C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Tag: David Wong

The Vicious Circuit: A Series by Robert Brockway

There should be a name for the genre of bizarre sci-fi, modern-fantasy, horror that the likes of David Wong, Robert Brockway and their ilk hilariously bestow upon this unsuspecting world. I like reading these books for a number or reasons, which I will list right now, in no particular order:

The main characters are hapless lay-about who don’t give many shits about anything, let alone the cosmic nightmares they have been thrown up against. They are often found stoned or drunk…or both.

The Dude abides.

The Dude abides.

However, said main characters are often assisted by a strong female counterpart who saves them from both monsters and their own stupidity on several hilarious occasions. These characters range from bookish to bad-ass.


And now that you mention it, stories that involve cosmic nightmares and untold horrors of a Lovecraftian nature are often the tea in which I gingerly pour into my ornate and chipped cup.

Thanks Nick the Rat

Thanks Nick the Rat

The dialog is raw and real with a lot of cursing. Not the Shakespearen pros you’d get from an episode of Deadwood, but rather the, punch-in-the-face gutter-speak heard after a night of heavy drinking…in which the drink of choice is gasoline with a spritz of ginger.


"Act averse to nasty language and partial to fruity tea."

~Al Swearengen

Where David Wong's books take place in, Undisclosed middle America, Brockway takes us into the often traveled streets of New York, London, and the far from glamorous L.A. scene. In Undisclosed, we suspend belief because, after all, this could all be some cruel aliens simulation in some unheard of town. But when the landmarks are found on our SnapInstaFace feeds when the monsters arrive is all the more unsettling.

Both writers also write for Cracked.com, which makes me wonder what the hell is in the drinking fountains over there. It's some pretty potent stuff! 

Keep writing these types of books and I'll keep reading them.

And now that I think about it, a Lovecraftian-themed show, staring Karen Gilliam, Jeff Bridges as The Dude, and Ian McShane would be something incredibly awesome. We’ll call this tale of horror, It Came from the Deep, or The Waking Gods, or The Big Lebowski 2. Co-Written by CGMcGinn, David Wong and Robert Brockway. I’d get top billing though. I wrote this post and found the pictures on the Inter-webs.


Meanwhile, in the town of -UNDISCLOSED-

Reading Books:

The squeal to "John Dies at the End" by David Wong, is a book full of spiders.

"This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It" is a less rough-around-the-edges tale centering around two beloved slackers living in a fictitious Midwestern town. Part of the popularity to the first book was due to it's following on the Internet, as a serialized blog of sorts. Reading the first book you could tell that -though coherent and complete- it felt somewhat disjointed. There were several stories rolled into one overarching main story that tied itself together in a somewhat chaotic way. The chaotic nature of the story and it's characters, that off-the-cuff writing style made the story work.

The squeal is much more polished. The story is tight. There are several subplots but they tie together in a way that complements the story as a whole. The tie-ins are clean.

I think the 1st book is better only because that chaos was what set the book apart, made it unique. It's not that it wasn't present in the squeal, but it was lacking.

Writing Books:

I had to look back to my last entry to see what the hell I had last talked about.

Ok, Part 1 IS done.

I need to sit down and edit it but finding the time to do that has been tough. It's the end of the fiscal year and the library I work at has a lot of extra money they want to give me. So my meager 6 hour a week shift has grown to 19 hours, just for this remaining month. So I'm working a lot.

I've reached the conclusion that in the same way writing with pen and paper is more effective than typing it out, editing in the same way is equally beneficial. But the tech-geek in me wants to desperately bridge this gap. I tried using a stylus with my iPad, Pages, and a copy of Part 1. Didn't work. Actually it sucked ass. And to be blunt, as one who owns several Apple devices and doesn't pass up a trip to the Apple Store whenever I'm in a mall, I can honestly say that the iPad is a nightmare for serious writing. It's a toy. It really is. Don't get me wrong, I like my shiny expensive toy, but I've given up on trying to use it to get any real work done. 

I've been eyeing the new Surface Pro 3, which isn't even out yet. No, I'm not being endorsed by Micro$oft. I'm merely seeing something I could actually use to get the pen and paper experience on an electronic device.

So I've been wasting a lot of time on tech I don't have instead of reading Part 1. 

Meanwhile, I'm stumbling through Part 2. I'm still trying to get a clear picture of how events play out. I mean, it's all been written in Draft 1, but I'm still discovering new things, new quirks about characters, new places to explore.

Having no time doesn't help either. I'm not in the groove, not in the world of the story.

Reading Part 1 will help.

Perhaps in July.

Finding the Momentum

Writing Books:

The character of Aryel Lessard should have been one to come easy for me. Anyone how has gamed with me, from MMOs to pen&paper RPGs would know that a version of this character has been lurking in the echo chamber of my mind for close to a decade. But maybe since she had been around for so long that I stopped actually thinking about her. By 'thinking' I mean, putting some analytic thought behind who she is, and not staring dreamily into space, occasionally letting out carefree sighs while sucking down chocolate-covered strawberries.

I had to actually do some thinking when it came to creating the Basilisk because up until the start of this project, his formidable presence had not set foot into the hallways of my mind. What he wanted in this life I had thrown him in, and how far he would go to get those things were established, and written down. I had answered the questions that needed answering. By the time I started writing him into the story, I knew what made him tick.

With Ary, I'm still sort of finding that out. Which sucks when you've written an entire first draft and are just realizing one of your principal characters needs to go back to character development school. It feels kinda like a soldier being sent off to war when the commander realizes that he never learned how to shoot. I don't know. Maybe it's different. 

But Ary is a far better character now than she had been a week ago. And, until the beta-readers tell me otherwise, I think she's come a long way sicne the 1st draft of the story. It's not been easy, but it's been an experience I'm glad to have gone through because I've learned a great deal by going through this process. I used to write a 1st draft of a chapter, revise it, and then call it good. But it's not good. There are a lot of questions that need asking. I've written more revisions of just the beginning portion of Chapter 2 than I care to count. But it's important. I need to see what works and what doesn't. Yes, it's discouraging to not have all the answers when I sit down to write. Sometimes sessions feel as though I'm just spinning my wheels, but it's all important. It's all necessary. In the end I think it makes for better characters and hopefully a better story.

And it's important to keep even what you don't use. Because you never know when I scene might come in handy elsewhere. 

Reviewing Books:

Not going to write a review this week because I'm just under the 5-hour mark on finishing 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I want to see how it ends before I put my thoughts into words on the screen.

I used my 2 credits from Audible to get John Dies at the End by David Wong, and The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. Chris Samson recommended John Dies to me. Though I forget if he said to read the book first or see the movie. I remember him saying that the two complemented each other.

The main character of The Rook is a woman who is a high-level operative of a secret clandestine agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. My hope is that she is an example of a strong female character that I can hopeful gain insight from. We'll see. Dan O'Malley's only written one book according to Amazon and he may very well be as bad at writing woman as I am. But he's published and I'm not so he's probably doing something right.