C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

"She said, 'I serve none but Korrok.'"

"You sure?" said John. "I thought she said, 'I server none but to rock.' I was about to agree with her."

"Whatever, John."


On Books:

And with that, I give you my thoughts on "John Dies at the End" by David Wong, (if that's even his real name)...which it isn't. It's really Jason Pargin.

This book is a funny-strange piece of fiction. It's written in three distinct acts that all fit together in a chaotic but seamless way. Act 1 reads very much like a science-fiction drug novel and is probably what would happen if Philip K. Dick and Chuck Palahniuk had an alien love-child. Act 2 continues the climb into the realm of the strange, leading into Act 3 which takes you places you never thought existed in the realm of weird.

The story is told from the 1st-person perspective of David, and several scenes that he was not physically present for are recounted by him, originally told by the books other main character John. Interestingly enough, since John tends to exaggerate his account of things, the retelling of events are both far-fetched but not without David's commentary pointing this out the absurdity of John's story to the reader. John and David fall into the archetype of slacker-hero. The humor drawn out through both the dialog and situations the two characters are put in make them very likable.

The book is funny. It has to be because it's equally gory. Chris Samson told me the book and the movie complement each other. After reading the book, I'm not sure I want to see the movie. I can do horror. But gore-horror is not my bag when it's on the big-screen...or the TV. I guess this really marginalizes my horror intake. Maybe I need to break it down further. alien-demon-worm-monster-gore-horror is not my bag, baby. In fact, anything with worms, mutant worms, slugs and other such variants don't set well with me. Some people have a thing against spiders or giant rats. I'm not a fan of all things squishy.

But who knows. Maybe one day I'll man-up enough to watch the movie version starring Mr. Crabs and that guy from Sideways.


On Writing:

It's pretty clear that the way the revised chapters are forming, each chapter will contain 3 scenes. The scenes seem to be divided by a change in venue. Another revision or 2 will help tighten up the transitions. Right now the process is going smooth but this may get tricky once I start incorporating the sections that have already been written into the revisions. Since noticing this pattern I may take a crack at doing something I never do and start outlining.

I started drawing a map of the main setting of this story. I feel like Tolkien every time I draw a map. I amazed by people who can draw good maps of fantasy places. Mine, like my hand writing always end up looking like chicken scratches.

Lastly, I plan on writing the last scene of the revised Chapter 4 tonight. This will end the new beginning of the story, allowing me to focus on cleaning up the material I've already written. I also end the new sections with a flashback of sorts. It's also the first really big action scene in the story. 4 Chapters in and I'm finally getting to the action. That may or may not prove to bit me in the ass. I don't know. I may have to start the scene in a prologue, then uses this last scene of chapter 4 to continue what the prologue started. I'm not going to worry about that now.