I heart researching apocalypse. While working on the current manuscript, I keep delving into books about “how to survive when DISASTER STRIKES.” Some books are truly super, well thought-out. Things one needs to know. Earthquake, natural disaster stuff. Kind of like a Bear Grylls episode (Bear’s thing about using a cell phone to start a campfire was awful goodness. I’ll throw the vid in below, just in case you ever get lost in the wilderness, your plane goes down in the forest, some stranger dumps you in the woods, etc.):
Others survival books are more, well, let’s say they predict certain doomsday. Disaster books with pictures? Oh, they’re special. Good examples — The Mormon Four: Four foods that are nutritious and store well. Whole wheat, honey, powdered milk and salt. Great, cute cartoons. The Physiological Fear Factory? I get that, too. But charred rat on a stick — in photos? Oh yeah. How to compost your you-know-what, cartoon style? Welcome to my day.
Ok, that’s my post for the week. Off to go dialate some pupils and increase some heart rates.
Ever wonder who to call when you need to fact check the validity of that doomsday virus? Or if cauterizing that severed leg is factual enough to extend suspension of disbelief? This month WIRED magazine spoke to the doctor who Stephen King gives a ring, when the Master of Horror needs to fact-check his latest dismemberment.
According to WIRED, Russ Dorr has been assisting King on such fact-checking since 1974. Dorr, a physician’s assistant in Hampshire, has reportedly helped on The Stand, The Shining, Pet Sematary, Misery, Cell, and King’s latest novel, Dome. Here’s a tidbit on the working relationship from the article:
On Dome, the two worked together more closely than ever. Each week, King would email the latest 50-page segment to Dorr. “Stephen’s doing the heavy lifting, getting the stuff down on paper,” Dorr says. “But then he’ll email or call with questions.” How does a guided missile work? What does a 20-year-old Geiger counter look like? Where would you go to find a B-52 bomber? “Methamphetamine. Jesus! I had to find out how to cook crystal meth, all the ingredients,” Dorr says. “It’s amazing the stuff you can find on Google.”
You can read more on Dorr and his work with King, including a recent homage by the author, online at WIRED.com.
I was saddened this weekend to hear of the passing of the poet Jim Carroll. Back in college, I liked to play basketball, writer, and wish I had the cajones to do real drugs — so Jim was always a great fit. And his writing was simply out of this world fantastic. If you haven’t read his stuff, I’d recommend picking up a copy of his urban coming of NY age story Basketball Diaries. Carroll writer’s “ear” was simply phenomenal. His prose fantastic. Like all writers do, I tried to copy his greatness, failed, but learned a lot. Carroll died of a heart attack last Friday in Manhattan. He was 60.
Here’s an LA Times piece, “Remembering Jim Carroll,” by poet Lewis MacAdams. I’ll borrow an excerpt from the column, quoting Jack Kerouac.
That’s when the poet Ted Berrigan took him to visit Jack Kerouac, who took a look at some of Jim’s writing and said, “Jim Carroll writes better prose than 89% of the novelists working today.”
It’s still true. To read the Rolling Stone obit, click here.
There’s a link within the story above that takes you to the Rolling Stone archives, and an 1999 interview with Carroll, where the poet speaks of a new book, touring, and Kurt Cobain.
The list could save you some time blind searching for horror, fantasy and scif fi twitters. John Joseph Adams is there, Cory Doctorow, as well as editors, columnists and the like. Even a few publishers. The list is worth a few minutes of perusing, to lengthen that list of following…
In addition, you will receive a general understanding of the state of modern publishing—that is where and to whom to submit your material, the real deal on editors and agents, the characteristics of the genres, the perception of the difference between mainstream and literary fiction, and even a few words on marketing and publicity. Have your questions ready. You will learn all the basic elements of writing and the processes needed to finish your manuscript and have it ready for submission to the market place. But more importantly you will get the much needed FEEDBACK that is often the missing factor which contributes to the success (or failure) of many writers. Each instructor has a specific area they will be emphasizing. If you’ve never experienced a piece of fiction deconstructed (especially your own) and analyzed in a high-intensity workshop setting, be prepared to learn things about you, your writing, and your ability to tell a good story.
The Boot Camp with run from January 29—31, 2010 at the Marriott Burkshire Hotel in Towson, MD. You can get more information here.