Search

Visit Blood On The Page on


Share and Syndicate







AddThis Feed Button

Our Newsletter

Subscribe to the Blood On The Page newsletter. We'll let you know when new titles are posted.

Recent Posts

Personal note from John Verdon to BOTP members

61 HOURS by Lee Child

Archive

June 2010
April 2010
March 2010
January 2010
November 2009
October 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009

Tags

2 in the hat 61 hours A Season for the Dead abandoned Achilles in Vietnam advanced copy advice Afghanistan Africa Agent Cooper al roker Alfred Hitchcock Andrew Bacevich Atlanta audiobook author author tours award winners awesome Bad Luck and Trouble bantam Bantam Dell Barry Eisler Berlin Berton Roueche Best Swedish Crime Novel Award bestseller bibliophile blly blessing Blood and Ice blood on the page blood ties body Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference book release 2.0 Book Review botp breathless Brett Battles buzz balls & hype Caravaggio characters cody mcfadyen contests cops crime crime fiction crimewav d.d. warren Dante Dante's Numbers Darth Vader Dave Gurney David Grossman David Hewson David Hunter David Kilcullen David Rollins dead dead trees is a dead model dean koontz Death Trust debut deception detainees detective Dick Cheney Divine Comedy drugs dyslexia e-books Edgar Allen Poe Awards eight in the box Emery episode Europe evolution of the book Faith Mitchell Fault Line Fear the Worst fear the worst Fear the Worst Blood on the Page Feral fiction Fragment free chapters free download free ebook GBI Genesis Georgia giveaways Gone Tomorrow Grant County Guantanamo guns Hadrian Hammett hard boiled Harvey Keitel Harwood henders island history Hitchcock homicide hook hospital Illegal International ipod Ireland Jack Palms Jack Reacher Jack Wakes Up Jake Wakes Up Jean Reno Johan Theorin John Verdon Jonathan Quinn Jonathan Shay Karen Maitland Karin Slaughter kay hooper kellerman La Femme Nikita lee child Lee Child Linwood Barclay linwood barclay Lisa Gardner lisa gardner M.J. Rose Maltese falcon military Mission Dolores morning show murders mystery mystery-thrillers never look away new release new york New York Times Nic Costa No Time for Goodbye no time for goodbye noir Old Peculier Crime Novel Award On Killing Palace of Fine Arts Pantheon Papercuts Paul Callaway Paul Levine pdf Persuader playlist Podcast podcast podcasts publication day Pulp Fiction raffi yessayan Rain Fall Reader reviews readings relentless Robert Masello Safer safer San Francisco Sara Linton Scott Horton Sean Doolittle sequel serial series Seth Harwood sex Shadow of Betrayal Shadow Season short story Simon Beckett Singapore sixty one hours sixty-one hours Spy suspense terror suspects The Accidental Guerilla The Cleaner The Cleanup The Cold Spot The Coldest Mile The Darkest Room The Death Trust The Deceived The Garden of Evil The Glass Key Award The Lizard's Bite the morning show murders The Neighbor the neighbor The Owl Killers The Sacred Cut The Seventh Sacrament The Villa of Mysteries Think of a Number thriller Thriller thrilling today show Tom Piccirilli too close to home tour trailer two in the hat UK Undone Vertigo video videos Vietnam wake up america wake up with al Warren Fahy webisode Whispers of the Dead Will Trent Writers' Workshop writing writing process Yoda

October 31, 2009

Once Upon A Time

On the rare occasion that I get writer’s block, one of the things I use to get the words rolling again is “Once upon a time.”

“Once upon a time,” I’ll think. I’ll look around the room and spot, perhaps, my DVD player. “Once upon a time a guy sat down to watch a DVD.”

What DVD?

“Okay, it was Cannibal Holocaust. Jim wasn’t really into gore movies, but he’d lost a bet with a friend about whether or not he could devour an entire watermelon in one sitting, so there he was.”

Then what?

“Well, he decided he needed some liquid courage to watch the hideously violent film (he really didn’t like gory films). When he went to the refrigerator, the beer was gone.”

Why? Who drank it? Him?

“No, the beer was one of six twelve packs polished off at the poker party the evening before. The poker party, by the way, was something Jim and his friends had put together a year before. Instead of playing for money, they put a ‘Fear Factor’ spin on it. Hence the watermelon, hence Cannibal Holocaust. Hence no beer. Jim decided he’d have to go buy some, so he went to the store.”

In what? A car, a truck a van?

“Beat up ten-speed bicycle. He lost the car a few months earlier in a similar poker game. (Yes, Jim has a gambling problem.) So he takes off on his ten speed, to buy some beer. It’s the middle of the night, but the 7-11 isn’t far. However, just as he’s about to turn off his street, he hears a blood curdling scream and a naked woman bursts out of the house on the corner and races across the lawn. A man runs after her, wielding a hatchet…”

And so on. It’s a silly exercise, but it almost never fails. The key is to try and go left when you’d normally go right. Lots of sudden ninety-degree angles and improbability. I swear, it’s like WD 40 for the mind.

Of course, we never get to find out what happened to Jim. Did he save the girl? Did he shrug and cycle on? If we want to get complex about it, maybe this is what happens:

“Jim leaps off his bike and gives chase to the man with the hatchet, but gets there too late to save the girl. The hatchet gets buried in her skull twice before Jim manages to tackle the bad guy. A brutal fight ensues, a violent, desperate, knock-down drag-out . Jim is at the losing end, being strangled to death, when his grasping hand finds the handle of the hatchet. He grips it hard, yanks it out of the poor girl’s head, and chops at the bad guy, again and again, lost in his own hysteria, fury, and desperation. When the police arrive, they find him there, hatchet in hand, wild-eyed, standing above two dead bodies.

The cops, of course, end up assuming he was the original assailant, and he is arrested. No evidence to the contrary is found, and Jim goes to death row - all because he went out to buy some beer. He never does get to watch Cannibal Holocaust. He never gambles again.”

Try it sometime. Give yourself a license to imagine the ridiculous or the strange or whatever, without censor, and see if helps.

A final one, in honor of it being Halloween:

Once upon a time, two kids came to my door for Halloween Candy. They came alone, and they were never seen again. The very next day, the dirt in the crawl space of my basement was freshly turned, so freshly turned.

Are these two things related?

I don’t know. I truly don’t. I can’t remember.

But my fingernails are dirty, so dirty, and I am… I am…

So happy.

Happy Halloween and happy reading.

Comments (0) | Permalink    

COMMENTS

ADD COMMENT