Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"Writing: It Takes the Fun Out of Everything," by By Russell James, author of 'Q Island'

I’ve officially become no fun.

Since I started seriously writing, I’ve spent much more time exploring the craft. I’ve taken several online writing courses, worked with a personal coach, listened to hours of podcasts hosted by pros like Jonathan Mayberry, Brandon Sanderson, and Brian Keene. I’ve taken my own stories apart down to the molecular level and reconstituted them. I’ve critiqued the works of others every week for several years. I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting sloppy writing or cheap shortcuts in a work, even though I still frequently miss it in my own.

And so now I can barely read for pleasure. Every chapter gets analyzed, ever sentence deconstructed. Stories spark related ideas, and I have to stop and write them down. On the occasions where a story just sweeps me downstream without triggering an analysis, instead it triggers depression, because I wish that I could write that well.

But it’s not just my own entertainment experiences that I’m ruining. I share the pain with my wife. I’m pretty sure it’s been years since I haven’t commented on a plot hole, a character inconsistency or a lazy plot turn in a TV show. Examples:

·        An FBI agent on the run needs to contact someone. She picks a smartphone out of a passerby’s pocket and makes the call without breaking stride, knowing what suit coat pocket the phone was in, getting the only phone on earth the owner hasn’t password protected, and having the phone number memorized (seriously, who knows phone numbers?).
·        Someone hot wires a car built after 1968 in three seconds by reaching under the dash and making two wires spark against each other. Using no tools.
·        One character finds out a really important piece of information. And shares it with no one.

Can such poor writing be allowed to pass unnoticed? I say no. My wife says “Shut up and let me watch the program!”

So when people ask about the downsides of writing, this is a biggie. In the same way a chef can’t just eat a meal, a writer can’t just relax and be entertained. Is the trade-off worth it? I think so. My wife however…


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Title:  Q ISLAND
Genre: HORROR
Author: RUSSELL JAMES
Publisher: SAMHAIN PUBLISHING
Purchase on Amazon

About the Book
Epidemic! An ancient virus surfaces on Long Island, New York turning its victims into black-veined, infectious, psychopathic killers. Chaos and madness rule.  In desperation, the military quarantines the island, trapping Melanie Bailey and her autistic son, Aiden. Somehow, Aiden survives the infection. He could be the key to a cure—if Melanie can somehow get him to the mainland.

Gang leader Jimmy Wade   has his own plans for what to do with a boy who might be a cure. He and his men launch a heated hunt for the boy forcing Melanie and Aiden to avoid Wade’s tightening grip as well as the growing legions of the infected. Can they escape what’s being called Q Island?  Can anyone get out alive?
A taut, tense, terrifying thriller that teems with intensity, Q Island is an eerily realistic tale. With a chilling plot, compelling characters, and a pulse-quickening storyline, Q Island will leave readers breathless.  Earning nods as one of this year’s best horror novels, Q Island is an extraordinary story exceptionally well-told.


About the Author
After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, Russell James now spins twisted tales best read during daylight. In addition to two horror short story collections, Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness, James is the author of seven paranormal thrillers:  Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker and Q Island. His next novel, The Portal, is slated for release in 2016. Visit him at www.russellrjames.com.