C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Tag: indie

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. 

The Forest for the Trees

A while back I came to the conclusion that if I'm spending time reading books about writing when I could be writing, then I'm doing something wrong. Yes, the information in these books are important, and the successful authors who write these kinds of books are doing so in a way to give back and to inspire a new generation of writes. I get it. But I think it can be very easy for the unproven writer to do nothing but merely study the craft, never putting what they learn into practice. 

I don't know. For me, so much of what I do is discovery and you can't discover anything until you go out and explore and take risks. Write! Write with no expectations. You're not going to discover the Lost Ark during every writing session. But relish in those moments when you make a major breakthrough, and except that a big part of exploration is getting from Point A to Point B. Even Indiana Jones had to get on a plane and fly for hours before reaching Nepal. 

I've made one exception to my stance on books about writing. I've almost finished reading "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" by Stephen King.

My rational is that if I'm going to read about writing, it might as well be from one who has clearly been successful at it. Plus, I like the way he writes. Plus, having read most of the book, I've discovered that the way I write, my process, is very similar to the way he does it. That's not me being egocentric. I was just as surprised to find out as you.

I don't want to go into a big thing about the little similarities I've found between writing style blah blah blah. It's there and I'm happy about it. That doesn't mean I also have the same writer work ethic, or self discipline as Mr. King. I could very well be a hack writer the same way Seth Macfarlane is a hack whatever-the-hell-he-does. 

In other news, I've begun to read and edit Draft 1 of my completed story. When I announced this on Facebook, I got a lot of Likes. I'm going to go ahead and assume that the Likes were because of the writing and not because I was at Buffalo Wild Wings drinking Long Island Ice Teas. It felt good to see the support, you have no idea just how thankful I am, seriously.  

I think I have the title, but I'm not going to share it just yet. I think I ALSO have the title and a rough idea for the next book in this series. Oddly enough the title I came up with is also the name of a song by U2. I'm going to start writing it out in longhand and making notes for this next story while I edit the current one. Not sure if I'll be putting any of it into the computer until the first project is done. But who knows. This whole process has to have room to change. 

I'll leave with this:

Strange Verses own Chris Samson and I hung out yesterday to do what all aspiring writers like to do: Eat Mexican and watch old episodes of The Critic. In between that time, we drank coffee at the local coffee shop and gave each other writing challenges. Each of us took a turn describing a setting in a very general sense. For example, one of mine was simply, "A Wake in a funeral home". From there, he and I wrote two very interpretations of that setting. His involved a futuristic UFC-style fighter who died due to his power-armor being too heavy for his body to carry. And mine was about a conspiracy where the closed casket at the wake was in fact empty and the spouse/girlfriend of the diseased was tormented at the thought of who besides she knew about it. Two very different ideas formed from the same setting.