Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stephen King Frenzy

I go through fazes with my reading. I blitzed through the entire Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher last year. Since then, I've tried getting away from doing that. Instead I've been attempting to spread my reading around the board, and take in a lot of different things. Still though, there's always exceptions, times when I just gotta gotta get my fix, like some kind of reading junkie. The past couple of weeks, it's been Stephen King.
I haven't read Stephen since my wife got me Under the Dome, which to be honest, was good, but not 1,100 pages good. You know what I mean? Blockade Billy came out earlier this year, and I liked it, but mostly because I'm a baseball nut, and so's King, and so I connected with the book a lot.
Both of those were good, but they sort of left me flat at the same time. Not really what I had come to expect from King. But then I picked up a couple of books off of iTunes. 
The first was a neat concept. A graphic novel video presentation of King's short story, "n". It comes in like 25 little episodes, and takes about half an hour to view. And it is creepy. It's about a psychiatrist that gets a little too involved with the delusions of one of his patients. But are they really delusions? Maybe he should get a little more involved. Or maybe he has actually caught something from his patient.
The music, the narrator, and the story were all great. It's only 4 or 5 bucks on iTunes, so if you get the chance, it's worth checking out. I've heard that you can get it for free on King's website, but i haven't had a chance to confirm that or not. If you can find it there, it's definitely worth checking out.
The other book I picked up was Nightmares and Dreamscapes. It's a collection of short stories and the real treat, besides the fact that many of the stories are just plain awesome, is that they're narrated by Kathy Bates, Stephen and Tabitha King, Anne Heche, Tim Curry(by far the most awesome), and a whole bunch of other celebrities.
Again, I was caught off guard by how good these were, at least for the most part(there were a couple that I had to ask myself WTH). I was having so much fun, I just decided to keep going and read a book that I've wanted to read for a long time. Misery.
I saw the movie a long time ago and I remember it was really messed up. Kathy Bates was awesome as the matronly Annie Wilkes, and James Caan, though King has said that he didn't really approve of his being cast as Paul Sheldon, I thought he did a great job too.
If you're not familiar with the story, Paul Sheldon is a best-selling author most known for his steamy series "Misery". (Think Gone with the Wind as a cheap romance novel). Paul, while having had a lot of success with Misery, wants out. In the last book, scheduled to come out in a month, he actually kills her off. Good Bye, Misery! He's jubilant, especially having just finished his new novel, Fast Cars, at a hotel in Boulder, Colorado. He smokes his cigarette, takes a bottle of champagne for the road, and heads out into a blizzard to head on home to New York, where he will deliver Fast Cars to his editor.
But he doesn't make it. The forces of snow, alcohol, and of course, stupidity, send him flipping in his car into a wash off the side of the road. He doesn't die. But he may wish he had.
Annie Wilkes is his would-be savior. And she's his biggest fan. It doesn't take too long for Paul to figure out that she's not all there, and the results could cost him dearly. Now he's trapped in her house, her world, and with the injuries he's sustained, there's no chance of escape. Or is there....
Great story, it kept me on the edge of my seat. Just a warning, it is not for the faint of heart. There is graphic violence, creepy mental illness, and strong language.(In case you haven't read King before, and don't assume a hefty count of F-bombs).
Whether you like King or not, there's no question that he is talented. In particular, his characters are ones that are easy to connect with. They're real. They love, they laugh, they hurt, and when they hurt, we hurt with them. It's what makes his fiction work. (It's not his plots. Example: Cujo. Boy and mother trapped in car by dog with rabies.)
Why is this? Why is it that we can connect so well with characters in fiction? We get to know these people, and the weird thing is, they are people, because we understand them. We relate.We empathize.
What do you think? Are there any characters in fiction that you've felt particularly attached to? I'll go first.
Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games trilogy is one of these characters. I loved reading about her, and even though I've never been in any of the situations that she's in in the books, I related to her. I love how she always tries to do the right thing, but at the same time she must weigh the price of having to be realistic in a world that just plain sucks, to be honest. I felt attached to her, and, by the way, I can't wait to see how her story ends up in MockingJay.
Who are some of your favorite characters, and what is it about them that you love?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Once Upon A Time....

Hi, welcome to my blog. I chose the title that I did, because, well, all good stories start that way. Right? Wrong! And that's what this blog is about. Everything writing. I'll be posting reviews of books, graphic novels, magazines, movies, TV shows, blogs, and anything else that I feel relevant to the art and craft of writing.
First, a little bit about me, I'm an author. I write Fantasy and Horror, mostly, but I like to read just about anything. My goal for reading is to broaden my horizons and take in as much as I can. Extensively, I try to write the same way. My writing crosses genres from time to time, so be prepared.
I'll put up a little bit of my fiction writing from time to time, and I'd love any feedback that you might care to leave. Even and especially if you don't like it. Please. Tell me. I'd love to hear what you really think.
Oh, and I'd like you to check out my blog list. If you're following my blog, you probably have an interest in writing or fiction or something along those lines. The blogs I follow are some of the best sites you can read to learn about those things. Anywhere. Go ahead. Read them. These blog authors definitely have the "write" stuff.