded ape you ask? A genius. Hands down. He has a pile of professionally published credits to his name as well as a couple of non traditionally published works which are simply fantastic. I purchased a couple of his books over the month of November, looking to supplement my furious focus on my bit for NaNoWriMo.

The first item was ‘500 Ways To Be a Better Writer’ because hey, I need to study, to evolve, to hone my ink-slinging skills to the edge that will allow me to one day churn out lumps of coal filled with nuggets of gold instead of just, lumps of coal. It’s not what you would expect.

The last title on craft I purchased was much like you would expect it to be. Traditional chapters, broad subjects. Each section of the book a focused study on a singular element. ‘500 Ways’ on the other hand is a kick to the face of traditional style. It grabs you by the shirt collar and says “Hey you. Numbnuts. Pay attention before I crack this bottle upside your head!”

Its true.

Each ‘chapter’ is a list of 25 points. Smaller, easily digested morsels of information and opinion. It’s both simplistic and ingenious. The structure is such that you can pick it up and receive a fast, to-the-point injection of essential knowledge while simultaneously laughing hard enough to potentially wet yourself. Or at the very least attract some attention from the neighbors.

If you write, buy it. If you know a writer, tell them to buy it. Do it. DO IT. Or, get the other book.

Which is ‘Double Dead.’ This ain’t your girlfriends vampire novel. I’m not giving away too many details here but run some of these phrases through your dome and tell me you aren’t at least a bit interested.

“Vampire wakes in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.”

“Epic Clowns vs. Redneck showdown.”

“Wal-Mart Cannibals.”

Eh? Well? You can’t tell me that at least one of those little items didn’t grab you. Come on, you know you want to… get it here. You’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget you Kindle users, you can grab ‘500 Ways To Be a Better Writer’ here. Or directly from the man at his blog, Terribleminds.

Do me the favor. Go forth, read – enjoy.




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