C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Tag: hugh howey

"Shift" & "Dust" by Hugh Howey

Book Book

It's a double-whammy tonight! I picked up Shift by Hugh Howey, for the beginning of the year. I like the book because I'm a sucker for the nitty-gritty back-story of a story. I think that's why It's taking me so long to write a damn book, because I'm all about the back-story. Shift was a prequel to Wool and explained how things got the way they got. 

Dust was the thrilling conclusion of the Silo Trilogy. It tied up a lot of the ends from both Wool and Shift. As a complete set, the trilogy was good, with Wool as the dominant book. Wool was very character-driven. You couldn't help but develop an attachment to the majority of characters, including the jerky head of IT. Shift and Dust were more about telling a story based on events. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't as emotionally stirring as the first book.

I like Howey's writing style and look forward to reading more of his stuff.

Errr...Write Write

A lot has happened in the writing world.

1. It took some hair-pulling, head-banging, and tears, lots of tears, but I was finally able to create an outline of the novel. I also figured out how I write: I create a first draft by just writing the shit out of things. I do best when this is done in a notebook. Sometime, usually between these pen-and-paper sessions, I'll put what I wrote into the computer, and during this time I'll expand on the ideas scribbled in ink and develop the story. We'll call this, Draft 1.5. Once the story is written, from roughly start to finish, I'll do myself a huge favor and outline the damn thing. The outline, in this instance, is my road map, something to keep me on track. By this point it's a game of fill-in-the-blanks. The outline helps me flesh out the plot and what I've missed, and where to include what information. After that, re-write, revise, proof and polish. It's probably not the way Stephen King does it, but shit, I'm not Stephen King.

2. Because the outline wasn't done I got into a rut. I'd been in a rut since Christmas. But that's all over. The outline is done and I'm writing strong again. I hammered out 2 major scenes over the weekend and snow days. 

3. Contacted Ben Dunn, and gave him a overly detailed character sketch for my main character, Aryel. For weeks now I had and idea of how she should look. And at the last minute I scrapped this idea for something 1000 times awesomer! Both The Wife, and Samson approve, so the commission promises to be kick-ass. Ben is unbelievably awesome, so I know the pic is going to come out looking great.

4. I want to start a simple D&D campaign that doesn't involve a lot of stats and number crunching, focusing almost entirely on the story, and taking place in the universe of the novel. I think that'd be really cool and would help me further build the world. Player's would create unique characters, not characters from the book, and they'd get lost in this crazy dream world. I don't know what kind of interest people would have for that, and I'm not the best DM, but hey, it could be fun. Any takers?


Wool: A Story about a Sheep Herder in Nuclear Winter


Wool by Hugh Howey is -in a word- awesome. In fact, stop reading this right now, go to your closest book store, or Audible and buy like 10 copies of the book. Don't worry, I'll wait.


I did a report about the reinvention of the publishing industry in a digital age, the emergence of indie authors and new exciting business models like Kindle Direct Publishing, and the stuff Scott Sigler was doing on his podcast. I don't remember a whole hell of a lot from the report, but I do remember talking about Hugh Howey. This was a ballsy move on my part, seeing how at the time I hadn't read Wool, and was basically going by what I had heard from others. Still, I did get an A on the report. Well, I don't know much more about Hugh Howey than I did before, but I'll tell you this:

He self published his story on Amazon Kindle Direct, people loved it, and he became a successful author. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

There's a reason why people love Wool. And that reason is: It's a freaking awesome story! It's 5 parts. Part 1 really sets the tone for the story and it only builds from there.

What stuck out for me was how Howey subtly created sympathy for the antagonist, without doing a complete 180. You don't stop hating the 'bad guy', but you understand his motives.

A few books from now I'll be writing about the sequel, Shiftfollowed by Dust.


I've started writing a series of vignettes, each centering around one of my 3 main characters. It takes place very late in the story so I guess now I have a goal to write up to. The 3rd part of the book was very rough in the 1st Draft, so I have a feeling there will be several iterations before I get it right.

In other news:

I started watching Gotham and I've been pleasantly surprised. I was a skeptic but the first episode really brought me around. I suggest you give it a shot, even if you're not a Batman fan.

The Gerard Way concert is a week from Sunday and I'll be getting my tickets tomorrow. One truly hasn't lived until they find themselves excited for Brit-Pop 10+ years after the fact. 

And tomorrow is the wife's birthday and this big lug has a dinner to plan.