Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Author Interview

Here's my author interview with Open Heart Publishing and their forthcoming anthology. They're publishing another of my shorts, entitled One Small Step. Feel free to visit and comment!

Here's a snippet:

OHP: In your opinion, which is the more important discovery of humankind… plumbing or the written word?

E.T.: A combination of both, actually. One gives you the means to accomplish your personal business in private. The other gives you something with which to wipe.

- Eric

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rainy Night Blog Fest

Rainy Night Blogfest for Christine over at The Writer's Hole

From my unpublished novella, Dark Woods. Henry is about 10 years old.

The rain began late that night, a quiet shower dripping from the treetops. No lightning or thunder interrupted the steady patter of droplets against the leaves and Henry's blue tarp. The rain fell straight down in the stagnant air. Water sizzled in the fire and on the burning summer ground, hard and hot as pavement.

Henry huddled beneath the tarp with the dogs on either side of him. He sat cross-legged and used the Army shovel to hack a deeper water trench around his sleeping area. Despite its calm nature, the rain was actually a downpour, and puddles accumulated around Henry and filled up his fire pit.

Henry wished he'd brought some fire wood under his tarp. He wished he'd set up a fire pit closer to the tarp, or better yet, beneath the tarp. But the tarp barely covered him and the dogs. He wished he had a larger tarp. He wished he had a flashlight that worked, or even a lantern he could light.

He wished he had matches to light the lantern.

Satisfied with the water trench around him and the dogs, Henry watched the fire die down and the fire pit fill with water. Two charred crawfish shells floated to the edge of the fire pit and crept toward the trees atop a flowing puddle of gray ash. The ping-sizzle of the raindrops died off into a muddy slap, taking with it the last remaining light. Darkness wrapped around Henry so thick he could barely tell his eyes were open.


Henry couldn't see much, but he could hear. The rain ebbed and flowed, and after a while began to let up, and that's when he heard the squealing. The dogs had perked their ears long moments before, hearing the things only dogs can hear, and Whiskey raised his head and issued a few warning growls, but the rain had masked the sounds Henry now could hear.

Henry heard a raucous screech followed by a few deep thumps that he could feel in the ground below him. The screams of pain, heavy grunts of anger. Nothing in the darkness moved, and Henry could barely see to the edge of his camp.

Henry wrapped his hands around the .30-30 rifle, flicking the safety on and off as he waited to see if it would come nearer.

Whiskey stood and shook his coat, splattering Henry's cheek and arm with flicks of mud. The dog growled deep in his chest. Henry saw the spiked outline of the dog's rustled hair standing on end along his spine, his tail low but not between his legs, just out of the way, his flanks wound tight and ready to spring. Scotch stood and wagged his tail and barked once and then licked the splatter marks off Henry's cheek.

The rain drizzled through the treetops in an unsteady buzz. Henry heard clumping footsteps that became wet and sloshy as they grew nearer to Henry's camp. They were hooves, he could tell from the clopping sound they made against the roots, and large, more than one set of hooves, two or three maybe, overlapping as they navigated the dark woods. He felt the hooves pound against the forest floor. Sharp cries of pain issued forth from the underbrush, something crashing through the briars and thorns and cracking limbs beneath its feet.

- Eric

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Writing Tips I Learned From My Kids

So I'm watching X-Men with my son, and he says, "Daddy, who's this movie about?"

And I say, "Well, the first character you see is usually the main character. For this movie, who's the first character?"


"So that's it. Magneto's the main character."

"But I thought it was about Wolverine."

"Was Wolverine the first character?"


"Was Wolverine the guy at the end of the movie?"


"That's right. The first scene was Magneto. The last scene was Magneto. Everything about the plot was Magneto. Magneto was the Main Character. See how that works?"

"Yeah, I guess. I still like Wolverine better. He's way cooler than Magneto."

And my daughter, we're watching The Day the Earth Stood Still, and they're standing in front of the alien spacecraft and Jennifer Connelly is walking toward the alien, holding out her hand toward this unknown being who just a few seconds earlier about leveled NYC, and my daughter says, "It's always a smart person who walks up to the alien to shake hands. Then some stupid person with a gun shoots them."

Then somebody shot the alien.

"See!" she said.

Stupid somebody!

So remember these lessons my write buddies and baddies: The Main Character is always the first person -- not the most interesting -- smart people stick their hands into the blender, and stupid people shoot things they don't understand.

Everything you ever needed to know about writing, courtesy of my childrenses.

You're welcome.

- Eric

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When do you ~CREATE~?

We've all posted about when we write and how we inspire the muses, but I want to discuss the creation process deeper this time, and why understanding when you create your stories is one of the most important timeslots in your day.

I wrote a story about a blue-faced God whose expressionless features never answered a damned thing. My character asked over and over for God to answer, and God stared back at him with that blue-faced mask, still as a sculpture.

The reason that scene came alive for me is that I tripped inside of my head this fuse that allowed the worms to dig and excavate and root around anytime my mind fell idle.

I fell asleep praying to my blue-faced God. In my dreams I stood beside God and asked Him to solve my problems, show me the way, bless those I care for, and He stared through and above me and never said a damned thing.

You know how sometimes when your kid asks you a question, and you pause for a second to let their wheels click, and after a few beats the kid says, "Oh, I see. Nevermind."

You never said a word. You stared and let them figure it out for themselves.

That was how it was with my blue-faced God. He let me figure it out for myself, and I in turn passed that on to my character and let him figure it out for himself.

How's that relate to the overall topic of when you create? Let me tell you. I created that story at night, falling asleep in my insomnianic manner, rolling for a couple of hours in bed and in my head. I didn't write that story at the computer, or mowing the yard, or working out, or sitting around with pad and paper and an outline.

I wrote it in my dreams, and when I woke the next morning, I hammered out the scene that had cleaved itself from the hard-packed earth and puked up a blue-faced flower.

I nurtured that time at night. I let my mind drift to the story.

I allowed myself to ~create~ the story, and then, later, when the lights were on, I simply wrote down what I'd seen the night before.

King created Misery in his dreams on an airplane flight. Dante created Inferno in his dreams. Who the hell knows where Poe created his stuff, but it wasn't at the pen-and-ink table with the candle flickering. Then, later, they wrote it down, see.

The point here is to understand when it is that your stories come to life and nurture that time. Humor it. Make that time part of your daily routine. It may be different for every story, but find that creative time when your story is born and make time for it. Nothing is created at the keyboard or the outline tablet.

Your stories are recorded when you write, that's all.

- Eric